Tried tips from true travellers.
1. HOT CHIPS
Running short of kindling or fire starters? Then rescue that bag of corn chips from the kids and save your bacon. Corn chips will burn freely, are easy to light and a handful will start a fire with ease. And the best bit is that once the fire has started, you can nibble on the rest of the packet with your beer or glass of wine.
2. A REAL BELTER
An old belt with a few bent wire hooks makes a handy companion around a campfire. The belt can go around any nearby tree and with the attached hooks you can hang all those useful fireside tools that you’re going to need for preparing those succulent camping meals, keeping them off the ground.
3. REAL LIGHT
Head torches and many LED light sources can be harsh and very directional, when what you want around camp is a soft, even light.
If you place that head torch or similarly strong LED light under or behind a white plastic bottle filled with water – an empty milk bottle is ideal – it will produce a soft, even light that will illuminate a kitchen, table or general area. Best of all, once you’re finished, you can use the water for washing up or a cuppa.
4. BUCKET LIST
Even when you’re out in the bush, you still have to present a good face to the world, and that includes keeping the camping threads clean. I don’t mean getting down on your hands and knees at the local waterhole. A couple of clean, cast off industrial buckets and a long-handled plumber’s plunger will do the trick just nicely. Use one bucket with detergent to get the dirt out and the other with clean water to rinse out the soap. All you need to add is a bit of elbow grease and a clothes line.
5. WHIP INTO ACTION
Is whipping together a few ingredients with a hand whisk too much to ask for your campsite souffle? No problem. If you carry a cordless drill in the car or camper then that whisk can be turned into a Mixmaster in minutes. You’ll probably need a good-sized chuck, but it can save an awful lot of hard work.
Just try to avoid maximum speed as you will end up with more of the ingredients on the outside of the bowl than inside.
6. ROLLED GOLD
Carrying a roll of toilet paper is a necessary part of camping, and if the bush is wet or dusty, you want to keep it dry and organised for obvious reasons. A round plastic tub with a lid (we use an old honey container) with a hole cut in the centre makes an ideal container. If it’s a tight fit you might have to remove the cardboard tube from the centre of the roll to allow you to pull the paper up through the outlet, but if you have a little space around it, you can draw your paper from the outer circumference. The yellow lid makes it easy to find in the dark and the handle ensures it’s easy to carry.
7. RARE AIR
A wine cask bladder can be a very handy item around camp. Inflate the bladder by blowing air into the open valve and place it into the fridge when you’ve removed some of the contents.
The air will rapidly cool to the internal temperature of the fridge and stay in place whenever you open the fridge, rather than spill out and be replaced by warmer ambient air.
This will save the fridge from having to re-cool that air volume, saving your batteries in turn.
8. COTTON ON
A cotton wool ball coated in Vaseline is another guaranteed fire starter. Rub the petroleum jelly into the cotton wool ball and wrap it in aluminium foil. You can prepare these at home before you leave and drop them into a bottle or plastic bag. Unwrap the foil and light, the smeared cotton will continue to burn for five to seven minutes, depending on the amount of Vaseline, giving you a good chance of starting a fire even with damp kindling.