Having just returned from another beautiful camping road trip away in one of the many gorgeous Australian National Parks, I thought it was about time I compiled a camping checklist for adventuring out into the wilderness in this massive country.
Like normal, the recent road trip to the beautiful Bunya Mountains National Park, was a bit of a last minute decision, involving very little preparation or planning – if we get 2 days off together we normally just grab it!
As such, we very often forget something or somethings!
This time it was head torches (aka headlamps!) we forgot – a pretty crucial component of camping in the middle of nowhere!
I immediately decided I need to write a camping checklist so that on our next Australian road trip adventure we don’t forget anything.
Hopefully this camping checklist will also help you if you’re looking to adventure out into the beautiful wilds of Australia.
If you haven’t camped Down Under before there might be a few surprise elements here you hadn’t thought about, so get reading, get packing and get out there!
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#1 Fire & Lighting
First up, heat and light!
- Matches & Lighter
- LED light strips
As discussed head torches / lamps a key part on any Australia camping essentials list.
They are the perfect hands-free lighting solution you need to read, cook or set up a tent when the light fades.
I love my Black Diamond Storm headlamp because it’s got several different lighting modes, including a red light to ward off the bugs and a very handy lock mechanism to help preserve the batteries!
Many would argue that camping without a fire isn’t any adventure at all, so if you’re one of those people, make sure firewood is on your camping essentials list for Australia, as well as something to start the fire with such as matches, firelights, kindling, newspaper or BBQ lighters.
Service stations around Australia usually sell all this stuff.
Please bear in mind with fire however, that it is very important to check the fire regulations in your intended camping location.
Due to the risk of bushfires etc, breaking any fire bans can have serious consequences in Australia including legal ones, so do follow the rules.
As an example, some Australian National Park campsites allow fires and some don’t, some allow them at certain times of the year and during certain conditions only – it varies, so make sure you research, read and obey the rules.
Firewood should never be collected from Australian National Parks, so always make sure you stock up before entering any protected areas.
LED Camp Lighting
Other sorts of lights that you might want to put on your Australia camping essentials list include LED camp lighting.
LED lights are super bright and use hardly any power.
They can easily light up a camping area when hung on awnings, attached to the outside of cars or put inside tents.
Thye run off batteries, solar panels or a vehicle’s dual battery system – it just depends on the make and model.
We love this one which is rechareable and collapsable.
Of course the most important element of any camping essentials list for Australia road tripping is what you’ll be sleeping in and on!
- Tent / Swag
- Sleeping Bags / Blankets
Tents come in all different shapes and sizes, so depending on how many there are of you, or where exactly you’ll be going camping will affect what model you buy.
Generally, I recommend getting a tent 1 man bigger than the number of people who will be sleeping in it i.e. if you want a tent for 2 people to sleep in, buy a 3-man tent!
READ MORE: The Complete Guide to Buying a Tent
From pop-up tents to multi-wing castles, there’s a huge range of models available, so just choose something that works for you … and will fit in / on your vehicle!
We now have our wonderful Simpson III rooftop tent, but before we bought this we camped our way on many Australian road trips, including all the way to Uluru from Noosa, just with a stand-alone tent, so it’s totally possible.
In terms of stand alone tents, I really like many of the Oz Trail models, which are designed for Australia camping, as well the Marmot Tungsten because of its freestanding capabilities and lifetime warranty.
You’ll also want to make sure that you have something to sleep on inside your tent.
Roll out mattresses are great and I always recommend thermarest models as the best brand to buy.
With simple inflating mechanisms, they will give you a great night’s sleep and roll up to be small, compact and light.
You’ll also want to put a sleeping bag on your Australian camping checklist.
Believe it or not, Australia can get cold especially at night in areas of altitude or in the Outback.
The fact that Australia temperatures do drop significantly was one of the things I never realised before coming to Australia, so don’t let the postcards of sunny beaches fool you – a good sleeping bag is essential for camping here.
I always recommend a snugpak sleeping bag, which are a brand that pack right down.
READ MORE: The 6 Best Sleeping Bags
A tarp is also a good idea for any Australia camping essentials list, where sudden, heavy rain can ruin life in a tent.
Hung above you, a tarp can help shelter you from the rain and placed underneath a tent can help waterproof and insulate too.
Swags are a typically Australian camping item.
They are somewhere between a tent and a bivvy bag and normally made of hardwearing, waterproof canvas with a built-in mattress.
They are quick to put up and easy, but are more expensive to buy and bulky to carry.
If you decide you want to hit the Australian bush in traditional style however, then check out this great example!
5 ESSENTIAL PACKING ITEMS FOR AUSTRALIA
#1 Good Camera – You will be pretty much snapping non-stop in Australia and will need a good camera to do this gorgeous country justice. I highly recommend the Sony A6000, which I use for all my travels and love, not least because it’s light, compact and robust!
#2 Good Walking Shoes – There will be a lot of walking in Australia – from cities to national park! Make sure your feet are comfortable therefore with a pair of New Balance Trainers. Perfect for stylish strollling, I love mine
#3 Good Guidebook – I’m still a massive fan of the Lonely Planet Guidebooks and do think their Australia edition is well put together
#4 Good Water Bottle – Travelling in hot old Australia can be thirsty work, so make sure you have a metal water bottle that you can refill as you go, because tap water is drinkable… and free!
#5 Good Sun Hat – And there’s no denying you’ll need a good sun hat for protection in Australia too. In my opinion you can’t go past this Hello Sunshine one, which is both gorgeous and ideal for keeping the rays off your face.
#3 Eating & Drinking
No good camping checklist is complete without eating and drinking, so make sure you have adequate food and beverages packed for the length of your trip.
- Esky / Cool Box & Ice
- Cutlery, Bowls, Mugs, Saucepans, Bottle Opener
- Butane Gas Stoves
- Table and Chairs
- Washing Up Liquid / Cloths / Towels
- Bin Bags
- Paper Towel
Food-wise, snacks and things that are easy to cook or assemble are great.
As Australian weather is generally warm in the day, think about foods that will last well in the heat i.e. dried goods, nuts, tins etc.
Storing food is another key consideration for your camping essentials list Australia-style.
We have a Waeco fridge, which we love, but this is an expensive and large item to carry and requires either a solar panel or dual battery system to run off.
If you want to keep it simple then just grab an esky (Australian word for cool box), which should help keep food cool and safe from animals etc.
There are many different sizes available and many can be bought from Australian supermarkets, discount stores and hardware / camping shops.
A good idea is to buy a bag or 2 of ice and store these in the bottom of the esky before loading the food on top to keep it extra cold for longer.
Ice can be bought from most service stations and supermarkets in Australia.
You’ll also probably want something to eat on, so consider a table on your Australia camping essentials list.
There are many collapsible models on the market, designed to be set up and transported easily.
The ALPS Mountaineering Camp Table is a great example of a cheap, useful model.
Camping chairs are also great when you want to eat or just sit and admire the view.
We love our Coleman ones.
Butane gas camping stoves, along with spare butane canisters can easily be bought across Australia, as can disposable BBQs.
If you want to ensure you can make a cup of tea, eat food or boil unsafe water for drinking these are a must.
You’ll also need plates, cutlery, bowls, mugs, saucepans, chopping boards etc to prepare food and eat with too.
A sharp knife always comes in handy, as do spare Tupperware to store food.
Don’t forget a bottle opener!
Of course you want to make sure you bring plenty of water too!
This is perhaps the number 1 item on your camping essentials list for Australia road tripping.
Think about having enough not only to drink, but also to wash dishes with, wash hands with, wash fruit / veg with and to put in the car radiator if you need.
Large quantities of water can be carried in jerry cans, which are specific containers that come in all shapes and sizes and can easily fit into any vehicle.
Just make sure the jerry can you use is made of food-safe materials if you’re storing drinking water in them.
Washing & Disposal
After all that eating and drinking, you’ll also want stuff that allows you to wash and clean up.
A collapsable washing bowlis a great addition to any camping essentials list, as is washing up liquid, as well as cloths and tea towels to dry dishes.
Don’t forget bin bags either!
In many remote places across Australia no bins are available and in National Parks, for example, it is essential you take all your rubbish home with you, meaning you’ll need somewhere to store it in the meantime.
#4 Toiletries & Clothes
Camping can be miserable when you don’t have the right gear and, as the Australian weather can change quickly, you want to be prepared.
- Warm Clothes (thick socks, hat, trousers)
- Rain Jacket
- Boots & Flip Flops
- Insect Repellent & Sun Cream
- Toilet Paper & Hand Sanitiser
- Regular Toiletries
- First Aid Kit
- Fly Head Net
No matter where you’re going in Australia, I recommend taking clothes suitable for rain, wind and cold as well as heat and sun.
Even if it is hot and sunny in the day, temperatures can quickly drop here at night (as I’ve learnt on more than a few occasions) and you don’t want to be cold in bed or miserable by the fire.
I always take warm clothes to sleep in as it’s easier to take things off into the night should you get too hot, rather than put them on.
A rain jacket, like this great one from North Face, and sun cream will also protect you from the Australian elements.
Fly Head Net
In the Outback the amount of flies is astounding, so I certainly recommend taking a fly head net with you if you don’t want to go insane!
Insect repellent is a good idea too.
I always like to choose natural products if I can, so check out this great recipe for a DEET-free mosquito repellent I’ve discovered or this great product fromRepel.
Toilet paper is a must and hand sanitiser is also useful in environments with low water resources and amenities.
So too is a simple travel first aid kit containing things such as band-aids, anti-septic, and cream for insect bites, burns or cuts.
And don’t forget your toothbrush!
At the end of the day, camping in Australia is about getting out into nature and enjoying yourself, so don’t forget to bring all the accessories you might need to have a good time.
- Reading, Writing & Drawing Material
- Music or Audio Books
- Hiking Boots & Gear
- Swimming Costumes & Towels
- Fishing Rods
Make sure you pack clothes for walking or swimming if you want to enjoy any of these activities while camping and road-tripping in Australia.
I recommend bringing hiking boots to keep your feet warm at night and protect them from ticks or leeches.
I also love Amazon Audible, which I use to enjoy audiobooks whenever I travel in the wilds without wifi!
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So that is my camping essentials list for Australia road tripping.
Did I miss anything off?
What do you always take camping with you in the Land Down Under?