Beginners to camping (advise)wanted

Submitted: Thursday, Mar 11, 2010 at 18:07
ThreadID: 76785 Views:4407 Replies:11 FollowUps:3
This Thread has been Archived

Related Pages

hi we are new to this site and have decided that camping is the way to go for us as we have 5 kids and will be able to explore without costing too much. we have stayed at mandaley (busselton) last easter with 6 month old twins but with a family who knew what they were doing. now we want to venture out ! we have a stockman weekender 12 berth, jackaroo bunks a double bed and some chairs . what else do i need ? ie what type of stove and gas light ,what essentials will we need . the children are now twins 20 months old and the girls are 5, 7 and 10 ........we all enjoyed busselton and would like any advise what so ever that will help us ,even if its a list of items to take or buy , good sites to stay at that are child friendly , place to fish (golf course nearby ) anything to help would be great........with the tent we have ,could we also put up a kitchen/storage up too ,on the site plot that we get?
if you thanks , any hope i can keep asking questions !
Back Expand Un-Read 0 Moderator

Reply By: Member - John and Val - Thursday, Mar 11, 2010 at 18:50

Thursday, Mar 11, 2010 at 18:50
Hi Sawdoctor,

Welcome to the site. You can keep asking questions but you will probably get better answers if you do some research first. For starters have a search through some of the blogs - there is a comprehensive camping list here to get you started. Also you haven't given a lot of info about when you want to camp (summer, winter?) or for how long or where - camping ground with facilities or in the bush where you need to be self sufficient. I will assume that you are just going to do short trips - weekends, school holidays.

You really dont need much gear to have a great time camping. You will be limited by what you can carry, and with five children the "stuff" will mount up pretty quickly. But you can buy gear fairly cheaply if you look at second hand gear that is in good condition.

I assume you are using a tent. Comfortable bedding is essential but you can get by with low cost doonas if you dont have sleeping bags and/or swags.

You will need at least one possibly two folding tables.
A 2 burner gas stove from any camping store or K Mart will work fine, plus a 2kg gas bottle. A cheaper alternative might be a butane stove that uses disposable cannisters.
Unless you are relying on a camp kitchen you will need a billy to heat water, cooking utensils (an old saucepan and frying pan will work quite satisfactorily). If you expect to have a campfire a folding BBQ and a cast iron camp oven (no need to buy expensive ones provided you follow the instructions to cure them properly before using).
A plastic bucket and dish or two for washing.

Lighting - we gave up gas lights years ago - bulky, fragile etc. We use 12v halogen lights that run off the gig lighter/s. You could get 12v LED lights which use very little power. If you want to get into more electrical stuff have a look here

A good sized esky will be all you need for short trips. Freeze some juice bottles of water a couple of weeks before you set out and they will last a few days, and provide water when they melt.

If you are camping somewhere away from mains water you will need some plastic containers to cerry water.

Plus a camera to record all the fun you have.....there is a lot that you could add to this list but this will get you started.
Have fun,

J and V
"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."
- Albert Einstein

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

AnswerID: 408431

Follow Up By: sawdoctor - Thursday, Mar 11, 2010 at 19:15

Thursday, Mar 11, 2010 at 19:15
thanks Val , some good info there......we will at first do some weekend breaks , not to far , we are in Perth so for now we wil be staying in the state till we get brave ! powered sites will be needed for us , although i would like to do bush camping at some point .we are hoping to get away during April/ May ,any ideas ? we are having some great weather here now but what will it be like then, i seem to remember last Easter was real good but cool in the evenings .......thatnks again Val......regards Nick
FollowupID: 678377

Reply By: StormyKnight - Thursday, Mar 11, 2010 at 19:08

Thursday, Mar 11, 2010 at 19:08
Wow, you went from 3 kids to 5!

We have 4 boys 12, 10, 8, 6.

Essentials: The main thing here is be able to keep everyone as happy as possible. They need to be warm enough when sleeping as well as if your fishing or just walking on the beach, they need to be able to stay dry if it is raining & have a dry set of clothes (maybe 2 or 3?) so they can get dry if required.

They will need stuff to do if its

They need plenty of food/fruit so they can't continue to say they are hungry.

Drinks also are important if its warm, drink bottles are good if you are walking or just out & about.

As far as stoves go I have 2 portable gas burners that run of the gas cartridges. The key here is that when cooking for 6 you need to be able to cook a few things at once else your cooking time is overly long. Most of my trips are camp for the night & move on in remote locations so space is a premium for us. If your spending most of the time in one spot, you can take bigger & more items to assist.

Meals probably are the thing that needs the most & cleaning up. 3 times a day can take up a fair bit of the day especially with consideration of sunset times.

Good lighting will help but can't match sunlight for seeing whats going on. Also once its dark you probably want to have the kids sorted & ready for bed :)

The only other thing I can suggest is that how your family experiences camping early on will help you later on. As an example if you always have lunch at McDonalds then they will feel let down when you don't want to do that for some reason. Also lollies & treats, it should be any different than being at home in most respects & if the kids understand that it will take a lot of pressure off of you & your partner, you will have a fair bit to organise with simply camping & keeping the children occupied that you don't what to add to it.

Camping is wonderful for a family unit to work together, with a little planning in advance the first few camping trips can run as smoothly as possible - you will learn greatly as you go & even experienced campers learn things from every trip!

The best part is spending the quality time with your family...hopefully without too many phones & computer consoles involved!

Cheers & enjoy!

AnswerID: 408437

Reply By: sawdoctor - Thursday, Mar 11, 2010 at 19:25

Thursday, Mar 11, 2010 at 19:25
thanks stormy....yes we wanted 4 and got one free!!!!!!!was a shock but they are fine 2 boys (twins and 3 girls ) .......think you are right good planning and some dummy runs in the garden and give each girl a responsability or two ,and encourage them to help put up the tent with me ........i wont be doing too much one nighters ,probs stay put till we all get use to it .......but bush camping is my aim!!!!!! maybe not my wifes as yet though.......! thanks again pal .....hope you can help again.....
AnswerID: 408441

Follow Up By: StormyKnight - Thursday, Mar 11, 2010 at 21:23

Thursday, Mar 11, 2010 at 21:23
No worries! Yep the backyard is an excellent place to 'practice' in a safe environment.

Yes responsibilities are great 'cause you can have the kids both occupied & helping at the same time.

Things like each of the girls having their own torch for example can give them a sense of responsibility too & they can themselves be more independent.

Bush camping is only a few steps past a camping ground & I understand fully that thats easier for boys than (some?) girls, but once you have the sleeping, food & clothing sorted its just another step & a few more bits of equipment.

My longer bush trips 5 days + are usually just me & the boys for that reason but I guess its how you approach the issues early on...

Camping's got to be fun for any of you to enjoy it, there will be days or trips that will test you....& your patience....just be aware it will happen & be able to recognise it for what it is.

Travelling, setting up camp & packing up are the times that need the most effort....

Understanding things like how long does it take to put up the tent (by yourself or with helpers (that probably will be longer :)), how long does it take to make dinner, what will the kids be doing whilst we try & make dinner?

As I said the backyard is an excellent place to learn!

FollowupID: 678401

Reply By: westskip - Thursday, Mar 11, 2010 at 19:52

Thursday, Mar 11, 2010 at 19:52
Hi Nick & welcome.

There is a good caravan park at Dwellingup with areas for tents. It is a very bush like feel as all the sites are tucked into the bush. No lawn unfortunately.
I wouldn't stay there at the moment due to the heat but in a month or so it would be a great place to get a feel for bush camping.

Lane Pool reserve is only a short drive away and there are some interesting places there for the kids to explore (e.g Nanga Townsite)

John & Helen
AnswerID: 408449

Reply By: Jude&theboys - Thursday, Mar 11, 2010 at 21:05

Thursday, Mar 11, 2010 at 21:05
I have (I think) the same tent for me and my three boys. I find that I can get it up and my 8 yr old and now the 6yr are both actually useful. The 4yr old I try to make feel useful by holding the pegs and bringing them to us as we need them. last time sucked - I hate putting up (and even worse - putting down) the tent in the rain!

When we go it is just me and the boys and I have started to let them stay up a little later than usual when camping (usually we are strict with bedtimes). We take a few treats - our first camping trip on our own I taught them how to put cheesels on their fingers so we often throw in a box (not something they get often at home) and we have a 'pancake breakfast' tradition. We have been using the shaker pancakes but next time I'm gunna put flour in the right amount in zip lock bags so I can just pop it in a bowl with flour and milk (1 cup flour, 1 egg, 1 cup of milk = good simple pancakes). We use long life milk and don't bother to keep it cold so much that way.

Food is our biggest issue- keeping it simple but still getting good stuff into them. I make homemade hamburgers and freeze them to take with us with zucchini, carrot and lentils in them so while they think cheeseburger I know its healthy! We often do the simple pasta & sauce packet too and add a can of tuna...if I can cook it in one pot or on the bbq grill its all good.

Pack some colouring in or puzzle books etc and pencils for the kids in case of wet weather but mostly mine just enjoy being outside. Last time, despite the rain, they had a ball just running amok with the other boys in the van park (and still where I could see them).

We have yet to do the bush camping bit....will get there but only started ourselves a year ago...looking forward to Easter in Swan Hill.
AnswerID: 408464

Reply By: Atta Boy Luther - Thursday, Mar 11, 2010 at 22:58

Thursday, Mar 11, 2010 at 22:58
Well , my boys are 11 and 16 now . The first thing you want is a video camera because in a blink of an eye they are grown up . I use hand held led inspection lamps (Narva) for lights . Lights with cords are a real pain . I would personally avoid anything that can burn , fall over and break , leak etc with kids around . One of those folding portable aluminium clothes lines would be real handy i guess . A really strong torch with a wide beam for when the kids run off in the dark . The table iuseis a 6x4 foot blow moulded table blow moulded table that folds in half and you can buy the bench seats as well .
AnswerID: 408487

Reply By: Member - Alastair D (NSW) - Friday, Mar 12, 2010 at 07:40

Friday, Mar 12, 2010 at 07:40
Already have some good advice above. I would like to suggest that you do not rush out and buy heaps of gear and 'things'. Buy the bare minimum and then buy as you identify a real need. In my experience camping and travelling can be spoilt by having too much gear on board and having the wrong things because they were bought before the necessary experience was built up.

good luck and have fun
AnswerID: 408515

Follow Up By: Member - Oldbaz. NSW. - Friday, Mar 12, 2010 at 13:24

Friday, Mar 12, 2010 at 13:24
All great advice above. I would add a shadecloth undersheet for the tent, protects
floor from damage & dirt & not as wet when you pack up. We always found a suitably sized silver tarp a useful asset too..keeps everything dry, prevents staining &, once again, dry packups. Cant have too many oco straps, light rope is
useful, garbage bags & buckets. I also agree with Alastair, above, buy what you
need only. One of the plastic folding table/chair combinations may suit as well...has
a seat on each corner & a square table. Rechargeable 12v lantern lights are good
& kids love their own torch...take plenty of batteries. We enjoyed caravan parks at Gracetown & Pemberton when in the west last spring.....oldbaz.
FollowupID: 678494

Reply By: Bazooka - Friday, Mar 12, 2010 at 23:13

Friday, Mar 12, 2010 at 23:13
If you are planning to venture outside built-up areas a GOOD first-aid kit plus the usual range of medications from chemist/supermarket (sting relief, painkillers, burn gel/cream, throat lozenges, antiseptics etc) is absolutely essential. Plenty of kits available and a little bit of online research will get you what you want/need. Kids will remember camping experiences all their lives. Enjoy!
AnswerID: 408630

Reply By: Member - Old Girl (QLD) - Saturday, Mar 13, 2010 at 14:28

Saturday, Mar 13, 2010 at 14:28
We had a lunch box for years big enough for our cutlery and cooking utencls. If you have the room for a cheap dome its a great toy room for the toys and colour in gear, great if its raining(we have one even with the van). That keeps the kids out of the sleeping area. Imagine five kids running a mock jumping all over the beds with dirty feet, then a down pour comes and the dounas leaning up against the walls gets wet. Been there. We gave up gas lights a long time ago. Too dangerous with little ones running around. We bought a red Coleman rechargable light for around $80 it has a yellow night light. As we are currently living in our van we get to see a lot of families ruin their trips with no organisation. They leave their food out. The worst last Christmas was people using indoor power boards with lights,tv's and one even had their toaster and kettle plugged in on a fold up table under the awning of their tent. Their kids were running around all this kaos winging as their dad wanted to sleep in. While they were here I put my fridge on gas to avoid a power spark as they were hooked up the same power post as me. So when you do go camping have a look at what others do, hopefully learn from others mistakes. Camping is the best holiday for kids try not to overload your self with stuff that makes you work the whole time away.
We have 3 children 6,8 & 11 they have their own jobs and are responsible for their own stuff.
AnswerID: 408661

Reply By: sawdoctor - Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 01:10

Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 01:10
guys ,thanks for all your replies ,you have been very helpful.......but please send me more advise if you can think of any no matter how small......regards nick
AnswerID: 408727

Reply By: Von Helga - Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 20:57

Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 20:57
Gumboots for all, (maybe down the track for the littlest).
I started with a 2 burner and moved to a 3 burner stove as it gives you more flexibility. If you can afford the square frying pans they are great as well as it will get a much greater cooking area for your brood.
I would also suggest that the older girls could have thier own tent ( 4 Man as it gives them ownership) which will free up the main tent area when the weather is not great or just for day to day living.
Some sort of area that is covered by a poly tarp is also great, gets the kids out from under foot on goods days (shade) and gives you extra living space when wet.
Put up your tent and then work out your tarp.
Try and keep it as small as possible but big enough to do the job as you will have to carry the pegs/poles/ropes as well.
It does not have to cover your whole tent but over one of the entrances would be good.
AnswerID: 408838

Sponsored Links

Popular Products (14)