Simplify your setup

By: Michael Borg, Photography by: Matt Fehlberg


Follow our easy and clever advice to seriously simplify your camping life.

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Camping is meant to be easy and stress free, right? Yep, we’re supposed to be enjoying the simple life while we’re getting back to nature and soaking up all that sweet, sweet serenity. But, for some odd reason, our camping setups keep on getting more and more elaborate. Heck, some of these setups would make the Hilton Hotel look like a bloody backpacker’s hostel! Okay, so maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but you get the idea, right?

The point is, while most camper trailers are designed pretty well these days, there are definitely a few bits and bobs we can employ to help simplify things and up the enjoyment factor!

So we’re going to let you in on some little tricks of the trade that have been learnt from first-hand experience, and passed down the line to help you streamline your setup.

The idea is simple, really; to make your entire camping experience is a dead-set breeze!

So, if you like camping, and want a few tips on how to get around those annoying campsite hurdles, stay tuned!

COLOUR-CODED PADLOCKS

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We’ve all been guilty of losing the key to the storage box padlock, or the locks on your tie-down latches, or the million other locks around the place. The funny thing is that, nine times out of 10, the key you’re after is just buried deep within the rest of the bunch.

To help make things a little easier, why not colour code all of your locks to the corresponding keys? The easiest, and as luck would have it, cheapest way is to stick matching coloured dot stickers on the corresponding key and locks. These stickers are available in most big supermarkets. In fact, while you’re at it, give yourself a gold star sticker for a job well done! 

Don’t have padlocks? This method works a beauty for other general locks around your camper, too!

STRETCH LESS

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We’re all guilty of climbing all over the camper trailer’s tent and stretching up like a worn-out slinky to reach those top zips or awning eyelets. It usually ends in tears after you lean on the wrong spot or you go bottoms-up in spectacular fashion. But, somewhere along the line, some dead-set genius had a brain fart (that’s a bright idea) and decided to tie a bit of rope to those hard to reach zips! Awning zippers become a breeze with this little mod; just remember to zip the awning on before you extend the middle tent pole right up high or the zip will still get stuck! Now, if this two second mod doesn’t work quite as well as you had hoped, another little trick is to tie a bit of wire through the zip’s eye to make a little hoop. The idea is that you can then use a tent pole with a hooked end to move the zip around without breaking your back.

ADD MORE HOOKS

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Want to de-clutter your campsite? Simple, just pack everything up! Nah, just kidding! The best way to help keep things organised as well as neat and tidy is to invest in a few sets of hooks. Nearly any kind will do but, without a doubt, the best ones to use will have their own hook attached to the top for a bit more versatility. Simply attach a few hooks around your setup and start hanging your gear up and out of harm’s way. Most of your equipment will already have holes built in but, if it doesn’t, it’s as easy as getting the drill out and going to town! This little tip might sound simple, but trust us – for less than ten bucks a pop, you’d be mad not to try it!

PERMANENT AWNING

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Most of us campers tend to keep the big, bulky and time-consuming annexe kit packed away unless we’re staying put in one spot for a good, long while. Apart from quick overnight stays, the majority of us usually try and use the awning most of the time though, right? If you’re new to the wonderful world of camper trailers, we’re going to let you know about what could well be the worst-best-kept secret out there; you can leave the awning attached when you pack up! Yep, most camper trailer designs these days are quite happy to be folded up with the awning still attached. Just flip it back over the main tent and fold it up as per usual. It is usually a two-person job though, and you’ll find it’s a heck of a lot easier to do if you use a tent pole to help flip it over the roof. If you like to get fancy, to go one step further, you can use a snap-lock style key ring or similar to hold the awning in place once it’s flipped over the main tent. That’s providing the eyelets align in your favour.

COMPRESSED AIR

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When it comes to completely streamlining your camping setup, installing a compressor and air tank to your camper trailer is up there with the best mods of all time. I know it sounds like one of those things you can do without but, trust us, once you try it, you’ll wonder how you ever camped without it.

The main benefit comes when you can use compressed air to blow the floor clean, or pump up the kids’ air beds in about two seconds flat. Not to mention the little things like blowing the kids’ bike tyres or floating swimming devices up. And you can blow the cobwebs out of your 4WD’s air filter or clean the vents on your 12V fridge. You can even hook up the air tools for a bit of trackside bush mechanics. Geez, talk about a game changer!

GLOW STICK ZIPS

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When Mother Nature calls in the middle of the night, the last thing you want is to be fiddling around trying to find the bloody zippers to get out the tent! There are a few solutions to help prevent an awkward problem, the first being to keep a light nice and handy but, failing that, the next best option is to crack a couple of glow sticks and attach them to your zippers. They’ll last from sun down till sun up, and the kids will have a blast when they’re not needed around camp. But why stop with the zips? Why not attach one to the dog at night, too, or to the guy ropes or your kids for that matter?

BED PROTECTOR

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If you own a hardfloor or softfloor camper trailer, the tent’s floor ends up on top of the bed when it’s packed away. So it makes sense to clean the floor before you fold it over but, for extra protection, it’s time to make yourself a DIY bed protector. A cheap option is to simply throw a tarp over the bed, and for a few bucks, you can grab yourself a bit of PVC pipe or even a length of timber. This will help you roll the tarp up with ease! Simply secure it to the pipe using a few self-tapping screws through the tarps eyelets and you’re done!

THE DOG’S SPOT!

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To help stop your campsite from becoming a shemozzle the second you arrive, it helps to get the family dog settled in first. To make life easier, designate a spot on the trailer specifically to anchor your four legged friend to while you set up camp. To go one step further, you can hook the dog’s chain up to your 4WD’s winch so it can have a longer run around camp.

NOW IT’S YOUR TURN...

Well, if there’s one thing that has become quite apparent over the years, it’s that it doesn’t matter how experienced you are in the world of camping or camper trailers, you never stop learning. There’s always a fresh idea, new technology or even just something you’ve missed in the past to help you get the most out of your camping experience. One thing’s for sure: once you start streamlining your camper trailer’s setup and cutting the time out of daily camp chores, camping becomes easier than you ever thought possible. If you ask us, that’s a guaranteed recipe to good time all year round! 

Check out the full feature in issue #109 of Camper Trailer Australia magazine. Subscribe today for all the latest camper trailer news, reviews and travel inspiration.