You’ve heard the saying ‘all the gear and no idea’ when trying something new, but do you know what ‘all the gear’ means, when it comes to camping?
Just like any first-time adventure, a checklist of essentials is key to ensuring you’re off to a good start. While it might be easy to guess some pieces of equipment – a tent, air mattress and sleeping bag – there are many things that are often overlooked by even the most seasoned of campers.
Make sure you tick off this check-list before your first camping experience.
1. A powerful (high lumen) torch
Not sure what lumens are? You’re about to be schooled on the little bulbs that power your torch.
While you’ve probably never considered the number of lumens your torch comes with before, it only takes one trip to the amenities block in the middle of the night to take this camping necessity more seriously.
Not only are you investing in a brighter light to guide you in the dark, you’ll likely find the batteries in high-lumen torches are rechargeable, which will save you more money in the future.
If you have chosen a torch with replaceable rather than rechargeable batteries, just make sure you have a few additional packs of batteries with you, so you don’t get caught with a dull light when you need it most.
2. Strike a match to start your evening’s entertainment
Unless you plan on auditioning for Survivor during your camping trip, you’ll want to make sure you pack matches.
It’s a simple equation: wood + matches = campfire, and while you’re at it, you’ll want to add in fire-starters, because nobody shares their stories about sitting around a pile of wood eating raw marshmallows.
Make sure you put these treats on the menu for dessert during your camping trip to toast over your newly made campfire.
3. Pillows for a good night’s sleep
Shelter – tick
Fire – tick
Comfortable sleeping – tick
While most people focus all their time and energy on the type of sleeping bag they’re going to buy for their first camping trip, pillows top most people’s frequently forgotten list.
Rather than invest in a portable pillow that still doesn’t guarantee a good night’s sleep, throw in your pillows from home to ensure you’re counting sheep each night.
Believe us, you’ll be more grateful that you bought the pillows from home than your cheese grater.
4. Your favourite beverage of choice
A camping trip usually means a break for every day life, so make sure you pack your favourite drink to get in holiday-mode and reward yourself once the tent is up.
Whether it be a bottle of wine, a slab of beer or you plan to put your camping neighbours to shame with a shaker full of espresso martinis, every camper loves a tipple or two to enjoy by the campfire.
Once you’ve got your drink sorted, add these camping games to your evening routine.
5. Fewer clothes than you think you need
Over packers – we’re looking at you. If you’ve always been one to throw in more than you need, pay attention to this point.
One of the best parts of camping is the chance to relax, unwind and leave all your cares at home and that also includes your high heels, blazer and best knits.
Remember, camping is an outdoor adventure, which means dirt, dust and campfire smoke – so don’t bring anything that could be ruined by the elements.
Think swimmers, flip flops, sarong or summer dress for the day, and jeans and flannel or hoodie for the fire at night.
Of course, make sure your pack your camping wardrobe to suit your location and season – don’t pack a sarong for the middle of winter in the Hunter Valley unless you intend on it becoming your scarf.
If you are camping during winter – make sure you check out these tips too.
6. Shower shoes for the amenities block
If this is your first-time camping, make sure you pack a pair of flip flops to get you from your tent to the showers and back without your tiptoes having to touch the ground once as you freshen up for the day or night. You’re welcome.
7. Seasoning for camp oven cooking
While your breakfast, lunch and dinner menu might be a little bit different to what you’re used to whipping up in the kitchen at home, it doesn’t mean your food needs to be bland (read: minus seasoning).
Just throw in the salt and pepper shakers to make sure your fried eggs on toast can be elevated with a twist of the grinder.
Make sure you read this guide for campfire cooking inspo before you start planning the menu.
8. Tent pegs for your foundation
Just like keys to a car, you won’t be staying anywhere if you forget your tent pegs and a hammer.
If you’re yet to unbox your brand-new portable accommodation, then there’s a good chance the tent pegs are still safely wrapped in the box they came.
However, if you’ve borrowed a tent from a friend while you test out the ol’ camping scenario, you’ll want to make sure they’ve packed the pegs too.
You don’t want your first camping trip to turn into your last camping trip for the sake of a few metal spikes.
Don’t forget the hammer, to ensure you can secure the pegs in the ground and assist with getting them out.