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We have listed below the various products we have referred to in this website, together with a price guide and our advice, notes and suggestions.

We have also provided links to key products for your convenience which are NOT subject to any kind of reward, affiliate marketing or sales commission arrangement. Regardless, we suggest you check other stores for more competitive prices and store sales.

You can use this as a guide when you are out and about shopping. Being available online, it can be accessed at any time using your smart phone, and you will have no worries about losing your printed copy or leaving it at home. All prices listed are indicative, based on Australian retail prices and in Australian dollars (AUD).

Notes for beginner campers

  • Items denoted with a single asterisk (*) in the first "item" column are those we think should be included in a camping setup for beginners.
  • Products denoted with two asterisks (**) in the "product example" column are those we recommended for a camping setup for beginners.

Tent and accessories - related article

Item

Store

Product example

Est price guide AUD

Notes and suggestions

Tent *

Camping

See tent guide

See tent guide

Accessories

Camping

See tent guide

See tent guide

Hiking tents

Camping; hiking

$100-$800

Hiking style tents for the kids when they want their own space should be compact and lightweight at up to 3 kg. A three person tent would be adequate for two children / people for long stay camping but would also be light enough for 2-3 people for an overnight hike. Refer to our additional tent for the kids article for more information.

Flooring and extra shelter

Tent floor saver and annex floor matting *

Camping; Hardware

** Oztrail ultra mesh tarp

$35-80

Purchase tent first and select size to suit dimensions of tent and annex floor. Other brands available.

These mesh tarps work well as floor matting because they are lighter in weight and less bulky than the annex floor matting products listed below.

Camping; Online

C-Gear Multimat

$190-$300

These can be quite bulky when folded up compared to the mesh tarp listed above and therefore may not be suitable if you are limited for space in the car. Size to suit dimensions of annex and awning floor requirements.

Camping; Online

Campsmart annex floor matting

$60-$100

Less expensive but heavier than the C-Gear multimat and also quite bulky when folded up. These may also not be suitable if you are limited for space in the car. Other brands available. Select size of mat to suit dimensions of annex and awning floor requirements.

Tarpaulin shelter

Camping; Hardware

Size to suit your particular camping setup.

Screen room, marquee

Camping

Oztrail Deluxe 3.0 Gazebo


Oztrail Gazebo Solid Wall Centre Zip


Typical marquees and outdoor shelters may be too bulky and heavy to transport by car unless you have a relatively small tent which would be used just for sleeping and gear storage.


Marque walls should have a zip down the middle so as to allow wind to easily pass through the marquee.

Tools - related article

Item

Store

Product example

Lighting

Notes and suggestions

2 mattocks / hammers *

Camping; Hardware

Tent pegs *

Camping

3-4 additional heavy duty pegs.

Guy ropes *

Camping

Tent peg puller

Camping

Multi-tool *

Hardware

Screw driver set

Hardware

Spanner (for gas bottle fitting) *

Hardware

Duct tape *

Hardware

Elastic bands *

Stationary supplier

Plant twist wire *

Hardware

String *

Hardware

Cable ties *

Hardware

Fold back clips

Stationary supplier

Foam strips

General

Mini dust pan and brush *

Camping

Broom

Hardware

Small scissors *

General

Trowel *

Camping; Hardware

Tent repair kit *

Camping; Hardware; supplied with tent

Bike tools (if required)

Bike store

Small trowel or shovel *

Camping; Hardware

Small axe *

Camping; Hardware

Small saw *

Camping; Hardware

Power - related article

Item

Store

Product example

Price guide

Notes and suggestions

Small rechargeable power banks *

Electrical stores

Luxa 2 P-Mega 41,400 mAh

$100-$120

Other products available. Should be at least 40,000 mAh in total to run 2-3 rechargeable lights and a couple of smart phones for three days. Could buy multiple smaller power banks, but for convenience, they should be at least 20,000 mAh each.

Larger rechargeable power bank / battery

Camping / Online

Goal Zero Yeti 500X solar generator

$599-$699

Other brands available.

Larger solar panels

Camping / Online

$400-$800

A 100W solar panel would be adequate for a 40 litre camp fridge and a number of small devices. Choose a lighter slimline solar panel and not one with a heavier and more bulky aluminium frame. Choose also a compatible solar panel and power pack or battery and seek professional advice if in doubt. Check the online reviews of the product you are considering.

Lighting - related article

Item

Store

Product example

Price guide

Notes and suggestions

Smaller hand and head torches *

Camping; Hardware

One torch for each person, preferably head torch. Generally available.

Tent, annex and awning lights – USB chargeable *

Camping

Arvo – inject glow rechargeable USB powered mini dome light

$40-$70

USB chargeable light – more expensive but maintains good charge. Other brands available.

Camping

Oztrail powergrid tent light

$29-$42

USB chargeable light – appears to be a similar style to the Arvo light above.

Camping

** Zempire hangdome lantern

$34

USB chargeable light – less expensive than the product above but still very functional.

Tent, annex and awning lights – solar powered

Camping

Luci outdoor solar light

$15-$25

Solar powered light. Other brands and products available.

Kitchen, bathroom and laundry - Kitchenware container and contents - related article

Item

Store

Product example

Price guide

Notes and suggestions

4 stackable kitchen ware containers *

Bunnings hardware

** Award 35L storage container with wheels

$6-7

Container should be up to W:60 x D:40 x H:25 cm (W:24 x D:15 x H:10 in). If you can't locate similar size box, find one higher but with the same horizontal dimensions. Internal length should be at least 50 cm (20 in) wide in order to sit 20 cm (8 in) pot and 28 cm (11 in) frying pan.

Frying pan (28 cm / 11 in) with detachable handle *

Camping

Campfire frying pan with detachable handle – 28 cm / 11 in

$40-$50

A frying pan larger than 28 cm / 11 in may not fit neatly into kitchenware container. Alternatively, remove handle from existing frying pan and use silicon pot grabber (see below from Kmart) to handle pan.

20 cm / 11 in (3 – 4L) pot with small side handles – no lid *

Ikea

** Oumbarlig 20 cm pot

$20

Other brands available. Select pot with small side handles rather than one long handle.

Flat frying pan lid *

Ikea

** Klockren Universal Silicone lid

$12

This lid can be used for the frying pan as well as the pot. Alternatively find flat style lid.

Camp oven

Camping

Aussie camp oven (spun steel)

$59-$100

Camp oven cooking goes hand in hand with camping for many campers. However your typical cast iron oven is notoriously heavy and will add significantly to your load weight. Alternative spun steel camp ovens are popular and are said to be 75% lighter in weight than those made of cast iron.

1.8L kettle *

Camping

$20-$50

Any smaller kettle up to 1.8L with a compact or drop down hand would be sufficient. It should be small enough to fit into the 20 cm pot for transporting. A number of space saving "pop up" style silicone kettles are also available.

Silicon pot rest *

Kmart

Silicon pot grabber

$2

Flat toaster *

Camping

Companion fold down toaster (rectangle shape)

$15-20

Small "milk" pot – no lid *

Kitchenware

6 dinner plates *

Kmart

- Dinner plate – Plastic

-- Dinner plate – enamel

- $1

-- $3

- Different colors available. Alternatively, any neatly stacking picnic style plates would do.

-- A more durable and heat resistant but heavier alternative to plastic

6 desert bowls *

Kmart

- Desert bowl – plastic

-- Desert bowl – enamel

- $1

-- $3

- Different colors available. Alternatively, any neatly stacking picnic style bowls would do.

-- A more durable and heat resistant but heavier alternative to plastic.

4 bread / side plates

Ikea

Kalas plates (6 pack)

Generally available. Alternatively, look for neatly stacking picnic style bread / side plates.

2 small bowls *

Ikea

Kalas bowls (6 pack)

$2

May not be necessary.

2 stubby holders *

General

Generally available. Are also good to use as padding in the kitchenware container to protect cups and glasses.

3 stackable coffee mugs *

Ikea

Fargrik coffee mug

$4

Different colors available. These are very durable mugs. Neatly stacking coffee cups are hard to find.

Alternatively (or in addition) you could use a insulated coffee cups and transport them in your car cup holders.

3 stackable glass drinking glasses *

Ikea

** Fabulos glasses

$4

Different colors available. These are very durable glasses. We use these as our wine glasses and they are also perfect for mixed drinks. Alternatives that neatly stack are sometimes hard to find.

6 plastic stackable drinking cups *

Ikea

Kalas mugs (6 pack)

$2

Alternatively, any neatly stacking picnic style cups on the smaller side would do.

2 medium 22-24 cm stackable stainless steel bowls *

General

$5-$15

Generally available in cheaper stores. Choose styles that open out at the sides and stack neatly rather the those with more of a vertical side.

Chopping board *

General

$5-$25

Should be of medium size and the thinner the better. We now use one made of bamboo.

Strainer / colander *

General

** Companion popup silicone colander

$20-$30

Square serving plate

General

$2

3 tea towels *

General

Use smaller and thinner tea towels.

3 dish cloths *

General

1 pot scourer *

General

paper towel roll *

General

Dish washing liquid bottle *

General

Use small pop top bottle.

Hand washing liquid

General

Use small pop top bottle.

Rubber gloves *

General

Kitchen, bathroom and laundry - Kitchen utensils container and contents - related article

Container - rectangle cooler lunch bag *

General

Smash slimline cold box lunch bag

$13

If you can't find something similar, in the short term we suggest you wrap your utensils and cutlery separately and place in a recycle shopping bag for transportation.

Cutlery set *

General

Kmart Anko brand 16 piece stainless steel cutlery set

$4

The Kmart Anko cutlery listed is very compact but sturdy. Buy 2-3 sets. Avoid heavy cutlery and cutlery with bulky handles. Lightweight stainless steel cutlery is preferable.

Vegetable peeler *

General

Small serrated knife *

General

Victorinox serrated tomato and sausage knife

$8

Different colours available. These are great for slicing cheese and tomotoes and chopping crisp vegetables such as celery and capsicum. Buy a few for home as well.

Straight edged carving / vegetable knife *

General

Can opener *

General

Egg flip *

General

Try to find smaller flat style silicone egg flip.

Small / mini tongs *

Kmart; General

Stainless steel mini-tongs

$2

These are widely available.

Serving spoon *

General

Try to find smaller flat style spoon. Rice serving spoons are a good size.

Egg rings

General

Flat whisk

Online only

Flat wire whisk

$10-$20

A flat wire whisk is a great alternative to the standard ones and they don’t take up a lot of space. They are not necessary for camping but very useful for mixing. We have one for home as well.

Flat / small grater *

Kmart; General

Grater and storage box - use grater only

$2

Small spatula *

General

Digital meat thermometer

Kitchenware

Wooden skewers

General

Permanent marker

General

Gas lighter/matches *

General

Rubber bands *

Small scissors

General

Kitchen, bathroom and laundry - Water storage, bathroom and laundry items - related article

3 basins – neatly stackable *

Hardware

Ezy rectangular basin

$6

If buying more than one basin, ensure they are neatly stackable.

Collapsible bucket – approx 10L *

Camping; online

** Companion pop-up silicone bucket

$35-$50

A heavier option being made of silicone but more durable. Check suitability for drinking water. The one we have used doesn’t leave a taste to the water. Other brands available.

Collapsible bucket – approx 10L *

General; online

Collapsible bucket

$10-$20

A lighter weight, cheaper and more compact option to the silicone bucket but we can't determine if they are suitable for holding drinking water. The one we used left a taste in the water compared to water straight from the tap! Other brands available.

Portable shower

Australian Direct

Kickass portable camping shower with lithium battery

$44

These portable showers are rechargeable via a USB port and are compact for transporting. They can be used in conjunction with a bucket or other open container of water. See the video in the product link.

Portable shower

Camping; online

Oztrail canvas shower bucket

$39

A more simple shower option is this 15L shower bucket with a shower rose. You just need to fill it up with warm to hot water, hang it up and stand under it.

Water bladder

Online

Fleximake

$189

Other brands and bladder sizes available. Badder size and shape should be selected to fit the space available. If insufficient room in the car to transport the full bladder and if water is available locally, you can transport empty and fill once you arrive at your campsite and unload your car to avoid multiple trips to your water source.

Laundry peg bag *

General

Clothes peg bag

$4

Widely available.

Cooking stoves and fuel - related article 1 - related article 2

Item

Store

Product example

Price guide

Notes and suggestions

Propane and LP gas fuelled stove *

Camping

** Colman triton 2 burner stove

$100-$149

This is our preferred camping stove because it will run on a disposable propane canister but is also sold with a 3/8″ hose to fit a refillable LP gas cylinder. A number of other Coleman stoves also run on both disposable propane canisters and refillable LP gas cylinders but they tend to be heavier and more bulky.

The pack size of your preferred stove should not be wider than the kitchenware container or fridge if it is to be packed in the car alongside either of these (as we suggest).

Other brands are available that run on propane but check with the supplier if they will run on LP gas as well as many won't.

Propane gas canister

Camping

Coleman light weight LPG (propane) bottle

$6-$10

Ensure gas canister is compatible with stove as many LP gas stoves will not run on propane gas.

LP gas stove - 2 burner

Camping; yare

Gasmate classic 2 burner camping stove

$50-$80

Other brands available. Keep it compact and to two burners. According to supplier, will only run on refillable LP gas cylinder.

LP gas cylinder - up to 4 kg / 9 lb *

Camping; Hardware

4 kg / 9 lb bottle if also using gas fuelled absorption fridge. If only using gas for cooking, a smaller gas bottle may suffice to save on packing space

Butane stove (2 required)

Camping; online

Gasmate single burner stove

$15-$25

Other brands available. Will only run on disposable butane canisters and to maximixe efficiency will require separately available windshields.

Butane stove - 2 burner

Camping; Hardware

Primus butane stove – 2 burnerPrimus butane stove – 2 burner

$70-$90

Other brands available. Will only run on disposable butane canisters and to maximize efficiency will require separately available windshields.

Butane gas canisters

Camping; Hardware

Gasmate butane gas cartridge

$5-$10

Other brands available.

Camp oven and accessories

Camping

Refrigeration - related article

Item

Store

Product example

Price guide

Notes and suggestions

Icebox *

Camping; online

** Dometic cool-ice 55 litre

$200-$289

This Dometic icebox is slightly larger than some of the others listed and represents excellent value for money. We recently used it for camping and recommend you also purchase the separate dairy basket.

Icebox *

Camping; online

Engel rotomoulded icebox 50L

$399

See note above regarding the required dimensions of your icebox. This product has available dairy basket, divider and other accessories and is new to the market. On the website it has a stated capacity of 45 litres.

Icebox *

Camping; online

Techniice signature series ice box 45 litre

$250-$300

This Techniice icebox is 67 cm / 26 in wide and comes with a separate dairy basket. We have used this product in the past. It is really only suitable for cars with a boot depth of at least 110 cm / 43 in because of it's wider dimensions. See website information and video.

Absorption fridge - max 40L

Camping

** Gasmate 3-way fridge

$270-$370

This product is a good starting point instead of an icebox. The link is to a 35 litre model. As mentioned above, your icebox / fridge dimensions for cars with a 100 cm / 39 in deep boot should be no more than D:60 x W:50 x H:45 cm / D:24 x W:20 x H:18 in. Other brands available. Absorption fridges also sold in 40L size.

Compressor fridge - max 40L

Camping

Engel 40L combi fridge / freezer

$1200-$1425

This is the only 40L product that we know of with two separate compartments to run fridge and freezer. Other products on the market will only operate as a fridge or a freezer.

Width including handles is close to 70 cm / 27 in and it also measures 50 cm / 20 in high/ It will need a car with a cargo space depth of at least 110 cm / 43 in and a height of at least 85 cm / 34 in. You may need a larger space if you are also fitting a fridge slide.

Icebox / fridge stand *

Camping; Hardware

Wanderer fridge / cooler standWanderer fridge / cooler stand

$30-$40

Other brands available.

1-2 cooler bags approx 15 – 20L – soft shell or hard shell *

Furniture - Camp chairs - related article

Item

Store

Product example

Price guide

Notes and suggestions

Chairs - general camping *

Camping

$10-$200

Should not exceed 3 - 4 kg / 6 - 9 lb in weight (lighter weight chairs for children). Avoid chairs with accessories other than cup holders.

Chairs longer than 100 cm / 39 in will need to fit neatly in the boot / trunk above the wheel arches behind rear seats.

Chairs - lightweight hiking style

Camping

Helinox chair

$100-$150

These chairs are relatively expensive and are not particularly comfortable (in our opinion), but they are very lightweight and they save on car packing space. They may be suitable for a child, as a spare chair or if you are a regular overnight hiker.

Furniture - Tables and dining sets - related article

70 cm square quad folding table L:70 x W:70 x H:70 cm (L:28 x W:28 x H:28 in) *

Camping

** Oztrail slat table

$50-$90

Other suitable brands available. This particular table has a useful height adjustment for use as a work bench as well as a dining table. Some other similar tables are not height adjustable.

These tables are also compact when packed up and can fit neatly together with the chairs for transportation. If the 90-100 cm long folding table (below) is difficult to pack you could instead purchase two of these tables.

90-100 cm / 35-39″ long bi-folding table

Camping

Colman deluxe utility table (100 cm / 39″ long)

$59-$79

The product you choose should fold in half to form a pack size of up to 60 cm wide by 50 cm deep. Anything larger will be more difficult to pack. It should also weigh around 4-5 kg.

These folding tables are easy to set up for quick stops but can be a little difficult to pack. They are still useful to have as part of your camping gear when space is available and you want quick to set up table.

90-100 cm / 35-39″ long bi-folding table

Camping

Spinifex lifestyle table (90 cm / 35″ long)

$55-$90

See notes for previous table.

For this particular table, unless you have a large boot / trunk we suggest you choose the 90 cm long table as the 120 cm table is more difficult to pack.

Dining table and seat set *

Camping

Oztrail picnic table set (with fixed seats)

$130-$240

Product weight 11 kg. Dining table and seat set – aluminium frame (fixed seats). Fixed seating good for young children.

Dining table and seat set *

Camping

Coleman 3-piece table and bench set

$99-$150

Product weight 10.5 kg. Being steel frame, this will be heavier to transport and also has a larger pack size than the set listed above. The item you select should weigh around 13-14 kg / 28 – 31 lb. Some similar looking sets are extremely heavy (up to 20 kg / 44 lb) and should be avoided. This set is 102 cm / 40 in long and will need to lie on the floor of the car boot / trunk so check the car dimensions.

The separate bench seats are also very useful around camp. They can be used as a coffee table, for playing cards and other games and as a low bench to use to elevate bags and other items in the tent / annex.

Furniture - Shelving - related article

Shelving unit - 4-tier

Online only from US

Flowerhouse 3-tier exy shelving

US $85.75

2 table top shelves

Ikea

Grejig shoe rack

$9

Purchase two to form two table top shelves.

Sleeping - related article

Item

Store

Product example

Price guide

Notes and suggestions

Sleeping mats *

Camping; Outdoor

Sea to summit comfort plus SI (self inflating) insulated sleeping mat

$100-$250

The suggested product here is the self inflating and not the similarly named inflatable product. Note the "regular" size is 51 cm wide whereas the "large" size is much wider at 64 cm wide. It's on the expensive side but has good reviews and, being just over 1195 grams for the large size, would be light enough for overnight hiking. We recently purchased the large size of this mat for our son. I swapped for a night and found it really quite comfortable. Other brands available.

In general, for adults, choose a product of up to 2.5 kg / 6 lb in weight or up to 1 kg / 2 lb if also using for hiking. Should also be no wider than 65 – 70 cm (26 – 28 in) if transporting as we suggest.

Sleeping mats *

Camping; Outdoor

Sea to summit comfort DLX SI (self inflating) sleeping mat

$225-$299

Similar but larger and thicker than the mat above. Also comes in a large width size and also as a double mat. At just under 2 kg in weight for the regular size, and more for the large size, would not be suitable for overnight hiking but compacts down to a good size for car transportation.

Sleeping mats *

Camping; Outdoor

Exped Mega Mat 10 self inflating mat

$299-$340

This mat is expensive but very comfortable at 10 cm high. Also comes in a double size.

Sleeping bags *

Camping; Outdoor

$100-$400

Choose cocoon or mummy shape for best warmth to weight ratio. Choose a product of up to 2 kg / 4 lb in weight or up to 1 kg / 2 lb if also using for hiking. Alternatively, if space permits and the weather is moderate, you could use a doona / quilt.

Camping pillow *

Camping; Outdoor

Broadly available. Padded or self-inflating available. Alternatively, use a small cushion.

Stretcher beds

Camping

Oztent goanna stretcher

$100-$150

These aren't a necessity but are useful if space and weight permits. Other Oztent sizes available on their website that meet our weight and space limitations. Also check out their Youtube videos. Many other brands available.

Clothing - related article

Item

Store

Product example

Price guide

Notes and suggestions

Outer layer (water / wind proof jacket) *

Camping; Outdoor

Generally available in hiking stores. Choose compact and light weight product.

Insulating layers (jumpers / jackets) *

Camping; Outdoor

Generally available in hiking stores. Down jackets provide the best warmth to weight ratio for an insulating layer.

Base layers (thermal / other tops) *

Camping; Outdoor

Generally available in hiking stores.

Thermal leggings *

Camping; Outdoor

Generally available in hiking stores.

Packing bags and containers - General bags and incidentals

Item

Store

Product example

Price guide

Notes and suggestions

Four stackable plastic storage containers for kitchenware and other uses around campsite (incuding one spare) *

See kitchen utentils container and contents (above) for link

Rectangle cooler lunch bag for kitchen utensils *

See kitchen utentils container and contents (above) for link

Canvas duffle bag for bedding – around 100 litres, up to 85 x 40 x 30 cm (33 x 15 x 12 in) *

Online only

Axeman canvas duffle bag 98L

$29

Sporting stores supply similarly shaped bags, such as cricket bags. Just make sure the bag has a u-shaped zip for easier access. Alternatively depending on space for packing, you could start out with inexpensive nylon check storage bag below.

Canvas duffle bag for clothing and smaller camping items – see packing checklist for details) around 60 litres, up to 70 x 30 x 30 cm (28 x 12 x 12 in) *

Online only

Axeman canvas duffle bag 55L

$35

Make sure the bag is lightweight and has a u-shaped zip for easier access. To reduce cost, purchase 2 of the these bags for camping gear (bags 5 and 6) and for clothing use $2 zip up cooler bags from the supermarket – one per person.

Canvas duffle bag for clothing and smaller camping items (see packing checklist for details) around 60 litres, up to 70 x 30 x 30 cm (28 x 12 x 12 in) *

Online

Gray-Nichols 500 (cricket) carry bag

$49

Make sure the bag is lightweight and has a u-shaped zip for easier access. To reduce cost, purchase 2 of the these bags for camping gear (bags 5 and 6) and for clothing use $2 zip up cooler bags from the supermarket – one per person.

Nylon check storage bag *

Online and in general stores

Stripped Check Bag Storage Nylon Bag

$3-$4

To start with, depending on space available, these bags could be used for clothing and/or bedding if it was to be transported in the rear seat of the car cabin.

Larger zip up cooler bags (approx 15L) *

Supermarket

$2

Available at supermarkets. Good for shoe bag, clothes bags (1 per person), long life food bags.

Packing cells – various sizes *

Camping; Outdoor

$10-$20

Generally available in travel and hiking stores. Wait for the sales. Used to hold small tools, guy ropes, long life food from home, games.

Lunch box style cooler bags – varying sizes *

General / supermarket

Generally available. SQUARE SHAPED bags to hold small food items (condiments, spreads), lighting, first aid, smaller devices and chargers, LONG THIN SHAPED bag to hold kitchen utensils and cutlery – try to find one that exceeds 30 cm in length so it can hold your longer utensils such as egg flip and serving spoon.

Fine mesh style bags *

Online only

Greensacks reusable fruit and vegie sacks

These are very durable – used for fruit & veg shopping (obviously), to keep small non-sharp items together, hold guy ropes, wash delicates (just tie ends), as a lunch bag etc.

Incidentals folder *

Stationary supplies

Burrows A4 binder display book – 20 pockets

$7

Plastic sleeve folder to hold recipes, notes, packing checklist, calculations, setting up and packing up guidelines, important instruction manuals for camping equipment and other items listed in kitchenware article.

Packing bags and containers - Roof transport, roof boxes, bags and incidentals

Roof bag or pod

Roof rack store

Thule motion XT L

$1049 RRP

Roof boxes should be at least 400L in volume and around 2 metres long. Other brands, products and sizes available.

Carry bag to transport bedding or other bags on car roof *

Various

** Canopy outdoors marquee carry bag

$55-60

Various sizes available but we suggest you choose 3 x 3 metre or 3 x 4.5 metre marquee bag. They are 1.7 metres long and appear to be fairly waterproof with the PVC lining and fits our bedding bags fairly comfortably.

If you are going for a different marquee bag, try to source one from a higher end commercial marquee supplier which would generally have better quality bags. Ensure the bag you choose has a water proof lining, is extremely durable and has an opening that can be properly secured closed.

Even if the bag material is waterproof, the seams probably won't be. If concerned about the waterproof rating, enclose the contents in large garbage bags during transport.

Tie down lockable straps to transport items on car roof *

Roof rack store

Kanulock 3.3 m / 11 ft lockable tiedowns

$99

For use when gear is being strapped directly to roof racks or tray and you want the added security of locable straps. Alternatively, tie down straps are available at hardware stores.


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Cars and accessories

  • Tie down straps
  • Cargo box or bag
  • Bike rack

Tent and accessories

  • Tent(s)
  • Marquee / shelter
  • Spare tent poles
  • Spare tent pegs
  • Loose wall panels and flooring accessories
  • Tent floor saver

Tools   

  • 2 mattocks
  • Multi-tool
  • Rubber bands
  • Fold back clips
  • Small scissors
  • Compact folding saw
  • Spare tent pegs / stakes
  • Screwdriver
  • Plant twist wire
  • Dustpan / brush
  • Bike tools / repair kit
  • Spare guy ropes
  • Spanner
  • Cable ties
  • Broom
  • Long handle shovel
  • Tent repair kit
  • Peg / stake puller
  • Duct tape
  • String
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Images of cars crammed and overloaded with camping gear are pretty cringe worthy. While the extreme ones are meant to amuse, others seem to be seriously  suggesting it's OK to pack and load a car to within an inch of it's life.

When packing and loading your car, safety really needs to be top of mind. A car loaded without due consideration to safety matters can pose a significant risk to you and others on the road. A poorly loaded car can also limit what you can take, cause damage to your car and in some cases even invalidate your insurance policy in the event of an accident.

Here are our tips for packing and loading your car for camping:

General

  • Keep within the payload as well as the roofload limit of the car. The weight of everything and everyone being transported by your car should not exceed the weight carrying capacity of your car. That goes for any accessories added to your car. You can go to our calculator to estimate the weight of your car load.
  • Make the best use of the available space. Your car has numerous compartments to store and transport your gear, from the drink holders through to the large rear cargo space. As well as that, car roof racks and tow / hitch bars are really valuable accessories to help you transport your gear. Decide what will go where to make the best use of the available space.
  • Leave plenty of space and don't cram items in too tightly. You will rarely have as much time to pack on your return home as you did when you left. Especially when you are in a rush, the tighter you have packed your car, the harder it will be to re-pack. If it's a tight fit, you are taking too much or you need to choose more compact items for your camping setup. That goes for packing any other bags or containers as well.
  • Balance your load as much as possible to evenly distribute the weight throughout the vehicle rather than in one place. This advice also applies to the car passengers – if the car load is at the limit and the rear cargo area is fully loaded, the heaviest passenger should be sitting in the front seat. You should also keep the weight of the items on your roof racks to a minimum to keep the centre of gravity of the car as low as possible for better stability on the road.
  • To bag or not to bag! You will mostly be sold covers and bags for your chairs, furniture, separately purchased annex panels and other items. We tend to leave these bags at home unless the item comes in more than one piece that needs to be kept together. Bags generally serve no purpose, and just take time to put on and remove when you are setting up and packing up your campsite. These bags also inevitably go missing just when you want them.

Car boot / trunk packing tips

  • Develop a packing plan for your camping gear and stick to it. Take photos of to act as a reminder for next time. This goes for other bags and containers as well.
  • Collect everything together before packing the car (unless you know exactly where everything goes) and make sure there is nothing forgotten. It’s much harder to add things that go towards the rear once you have started loading, and loading items out of order can result in unusable space.
  • Pack heavy items in first and, as much as possible, place them low down and towards the middle and rear of the boot / trunk, against the back seat to help reduce the centre of gravity and the effect of weight on car handling.
  • Pack items last that you need first when you arrive at camp, such as ground sheets, tent pegs, guy ropes and hammers / mattocks.
  • Transport multiple small items together in large canvas or other similar bags rather than individually in your car. These bags help to secure and contain your individual items together to reduce the number of potential missiles that could injure others in the event of a sudden stop. They will also:
  • Reduce the number of individual items to load
  • Help to organise and transport your gear around the campsite
  • Help protect your gear from the elements when transferred between the tent and the car
  • Reduce the number of items you will need to unload in the event that you need to access the spare tyre via the boot / trunk
  • Be useful for gear storage at home
  • Use any tie down points or luggage points your car might have to secure your items to reduce the chance they will move around in transit.
  • Keep part of the rear view clear if possible for the benefit of the driver. In packing the car, try to maintain a clear space through the centre of the rear cargo area to the back of the car. As far as we know, blocking the driver’s rear view through to the back window with gear is not illegal if you have both left and right side rear vision mirrors in place, but it’s definitely something you should check with your local laws.
  • Take a few photos of your car boot / trunk in stages as you pack it as a reminder for the future. Check out how we pack our rear cargo area.

Tips for transporting gear on the car roof

  • Keep within the load limits of your car roof and roof racks for safety reasons and to avoid damaging your car.
  • Minimise as much as possible the weight of your roof load. Storing heavy items on your car roof alters the centre of gravity, performance and handling of your car, which you will need to pay particular attention to when you are driving, especially if you already have a high set car.
  • Know your weightlifting limits. Physically lifting heavy weights up to the height of your roof racks can really strain your back, even with the assistance of a separate stool, or accessories such as side steps or a roof access ladder fitted to your vehicle. Ensure that any individual item can be comfortably lifted to the height of your particular vehicle.
  • Balance your load so that it is spread and weighted evenly and is not sitting too far forward or too far back on the racks. To reduce the amount of drag the item will have on your car, you should place it no further forward than the beginning of the car roof.
  • Properly secure your load to your car roof so that, even in the event of a sudden stop, your items won't become loose, fall from your car and pose a serious risk to you and others on the road. You should use suitable restraint equipment that is rated appropriately for that load, and regularly check to see if your load has become loose or dislodged during your road trip, including after the first 10 or so kilometres and at each stop. If possible, you should also get a second person to double check the fastenings before you leave.
  • Pay attention to height restricted areas. Although anything we suggest shouldn’t increase the height of your car by more than 40 cm above the roof rack, there may be low set structures such as garages, internal car parks and tree limbs. To avoid accidents and damage to your car and the external structures, placing a sticker on your steering wheel denoting the height of your load will act as a reminder as you are driving.
  • Consider reducing your load limit for off-road conditions. According to carsales.com.au in their article, you should discount your load limit by 1.5 to allow for the associated additional downward pressure of the gear on the roof when driving off-road. For example, if your roof load limit is 75 kg, your load should not exceed 50 kg (ie: 75 / 1.5).

You can read more about this in our tips for securing gear to the roof racks article. Much of the information above will also apply to loading your tow / hitch bar.

And last but not least, drive safely

There are inherent risks associated with driving a fully loaded car, no matter how considerate you have been to pack the car safely and within its legal limits. A fully laden car will handle differently, require a longer distance to come to a stop, and in an accident will be a much greater risk to the safety of you and others on the road than an empty one.

No matter how late or rushed you feel you are, drive extra carefully and cautiously, even below the specified speed limit. As the saying goes, it's better to be safe than sorry.  

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