When you think of Christmas, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? A belly full of turkey and pudding? The hordes of people bearing down on every nearby shopping centre? We prefer to leave it all behind and head out on our annual lakeside, epic Christmas escape in the Victorian High Country. But what bits of gear make it our favourite trip of the year? Find out below...
In other parts of the world, you might find children building snowmen in the streets on Christmas Day – not in Australia. Here, you’ll find them sucking down a Zooper Dooper icypole or, better yet, spending the day in a relative’s pool.
For us, the silly-season means making tracks to our favourite campsite. And if you’re like us, you probably have all the gear you need to make it a success already. But, after years of escaping the heat to our waterside retreat, we have come across a few bits here and there that we reckon will make your chrissy camping holiday even better!
Now, this little beauty is a hybrid between a small daypack and water bladder. It comes with a 2L water reserve built into the backpack with an additional 15L of internal storage to hold your maps, compass, multi-tool and muesli bars. The Blue Tongue will see your thirst slaked and keep you backwash free!
We all love getting a bit dirty when we camp. But, after getting grubby on a long day of adventuring, the last thing you want to do is mix your dirty knickers with your tighty-whities.
Enter the MSA 4x4 Rear Wheel Bin, a nifty, collapsible container that attaches to the boot or rear wheel of your car. This means you can keep your dirty stuff on the outside, and the clean stuff on the inside. It can be stuffed with anything you want, whether that is muddy recovery gear, campsite rubbish, firewood or your wet surfing gear.
Who says you need to give up the morning coffee when you go camping? Certainly not us. We like to bring along a portable coffee maker on any trip. The Snow Peak Titanium Cafepress is super lightweight and can brew up to two cups of coffee at once. This means you can give one to your wife or mate, or chug the second one for an extra kick in the butt.
Even better, if coffee isn’t your thing, the Cafepress can be used as a kettle to boil water for your food, hot Milo or cuppa soup.
‘The early bird gets the worm’ is a saying that applies to claiming your own little patch shade on the beach. But, if you are like us, and not really the ‘early bird’ type (even after your morning coffee), you are going to have to bring your own form of sun shade.
We suggest investing in the Smartshade Pop Up Sunshelter. This shade dome requires no assembly and can be set up in a matter of moments. It’s just like a regular tent, but much lighter and breezier. Shade domes like this one are awesome for staking out your pozzie on the beach while you hit the water.
If you didn’t eat a jaffle while camping, did you really go at all? It’s hard not to love a jaffle. Simply choose a filling, like baked beans, mince or a devilish marshmallow-chocolate combination, and slap it in between two bits of buttered bread. Put your creation in the jaffle iron and toast it over the fire to perfection. We reckon they are just as good as grandma’s cooking.
When it comes to jaffles we have two rules. One, there is no such thing as too many. Two, there is no such thing as too big. This is why we recommend the Jumbo Double Jaffle Iron from Oztrail, as not only can you cook two at once, but they can both be huge!
Summer nights can be bloody hot, even if you are in a breezy one-season summer tent. Our solution? A small, portable rechargeable fan that will keep you cool and circulate the air in your tent. No more waking up in a pool of your own sticky sweat. Instead, sleep the night through in absolute bliss and wake up feeling like a boss.
When the Christmas season comes around, people's brains tend to go into cruise control. We just tend to forget certain things for whatever reason. One thing we always used to do is get carried away with hooking appliances up to the car when camping. Fridges, air compressors, laptops, hair dryers to name a few. But, with all that extra power being sapped from car, we’d always end up flat the next day.
A portable jump starter pack like the Powercon Boost + Power Bank has saved our bacon more than once. It is just a great tool to buy and forget in your car until you need it one day.
If you think holding your drink is overrated, the Drink Mate might just be your saving grace. This handy Australian invention lets you hold all your drinks, beers, bowls, snacks, coffee mugs and glasses of wine far off the ground away from would-be thieves (we’re looking at you dogs, little kids and clumsy mates).
You might think it being so hot there would be no way for it to rain. Well, you would be wrong and summer rainstorms are some of the worst you’ll see all year. An emergency poncho like this one from Coleman will keep you nice and dry when the weather turns sour.
They’re small enough to put in your glove box, backpack or even your trouser pocket if you’ll need it in a flash. They use a ‘one-size-fits-all’ shape meaning it is guaranteed to fit everyone from little Jimmy to yourself after one too many snags.
Hands up if you like sitting on the hard, rocky ground after a day of adventuring? If you have your hand up you are lying to yourself. Best case scenario you have a camp chair ready to go at the campsite, but sometimes the car gets a bit strapped for space and you have to leave it behind.
What’s even better than a normal camping stool? A camping stool with a built-in cooler that has enough space to hold a six-pack of tinnies, which is why we love The Caribee Folding Stool With Cooler. That, and that it’s as comfortable, if not more, than the camping chair you left at home.
While jump-starting your car is okay to do every once in awhile, it shouldn’t be something you do every day or you’ll be forking out a few hundred for a new battery in no time.
We like to bring a portable solar panel like the KORR 150W Solar Blanket to keep our battery charged up. The best part is that it can be folded up into a pretty small carry bag, which means more room for beers, fishing gear and more beers.
Ever been stuck on the side of the road with a flat tyre? We have and we know it’s not a fun experience. All those happy people whizzing past us as we fumble around trying to get the wafer-thin spare wheel out of the back. We have learned the hard way it’s always better to be prepared than to hope it doesn’t happen to us.
The easiest way to not get a punctured tyre is to not drive. But, since this isn’t usually an option for where we want to go, preparing yourself with a puncture repair kit is the next best thing. The TJM Tyre Repair Kit is a great bit of gear that comes with everything you need to patch that hole and get back on the road.
Don’t be that person that thinks they can go days on end without having a shower. Although it is possible, you will end up stinking out your tent, clothing and poor mates who are staying with you. Don’t be a cheapskate, spend a few dollars on a solar camp shower.
Simply fill the bag with water hook it up to a tree or pole and let the water come out. If you want a hot shower, leave the bag out in the sun beforehand for a few hours. If you like them cold then don’t. Easy as that.
If you feel like splurging a little more and don’t want to share your private parts with the rest of the wildlife, we suggest in picking up an shower tent to go with your new solar shower bag.
To put it bluntly, unless you are staying at a caravan park, most campsite toilets are pretty rubbish. If you are staying somewhere really remote their might not even be a dunny around for miles.
Instead of going ‘o’natural’ in a self-dug hole, we prefer to keep a bit of our class and use a toilet chair, like this one from Oztrail. It even comes with ten disposable waste bags for your ‘enjoyment’. However, you may need to invest in a few spares if you are staying in a big group for a couple of days.
As much as we love Jacob’s uncomfortably croaky rendition of Wonderwall, we sometimes like to put on our own tunes made by people who are paid to sing. Bringing along a compact wireless speaker such as the one from Oregon Boombero is the easiest way to play what you want when you want.
It has charge for 20 hours of continuous use and can be recharged from your car’s cigarette lighter when it’s out of juice.
What do you think? Did we miss something that will make your Christmas camping adventure unforgettable? Tell us your favourite bit of gear in the comments below!