Shave your camping packing list with our list of essentials and brilliant multi-use items.
It doesn’t take a genius to pack the necessities. That said, little things can still cause a rift in your trip if they’re left behind. Having learned the hard way, I’ve developed a top list of tips that will not only help you pack what you need, but get you out of the mud if things don’t pan out as planned.
Firstly, make sure you create a list. And be sure to write it before you start throwing kit and caboodle into the camper trailer! Afterall, you can’t use what’s left leaning against the garage wall when you’re 3500km from home!
Core essentials should always include a set of spares, the right tools, a decent first-aid kit, and emergency items such as jumper leads, a torch and lots of batteries, the jack, even flares and if you are heading out the Back of Bourke, perhaps a satellite phone. Of course, to not spoil a good trip, make sure you also pack the handle for the jack, a good pair of pliers, and a legendary playlist to drive away the blues.
…The not so obvious
Here are some things that ought to make their way into your camper, although they probably haven’t made it onto your packing list. What earns them their place on the all important list isn’t necessarily their oddness but their versatility – as they have more than one purpose.
A solid piece of wood
You maybe asking yourself why you’d need a piece of wood; you’re in the wilderness, so you should be surrounded by sticks and logs… right? But, If you have ever needed to jack up your trailer offroad, you will know just how essential a solid piece of timber can be when battling soft ground. It’s also useful when you’re pulling a white-hot glowing camp oven from the flames and you don’t want to to scorch anything when putting it down.
Bucket, bowl and lid
Being waterwise in the bush is a no-brainer, so carrying a deep bowl for collecting, washing up or rinsing out is a must. While a solid bucket for carrying water or other liquid comes in handy, it’s the lid that turns it into the best washing machine out on the road. Simply fill half-way, add your smalls and some sods, and close tightly. You’d be amazed after a good day’s travel… it’ll even put your washer at home to shame.
Spade and paper
A solid handle spade quickly turns into your best friend should you find yourself in a bog, despite trying to avoid one at all costs. You also need it to shovel coals on to your camp oven, and to dig a hole or two (and always remember to keep the dunnie paper close by).
Quick drying towel
On tour, many people get a little lazy when it comes to personal hygiene, often skipping a shower or two (by circumstance or choice); however, having a quick-dry towel won’t weigh you down even when it’s wet. Aside from the obvious use, a fast-dry towel can also play the role of sarong, mat, picnic rug, pillow or as an additional blanket on those extra chilly nights.
Cans of beer
While drinking and driving is not advised, keeping a couple of cans of ale handy is. Should a fire ever flare when an extinguisher is out of reach, a well-aimed shaken can of beer can quickly eliminate the threat. And when chilled, it won’t go astray around the campfire either.
Piece of string
Never mind the question of how long… when it’s strong a good piece of string never fails. Whether you need a clothesline or you want to turn a tarp into an extra bit of shade, string and rope are highly valued companions that should always be carried.
While I am sure you have your own list of must-pack odd bits, thinking of them before you leave is the art. Happy packing and safe travels – Erik Bigalk.
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