Innovative Ideas & Gear for Camping

There is no end to the range of camping equipment you will see available in camping stores, but it's not all necessary. In this article we'll highlight a few nifty items that are worth taking and discuss some practical tips for all types of travellers, whether you stay in caravan parks with facilities or opt for self-sufficiency in a bush camp.
Article By: ExplorOz Team
Created: November 2012
Revised: September 2016
Latest Feedback: September 2016

Bedding

Whether you sleep in a caravan, camper trailer, tent or swag, suitable bedding is the key to a good night's sleep. A quick and easy solution for a comfortable sleep is a self inflating mattress. These consist of a layer of foam which expands when the inflation valves are opened. When packing away, the mattress is rolled to expel air and valves are then closed. While they are bulkier than a normal air mattress, they do not require a pump to be carried, and are far better at keeping you at a comfortable sleeping temperature. They are also a much better option when sleeping next to a partner, as they allow two people to sleep at the same height regardless of weight differences, and do not shift when someone rolls over or gets off the mattress. The ExplorOz Shop stocks selected Roman 4WD Mats, which have the added benefit of inflatable pillows, a perfect all-in-one solution.

The type of sleeping bag you carry is also an important factor, it needs to have the right temperature rating for the climate and to suit your own sleeping temperature, as well as be a suitable size and shape for the occupant/s. Sleeping Bags with inbuilt ventilation are also a beneficial feature for keeping cool on warmer nights. The Camper Double 400 Sleeping Bag is a highly customisable sleeping bag, which can be used as a double bag, or two single bags, and can be unzipped at the bottom for added ventilation. Rated to 0°C this bag is suitable for use for most of the year in the warmer areas of the country.

Cooking Gear

Second in importance only to the sleeping quarters, is how and where you store and cook your food, so this part of your setup requires very careful consideration. A lot will depend on how long you'll be travelling, whether you are towing a fully equipped modern caravan with inbuilt oven and stand-up fridge, or a camper trailer with a slide out kitchen and portable fridge mounted to the drawbar, or no trailer at all and thus needing equipment in storage boxes in your vehicle or on roofracks. It will also depend on whether you can take all your food from home or whether you need to top up supplies at shops along the way. For information on food storage and tips for travelling with fresh foods and water see our Food & Water article. Everyone chooses a setup that best suits them but here's some tips that should be relevant and userful to everyone.

Tips for Coffee Lovers

One of things most of us can't give up when travelling is our love of caffeine. People that love a proper brewed coffee, can opt to carry a percolator that can be used on a portable stove or cooking plate, such as the Compact Espresso Maker. These can be used with pre-ground coffee, or if you really love fresh beans, you can even take your 240v coffee grinder and plug it into an invertor for a quick blitz. You can prepare a day's worth of beans and store in an airtight container to simplify this even further.

Campfire Cooking

One of the easiest ways to cook with a camp fire is to use a hot plate placed over a fire pit. The Bush BBQ with Windshield folds down to a compact size, and when unfolded combines a hot plate, grill and a shield to keep your fire going for longer and directed at the bottom of the hotplate for faster cooking times. These are perfect for a hearty breakfast cook-up, frying your catch at the end of a day of fishing, and just about anything else you would cook on your stove or BBQ at home.

Water Purification

Fresh, uncontaminated water is a genuine concern for many people when travelling and camping. Whilst Australia's underwater reservoirs provide bore water to many regional areas more than adequately, all bore water can be naturally contaminated by minerals, chemicals, bacteria and viruses. Water found in shallows wells is even more prone to contamination than via a bore head, due to the chance of leaching pesticides, insecticides, and fertilizers, as well as bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi from fecal material from animals. In today's society, water from rivers and streams is also potentially dangerous to drink unless tested and/or treated.

If you are uncertain about the quality of water, and don't know how to test if the water is ok to drink, then the best thing you can do is to purify the water using a simple purifier such as the Go Fresh Water Straw

Drawer Storage & Bags

Regular campers go to great lengths to customise their vehicles for efficient, secure, and safe packing and storage of all their camping gear. One very popular option is to install rear storage drawer systems complete with a sliding mechanism to mount a portable fridge. However, for people that haven't quite got to that level, the use of fishermen's tubs, crates or home-made systems is good solution.

In camper trailers and campervans where bays are built-in for the customer to choose their drawer system, one popular choice is the Oates Stacker Drawers readily available from hardware, homeware, and convenience stores.

Other needs might be to store items in a waterproof backpack, especially if you need to separate dry items or keep them dry in a kayak, boat or while hiking.

Keep your eye out for clever ideas for storage and take a look at what other people are using. Here's some storage options available from our online shop.

Towels & Toiletries

Toiletries are bulky so the trick is to minimise. The Wilderness Wipes - XL have become our hottest selling items because they are simply so practical (extra large and thick to get you cleaned up fast) and you'll find more uses for them than just a water-less wipe over. Towels can often be bulky, take a long time to dry and require frequent laundering to prevent odours, many of these problems have been solved by the Equip Antibacterial Travel Towels, these have received glowing reviews from campers for their anti-bacterial and microbial protection which ensures these towels are softer, fresher, more hygienic and durable than traditional towels. They are also ultra compact and as well as quick drying.

Rubbish & Shovels

As a responsible camper and traveller, you need a system for carrying your rubbish to a designated rubbish bin, or tip. Many roadside bins are missued, with lazy travellers leaving plastic bags on the ground alongside already overflowing rubbish bins that haven't been emptied which are quickly pecked open by crows, leaving unsightly rubbish sprawled all over the ground. You can do your bit to help by never leaving your rubbish out in the open, never burying your rubbish. For more information and useful tips on this important subject please refer to our article Travel Etiquette.

Practical Lighting

12v LED strip lights have become popular and they're now so versatile you can DIY with the wide range of colours and options to create the perfect lighting environment around your car, or your camp. Go bug free with yellow lights, or a yellow filter.

And no campsite is complete without a table lantern. Ideally, choose portable lighting with inbuilt rechargeable battery so you can charge through an inverter as you travel during the day ready for use at night.

But once the cooking and the kids bedtime routine has been done, be sure to turn all your lights off and spend time gazing up at the sky to enjoy camping under the stars in the beautiful Australian outback.

Mosquito Protection

Camping, flies and mosquitoes go together - it's just a fact of the Australian outdoors. But you don't need to let it bother you, if you protect yourself adequately with insect repellant and mossie nets. But some people react rather badly to sandflies so always pack antihistimine tablets in your first aid kit, along with some Stingose, or other similar topical lotion. If nothing is available, a good trick is to apply a coat of roll-on deoderant. This trick works wonders on marine stingers too.

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Budget Camping Gear, Buy Camping Equipment, Nalgene, Gotoob, Tek Towel, Camp Chair, Evac, Dry Sack, Oates Drawers, Travel Shampoo, Travel Laundry Wash, Hand Sanitiser, Bin Bag, Folding Shovel, Buy Merino Thermals, Beanie, Trekking Socks, Mossie Net

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