Must-have camping accessories and gear

Cooking on a camping stove

Sarah Marinos

Posted October 26, 2019

Don’t go camping this summer without these must-have accessories.

Australians and visitors to the country collectively spend almost 51.3 million nights a year  in a caravan or tent according to Tourism Research Australia.

And when it comes to enjoying time in nature and sleeping under the stars, getting back to basics is appealing to ever-more people. The number of 20-somethings discovering the appeal of camping grew by 11 per cent from 2017 to 2018 and it’s also popular with families and seniors.

So, if you’re planning to discover the great outdoors, these are the latest bits of camping gear that make life that little bit more comfortable.

Eight must-have camping accessories

Camp lights 

Let there be light. And it’s even better if that camping light doubles as a mosquito zapper. Try the Hi-Country 2 in 1 Mosquito Zapper Lantern that sells for around $40. “It produces a decent amount of light for your campsite, can be used internally and externally and keeps the mosquitoes away,” says Ash Bouyer from Aussie Disposals. 

Portable hot showers 

If you love a hot shower, you can enjoy that little luxury even if you’re heading deep into the bush. Smarttek has developed a portable hot water shower system that runs via battery and gas to produce up to six litres of water per minute. “You can put it in a lake, run the hose to the unit, hang it on a tree and have a hot shower,” says Ash. Expect to pay around $300. 

Blow-up air bed

Forget wrangling with a pump and a traditional blow-up air bed. “Everyone is going self-inflating and using mattresses containing foam on the inside that expands when it is exposed to air,” says Ash. Just unscrew the valve and the technology does the rest. Mattresses start at about $100 for a single. 

Airy tents 

If you’re investing in a new tent, choose one with plenty of openings and doors that become awnings. “On a hot day you can open up the tent, sit under the awnings and let fresh air circulate through,” says Ash. Pitching a smaller tent becomes easier with designs that can be pitched in four steps. Poles are already assembled, just fold it out into a square, push in the legs, pull the strings and peg it out. Try the Hi-Country Easy Up 3P Dome Tent for about $170. 

Family having coffee outside tent

Cast iron pots

Happy campers need to be fed. “Cooking over an open fire brings everyone together,” says Ash. Cast-iron cooking pots are tough, long lasting and you can cook pretty much anything in them – from stews and spaghetti to damper. A 4.5-quart pot costs around $50. “If you want to cook with gas, a two-burner stove with a grill is handy. Use the stove while toasting sandwiches on the grill below,” says Ash. Gasmate’s two-burner stove with grill costs around $160. 

Camping fridge

The Rolls Royce of camping fridges right now is an Engel fridge, a favourite with serious campers because of their efficiency. Choose a fridge unit, a freezer or a combined fridge-freezer. A 15-litre chest fridge/freezer costs about $900. Iceboxes are a cheaper option and a chill chest with polypropylene insulation will keep food and drink warm or cold for up to five hours, says Ash. 

Water purifier

“If you like deep camping, a bottle that will get rid of 99.99 per cent of bacteria in water reduces your chances of getting sick and will ensure you won’t run out of water,” explains Ash. A LifeStraw bottle filters water to make it safe to drink, so if you run out of drinking water you can take water from a lake or stream and filter it. It costs about $40.

Snorkel set

How do you keep the kids amused if you’re on a family trip? Buy them a fishing rod and reel so they can catch dinner. Buy a goggle and snorkel set if you’re camping near water or take a projector so you can enjoy a family movie night.