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gear to take car camping


  • the gear you decide to take camping will depend on many factors:
    • how many are going
    • what facilities are at the camp site
    • how long you are going
    • expected weather conditions (obviously don't go if floods, gales or cyclonic winds are expected!)
    • your desire for minimalism vs glamping
  • the more gear you take, the longer it takes to pack and unpack and the less room you have in your vehicle, and more weight means more fuel expense - try for the bare minimum but I do strongly recommend the car fridge over an esky if you have the room and can afford it and a good LiFePO4 12V battery
    • those with trailer van set ups generally have a gas powered fridge and so can get away with cheaper, but much heavier, lead acid AGM 12V battery as they generally have less electric power needs.

Basic minimalism for 1-2 campers for several nights

    • whilst a small light easy to carry and set up hiking 2-3P tent may be preferred by many, a 4-6P touring tent might be more desirable for comfort
    • take extra tent pegs, preferably nice strong big ones in case and consider a tent peg removal hook and a hammer
  • night and sleeping gear:
  • hygiene gear
    • towel
    • soap, shampoo - preferably biodegradable
    • toilet paper in case there are only drop toilets or none at all in which case a small trowel is also needed to dig a hole and bury it
  • first aid kit
    • this can be minimalistic but should include at least:
  • cooking and eating utensils
    • knife, spoon (+/- fork), bowl and perhaps a plate
    • spatula for turning eggs on cooker +/- tongs
    • +/- Scotch paper towel to clean up oil, etc
    • bags for rubbish
    • adequate water for your needs
    • +/- compact kitchen sink to carry water and wash if taps or laundry is not nearby
  • cooking gear
    • most people are deciding against the traditional gas cylinder and BBQ as they take up too much room and are heavy
    • some people rely on wood fire cooking but this is banned in many camp grounds and in particular in periods of high fire danger, and you may need to bring your own wood plus a way to ensure you leave no trace, in particular, a fire scar, and you probably need to bring a shovel and an axe or even a chain saw!
    • for minimal cooking needs a hiking propane canister cooker will be very adequate for boiling cups of water, cooking eggs, bacon, thin sausages or a steak - but you may need a couple of these and some spare canisters
    • AVOID butane gas cookers in cold weather as butane does not evaporate as well as propane
    • for more versatile cooking, many love their small Weber BBQ
    • small table to prepare food is desirable but not totally necessary
  • relaxation gear
    • compact stool/chair
  • wet weather gear
    • raincoat, extra hand towels to dry inside the tent if needed
  • recreation gear
  • basic vehicle and shelter repair gear

next level up desirable gear if you have room

  • portable car fridge and lithium 12V battery
    • a car fridge ensures your food and drinks will be kept cold and takes a lot of stress out of camping
      • no need to deal with having to frequently get ice and empty the melted ice from an esky
      • confidence that your food as not gone off and risk of food poisoning is far less
      • confidence that you can take several days of perishable foods such as meats, cheese, etc
      • you will need a 12V battery - preferably a 100Ah LiFePO4 one and if going for more than a few days then some mechanism to charge it (eg. DC-DC charger from car alternator, 240V charger to use the camp laundry, or perhaps solar but this is probably not worth the hastle and bulk unless you are going for more than a week without acess to 240V power), or alternatively take a 2nd 100Ah battery to give you a few more days power - see camping off-grid - power, batteries, solar, fridges and 12V batteries, battery boxes and power stations
  • coffee maker
  • extra lighting
    • eg. LED strip lights

extended off-grid trips

  • strongly consider a solar panel to recharge your battery
  • strongly consider a communication device
    • radio beacon for dire emergencies
    • satellite phone to send update messages to family
    • a UHF CB Radios may have some utility for local contacts but has limited range

if going off-road you will need recovery gear and navigation/communication devices!

  • you need to decide whether or not you will be going to remote gravel roads or off-roads and if you do, you must take recovery gear and a mechanism to call for help such as a satellite phone or radio beacon
  • the recovery gear becomes very heavy, bulky and expensive so think carefully on whether you really want to embark on this
  • you need to bring gear to remove fallen trees from the road which may block you exit in both directions after a wind storm eg. chain saw, rope, etc

a little more luxury

  • tent heating
  • shade and privacy
    • whilst many car campers bring a gazebo, these are very bulky and very heavy
    • an alternative is to have 1-2 heavy duty tarps (eg. 3×3.6m plus a 2.4x3m side wall) with D-rings for added strength with 2-4 strong adjustable height tent poles, 4-6 guy ropes with springs, and extra strong, heavy duty metal angle iron type tent pegs to help stabilise it in the wind
  • better relaxation gear
    • a comfy outdoor chair or lounge makes relaxation much more enjoyable but these are generally heavy and bulky
    • ideally if you are looking at a stretcher to sleep on, this should be able to have the head end elevated to convert into a lounge for outdoor use - see air beds, mattresses and stretchers for camping

even more luxury

  • hot water shower +/- shower tent
    • this is really only for those going for extended periods to paces where there are no shower facilities and bathing in a river is not desirable
    • it will require:
      • access to plenty of relatively clean water which can be pumped into the shower unit
      • a hot water system
      • gas supply
      • 12V power supply
      • somewhere to mount the shower head
      • and if you want privacy or to block the wind chill, a pop-up shower tent
    • obviously all this takes up a lot of space, weight and is relatively expensive
australia/carcamping_gear.txt · Last modified: 2022/06/26 09:31 by gary1

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