I am thirty-two-years-old and I have never experienced camping.
In fact, if you asked me to go camping, even a year ago I probably would have laughed and sent you that meme, you know the one that goes “My friends asked me to go camping so I made a list of all the things I needed… new friends!”.
Well over the last year and a half I’ve made the nicest group of new friends and guess what? They all want to go camping! So here I am with a trip booked in October with no equipment and no idea!
I decided to reach out to every camper that I know and asked them to share all of their best camping tips, advice and recommendations.
Here are their camping tips:
Beginner Camping Advice from Kate:
I would recommend that you pre-cook meals then freeze into big zip lock bags flatten out so they defrost quicker and stack neater for saved fridge/esky space. Write up a menu of breakfast, lunch and dinner so that you aren’t overpacking unnecessary food or under packing and leaving yourself short.
Practice putting up your tent/camper trailer at home if you haven’t done it beforehand as this will save you from getting a divorce. Make lists for everything you will need right down to the small stuff so that packing is more stress-free and you don’t forget things!
“This will save you from getting a divorce.”
Beginner Camping Advice from Robyn:
Try before you buy so you don’t waste money buying something you don’t want or need. Packing space is limited so make every item count. Also, be honest about what luxuries you don’t like going without and make sure you don’t have to.
Camping is meant to be fun not about depriving yourself of things you like.
Beginner Camping Advice from Clare:
I would say make the first few trips as easy as possible on yourself, stay close to a town where you can easily go to the shops if you realise you’ve forgotten something. Then gradually become more adventurous with your destination once you’re more comfortable with camping.
Beginner Camping Advice from Kathryn:
My tip is to plan your meals, make and freeze meals – they also help to keep other stuff cool. Freeze water in 2L milk bottles in the week or so leading up – it will save you needing to buy ice. Put all of your veggies etc in a plastic container so they don’t get squashed. If you are planning on camping more frequently then invest in a good esky. I also recommend buying Kmart Gym towels, they compact and quick drying. Make sure you do up a camping checklist so that you don’t forget things.
Finally, for small kids take one of those flexi buckets to bath in – my kids loved “bucket baths”.
Beginner Camping Advice from Gemma:
I would say be smart with when you go and check the weather. I can’t imagine first-timers would enjoy it a) in the rain or b) in the heat of summer.
Beginner Camping Advice from Madeline:
I recommend first-time campers go with friends that have camped before. Prep your food for the first-night dinner if you’re arriving late or get drive-through on the way there.
Beginner Camping Advice from Waltina:
I love to pre-make dinners that can be easily warmed up so dinner time is reasonably healthy and there’s more time to relax and enjoy a wine by the fire. Also, SPF tinted moisturiser is my go-to so I can wake up, quickly put it on and am ready completely sun protected for the day with no hassle. My favourite places to go are Wreck Rock in Deep Water National Park it is secluded with no amenities and Agnes Waters which does have amenities.
I recommend buying anything Coleman, it is a trusted high-quality brand, everything is sure to last! At the moment we are using a Wanderer tent and gazebo combo which is also good quality and a little more affordable.
Beginner Camping Advice from Zac:
I would advise people to invest in a decent first aid kit and snake bite kit because everything in Australia tries to kill you. I also like to make big 1L or 2L ice blocks for the esky or icebox that helps keep the smaller ice cubes last longer. My biggest tip would be buying an 18v battery blower. I find handy for the campsite as you can use it to inflate and deflate an air bed, help start the fire and blow dust and dirt from in the tent.
Beginner Camping Advice from Shalini:
I am a novice but my two cents – go with experienced friends and initially borrow or rent so you know what you actually need (it’s a rabbit hole).
Beginner Camping Advice from Belinda:
I recommend taking a plastic potty, even when kids are toilet trained, it can save a long trip to the toilet at night. Glow bracelets are great, you can put them on the kids at night when it gets dark. Keep food easy and don’t go overboard, buy food you wouldn’t normally, things in packets like muesli bars, Le Snack’s, Up & Go’s – easy food that will fill the kids up. When thinking fresh food think apples, bananas and fruit that travels well and avoid foods that don’t store well in an esky. It is ok to give the kids sausages and bread a few nights in a row. Share meals with others – it’s fun to eat together and saves everyone packing a lot.
Also, you can go to lovely country campsites that feel isolated but are only a 20-minute drive from a Woolworths. Near a shop is easier with kids.
Campsites with bigger spaces are more relaxing as the kids have room to move and play. You can also be noisy without being on top of everyone. I recommend dressing the kids in bright clothes, it is easier to spot them and keep an eye on them on bushwalks. Hot water bottles are essential in winter. Herbs on the campfire keep away mosquitos. Avoid campsites that allow music it can be hard to get kids to sleep. Lights with USB charging outlets for your phones are the best. Finally, always take lots of water, many campgrounds have no / limited water.
“Glow bracelets are great, you can put them on the kids at night when it gets dark.”
The Mega Glow Party Pack is $14.00 from Kmart
First Time Camping Advice from Ashleigh:
I live for the Bellman Espresso & Steamer CX 25p when I go camping. It’s just like the real deal! All you need is one of those mini cooktops.
Bellman Espresso & Steamer CX 25p is available from Alternative Brewing for $289.00.
My favourite place to camp is Moreton Island or Adder Rock at North Stradbroke, both family-friendly but secluded enough for lovely beach getaways, as well as THE BEST SUNSETS.
We sleep in a 2 person swag, it’s great for if you’re doing a travelling camping trip where you’re moving from place to place. I don’t like the way sleeping bags feel so i just pack a doona, you just get one of those giant $2 checkered bags to put it all in! Also, I would also recommend the self-inflating mattresses over the chunky ones.
Camping Advice from Amber
My tip would be to keep it simple! In every way – food, clothes, equipment and extras like games. Less is more! It is about being with family and loved ones – so if one simple game of UNO does that then brilliant! Coffee is obviously essential, I take my aero press when I go.
I would also recommend a really good power bank so you can charge your phone in case you need it for an emergency.
Best Buy: Solar charged, 20000mAh (~7 phone full charges), waterproof, flashlight, compass and rugged…perfect for camping. Check it out >
There are also heaps of great Facebook groups that you can join where everyone loves sharing recommendations and giving advice, I recommend The Camping Mums Club!