What to Take

In this article, we discuss how to work out what you need to take on your trip. Includes a checklist of items for bush camping in remote areas and also a check list of personal items to suit any trip.
Created: April 2003
Revised: February 2016
Latest Feedback: February 2016

What to Take Checklist

Knowing what to take on a 4WD trip must firstly begin with your vehicle's requirements. We suggest you firstly read all the pages under Vehicle Requirements, especially the checklists for Recovery Gear Needs, Spare Parts and Tools and have your vehicle fully equipped as per our guidelines in Vehicle Setup.

Only then can you begin to consider what you need for your personal comfort, camping practicalities and survival.

Don't Pack Too Much

Based on where you're going, how long and with how many passengers you may find that packing space becomes a premium and careful consideration must be given to how and where it will all fit. Don't forget two important rules:

Rule 1

Never pile heavy items on a roof rack as you will affect the vehicle's centre of gravity, increasing the likelihood of a roll over (also check manufacturers load limit).

Rule 2

Ensure most items have more than one use - no excessive luxuries over the need for vehicle spares and practical tools.

Camping Items to Consider

Below is a list of camping items that you may want to consider taking on your camping trip. This is a general outline of most of the camping supplies we take. Some things can obviously be added to the list, depending on factors such as: location and terrain of campsite, forecasted weather conditions and the number of adults and children.

• Tent or swag and associated bedding
• 1 or 2 gas bottles (9L and 2L is handy)
• Gas lantern (and mantles) and battery lantern (and batteries or recharger)
• Washing up bucket, washing liquid, sponges, scrubs, brush, tea towels etc
• Portable shower system
• Camp chairs
• Folding camp table
• Dust pan and brush
• Ground sheet for under tent.
• Rubber mats ($5 from supermarket - many uses other than door mat into tent, van etc).
• 3 tarps of different sizes (and extra long poles and pegs with springs)
• Gas cooker (2 burner is ideal)
• 2 x camp ovens (large and small) with lipped lids for holding coals
• Round cake rack (to lift meat off the hot base and allow air to circulate beneath food)
• Wok or large cast iron frypan (can be used on either gas burner or on open flame campfire)
• Stainless steel billys and kettle
• Jaffle iron - purely indulgent!
• Metal fire grate
• Cast iron or steel barbeque hotplate with handle/legs
• Long-handled bbq tongs, short tongs, 8 long metal skewers
• Leather gloves for handling fire tools
• Long handled pot holder for lifting lid off camp oven (9 gauge wire bent into shape will do)
• Natural fibre brush to brush off coals
• Tripod holder for hanging billys, camp oven over flame (not necessary but useful)
• Stainless steel cutlery and assorted utensils
• Plastic (melamine) plates, bowls
• Storage bowls with lids for leftovers
• Thermos
• Thermo, lidded coffee mugs

Some Extra Tips

When it comes to bedding - look for self-inflating mattresses (they look slim, but insulate from the cold and pack up small into a narrow rolled tube). Alternatively, you can pack them flat and fold them in half.

Most caravan parks have a rule about using a ground sheet under your tent. This sheet should be made of shade cloth to allow the grass to breathe.

A dust pan and brush is good for sweeping the tent floor before packing up and for sweeping the dirt off a rolled up tent before packing away.

Personal Items to Consider

Below is a list of personal items that you may want to consider taking on your camping trip. This is a general outline of most of the personal supplies we take.

• Books to read
• Games to play
• Sporting equipment
• Art supplies for painting, drawing etc
• Camera with various lenses, tripod, camera bag, cleaning solutions
• Hats, sunglasses, blockout
• High quality shoes
• High quality socks
• Clothing to suit the climate
• Toiletries and towelling

Some Extra Tips


Hiking style boots are mandatory as too are a pair of good quality sandals such as the Teva brand that can be worn in water or can be adjusted for rock climbing.

Especially needed the for those cold desert nights, look for thermo socks that use "wicking" technology to draw moisture away from the foot and evaporate off the surface of the sock. These are available from good adventure sports shops such as Paddy Palins, Mountain Design, Kathmandu etc.

A polar fleece of 200 - 300 weight is mandatory for the desert where night time temperatures can plummet to zero. You will soon realise this will be the most useful item you own as it can also double as a pillow among other things.

What to Take for Females

If you are preparing for a long term trip of many months, then consider how you might achieve ease and convenience with toiletries and hair care items. Long hair is probably easier as it can be tied back in a pony tail and a hat will cover any unsightly styles or colours, although you can ask your hairdresser for a style that will work "drip dry", as you are unlikely to bother with styling.

On a long term trip will you eventually have to visit townships to buy fuel and supplies. All towns have hairdressers and you can treat yourself there if necessary. You can also readily buy hair dyes, moisturisers etc from even the most remote stores in the outback as tourism is well catered for right across this country.

What to Take for Males

Electric hair clippers can save you on a hair cut and only requires access to a powerpoint. Most service stations have powerpoints in the toilet block where you can plug in for a spruce up at no charge. If visiting a caravan park you can even offer to cut other people's hair for a small fee of say $5. There's no trick, just set the comb size and follow the scalp to cut the hair.

What to Take to Share

If you usually avoid caravan parks then it is simpler to combine toiletries into the one bag and share common items such as shower gel soap, sponge, razor and blades, moisturiser, shampoo etc for your bush bathing. Ditto, if you can't both go at the same time, such as if you have young kids that can't be left on their own. Look for every opportunity to simplify your packing.

For additional information please read other articles in our Camping Topic such as Food & Water, Camp Tables, Camp Cooking, and Camping Lights. We also have a huge list of other articles in our Topics Index. Please refer to list of Related Pages at the bottom of this article for links.

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