User Tools

Site Tools


gear to take car camping


  • the gear you decide to take camping will depend on many factors:
    • how many are going
    • what facilities are at the camp site
    • how long you are going
    • expected weather conditions (obviously don't go if floods, gales or cyclonic winds are expected!)
    • your desire for minimalism vs glamping
  • the more gear you take, the longer it takes to pack and unpack and the less room you have in your vehicle, and more weight means more fuel expense - try for the bare minimum but I do strongly recommend the car fridge over an esky if you have the room and can afford it and a good LiFePO4 12V battery
    • those with trailer van set ups generally have a gas powered fridge and so can get away with cheaper, but much heavier, lead acid AGM 12V battery as they generally have less electric power needs.
  • In Australia, many regions have strict Fire Restrictions - in Victoria, you will NOT be able to have a solid fuel fire (eg. wood stove) if wind is > 10kph during these periods which may run from 1st Dec to 1st May and of course NONE on a Total Fire Ban Day
    • in addition, in many areas, you are NOT permitted to collect fire wood and you will need to BYO wood
    • hiking gas stoves are far better options even for car camping
      • can always use them (use propane not butane in very cold conditions), are far more compact, lighter, more reliable and will boil water faster while gas cartridges are readily available at most camping or hardware stores (but not Bunnings!)

Basic minimalism for 1-2 campers for several nights

    • whilst a small light easy to carry and set up hiking 2-3P tent may be preferred by many, a 4-6P touring tent might be more desirable for comfort, space and amenity
    • take the best tent for the expected conditions:
      • snow - rare in Australia to camp in the snow but if you do, you will need a 4 season hiking tent or if you can get your car there, perhaps a "hot" tent with a wood stove
      • cold nights - a full fabric 2P tent will give you the most warmth and protection - see comparison of full fabric 2P and 3P tents for colder nights, or perhaps a "hot" tent with a wood stove
      • hot nights - a mainly mesh tent (or perhaps a hammock with mesh netting, or mozzie tent with a tarp) will keep you most comfortable - see comparison of mainly mesh tents for warm nights
      • strong winds or storms - a cheap budget tent and many expensive ultralight hike tents probably will not survive, and many pop up or fast frame tents will struggle unless well guyed out - a 4 season 2P dome tent, 1P tunnel tent, swag on a stretcher, or a tipi tent might be best.
      • prolonged rain periods - a good spacious waterproof tent with lots of room to sit out the rain - 6P touring tent would be ideal for most.
      • hot sunny days - consider a sun shade for your tent otherwise it will get VERY hot in the sun (>50degC) and camping under tall Australian trees on such days is risky for lethal branch falls
    • take extra tent pegs, preferably nice strong big ones in case and consider a tent peg removal hook and a claw hammer
  • night and sleeping gear:
    • mattress, air bed or stretcher (consider one that doubles as a lounge for outdoor) - see air beds, mattresses and stretchers for camping
    • sleeping bag, quilt or blanket with liner or sheet
    • pillow, eye mask, ear plugs
    • head torch
    • consider a 2P mosquito net or mozzie tent if using 4P or larger tent in mozzie season (No-See-Um mesh if need sandfly protection)
  • hygiene gear
    • towel
    • soap, shampoo - preferably biodegradable - body wash will be ok as soap and shampoo
    • toilet paper or biodegradable flushable wipes in case there are only drop toilets or none at all in which case a small trowel is also needed to dig a hole and bury it
      • a great toilet alternative is a Elemental Thunder Down Under ThunderBox which is a sturdy large 20L bucket with a toilet seat and you just use a 36L compostable kitchen garbage bag (then you have the option to bury it) - lockable lid so no spills or smells!
        • has the advantage it can be used as a storage bucket en route especially for hoses and wet gear, as a water bucket, a rubbish bin, vomit bucket and as a stool
  • first aid kit
    • this can be minimalistic but should include at least:
      • snakebite bandages, sling, cotton buds (to remove dust from eyes), elastoplast to prevent blisters, bandaids for cuts or blisters, pain killers
      • your usual medications if any
  • cooking and eating utensils
    • knife, spoon (+/- fork), bowl and perhaps a plate
    • spatula for turning eggs on cooker +/- tongs
    • +/- Scotch paper towel to clean up oil, etc
    • bags for rubbish
    • adequate water for your needs
    • +/- compact kitchen sink to carry water and wash if taps or laundry is not nearby
  • cooking gear
    • most people are deciding against the traditional gas cylinder and BBQ as they take up too much room and are heavy
    • some people rely on wood fire cooking but this is banned in many camp grounds and in particular in periods of high fire danger, and you may need to bring your own wood plus a way to ensure you leave no trace, in particular, a fire scar, and you probably need to bring a shovel and an axe or even a chain saw!
    • for minimal cooking needs a hiking propane canister cooker will be very adequate for boiling cups of water, cooking eggs, bacon, thin sausages or a steak - but you may need a couple of these and some spare canisters
    • AVOID butane gas cookers in cold weather as butane does not evaporate as well as propane
    • for more versatile cooking, many love their small Weber BBQ
    • small table to prepare food is desirable but not totally necessary
  • relaxation gear
    • compact stool/chair
  • wet weather gear
    • raincoat, extra hand towels to dry inside the tent if needed
  • recreation gear
  • basic vehicle and shelter repair gear
  • drinking water gear

next level up desirable gear if you have room

  • portable car fridge and lithium 12V battery
    • a car fridge ensures your food and drinks will be kept cold and takes a lot of stress out of camping
      • no need to deal with having to frequently get ice and empty the melted ice from an esky
      • confidence that your food as not gone off and risk of food poisoning is far less
      • confidence that you can take several days of perishable foods such as meats, cheese, etc
      • you will need a 12V battery - preferably a 100Ah LiFePO4 one and if going for more than a few days then some mechanism to charge it (eg. DC-DC charger from car alternator, 240V charger to use the camp laundry, or perhaps solar but this is probably not worth the hastle and bulk unless you are going for more than a week without acess to 240V power), or alternatively take a 2nd 100Ah battery to give you a few more days power - see camping off-grid - power, batteries, solar, fridges and 12V batteries, battery boxes and power stations
  • coffee maker
  • extra lighting
    • eg. LED strip lights - where possible get RED lights as insects cannot see red light

extended off-grid trips

  • strongly consider a solar panel to recharge your battery
  • strongly consider a communication device
    • personal radio beacon for dire emergencies
    • satellite phone (or iPhone 14) to send update messages to family
    • a UHF CB Radios may have some utility for local contacts such as traveling in a group or convoy but has limited range
  • cooking gear
    • most would go for a gas bottle and gas BBQ kit
    • a really nice option if there will be dry kindling around is a wood stove, water boiler and pipe oven such as Winnerwell Nomad wood camping stoves, this can cook a 1.2kg roast, boil your 5L water for your shower and this will also help to keep you warm and offer a way to dry your clothes
  • additional car repair gear and spare parts

if going off-road you will need recovery gear and navigation/communication devices!

  • you need to decide whether or not you will be going to remote gravel roads or off-roads and if you do, you must take recovery gear and a mechanism to call for help such as a satellite phone or radio beacon
  • the recovery gear becomes very heavy, bulky and expensive so think carefully on whether you really want to embark on this
  • you need to bring gear to remove fallen trees from the road which may block you exit in both directions after a wind storm eg. chain saw, rope, etc
  • you will need to LEARN how to use this gear safely and appropriately for the situation

a little more luxury

  • tent heating for colder nights - especially if you have asthma
    • if you are taking a 12V battery then consider a 12V electric thermal heating pad or electric blanket to sleep on - see keeping warm when camping or hiking and perhaps a second 12V LiFePO4 100AH battery
  • shade and privacy
    • whilst many car campers bring a gazebo, these are very bulky and very heavy (at least 18kg) and prone to storm damage
    • an alternative is to have 1-2 tarps (eg. 3×3.6m plus a 2.4x3m side wall) with D-rings for added strength with 2-4 strong adjustable height tent poles, 4-6 guy ropes with springs, and extra strong, heavy duty metal angle iron type tent pegs to help stabilise it in the wind
    • better still have a 4x4m polyester hiker's tarp and some tent poles, guy ropes and adequate pegs for the ground - more compact, less weight, less noisy, less flammable but not as strong so needs to be pitched well to minimise wind forces (ie. avoid perpendicular against the wind - slope it instead)
  • better relaxation gear
    • a comfy outdoor chair or lounge makes relaxation much more enjoyable but these are generally heavy and bulky
    • ideally if you are looking at a stretcher to sleep on, this should be able to have the head end elevated to convert into a lounge for outdoor use - see air beds, mattresses and stretchers for camping
    • games to play eg. board games, cards, etc.

even more luxury

  • hot water shower +/- shower tent
    • this is really only for those going for extended periods to paces where there are no shower facilities and bathing in a river is not desirable
    • it will require:
      • access to at least 10L of relatively clean water per quick shower
      • a 10L collapsible bucket with a narrow base from which to pump your water
      • a hot water system (this could be your wood stove used to heat up 5L of water and mix with 5L of cold water)
      • gas supply if you are using a gas fired water heater
      • 12V power supply (although many showers now have a small lithium battery built in which will suffice most people)
      • somewhere to mount the shower head (but you can hand hold it - get a head with a on/off trigger)
      • and if you want privacy or to block the wind chill, a pop-up shower tent
    • obviously all this takes up a lot of space, weight and is relatively expensive unless you use a small lithium powered shower pump from a 10L bucket which you can fill with warm water
australia/carcamping_gear.txt · Last modified: 2023/02/19 15:26 by gary1

Donate Powered by PHP Valid HTML5 Valid CSS Driven by DokuWiki