I see many new campers going to their nearest camping store and spending up big. They buy the biggest tents, luxury beds and enough cooking gear for a dinner party for eight. Then they need a trailer to cart all the gear around. They then progress to a caravan — but make it a tandem wheel caravan.
I call this gear camping porn: It’s camping gear you lust after; but if you had the opportunity to get it, would you really want it after all?
Three classics spring to mind:
- fifth wheelers — do you really need to drag all that weight around the country side? Why not just stay in an appartment?
- offroad, dual-axel caravans — if you are that serious about 4wd’ing that you need an offroad caravan, are you really going to drag a dual axel caravan down a beach over soft sand or go rock crawling with it?
- massive mega-mart Taj Mahal dome tents — your missus will think it is great, but your weekend will be ruined because it took half a day to set up, and then it will blow down in the first big gust of wind.
Some not so obvious examples are solar panels for your microwave or coffee maker. What’s wrong with a camp fire, or if you really must, a gas stove. Moka coffee pots make an Italian-style cup of coffee — and it will taste even better outdoors.
Do you really need all this camping gear to have a great time, particularly if you are just starting camping? As a fellow camper once noted, why is it that people who have been camping for the last 20 years have the small, cheap dome tent, while the new campers have the largest, most expensive tent possible?
Camping candy, on the other hand, is the really essential gear that has excellent form and function. I would argue that a good quality swag is camping candy — just the basics, but it will keep you toasty warm and dry in the worst weather.
Limit your gear to camping candy and you will have a much better time. There is less to store, transport, set-up and pull down. More time will be spent enjoying the waterfront site that only campers have access to, while people in the megadollar caravans are relegated to the back blocks of the caravan park.