Camping is an amazing way to bond with friends and family. There’s just something about being lost or adventuring through the wilderness that brings people together.
And car camping takes it up another level, keeping you in close confines and making it easy for you to visit locations you haven’t been to before. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to collaborate on a sweet playlist.
Our friends from Parkhound share some tips on how to prepare for a once-in-a-lifetime car camping trip.
What is car camping?
Car camping is exactly what it sounds like: camping in your car.
While many assume being comfortable when camping requires a caravan, this doesn’t always have to be the case. You and your family can definitely enjoy travelling and sleeping in your vehicle while on the road.
You can get creative in how you want to make your space cosy and comfy (e.g. bringing an army of pillows or even a video projector so you can watch movies under the stars). There’s no wrong way to car camp so bring things you and your family or campmates will love.
How to Prepare for Your Trip
There are a few things we recommend checking before travelling and camping, from what to bring to where you’re permitted to car camp. Here are a few questions to ask yourself before hitting the road:
Do you have a permit?
There are some areas that will require a permit to park on the premise, so make sure to do your research before leaving. There are some great apps such as Wikicamps Australia that show you places where you can park legally overnight, as well as day stops, hostels and points of interest near your chosen area.
Have you filled up the tank?
A critical first step of your journey is to make sure you have a full tank of petrol. In Australia, there are many long stretches of road between fuel stops, so try to plan when you’ll need to refill. There are fuel cans and funnels available at most automotive stores if you want to be on the safe side.
Do you have all your equipment?
Equipment for car camping is very similar to traditional camping – just without the tent. As with all trips, we recommend starting with a list.
Water and food should be at the top. A big benefit of car camping is that you don’t need to stay on campgrounds. This does mean, however, that you may not have access to fresh running water. Not only will you need water to stay hydrated, but also for rinsing and cleaning. It’s easy to underestimate how much water you’ll use!
If you want the full car-camping comfort experience, there are many ways to make your car more homely. You can find inflatable car beds to fit your back seat, lamps, detachable window and sunroof curtains/covers, and even portable awning attachments to extend your space.
Make sure to check the climate of your camping spots to ensure you bring weather-appropriate clothing and enough blankets to stay warm at night. As we’re in Australia, insect repellent is always recommended too!
Are your electronics charged?
It’s easy to rely on your smartphone and GPS when camping, but if you find yourself in more remote locations, you’re unlikely to have access to power points to charge your electronics.
If you’re reluctant to be without your device, try using a solar-powered portable charger. These can be found at camping stores such as Kathmandu and BCF.
How will you clean up after yourself?
In any camping situation, it’s important to keep a clean area. Nobody wants to arrive at a camping ground strewn with rubbish, which is why there are regulations for campers to clean up after themselves and minimise waste. Make sure to bring rubbish bags with you in case your camping site doesn’t have readily accessible bins.
As you’ll be sleeping and travelling in your vehicle, keeping your car clean is also important. It could be as simple as having an air freshener on hand to airing out your car as you drive. You’ll need to keep your cooking utensils nice and clean to prevent illness and to discourage hungry critters interested in your food scraps.
There are special camping soaps that have multiple uses to help you minimise the amount of things you need to bring. This could take care of cleaning your clothes, washing the dishes after a meal and even a good shampoo. There are also collapsible kitchen sinks to make washing up a bit easier. Airtight containers are also highly recommended as they prevent both rain and bugs from spoiling your food.
Where to Camp
There are so many great places to camp around Australia. However, not all of them can be accessed with a vehicle. Here are a few places perfect for car camping:
Bamurru Plains, NT
This is one of the better glamping spots in the Northern Territory and it’s only a short distance from the boundary line of Kakadu National Park. You’ll be able to explore the wetlands and the national park during the day and return to your campsite at night eager to sleep and venture out the next day for more adventures.
Jervis Bay, NSW
If you’re looking for white sand and beaches, Jervis Bay has got you covered. Booderee National Park is well known for having the whitest sand in the world. If you go during the months of June and July, you might be able to witness the humpback whale migration, a rare sight but a memory that will last forever.
Iga Warta, Northern Flinders Range, SA
Iga Warta means ‘place of the native orange tree’ in the language of the Adnyamathanha people, the traditional custodians of the land. Park at the camping ground and enjoy what the land has to offer. Iga Warta also offers campers medicine and bush tucker tours with the traditional owners where you will be able to taste and sample a multitude of different edible plants.
There are so many things to enjoy when car camping. You won’t have to worry so much about wet gear or your tent being blown away in the night. Best of all, you’re not restricted to stay in one area.
Now that you’re all prepared, go and see the beautiful sites Australia has to offer. And when you’re not using your camping equipment, keep it safe and out of the way with one of our self-storage units.