Everything You Need To Check Before You Go Camping
Camping is often linked with wholesome experiences of peaceful serenity. In reality, it’s usually filled with “mum where’s the bug spray” and “we didn’t bring the [insert literally anything]”.
What’s even worse is bringing something that doesn’t work, especially if you’ve gone to the effort of buying it and making sure it’s packed.
Forgetting something is one thing but bringing something that’s broken is even worse. Here at Mars Campers, we’ve compiled the camping checklist for all the things you need to check before you go camping.
Test your camper trailer
Camper trailers are the most robust and mobile option for campers going on road trips around Australia. You won’t find a better choice for camping accommodation.
Owning a camper trailer, for instance; the Saturn 16 off-road hybrid caravan, isn’t a one and done deal. Just like your car, you’ll need to do regular maintenance to keep it up to scratch.
For a quick reference, these are the areas of your camper trailer you should regularly be checking:
• General checks: seals, bolts, hinges and the hitch
• Water tanks
• Wheel bearings and tyres
• Shock absorbers and suspension
There’s a lot to know when owning a camper trailer; we have a whole heap of blogs that are tailored to first-time owners and even the most seasoned veterans.
When it comes to inspecting your trailer, new or old, look for water damage by following any water stains — there might be a leaky seal close by.
Check bolts and hinges for signs of rust. In most cases, they’ll just need a touch of grease or lubricant. Easy!
Flushing your water tanks with bi-carbonate soda, vinegar or steriliser is a great way to clean your tanks and check for leaks at the same time.
Checking the battery and gas is always a good idea before any road trip and will save you a lot of hassle. Running down to grab a swap and go gas bottle before you head off is a lot easier than trying to find a food shop in the middle of nowhere.
Camper trailer tyres are often the most overlooked part of the trailer, they’re also the most common place for problems occur. Check the tyre pressure and wheel bearings before any trip to avoid complications.
Your breaks, suspension and shock absorbers don’t require any kind of regular maintenance, but it’s always a good idea to check for leaking fluids and loose parts through quick visual inspections.
Check those clothes
Camp clothing is often thrown in the corner of a camper trailer or left in the dusty box under the house only to be opened when you’re about to go camping next.
While this method isn’t wrong, because we all do it, examining all the essential apparel you’ll need before the trip is an excellent idea for several reasons.
When you get home from a camping adventure, you’re likely to throw all your clothes into the wash because you’re so tired.
Once they come out, you’re annoyed because there is so much washing, so you dump them back where it came from. It might stay there for months waiting for its next opportunity for some fresh air and sunlight.
In the meantime, a pesky little critter known as the silverfish may come knocking. These little bad boys may come feasting on your lovely knitted beanies or your best fishing shorts.
Another reason to check your camping gear is to see if any holes or rips may have occurred last time you used them. Tree branches may have snagged a corner of your jumper or ripped a hole in your hiking shoes. If you have little ones, it’s pretty unlikely that they lasted the whole camping trip without something tearing or snagging.
Even trying on your old gear can be a good idea just to see if it fits, (especially if it’s just after Christmas).
Secure your sleeping arrangements
There is one aspect of camping that cannot be overlooked, the sleeping arrangements. It’s always a good idea to make sure you have everything, but it’s even more crucial that you inspect every bit of sleeping gear you have.
Many people keep this sort of gear in the camper itself or the back of the car to be forgotten for all eternity until the next camping adventure. This is one of the worst mistakes you can make.
Checking for faults in your camper trailer tent, sleeping bag and any other gear will save you a lot of time and effort. There’s nothing worse than getting to your destination, only for you to find a great big hole.
Even in the warmest of locations, the temperatures can drop quite low at night, so having the appropriate bedding is really important.
In the mess of packing and unpacking; pegs, tools and ropes can get mixed up and put in the wrong places. If your tent essentials are with the tent, this can be the difference between a 20-minute setup and a 2 hour one.
Another top idea is to practice setting up your tent with the family before the camping adventure. This is incredibly useful if you’ve got a brand-new camper or you haven’t used it in a while.
First aid should be high up on your list of priorities when organising and getting ready for a camping adventure. Not everyone has the balance of a tightrope walker, and often we can find ourselves tripping over the smallest of rocks and tree branches.
You’d be surprised at how many little cuts and bruises you get while camping.
It’s often the case that families are either running to the first aid box every two minutes or never at all. In both cases, making sure your supplies are up to date and still usable is always beneficial.
You can buy pre-packaged first aid kits or create your own based on your preferences. In any case, you’d be surprised by the use by dates of many of those items in the box.
Things like burn gels, first aid sprays and anything else with active ingredients will become ineffective quickly. Maintaining an up to date medical box will help you keep yourself and your family safe.
We suggest putting stickers on the inside lid of the box with all of the use by dates for the products currently in the box.
Don’t forget the fun
We’ve covered everything from clothing audits to safety checks for your camper trailer, but now it’s time to talk about something serious … making sure everything that’s fun works.
What’s worse? A flat tyre or a missing draw four from the UNO deck?
There’s nothing worse than not being about to play your favourite family board game because little Adam left the dice at home.
And yes, we understand that checking the board games and the likes might not be on the priority list for every camping trip, but it’s always a good idea to make sure everything is there.
Another great idea is to do a general recreational activity check. Do you have a ball pump? Is all the surfing gear there? Are the bike helmets packed?
All of this may sound simple or unnecessary, but if you’re planning to do something specific and you get there only to find out you’re missing something crucial, it can be a bit of a bummer for the trip.
Besides, your camper trailer getaways are all about fun and adventure.
Custom camping checklists
Every camping adventure is different. Sometimes you’ll take too much stuff and other times, not enough. The only way to really get it right is to practice and find out what works best for your family.
These days, there are so many different resources and guides for you to read and use. There are a thousand and one different camping checklists for you to choose from but none of them will be perfect for you.
That’s why we recommend using a template for your first camping trip but then switching to a custom built one that you actively update and refine.
A fantastic idea is to keep active notes before, during and after the trip on what you did and didn’t use, as well what you need for next time. There’s no point filling up valuable space with things you simply didn’t even take out of the car trip after trip.
After the second or third trip, you’ll have perfected the list so much so you’ll never forget anything moving forward.
Maybe you’ve thought about owning your very own camper trailer? Or perhaps you’re looking to upgrade to a latest rear folding camper? At Mars Campers, we have a selection of on and off road camper trailers to suit your needs. If you’re considering upgrading or own your very own camper trailer for your next off-road adventure, contact us at any time by clicking the link.