Our handbook to the great outdoors - what to bring, tips and essentials to make your trip the best ever...
Camping, It is one of the greatest things you can do for your soul.
To be out in there in nature, cooking outdoors, sleeping under the moon, hiking and just taking the time to give your mind a break from the technology world of the 21st century. Its all about going back to basics. To have the greatest trip, you have to make sure you are prepared for all elements, have the right gear and supplies if your going off road.
CAMPING WITH DOGS
Camping with dogs in Australia can be tricky but it also can be really easy if you know where you can take your pooch. The east coast of Australia you'll find a lot less places you can camp for 'free' with your dog, while the west coast of Oz, there is kilometres of endless places you can pick from. We found the app 'Wiki camps' Is a massive help for travelling with a dog - it shows your all the camp sites, beaches and hikes your can take your dog. Sometimes the spots can we crowded, depending on the seasons... if that is the case our advise is to go off the beaten track to find your own slice of paradise. You'll find the best spots that way and can always have your dog. If you are exploring more remote areas - especially WA region, famers bait a lot on there property and can be picked up by birds and taking to different areas. Make sure you always have your dog tied up, watching where they are going or a mussel on. Better to be safe then sorry.
Dogs unfortunately are not permitted in National parks, which is a real shame. There is so many incredible National Parks in Australia, so there is a way around it.
Do the research of where you are going see if there is dog kennels, farm stays, animal cares - you'll be surprised how many people are happy to look after your dog. We have found sometimes we are able to leave Morri at the car under lots of shade with a big bowl of water - while we go for a quick hike. We wouldn't advise this in the really hot parts of Aus as they can over heat... and make never leave them in the car!
Australia is full of little bug that can harm your pooch so always on any trip make sure they are up to date with the flea/tick/heatworm tablets.
Jess found that you can make a natural dog spray for them with essential oils to keep the stings away. We will put the ingredient up on the journal.
Our number one tip for any trip is to do the research first. Check the weather in the area that your going to and pack accordingly. ALWAYS check if there will be water at the camp - if not make sure you stock up. You'll be surprised how much water you need. We recommend always having 10L per person, per day - its better to be safe then sorry. You can get food grade water containers from all good camping stores. Phone service is limited in a lot of Australia - so make sure your prepared by carrying a satellite phone or having all the gear to get yourself out of a sticky situation yourself.
WHAT TO BRING
1. COFFEE or TEA. Do you love tea and coffee as much as we do? If YES you must certainly pack the following on any trip. I don't think there is anything better then rolling out your swag , then boiling the kettle and taking in the view. First you have to buy a camp kettle, you can get rad enamel ones, billy teas (great for a fire) or one that whistles ! Second, for the coffee lovers - how do you like your brew? There is a few options out there for camp coffees, from Areo press, percolators, and Jet boils.... The options are endless. We love the good ol classic percolator but are going to invest in a jet boil as we have heard they are amazing! Thirdly - Whether your going on a hike or a golden hour walk, is there anything more satisfying then to have a cuppa after? We think not. Every camper needs a 'Stanley' coffee flask. They have been around since 1913... how good is that! Definitely our pick. Another must have is getting a 'Keep Cup'. If you are wanting to treat yourself to a coffee out or you can use it everyday on the road. Did you know that a million take away cups go into land fill every single minute.... destroying our mother earth. So PLEASE always remember to use your own cup & BAGS... Every little bit counts!
2. COOKING - One of the best things about camping is the food. You will need to invest in a good quality stove, never cheap out and get the butane can ones ( they are known to be unsafe). Getting a 2 stove burner is very handy. Keep it simple and get one good fry pan and pot - chopping board etc... We got some of our enamel ones from the op shop - which are our favourite! Cooking on the fire is a must & one of our favourite ways to cook. You will need a separate pan for this - a cast iron camp pan will last the heat. If you love your roast vegetables, bread and meat - a camp oven is a real treat.
3. SLEEP - Depending on what your setup is like.... If you like sleep in your troopy or van, make sure you get a good foam mattress cut to size at somewhere like clark rubber. Another thing you'll want to get is some fly netting for you windows, if your going to travel in summer sleeping in the troops gets VERY hot and you'll need the windows open. That means alot of bugs, so you'll need to keep them out. Swags are a great option - We use the Oz Trail 'Ridgeback discover double swag' its is a extra-large dome style swag with double dome style poles plus a centre ridge pole so the swag is self-supporting & very quick to set up. Zip top entry makes it easy to get in and out with huge size mesh panels for great ventilation & no insects. The 5cm high density open-cell mattress ensures you have a great night's sleep & your gear is under cover. You can un zip the doors all the way down, giving you a fresh breeze and the best view of the milky way.
4. SOLAR - We highly recommend purchasing a solar panel + battery set up, which will allow you to have a 12V camping fridge ( very handy to keep all your food fresh) but also importantly allowing you to have LED lights to plug in for around your camp site. You will need to buy a good solar panel, we went with the Kyocera Cell panel, the watts will depend on how much power you need. For the battery we went for a 125AH deep cycle. Its charged from the alternator through a red ark smart start duel battery isolator. Which will keep the auxiliary battery for your fridge topped up while you drive and won't allow your starting battery to be drawn down while your at your camp site and not driving for a few days ( depending on the ambient temperature at about 30 - 38 degrees we get roughly 2 days with out needing to drive or connect to solar at around 18- 28 degrees about 4 days). While we are parked up for a longer stay, we use the solar panels to keep the battery charged and fridge on. We don't have a dc/dc battery management system though it is on the to do list and I would highly recommend this as it will keep your battery from draining too low and also keep it in top condition
5.SHELTER. You always should be prepared for all elements if your doing a big trip. We have been caught out in some pretty big storms - So its essential to have descent shelter. We have a 3mtr x 3mtr awning on the side of big blue and a 1.4mtr x 2mtr awning at the rear that covers our kitchen area. We set the swag up under the side awning as it keeps the dew off at night, also allows us to keep the doors of the swag open while its hot and raining. These awnings are not just for rain - They are handy at the beach to keep the sun from burning you, while your making some lunch. 5.FLOORING. Absolute necessary in our eyes (buttt not for everyone ) once you have one, you will love fresh feet in bed....nothing better! We use recycled plastic matts, one for just at the opening to our swag and along the side of the car. This is so the dirt/sand/mud has a harder time getting into the swag. These matts are great, they can be hosed down for easy cleaning, the sand and small debris falls straight through leaving a nice surface to laze on and read a book. We also love a good waterproof picnic rug for hikes and beach chills!
6.SHOWER - This is a bit of a luxury item, but if your doing a big trip you definitely need one. You can pick up a 12 volt shower from BCF ( hello hoot showers) or the other option if you don't have power in your Troops, get a solar bag - this was our first out door shower and it was a life saver. You just simply fill it up, lay it in the sun and after a day of adventure getting salty or dusty... you get a fresh sun heated shower. Also if you don't think you need one~ there is always free beach showers.
7. RECOVERY - This is a necessity for any remote or solo 4wd trip. This little addition could save your life or car. We have a 12.000lb 12v kings winch with dyneema rope. It has worked well for us so far, there are defiantly better options out there I would prefer a warn high mount but I didn't have the money at the time. It will pay to have a few snatch straps, tow ropes, good quality shackles, snatch block, shovel, a set of recovery tracks.good 12v air compressor all these items will be worth there weight in gold when needed so don't go with out them. Also ALWAYS check your spare tyre/tyres are in good health, you will most likely need them if your getting out to that remote location.
THE ROAD TRIP ESSENTIALS
Film & digital camera
Journal- to write those moments down
Uno, Cards, Backgammon
Sarong (Many uses for this one while camping ladies.. or gents)
Fire Extingisher & First aid kit
Essential oils (natural remedies)
Online sites that you can order the gear we use and LOVE