Camping is about getting away from it all: ditching the computer screen for a few days, embracing the wild and tuning into the sounds and views of nature, writes Tourism and Travel expert, Kate Gibbs.
But as more people head into the bush armed with a tent, too often now an outdoor adventure means hordes of other campers, their unwanted tunes and personal habits, as well as the obligatory bugs and the tent turning into a collapsed heap at midnight.
Armed with some essential know-hows and knacks, intrepid outdoorsmen and women can venture into the wilderness with ease, and a little style again.
Whether it’s for a night away under the stars or a week going off-the-grid, savvy serial campers know how to bring a little clever luxe to the scene. Here are some fun practical camping hacks you can try on your next camping trip, that will make outdoor camping a breeze and you an effortlessly happy camper
1. Repel insects without smelly bug spray
First, the bugs. Nature-deprived adults might list little critters as a major deterrent, but there’s no need to adopt the them-or-us resignation.
Stuff your shoes with socks or a rolled up tee to keep insects out of them when you’re sleeping.
Burn a bunch of sage leaves over your campfire at night to steer the mosquitos elsewhere, and hang a bouquet of lavender and rosemary over your head through the night to tell the bugs who’s boss.
2. Hang out in a hammock
Fellow campers can have all the inflatable chairs and fold-up loungers they like, everyone’s going to wish they’re sitting with you when you hang your hammock.
Hammocks are the epitome of camping style, and can be propped just about anywhere there are two sturdy things. Think a caravan and a tree, a fence post and a cabin wall. The hammock can scrunch up into any tight space, too, and for the bug phobic, it’s off the ground and so away from the crawlies.
Even if a day trip with a picnic is all you can muster right now, a hammock lifts your outdoor game.
3. Location, location, location
The stereotypical Real Estate saying applies true to camp sites. Many are content with perching by the toilet block on the sea, one hundred other campers sweltering in their hot boxes by day and stealing all the hot shower water by night.
Better to head to the actual great outdoors, closer to the stuff of nature, to secluded off-path nooks under the canopy and the stars.
Search for a national park in your destination, and if you’re heading to the United States the remarkable HipCamp.com resource opens up your search to private properties as well. It’s like AirBNB for outdoors types.
4. Plastic containers are your friend
Road trippers can pack everything into a large rectangular plastic container or storage bin with a lid, which keeps things dry if the skies open.
Empty them on arrival to create a perfect bath for smaller children, or a dip pool for toddlers on hot days. Find more packing hacks here.
5. Creative kindling
Keep your load light and carry charcoal in an empty egg container.
But, if you forget coal altogether then camping rumour has it corn chips work well as fire starters.
Nature is said to stabilise us
There’s something about that skyscraper-free view of the horizon, the serene calm of nature, that restores our sanity. It seems crazy, then, not to do it immediately, and with a few hacks up your sleeve to give you a head start.
Got tiny people in your family? Get more travel tips to plan the perfect family-friendly holiday with a baby in tow.