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Camping First Timer
What do we need


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#1 LeeBee8

Posted 17 January 2013 - 07:05 AM

Hi all
MY DH  and I are in the process of buying and gathering camping gear. We have 2  DS  aged 7 and  20 months.  We have been given some gear from my inlaws  and we are buying a tent etc. But  I was just hoping to pick the brains of any seasoned campers in here.  
What bits and pieces do you take that new campers wouldn't think of?
What do you pack your clothes in?
What is the best camping tip forfamilies.
And anything else that could help us. Thanks. Looking forward to starting our camping holidays.

#2 kristylee21

Posted 17 January 2013 - 07:22 AM

When camping I always write out a list of everything we need be4 going. I split it into sections so that I know everything is covered eg.
Where to sleep( tent, tarps, poles, guide ropes, pegs),
what to sleep on and in ( mattress, sleeping bag, camp cot ect),
food storage ( eksi, somewhere to keep pantry items)
something to cook with( not everywhere will allow a fire so need pots, pans, camp stove or bbq. With a fire need camp oven, skillet, griddle)
Clothing ( I pack in either a small suitcase or travell bag)
Somewhere to eat/ sit ( camp chairs 1per person, tables- one for food prep one for eating off)
Entertainment ( books, bikes, toys, music ect)
Food( make a meal plan be4 going away)
Toiletries ( toilet paper, soap, toothpaste, toothbrush etc)

This is my basic list of what I go off.. obviously it depends on where u are going and what facilities you will have.

#3 SusanStoHelit

Posted 17 January 2013 - 07:28 AM

Have fun camping! We regularly camp with our two DDs (4 and 2.5yrs old) and our first camping trip was with DD1 at 7months old. My biggest tip would be to make sure you have stuff to keep the camp organised. When we're going for longer stays I have a clothes pantry and food pantry (commercial products that you can buy from most camping stores) and unpack all food and clothes in to them. its just easier than continually hunting for those teeeny tiny clothes / washers etc in a big bag, or digging through a big box to find the chocolate that your child has to have "right now". (We pack food into big plastic boxes and clothes into our regular bags for transport, and if were only staying for a weekend  leave them there but it is a PITA).
A good camp bed is a must. We lashed out and bought expensive self-inflating sleeping mats that are very comfy. Spend some time trying different brands, and don't be afraid to actually set it up and lie down on them in the store.
Also be prepared with toys like colouring books / playdoh / blocks that don't take up much room but can keep them busy for hours. When DD1 was 11 months old we went camping for a week and it rained the whole time. This combined with a big tent was a life saver. It also keeps them happy busy at the camp for when you want to kick back for a bit.
Lastly, try and find long light cotton clothing for insect / sun protection. DD1 swells up horribly from sandfly bites, so we try to keep her covered up as much as possible and use plenty of insect repellent.



#4 Pearson

Posted 17 January 2013 - 07:49 AM

We have a dual cab ute, so this is easiest for us:
We pack everYthing, food, clothes etc into plastic storage boxes.  
Everyone has their own clothes box (DH & I share one).
We have a big tent, just in case of rain
A cheap tarp, and a good quality tarp
Broom ( to sweep out the tent)
A good esky, Like this, they keep things colder longer.  If you are going powered site, then a mini bar fridge is good, as is a box fan in summer.
I second the self inflatable mattress per pp - not an air bed.
Some of those foam floor things
You could look at camping bunks like these
Anaconda can be expensive - try your local camping store
Shop online first and see if you can get things cheaper. eBay and garage sales can be great.
Melamine cups and plates
Water storage for bush camping.
Mossie coils or those sandalwood incense type sticks are the best IMO.

HTH.  Have fun!


#5 *LucyE*

Posted 17 January 2013 - 09:33 AM

What bits and pieces do you take that new campers wouldn't think of?
Portable hot water system.  I wouldn't camp without it.  Otherwise, it really depends on what sort of camping you plan on doing.

What do you pack your clothes in?
I use those packing cells and then stick the in big garbage bags.  No point getting our good luggage dirty and stinky.  This also has the added benefit of making it easy to pack around more delicate stuff/squish into whatever space is available.  Our packing cells are colour coded per person and the garbage bags just keeps everything dry.  Within our tent, we now have a clothes 'cupboard' that again, makes things a little more organized.

What is the best camping tip forfamilies.
Choose your location thoughtfully.  And buy the largest tent you can possibly afford.  It is handy to have the extra space to keep 'stuff' and for wet weather.

And anything else that could help us.

Get one of those shade cloth mesh type things to go under the tent and to have excess that can go in front of the tent.  It is great to protect your tent from sharp sticks or stones and dirt seems to brush off feet more easily before you track it into the tent.

Everyone camps differently based on their personal style.  I like to be comfortable so we have those gazebos (we have the largest ones possible that can be set up by DH alone because I'm usually supervising children).  We have a large and well set up 'kitchen' area that we have blocked off with 'walls' so wind doesn't cause a problem when cooking/eating.  We have a gazebo over the western side/entrance of our tent to give extra sun and rain protection.  We have those ensuite tents so that we can shower comfortably.  

And did I mention instant hot water?  Love it.  We move ours from shower to kitchen as we need it and if we camped more regularly, I am tempted to buy two.  I prefer to wash dishes in hot water and I need to have a hot shower before bed.

We also have the self inflating mattress which is very comfortable.  The kids are on stretcher beds and we paid a little more to have the concertina type so there is minimal setting up/taking down time.  I use old sheets from home, bring our pillows and old (but still perfectly fine) doonas.  So sleep is very comfortable which means everyone wakes up refreshed.  

Well decked out kitchen and meals that are planned and mostly pre prepped so there is minimal fuss to get a tasty meal into bellies.  Everyone is much happier if they are well rested and have full tummies so the whole experience is positive even when it does rain.

The only other tip I have is to buy those long thin glow sticks.  I use them at night threaded through the zippers of the tent.  It makes it easier to see where the 'door' is and gives a soft glow like a night light for the kids.  They each have their own wind up torch that they sleep with under their pillows and then there is also no fighting.

And as for lighting, I like the soft glow of the gas lanterns or camp fire when we are just sitting around chilling out, but for cooking or going to the toilet, I want a strong bright light.  So we have both and switch them on/off based on need.

#6 B.E.Y.

Posted 17 January 2013 - 09:47 AM

As a PP said pre-prepared meals are great.... taco mince prepared and frozen, spag bol pre-cooked and frozen etc.

I would really recommend a 12V fridge for perishable food such as meat, dairy etc. There is nothing worse than running out of ice and having food go off. Plus I find that no matter how well you seal food packages, the water from the melted ice always gets in and makes things soggy and yuck. You can run the 12V fridges through the car.

A solar hot water bag or 2. You fill this up and leave it in the sun all day and the water gets REALLY hot. Useful for washing up and you can hook it to camp showers as well.

A portable loo. If you are a long way from the toilets, this is a lifesaver for middle of the night wees, especially with kiddies!!! Climbing out of the tent in the middle of the night, waking everyone up and then trecking to the toilets is so not fun.

Camp cupboards, lots of plastic storage tubs and a decent camping table or bench for your kitchen set up.

Antibacterial kitchen wipes are so handy for keeping the kitchen area clean!

Foam interlocking mats for outside the tent entrance and the kitchen area.

You can get really good gazebos with lighting already hooked up on the roof, these are so handy!!!

A good first aid kit that includes stingose, bandages and saline.

Thats all I can think of at the moment!

#7 MrsLexiK

Posted 17 January 2013 - 10:16 AM

What bits and pieces do you take that new campers wouldn't think of?
I am not sure but just a few questions, how are you going to cook? on a camp fire or on a gas stove? if it is the camp fire do you have pots/grillers that can go in the fire?  if on a gas stove do you have a table to set it up on?

How are you going to wash dishers? you need to be able to boil water - so either a billy on the fire or a whistle kettle on the stove will work.  

food wise - we take what we would normally eat and pack it into tubs and make sure the lid goes on every night.  We have a techni esky we put our meats into which I get cryovac'd from the butcher.  I tend to use long life milk when away as well as this way you only need to keep one or two bottles cold at a time.

re the fridge depending on your car I wouldn't get one of these.  If your car has a second battery go for it. Otherwise you may find your car very flat, some fridges don't draw power once the car has stopped and thus will basically work like an esky once the car has stopped, if you are camped for a few days it is better to have an esky and refill with ice.  If camping is something you enjoy and plan on doing a lot (you won't know until you have gone a few times) then invest in one and invest in a good sized fridge as well as things like milk, cheese and meat will need to stay cool and the cheap smaller ones probably wouldn't fit too much in them.

we use a bucket with detol in the bottom for a loo in the middle of the night.

What do you pack your clothes in?
we just use our bags (soft ones) I have now brought wardrobs or shelf units which are fine but for my whole life I never had any of these and we managed fine going all over the place.

What is the best camping tip forfamilies. pack some games, make sure everyone has a chair and regardless of season bring a warm jacket, beanie and warm shoes.

#8 LeeBee8

Posted 17 January 2013 - 04:49 PM

Thank you so much for those  tips I'm going to start making lists of what we have and what we need. We already have an inflatable  mattress. Tables chairs  foam floor and some other odds and ends. To start with we'll be camping in powered sites with showers and toilets. Donating I'm ready to really rough it yet. But really looking forward to getting started.


#9 mummytotwo

Posted 17 January 2013 - 05:00 PM

If going regularly, make packing easier by having extras just for camping. Our camper trailer is always ready to go except for food and clothes. Op shops can be good for pots, tupperware. $2 shops are good for extra utensils. All we do when we get home is wash the towels and bedding and pop it back ready to go. Before we had camper trailer was same thing but with tubs in garage.


#10 mumtoactivetoddler

Posted 18 January 2013 - 08:08 AM

I second going for a big tent. We started with a coleman chalet 9cv and ended up ebaying it and buying the xl version which has an annex. We found this is much more comfortable for rain and cold weather. Each trip we gradually add more stuff, for example we have added this time a gazebo for sun and rain. Big W has some stuff like the furniture that is pretty cheap. We found kangaroo tent city to be cheap for tents etc.




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