If I had a beer for every time I heard someone complain they don’t get to go camping enough, I’d probably own an entire liquor shop by now! But with so many people dreaming about hitting the dirt more regularly, it made me think – what’s really stopping us? Time and money seem to be the real headliners in this department; they seem to have a pretty good hold on the majority of us when you think about it.
But here’s the good news; if you are dead-set serious about hitting the trails more often, but really just don’t know how, I’m about to let you in on some truly valuable secrets. I’ve got a few little tricks of the trade I’ve developed over the years to help make those last-minute camping trips more possible and less stressful than ever before. And I’ve even got a few pointers to get you in the right frame of mind to make it happen.
1. PRIORITY AND PLANS
Everyday commitments like work or daily chores have ended plenty of camping trips before they even began over the years. But when you think about it, what’s more important than spending some proper time away with your family and loved ones? Shouldn’t we be making it a real priority, not just an after-thought?
First up, plan a big trip! You know, one of those dream destinations that you keep telling yourself you’ll eventually get to one day. Just lock in the date and location and, trust me, the rest will fall into place.
But you can’t travel to those dream destinations without testing out the camper’s setup first, can you? So that means you have to book out a few more spots on the calendar beforehand. We’ll call them ‘practice’ campouts, shall we? And here’s a tip from me to you; I reckon it’s a good idea to schedule your camping trips in three month blocks; any longer and we tend to get a bit complacent with the planning because it’s ‘too far away’. So just lock in the dates and go for it!
The easiest way to keep on top of things and reduce the amount of stuff you forget to pack is to write yourself a checklist. Write the initial list while you’re kicking back at camp with a few coldies, that way everything is unpacked and in plain sight. Make it a comprehensive list; you’ll end up relying on it pretty heavily as time goes by. And don’t forget to jot down anything you forgot to bring along – there’s nothing worse than forgetting it twice!
3. PREPACKED FOOD AND CLOTHES
One of the best things about camper trailers is that you can leave the basic stuff packed up and ready to go.
The beauty about camping is that nobody really cares what your wardrobe looks like, so you can keep a bag of camping clothes packed in camper so it’s ready when you are. A little trick is to roll your clothes up instead of folding them. Not only does this save space, it helps reduce the amount of creases at the same time.
Obviously any food stored on board will need to have a long expiration date. So it’s a good idea to keep plenty of tinned food and packet mixes handy. Keep a bag of spices on board, too – they can make a bland meal taste like a fancy cuisine out in the sticks! And keep plenty of staple foods on board if you hit the trails regularly. This is the sort of tucker that you regularly use while you’re away; things like flour, rice and pasta. With all this stuff already on board, just do a quick fresh food stop while you’re on the road – small country towns can always use the support!
4. THE LOCAL HAUNT
Let’s face it; when it’s five o’clock on a Friday arvo, time’s not exactly on your side now is it? You simply don’t have time to research and plan a whole trip. The best way to combat this problem is to find a few great campsites that are close by that you know will deliver whenever you visit. You know; local haunts where you can decide to go camping in the early arvo, and be sucking down some liquid courage by sundown. It might sound simple, but having two or three go-to places will all but guarantee you’ll spend more nights under the canvas then you ever thought possible.
The other option is to flip a coin and see where you end up!
5. LIFESTYLE CHOICE
Lifestyle is a choice. Sure the 9-5 grind can get in the way, but let’s face it; if you really love camping, you’ll find a way to make it happen, right?
If your lifestyle is full of hobbies and activities that really restrict you from going camping, it might be time for a change. There are plenty of activities and clubs or groups around these days that make outdoor adventure a way of life – so why not join the fun? Activities like 4WDing, canoeing, dirt biking, bush walking, reptile spotting and all sorts of outdoor clubs are always planning epic camping adventures in order to do more of the particular activity they enjoy. And when you are around like-minded people, we guarantee you’ll end up getting out and about more often.
6. CUTTING THE COST
Fuel is the biggest expense for most trips, followed by food and ever-rising camp fees. But there are ways to get more bang for your buck. And while the following advice won’t actually save you heaps of money, it will make a relatively basic trip feel a heck of a lot more epic. The idea is to pick one main destination you want to visit that’s well within a day’s drive from home. Then, instead of driving straight there and setting up for a whole week, pick another two or three other places along the way to camp out while you’re on the road. Make it fun; something like a bush-to-beach adventure is always guaranteed to get the adventurer in your veins pumping harder. Your trip expenses will remain relatively unchanged, but, geez, talk about value for money!
TIME TO GO CAMPING!
Well, I don’t know about you but I’m pretty keen to hitch up the camper trailer and hit the road after all that. I think I’ll go and start packing now!
Spending a few nights out under the stars is one of life’s special pleasures, and if you’re the outdoorsy kind of person, I can all but guarantee that getting out and about more often will have more positive effects on your life than you thought possible.
So what are you waiting for, get out there and starting living the dream!
Check out the full feature in issue #110 of Camper Trailer Australia magazine. Subscribe today for all the latest camper trailer news, reviews and travel inspiration.