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crustyadventures Random travel thoughts from WorldNomad's Community Manager

Newnes, Blue Mountains

AUSTRALIA | Sunday, 15 April 2012 | Views [1082]

Heading off camping at the end of this week... First time in a few months.  I know when I open the little cupboard under the stairs, there will be a few ready packed boxes meant to make the departure a little easier and quicker.  Nonetheless, the gear can be overwhelming.  Especially there's now two kids with kid-gear.

Friends often want to come camping with us as we're well equipped and they can lig off our gear.  That's fine and it's nice to have friends to sit around the fire with.  Hey, they can bring the wine!

But it's always a fine line between comfort and gear-overload.  I don't actually want to take my lounge room into the great outdoors. So, what IS in the cupboard under the stairs?

THE camping box has now been packed since 1999. A 6 month trip around Oz in a 4WD helped us refine core camping gear into a single box - torches, camp lanterns (we've tried everything and have now settled on solar recharging LEDs), matches and lighters, gaffa tape, batteries, loo paper, mozzie coils, sunscreen, washing up liquid and collapsible bowl, a sponge, a tiny folding rack for campfire cooking,  an MSR WhisperLite Stove, a backup Trangia stove and fuel.


Food and eating - When you're on the go for a few months, you buy as you drive, stock up and then let supplies dwindle. When you've got a 5 day trip only, the less time spent in supermarkets the better. And kids don't wait patiently for food, nor happily live off canned spinach for a few days, so it's worth planning this part well.

There's an always packed food essentials box: Vegemite, honey, olive oil, salt & pepper, mixed herbs, garlic salt, baked beans for kids, porridge, tea bags and a bag of pasta and pesto. The other permanently packed eating box has cutlery, plates, bowls, 1 frypan, 1 saucepan and a kettle and some tea towels.

We take a big esky and it's full to the brim with fresh food... i'm just not the type to live off 2-minute noodles and it's not necessary when you've got a car to carry it in.  This - and our clothes - are about the only things that aren't permanently packed.

We've also now got a Coleman two burner stove (we run it on Shellite/WhiteGas ) ... I know we've got stove overload now, but that's just the evolution of fast-and-light-couples-travel into slower-with-kids-and-the-kettle's-always-on.

Two small folding tables - one for eating and one for stove/washing up.  A chair each. This is definitely a concession to getting older. And cheaper than my chiropractor ;-)

A tarpaulin + some poles.  The poles seem necessary in Australia as many of the national parks have Rangers who love nothing more than coming around and making you deconstruct your exquisite tarp erected artfully between a few trees ("Madam - Nothing tied to the trees - you'll get a fine for that!!")

Sleeping - Love, love, love our Vaude Division Dome tent (this one).  Big enough for 4 plus a decent vestibule to keep gear out of the rain.  Small enough that it goes up in 10 minutes and doesn't take up all the room in the car.  Also have a double inflatable camp mat for the kids.  It's so good, we'll ditch our bulky 4WD mattress at some point and get another.

I spend a lot of time thinking about the smallest, easiest options to keep the Gear explosion to a minimum, but reading this already makes me groan.  There's no denying that with kids + age, comfort + the Good Life, the gear certainly doesn't fit a backpack.  Oh well, when I look out of my tent on the weekend up at the red rock walls of the Newnes valley, it'll all be worth it.

Tags: camping, gear


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