So for Christmas this year we are buying the whole family (2 adults 3 kids) camping gear. We have nothing so are starting from scratch. We want to begin with the essentials and build on our collection throughout the year. Only trouble is a am going into it totally blind. We have never camped and need a tent, sleeping bags, beds etc. does anyone have any advice or tips they can give me about what to buy and what type? thanks ðŸ˜Š
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22-11-2015 08:09 #1
22-11-2015 09:05 #2
I'd aim for a tent with at least 2 rooms, preferably 3. That will give you 2 sleeping spaces & 1 communal area. Lanterns & head torches are great, although we don't use our head torches every time we camp - depends on how well the campsite is lit. We have a box that we keep all the extras in - batteries, lanterns, gas cooker, kettle etc. You don't always need this stuff especially if you start by choosing campsites that have camp kitchens & bbqs. We have built our camping gear up over time so start with basics & then add to it. Hope you enjoy it!
22-11-2015 09:13 #3Senior Member
- Join Date
- Feb 2006
Oh wow you have a big job ahead of you lol. It's taken me a few years of camping to (almost) finally be happy with my set-up, it's really trial and error IMO.
I would start googling for lists. Then google for types of tents/beds/etc etc etc, and brands. Do your research.
Then go around to all the camping shops where they have things set up for you to look at.
Then each time you go camping, bring a notepad and pen to write down alllll the things you've decided you really really need/want.
I love camping and could go on all day, but just a few things that are stand outs for me-
- for 5 people I would get a three room +annex tent. Kids in one end room, you guys in another end room, stuff in the middle room. Make sure your annex is useable!! (mine is useless and I hate it). Make sure the annex has enclosed or zipperable sides, not just mesh. Mesh lets all the rain in and then that space is wasted. I also wish my annex was a little bigger.
Get those black camp mats from Kmart to put down in the doorway for shoes.
-I could not cope without my gazebo. It's a must have IMO, especially for a family.
Under my gazebo I have my 'kitchen/living room'. My biggest love is my pantry/kitchen. I went camping a few weeks ago without it (thought I could cope without it for a weekend) and I suffered. My kitchen has a windblock screen on the table for the gas cookers (I have 2 cookers), and without it things took forever to cook. I love the pantry bit also; keeps all the food safe from possums.
-make sure you get a good esky. I want an Ice box. I'm sick of ice melting so quick in my esky, and I've heard Ice boxes are better.
-make sure you get good sleeping bags that are rated to 0 deg or lower (mine are 0 and I'm happy with that). It's surprising how cold it can get at night when you are exposed. I bought cheap summer sleeping bags and they were seriously useless. Keep in mind when buying them that there are 2 ratings; one is comfort rating, the other is minimum rating. ie one is what temp it can get to where you are still comfortable, the other is the temp it can get to before you start freezing to death lol. Some brands will predominantly advertise their minimum rating so that they sound better IYKWIM.
-buy extra tent pegs from the camping shop. Bigger ones. The ones you get in a kit are often too small and too thin, so they bend. Plus you always need a few more!
-bring extra tarps. Bring old towels. Extra ropes. Extra batteries. Extra gas canisters. Pegs. A dustpan and broom for inside the tent when you are packing up (you can get mini camping ones).
-for a family of 5... go for small stuff. Collapsible buckets/sinks/kettles/water jugs, pots that their handles come off for packing, turkish towels or hiking towels, basically whatever you get think about how much space it takes in the car.
Ummm what else...
-love my UFO lights for inside the tents. A battery lantern for the gazebo (a good one, I spent $90 to finally get one I loved). A few torches for toilet trips and for animal spotting.
-camp chairs vs table.... when my kids were younger I liked the table with bench seats, so they could sit at the table to eat without making a big mess. Now they are older and can handle sitting in a camp chair with their plates on their laps, I much prefer that. Then I have a small square table in the middle which holds allll the stuff that somehow hangs around- drink bottles, sunscreen, bug spray, car keys, wine glasses!
- get some good storage tubs. I have 3; one with all the stuff I mentioned up there ^^^ tarps etc. One with air mattresses when we bring them (for weekends we just bring mats, but tbh I am still not content with our bedding choices). One for the kitchen.
- make sure your interior car light doesn't stay on for too long when you are setting up. Learnt that on the weekend hahaha.
Have fun. Good luck with the shopping. That's all I can think of atm but if you have any more questions just ask!
22-11-2015 09:36 #4
Wow thank you so much, that's great ðŸ˜Š Bedsing is my biggest concern to be honest. I have no idea what to buy for everyone to sleep on. What would you suggest? I was thinking of buying the basics and camping at places with facilities until we work out exactly what we would need. You mentioned things I would not have even thought of. We are off tent shopping next week, and I'm so excited. We never camped as kids and I wait to create those memories with our kids. If I think of any specifics as I go, I will ask you if that's ok? It's nice to get advice from someone who has camping experience. Thanks again
22-11-2015 09:54 #5
I second the list and make sure you pack plenty of bedding. One year, early on in our camping career, we were hunting through shops in a small town for extra blankets at Christmas time. As you can imagine, there wasn't much and it cost us a fortune! We now have a caravan, but when we used air beds, I always put a blanket under the sheet. It insulates you from the cold air in the mattress. The kids will get dirty, be prepared for that lol! Pack plenty of clothes. If you're going to be going to caravan parks, you'll have showers etc for hot water. If you're bush camping, I highly recommend a gas hot water system - we have the Coleman hot water on demand. It's very handy for dishes and filling up the tub to bath the kids in. I'd say essentials are: camp chairs, bowls/plates/cutlery etc, warm bedding/sleeping bags (we've only ever used regular bedding on blow up mattresses or in the van), torches, pen and paper for writing down what you forgot and really needed so you can add it for next time, table for stuff where you're sitting, table for your kitchen area, bug spray, gas cooker and frypan/cooking utensils, lights for the tent, toys/books/games for the kids, bikes for the kids (depending on age and where you go), good esky, gazebo is really good - make sure it's fully enclosed so you can eat dinner in there away from flies or contain small crawling children)
The main thing to remember is that it can be hard with kids at the beginning, but once they are used to it and you're all set up, it gets so much easier. Do you have friends who camp? It's a brilliant idea to ask someone who goes all the time to take you on a weekend trip, that way you get the benefit of al their gear and you can see what you think you can't live without and what you can! We are fully set up and have pretty much everything you could want, so when we take friends, who don't camp, they don't need to take much as we have shower/toilet etc etc etc
22-11-2015 10:04 #6
We use a camper trailer now (which I love), but all the advice above is great for a tent.
In terms of coking stuff, if you go to a place with a camp kitchen you will find it much easier in the beginning. We have a fully kitted out kitchen box that stays with the camper, but before that I would just take stuff from home (but you do end up forgetting stuff).
Take a portable clothes line or some rope, as you always have wet towels, swimmers, clothes, dish cloths etc.
22-11-2015 20:37 #7Senior Member
- Join Date
- Feb 2006
For weekends atm I am using bedrolls. They are soooo quick and convenient, but again I'm really not comfortable, at all.
Stretchers take up too much room when folded, so that's not an option for me.
I am thinking of either trying self-inflating mattresses (they are sooo expensive though), or I'm wondering if I get better quality air mattresses if they are more comfy.
Or maybe to get some thin foam mattresses from Clark Rubber, but they would take up so much room....
22-11-2015 21:18 #8
We have the dune mattresses they are fantastic expensive but great a double is about $150-200 depending on the sales. You release the things at bottom and it fills with air it's so firm and great! No need to pump up etc
Everything from above is great also I like to take a BBQ and good food haha
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