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Published: February 18th 2019
Every camping or hiking trip will have its own list of essentials. While the size, style, and condition of those essentials will vary, the list itself is non-negotiable.
If you are new to hiking and looking for a simple and straightforward guide on essentials for typical Australian conditions, here it is.
First Aid Kit
Camping and hiking involves a fair degree of risk. It may only be a splinter, a grazed knee or a cut. But, this is especially true if you are taking the kids, you can guarantee a few war wounds, bites and scrapes.
A first-aid kit is essential. It should be a complete kit able to help you take care of bleeding, breaks, and bites.
Where possible, add matches to your camping gear. You may not be lighting fires, but gas burners, fuel stoves and even disinfecting a pin to remove a nasty splinter all require heat.
Waterproof matches are the obvious choice and considered by many to be safer than gas or fluid lighters.
Ropes are so handy in the bush. Whether you are adding greater strength to your tent on a windy night, setting up a clothesline or tying up your gear on the roof of the car, have a small assortment of good quality ropes.
You will find a hundred uses for them, not least of which is replacing the ones that break while camping.
Try looking for a tent that is not too cramped and can serve your camping needs throughout varying weather
Your tent should have a rainfly and plenty of ventilation. If you are considering a pop-up tent, give extra special attention to the amount of ventilation.
Condensation can build up quickly and you don’t want to be woken at 1am by a child complaining that it’s raining inside their tent.
A sleeping bag is one of the most basic pieces of camping equipment you can own. Therefore, it is important to understand how they are rated and what they are able to provide in terms of comfort and protection.
Sleeping bags are rated for their ability to retain heat and their size. They are also categorised according to the materials they use.
Since each person's needs will vary, it is best to talk to your camping store and actually look at the sleeping bags on offer.
Light sources such as flashlights and headlamps should not be underestimated.
These light sources can help you to see better when you are hiking at night or even if you are just trying to get a bathroom break in the middle of the night.
Guess what’s terribly annoying when you go on a camping trip?
Yes, insect bites. Swatting away at mosquitoes or insects throughout the night is a miserable business. Make sure you have a good supply of insect repellent with you to avoid this from happening?
You don’t want to end up wet and miserable during your camping trip, which is why you should bring a good quality raincoat or its equivalent to stay dry while you hike or set up your camping base.
For best effect, get raincoats with pockets so that you can keep your items dry as well.
Portable Stove and Cookware
Like sleeping bags, stoves, and their capabilities abound. You need to cook and heat water. The question of how much cooking and boiling you are prepared - or really need to do.
Don’t skimp on size if you have a family to feed. Working with tiny equipment that needs to be re-used for every other plate of food is cramping and uncomfortable.
Size your cookware according to both what you are cooking and who you are cooking for.
These containers will be very useful for food storage, especially if your camping trip is going to span over several days.
Having your leftover food secured within airtight containers means that wild animals will not be able to dig through your belongings and make a mess on your campsite as well.
You can disregard most of the other supplies if you are only going for a short hike, but a full water bottle will always be part of the camping essentials!
Where possible, try to use bottles made from light materials with an integrated water filtering function.
If you’re going camping, chances are that you will need to travel across different terrains and surfaces.
Hiking shoes are designed to handle these outdoor activities, providing you with better grip, more comfort, and support.
Wear these shoes to stay active and nimble throughout your camping trip!
Swiss Army Knife
Taking up virtually no space in your bag but serving several purposes, you will want to bring this handy little tool with you.
From cutting fabric pieces to form bandages to sawing small pieces of wood to make tourniquets, you can use a swiss army knife in many scenarios during your hiking trip.
Camping Table and Chair
If you’re going to be on a full-blown camping trip, you need to ensure you have all the right camping equipment
, so why not bring a foldable table and chairs with you?
This can be where you have your meals or sit down for some tea while you go about your camping activities.
Most camping tables and chairs are already lightweight, so it shouldn’t be too much trouble to bring them around.
While you can easily navigate yourself out of an unknown town, the same might not be applicable for forests or some hiking routes due to phone reception issues.
Be sure to bring a printed map of your camping location
so that you can use it as a reference should you get lost during your camping trip.
Sunburn can be a real risk if you are hiking, fishing or camping during summer or on really sunny days.
Applying sunscreen throughout the day when you are camping under the sun will protect your skin from sunburn. Try and find a product that seals well. You don’t want to wake up to find your gear covered in factor 50!
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