Crucial Camping Checklist
There are simple priorities when we go out bush. So, here’s a must-bring list when you consider packing for your next camping trip.
Preparation is imperative for any relaxing off-grid expedition. And there are a myriad of important items you should never leave home without - by the way, the American Express card is optional. Creating a must-bring list - placing particular emphasis on bedding, clothing, communication, first-aid, food, lighting, water, protection and shelter - is crucial.
Obviously, knowing what to pack for a comfortable and enjoyable camping trip will be influenced by region, season and duration.But, when it’s all said and done, it all comes down to plain old common sense.
So here’s a ‘camping checklist’ that you can readily adopt on your next outdoor adventure.
You don’t have to be a ‘Sleeping Beauty’ while camping, but it’s wise to purchase quality bedding.
Most people consider comfortable bedding compulsory at home, and it’s probably even more relevant when exposed to the elements.
Don’t ‘tighten the purse strings’ on self-inflating or air mattresses, sleeping bags, camp stretchers, blankets etc.
Adopt this mind-set; it will guarantee you’re as ‘snug as a bug in a rug’ and help you ‘sleep like a baby’.
Nobody wants a winter of discontent!
DRESS FOR SUCCESS
One doesn’t have to ‘dress to impress’ while out in the sticks, but the camping soothsayers will tell you dressing for the prevailing conditions is vital.
You can experience four seasons in one day in various regions, so the following attire would be a good starting point for stuffing into any ‘kit bag’ (well, you could be packing up your troubles, if you’ll excuse the pun): jeans/pants; shorts; shirts; jackets; footwear; wet weather apparel; underwear; socks; hats etc.
And ‘insulate’ your body, according to the season, with an additional layer of clothing.
You don’t want a communication breakdown while way off the beaten track.
So a Personal Locating Beacon (PLB) is a handy travelling companion when you require emergency communication. Being GPS-equipped, they can certainly reduce rescue times.
Other communicable devices worth their weight in gold in more remote camping situations are two-way radios, walkie-talkies and satellite phones.
And you can also navigate with a GPS navigation system, such as a Hema HX-1, or even a topographic map and a compass with map-reading knowledge.
Some compasses are equipped with a sighting mirror which can also be used to flash sunlight to search and rescue personnel during an emergency.
You can bet ‘London to a brick’ that someone is going to fall foul of the testing terrain while free camping.
Enter the humble - albeit essential - first-aid kit that will soothe more than your mind.
Their scope of treatment seems endless, and there are well-stocked pre-assembled kits that will cater for burns/scalds, cuts, illness, injuries and bites/stings etc.
A list of the more ubiquitous items include: adhesive, roll and pressure immobilisation bandages; cotton swabs; band-aids; hot/cold compression packs; eye wash; antiseptics/disinfectants; sterile gauze; nitrile gloves; personal medication; insect repellant; sunscreen; antibiotic lotions; tweezers; scissors etc.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
“The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” is more truism than hackneyed phrase.
So a reliable cooking device, or a good campfire (non-summer period), is a godsend while camping.
An adequate culinary list (camp kitchen pantry) would include items such as a two-burner stove, campfire grill, cooking utensils, cooking oil, water jugs, bowls and plates, cutting board, paper towel, aluminium foil, dishwashing liquid, matches/fire starters, pots/pans and food containers.
And always pack supplementary food that is nutritional - dried fruits, energy bars, nuts etc.
Obviously, perishable food and beverage needs to be kept cold, and that’s where a good portable cooler, well-insulated ice box or 12V fridge comes into play.
You can’t solely rely on a campfire for lighting. Hence the beauty of LED lighting and its power consumption efficiency.
A good hands-free headlamp or a flashlight provide brilliant illumination in bush settings and are a must-have for avoiding campsite hazards at night.
Most headlamps are small and lightweight, and command a long battery life - particularly in strobe mode, which is handy in emergencies.
And flashlights with powerful beams come into their own when emergency signalling.
Water is a human’s lifeblood. So it’s totally necessary to fathom out the quality and quantity available when setting up camp.
Additional water should also be carried for even better hydration. It’s worth noting that an adult’s average necessary fluid intake is 4-6L per day. And that’s before you take into account washing up and personal hygiene.
A water filter/purifier is indispensable as contaminated water exposes you to infection and disease.
And always check water sources if travelling for extended periods.
Sun protection in hotter camping climes is integral.
So slip on the sunnies and slip, slop, slap on the sunscreen.
Settle on sunglasses that block 100 per cent of ultraviolet light. And when selecting sunscreen, insist on SPF 30 - a sun protection factor recommended for extended outdoor leisure.
You should re-apply sunscreen every two hours, and wear lightweight clothing with an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF).
When it comes to being sun smart, inspiration beats perspiration!
Confused on the issue of keeping the elements at bay. Well, it’s not all that complicated.
Most intrepid travellers will have a swag or tarp at the ready to deal with inclement conditions.
And if you’re not ‘glamping’ in a caravan or camper trailer, then a waterproof tent becomes your rolled-gold way to keep the wind and rain at bay.
Of course you’ll also need a ground cover, entrance matting, guy ropes, poles, tent pegs and a hammer.
Don’t allow the elements to win the battle!
Assorted goodies also worth packing for the long haul offroad are: camp chairs; fold-up table; washing-up tub; miscellaneous tools (eg. axe, shovel, survival blade); personal/hygiene paraphernalia; waterproof matches/lighter/candles; fire extinguisher/fire blanket.
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