For those who are interested in travelling and/or camping in Australia, but don’t know what to bring or how much to spend?
We have created a list of what we think is the basic list of gear that is required, at a budget!
(Note: Prices shown are based on what we have seen and are guidelines only, not necessarily reflecting individual retail prices.)
Food and Water
For beginner travellers/campers, the most important skill while travelling and camping is your survival skills.
Therefore, it is important to know how much food and water you will need for your trip. Australia is a big country and distances between township can be up to 300-400 kilometres!
Depending whether you are stationary at one location or always on the move, the amount of food and water you need to keep can vary.
If you are constantly on the move, you might only need to worry about 2-3 day’s worth, as you will be in the next township very soon.
If you have decided to stay and camp at a spot for a few days, the amount of food and water required can be up to a week’s worth!
Water is the number one important factor in terms of survival. Have plenty of water with you and spread between multiple containers. We normally use smaller drink bottles for walks, hiking and when travelling in the car. We use bigger containers for storage or when camping, such as 10L or 20L containers.
As a rule of thumb, a normal person requires about 2L of drinking water per day, and if in hot climate double that amount. Also, when camping, take into account the water required for cleaning. So for a normal person camping in a MILD condition, they will need to use about 5-10L of water per day. Therefore, if you can find other source of water for cleaning and cooking purposes (e.g. river or lake), you can focus on just carrying drinking water.
In terms of food, one of the best ways is to prepare a combination of pre-cooked food, fresh food and dry food. You will reduced the amount of cooling space required for fresh food, and the dry food has an extended expire date, which will act also as an emergency food.
If you are travelling or camping in a group, it is good to spread the load of food and water around.
A humble little dome tent is a great way to start your next adventure! This is still by far the most popular camping option.
It is cheap, great for those who are on a budget. It is also compact and light weight, very popular amongst backpackers who have limited carry space.
Another option can be a little pop-up tent, it folds to be fitted inside a carry bag and can be set up within seconds! These are great options for beginners.
A good sleeping bag to keep you warm at cold nights is priceless!
Make sure you choose a suitable temperature range for your style of camping. Ask the staff at the stores for guidance.
Beware to identify the shown temperature range on the sleeping bag is a classified as “Comfort Level” or “Extreme Level”.
Comfort level is where they estimate the temperature range a normal person can comfortably sleep at.
Extreme level on the other hand, is the temperature range a normal person can survive the night!
Some cheaper brands may only show the “Extreme” temperature range as part of their way of advertising.
There are many ways to cook at a camp site. Using a Butane or LPG gas stove is a popular and convenient way to cook at camp.
Portable Butane Stove (some referred as lunchbox cookers) are compact, portable and one of the cheapest option out there.
However, it was previously banned across various states in Australia, due to testing has found a fault with the cookers’ shut-off valves, creating risks that the units may overheat and could possibly explode.
Good news is, there are now re-modified models for sale out there. Make sure you buy the ones that has an Australian Standard Compliance number.
LPG Stoves are another popular option for cooking. They are powerful, also quite compact and light. They perform better in weather, as they generally come built in with wind shields. Yet, they do require a bottle of LPG gas, which can sometimes be heavy and bulky.
Another option would be to use hiking stoves. They are the most compact and light weighted options of all. Very popular for hikers and backpackers as they don’t take up much space!
The main concern with these hiking stoves would be against weather, as they are very small and cannot really withstand against wind or rain. Another factor to consider is the size of the stove, and hence, the pans or pots needs to be very small to cook on top.
Unless you want to sit on the ground, a camp chair is your best option for travelling or camping.
For beginners, I would recommend to start with some basic ones, especially if you are on a tight budget. These are light, compact and folds well to be fitted inside a carry bag. They are not the most comfortable options, but hey, better than sitting on the ground (especially when wet!) I say.
Another good piece of camp furniture to have is a good table. It can be as simple as a small card table, just to be able to cook sometime on top, used as a dining table, or simply putting your cuppa on it while reading a book!
Having a folded table will also save space when travelling.
Cooler / Ice box
Portable coolers (a.k.a Esky) or ice boxes are important to keep your fresh food cool, so that it can be kept longer.
They can be found everywhere, even supermarkets. Depends on your needs and the number of people you are catering for, there are various sizes to choose from.
You will need to fill about 1/3 to 1/2 of the capacity with ice to be effective. Always keep out of direct sunlight for optimal performance.
Block ice or ice sheets will perform better than cubed ice, however, they need to be prepared beforehand.
Basic pans, pots and cooking utensils
Gather some basic pans, pots and cooking utensils, use some imagination and creativeness, you will have yourself the most hearty camping meal you can ever imagine!
Camp cooking is all about using the simplest tools to cook the best meal possible. This task can also be shared amongst friends around the camp to make it more fun!
Mattress/Self-inflating mattress (Optional)
This can definite making sleeping much more comfortable at camp. As it can smooth out the roughness on the ground and be more insulated from the cool ground at night.
However, they can be quite expensive, depending on quality and brand. Therefore, we have listed here as optional for those who are on a tight budget.
There is an alternative by using thick yoga mats, foam mats, rubber mats or gym mats.
Well, there it is! This is the list we have come up with for beginner traveller/camper. We hope this will be helpful and wish you all the best with your next adventure.
One of the beginner’s mistake is not testing their gear before they go out on a trip! Therefore, we strongly recommend that you test your new gear before you go for your next trip.
Remember to go with an opened mind and enjoy it out there!