Your guide to packing for your next camping trip in SA’s national parks

Wondering what to pack for your next camping trip? Once the essentials are sorted, here’s what we suggest you take.

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.

If you’ve been following along on this series, you will have already read our stories:

Now it’s time to think about everything else. 

Here’s some ideas for packing including light, furniture and clothing:

1. Don't skimp on lighting options

Lanterns that can be recharged using the car’s cigarette lighter are great because they save on batteries, and you can use them both in and outside of the tent. Look for lanterns that have LED globes, as they provide great light and have much better battery life compared to older florescent or incandescent globes. 

Top tip: Dual colour lanterns (orange and white) are a great way to reduce the bugs in your camping area. The orange light source makes it harder for insects to see you, so they stay away. And always bring a couple of elastic-mounted headlights. There’s nothing worse than having to balance a torch on a late-night toilet trip!

2. Go for compact furniture

Camp chairs that fold up with a bag are easy to transport and save space. Some even come with a drink holder.

A folding table is great for food preparation and eating, and a smaller table is handy for holding your gas cooker.

A small plastic stool can be useful for removing things from the roof rack and can be used to sit on, or keep things like water containers off the ground.

3. Go back to basics for clothing

It’s easy to over-pack but basics including sturdy shoes or boots, a shady hat, something warm and something waterproof are all essential.

4. And don't forget...

  • Always bring toilet paper. You will usually find toilet paper in camp toilets, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, it has never been more important to take hygiene seriously. Make sure you wash your hands regularly with soap and running water, for at least 20 seconds, and dry them with paper towel or a hand dryer if there’s one available. Alternatively use alcohol-based hand sanitisers. Anti-bacterial wipes are also a good idea to wipe down surfaces before you use them. Just remember to dispose of the wipes in your rubbish that you take with you when you leave the park.
  • Wet wipes are terrific for a quick clean-up if you don’t have any water on hand, and you can freshen up with a wet wipe ‘bath’ if you’re at a site without showers.
  • A small shovel is handy for putting out campfires where they’re allowed. Also bring a bucket so you can douse your campfire with water when you’re finished with it. For further tips on campfire safety, read our blog – Everything you need to know about safely enjoying a campfire.
  • If you’re planning on having a campfire, you need to bring your own firewood. Collecting firewood within national parks is not allowed. Also ensure the firewood is free from dirt and weeds, to avoid bringing pest species into the park.
  •  Don’t forget to take a camera. SA's national parks are gorgeous and you’ll want lots of photos to remember your trip.

Now that you’ve got your packing list in order, read the last part of this series:

Please remember to keep social distance of 1.5m from other visitors at all times and don’t visit if you are sick or required to self-isolate. In response to South Australian Government COVID-19 restrictions, access to parks and their facilities in South Australia is changing regularly. You can keep up-to-date by reading our frequently asked questions, by following us on Facebook or by contacting us.

This story was originally posted in September 2015.

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