The best advice we can offer anyone who wants to try camping for the first time is the old scouting slogan "be prepared".
Use a camping check list, go over your gear and test it before you hit the road, set up your tent, use the stove and lights, check batteries etc. Then check the weather forecast, environmental conditions and weather patterns for the area you are going to, so you know you have the right gear for the location. The other great piece of advice I was given many years ago is learn from experienced campers around you. Look at how they set up their camp site, what equipment people use, and how they do it. There is a lot of experienced campers out there who are only happy to help if required. When you start looking, you will notice most experienced campers use a flysheet over the roof of their tent and campsites for added protection and insulation, use ground sheets under their tent floors, and have lots of extra guy ropes with springs, poles and pegs to help anchor things down well.
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Here are some handy tips that we have put together to make your camping experience just that little bit better.
Should you need more advice, just send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Wet Packing||Travel Pack||Portable Fridge|
|Don’t ever pack your tent, swag or sleeping bag away wet. All materials are prone to mildew, if they’re not dried thoroughly, which in a short period of time can destroy your expensive equipment.||When filling your travelpack ready for an overseas trip, it’s a very good idea to make the first thing into the bottom of the bag, something soft and bulky like a sleeping bag or a pillow. This’ll protect heavier items packed on top and it’ll help save the bottom of your travelpack from damage as well.||If you’re planing a long trip and intend taking a portable fridge with you, try running the fridge at home for at least 24 hours before you leave. This will get the fridge cold before you use it on your trip. That way the fridge will perform at its best as soon as you leave, keeping your food fresh and drinks colder.|
|Inflatable Boat||Portable Gas||Hooded BBQ|
If you’re intending to use an inflatable boat on your camping holiday, be careful not to over-fill the boat with air. Especially in warmer weather. On hot days, the air in the boat will expand, and if it’s too tightly inflated, the seams in the fabric may not be able to take the strain, and the boat may deflate at the most inopportune moment!
Gas equipment is great for camping – but it can also be a great source of danger. Accidental poisoning, fires and explosions are just some of the dangers if portable gas appliances aren’t used properly. As a general rule always operate gas lights and stoves in a well ventilated area, and never run them unattended.
To achieve the best cooking results with a hooded barbecue, use the hood to its full advantage. With the hood closed, your food will retain moisture, flavour and tenderness. You’ll also be able to maintain cooking efficiency on low heat. Conversely, if you need to get rid of moisture, open the lid to allow evaporation. Always clean your BBQ after use and put a cover over it when it has cooled to protect it from the elements.
|Ground Sheets||Sleeping Bags||Repairs|
Always put down a groundsheet before pitching your tent. A ground sheet under the tent will provide protection from rocks and sticks which can quickly wear a hole through your tent floor and wreck it. A ground sheet also helps keep your tent floor much cleaner and drier when it comes time to pack the tent away.
It’s so annoying to take several attempts at trial and error to get your sleeping bag back in its carry case all neatly rolled up. Well, believe it or not, you can actually get the sleeping bag back into its carry bag, simply by stuffing it. It’ll fit, it’s quicker and it won’t harm the sleeping bag. Try it sometime!
Kangaroo Tent City is the premier camping retailer, but did you know that Kangaroo Tent City also provides a manufacturing and repair service? Kangaroo Tent City can repair tents, make new canvas products, and service gas lanterns and stoves. For information click here, ask at any Kangaroo Tent City store or send us an e-mail.
|Fly Sheet||Rechargeable Lanterns||Outdoor Furniture|
A flysheet over your tent provides a good insulating layer from the elements, but there must be an air gap between the flysheet and the tent itself. To create this and to protect the flysheet from tearing on the top of a tent pole, place a number of tennis balls over the poles before putting the flysheet in position.
Batteries in these lanterns are LEAD ACID, the same as a car battery in smaller form. The lantern should be kept on charge as much as possible. Keeping it charged uses little electricity and will ensure the light is always ready to use.
Rechargeable lanterns should be charged for at least 15 hours before the first use, this ensures full burn times from day one. The battery must never be allowed to run down so much the tubes won’t light at all, otherwise you could find yourself in the market for a new battery which isn’t covered under warranty.
Timber outdoor furniture has natural oils and tanins in the timber. Some timbers (like teak) are dense and retain the natural oils longer, requiring little maintenance. Other timbers dry out quickly and require constant oiling to protect the timber from drying out.
PVC wicker furniture requires little maintenance, just keep clean. Remove all cushions and store inside when not in use, as these fabrics will deteriorate quickest in the sun. Put a cover over your furniture to protect it.
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We all know the rules – put your trash in allocated campsite bins and don’t leave food out for wild animals to forage on. There’s no excuse not to keep yourself clean too – most Aussie campsites have great amenities.
Thou shalt go forth prepared
When first arriving at your campsite, immediately pitch the tent and get organised. There is plenty of time for cooking and exploring later!
Thou shalt not cook in thy canvas
When staying in an open fire-friendly campsite, stay blaze-savvy. Keep flames away from anything flammable, including your tent. Have an extinguisher on standby and never leave a burning fire unattended.
Thou shalt leash thy canine
Keep your dog on a leash at all times. Give it an eat, drink and sleep area in the shade and take it for regular toilet breaks elsewhere – it won’t want to do its business near the tent.
Thou sssshhhalt stay soundless
Keep the noise down out of respect for your camping neighbours, especially after 10pm.That goes for music, talking or any other nocturnal activities!
Thou shalt keep thee balmy
Make sure everyone has a warm, dry and clean sleeping bag. You’re on holiday and need a good night’s sleep, so comfort is paramount.
Thou shalt be kid-quipped
Keep the children entertained with bikes, games and balls. Let them explore and get messy, but also teach them the basics of camping by giving them small jobs. Remember kiddy essentials like first aid kit and sunscreen.
Thou shalt seek nourishment wisely
Camping shouldn’t stop you having a fulfilling meal. Take a gas stove to boil veggies, pasta or rice. Divide the duties of BBQing and preparing food amongst your group evenly, leaving everyone with some time to relax.
Thou shalt snappeth away
People forget to take pictures and document holidays if they don’t involve going overseas or staying in a swanky hotel. You’ll treasure your camping snaps forever.
Thou shalt cleverly cater
There’s nothing worse than having to sprint off to the supermarket while camping or running out of drinks once the kids are tucked up in their tents. Make sure you have enough of everything!
Simple to make, four basic ingredients, one bowl to wash. This kids' favorite is tasty, nutritious and fun to cook on a stick over the campfire. It can also be cooked in a skillet. Bannock can be a meal in itself.
2 - 3 cups flour
1 - 2 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt (optional)
2 - 3 Tbsp oil, butter or lard
2/3 cup warm water
Directions: Put everything but the water in a bowl and mix with your fingers until crumbly. Slowly add water and mix until dough feels soft. It may seem that you don't have enough water, but keep working the dough till it holds together. Don't add more water!
Take a small handful and wrap around the end of a green stick, like a marshmallow roast. Knead it so it stays together. Cook over coals for about 10 - 12 minutes, rotating to cook evenly. Eat as is, or add a bit of jam or honey.
Chop, skewer and cook...couldn't be easier! Let the campers cook their own meals - it's a fun activity and much more nutritious than the standard wiener roast.
beef or pork cut into 1" cubes
small whole onions
red or green peppers, whole mushrooms, whole cherry tomatoes
Directions: Brown the cubed meat in a skillet over high heat for 1/2 minute on each side. Cut the peppers in large chunks, leave the other vegetables whole. Slip the pieces onto a skewer, alternating the ingredients. (Skewer the onions and mushroms through the core, or they might fall off while cooking.) Cook over the open fire for 15-20 minutes till done. Sprinkle with grated cheese and breadcrumbs before serving.
This meal pretty much cooks itself - just leave it in the coals! Be sure to count how many potatoes you put in the fire, because the foil becomes covered with ash, and blends in well with the coals.
large baking potatoes
whole onions, red or yellow
dill, parsley, bacon bits
Directions: Slice potato almost all the way through, but leave enough to hold it together. Slice the onion, and put one slice in between each potato slice. Sprinkle with bacon bits and a little dill. Wrap well with heavy aluminum foil and bury in the coals of the fire. Leave untouched for about 45 minutes, and test for doneness by piercing with a fork - the fork should lift out without lifting the potato. Cooking time depends on size of potatoes and strength of fire. Serve with pat of butter and a few sprigs of parsley.Beer Batter Fish Fillets
If you've had luck fishing, do the catch justice with this simple, mouth watering recipe. Be sure to dry the fillets on the outside so the batter will stick while cooking. Cook over medium heat.
Ingredients: Allow 1/2 pound fish fillets or two small, cleaned pan fish per person.
.................. 1 cup buttermilk pancake mix
.................. 3/4 cup beer
...................1/4 cup cooking oil
.................. parsley, dill, lemon
Directions: Using a small bowl, blend the buttermilk pancake mix with the beer, using a fork. Whip the batter until smooth and the consistency of heavy cream. Blot the fillets dry using a napkin or paper towel, and dip in the batter. Heat the oil in a skillet and fry the fillets until golden brown on the outside. The meat should be moist and shiny on the inside. Be careful not to overcook - fillet should flake easily when tested with a fork. Serve with a sprinkle of dill and garnish with parsley and lemon slice.
Pan-fried fritters are great for breakfast, and the leftovers keep well for lunch or snacks. You can make your own variations on this simple theme, but remember the secret to successful fritters - the oil must be very hot before setting in the batter.
2 cups corn bread mix
...................1/2 cup water
...................1/2 cup canned corn, drained
...................1/4 cup cooking oil
Directions: Put the corn bread mix in a bowl and, using a fork to blend, gradually add the water. Be careful not to over-blend. The dough should be quite stiff. Add the corn, which should be well drained. Put about one-fourth of the oil in a skillet and heat. Ladle the batter into the hot oil and fry for about 2 minutes, turning once. Serve with syrup, honey or butter. This recipe makes about 12 fritters.
Here's a wonderful method for campfire cooking which is simple, versatile and doesn't even require cookware or a grill. All you need is some heavy-duty tin foil.
Tear off a 12" sheet of foil and fold it back over your fist, making a "pocket". Roll the sides in a few turns so the pocket is only open at the top, and roll a turn or two up from the bottom for extra strength. The pocket needs to be leak-proof, and formed well enough to withstand cooking directly in the coals. If your foil is thin, you may need two layers.
Start by lining the bottom of the pocket with thin slices of lemon. This helps keep the food contents from burning, and imparts flavor to the meal. Chop potatoes and carrots (cut small enough to cook all the way without overcooking everything else), tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers, onions, green beans, etc. and stuff the pockets. Add garlic, salt and pepper, olive oil, and a dash of cayenne. Add 1/4 cup of beer or water, fold the top edges of the pocket closed and set directly into the hot coals....it takes anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes, depending on how everything's cut. All the veggies slow roast in their own juices!
Jessa, Jen, Lori and Sarah
I think my most favorite campfire food is really true "Campfire Beans". I make them with whatever is in the cooler starting with the bacon drippings from breakfast, then add onions and other veggies ...toss in the DRY beans (if they have been soaked great, but it does not matter). This is done in a cast iron pot, nestled in the coals...I put in whatever meat is available...we often have frozen venison, but beef and pork do fine too. Add garlic and any other seasoniong you like...do not be afraid of a pinch of cinnamon.... keep adding liquid...beer, wine, water ...a few bullion cubes help...chopped celery, diced tomatoes (this is a great way to use the veggies that get soft in the cooler). Lee
Here's a recipe that the entire family will enjoy! Start with heavy duty foil and tear off a square, if using thin foil, double it up. Place a fish fillet in the foil, trout's the best to use for this recipe, but any fish will do. Place halved cherry tomato, halved small lemon, and a pinch of garlic and lemon salt in the foil. Pure about 1/3 cup of Sprite or 7up in the foil. Seal the foil tightly and place the pocket on the coals for approximately 10-15 minutes. Remove from coals and watch the reaction from the entire family! Lori
In the center of a large piece of heavy duty aluminum foil place a hamburger patty (venison or chicken breasts would also work). On top of the burger, place a thin slice of onion. Wash potatoes with skins on, slice thinly and add a layer of potatoes on top of the onions. Add salt, pepper, garlic and a large spoon of canned baked beans (Bushes hickory bacon are my favorite). Bring edges of foil together and fold down to seal then roll ends to finish sealing. Place in hot coals for 30 to 45 min til done. NO muss! NO fuss! GREAT eating! Lynn
An all time favorite meal in our family is a classic we called campers stew...... It's a simple mess-free dinner the whole family can enjoy.
On a 15 " strip of aluminum foil, crumble hamburger and top it with finely chopped potatoes, onions, carrots, broccoli, mushrooms, and any vegetable you have on hand. Add salt, pepper and a tsp of butter to the top. Wrap it up tight and stick on a bed of hot coals. When it's done add Tabasco or ketchup. ummmmmm. It's fabulous. Shannon
Roasted New Potatoes
- 2 lbs small new potatoes (washed)
- Olive Oil
- 2 tablespoons dried rosemary (you can also used thyme and oregano)
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon black pepper, salt
In plenty of salted water, par-boil the potatoes until the tip of a knife can be insterted easily (roughly 10 minutes depending on size). Drain, then toss the potatoes in enough oil to just coat them, then toss with the rosemary, garlic powder, paprika and about 1 1/2 teaspoons salt as well as the pepper. On a campfire grill, grill over direct heat, turning often, until browned and grill marked, 10-15 minutes. Serves 6 - 8. Tom
Camping Corn Hash
1 can corn and its liquid
5 long slices of bacon cut into rough squares
1/2 medium onion diced
1/2 can diced tomatoes
* 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
In a cast iron skillet, begin frying your bacon until it gives all of its grease and the bacon is browned and crispy. Add the onions directly to the skillet. Fry the onions for about two minutes. Add a dash of salt. Add the diced tomatoes and the can of corn with the corn liquid. Cook the mixture until nearly all of the water has boiled out. Add the pepper and pepper flakes if desired. Serve immediately. Kami
Simple Campfire Desserts
Choco-nana: Cut a banana in 2 (so you have 2 half moons), sprinkle chocolate over the flesh of the banana. Wrap the banana in tinfoil, put the banana in the fire/coals. Leave it there for about 10 minutes or so: result: nice soft banana with delicious chocolate sauce!!!
Apple-sweet: Make a hole in an apple, so the seeds are gone. Put apple on top of a piece of tinfoil. Then mix some sugar with cinamon. Pour the cinamon mixture into the hole in the apple. The tinfoil prevents it from running away. Then wrap the tinfoil around the apple. Put it for 10-15 minutes in the fire: Result: a nice soft apple-sauce in an appleskin!! Henriette
Smores: Put a marshmallow on a stick and hold it over the fire until it is just right, then get two graham crackers and two pieces of chocolate; put the chocolate in between the crackers and slide the marshmallow on and you have a smore. Lisa
Fried Pies: You'll need 1 can biscuit mix and 1 can of your favorite pie filling (apples, peaches, cherry). Roll the biscuits out to about six inches or so. Put a tablespoon or two of pie filling into biscuit and fold over pressing edges close with a fork. Brown in a skillet in some butter and when golden brown sprinkle with powered sugar. Homemade pie right at the campsite. Mary Lou
Orange Brownies: Take an orange, and cut about half an inch off the top, keep the top. Take a spoon and scrape out the insides, then fill the orange with brownie mix. Put the top back on the brownie and completely cover the orange in foil. Then let the orange cook in the coals for about 20 minutes or until the brownie is done. Enjoy the brownie.