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Top 10 Camping Tips
Follow these top tips to make your next camping getaway the most enjoyable yet.
Words and Images by: COLIN KERR W7871

Breakfast in the bush next to a safely extinguished fire

There is nothing quite like getting away from your normal home and work routine, and enjoying the great outdoors on a camping holiday. This might be just for a long weekend, or for the lucky ones, it might be a more extensive camping adventure.

Camping modes and styles vary widely from a small tent and swag right through to the luxury of a motorhome or caravan (some call it ‘glamping’ – glamorous camping), but what all campers have in common is that they are out there to enjoy nature and the lifestyle that camping provides.

To help make your camping experience even better, I’ve put together 10 handy campsite tips that might work for you.

Camping by the water on the WA coast

1. SET UP CAMP BEFORE DARK

Firstly, make sure you are off the road to camp well before sunset. This helps to avoid any accidents with kangaroos or other wildlife that come out in this cooler part of the day to drink and feed. It also allows you to select a good level, cleared site to camp (when bush camping) and, in any case, trying to set up anywhere in the dark is not much fun for anyone!

2. CAMPFIRE TIPS

When making a campfire, avoid using rocks around the edge of your fire. Some rocks, when heated, can crack or explode which can be dangerous to anyone sitting or standing nearby. It is generally better to dig a hole or depression in the ground to set up your fire and  when you’re finished with it, put it out with water and simply scrape the dug out soil back over the area.

Yes, it is important to put your fire out with water (even used water from cooking, washing up, etc). Simply covering your fire with soil still leaves it smouldering away underneath for hours. Unfortunately, a number of people over the years have burnt their feet wandering around a recently abandoned campsite or when setting up camp in the same place where someone moved out from earlier in the day.

Always extinguish your campfire with water

3. FIRE EXTINGUISHER

Talking of fire safety, always carry a fire extinguisher regardless of whether you are a tent or RV based camper. In fact, everyone should carry a fire extinguisher in their vehicle at all times. Hopefully you’ll never need it, but it is best to be prepared just in case.

4. HANDY WATER BOTTLE

Carry a couple of squeeze bottles full of water handy in the door pockets of your vehicle. These, and an accompanying hand towel or rag, can be regularly used to wash and clean up sticky or dirty hands or anything else at any time around camp, or when pulled up along the way. You’ll be surprised how handy these little bottles will be and how many different uses you will find for them.

5. WATER CONTAINERS

Carrying a bulk supply of water for your camping trip is an essential part of RV life. Some units have built in water tanks, but when you haven’t got this luxury or you need more for extended stays, then travelling with water containers is the answer. One of the useful means of doing this these days is to carry your water in collapsible containers – thus making them easy to store when you have emptied them. If you look after them they can be used many times over.

When carrying water in containers, try to have a number of smaller ones, not just one big container – if it splits or spills you will still have at least some water left in your other containers.

Watch out for wildlife in the early morning and late afternoon

6. A SOFT PILLOW AND WARM SLEEPING BAG

At the end of a long day’s travel, bush walking, exploring, or just lazing around the campsite, we all need a good night’s sleep. A nice comfy bed, even a favourite pillow from home, a warm blanket or sleeping bag are not just luxuries, but essentials for enjoyable camping holidays. Don’t deprive yourself of these important items. Also take along some woolly socks to keep feet warm on cold nights, as well as a beanie – particularly in inland areas where evening temperatures can drop really low.

7. KEEP IT CLEAN

When using public amenities (showers, toilets, etc) in campsites and even caravan parks, always wear thongs or other water compatible footwear. Skin infections such as tinea and other infections can be easily contracted (from such places if not kept hygienically clean) onto your feet and toes and can spread to other parts of your body – quite nasty and can easily be prevented.

8. KEEP OUT THE CREEPY CRAWLIES

To stop ants invading your RV when parked up on site, sprinkle ant powder, or even a ring of talc or other powder which it is claimed ants don’t like walking through, around your wheels or stabiliser legs, jockey wheel, tent, etc. It is also said that in snake prone areas you should lay down shade cloth or similar on the ground to keep  snakes away as they apparently don’t like their scales catching on the shade cloth fibres.

To reduce the number of insects (yes, all those flying moths and bugs) around external lights, replace the light with bug repelling models or even cover the light with yellow Chux dishcloths. Cellophane is also said to act as a deterrent.

Help blanket

9. PUBLIC BARBECUES

When using a public barbecue, whether it be in a campground, national park or elsewhere, it is a good idea to place a sheet of baking paper on the plate before cooking. This both avoids any possible food contamination and when you’re finished cooking, it makes cleaning the hot plate a quick and easy job. You can then simply dispose of the baking paper in the rubbish bin. Washable Teflon-coated film on the barbecue hot plate is another good option.

Avoid cross-contamination by using baking paper on the barbie

10. COMMUNICATE IN AN EMERGENCY

If you are travelling or camping in remote outback regions, the chances are that you will be well out of mobile and internet service range. 

In case of vehicle breakdown, injury or other drama, it is important that you have emergency communications, particularly if help is needed. Consider installing or hiring a HF radio or sat phone. Also available these days are small hand-held ‘spot’ devices with built in GPS, which provide location based messaging as well as Google Earth tracking and emergency (SOS) notification options. 

If you have an EPIRB (emergency positioning indication radio beacon) in your boat at home, register it for both your boat and for land use in your vehicle, and bring it along with you on your travels. But of course, only activate it in a real life and death situation where no other help is available. Emergency signalling sheets are also handy for remote travel.

Keep safe and continue to enjoy your camping adventures.

V-sheet

Tags: CMCA Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia Camper RV Fifth Wheeler Camper Trailer Camping Camp Camping Tips Top 10 Camping Tips Camping Tips and Hints WA Coast Water Bottle Fire Extinguisher Campfire Tips Fire and Safety Tips Water Containers Water Storage Sleeping Bag Cooking Tips Camp Oven Cooking Tips Remote Camping Tips and Hints BBQ Barbecue Tips Emergency Camping Tips Help Blanket Sat Phone Ant Powder Kangaroos Wildlife Campsite Tips and Hints RV Tips Breakfast Fire Safety
Category: Features
Written: Fri 01 Mar 2019
Printed: March, 2019
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