Roll out a picnic rug and enjoy an alfresco meal, or if you’d rather not eat out of your lap, set up some folding furniture to dine in style. A bi-fold dining table takes just seconds to set up.
Camping chairs are fantastic for lazing around with your favourite book. For the ultimate in relaxation, opt for the new Coleman ‘Big-N-Tall’ chair. Weight-rated to 200kg, a solid chair like this can take anything the family throws at it.
Top tip: To reduce trip hazards at night, use guy ropes that glow in the dark and have a woven reflective braid, like those by Polytuf.
Food for thought
An army marches on its stomach and you’ll need good food to fuel your adventures.
Start the day by cooking up a hearty camp breakfast on a single-burner butane stove. For extra value, choose one that includes an inset non-stick pan, and bring along a set of barbie utensils to complete your outdoor kitchen. If you have more troops to feed, choose a dual-burner stove.
Staying properly hydrated is a must, so keep a plentiful supply of drinking water easily accessible in a collapsible container with a built-in tap.
To store your food safely, invest in a travel fridge. The Companion ‘Transit’ 40L fridge/freezer can run off a 12/24V battery or 240V mains power to keep food and drinks cool for your whole holiday.
Save your skin
Protect yourself from UV rays and biting insects at the same time with combination sunscreen and insect repellent. When evening rolls around, keep the pests at bay by hanging a rechargeable bug zapper to lure and exterminate mozzies. Some units include a built-in solar panel as well as a USB recharging port.
Be prepared by packing a first-aid kit. Choose one designed specifically for camping, which includes items such as an emergency blanket and waterproof matches.
Shed some light
When the sun goes down, you’re going to need lanterns for ambient lighting and torches for task lighting. “The Coleman ‘Divide Plus’ packaway lantern is an ideal companion on a camping trip,” says Mal Jasper, national account manager for Coleman. As well as having four operating modes, this lantern is designed to make packing Tetris easier by collapsing down to 160mm high. Head torches are mounted on a headband, which is useful because they direct light towards whatever you’re facing, while leaving both your hands free.
You don’t have to settle for your tent having a dirt floor. Stretch out a tarpaulin to provide a clean, waterproof surface underfoot, and pin it down with tent pegs. A camping mat is another great option, with a cushiony surface and an open weave to help protect the grass underneath. Tarps can easily sail away in a strong gust, so to provide shade, a gazebo designed to withstand sun and wind is a good option. “Coleman’s ‘Heatshield’ 3m x 3m gazebo has a special black liner attached to the inner side of the canopy,” says Mal. “It’s designed to block 98 per cent of UV rays.”
Stay in power
Want to use 240V devices off the grid? It’s easy with a DC-AC inverter, which supplies mains-voltage current from a DC source such as a car battery. The Projecta 900W pure sine wave inverter is a good choice for appliances that have an electric motor; for less sensitive items, a cheaper modified sine wave model is also suitable.
If you have a lot of 12V accessories in constant use, connect these to a secondary battery instead of the one that starts your car. Store this in a Projecta 12V ‘Portable Power Station’, which has a lighter socket, hold-down strap and a battery level indicator. “We recommend that a 12V battery of size N70 should be used in the Portable Power Station,” says Adam Birdseye, marketing officer for Projecta.
Keep the battery topped up using a folding solar panel. “Without a solar controller to regulate the power coming from your solar panels, it could ultimately damage your battery through excessive charge,” says Adam. “Both soft-folding and rigid bi-fold solar panel kits from Projecta feature built-in solar controllers, making them very easy to set up. Simply connect the clamps to your battery (or 12V fridge) and away you go.”
Guard against the hassle of being stranded in the middle of nowhere if your car battery does go flat with a portable jump-starter. The Projecta ‘Lithium Start’ is small enough to keep in the car.
Top tip: Choose an inverter with enough wattage to supply the total amount of power you need to draw.