The secret to a successful camping trip is research and planning. It is essential to research the area in which you wish to go camping. An understanding of the area will allow you to prepare for the conditions you are likely to encounter. For instance, if you are travelling to beachside areas, the ground is likely to be sandy and you will need a selection of suitable sand pegs. However, in other areas the ground could be very hard, hence the need for strong short pegs.
Consider also the prevailing conditions. Some coastal areas can be windier than inland areas, so the need for extra ropes, pegs, possible windbreaks etc. should be considered. Research into what temperatures can be expected at night will determine what rating sleeping bag you will need.
A check list compiled several weeks prior to departure can save a lot of stress. A typical check list should be:
- Take the tent out of storage and check general condition, with particular attention paid to peg loops, zips and fly screens. This should be done 3-4 weeks prior to departure to allow adequate time to have any needed repairs done. Check the frame to ensure all parts are there and nothing has been left behind at the last camp site. Count and check pegs and guy ropes to ensure adequate supplies, bearing in mind what was previously discussed regarding ground conditions.
- Clean and test light the gas stove and any lamps you will be using. Ensure the stove burns well and if going on an extended trip, consider taking spare gas jets. Make sure that you have ample supply of mantels for gas lamps to last the entire trip, bearing in mind mantels are brittle and easily broken if traveling day in and day out. Check all O-rings and conditions of stove hoses so that no problems are encountered on the trip. Should you be the least bit apprehensive about your gas equipment, please take it to a reputable dealer and have it checked.
- Air beds, camp stretchers and whatever other forms of sleeping equipment should be inflated or assembled to ensure that all functions well on the trip.
- Research of the destination will indicate whether there is a need to take BBQs. The availability of ice should be ascertained if travelling to remote areas. If no ice is available, it may be necessary to invest in some form of portable refrigerator.
To ensure a comfortable stay during your holiday, it is necessary to follow a few simple rules when setting up camp:
- Make sure the area you are to set the tent up on is free from sharp objects that are likely to damage the floor of the tent.
- Check to see there are no ants nests.
- Check there are no overhanging branches that are likely to dislodge on a windy night. This is especially dangerous around and under gum trees.
- Ensure that you are not erecting your tent in a natural waterway, not necessarily a riverbed, but anywhere water can channel during heavy rains.
Erecting the tent
- Always, if possible, have the rear of the tent facing the prevailing conditions.
- Use appropriate pegs for ground conditions.
- Always put guy ropes on tents – it may be calm when you erect your tent, but windy conditions can roll in quickly and catch you unaware.
- If you are at all concerned about water channelling towards your tent, especially if your tent is on a slight slope or at the base of a slope, dig a trench on the up side of your camp site to divert any run off away from the tent.
- If possible, wait until the tent is completely dry before dismantling, as this will alleviate the need to re-erect the tent at home. Storing the tent in a wet or damp condition will result in mildew – effectively shortening the life of the tent.
- Check that all poles and pegs are dry to prevent the onset of rust.
- Before leaving the campsite, be sure that all biodegradable rubbish is disposed of correctly. It should either be buried deep enough for animals not to be able to dig it up, in areas where this is necessary, or disposed of into the Council or Shire bins. All non biodegradable rubbish must be removed and disposed of correctly. Remember, throwing cans into the fire does not make them biodegradable.
LEAVE YOUR CAMPSITE CLEANER THAN YOU FIND IT- Leave nothing but footprints.