I have updated my camping gear checklist to reflect changes in my camping kit as a result of losing a lot of gear in the Queensland 2011 flood, but also changing my preference for gear based on our camping experience. The biggest changes are away from gas stoves/lanterns to Coleman dual fuel appliances, and away from a huge tarp that covers our tent, to a smaller tarp for eating under.
I like to pack the majority of my gear in five boxes:
- ice box — cold food
- food box — other grocery food items that do not need to be kept cool
- kitchen box — all eating/cooking utensils
- parts/clean-up box — spare bits and pieces that I might need, torches, and clean-up gear such as the washing up basin, cleaning fluids, dustpan, etc.
- 4WD box — my four wheel drive recovery gear (not strictly camping gear)
I also carry a very small tool bag.
Once again, my gear is based around camping at unpowered sites in campgrounds.
For some minimalist campers (such as hikers), this list is way too much. I am camping with young kids and my wife, so need to have a reasonable level of comfort.
On the other hand, many people camp with a lot more than this and may consider my list to be just the basic essentials. For example, I know some people who have a microwave and air-conditioner in their pop-top camper – and they wonder why the trailer is so heavy!
Of course, personal effects (such as clothes and towel) are in addition to the following list.
- tent (inc. poles, fly, guy ropes and pegs/sand stakes)
- mesh tarp (ground sheet)
- foam floor tiles (for outside tent door)
Shade/wind break (optional)
- 10′ x 12 ‘ tarp for shade
- two 6′ x 8′ tarps for a wind break
- three poles
- six guy ropes with trace springs
- six tent pegs
- swags, or self-inflating mattresses and sleeping bags
- additional bedding depending on expected temperature
- bottled drinking water
- food box (including good coffee — very important!)
- ice box
- cups (inc. water cups, coffee cups, wine glasses)
- dual fuel stove
- stove stand
- fuel (Shellite or petrol)
- fry pan
- coffee plunger (French press)
- cutting board
- vegetable peeler
- corkscrew/bottle opener and champagne bottle closure (very important for my wife!)
- can opener
- water jerry can (if not available at site)
- washing-up bowl
- dish cloth
- tea towels
- paper towels
- spray and wipe
- hand cleaner
- clothes pegs
- dust pan and brush
- rubbish bags
- two dual fuel lanterns
- fuel (Shellite or petrol)
- spare mantles
- spare globe
- torches (personal and for inside tent)
- spare batteries
- picnic table with stools
- kitchen bench
- first aid kit
- insect repellent
- mosquito coils
- filter funnel (for dual fuel appliances)
- fire extinguisher/fire blanket
- spare tarps/shade cloth (useful for all kinds of things, such as ground sheets, wind breaks, and a kitchen cover)
- spare pegs
- spare rope
- zip ties (very handy!)
- pocket knife
- general tool kit
You may now be thinking that you have to go out to your local camping store and spend a small fortune. My favourites are Down Under Camping and Great Escape Camping, as well as the chain stores BCF and Anaconda. However, it is possible to save lots of money by careful purchasing at supermarkets (eg. Coles, Woolworths), department stores (eg. Big W, Kmart and Target) and even discount stores (eg. Crazy Clark’s and Dollar and Sense). Items such as picnic plates, cutlery sets, plastic cups, clean-up gear and so forth can easily serve duty camping. Just remember, make sure everything is unbreakable!