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Ten Tips for a Successful Camping Trip

Camping is a great way to reconnect with what's important in life — including quality time with family and friends. Here are ten tips for ensuring that your next holiday under canvas is a great one.
Ten tips for a successful camping trip
Ten tips for a successful camping trip

Camping is back in a big way as a holiday option for Aussies.

Getting out of the house and into the great outdoors on a camping trip is an amazing experience — and one that appeals to all age groups. You can relax, breathe fresh air, and disconnect from the pressures of everyday life. And you’ll get to see some of the country’s most stunning natural landscapes as part of the deal.

Here are ten tips for a successful camping trip.

Ten tips for a successful camping trip
Ten tips for a successful camping trip: Prepare a packing list.

1. Make a list

A camping trip is as much an exercise in logistics as it is a holiday! You’ll need to be self-sufficient for the duration of your trip, and the best way to avoid forgetting anything is simple — make a list! The basics you’ll need to cover off are shelter, bedding, lighting, clothing and food (provision and preparation). Prepare a checklist of everything you’ll need on the trip and check it off as you pack the car. The obvious items are a tent, sleeping bag, lantern, camp stove and so on, but there’s plenty of other useful camping gear on the market.

2. Choose the right tent

Having appropriate shelter is one of the top requirements on a camping holiday and these days you’ll find a bewildering array of tents on offer. Choose a durable option that’s suitable for the weather conditions you’re likely to encounter. If you plan to do extended camping trips, it’s a good idea to have a double-layered tent, as they can withstand a broad range of weather events, including rain, wind, and even snow. There are lots of great options out there depending on your budget, but ensure your choice is durable and can be set up/taken down with ease.

Ten tips for a successful camping trip
Ten tips for a successful camping trip: Choose a tent that’s easy to assemble.

3. Sleep smarter

There’s an art to sleeping in a sleeping bag and getting a really comfortable night’s sleep under the stars. Many people get inside them with too many clothes on, and then go through a cycle of sweating and freezing throughout the night. Go to bed with some light layers on and allow the sleeping bag to do what it was designed to — maintain a constant body temperature. If the conditions are really cold, you can add some extra cover as needed.

Ten tips for a successful camping trip
Ten tips for a successful camping trip: Wear light layers to bed.

4. Pack a power pack

Camping is often cited as the ideal opportunity to do a digital detox, but disconnecting from the modern world may be tougher than you think. At some point you’ll likely need/want your mobile phone, laptop, camera, drone, and the list goes on. All of the aforementioned pieces of kit require a power source to recharge from, and a portable lithium battery power station will ensure everything is ready to roll when you need it. Charge and maintain the battery from solar panels or your vehicle alternator, and plug in via the USB ports and cig sockets.

5. Guarantee your water source

Access to clean drinking water is another important consideration when planning a camping holiday. If the camping site you plan to visit doesn’t offer a potable (drinkable) water source, you’ll need to bring sufficient water with you. Always overestimate how much you’ll need. It’s better to have too much than too little. Water from a pristine mountain stream may look clean but will almost certainly contain microbes that may be hazardous to human health — and boiling the water may not be enough to purify it. It’s also a good idea to have water purification tablets on stand-by.

Ten tips for a successful camping trip
Ten tips for a successful camping trip: Ensure you have access to clean water.

6. Bring a toolkit

It’s very important to have a basic camping toolkit with you. Again, it’s something that novice campers often overlook. For example, you’ll need a mallet for hammering in those tent pegs. A small shovel or trowel will also come in handy (tip: dig a small drain around your tent so the rain run-off has somewhere to go). A small hatchet is useful for chopping kindling and small branches for your campfire, while a good quality outdoor knife will be worth its weight in gold in numerous situations. Keep everything clean and well maintained.

7. Organise your toiletries and towel

Unless you’re planning to get completely back to nature, you’ll need a kit of essential toiletries for your camping trip. Pack everything in a good quality, self-contained waterproof bag. That way when you are off for a wash, everything is in one grab-and-go place. Use a waterproof soap container to hold your bar of soap and rinse and dry all items after use before you put them back in your toiletries bag. A quick dry camping towel is a wise investment. Don’t forget to pack some extra toilet paper (and keep it dry!).

8. Play it safe with fire

Sitting around an open campfire, local restrictions permitting, is one of the great joys of camping. But fire should always be treated with care. Use a designated fireplace if one is available. You’ll need a way to start your fire and dry wood to keep it burning. It’s a good idea to bring at least one bag of firewood with you, just in case the weather turns nasty. Set up your campfire an appropriate distance from your tent and don’t leave it burning unattended.

Ten tips for a successful camping trip
Ten tips for a successful camping trip: Treat your campfire with care.

9. Act like a clean and green camper

You should leave your campsite (hopefully) as you found it — free of rubbish. Pack some sturdy rubbish bags so that you can take all your waste with you and dispose of it appropriately. Separate it into general rubbish and recyclables and have separate bags for each. Even food scraps should not be left behind, as they will attract wildlife and could be harmful to an animal. A plastic bucket with a sealable lid makes a great temporary compost bin, which you can empty when you get home.

10. Be prepared

Even on the most carefully planned camping trip, accidents can happen. Invest in a good quality first aid kit and keep it stored in your vehicle unless it’s needed. Also ensure you are able to contact the outside world in the case of an emergency. Have access to a radio and be able to recharge your mobile phone as needed. It’s always a good idea to inform a relative or family friend of your travel plans.

Do you have any suggestions to add to our list of tips for a successful camping trip? We would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below.

The information contained in this story is general in nature and does not constitute professional advice in any way. We make every effort to ensure this content is accurate, but we do not guarantee it. You should do your own research and seek the advice of professionals before acting or relying on any of the information provided in this story.

Additional images: Bigstock

Adam Ford

About the writer

Adam Ford is editor of Top Oz Tours & Travel Ideas, and a travel TV presenter, writer, blogger, and photographer. He has travelled extensively through Europe, Asia, North America, Africa, and the Middle East. Adam worked as a travel consultant for a number of years with Flight Centre before taking up the opportunity to travel the world himself as host of the TV series Tour the World on Network Ten. He loves to experience everything a new destination has to offer and is equally at home in a five-star Palazzo in Pisa or a home-stay in Hanoi.



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