If there is one thing we love it's hearing fun or handy tips and tricks to create a better camping experience. Colby and Jess are outdoor enthusiasts and full-time travellers who know a thing or two about surviving the different seasons when on the road. We asked the duo to share a few tips to ensure we're all well-prepared for summer adventures...
1. Book your campsite
It’s no secret that us Aussies’ love camping, and with international travel off the cards for the foreseeable future you can bet that popular campsites will fill up quick! Our go to apps for finding campsites are WikiCamps and Hipcamp. Once you’ve found a camp that you like the look of, our next tip is to give it a search on Instagram using hashtags or geolocations – if you look at “recent posts”, along with the “top posts” tab you are able to get a decent idea of what the campsite looks like from a campers perspective (not just a caravan park trying to sell you on their location).
*Other things to check: What is the weather forecast? Do you need a permit? Is it dog friendly – don’t be caught out!
2. Get your gear sorted
If you haven’t pulled your camping gear out for a while (because frosty nights aren’t your jam), we recommend dusting it off and giving it a quick look over. If you have a blow-up mattress… check it hasn’t got new holes! It’s also a chance to go over kitchen items, and maybe find things that weren’t washed properly last camp.
Once you know your gear is camp ready, we suggest making a checklist, so you don’t forget to pack anything. Personally, we have a checklist of items which is kept as a shared note on our phones but alternatively you can download and print OZtrail's Ultimate Camping Checklist.
3. Be prepared for the heat!
There are lots of ways to combat the heat. First and foremost, you want to make sure you are dressing for comfort – we find that light-coloured loose & breathable clothes keep us cool during the humid days up here in North Queensland. The next thing you want to sort is your water. Considering we are around 60% water, packing enough water for you and your family (including dogs or other pets) is a priority. Definitely check if there is water available at the campsite, most places will let you know if fresh water is not available.
While shade and sunscreen are important things also consider, your sleeping quarters is your secret weapon for a good night’s rest! Investing in a swag or a tent that has a lot of mesh, and the option to remove the fly is key for the best ventilation! What is the advantage of removing your fly? At night, your hot breath and body heat can cause condensation to form on the inside of your rain fly. If the sky is clear, and you’ve checked that there is no rain forecasted for the night, removing your rain fly will allow all that heat and moisture to escape through the top of the tent, rather than being trapped inside.
We’ve recently switched to the OZtrail Fast Frame Lumos Tent, which has lots of mesh (I’m talking roof, large windows an even little windows beneath the big side ones!) and also ClimaTech vents to enhance ventilation inside the tent. We love this tent because it has made our nights cool and breezy. It also has an inbuilt light, which is attached to the fly not the inside of the tent and has been super handy for finding things in the dark without letting all the bugs inside.
Remember - wind is nature’s air conditioning! Even if you are rocking a swag, you want to make sure you figure out which direction the wind is blowing so you can face your tent door into the wind.
Mesh tents will improve the air flow through your tent, as the mesh allows air to travel through the tent both day and night, keeping it cool for you when you’re ready to sleep. If the direction of the breeze isn’t obvious, most weather apps will let you know which way the wind is blowing. For example, “WSW 10km/h” means the wind will be blowing at 10km per hour from the west-southwest. This means you would want to angle your tent, so the doors face that direction. If your set-up is short on mesh, you might consider investing in a battery powered fan.
4. Pack enough food
I feel like it’s always better to pack more food and come home with snacks and leftovers, than go 'hangry'. This means we usually pack our pantry box and fridge/freezer full of meals, snacks and drinks. Regardless of whether you are heading out on hiking trails and working up a sweat, or lazing around a river, we find that we are both happier people with our bellies full.
Having some quick and easy camp meals on the cards is also a game changer… preferably meals that have little cleaning up.Our top 3 favourite quick meals at the moment are wraps, salads (we’re going through a Asian noodle/coleslaw phase at the moment) and tacos. If you’ve got the time before you go, we also recommend freezing some of your food, so your icebox/fridge doesn’t work as hard in the heat.5. Stay safe
For peace of mind, it is always wise to consider what safety measures you have in place.
Our safety check list includes:
- Packing a first aid kid. We have a survival first aid kit and snake bandages which we keep in our car at all times. I always make sure I restock items as we use them, so we aren’t caught out down the track
- Sun safety. Regardless of the weather forecast, we always make sure we have our hat, sunnies and sunscreen packed, and that they are all easy to access
- Insect defense: Don’t forget the mozzie spray! We also find that mozzie coils can help ease the feeding frenzy that happens in the evening.
- Check local wildlife warnings: Whether it is crocs, mice or dingos it is always better to be prepared than caught off guard!
And lastly, have fun!