Thursday, December 3

Expert travel tips: How to go camping (and love it)

Outdoor expert with Anaconda outdoor stores Damian Kennedy says getting back to nature is good for the soul, easy on the wallet and a perfectly acceptable way to self isolate. This Easter – traditionally Australia’s biggest camping weekend – he’ll be pitching a tent at Double Island Point, just south of Fraser Island, Queensland., See anacondastores.com

STEP ONE

Tent technology means there are so many different models. Dark room tents block out 95% of sunlight so you can get the kids to sleep before it’s dark and they won’t wake you up at the crack of dawn. They also keep you warmer when it’s cold outside. A popular style for inexperienced campers is the instant tent, which takes one to three minutes to set up by popping up when pegged into the ground, doing most of the hard work for you! Fully formed with flies, they are waterproof.

STEP TWO

Think about your tent’s capacity – a four-man tent is the maximum number of people a tent can fit. However, consider how much gear you’re taking and what needs to be stored in the tent, from food to sporting gear. You may need up to double the capacity of your intended occupancy. Also check the tent height, as some are too low to stand up in: most have their exterior and interior dimensions stated on the packaging. Make sure you pick a tent with lots of internal pockets for easy access to your gear, and of course, mozzie-proof screens.

STEP THREE

Once you’ve purchased your new tent, do a trial run in your backyard first. It is important to understand how to erect or set up your tent, so take photos and videos on your phone as a handy reference of how you’ve set everything up just in case you forget when you arrive at your campsite. You’ll have a better idea of the size, and location of doors, so you can orient your campsite in the most practical way. Also practice pulling it down and getting it back in its storage bag.

STEP FOUR

Arrive at your camping spot while it’s still light. Arriving early will ensure you get the best spot, have time to familiarise yourself with your surroundings and avoid setting up your campsite in the dark. When in doubt, bring extra lighting options. Lanterns, head torches and the good old hand-held torch will help you set up in the dark and are essential to brave those after-dark toilet runs.

STEP FIVE

Camping is one of life’s great privileges, so respect the environment and preserve your natural surroundings. If your campsite has previously been inhabited by campers whose habits are not as good as yours, pick up their waste yourself. You could even make a game of it for the kids as to who can collect the most rubbish (keeping safety considerations in mind, of course).