10 Handy Bush Camping Tips and Tricks from Grey Nomad Travellers
Camping can get a little tough at times when things don’t go your way, though, lucky for me I have had my share of off-road adventures with experienced Grey Nomads who have been doing this for years. And I must say, the tips and tricks they share with me make bush camping life much easier!
Being a young outdoor enthusiast, I can honestly say we always think we know what we are doing when it comes to camping. Over my years I have done a lot of short and long term bush camping trips within Queensland including Cape York yet, my last words when reversing out of the driveway always seem to be “I bet I forgot something”. Here, I will share with you a bunch of handy bush camping travel tips & tricks shared by experienced Grey Nomad Travelers to ensure your prepared for every bush camping adventure!
1. Rope & Duct Tape
Rope will always come in handy for tent support or tarp set ups where ductape pretty much fixes just about everything from broken poles, holes in tents to even shoes – there’s nothing a little ductape can’t fix!
2. Dirty Laundry
I never realised how far a pair of dirty shorts could go until I went bushing camping for 2 weeks with only three sets of clothes! Washing your clothes is essential especially on those early mornings when you don’t want to wear that insect repellent from a couple of days ago. A smart nomad once told me that good ol’ cheap Washing Soda and Sunlight Soap would do the trick and are great for stains. Add this in with your dirty clothes in a buck of water with a lid, chuck it in the back of the car and the rough terrain will take care of it – acting as your washing machine!
If your looking for something more compact, I have just purchased a Scrubba Washing Bag. This little invention is great as it can roll up small and fit in your bag.
Important camping tip: bring rope and pegs so you can hang your clothes to dry at camp.
2. Annoying Insects, Non-Chemical Remedies
I’ll admit I’m a bit of a greeny when it comes to using non-chemical remedies on my body and around food! I’m sure you can agree that there is nothing worse than having blow flies join you for lunch but here, I have come across a solution which DOES NOT involve drenching your food with fly spray! The Shooaway not only looks pretty cool and gets the people talkin’ but it also keeps the flies away from your food in a friendly manner – and yes, it actually works! This is great for when you are preparing food or leaving snacks on the table to pick. Keep in mind if you have a larger area to safeguard you may want to invest in a few of these mini defense towers where they can be spread over the table evenly to cover the most area.
For those who want to keep the Mosquitoes off without using that strong smelling Aerogard, I use a natural oil called Paramao Root Oil. This oil can be used as a natural remedy for all sorts of stuff but for me, it works on keeping mosquitoes away and on irritating itchy bites plus it smells beautiful! Find more on Paramao Root Oil here it might work for you too! Another camping tip for when your bush walking is to simply snap a small branch and use this to flick the flies and mozzies away; make sure you give the branch a little shake to remove bugs & ticks before brushing yourself with it!
3. Baby Wipes – Shower & Dish washing!
I am sure most will agree that this is the easiest and quickest bush shower out! This is also my number one vote when camping out near croc and snake infested areas like Cape York Peninsula where you kinda don’t wanna be walking out in the bush to find a nice spot to scrub yourself… no thanks, I’m happy to stay in my tent! Wipes are also great for wiping down oily dishes and cutlery when you don’t want to use up too much of your water.
4. Toileting out bush tips
You’ve probably heard before and I’ll say it once more – the old method of Dig and Squat is the most efficient way to toilet out bush. A roll of toilet paper and shovel will do the trick. We always encourage people to dig at least a 30cm hole the avoid animals from digging up the area. It is also best to burn the paper after using to reduce the odors that will attract animals. For more comfort, we take a fold out chair with a toilet hole – but ensure to bring disinfectant and spray the seat after each time it is used. Pop up toilet tents can also be purchased for those who want more privacy.
A more efficient way to carry toilet paper is to remove the cardboard from the middle and keep in a zip lock bag which will stop the roll from getting dirty.
5. Store food appropriately
DON’T leave food and garbage accessible – lock up your food scraps! The last thing you want is to find is your food gone on day two of your seven day trip! Small and large furry creatures absolutely LOVE to scavenge through scraps and get into your food if left out in the open so ensure to keep everything closed up to avoid the mess… and starvation!
6. Freezing Cold Nights – Camping tip for set up
A great way to keep the cold out of your tent is to tie a tarp down over it. The tarp will act as an insulator; keeping warmth inside and cold outside.
7. Burnt Fry Pans
Tough stains and food scraps always seem to stick to the bottom of my fry pans when cooking out bush. To remove, add a cleaning agent (bi-card soda, detergent, vinegar etc) with enough water to cover the base of the pan and heat over the fire to boil. This will help lift the scraps that stick to the bottom and make it easier to clean.
8. Keep dirt out of Tent
Set up a ground sheet at the front of your tent. Any material can be used – a sheet, blanket, tent bag or we usually use garden mesh. Make this area a ‘no-shoe zone’ which will ensure dirt will not come into your tent.
9. Thongs are essential – The ones you wear on your feet!!
All aussies know how important your “Thongs”, “Flip Flips” or whatever you may call them are! They are a ‘must-have’ shower item as they keep your feet clean from mud (if showing out bush) or from moudly floors (in public showers).
10. And finally – Don’t forget the small essentials
The small essentials can really make a life difference out bush – especially if you’re away for over a week. I NEVER go without the following even if I don’t end up using it, it’s always a great backup for IF you need it and they don’t take up too much room:
- Mini nail clippers: I’m not a nail biter, so when I’m out bush and I come to realize my nails have reached that annoying point, a pair of mini nail clippers always come in handy!
- Travel Soap: I re-use a small bottle that fits perfectly in my bag that doesn’t take up much room.
- Music & Documentaries: On long drives sometimes you get sick of listening to the same music over and over again. I like to chuck on some documentaries or speakers for something a little different to listen to.
- Chargers: I usually have one bag where I pack ALL chargers, cords and batteries for everything I have including phones, cameras, torches etc.
- Cards/Books: always great to fill in time!
- Dollar Coins & Cash on hand: if you are going out woop woop, its always good to have cash on hand as many places won’t have ATMS. Dollar coins also come in handy at caravan parks that will only take dollar coins for laundry.
- Hand Sanitizer: to avoid using up your water to keep hands clean.
- Matches: don’t always rely on lighters! Pack these in a waterproof container.
So there you have it, 10 Handy Bush Camping Tips and Tricks Suggested by Experienced Grey Nomad Travellers! I hope all bush camping enthusiasts found this article helpful 🙂
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