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Beginner’s Camping Guide

You often hear people talking about how camping is good for the soul and you would like to get in on this too but you have never been camping before. So where do you start? What do you need? Where do you go?

To start you need to identify how much space you have available in your vehicle, you may need to consider if a roof rack is required for your new found camping adventures.

Roof Racks not only provide additional space for carrying your gear, they also allow you to fit accessories such as an awning for protection from the elements or a roof top tent if you choose to purchase one for sleeping.

Considering the space available in your vehicle for your gear also impacts on the type and amount of gear you will carry for camping. Camping chairs are a good example of this, many are large and bulky taking up a significant portion of your vehicles space. There are also chairs available that can be compacted to 1/16th in size!

Another thing to remember when loading up for camping is your vehicles GVM (Gross Vehicle Mass - maximum operating weight/mass of a vehicle as specified by the manufacturer including the vehicle and its occupants). It is important to know your vehicles GVM to ensure that you are safely loading your vehicle. 

Now you have evaluated how much space that you have to work with its time to work out what you need to take. This will ultimately depend on whether you are camping somewhere with facilities or will be completely self sufficient.

We recommend starting with these few basics:

  • Water proof tent with flysheet.
  •  Camp bed (inflatable or foam mattresses are the most common. If you get an inflatable mattress you will also require a pump. These can be purchase as 12v and run off your cars cigarette outlet).
  •  A good quality sleeping bag suited to the climate you will be camping in such as warm to -5*c.
  • Camp Chairs
  • Gas Cooker such a 1, 2 or 4 burner stove. (you can use your cookware from home but we recommend purchasing enamel plates, bowls and cups that don't break in your travels)
  • First aid kit & Snake bite kit

Now that you have your basic gear it’s time to decide where you want to go camping.

In Australia, we are pretty spoilt for choice on where to go camping so it may require some time researching somewhere in the area that you wish to travel to. Most people do this by placing a driving time limit on where the camping spot is located. For example “within 3 hours drive of Brisbane”. 
The types of camping available can include:

  • National Parks
  • Caravan/ Holiday Parks
  • 4x4 Parks
  • Farm Stay
  • Private Property
  • Free Camping
  • Showgrounds

It is also important to research where you plan to go camping to determine if you will be required to purchase a permit, need to book a specific site, are allowed to light fires or collect firewood, can drive in direct to the campsite or if you will need to park and walk your camping gear to your site, if their is a minimum or maximum amount of time that you are able to stay at the campsite and if it is 4wd access only.

But most importantly remember to take your time and enjoy getting back to basics, disconnecting from the busy lives that we live and reconnecting with family, friends and nature.