What to pack?

By: Dean Allen-Craig, Photography by: Dean Allen-Craig

How to take less, so you can relax more...

What to pack?
Packing light can loosen your limits on adventure.

WHEN WE PACK FOR a few days away why do we seem to have as much gear jammed into the car and camper trailer as when we go away for two months? We pack enough clothes for every possible season and a few formal occasions that we are unlikely to attend, enough food for several large families and their dogs and so much extra camping equipment that an infantry battalion and their heavy artillery could comfortably move in.

So our New Year's resolution is to 'pack light for just a night', to encourage us to get out of the city and into the bush as often as possible.

In my experience getting away for a short trip is a really wonderful way to clear the head and recover from the stress and pressures of everyday life. It can give us the space to relax, think, dream and spend time with friends and family.


There are so many wonderful spots to visit just a few hours drive from the major capital cities, we are blessed with choice. The bulk of our population lives on the coast so the beaches are an easy choice for a quick trip. Our inland rivers, lakes and high country can also often be reached within just a few hours and offer a good change of scenery.


The first thing to decide is how far you are prepared to drive. If you are planning to leave Friday afternoon and will need to do some last minute packing it is a good idea to limit your trip to a couple of hours. This way you won't arrive too late and exhaust yourself for the weekend ahead. It will also mean a relatively easy trip home again, leaving you energy to start straight back at work.

Secondly you need to plan some activities for when you get there. If you want to relax it is easy - plan for some sleeping in, lazy walks, swimming and an extended happy hour. But if you like a bit more action or are taking some kids, then planning activities becomes necessary. Things like bike riding, fishing, 4WDing, exploring or hiking are popular and fun.


Packing for a short trip presents a few challenges - mostly deciding what not to take. It is a fact that we all tend to take far too much clothing. How often have you arrived back home only to put most of the clothes you packed straight back into the cupboard? So be realistic, you are probably going to dress very casually and won't need to change very often.

When packing food perhaps consider eating out once or twice at your destination. This means you can carry less and also takes the pressure off the usual cook, giving them more time to relax and enjoy themselves. One of the really nice things about weekenders is that you will have room for some special treats that you cannot take on longer trips. So go on and spoil yourself, pack a few gourmet delights.

It is a good idea to take a portable barbecue or a hot plate, if your destination allows open fires. If this is the case make sure to pack some marshmallows for young ones and the young at heart.

A good pair of binoculars is a great addition to any holiday kit - excellent for bird watching, getting an up close view of yachts and ships or even an amazing view of the moon in the clear skies away from the city lights.

Other things worth popping in are: fishing rods, bikes if you can carry them (don't forget a pump and helmets), a camera, sturdy walking shoes, one really warm top, a rain proof jacket and a frisbee!

Source: Camper Trailer Australia #40