You know how it is. You always forget that one little thing that actually turns out to be CRUCIAL to the whole camping trip. But your out in the middle of nowhere, or it’s a holiday long weekend and no stores are open, so you just have to endure through. Well, I have experienced that on a multitude of occasions, which is why I have put together this ultimate camping packing list.
Now lets start out by defining some terms. The type of camping I’m talking about here isn’t the type that I did in New Zealand where everything you need to survive for x amount of days is in a compact and lightweight backpack. No, Im talking about the type of camping which you do every Easter long weekend in Australia. The type where you cram full an SUV and join the other 90% of the population crammed into a tourist park at a powered site. Cause its just what you do here in Australia at Easter.
The big bits
- Tent – cause duh. If you forget this, then I can’t help you.
- Gazebo – These can be really bulky and hard to pack, but I seriously recommend it if you are going to be camping in the one spot for several days. It creates shade, keeps things dry if it rains, and you can even get ones with mesh walls to have bug free dining.
- Camp table – sort of self explanatory
- Camp benches – I love my fold up camp benches. They normally get used for storage of food and cooking stuff which frees up the table to actually be used as a table. When you are camping with toddlers any extra space is a blessing.
- Camp chairs – Ideally with a little drink holder for your beer
- Tarp – I like having a tarp to go under the gazebo. If it rains it means you have a mud free area, and any food that is dropped during cooking or eating can easily be swept away to prevent ants from congregating around your tent and hang out area.
- Gas cooker – Again… self explanatory I hope.
- Fire pit – This isn’t necessary but I love taking it along when I camp with the little ones so they can sit around and roast marsh mellows. In most places in Australia, you can’t have camp fires on the ground, so having a little raised one is handy. Mine is really thin and light and folds flat when not in use.
- Air mattress – I used to sleep directly on the ground when I camped, which is fine in a warmer climate, but once it gets colder a mattress of some sort is necessary to insulate your body from the cold ground. I learned that one the hard way.
- Pump – An electric pump is the best if you are staying at a powered site. I have a queen sized air mattress and I can’t imagine using a foot pump to inflate that one!
The little bits
- Lantern or light source
- Head torch – For those middle of the night bathroom trips. (Side note, when I am at home I NEVER have to pee in the middle of the night, but when I am camping and potentially surrounded by man eating spiders then I have to pee every. single. time. Why is that?)
- First aid kit – This is one of those things that is really easy to overlook, but should always be kept somewhere where you will remember to take it camping. The last thing you want is to be running around looking for somewhere open on a public holiday to get first aid stuff from. I was sent a survival first aid kit to trial, and this has been the perfect addition to my camping gear collections. This first aid kit has absolutely everything you could ever need, and when travelling with a toddler, it really puts my mind at ease. It’s got everything you could ever imagine, bandages and gauze of all sorts, a CPR mask, an emergency blanket, fever scan strips, saline, even a first aid booklet. It even comes with pockets for things like sunscreen and insect repellent. Everything inside is labelled so you know just where to find things, and the labels also label the quantities you should keep, making restocking simple. And speaking of restocking… just scan the QR code on the front of the water resistant case for easy restocking.
- Bedding/ sleeping bags and pillows – One time we (Dan) forgot to pack pillows. That wasn’t ideal.
- Pots/ pans, dishes and cutlery – Bring extras. Bring more than you need. You will use it all, I promise. And bring a large plastic mixing bowl to do the washing up in, especially if you are camping somewhere with limited or no facilities.
- Esky – Cause you gotta keep your beers cold am I right? I was recently sent an Ice Mule to trial and it has quickly become my esky of choice. This esky is absolutely perfect if your going on a picnic somewhere a little less off the beaten track. It’s lightweight and extremely easy to carry. One time when I was in New Zealand we picnicked at Cathedral Cove which is a 30 minute walk from the car park. Carrying down the esky and all our stuff was a major pain – I wish I had one of these then. The Ice Mule also floats, making it something I would have loved to have on my past kayaking trips. (There is nothing worse than capsizing and losing your beer!) I love it for my camping trips as well because we normally hire the smallest possible car (to save on costs) and this esky rolls up nice and compact. It’s also easy to store for the same reason. I was really impressed with the Ice Mule actually, and found that the ice we bought lasted at least twice as long, if not more, than it did in our conventional and bulky esky.
The things that always get forgotten
- Matches/ lighter – cooking on the gas stove can be difficult otherwise.
- Dust pan and broom – every damn time. Every. Damn. Time.
- Extension cord and power board – cause you gotta charge your smart phone somehow.
- Mosquito coils – Not the end of the world, but I bought the damn things so I wish I could remember to pack them.
- Washing up liquid – easy to forget. I recommend filling up one of those little refillable 100ml bottles and keeping some with your camping gear so it always gets remembered.