Beg, borrow or hire
Buying new camping equipment can be a big financial burden on a family, particularly if you’re not sure how often you will use it or what exactly
you need. Try borrowing equipment from friends, buying second hand, or hiring equipment instead.
Ditch the disposable
The temptation to use disposable dinnerware when camping is all based on a sense of false convenience. Consider the production line behind the
creation of that throw-away plate, and then decide whether it’s really a convenience or not.
Similarly, avoid bottled water by investing in a large reusable water tank that can be filled up from the tap at home. You’ll minimise waste and
save money at the same time.
Go go gadgets
While part of the appeal of camping is getting back to nature, there are plenty of great gadgets designed to make your experience easier.
Consider hiring or investing in a solar panel or solar LED lights. A camp fridge powered by solar or a generator can make food storage easier during
summer. Good quality head torches for each camper are crucial, and wind up hand-held torches, solar radios and phone chargers will be convenient
and help occupy restless young campers.
Sort your waste
Going on holidays is no reason to become complacent about waste. Bring plastic tubs with lids that will enable you to sort your rubbish and recycling
at camp and then bring them home for proper disposal. Show the kids what to do – they’ll get the idea pretty quickly.
Consider your environment
Choose natural insect repellents and sunscreens, and use greywater-safe or biodegradable cleaning products like dish liquid and soap.
With that in mind it is still never okay to dump sudsy water into a natural water source like a creek. The soap suds can harm aquatic life, particularly
in frequently used areas near camp sites. Instead, the safest way to dispose of contaminated water is to dig a hole about 50 metres away from
any water sources and bury the waste water there.
Be water wise
Nothing will make you more aware of your daily water consumption then having to tote it all to your camping site. Conserve water by washing your
dishes in one bucket and turning off the shower when you’re not using it. If your campsite doesn’t have showers, consider using a solar shower
while standing in a large plastic tub. The tub will collect any contaminated water, or double up as a bath for a baby or young child.
We know there’s no real alternative to a campfire but you can still melt your marshmallows on a portable camp stove. And a nice way to meet camp
friends is to share a single camp fire with others to minimise the impact on the environment – we all know camp fires add to air pollution
(CO2 emissions) and aren’t very good for your lungs. They can also attract wildlife into your camp, foraging for human food scraps rather than
hunting for natural food sources within their ecosystem.
Practice makes perfect
If you’re not sure how your kids will react to camping, try a practice run at home in the backyard. If you’re going to skip the practice run and
go straight to the real deal, ensure you’re flexible. While planning is crucial to the success of a camping trip, flexibility and a sense of
humour is what can make or break a family holiday in the great outdoors.