Tips for happy campers: part one

Going camping? We’ve compiled our tips for a great trip, starting with the tent.

South Australia has some wonderful bush camping, with campgrounds in more than 40 of our national parks and reserves.

You can camp at whatever level suits you, from the most basic to an ultra-comfy set up, but there’s a few things to consider when organising your site.

Here’s some ideas for choosing and setting up your tent, and getting a good night’s rest:

The tent

While camping, your tent is your home. If you’re not carrying it on your back, always choose a tent that is slightly larger than you need so you have room for your luggage. There are low tents or taller ones that allow you to stand in the middle, so pick the size and height that suits you best.

Once your tent’s been pitched it’s a good idea to take your shoes off whenever you’re inside – mud and dirt can make for a messy experience. Leaving your shoes inside on a piece of newspaper will ensure they stay free of creepy crawlies when you’re not wearing them.

Speaking of critters, always keep the fly screen closed or you’re likely to have uninvited guests.

Extras for the tent

An extra tarpaulin as a ground sheet will keep the base of your tent from getting muddy if the ground is wet.

Bring a mallet to hammer in the tent pegs, although a rock will do if you’re travelling light. It’s a good idea to pack some extra tent pegs in case one gets bent. A peg can even double as a tool to pull out the others when you’re taking the tent down.

Cable ties and duct tape are invaluable in emergencies. Cable ties can be used to mend broken tent poles and duct tape can stop unexpected leaks.

Another handy item is glow in the dark ribbon, which can prevent sudden tent collapses caused by people tripping over cables in the dark.

Sleeping

If comfort is your priority, pack an air mattress, sleeping bag and a pillow, with an extra blanket for cold nights. A double sleeping bag is a great investment if you have a camping partner, or even if you don’t, as they’re less likely to tangle than the single version. 

If you’re not as worried about comfort, a bedroll and sleeping bag will save space.

Great campsites for first timers

If it’s your first time camping, you probably want to ease in with a campground that has toilets and showers. These four spots have all the facilities and are surrounded by amazing scenery and wildlife:

For more camping options in national parks and reserves, visit the National Parks SA website.

Read on, in Tips for happy campers: part two we cover cooking, food and water.

This story was originally posted in September 2015.

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