How much should you spend on camping equipment?

By: Claudia Bouma, Photography by: Claudia Bouma

So you’ve decided you want to take the family camping to give the kids a true Aussie outdoor experience – but where do you start?

How much should you spend on camping equipment?
We bought our second-hand off-road camper trailer for $7,500 and we took it around Australia for two years

Not only is there a multitude of options to consider but there’s also the price tag to contend with. What’s going to work for you and how much stuff do you really need?

After checking out a couple of camping shops you’re starting to wonder if camping is such a good idea after all. By the time you purchase all the items you supposedly must have, you won’t have any money left to spend a week under the stars.

Our family of six has gone camping since our eldest came along almost nine years ago and we’ve learnt a thing or two. The best piece of advice I can give you is this: keep it simple.

First of all, figure out what’ll work for your family and decide on a budget. Then comes the important part: research, research, research. Is it going to be a tent, a camper trailer or a caravan? How often are you planning on going away and for how long? Will you stay in one spot or do you prefer to move every couple of days? You might want to hire a camper trailer or caravan before taking the plunge.

It is very tempting to buy a rig that comes with all the bells and whistles but let me assure you that a fancy set-up is not essential to having a wonderful camping holiday. Most families simply can’t justify spending more than $10,000 on equipment they might only use once or twice a year.

We bought our second-hand off-road camper trailer for $7,500 and we took it around Australia for two years. It is basic but has everything we need:  a large tent with awning, a two-burner stove, grill, kitchen box and a bench.

You can spend a lot of money on a camping fridge but we opted for a three-way that runs on gas. It means we can go bush for weeks without having to worry about recharging batteries.

Showering equipment comes in many shapes and forms but a simple black shower bag does the job for us. The sun will do most of the work for you and a shower tent gives you privacy, wherever you go.

There are many gadgets on the market, some helpful, some just a waste of money. The most important thing to keep in mind is that your camping experience will be remembered for the time you spent together and the memories made. Keep it simple and you’ll be surprised how much fun you’ll have. Take it from a family that’s been there, done that.

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