With longer days and warmer sun, we know Summer is going to be a good one this year! What better way to spend the weekends or holidays than camping?
New Zealand's beaches, rivers and lakes are perfect places to pitch the tent and whittle away a few days, or weeks with the family.
Like anything, camping is best enjoyed when you have done a little preparation. Here we have put together a few tips, tricks and lists to help ensure you have all the basic equipment you need to camp with style and ease, making for an epic camping holiday.
1. THE BASICS
First thing's first, the most basic of camping equipment is that you'll need a tent. Dome
tents are great for couples or small groups of friends, the new kids on the block
tent. Inflatable tents are easy to set up and perfect for families. If you're hiking into your camping spots, travelling solo, or hitting multiple locations - an adventure tent could be a perfect choice.
Next up, you'll need some gear to ensure you get a good night's sleep. An air mattress gives you the air of luxury on tour. Pro tip: Don't forget a pump and puncture kit! Stretchers are easy to set up and break down too, there are even some bunk stretchers which provide a bit of novelty for the young-uns, whilst also capitalising on room. Don't forget those extra blankets for those cooler nights spent around the campfire, or outside when stargazing.
Some camp chairs (with drink holders a must) and a table to kick back on and enjoy meals is very handy, especially if you're parking up at the same location for a decent stint. Always pack a lantern to illuminate the tent and some head-lamps are invaluable when moving around the campground at night, watch out for those guide ropes!
Pro tip: Always pack a dustpan and brush for cleaning out your tent. No one likes to get into bed with sandy feet, and it's always good to pack away a clean tent.
Cooking and sharing a meal around a campfire is where some of the best camping memories and moments are made. There are basics that are best to have on hand for preparing a meal with ease, such as a gas cooker, gas to fuel it and a lighter or matches to light it.
Pack some coffee and tea to help put some pep in your step for those early morning missions. Coffee makers are perfect for gas stoves and make cafe grade caffeine fixes that will please even the most discerning palette. Some are portable and easy to pack for an adventure mission too.
You'll need some pots and frypans, eating utensils, bowls, plates and cups. A large food serving bowl or pot comes in handy, especially for those kai moana (seafood) foraging missions. It's certainly not anyone's favorite task, but some large washing up tubs are great to do the dishes with, when there is a lack of the usual amenities. Don't forget some biodegradable dishwashing soap and a brush!
Pro tip: A lot of us have had to get inventive with prying open a can, ensuring you pack a can opener keeps it simple!
Camping season peaks in summer, however true to form, New Zealand summer can present four seasons in one day. With this in mind, it's best to be overly prepared in the clothing department. It is important to pack clothing to that allows you to get out in the elements, no matter what. Be sure to pick and mix some warm layers, waterproof clothing, togs, hiking shoes, gumboots, sun-hats beanies and jackets.
If you're off and away on some serious adventure hiking, a good lightweight waterproof jacket and waterproof pants are a must, along with some sturdy hiking footwear to protect those ankles and feet on the trail.
Pro tip: Once settled into your site, string up a clothesline where it'll catch the sun. This will help to keep gear nice and dry for the next use. Pack some pegs!
It can be a gamechanger to have some dehydrated meals ready to go when you're first setting up your camp, or when you've been out late on a mission and can't be bothered cooking. Sometimes the arrival journey can take longer than expected, so can the set up of an entire campsite for the family. Ready to go meals where you just add water are at times invaluable, tasty too!
Pro tip: Grab some salt ice for your chilly bin prior to reaching your destination - salt ice takes longer to melt and will keep your food chilled for longer.
Hydration is key on those hot summer days, don't be caught out. Nab yourself a water purifier for those times you're in doubt of the water quality. Bulk water storage options are a great idea to have at your site, everyone can refill their water bottles during the day.
Just because you're away, doesn't mean you can't go gourmet - pack your favourite herbs, spices and seasonings. It's amazing how much you can jazz up the most basic of ingredients with the right condiments.
Pro tip: bring along a selection of live herbs, that way you can trim from them while they keep growing in your campsite.
Trail mix and scroggin are a must when out exploring on an adventure and these non perishable foods are ideal for the intrepid adventurer. At the end of the day, there's nothing more nostalgic than toasting marshmallows on a hot flame. Send the kids out foraging for the perfect toasting stick, you ration the marshmallows out for good behaviour!
Between bouts of relaxing and exertion in the Summer sun, you'll need some extra activities to entertain everyone, especially the kids. Include some activities that everyone can partake in, a pack of cards, board games, puzzles, a good non perishable book, masks & snorkels for all. Pop a sun shelter to take down to your chosen spot for some quick shade, add some kick around balls into your beach bag. If you have young ones in tow, a simple bucket & spade at the beach can provide endless hours of fun.
For those who really love the water and who like to explore, kayaks can take you places your feet won't (don't forget the life jackets). There's no better summer past time than surfing and there are boards available for everyone, from beginners to the most seasoned pro, and everyone in between. In colder areas, a wetsuit is a very handy extra, a rash shirt protects you from the sun.
Fishing is an activity the whole family can get amongst, catching your own meal is one of the most rewarding feelings - pack some rods and get out there and tackle those fish. Catch em, cook em, eat em!
6. TOOLS, REPAIR, EMERGENCY ITEMS AND SAFETY
It's best to be prepared for any eventuality! Pack a basic toolkit to get yourself out of any tricky situations, or to repair some your kit in case things go awry. Be sure to check your tyre pressure, oil and spare tyre (car and trailer) before you hit the road. Here are some things that we think are handy to have in your kit and around the camp. Peg mallet, rope, spare tent pegs, duct tape, puncture repair kit, allen keys, pliers, screwdrivers, a saw and pocket knife or multitool.
In the emergency items and safety departments we suggest a first aid kit, emergency torch, waterproof matches, water purification, waterproof phone case and emergency blanket.
7. PERSONAL ITEMS
Just because you've gone bush, doesn't mean your daily routine can't keep it clean! Things we suggest packing in your toilet and gear bag this summer include insect repellent, sunscreen, electrolytes, solar shower, toothpaste & toothbrush, sanitiser, shower soap, camera, notebook and pen, lip balm, toilet paper and a water bottle.
Photo credit: Kyle Murphy
If you're going solo, backpacking into your campsite, or freedom camping, you will want ultralight versions of all your basics. The weight soon mounts up, especially when you carry it all on your back for hours on end. Lightweight gas cookers are a must, you can eat from the pot and drink from your water bottle, all of this helps reduce weight carried. There are some great self inflating sleeping mats and lightweight sleeping bags that you can throw into your adventure tent once nightfall hits. A solar shower is a great way for a warm wash at the end of a hiking day. Nothing more rewarding than carrying in all you need to survive to a remote site, leaving only your footprints on the way out.