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car camping / glamping MY WAY


  • this is for those who wish to have the most versatile set up for most weather conditions and get the best sleep possible with good day time amenity while camping near your car
  • this is NOT over the top glamping such as this South Korean guy who has almost every gadget possible and even a large screen TV set up and a major security risk just asking to be stolen:
  • some of this gear I have suggested will be able to be taken on overnight hikes as well to avoid doubling up on camping gear (see at bottom of page)
  • if you are primarily into hiking overnight and on a limited budget then you may prefer just to stick with a 2P ultralight hiking tent and hiking mat
  • many like a swag or 2-3P tent for car camping as they can be warmer thanks to less air volume than a 4P tent BUT there are many compromises these options make such as:
    • can't stand up so you have to get changed sitting down or outside the tent
    • minimal view of the outside world, especially if it is raining or very windy
    • lack of space which can really impact your enjoyment if you are rained in
    • small or no vestibule area for cooking or keeping your gear
    • far too hot to be inside on a sunny day - you would need to set up a relatively thick tarp to give good shade and this can be more problematic in strong winds
    • hiking mat is not as comfortable or as wide for your elbows and knees and has less thermal insulation

My basic criteria for the tent

  • must be able to be carried easily by one person even if wet (ie. max. weight around 15kg) - this excludes canvas tents
  • must be able to be transported on rear seat of a car and not need a roof rack - this excludes most Oztents
  • must be easy to set up and take down by one adult
  • must be tall enough to stand in
  • must have sufficient space to allow 2 people and an area for a chair and table to cook on
  • must have a front and rear door to allow emergency egress and to manage changing wind directions
  • must be at least 3 season and cope with most storms
  • must be relatively affordable
  • plenty of guy out points for strong wind protection
  • adequate waterproofing
  • preferably allow space for a hiking tent without fly if you need to create a warmer space on cold nights
  • for a Summer tent, preferably should also have:
    • lots of meshed ventilation
    • a Blockout-type fly so you can live and sleep during the day despite the sun (when temperatures are below 25degC)
    • space for a 2P Mozzie mesh tent if you want extra insect protection or warmth
  • for a Winter tent, it should also have:
    • a stove jack in case you want to use a wood stove not only for heating but also cooking a roast even if it is raining
    • snow skirts to provide extra wind chill protection
    • if you plan on camping in a snow area, should be designed to cope with a load of snow dumping (eg. relatively steep sides)

My preferred car camping 3 season glamping set up for 1-2 people

  • 4P or 6P Fast Frame Blockout tent with two doors and a good size vestibule
    • currently, the Oztrail Fast Frame 4P Blockout is the best fit and very affordable at $AU279 on special however the 6P provides more space if you use a 2P Mozzie tent inside like I do.
      • features of this tent:
        • offers fast easy inner set up needing only one person which can stand alone without the fly in good weather and allow good views of the sky and ability to close up all windows and doors for wind chill or light rain protection (will need either a 2.4mx2.4m light tarp or larger to clamp to the poles if it rains - or put the fly on). Hopefully an forthcoming updated version will allow guy out of the inner tent for better wind protection without the fly.
        • fly offers great wind/rain protection as well as providing the Blockout layer so you can sleep during the sunny days without getting too hot and the nice vestibule and rear awning.
        • tall enough to stand up in so no more having to get changed while lying down or sitting
        • vestibule is large enough for a good sized chair and a table providing shelter from sun/wind/rain and an area to cook in
        • large dual doors front and back - great if the wind direction changes and you close up one end, and provides a valuable secondary escape option if there are issues in the vestibule such as a fire or a snake.
        • all windows (except ceiling mesh) and doors are mesh with an inner fabric to zip up for allowing excellent ventilation control, full privacy or wind/rain protection even without the fly (do need a tarp to protect the ceiling mesh though) - even without the inner fabric zipped up, someone would need to stand within 2m to see you sleeping on a mattress on the floor.
        • mesh is No-See-Um so not even the biting midges/sand flies will get through, and they are hard to see into the tent when the inside is dark (as it usually is even in day time if there is no direct sunlight coming in) offering extra privacy protection, even if someone uses a torch outside
        • good quality waterproof bucket floor
        • can withstand strong winds IF the fly is on securely AND you guy it out well
        • rear awning is a nice touch (although it does collect rain water, and mine leaks a little into tent doorway if it is open) and can be supplemented with a tarp to wall it off in winds
        • NB. there is a smaller, lighter 3P version but it does not have Blockout nor a large vestibule. Coleman have a 3P blockout version but no rear door, mesh is not midgee-proof and floor is a noisy crinkly material.
        • NB. Coleman have a similar tent, the Northstar Instant Up 4 Lighted DarkRoom Tent but this does not have the nice large rear door, ceiling does not have mesh so can't see the sky, and the mesh is ultrafine but may not be No-See-Um midgee proof
        • NB. there are larger Fast Frame tents but these require two people to set up and are obviously bigger and heavier
  • extra pegs, guy ropes and peg hammer
    • it is wise to take some larger peg designed for sand or hard soils and a few strong guy ropes in case you encounter very strong winds - preventing damage to your tent is far better than having to pack up all wet in the middle of the night!
  • plenty of nice medium sized plastic clamps
    • I use these for a range of uses such as clamping back doors or vestibules so they are at the position I want to optimise visibility vs wind/rain protection, and don't flap in the breeze (tents have toggles to hold them in place but they only allow one position and can be a pain to undo in the dark)
    • I also use them to attach a tarp to the top of the 4P tent when not using the fly, or to attach the clear PVC to the 2P mozzie tent
  • 2P freestanding Mozzie tent to either use separately on hot nights, at the beach, or use within the 4P tent to allow the 4P tent doors to be fully open so you can see outside ground level while lying on a mattress and still have insect protection
    • my preferred option is the OZtrail Mozzie Dome 2 Tent which is ~$AU80 on special although I purchased 4mx8.5mm x 2 alloy poles on Ebay separately to replace the more brittle and heavier supplied fibreglass poles which are almost twice the weight with each weighing 400g
    • in cold winds this can be supplemented with clear 0.3mm 2.4×1.35m PVC sheet draped over the windy half (Bunnings sell this for about $AU26 on a roll) and clamped on the top to reduce wind chill and retain more body heat (if fully tent is almost fully covered eg. by using a 0.1mm clear 2.4×1.35m PVC sheet draped over the half and clamped to the poles - leave some ventilation though!) but still give visibility outside
      • tip: a 0.1mm thick 2.4×2.8m clear tarp will not only practically fully cover the 2P Mozzie tent with clamping on the poles, but will also provide adequate rain protection clamped to the roof of the 4P tent when not using its fly!
        • the thinnest 99.9% transparent clear tarp generally available is a 0.3mm (11.8mil) PVC (you can buy 0.1mm clear PVC in 1.35m wide rolls but not usually as a tarp)
          • NB. 0.3mm PVC does smell as it off-gases so consider hanging it outside for a few days before using it on your Mozzie tent as it may not be good for you. PVC has important advantages over PE - much less flammable, more transparent, less noisy, more scratch resistant and more durable
        • you can get the thinner 0.1mm PE “transparent” tarp but this has a cloudy appearance
    • this is also pretty good for taking to the beach or having a power nap under a tree on long car trips and getting protection from march flies, bull ants and other insects (may wish to clamp on a small light tarp as sun protection or wind protection.
    • it is also a nice travel option when you are expecting hot nights and wish to sleep on a balcony or the rooftop instead of air conditioning, just add a ultralight hiking air mattress and use the hotel's pillow and blanket.
  • a light weight hiking tarp
    • a hiking tarp is far less noisy than the cheap tarps in hardware stores and will allow you to create sun/wind/rain protection options
    • you may wish to also take a 2-4 adjustable tent poles and a few guy ropes
    • example DD Hammocks M 3.5×2.4m tarp (~$AU65 on special)
      • makes a nice sloping wind protection wall attached to the 4P tent guy out points with a couple of extra adjustable tent poles for versatility and pegged to the ground.
      • can be used to create a relatively storm resistant shelter for your 2P Mozzie tent in a plow point set up with 1 tent pole or a tree to attach it to (although a 4x4m tarp would give more coverage on the sides).
      • can be used as a quick fly over the 4P inner tent if it rains - just clamp it to the tent poles, or for visibility and ventilation in the rain, guy it out.
      • can be used in a flying A-frame to cover a hammock if you decide to have one for lounging around in day time or even optional sleep solution at night.
      • can be used to create a sun shade over half the tipi tent or rainproof awning over the door of the tipi tent (with a couple of tent poles and guy ropes)
  • good wide thermally insulating mattress
    • most modern “3D” style memory foam self-inflating air mattresses should be good and your butt is not likely to sink as it would with cheaper non-3D designs - you have been warned! spend the extra money!
    • I bought two Blackwolf Hexatherm XL 3D 90cm wide mattresses (~$AU239 on special each) but there are quite a few good options out there (albeit, not at 90cm wide but only 76cm wide) such as Exped Megamat King, Thermarest MondoKing 3D, Zempire Monstamat King
    • these tend to retain the day time warmth and this helps to keep you warmer at night
    • NB. a fully inflatable air bed without the foam is a POOR insulator and will not keep you warm on cold nights!
  • a vestibule floor mat
    • this is to reduce dirt coming into the tent (yes still have a small towel for cleaning your feet on entry and a small brush for sweeping out dirt and insects) and can be used to reduce wombats coming in if it can be clamped to the tent doorway at 6-8“ height
    • consider folding up a 2.5x4m Companion Annex Matting (~$AU99) - this is a nice size for the 3.8m diameter tipi tent!
    • you could use a small cheap tarp but these are very noisy to walk on or when the wind catches them, plus tend to fill up with water if they extend outside the fly area.
    • alternatively, you can use those square rubber mats which join together but these can't be clamped at 6” above the ground at your tent door entry to discourage wombats coming in
  • bedding
    • my preference is for sheets and a quilt or doona (or open sleeping bag) so you are not restricted as with a sleeping bag and you sleep as close to normal sleep at home as possible
    • a nice pillow
    • a foam U shaped neck pillow with a thin head cover to keep you head and neck warm on cooler nights or when there is a breeze
    • optionally, in winter, a 12V electric blanket or 5V USB small throw rug
  • cooking
    • my minimalistic approach is a small gas cartridge hiking stove (these tolerate the wind better than most larger gas stoves) such as the Soto OD-1RX Windmaster gas stove (~$AU90) and pot set such as the 360degree Furno Pot set (~$AU40) and a small frying pan and a few utensils as desired
  • refrigeration
    • for a one nighter, an esky with ice or no esky or fridge at all may suffice (just don't take perishables that will not last the journey - ie. skip the milk or meats - unless frozen and you are thawing them en route)
    • for longer trips, a 36L car fridge such as the Dometic Waeco CFX3 35 Fridge / Freezer (~$AU1199 on special) is really awesome and fits under the hide in my Subaru Outback
      • TIP: the shelf area in this fridge is about 5degC warmer so use this for fruit, eggs, chocolate, etc that do not need to be, and should not be, at 2degC
      • of course with this you will need a 12V LiFePO4 100Ah battery (~$AU600) with a compact light battery box (eg. Dune $AU69)
        • if staying for more than a few days you will need a method of charging this such as:
          • an AC 25A charger eg. BPC122531014 Victron Blue Smart IP65 Charger 12/25 which costs ~$AU380 - don't get the 15A version, you will save a lot of time with the 25A version
          • and optionally if there is no AC power at the site, a 25A DC-DC charger if you wish to charge it while driving (eg. Redarc ~$AU599 needs to be wire installed in car), or a solar panel option with lithium battery charger
      • THIS car fridge option will cost you at least $AU2300 and a bit more if you get a DC-DC charger or solar but it really does turn your camping into a better glamping experience - no more guessing if your food has gone off in the esky as the ice has melted, no more food getting soiled by soaking in the melted ice, no more emptying the water out of a heavy esky to refill it with ice - if you can find any, PLUS you get portable power to recharge your phone, USB devices, 12V electric blanket, etc
      • I also bring a small esky (without ice) to put my cooking gear and utensils in plus any foods that will not enjoy heat such as chocolates, fruit.
  • a nice chair
  • a nice head lamp
    • the Black Diamond Storm 500 R (~$AU109 on special) is light at 100g, not too expensive given the feature set, very versatile, USB rechargeable and waterproof- so this takes my recommendations in 2022 - it is one of the few headlamps with a useful dimmable red light for reading
  • a USB rechargeable tent lantern with red or orange LED option
    • there are a multitude of these (although finding one with orange or red is not so easy!)- best to get a USB rechargeable one, and preferably one that can be dimmed and use a orange or red light so you don't attract the insects (they can't see red light)
  • optionally, a small table to cook on

costs (at special pricings in $AU)

4P tent $370
mattress $240
pot set and basic stove $50
extra pegs, guy ropes, etc $50
head lamp $110
tent lantern $60
extras needed depending upon budget - pillow, sleeping bag, chair, table ~$500
Sub-total $1380
optional 2P mozzie tent $80
optional tarp $70
optional vestibule mats plus ground sheet protection $100
optional windmaster stove $90
Total with the above options $1720
opt. fridge + 100Ah LiFePO4 battery + AC charger $2300
opt. 12V electric blanket $50
Total GLAMPING set up as above $4070
opt. Winnerwell Nomad Medium wood stove with water boiler and pipe oven $700
opt. Meater Plus Bluetooth meat thermometer for cooking roasts in the pipe oven $200
opt. rechargeable lithium shower pump, water bucket $120
opt. DC-DC car charging with installation ~$800
opt. solar panels and charging ~$300
Total Glamping with full battery charging options, wood stove, oven, hot water and shower $6190

if temperatures will fall below 10degC and you get cold-induced coughing/asthma

  • aim to maintain a warm air mass inside the 2P tent to breathe by:
    • almost fully cover the 2P Mozzie tent with material such as your 0.1-0.3mm PVC or PE or use a full fabric 2P freestanding hiking tent without its fly instead (you will need some ventilation to minimise condensation!)
    • replace the mattress with a king size stretcher bed to elevate your head within the 2P tent (heat rises)
    • use a 12V electric blanket so you can sleep semi-naked without shivering and use your body heat with the blanket to warm the 2P tent air to around 15degC

alternatively, for winter camping, add a HOT tent for the stove you bought

  • there is a large range of tents suitable for wood stoves but you will generally need to buy online from overseas:
    • these have no floor but you can either set up your 2P tent inside for insect proof sleeping
    • consider using a 2.5x4m Companion Annex Matting which fits reasonably well from door to door of these but not the width
      • my favourite winter tent when I don't need a lot of space but still big enough for a 2P tent inside plus a stove
      • faster to set up and take down than my other favourite, the larger Mobi Garden Guan Tu V (On The Road V) hot tent / gazebo
      • can have clear PVC panels zipped onto each of the 5 doors for visibility yet wind chill protection
      • robust 4 season Nordic tipi style 4-6P tent $US289 compact packed size of only 58*20*20cm and 4.2kg
      • 3.8m wide teepee style with 2.4m central height and 2 doors (but you do need to duck to enter), windproof and waterproof and has a chimney hole
      • this tent could replace the 4P Fast Frame tent and as there is no inner it won't get wet when setting up in rain and it is much better in snow or stormy, cold, winter conditions but:
        • its not free standing
        • you don't get sky view or side windows or floor
        • has much less head room than the 4P Fast Frame as it has angled sides rather than almost vertical sides
        • has no Blockout layer and will be very hot in the summer sun
        • it is really hot in the summer sun (> 50degC) - you will need a tarp to give it shade
      • when you sign up you can get this for 10% off and there is free delivery to Australia.
      • my personal favourite - much heavier, but gives much more amenity than a tipi and you can reverse your car into it and it is freestanding so easily moved (with 2 people)
      • this tent could replace the 4P Fast Frame tent and be your MAIN tent - the partial fly even has a Blockout layer to help cool the tent in sunny conditions!
      • the absence of a floor also means you could shower inside this shelter and let the water run out of the tent and this means you don't need an en suite and you have the luxury of the wood stove boiling the water for the shower plus keeping the tent warm for you so you don't freeze getting dry
  • you will need a few extras if using a wood or kerosene stove:
    • carbon monoxide meter / alarm
    • if stove is a wood stove, you also need:
      • an axe to chop up kindling +/- a pruning saw if you plan to saw branches for your own dry seasoned kindling on site rather than bring it (many areas do not allow gathering firewood)
      • Winnerwell Triple-wall Heat Protector Chimney to use where the chimney exits the tent via the stove jack to reduce risk of heat damage to tent
      • or if hiking, you can get the cheaper option of Winnerwell Mesh Protector instead of the Triple-wall heat protector
    • you may also consider a kerosene stove/heater instead of a wood stove
    • fireproof mat

If you then decide on an overnight hike

  • you could take:
    • backpack
    • 2P Mozzie tent with your alloy poles (~1.6kg)
    • DD Hammocks hiking tarp to provide protection for the tent if it will be windy or wet (~790g - or you could get the superlight 3×2.9m tarp at only 400g but it costs more)
    • your sleeping bag (hopefully it is light and compact!)
    • a small compact, light, hiking air mattress such as the Nemo Astro
    • the Soto OD-1RX Windmaster gas stove which packs up INSIDE the 360degree Furno Pot set along with a small gas cartridge!
    • some pegs, hiking guy ropes and at least one trekking pole to be used with the tarp
    • inflatable pillow
    • headlamp
    • water, food, plastic spoon, bowl, and the other hiking usual gear
  • thus really the only extra gear you need to have is the backpack, hiking air mattress, pillow and trekking pole(s)
  • optionally you could have a dedicated hiking tent instead of the Mozzie tent as they don't take up much room in the car and then you won't need to take the tarp or trekking poles
australia/carglamping_myway.txt · Last modified: 2024/07/08 02:56 by gary1

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