Camping – it goes hand in hand with the word adventure. To some it means a truck load of fancy modern gizmos to bring the luxuries of home to the great outdoors, and to others it’s greeting the challenge of person vs. wild with gritted teeth and a handful of berries. We think the perfect camping trip lies somewhere in-between. So as regular and proficient campers who take hundreds of people out every year to enjoy the magic of a night in nature, we thought who better to give you a few handy tips and tricks to make your camping easier and more enjoyable. Of course you could always tag along on one our overnight tours and get to see Byron Bay, Mt Warning and its beautiful rainforested hinterland. Either way…lets go camping!
Camping Top Tip 5 – Choosing Your Tent Site
If you’re unfamiliar with an area the top option is to always choose a designated camp site. Not only are you more likely to have at least some facilities but it has already been chosen by experts as a safe place to spend a night. However if you decide to “go bush” here’s our advice. Choose a very gently sloping or flat site to camp on. DO NOT choose a dry river bed. Sometimes it’s very inviting to do so because the ground is nice and flat but heavy rain, even kilometres away, can fill the river up very quickly and can be life threatening. A clearing or a protected grove like we have for our Mt Warning base camp is ideal.
Camping Top Tip 4 – Fire Starter
A camping trip without a campfire is like well… not really anywhere near as good as camping with a campfire. So rain, hail or shine be assured of getting your fire started, even with wet kindling by using an empty egg carton. They light easy and burn for quite a time long enough to light the kindling. ½ an egg carton should be enough so you’ll get more than 1 night’s worth if you can keep it dry. The campfire is the hub of your campsite, a place to unwind at the end of the day, share stories and roast marshmallows.
Tip 1: If you’re not a fan of mosquito coils or chemical repellents, keep biting mozzies at bay by burning a sage smudge stick on the fire. Now your nights can be itch free – naturally. Which brings us to our next tip about dreaded creepy crawlies…
Tip 2: The right way to put out a campfire is to:
- Allow the wood to burn completely to ash, if possible
- Pour lots of water on the fire, drown ALL embers, not just the red ones
- Pour until hissing sound stops
- Stir the campfire ashes and embers with a shovel
- Stir and make sure everything is wet and they are cold to the touch
- If you do not have water, use dirt. Mix enough dirt or sand with the embers. Continue adding and stirring until all material is cool. Remember: do NOT bury the fire as the fire will continue to smolder and could catch roots on fire that will eventually get to the surface and start a wildfire.
Camping Top Tip 3 – Keeping the Bugs Out
It may seem like plain old common sense, but the best way to keep the bugs out of the tent and get a restful night’s sleep is to keep your tent zipper closed AT ALL TIMES. Keep food and wrappers packed away after meal times to avoid attracting cheeky scavengers and it also pays to bring your shoes into the tent at night so little nasties can’t find their way in overnight. To keep your tent clean, have an empty container with a lid, a bucket or a plastic bag handy near the door to pop your shoes in. This way your shoes are dry, safe and within easy reach for those late night or early morning runs behind a tree.
Camping Top Tip 2 – Water Wise
Although we spoil our customers with running water and hot showers when we go camping, saving water can be a big issue – especially if you have had to carry in your water supply or have found yourself with limited supply. Simple tasks like washing your hands and face can use a surprising amount of water – but not if you’re smart. Another common problem is that you have to hold your water bottle in one hand to wash both of your hands. The trick here (be brave now) is to put water in your mouth and let it run into your hands. This way your mouth becomes the water tap. Need to freshen up your face too? Keep your hands close to your face and spit the water in to your hands cleaning your face at the same time. This way you can wash your hands and face with just one cup of water. You may not need this trick often but if the time comes when it is needed you will find that this will make your water go so much further than you ever thought possible.
Camping Top Tip 1 – Leave Only Footprints
Packing up your camp site and leaving it the way you found it is always one, if not THE most important things to remember when camping. Take out all rubbish and bury all food scraps. Cover your fire with dirt to ensure it is out – no one wants to be responsible for a bush fire. If every camper makes this little extra effort then the pristine places we like to escape to will remain this way. If not – then we defeat the purpose of going camping at all. Here at Byron Bay Adventure Tours we have gone through many checks and balances to be eco-tourism certified business, which means showing that we protect the environment that we go into.
Few More Handy Hints:
- Packing up a sleeping back is easier than many people think: don’t roll it up nice and neat but stuff it into the bag as it is. This way the filling will last much longer and you get more years out of your sleeping bag.
- If it rains and you are inside your tent, try to maintain the gap between outer shell and inner layer of your tent by not pushing your bags hard up against the inner tent layer or leaning against it. As soon as the inner layer touches the outer layer the rain will come through.