Must-bring items for when you camp with the kiddies.
ATTITUDE: Yeah, that sounds like an odd piece of “gear”, but it’s key to success. If you approach the whole subject of camping in even a slightly negative light, your children will pick up that vibe and be wary and unsure. 4x4 touring and bush camping is serious fun – and the parents’ attitude and how they talk about any potential camping adventures should reflect that. Keep it fun and light-hearted and they’ll be keen for life.
FIRST-AID KIT: There’s no more injury-prone group of humans than young children, so brush up on your first aid by completing both a general course and also a remote first-aid course. These usually take place over a few days but are brilliant and could, if the worst happens, be a life-saver.
CAMERA: As mentioned in the story, if there’s one digital appliance that should be a part of your children’s camping kit, it’s a camera. Every child wants to see and remember their camping adventures via images – and they also want to be able to print them out to show their classmates for show ’n’ tell.
CAMP BOX: A box that contains all of your kids’ ‘special’ camping gear is a must. It serves a few purposes, including ensuring that all their gear stays in the one place, so it’s easy to grab and pack in the vehicle if you decide on a last-minute camping trip. It also teaches your kids to look after their gear; having them pack it, unpack it at camp, then pack it for storage afterwards instils the idea that all the kit inside their box needs looking after – and also provides maximum fun when they’re out in the bush.
SERVICED VEHICLE: You really, really don’t want to be stuck roadside with a vehicle full of your family. Nothing will kill the enjoyment of a bush camping trip than an unreliable 4x4. Keeping your rig close to trip-ready throughout the year (for shorter camp adventures), then getting a full pre-trip inspection before any longer, more remote trips will take a load of worry off you and your family’s minds. You won’t regret it.
BACKUP STOVE: Gas stoves are pretty reliable these days, but there will come a day when a regulator or a hose decides to fail – and that day will most likely be just before you start cooking the first night’s meal at your campsite. Regardless of whether you’re towing a camper-trailer that has an in-built stove, or you’re taking your good ol’ three-burner you’ve had for years, pack an extra stove. No stove means no food which means grumpy, hungry kids and adults. Pack an extra stove – it won’t take up much space, but it will give peace of mind.