Before you leave
- Check your tent and ensure it is in top condition, that there are adequate pegs, guy ropes and all the poles are there.
- Clean, test and light gas stoves and lamps. Check all o’rings and condition of stove hoses.
- Air beds and camp beds should be inflated or assembled.
- Research the destination to find out available facilities.
- Investigate the weather before you leave, especially night-time temperatures. This way you can ensure you have appropriate bedding and clothing to stay warm.
- Plan ahead with a camping checklist so that you don’t get stuck without the necessary equipment.
Camp Cooking & Cleaning
- Cooking over an open fire should only be done in designated areas. Camp stoves are more practical and easy to use, cook food faster and have less impact on the environment.
- Cover pots your food will cook more quickly and you will save on fuel as well as keeping dirt and insects out of your food.
- Avoid unwanted visits from animals and keep food stored away in a camp pantry.
Cast iron cookware
Wash and dry your new cast iron cookware thoroughly before using it for the first time. Then wipe over with a thin film of cooking oil (preferably peanut oil). Leave it to soak in for several days, then heat the cookware so that the absorbed oil evaporates. This process cures the metal and in time it will produce an impenetrable surface which will be easy to maintain. Repeat after use for lasting performance.
- To easily remove burnt on food from your pots and pans, add a drop or two of dish soap and enough water to cover bottom of pan and bring to a boil. Protect from smoke and fire damage by putting liquid soap on outside of your pots and pans before putting them over the fire.
- Place a pan of hot water on the fire while you eat so that it’ll be ready for cleanup when you are done.
Fridges & coolers
- Before a long trip run the fridge at home for at least 24 hours before you leave. This fridge will be cold and will perform at its best as soon as you leave, keeping your food fresh and drinks colder.
- Place coolers /fridges in the shade and check the ice daily.
- Keep food cool longer by using block ice as it will last longer than cubed ice.
- Pack all items in your cooler / fridge in watertight bags or containers to prevent leaks, spills and food contamination.
- Remove odors from your cooler / fridge by cleaning with a water and baking soda solution.
- Use a separate cooler for drinks so not to open the food cooler too often. Freeze meat before putting in cooler it helps keeps other foods cold and will keep longer. Use an insulated cover – this not only helps keep the power consumption low but will keep the fridge looking new. This will also extend running time of your chosen battery solution.
Gas canisters / bottles
Be very careful with gas canisters – keep them upright at all times in a well ventilated area. Turn off when not in use.
High pressure stoves & lanterns
When you’re ready to turn off a high pressure stove or lantern, always turn the gas off at the bottle first. Any remaining gas in the hose will simply burn off through the appliance. This practice extends the life of jets and ‘O’ rings, and ensures the appliance is safe for storing.
- Use a whiskbroom to wipe off gear as you stow it.
- Pack your gear as you had it when you came to the campground. Check that all poles and pegs are dry to prevent the onset of rust. There may be times where you have to pack away your tent damp or wet. As soon as possible, unpack the tent and set it up again.
- Thoroughly ventilate and dry it out, clean out any debris and check if anything is missing or needs some repair before folding and repacking it for storage.
- Clean up when you leave. Take away everything you brought and anything else that shouldn’t be there.
Choosing a sleeping bag
- The clothing you wear in your sleeping bag has a large impact on how warm you are. Wearing clean and dry long underwear with socks will help you stay toasty on cool nights. On colder nights, a cap and neck gaiter will help keep body heat from radiating away.
- A sleeping mat insulates you from the cold ground and also provides additional Comfort
- Having something in your stomach when you hit the sack will keep you warmer. The process of digestion generates warmth. Hydration is also important too, since the food won’t generate much warmth if you are dehydrated.
- If you use a tent you’ll be adding another layer or dead air space around you that will keep you warmer over all than if you slept under the stars.
- Everybody’s metabolism is different. Someone in their teens or twenties who exercises 3 times a week will generate much more heat than your average weekend-warrior. Women’s metabolism differs greatly from men’s. Women require warmer sleeping bags than most men for the same external conditions because of the difference between metabolic rates.
Self inflating mats
For the long life of your sleep mat ensure that the valves are left open on hot days. Expansion of internal air may cause de-lamination or split seams.
Choosing a camp site
Select a level site. Avoid trees as leaves & sap can stain the tent, and falling branches may cause injury. Do not pitch your tent in a watercourse, if it rains overnight you may find yourself in a creek bed. In poor weather conditions ensure that your tent is positioned with the rear pointing towards the prevailing weather conditions. This allows greater weather protection and protected access. Clear your tent site of rocks and sticks to ensure a comfortable nights sleep.
Choosing a tent
When choosing to purchase a tent, make sure that you consider the features against your intended use. Look for plenty of ventilation, with large windows and quality mesh to control insects. Family tents should offer several entrances, each with generous sized doors. Also compare centre heights to allow adults the comfort when dressing or setting up the bedding. Multi room designs now permit campers to segment their tent for sleeping and day use. These are only a few features that you should be considering. For confidence and full understanding of the latest features ask you friendly Camping World store.
Don’t ever pack your tent, swag or sleeping bag away wet. All materials are prone to mildew, if they’re not dried thoroughly, which in a short period of time can destroy your equipment.
Pack a poly tarp
Well prepared campers pack a spare poly-tarp on their trips. An 8×10 or 10×12 poly-tarp is handy as a ground sheet for the tent, providing increased protection for the tent floor making it easier to clean when packing away. A poly tarp is also a good make-do ground sheet for the beach or picnics. In windy regions, mount as a windbreak. Remember to include some rope to use with the poly-tarp.
Tent entry mat
Sit a door mat at the entrance to your tent, wiping your feet each time you enter this will help avoid dirt and sand getting into your tent and bedding.
Packing for an overseas trip
At the bottom of your travel pack place something soft and bulky – a sleeping bag or a pillow. This will protect heavier items packed on top and will help save the bottom of your travel pack from damage.
Camping with kids
- Get the Kids involved in any required purchases for the planned trip.
- Have a range of wet weather games and activities available just in case.
- Show children around the camp site and clearly explain where they are and are not allowed to go.
If camping in the cold, clothes made from wool or synthetic materials will keep you the warmest – even when wet. During hot summer weather long sleeves offer the best protection from the harsh climate.
First aid kit
Make sure everyone knows where it is, how to use it and can access it.