Camping for families living in apartments and smaller properties

If you live in an apartment or smaller property and are craving more time outdoors and away from the concrete, crowds and noisy neighbours, then go camping!

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Apartment living is commonplace in many parts of the world, and while not traditionally the domain of families here in Australia, it is becoming much more prevalent - out of necessity as well as by choice.

Living in an apartment or smaller property poses a number of challenges for families and others wanting to enjoy the great outdoors and go camping:
  • Apartments typically have a very limited amount of storage space for camping gear, and no space for a trailer or RV
  • Many people living in apartments don't even own a vehicle let alone one suitable for camping
  • Carrying heavy camping gear over long distances via lifts and stairs to the vehicle and back can be difficult and physically demanding
  • Drying out wet camping gear in small internal spaces can be problematic

Here’s a news flash though! Families living in apartments and smaller properties are just as likely to appreciate the benefits of camping as anyone else, if not more so given their limited living and outdoor spaces.

If this all sounds familiar to you, then follow our camping guide for families living in apartments below and in the article links and you will be on the road before you know it. This guide is based on our guide to car camping for beginners, but particularly focuses on the above challenges and barriers to car camping, not only for families but for any other eager campers living in higher density properties.

If you have any questions or any other related apartment specific problems or solutions you would like to share with us, please let us know. We'd really love to hear from you.

1: Camping tips for beginners

Family campingJust because you live in an apartment doesn't mean you are a beginner camper, but in any case, before you do anything check out our camping tips for beginners for great ideas to help improve your camping experience.

First impressions are important, especially when you are also juggling the demands of children as well, so don’t make your first camping trip your last. 

2: What to bring camping - your camping setup

Rain camping setup newAgain, you might not be a beginner camper, but for a functional and cost effective family camping setup that you can transport by car and doesn't take much room to store at home, go to our camping setup for beginners article.

Here you will find a detailed list of items to include in your initial camping setup, together with advice and tips to help keep your gear volumes down. It's basically the list we wish we had when we first started camping as a family.

You will also find links to our buying guide to help you source many of the products listed, which by the way are NOT subject to any kind of reward, affiliate marketing or sales commission arrangement.

Our beginners camping setup is still functional and comfortable and will be compatible with most of the advice and tools available on this website. Many of the items listed will also be equally useful around the home as well if, in the end, they don't get a lot of camping use.

For ideas to help keep your gear volumes down, go to our space saving ideas for camping article. This article focuses on minimising the amount of gear you need to pack for camping, but it is equally relevant for storing your gear at home. In particular though, if you live in an apartment or smaller property: 

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3: Storing your camping gear

One of the major issues facing those living in apartments and smaller properties is the limited amount of available storage space, both inside the home as well as in any storage cages or units provided in your apartment building.

Whether you store your camping gear in a spare room, your storage unit, garage or shed, your parents garage or an external storage facility, check out our home storage solution article for our tried and tested way to store your camping gear.

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4: Finding the right car

A common feature of apartment living is accessibility to schools, work, public transport, the local amenities and access to share vehicles, taxis and ride share services. With all of this so easily at hand, and more apartments not even providing car parking, hiring or renting a vehicle for your camping getaways can be a really practical and cost effective option.

If you are interested in buying a car, then by all means read our cars section and check out our car buying checklist.

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5: Finding the right campsite

Location marker1 Depositphotos 15339035 l 2015 1You’ve got your camping setup organised and decided on a camping getaway. Now it’s time to decide on where you want to go, actually find that ideal campsite, and if necessary, book it. Like anything new and unfamiliar though, finding a great camping location to suit your circumstances can be at best hit and miss.

If you are new to camping, we suggest you err on the side of caution and start out at an established campground with toilet and shower facilities, drinking water and within easy access to fuel and a grocery store. Check out our article listing popular online resources to help you find a great campsite to suit your camping "skill level".

6: Packing checklist

TickNow that you've worked through the elements of your camping setup and decided what goes in it, you need to develop a packing checklist to make sure that you pack everything you need (and nothing you don't) for any given camping trip.

Our packing checklist for beginners is based on the items we have included in the above camping setup for beginners. The idea is to start with this basic checklist and personalise it as you go.

To print the document, go to the packing checklist article for a PDF copy or to download an editable Word version if you wish to customise the document to suit your circumstances.

The first "packing summary" section of the checklist summarises how a family would pack a standard car for camping. It suggests that some of the gear is transported on the roof of the car, which you would ignore if you will be hiring a car that does not have roof rails and cross bars fitted.

7: Preparing for camping checklist

Getting ready for a camping trip isn’t just about your camping setup and gathering that all together. Although important, you also need to prepare for the trip, including attending to all of the housekeeping tasks that can often get overlooked in the 101 things you feel you need to do before you head off. 

An organised and step by step approach to preparing for a camping trip can really save you time and stress, and you will be reassured that you are prepared for anything forseeable, and nothing important is left behind.

To print the document, go to the preparing for a camping trip article for a PDF copy or to download an editable Word version if you wish to customise the document to suit your circumstances.

8: Packing your car for camping

You've got your camping setup together, a suitable car with adequate payload and cargo space, a plan in place and now you're ready to head off camping. All you need now is to decide how you will pack your car for camping. Whether you are using your own car or hiring one, the principles are pretty much the same.

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9: Pitching and packing up

Once at the campsite, you'll be pleased to know that you're no different to everyone else! Other really useful articles in our toolkit relate to the whole camping process once you arrive at camp. No matter the conditions or your length of stay, a well-planned approach to setting up your campsite can get you into holiday and relax mode as soon as possible. 

10: Arriving home

There are numerous tasks we all need to attend to on our arrival home before we crash on the couch for a well earned rest. If you live in an apartment or smaller property, these challenges can be exacerbated when you need to dry out wet or even damp camping gear in your limited indoor or outdoor space.

The biggest challenge will be drying out your tent, and doing as much as possible at the campsite can really save you a great deal of hassle when you arrive home. Obviously, attempting to do so in the rain might prove fruitless, but if the weather is clear, as early in the day as possible:
  • shake the water off the tent as much as possible
  • wipe down the tent with a towel or cloth
  • scrape off any dirt from the pegs and under the floor
  • and finally, move it and any additional panels to a sunny area to dry, making sure of course it can't blow away in the wind

Packing up your tent into it's bag should be the last thing you do before you leave to maximise drying time.

As we mentioned earlier and in our tips for choosing your tent article, if you have limited space at home to actually erect your tent to dry, then the smaller single-room tents with separate annex panels will be easier to dry than the larger two and three-room tents. Tents that allow you to remove the frames, such as your typical dome tent, will be even easier, allowing you to hang the tent fabric on the clotheslines and drape over balconies (if permitted), doors and furniture. A blow dryer comes in handy as well.

Other options for drying out your tent include common areas, taking it to someone's place who does have the required outdoor space (together with their beverage or chocolate of choice) or taking it to a local park if permitted.

11: Other handy tip articles

While we encourage you to browse through our website, in particular the tips section, the following tip related articles will initially be more useful than others: