If you asked me just a year ago to go camping, I would have without a doubt said a firm “no” due to memories of camping in the mud at the UK’s most famous music festival, Glastonbury many years ago. The idea of sleeping in a small, cramped and sweaty tent was no idea of fun for me.
Now, to add that experience with camping in Australia, where the thought of wild animals, let alone the dangerous, poisonous variety had crossed my mind, there was no way I would ever camp in this country of sweltering temperatures along with the many, dangerous and huge spiders that seem to co-exist with me.
But last year, I started to explore the surrounding areas of Sydney. I really got into the idea of finding incredible wild swimming spots that no one else I knew had ever heard of. This lead me to the realisation that I had fallen in love with ‘adventure’ and exploring the Australian bush.
Check out where this is and more of my favourite wild swimming spots in Sydney here
The Aussie and I had talked about investing in the whole camping gear over the last few years but we never got round to doing it until last Christmas we decided to get out of Sydney and go on a road trip down to Melbourne and over to Adelaide. This meant we decided we would do a mixture of camping, airbnb’s and hotels.
It’s a good job The Aussie loves to research the best products and after a successful camping trip (let’s face it, we both had doubts on how it would turn out for me), I’ve decided to let you in on how you can get into camping and actually love it. We spent no more than $600 on everything we needed to camp, and I can certainly recommend Aldi (I’ve seen loads of great camping equipment in there recently) and Kmart are both great places to get you started. Here’s my list of 6 items you need to camp on a budget in Australia
1. The Tent
The most important thing you need to invest in when go camping is a decent tent. Now I can happily admit that if it were me, I would have bought an $80 tent from Kmart but The Aussie convinced me otherwise. After a bit of research, we ended up buying the Coleman Instant Pop Up 6 Man Tent.
A 6 man tent you say? Yep, it didn’t cost that much more than the 4 man were looking at and to be honest, we are both messy so I knew a bigger tent would be better for us. It has so many amazing features like windows to give it a good airflow, a hatch at the top to put a light in and pockets on the side to stash anything you might need to find in the night.
It also included a hatch you can pull out to have some shade from the blazing sun. This is essential and a great feature. Because it’s an instant pop up tent, it takes like 5 minutes to put together. Even my friend and I managed to put it together when we went camping just last weekend, and if we can put it up, seriously, anyone can! We paid something like $300 for this tent as it was in the sale.
What I didn’t know was how this tent was the best thing ever as the experience of camping is so, so different when you have a tent you can actually stand up in, feel like you have a bit of space and best of all be able to put a blow up bed in. Que, next point.
2. The Blow Up Mattress
Another essential item you’ll need is a blow up air mattress. Now this can be tricky when camping as you’ll need to get one that is battery operated rather than plug in the wall. We looked at the Kmart mattresses for a while (which weren’t battery operated) before going to a camping store and again we bought a queen size Coleman one instead as it looked way better although it was more expensive at $139. You just need to put in D Cell batteries which lasts quite a while. It is brilliant and we’ve not had any problems with it yet! Having a queen size mattress and a big tent are god sends. Seriously, it changes everything!!
3. The Sleeping Bag
Because it was summer, we knew we only needed a light weight sleeping bag and bought them from Kmart for $29 each. These have been great and definitely worth buying if you’re camping in mild temperatures.
4. The Cooking Stove
We knew we would need a cooking stove but prices varied big time. We ended up going for the $20 Kmart stove with the understanding that if it didn’t work, we would just try and get something better. What we weren’t aware of was that it was amazing! We took a small frying pan, chopping board, some plastic crockery and obviously an eskie etc and we couldn’t believe how good it was. I would recommend this cooking stove until the cows come in. It was really good!
5. The Camping Chairs and Table
In order to cook our food, we knew we would have to buy some camping chairs and a table. In comes another plug for Kmart because we ended up buying their $6.50 chairs (not included in the image above) and $39 table which all fold up. I couldn’t recommend these any more if I tried as both are brilliant!
Kmart also do some great lights. We bought a pack of three for $20, one to go on the top of the tent as a ‘ceiling light’ one for the outside and a torch. They are great lights and I’ve noticed lots of other campers with them already.
Since we bought these items, I can now go away for the weekend and spend close to nothing whilst spending quality time with friends and The Aussie. If you’re other half isn’t keen on the idea of camping, just invest in a big tent and airbed – it seriously changes everything!
Don’t forget sunscreen and mossie repellent, these are must haves when camping!
Have you been camping and what was your experience like?
Thanks for reading