Tip 0201 Use your intuition.
Be intuitive and go with the flow. Try not to force anything and just be yourself. Trying to be someone you're not will show through and generally shuts doors not opens them.
Remember also that you are on your own and your intuition is your main safety belt.
Top tip here is, if it looks suspicious, dodgy or too good to be true, then it usually is. Having said that, there are so many bargains out there, so try not to miss out on these great opportunities whilst travelling.
Tip 0202 Keep an eye on your stuff
There are opportunists everywhere and none more so than where travellers are based. So many travellers forget about security when they are away because generally everyone is in a state of relaxation and the locals are extremely friendly.
But there are thieves everywhere sadly and you really must not become blasé when it comes to your possessions. Your bags are usually full of goodies whilst travelling and are sort after and prime targets.
Think about wearing your strap bag over your head and under one arm, even under your top coat if it's not too hot a climate.
The amount of people that walk around with either open hand bags or open carry bags, is unbelievable and more so at malls and markets where it is so easy to lift your possessions. How many times when you are out shopping do you leave your purse laying on top of your bag in readiness for your next purchase?
Seriously guys, you really need to reduce the risk and not look like a sitting target.
Another great tip here is, before you step out of your temporary accommodation, divide your cash or foreign currency up into smaller denominations and place in various pockets.
Know or study the local rate of currency and know what you are going to pay. So many of you pull out the whole wad of notes and start to work out how many you need. This draws attention to yourselves. The wad of notes may not seem like much to you but to the locals, it is like opening a suitcase of money on the bar and saying take what you want.
What you as a traveller might spend in one day could be a years wages to some.
Tip 0203 Double Bags
If you are a single traveller and have checked baggage then definitely take a carry on bag with you wherever you go. Put a change of clothes within and a few minor toiletries like a toothbrush and micro towel.
On the odd occasion that your checked baggage is either lost or delayed, you can at least freshen up and be presentable to get out and about to sort the problem or get to the shops to replenish your luggage.
As a couple or family, you have the luxury of mixing up your luggage for this exact reason and covering bases on this but also it is wise to still take a small carryon bag, just in case all your luggage goes to the wrong airport/country. It does happen!
Tip 0204 Season your tents
Yes a simple and easily forgotten or unread instruction that really must be carried out for longevity of your camping shelter.
For those of you that have just bought a new tent/awning or anything external with stitching, seasoning of your material will ensure non leakage and increase the life of your material.
Simply on purchase of your new equipment, allow time to erect your structure and give it a good watering/soaking and allow it to dry out completely as if hanging out your washing. We recommend doing this at least twice. This will tighten and shrink the stitching to all the joints.
Another quick fix to minor leaking/stitching is to rub candle/wax along the joints.
Tip 0205 Start small, find what works for you.
It is easy to get carried away with enthusiasm when it comes to camping and there is so much out there to chose from but we highly recommend really taking your time before deciding on your first purchase.
Unless you have already had extensive experience in camping, rushing into your first acquisition could be a backward move.
Like all aspects of travel, research is paramount to success. The great thing with camping is affordability and just getting out there amongst other like minded campers will start you off on the right foot and open your mind up to what will work for you long term.
There is of course resale on your purchases and starting off with second hand equipment is certainly a very cost effective option. Many start off small and evolve into camping when bittten by the bug.
Tip 0206 Airing your equipment.
Many times you will be nearing the end of your camping experience and packing away quickly just to get home is often the easy option, and many do just this.
A little forethought pre pack up day and once home can and will save you a lot of time later on.
Wet, damp and dirty equipment stored for lengthy periods of time make for hard work.
Try and adopt the attitude of a little hard work in packing up, is far better than a lot of hard work later on. No matter how tired you might be nearing the end of your trip, try and save a little time, energy and thought into packing up.
If you have a dry morning on the day of your departure and you do not need to rush off early, think about laying out your fly sheets and tarps to air and dry in the morning sun.
First thing in the morning, open up all the air vents to any camping equipment and allow thorough ventilation. Think about loosening off your guide ropes and moving your tents to allow wind ventilation.
With a wet weather or damp departure, try and allow adequate time to return home and peg out your equipment, rather than leave it packed up damp.
Our best tip here is, make sure you spray your equipment with insect repellent as you strike camp. Insects left inside your tents will eat their way out causing damage to netting and seams.
Tip 0207 Condensation from your breath
Condensation in small tents caused by carbon dioxide (breathing) will make the inside of your tent very wet and if left unventilated, will cause a build up of mould very quickly, making cleaning very long and arduous.
As soon as possible on return, try and set up temporary camp to allow to airing or clean the inside of your tent and air completely prior to storage.
If you look after your equipment, your equipment will look after you.
Tip 0209 See what's out there
There are so many aspects to camping and let's face it, so many levels of comfort that one might require.
There is an old saying out there that say's, "less is more" and the more streamline you are in camping, the more time you have to smell the roses, so to speak.
Having said that, creature comforts also goes a long way in camping. Finding the balance is the key and "Glamping" is always enjoyable. If you have the space, time and energy, then there is no reason why you can't have a near 5 star experience whilst camping.
Tip 0210 Ask friends and fellow campers
Ask around, quiz your friends and fellow campers. There is a whole new world of mutually minded and friendly campers more than willing to offer you good and constructive advice. It's almost like another community that gravitates to camping and all have tips and advice they can offer.
Many are proud of their own rigs and have many stories as to why they have gone down their route, excuse the pun.
You are far better off, asking the camping fraternity than any wholesaler, who might be just a little bias on the products they sell.
Tip 0211 Only take what you need
This may seem obvious to some but taking too much with you can have its disadvantages. Again dependant on your set up, taking too much stuff can become a clutter and make it difficult to get your hands on what is needed at the time you want it.
Must haves. Coming soon to our website will be a link to our Lists, Inventories and Itineraries section. We will have a full list of "bare essentials" and "checklists" for camping that you will need for most types of trips and rigs you come across.
Having a rig fully loaded will have you searching around trying to find an item stuffed under or in a container that you can't quite open unless you fully unpack everything.
Weight and flying objects is also a consideration. Too much weight means for lower fuel economy and more wear and tear on your rig. A rig in a mess also leads to unsecured objects possibly becoming projectiles.
Tip 0211a Access to the essentials
Make sure you have easy access or know where the essentials are on your rig. Being able to quickly access say your first aid kit, a torch, your vehicle repair tools, water, fire extinguisher, EPIRB, snatch straps and anything that you may need to grab quickly in an emergency.
When packing for a long trip people often forget about the "What if's."
Top tip here is have a designated rig packer for your trip. Too many times a helpful partner or trip buddy will assist in the loading and may not be around at the unloading stage.
Use many straps for your external packing. Holding everything together with a couple of tie downs will mean you have to unsecure everything to get one item off.
Tip 0211b Know your recovery points
This is invaluable in an emergency and our top tip here is familiarise yourself fully with any aspects of emergency and recovery issues.
Knowing your recovery, jacking points and where everything is prior to a breakdown or bog in situation, will lead to a timely recovery.
Another couple of top tips here for you budding 4WD enthusiasts. Attach your snatch straps to your recovery points and secure loose ends when entering floodwater or deep river/seaways. This saves on cold, wet and uncomfortable body submersion in trying to attach when stuck.
The other useful tip here is whether or not to leave your vehicle window down whilst crossing deep water. Our thoughts are, it is better to have an easy escape route and drain out any loose water from your interior, than to have say the electronics fail where the window or even worse the door fails to operate and you become entombed.
We welcome your thoughts on this and any other ideas for camping on our Forum section.
Tip 0212 Have a check list
Make sure you are prepared for your pending trip and having a checklist takes the worry out of "have I packed everything we need."
We mention but a few key issues to think about and direct you to our "Checklist" section on our website. (Coming soon.)
Pre trip, it is prudent to carry out several check off's and must do's. We mention just a few to give you an idea of what you might miss if you're not careful.
Charge or renew all your battery equipment like camp lights, torches, tent fan, music and wifi speaker units.
Check your vehicle batteries, and service points. If you haven't got a fairly new vehicle, paint a yellow marker on all your service points for easy finding during the night or poor visibility weather.
Charge up your travel fridge/freezer on home mains power to save depleting your rigs battery before you've even set off.
Top up your gas bottle for camping and if you have the space, take an extra small tank in case you run out, as a temporary measure.
Top up your first aid kit from the last trip and replenish depleted stock. The list can be endless but can be specific to your pending trip.
Tip 0213 Get your rig serviced.
If you are mechanically minded, or gifted then a "checkup from the neckup" is easy and should be carried out before each and every trip you take. For the less fortunate of us like myself, we recommend you invest in regular service for your rig.
There will be many out there that have a "head in the sand" policy and "it hasn't let us down so far" attitude and that's fine if you are happy with the unknown, or have cash to splash but seriously, a little outlay on a service pre travel ultimately will save you in the long run.
Piece of mind goes a long way and helps with our philosophy of Getoutgotravel enjoyment.
Even if you have no idea what is beneath the bonnet of your rig, we highly recommend you take along some basic spares for mechanical repair. You may not be able to rectify the breakdown problem but fellow travellers may just be able to assist you along the way, which will lead to more fluid travel and less time on the side of the road waiting for a recovery vehicle to come along.
Tip 0214 Car keys for security.
Most people will obviously have their vehicle keys with them as they wouldn't want anyone to drive off with their rig whilst they are asleep but not many think about using their keys as a panic alarm (if you have one) whilst camping.
Having your keys by your side through the night allows you to set off the alarm should you be concerned about unfriendly noises in the night.
Another useful tip is, to get into the habit each time you get out of your vehicle, of taking your keys out of the ignition. There are many reasons for this but theft and safety are the main ones here.
Campers in particular are targeted here as they carry many items of value whilst camping, that they would not normally have with them other times.
Tip 0215 Orientation
Our top tip here is careful planning. The more prepared you are the less you will get it wrong.
Many people only think monotone. They look at where they are going rather than where they are in real terms. Taking a wrong turn doesn't mean a disaster most of the time and can easily be rectified. If you have the personality of a maniac at the first wrong turn, then you need to plan more in advance.
When "self travelling" try to not focus on what is immediately ahead but more of what your surroundings are. Your heading west along the Great Ocean Road Australia, then it is hard to make a mistake and turn right. In the same way, if you are geographically clued up, you will soon realise your mistake and either rectify by turning back a little or taking a little detour of turns until you are back on track again.
Getting it wrong often leads you to a separate mini adventure. Learn to laugh at your mistakes and this will lead to not only a great travel experience but a great life of fun and adventure.
Knowing when you have gone wrong early helps a great deal, so know your surrounding areas along your route.
Tip 0217 Learn from the experts
There is a lot to be said for learn as you go and observe. Within the camping fraternity there is a lot of knowledge that is willing to be eagerly shared and being social will gain you more information than you can deal with.
A great tip is personal experience and you will be amazed at what you pick up just from watching and joining in. Don't be afraid to ask and observe from the masters.
Tip 0218 4WD tips
Whilst looking to expand this section "Just 4WD" to our features section we do already have a few tips to share already.
If you haven't already, think about adding a "catch can" to your vehicle. There are two schools of thought here and one says it does nothing at all. The other says you will prolong the life span of your engine. Personally, it is so cheap to install, we see it as a no brainer! Put one in, you have nothing to lose.
If you plan an off road experience and you are making the most of your 4WD, think about fixing a flyscreen to your front grill. This will slow down the rate of cleaning you will need to do.
Check your air filters regularly and by this we mean after a fair days driving. A little on the road maintenance saves a lot of time in the long run.
Our top tip if you can afford the extra and have space, is to run two sets of wheel and tyres. The average life expectancy of a new set of off road AT's are approximately 85,000k!
We are currently doing a 3 week outback run including the Simpson Desert. We expect to do approx 8,000K, but rotating back to normal tyres on our return we will probably be doing about 15,000k before our next trip. Do the math, we expect to get a good ten to twelve decent trips out of our KO2s' instead of probably 4 or 5.
We also opted for steel rims on our BF Goodridge KO2's as these are better for off roading, rather than our alloy's.
It costs AUD$30 to swap your wheels at your local fitters and can be done in 10 minutes.
We have many more tips to follow on 4WD, so watch out for the feature sections of this website.
Tip 0220 Hot water bottles
A very useful tip as temperatures drop at sundown. Have a couple of hot water bottles on the go in your bedding.
Keeping your body temperature even will last you through the night. If your body temperature drops too much, it will be difficult to warm up and you will have a restless night ahead.
We often start to cool down when moving away from the fire and changing clothing for bedtime. If you don't have warmth to your bedding, think about leaving your warm clothes on rather than change.
Tip 0219 Firestarters
Here are a few useful tips for starting and keeping a good fire burning.
Pumice stone and diesel, little known but useful none the less. If you can keep a few pumice stones wrapped in a rag and placed in a sealed tin, you have the best fire starters that keep the fire going and can be used time and time again.
Wire wool and a battery will also start you off with good ignition.
A handy tool to have in the back of a car is a plumbers strike igniter and costs a few dollars. or you can easily get a magnesium stone and flint to ignite also.
These are all very basic kits but you will be surprised how much you use them as your usual lighters run out of fuel.
Tip 0216 Setting up
Research your plot. You really can't go far wrong by knowing your plot., either from word of mouth, "Live2camp" (Australia) website and/or phoning up the site and getting some local knowledge.
Find out if you need to be near or far from amenities, reception, pool, club house, river, swamp, hill, in fact you name it there will be a situation that you may or may not want to avoid.
Even when you have your plot sorted you still need to consider orientation of your complete rig. We have already seen many people resetting up because of poor orientation.
If you plan on an extended stay for more than one day, you really don't want to spend half your time re-jigging your setup. Think about weather, sun orientation, slope, valleys and comfort on arrival and setup accordingly. It may take you a few moments longer but in the long run you will be thanking us for making you take your time.
Tip 0208 Everyone's circumstances are different.
There are so many variables in camping and we all have specific needs which makes for a difficult diagnosis of requirements to needs.
We cannot give any tips on the perfect rig but we can say that exploring what you actually want out of camping in detail will dictate what you go for initially and grow from there.
Learn from other peoples experiences and observe, which we found most useful in our choices.