As clichéd as it may sound, there are definite benefits in stripping yourself away from modern society and connecting with nature a little. Thankfully though, these days we live in a world where meaning camping doesn’t necessarily mean you have to rough it.
The Russell Coights of the world may look down on the fancy gizmos and action man watches that many city folk pack for a trip off the beaten track, but at the end of the day you’re not a bushman, and nor should you pretend to be one.
We think camping gear should be functional, modern, and where possible, just a little bit stylish.
We’re all about jumping on board whenever the latest and greatest from Kickstarter comes out to revolutionise something.
Take, for instance, the humble tent, and what the folks at Cinch! have done to bring it into the 21st century. It pops up super quickly, meaning you don’t have to spend frustrated hours threading poles through fabric loops, and has a heat-reflective canopy to create a genuinely cool environment that’s perfect for camping in Australia.
It also has a Solar Power Pack with in-built LED lanterns, meaning you can stay genuinely connected wherever you are. Throw in a couple of sleeping bags, and you’ve got a little home away from home.
Food & Drink
There’s no real way of glamorising what you’re gonna be eating on a camping trip. All the craft beer and whiskey in the world won’t be able to nullify the fact that you have to actually eat, and that the choice is going to be either a trip to the local RSL or whatever pre-marinaded meat you can scrounge from the local butchers.
Nonetheless, you can still eat with a bit of class by swapping out the standard paper plates with something a little more robust. Brands like Thermos, Joseph Joseph and Kathmandu offer fantastic ranges of metal cutlery, reusable lunch boxes and pans that make sure you’re not leaving waste anywhere you go. If you have a little extra cargo space, a camping fridge from a brand like Waeco will go a long way, too.
There’s no way of getting around the fact that good camping gear is always built to last, and for that privilege you’ll generally pay a bit of a premium. No more so is that true than with the tools you’ll generally carry in your backpack on any given trip.
There’s no point rubbing two sticks together to try and get a flame going while your mates watch you, growing colder and more resentful by the minute. Rather, invest in a solid multi-tool like a Victorinox that can do it all.
If you’re not planning on bringing ready-cut firewood with you, an axe and a good sharpening stone will save you hours foraging around for anything dry enough to burn. Plus, you’ll look manly as hell.
Ultimately, in the great outdoors your harshest fashion critic will always be yourself. This can be liberating in a way, but you may as well look the part even if you’re forced to dress practically. Prepare for all weather eventualities with a proper set of layers.
Base layers should always be breathable, and it’s always worth investing in a proper rain jacket that looks as good on the beaten path as it does off it, so look at brands like The North Face, Penfield and Norse Projects. And would you look at that, we’ve done an entire feature on the best windbreakers just for you.
Don’t kid yourself into thinking that you need to go out and buy a $200 pair of hiking shoes, either. Take anything as long as you’re happy to get them messy, and you know that they’ll ready for action (e.g. not still soaking wet) after a night by the campfire.
Also, pack extra on the socks and underwear. This is camping, not glamping, so hope for the best, dress for the worst.