You’ve set the budget and the date, found a great crew to travel with and have narrowed down your choice of destinations. Now it’s time to crunch the numbers and plan the trip but where do you start? Here are our top tips for camping with mates from planning through to execution.
If you’re planning a trip with several friends, figure out loosely who’s camping in what early on, in case you need to book multiple sites or reserve sufficient space on a communal ground. Site locations within a park can also vary according to your choice of RV, so if pitching a tent close to where your vanning friends are camped matters, ask the question first!
Communal Packing For Beginners
Packing and owning the right camping gear is a lifelong pursuit, but newbies can still help lighten the collective load. Consultation is key here, though, especially if you’re hitching a ride.
Don’t have much gear? Volunteer to bring along consumables! Even the most seasoned campers will welcome frequently replenished staples like oil, paper towel, plastic wrap, sauce, sunscreen and Aerogard. Firestarters, firewood or briquettes are useful too, but only where fires are allowed. A full SWAP’n’GO from your barbie can power an extra light or steal space for the lilo, so check before lugging it along.
No-one expects camp novices to carry a fridge, but you can share the grocery costs with pantry items or a well-stocked Esky, which will cool water-sealed food and beverages for up to five days in icy water.
Finally, camp chairs, sleeping bags and blankets are personal effects, don’t rock up to camp without them.
... And For The Seasoned Campers
If you camp a lot and have a few big ticket items, such as a 10-man tent, chainsaws, axes, cooking pots, camp lighting gear, and so on, sort out who else has got what, to lighten your load and save you at bowser. Agree to test out shared gear first, though, and pack anything it needs in order to function before setting out for camp.
So you’ve figured out who’s coming from where and who’s going with who. That’s job done, right? Well, not exactly. If you’re planning to hit the tarmac hard, think about where you’re stopping along the way. While it’s recommended to stretch our legs every two hours, stopping in for a counter lunch meal can blow out your travel times and no-one wants that. So instead, pack a lunch and a mix of healthy snacks, treats, and water. If you do plan to stop in for a bite at a regional town, check ahead for opening hours, especially if you’re travelling late or on a Sunday.
When travelling in convoy, make sure everyone has good quality mapping in case the group separates, and think about CB radios for trips further afield, where mobile services drop out outside major rural towns. Radio gets patchy quick, too, so pulling together a decent soundtrack for your trip is an excellent idea. And share the driving, especially if you have far to go.
Sharing The Load
As relaxing as camping holidays are, there’s a bit of leg work involved for them to run well. Problem is, some travellers are oblivious to this fact, especially if they’ve never camped before. The issues are compounded for those with all the gear, who know where it fits in the Hyundai and can operate the gas lantern without burning their hands.
Sure, a roster is one solution, but if you want to reach the end of the trip still remaining friends, have everyone cater a group meal instead. We all eat, so it’s a pretty fair expectation. And once co-campers wake up to the fact effort’s involved, most will pitch in elsewhere without the uncomfortable conversations.