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FIRST TIME CAMPING – 3 Product Haul Tips and the 3 Mistakes we made

Date: Dec 30th – Jan 2nd 2021
Headed to: Bunya Mountains, QLD

Welcome to a new series as we explore our own backyard!

With lockdowns, domestic and international border restrictions occurring, looks like we won’t be travelling anytime soon. So it is our goal this year to see as much of QLD as possible and how will we do this? Through camping and long road-trips.

As this will be our first time camping I thought I would share our experience with everyone and some tips for first time campers just like us!

Camping for the very first time and buying everything from scratch, I won’t beat around the bush… it’s expensive. You can however get some things on the fly for cheap if you know what you’re looking for.

The Product haul

Tip number 1 – Research

Before you even buy anything, watch youtube videos and join camping groups on facebook. Ask for product recommendations and read reviews. Create a list and know what you want before you buy. Once you have a fair idea on what type of products you want, then the hunting begins.

Tip 2 – Check online first before you buy

For us, we chose a Coleman instant up tent as it really didn’t require much work to get the tent up. We searched the tent name through marketplace and gumtree and was able to buy a Coleman Instant Up 8P (8 people) tent for $100 that had all the bits and bops and in pristine condition. So know what you want and search around!

our best buy! Coleman tent for $100

Tip 3 – The little things matter.

Don’t forget the little things. What if it it rains? What about strong winds or blistering heat that melts all your ice in a matter of hours? And then there’s the insects and not forgetting the floating virus in the air. We have labelled storage containers for everything. Here’s some little things that maybe you might not have thought of (which is completely ok)…

  • First Aid Kit
  • Health storage box (Panadol, Nurofen Cold & flu, Hyrdolites etc)
  • Insects box (Mossie coils, Bushmans etc)
  • Electronics box (All our lights, chargers, batteries etc)

Label your containers. I can’t even begin to express how much easier it makes everything. Especially when you’re packing as everything has a place and home.

The beautiful Bunya Mountains

Our CAMPING MISTAKES

Mistake number 1 – OVER PACKING

My partner and I, we like our things. He likes his tools, I like being around my books and we both love our food. For just 2 nights and a few days, I packed enough food to last us the week out there. Not only that I packed a heap of decorations, books, multiple crystals and tarot cards, board games – the whole lot. Now there’s nothing wrong with taking your things but we barely used any of it as we were so busy exploring the mountains and when we came back to camp, we were too tired to even do anything. Lesson Learnt.

Pretty lights inside our tent

Mistake number 2 – PICKING THE CAMPING SPOT

We arrived at Burtons Well in the Bunya Mountains. Let me paint the scene for you so I can clearly explain why picking your camping spot doesnt always mean – the one with the best views.

We are on top of a large mountain in the South Burnett region of QLD surrounded by rainforests. This campsite is fairly open… like a mowed grass patch with a carpark, a toilet/ shower, surrounded by trees on top of the mountainside. There is luscious rainforest fauna and trees everywhere with a spot in the middle that is open for a look out. We couldn’t believe our luck when we saw that spot and that’s where we pitched our tent right in front of the look out. Thus creating our mistake number 2.

Picking the perfect camping spot doesn’t always mean the one with the best views. Sure your photos will look nice and with the weather persisting, we all like the simple things in life. But in the rainforest, the weather changes all the time. Being on top of a mountain and camping in front of a look out means being exposed to the elements. If you don’t have the right gear it can be a very dangerous camping trip. Don’t camp under gum trees as the branches can fall quite easily as well. Ensure you’re pitching your tent in a spot where trees will block strong winds for you but also not fall on you in the meantime. Don’t ever risk it.

Mistake number 3 – GAZEBO TROUBLES IN BAD WEATHER

Last major lesson learnt is picking the right gear that will assist you in all weather scenarios. This seems obvious until your bank account says otherwise because you’ve already spent hundreds of dollars in one hit doing your camping product haul. We got sick of spending money, passed by a $89 gazebo in Bunnings and thought what a steal!

Fast forward to New Years Eve and we are trying to tie down our gazebo in pitch black due to strong winds and bad weather. At the first sign of our gazebo potentially snapping in half we dropped the legs and roped her down following my partners best mates advise. The next morning our gazebo had survived the storm however we had to snap off one of the legs as it had bent inwards and we could no longer pack the gazebo away. We only used the gazebo once and it cost us some money and a long sleepless night.

We learnt that our gazebo had: a cheap weak frame made from aluminum. Very flimsy and terrible quality for camping. Always remember our tip number 2 and that is too check online and read the reviews before buying. Doesn’t matter what the cost is when it comes down to your own safety. I have since learnt from our Facebook group ‘Camping in QLD’ that putting a pool noodle in the corners will assist with rain.

Jan 1st Breakfast! Overnight Oats

We all learn from our mistakes and we all start from somewhere! The point is just getting out there and experiencing something different. This camping trip was one that ended up being so special for my partner and I, one that will be remembered regardless of the troubles we faced during the storm. All that matters is you laugh, learn and grow from your first adventure.

May you too make many camping mistakes and learn some tips along the way. If you have any tips to share with us feel free to comment below!

Much love,

Minaah x

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