FAMILY CAMPING ESSENTIALS
Family camping is sensational fun and it doesn’t have to be an expensive exercise. Here are some camping items that are critical to get you going and ensure that you have a smooth and pleasant experience.
A tent is the most obvious requirement for any camping trip. If you’re visiting relatively civilised camp sites, there’s no need to spend up big for expedition quality features. Just purchase a basic camping tent that is big enough to house the family team.
Keep in mind that generally the bigger the tent, the more complex and time consuming it is to assemble. Sometimes it’s wiser to purchase two small compact tents rather than a complicated canvas palace that requires a novel sized instruction manual and takes most of the weekend to assemble.
I’m a huge fan of simple four-person dome style tents.
Don’t forget the camping chairs. With zero flexibility, I’m an absolute battler when it comes to sitting directly on the ground or grass and I’d be absolutely lost without my camp chairs. Camp chairs are a cheap and convenient way to add comfort to your camping adventures. Look for sturdy, lightweight models that are comfortable and feature a handy drink holder.
A headlamp would have to be the number one accessory for any camping adventure. Head lamps make life so much easier by providing you with hands-free night vision for cooking, tucking the kids into bed, or for night fishing escapades. The one and only downfall to head lamps is that when there’s a bug hatch, you will inadvertently direct airborne protein directly to your mouth. Under these conditions, you’re better off removing the headlamp and using it as a hand torch.
I personally don’t mind roughing it a bit while camping. However, for the sake of the kids and your better half, it’s a good idea to invest in some decent bedding materials. Get hold of a portable air mattress, a foam mat, a self-inflating mat or a camp bed.
Rather than store multiple sleeping bags for different weather conditions, select a general purpose model. If it’s colder than usual, throw in a few blankets or a doona to warm things up. During the peak of summer, tents transform into saunas so a light sheet will often suffice.
Don’t forget to pack pillows. If you’re trying to save space, take pillow cases and stuff them full of clothes.
ESKY OR ICE BOX
A decent quality ice box or esky is an invaluable item for any camping trip, especially if the trip extends over multiple nights. Modern insulated ice boxes are rugged, durable and will keep food and drinks cold for days especially if you minimise the number of times they are opened.
In an ideal world, two eskies are useful for extended stays. Utilise one esky to keep infrequently accessed items for meals ice cold, and have a regular access esky for drinks and cold snacks.
As usual, I almost forgot the mallet. A mallet or hammer is essential for knocking and nailing tent pegs into hard or rocky substrate. It’s incredibly frustrating attempting to push pegs in by hand or foot and you’ll end up with a bag of useless bent pegs.
Camping gear and accessories are so cheap these days. Make sure you go with genuine brands because they are the products you can trust.
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