So you want to go on a camping holiday and don’t know where to start. You don’t need to be a tried and true camper to get it right. You mightn’t know just how close you are to mastering the skills needed for a fun first night outdoors.
If you’ve hosted a backyard barbecue, organised an outdoor children’s party, or packed for a picnic in the park then you are well on the way to camping success. The fundamentals stay the same – good forward planning on the basics – food, shelter and water – and then some thought to fun-filled outdoor activities.
No matter if you’re spending a sunny day at the beach or travelling on the road for a week, here are just some of the things to keep in mind.
Extreme weather affects any day outdoors so plan ahead for the perfect party day or week long camping holiday. A look at a long range weather forecast can help you know what you’re in for. But good campers and party planners can weather any climate with the right gear. Bring along a tarp or gazebo if shelter is not available and think layering for your clothing.
Layering is the best way to manage whatever the day may throw at you, as you will have the ability to add or remove outer-shell layers, mid-layers and base-layers as the temperature changes.
Some people know to bring the esky and alcohol but often forget a simple raincoat and a couple of warm jumpers.
What to eat and drink
A good party is centred around the right food and drink, so plan something appropriate for the day. Hot weather may dictate a choice of cold meats, and cold weather some hot steaks. Party planners will also think ahead to the facilities available for their catering choices. There may be access to a shared barbecue and you may choose to bring heating facilities of your own like a small gas burner for hot beverages.
Keeping food cold and well packed is as much of a consideration for a day at the beach as it is for a week-long camp trip. A good esky with plenty of crushed ice and well packed food is all you need. Lock&Lock containers are our preferred choice for any occasion as they won’t leak. You can safely store food for many days in a cool esky and never worry that juices from your meat will spill into the milk for your coffee.
Food planning will extend to cutlery and utensils for your chosen menu. Plus the little extras to make the event a breeze, like a chopping board and sharp knife for bread, a can opener and bottle opener or even additional plates for things like resting freshly barbecued meat.
The seating arrangements
Anyone hosting Christmas Day will know the scramble of piecing together enough chairs and tables for your guests. Where picnic tables are not available, you will need to bring your own, of the camping variety, or remind your guests to do so. No good camper forgets a chair or table, as they are the most fundamental pieces of camping equipment, after a tent.
The clean up
Probably the most forgotten thing when packing for an outdoor event is how you are going to pack up afterwards and dispose of your rubbish. Always pack enough sturdy garbage bags and have a good supply of paper towels and wet wipes.
Consider whether you will have access to fresh water for drinking and for the clean up. If you choose to wash dishes on-site, bring along a basin, detergent and a tea towel, otherwise pop them in a garbage bag and take them home for later.
Where there’s no fresh water, cart your own as any good camper does. Camp stores stock water containers in 10 or 20 litre options. Having a filled one at camp is handy for drinking, cooking and cleaning up.
The final step to packing for a perfect party day or week-long campfest is to bring along the things you’ll need for a fun-filled time outdoors. Think a hammock and a good book, a boogie board for the beach, a camera, or just a walking guide and comfortable shoes to help you unplug form the everyday and connect to the beauty of nature.
So you can see camping is not as hard as you first think. If you can organise a successful day outdoors, where your group is well fed, appropriately clothed and having fun, you’re well on the way to your first camping holiday with the family.
Do you have any useful camping tips for readers? Drop us a line below!