A little luxury goes a long way when you’re out on the tracks.
So, after preparing the budget, site accommodation, barge fees, and a detailed itinerary complete with track notes and GPS, I forget to pack pillows before setting off for camp. Six nights later of resting my head on a woollen jumper and a gore tex jacket, my neck was so kinked the park ranger kept offering me directions.
Camping is all about pleasure and relaxation, so it’s vital we include comfort into our game plan. But if you haven’t camped out much before it can be a little overwhelming to know where to start, so here are some of the extras we think you’ll really need to take it to the next level.
Twelve volt fan
Dealing with the weather is just a part of camping, and while flannels, coffee, thermals and beanies can fight off the chills, getting away from searing heat’s more of a challenge. That’s where a good quality 12V fan comes in. While there are plenty of cheap fans available, a good one can mean the difference between a hot restless and stuffy night and a decent sleep. You can spend as much as $90 for a good one but it’s worth every penny in my opinion. If you spray your face with a bit of water it’ll cools you down even more as it circulates air.
Water filters and purifiers
These days, we’re touring farther for longer and with camp showers becoming increasingly common, more of us are burning through full tanks of water within days. So it stands to reason we’ll be topping up our reserves as we go.
Thing is, tanks get dirty and town water quality varies, especially in drought-prone regions. So if you’re setting off into unfamiliar territory think seriously about water filtration. You’ll want one capable of removing bacteria and viruses, not just dirt and algae. A system capable of filtering to at least 0.5 micron is a good start but a reverse osmosis system is the gold standard, being capable of filtering down to 0.0001 micron, through the use of a thin film.
You can’t beat a good night’s sleep, and while our camper trailer mattresses are actually quite good, nearly all can be improved. There are many ways, but the best is to improve upon what you’ve already currently got. For example, a stiff mattress will benefit greatly from a latex topper or foam overlay, which can literally transform its comfort level.
The eggshell foam overlays are lightweight and are great for camping. Oh, and don’t forget the pillows as well.
Visibility after dark
Unless you plan to go to bed at seven every night, make sure you’ve got plenty of light after dark! Fixed lights around camp are an obvious solution but if they aren’t available, think about a quality head torch. You’ll have light everywhere you look, and you’ll be free to use your hands as opposed to carrying a torch. But remember, bugs and midges love white light, so if you’re travelling in conditions where you’re likely to encounter many try using yellow or green lamps.
There’s plenty of “camp food” out there you can try but if you’re camping for the short-term it’s a good idea to stick the types of foods you eat at home. After all, camper trailers are pretty sophisticated these days when it comes to appliances and pantry storage, and there are many ways to keeping food chilled. By all means try some, but straying too far from your regular diet can affect your mood, especially if something doesn’t agree with you very well.
Okay, so they’re a bit bulky and may not be the height of fashion, but like thermals, once you’ve dined at a Stable Table outdoors you’ll never camp without one regardless of the flack.
The truth is, we’re all elbows when we’re eating at a camp table on a low-slung camp chair, and although we may not want to admit it to our mates those cast enamel coated plates get pretty hot on our legs when they’re full of camp grub.
We all love a cracking fire-roasted meal, but when the wood’s too wet to build up a decent set of coals, the burners on your camper trailer kitchen or camp stove really save the day. Problem is, there often isn’t quite enough distance between each of the burners for a pot and a full-size pan. So how do you serve lashings of mash alongside your snags for the crew? A square pan! Try and build yourself a collection that will stack one within the other to save on space as well.
It’s a camping fact: no new fandangle camping chair comes close to offering the degree of pure relaxation you can get from a $20 hammock. When you’re hanging around, catching a cool breeze on a warm day there’s nothing better. They’re ideal for camp too, as they’re easy to carry, weigh very little, roll up next to naught, and once you’ve got the hang of it they take just moments to set up. Of course, the key to enjoying your hammock is knowing how to use it right, so here goes.
- LET IT SAG
A deep sag in your hammock will keep you nice and stable thanks to the lower centre of gravity; anything to stop you flipping out when the camera is around, eh?
- LAY ON THE DIAGONAL
To avoid bending your back like a banana, lie diagonally across the hammock. This alleviates stress on all the pressure points comfortably, and leaves you in a much flatter position.
- COVER UP
A tarp and bug proof netting will protect you from the bugs, and set you up to enjoy the intoxicating sounds of raindrops falling onto the tarp as you’re swinging in the breeze!
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