Camping Gear (what makes it easy for us to get away)

The joys of camping

I’ve always had a deep love for nature but rewind 15 years, and I wouldn’t have necessarily called myself a huge outdoorsy type. Similar story with my husband: although he enjoys a lot of things that come with an outdoor lifestyle, he’s not one of those incredibly handy sort of people (like my Dad) that has the ability to make setting up a tent look effortless.  So it’s interesting how we’ve discovered the camping path together, and how integral it is now to our family life (I’m sometimes surprised that we can pull it off with four kids in tow!).    

As a family, we find ourselves increasingly keen to live more outdoors, because it’s where we all slow down and relax…and a natural consequence of that is connection.  Another good thing about camping is once you are set up, it’s (really) cheap!  If you have more than two children (and especially more than three) it starts to become even more expensive to go anywhere, plus in our experience, many places won’t cater for a family of 6 or more. 

I’m a huge advocate for camping and caravanning in general because, although it takes work and an element of perseverance, the continued benefits to our family are amazing. I guess the important point I want to make here is this: if a couple like us can become huge camping fans (and make it work) then it’s achievable for almost anyone who wants to do it.  In light of that, I’m sharing some tips about what we’ve learned along the way, especially in regards to the items we have in two main dedicated boxes to make it easy for us to get away with minimal preparation.

5 Tips for Beginners

1. Tent in the backyard or with someone who is experienced first

2. Start at a camping spot with a lot of facilities like a BBQ, water, power & toilets.

3. Build your kit bit by bit, and customise it to your own requirements

4. Keep it simple. Keep everything simple. If you don’t really (really) need to bring it, don’t.  For example, I don’t take sheets for my kids; they have a camping mat with a sleeping bag and pillow. Comfy and simple.

5. Ask others campers for tips.

Our Camping Box

We keep two dedicated boxes all ready to go whenever we go camping.  We have a general camping box and a kitchen box for plates, cups and kitchen items.  This means I don’t have to try and pull things out of the house when we decide to go camping; it’s all there ready to go which makes packing quicker and easier.

1. General Camping Box

This is what we have in it:

Food/Cooking staples
Zip lock & Garbage bags
Dustpan & Broom
Sun cream
Paper Towel & Tissues
Hot water bottles
Batteries
Light / Torches
Housekeeping items
Insect protection
Cleaning items 

A dedicated camping box

It all fits inside this Stanley 55L sturdy container.

camping box

camping box

Inside the camping box I have more boxes:

Batteries

Variety of sizes (for whatever we have, like torches etc.)w

camping - batteries Tips

  • I keep a variety of batteries we need in small clear sistema boxes (labled on the front with a permanent marker)

Cleaning

Spray disinfectant
Dish washing liquid
Hand sanitizer 
Laundry liquid

camping - cleaningTips

  • Look for more envionmentally friendly cleaning options.
  • Keep dishwashing and washing detergent in a zip lock bag to make sure any spillage doesn’t spread everywhere.  I don’t tend to replace these because they are a safe guard only (and to minimse waste).

Food/Cooking Staples

Jam
Sauce
Mustard
Salt
Pepper
Vegemite
Peanut Butter
Coffee
Tea
Foil
Oil

camping - food and cooking staples Tips

  • Most of these items are non-perishables.  For perishable items, I put them in the fridge and pull them out or replace the next time we camp.
  • It’s great to have this in a separate small box so it can be pulled out in one go when it comes to eating and cooking.
  • I find spray oil better because the spill factor is very low.

Housekeeping

Dish Brush
Pegs
Tea Towel x 2
Wipe Cloths x 2

camping - housekeepingTips

  • Straight plastic pegs (as shown above) are great because they are not affected by weather and rust and they are slim line so easy to pack.
  • When you’re home from camping, wash tea towels and clothes and once dry, put straight back into the camping box so you don’t have to think about it next time you camp. It’s already done. 

2. Kitchen Box

We keep another box for our kitchen items. Keep it simple. This is all we need for our family of six.

Laundry Tub
Kettle
Plastic Serving Platter
Utensils
Cutlery
Plates
Bowls
Cups
Mugs
Egg Carton
Spare container
Knife
Board
Cast iron Saucepan (we pack this separately because it’s really heavy!) 

camping -- kitchen boxTips

  • Don’t keep bananas in an esky with other food as they can affect the taste of items like bread
  • Buy a sharp knife with a cover
  • If you keep food cold with ice, don’t put a cardboard egg carton in (it will go soft and the eggs will break). Keep eggs in a plastic camping carton you can purchase from camping places like Anaconda

3. Toiletries

Band-Aids
Medication
Toothbrushes
Toothpaste
Shampoo & Conditioner
Soap
Deodorant
Hair bands & brush
Case

camping toiletriesTips

  • Zip lock bags or small pasltic containers are great for sectioning and keeping things organised in the toiletry bag.
  • I keep soap in a small Sistema container. The seal lid makes for minimal spillage and because it’s clear, you can see how much soap is left.

4. Camping Gear

All that’s left is the tent and gear.  We are fairly extensively set up now so we can go anywhere (with or without power).  You don’t need what we have below to get started with camping (we started with a tent, bbq and esky). 

Camping Gear

camping in tent as a family of six

camping food

This is a camping meal favourite: One Pot Beef Nachos

Camping Gear

This is what we have:

Tent – we own a Black Wolf – Turbo Plus 300 Tent – sleeps 6-8 (purchased in 2011 on a fabulous speical)
Tarp (for under the tent)
Large Tarp and fly kit (for outdoor living space)
Mattress (We use self-inflating mats rather than air mattress)
Sleeping Bag (I don’t do sheets for the kids, they have their mat and a sleeping bag for the top with a pillow)
Camping chairs
Esky (for food)
Ice Box (as a fridge)
Gas burner
Camp cupboard (we have one like this)
2 x fold out tables (You can find these at Officeworks, Bunnings, Kmart and camping speciality stores)
Small 2 burner protable BBQ
LED strip lights (you can never have too much light!)
Foxwing awning (for the car) 
Cheetah roof rack
MSA 4 x 4 roof rack bag

5. Other Items

  • Always take a bath mat. I tend to use one just inside the tent
  • A flexi tub is awesome for shoes outside the tent
  • Old towels
  • Picnic Mat
  • Large water container (drinking water)
  • A Rubber Mat for outside the tent helps to minimise walk through mess
  • First Aid Kit – we keep ours in the car.
  • Toys and games – Frisbee, tennis ball, soccer, rugby ball, board games (keep dice in a container like this: Travel Dice).

6. Transporting it all

We have a 4-wheel-drive and a small trailer that fits most of our camping gear. The trailer is almost solely used for camping, so again, it’s easy to get away because it’s already packed.

Camping trailer

(I put the boogie board bag there to show the size of the trailer).

Camping trailer

The Foxwing is great (it’s essentially an awning for the car).  We leave it on the car and can put it up in 5 minutes.  It’s especially great for pitching out on the beach. You can see it in action here.

Fox Swing Car

 We also have a Cheetah roof rack and a MSA 4 x 4 roof rack bag that we can use if we need it. 

Roof Rack

I looked through these pictures from our most recent camping trip…and it captualates the freedom and joy that it brings. 

camping

camping

camping

camping

motherhood x

Camping hair rocks. Just saying.

Other Camping Related Posts

Camping Food

Sometimes I think we are crazy

My family hasn’t turned out like I thought it would

Travel Dice

A Car Box

Family Holiday Packing

The importance of family holidays

I fondly remember my childhood family holidays.  Recently, my Dad asked me, “Do you remember us taking you to ________?”

I couldn’t remember, and I could tell my Dad was a little disappointed.  Then I said, “Dad, it doesn’t matter that I can’t remember every single place we visited, what matters is you and Mum created memories of an overwhelmingly happy childhood.”

Holidays are about creating memories of an overwhelmingly happy childhood.

That’s what it’s about: memories and that sense of belonging.  Now I’m the parent and am in the midst of the memory making stage of parenting. We make it a priority to take a family holiday every year (and take mini long weekend holidays whenever we can).

Holiday Bag

On our official annual family holiday, I pack a special bag of goodies for each of my children. This doesn’t have to be expensive.  Typically I include these things:

* Colouring/activity book

* Small toy

* Lollies (a rare thing in our family)

* New Book

* Green Shopping Bag

Family Treat

I like to take a family-fun treat too, like a board game. I love how the The Book Chook puts it: “I can’t resist activities that give kids opportunities for learning and socializing, wrapped up in a package of fun.”

Other ideas: skipping rope, a variety of balls (for ball games), Frisbee, kite, 

The Holiday Box

I also have a dedicated holiday box, similar to our camping box.  The idea of the box is it’s already packed and ready to take with you on holidays.  From matches to paper towel and BBQ utensils to paper plates, it’s all there.

This are some of the things I keep in the box:

  • Aluminium foil
  • Glad bags
  • Bin liners
  • Pegs
  • Washing powder
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • Medication (panadol/nurofen)
  • Tea towels
  • Hand towel
  • Bath mat
  • Disinfectant
  • Matches
  • BBQ Utensils
  • Toilet paper
  • Paper towel
  • Kitchen cloths
  • Hand sanitiser 
  • Washer
  • Baby wipes
  • Plastic plates/cups/cutlery (for picnics)
  • Colouring pencils
  • Batteries
  • White vinegar
  • Take-away container

Notes: When you come home from holidays, I replenish the box so it’s ready for next time.

Printable Packing Lists

Below are links to the printable packing lists I use (incase they are of use to anyone). These can be great for older kids too, so they can pack and tick the items off the list themselves.

The Holiday Box Packing List

Basic Food Packing List

Summer Packing List

Winter Packing List

The Car Box List

You can find a post about the car box here: The Car Box.

Pin it

You can rePin this post here.

More Holiday Posts

Budget Family Holiday Tips

Packing camping gear

Packing camping food

Memory Making

Travel Dice

Entertaining Kids on Long Car Trips

Aussie Road Trip