Sun setting over campsite


For me, camping is a great way to get away from the family, be with my family and get away from everything else. Camping doesn’t cost anything near what it used to. I mean, you can get a great quality tent for your whole family for under $100 these days. Sleeping bags are so well designed, they keep performing for years. The costs are extremely low. If you plan your meals well and allow for a little extra budgeting, a weekend away camping is often much cheaper than taking the family to do something for an afternoon.

It pays to have a good look around, and be smart about looking around for great deals on camping and fishing gear, because there is nothing like getting an even better deal.

Once you’re over the hump and have the essentials, the only way to learn is to get out there and give it a go. Camping is like everything else, you will always learn as you go. I remember the first few times we went camping. The biggest memories are what other people were doing so well and talking about what we should have brought, thought about and do better next time.

Here is a collection of small details that can make your camping experience that much better. It’s the small comforts that make all the difference. If you experience turns out to be anything like mine, you will end up packing a whole lot less and having a whole lot more of what you need when you are out there. You can always tell those who are new to camping because they have a truck load of stuff they never use.

So let’s get down to it. I hope these little tricks turn your experience into a much more enjoyable one without costing you anything more than the effort it takes to tick off your checklist.

• Don’t let yourself run out of your favourite drink of choice. It’s really easy to do when you are sitting around together and chatting the afternoon and night away. I love coffee. For me, there’s nothing worse than running out of coffee.

• Keeping water warm ready to boil it when you need it is another trick I’ve picked up. I don’t like waiting around for that coffee every time I want one. I also use thermos to keep water hot or cold all day long.

• Big flashlights look great and you think they are going to be really useful. I’ve found they turn into a real pain in the rear end. These days there are small torches that will fit in your hand with loads of LED lumens.

• With all that water on tap at home it is easy to underestimate how much water you need each day. This can be a big deal if you are not close to a readily available water supply. With washing, cooking, drinking and having water to simply wipe your face, the amount of water each person uses each day adds up to a lot.

• You never really need them until you really do. Jumper cables are something you always want in your vehicle. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to leave a car door open and drain a battery flat when you are camping.

• If you are burning a campfire, more wood doesn’t necessarily mean a longer campfire. More wood on the fire means a bigger fire. There’s no need to light a bonfire. Wood is another resource to use wisely.

• Firestarters are so good to have around because it’s always hard to start a fire when you really want one. I really enjoy having a fire when I want one not when that thing finally decides I can have one.

• It’s hard to bring a tool kit with you but it is great to have a few tools around the place. I can’t stress the value of a multi-tool. I love having a few tools in one spot and I’m not always looking around for them when I need just one of them.

• Use aluminium foil for as much cooking as you can. I use it on my portable cooker. The last thing you want to be doing when you are camping is the dishes and cleaning pots.

• Red lights are great for using in a tent when you are not alone. You can turn them on and look for something you need without getting anyone upset. Red lights actually preserve the sense of darkness. You can see without giving others that jolting feeling that bright lights do a really good job of.

• If you want to get a good night’s sleep in a tent, there is one single solution; the inflatable mattress. Don’t bother with anything else and nothing else will do the job. It only takes one camping trip to work out that sleeping on the ground or sleeping on a skinny rubber mat is extremely uncomfortable. Do it for a few days and you will learn your lesson the hard way.

• Wet wipes are the only way to keep yourself clean, especially after going to the toilet when you are camping away from any facilities. There are reasons why people like staying at caravan and camping grounds – they have facilities.

• Watch out if you are wearing synthetic clothing, especially tracksuits. They melt very easily when you are sitting around a campfire. You’ll be surprised how fast they begin to change shape even when you are not sitting close. Burn yourself with a melted tracksuit and you will really know about it.

• Getting up in the morning and about to put your shoes on? Stop for a second and turn them over and shake them out. This is disgusting but one time it took me a while to find a mouse I’d suffocated in my shoe. I thought there was a lump and ignored it for long enough. You never know what might be in your shoes in the morning.

Okay, so that’s my current list of little tricks that greatly improve a camping experience.

Do you have any great little tips that can change a camping experience? Share your skills with everyone through the comments section below.

Suzy T

From camping to fishing, to trekking and touring around Australia for lengthy periods of time, Suzy lives it. She also has a passion for pets. Now she is sharing her experiences.