It is no news that you need to be properly prepared before heading to the outback to make your trip relaxing and more enjoyable. If you are far enough from civilization there is no option to resupply mid camping. Especially if you are hiking or camping far from your base station, your best bet is being equipped with the most essential pieces of survival gear.
Then again, keep in mind that no two trips are alike. The amount of food you need to take, the gear, the weather conditions, terrain configuration, group size and morale, your physical condition and even your mental state will be different every time you hit the road. For this very reason, you need to have a camping essentials checklist to make your life easier.
Originally considered the ultimate survival tools, knives for camping are a versatile camping essential. Whether it is a stainless steel knife with a serrated edge or a long blade, you can use it to cut timber for fire during camping, fishing, or even hunting. When it’s time to eat, a sharp camping knife can skin or gut a fish or simply double as cutlery for meals. If you have a folding knife, you can put it away swiftly, if not, it’s recommended to also take a knife sheath and store it like the rest of your hunting gear.
It’s a generic term, however, it applies to any tool you choose to start a camping fire with. Survivalists use Ferro rods which can be scratched with a knife to produce sparks, however, you can go with something more convenient. Having a set of matches stored in a waterproof box can be very handy and any type of gas lighter is even better.
This is one of the multi-purpose utility items that are indispensable in camping. It doesn’t have to be specifically a rope, any cord or military-grade paracord would do. You can use it to set your tent up (if you lose or damage the utility cords), to hang wet clothes to dry, to secure any pieces of gear on a tree branch, etc.
You don’t want to forget a light source when going camping. The most popular option is a camping torch with a high and reliable output. They design them very well these days, so you can have extended runtime, multiple modes (high, low, strobe), more than one colour (reg, green, blue) packed in an ergonomic and heavy-duty case. Apart from a flashlight, you can also take a camping lantern or a headlamp. Both are very useful for night hunting and hiking.
Another staple of camping you simply can’t forget. Although it seems self-evident, sometimes it’s hard to accommodate large groups in tents if everyone doesn’t have their own. So, make sure you provision extra shelter or sleeping space – even a hammock can save the trip.
Don’t be fooled by the hot days in Australia. A sleeping bag with a decent amount of insulation and heat retention is very important. One that is lightweight and easy to store is always a plus. In a family camping trip, this item might be the most important piece to take with you when travelling with kids.
These past years have gone from one extreme to the other. Either we get floods or it doesn’t rain at all. You need to be prepared regardless. Packing appropriate rain gear can be the difference between a ruined trip and a fun experience in the rain. Make sure that at least your outer layer is waterproof. Camping clothes include many layers. Just make sure you have enough to add or remove a layer at any time.
Personal care items are hard to pinpoint because everyone has different needs. Everyone needs clean towels, disinfectant, soap, sun protection, etc. Consider your needs and pack accordingly.
First Aid Kit
At least one person in a group should cover medical emergencies. We are talking about basics here – painkillers, prescription therapy (if applicable), stitches and bandages. Knives for camping can be handy but make sure to also take with you some scissors. You can make your first aid kit more elaborate and you certainly need to adjust it to the specific needs of each member.
Once you cover the necessities, you can take many other items provided you have space in your backpack or vehicle. Some don’t leave without packing a portable shower or a full set of utensils. Others are not into outdoor kitchens but have a strong passion for photography so they pack an extra bag with camera equipment, drones, spare batteries and the like. Spare batteries are especially important for your camping torch, mobile phone and similar gadgets.
Entertainment comes in different forms – some are willing to take a musical instrument with them (a guitar let’s say) while taking a memory device packed with music and podcasts is a preference of younger generations. Reading books at a campsite is natural for some. At the same time, some campers consider spending outdoor time with their face buried in a book a waste of an opportunity to experience camping.
It all comes to your priorities and the preferences and needs of your group.