Okay, so we’ve all seen the Tic Tac First Aid Kits and Dorritos Fire Starters, but what about some useful camping hacks that you’ll actually use? Here are 40 camping hacks Australia to make your future trips all the more organised and enjoyable.
Camping in Australia is a very popular way to get out of the daily grind and have some time out with friends and family. However without the right planning and organisation, camping can end up being more stressful than it needs to be.
Armed with some handy camping hacks you’ll be able to make sure you’ve got all of your resources sorted so that you can spend more time kicking back and relaxing.
These days camping can consist on staying in a swag, tent, camper trailer, caravan, motorhome, bus or RV. These camping hacks Australia are for any style of camping that you prefer.
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see our disclosures here.
Camping Hacks Australia
We use the WikiCamps App to find all of our camps, dump points, toilets and water taps while travelling. I wouldn’t go camping or road-tripping in Australia without it.
Check out the full guide below on how to get the most out of WikiCamps to make your travels run a lot more smoothly.
We’ve found that many camping grounds around Australia do in fact have rubbish bins, but this certainly isn’t the case for all of them. In particular, when you leave the towns and head for the bush or regional areas, you’ll be required to take your own rubbish with you when you leave.
So, no rubbish bins on hand means that you need to be storing it until you next come across a bin. While it may sound like a headache, there are ways to reduce and store your rubbish that will save space.
Let’s get into our first lot of camping hacks Australia.
Dirty Gear Bag
Spare wheel Dirty Gear Bags are a fantastic accessory. You simply strap the bag to your spare wheel (either on the car, caravan or camper) and throw your full rubbish bags in there as you go.
Dirty Gear Bags are perfect for storing rubbish until you can dispose of it at a Rest Area rubbish bin, in town or when you get home.
Another option is to have two Dirty Gear Bags. One for general waste and another for empty bottles, cans and other recyclable items.
The best way to dispose of your paper and cardboard waste is to burn it in the camp fire (if you have one).
Not only will this reduce your landfill, but it also eliminates the amount of rubbish you need to cart out of the camping ground.
Consider your rubbish consumption when you go shopping for your camping food and items. If you opt for buying items that are packaged in paper or cardboard rather than plastic, it’s going to make your waste disposal much easier.
Reduce the amount of rubbish you’re producing while camping by utilising reusables instead of disposables.
Here are some reusable camping items that will help to cut down on your rubbish:
- Containers & beeswax wraps (eBay) for food and leftovers (instead of cling wrap)
- Travel mugs, tumblers and coffee cups for drinks
- Paper plates (burn them) instead of plastic plates
- Bring 10 – 20L containers of water instead of bottled water
- Avoid individually wrapped foods – buy a large packet and divvy out into bowls or containers
- Face washers (eBay) and cloths instead of paper towels and disposable wipes
- Reuse food packaging (like bread bags and chip packets) as rubbish bags
Water is the number one resource that we all need to survive. It’s not just absolutely essential for drinking, but it’s also very important for cooking, cleaning and hygiene.
But when you’re camping, you can only carry so much water and quite often campsites won’t have any fresh water taps on offer. so, you need to make your water last as long as possible.
Here are some camping hacks for making your water stretch a lot further.
Only turn your tap on a little bit when in use. You might be accustomed to turning the tap on all the way while you’re at home, but it certainly doesn’t need to be on high while you’re camping. Just turn it on to a drizzle, unless you need a bit more pressure for the job.
Turning on the tap full blast is the quickest way to drain your tanks. This is something that the kids probably won’t be aware of, but they’ll learn quickly enough after some practice and a few discussions.
In the Sink
Save as much precious water from going straight on to the ground as you can by using a sink and plug (or container under the tap).
If you need to dampen a cloth for cleaning or wiping up spills, put a bit of water in the sink with the plug in. Then you can wet the cloth and go about your business. This is going to use a lot less water than running the tap and wasting water while you’re waiting for the cloth to absorb enough water to use.
The same applies for rinsing items under the tap. If you put a bit of water in the sink with the plug in instead (or a container), you can rinse the item in a small amount of water, rather than running all of the water down the sink or onto the ground.
When you need to do the dishes don’t fill the sink, only put a small amount of water in. You really don’t need as much as you think!
With your dirty dishes, try to reduce the amount of loads you do per day. See if you can get away with doing only one or two loads. Obviously, the more loads of dishes you do, the more water you’re going to go through.
For dishes that have crumbs on them, dust them off outside – this will save dirtying up your sink. If a plate has only had dry food on it, give it a wipe over and put it back in the cupboard, there’s no need to add unnecessary dishes to the pile.
Use the outdoor tap (if you have one) to rinse dirty dishes directly onto the grass. This saves having to waste excess water rinsing the crumbs and food bits down the sink. You can collect the water in a bucket if need be and tip it on to a tree.
Something to be aware of while you’re camping is what cleaners and detergents you’re using that are seeping into the surrounding environment. Camp Eco have a range of earth-friendly cleaners, including Dishwashing Liquid. They’re also Aussie made and the products are grey tank safe.
If you do need to wash clothes, don’t be afraid to use the Washing Machine if you’ve got one. By running a ‘small’ load and skipping the ‘rinse’ cycle, you’ll only use around 20L of water, instead of 60L per load.
You can use Wool Wash detergent instead of normal laundry liquid, as it doesn’t require any rinsing.
If you want a very compact, hand washing option, have a look at the Scrubba Wash Bags with an internal washboard. They fold up to nothing for storage and are super handy on a camping trip.
Another option is to hand wash essential clothing and items in a bucket or sink and leave the rest until you get to a Laundromat or home.
Check out the article below for a variety of automatic, manual and portable washing machines that can be used off-grid.
When it comes to drying your clothes and towels, there are a range of options for camping. What you choose will depend largely on your set up and amount of storage space.
Here are some camping clothesline ideas, with more in the article below.
Collect Rain Water
The next camping hack is to use a bucket to collect rain water from your awning. Having the extra water on hand will stretch your drinking water even further.
Uses for Rainwater:
- Rinse or wash clothes & towels
- Clean dirty shoes and thongs
- Wash feet and hands
- Use for showering
- Use for washing the dishes
Outdoor Wash Bucket
Keep a bucket or container on the draw bar, outdoor table or at the entry to the tent/ van for the kids to wash their hands and feet in. This simple caravan hack saves from having to keep turning the tap on – you know how kids love to let it run! Another option is to keep a damp face washer handy for them to use when need be, for cleaning dirty faces and hands.
Get used to a new system of showering when you’re using your own supply of water. Wet yourself then turn water off. Lather up, turn the water back on to quickly rinse yourself, then turn the water back off.
It’s a new habit that can take some getting used to, but once you get it down pat you’ll wonder how you ever let that much water run down the drain!
There’s no need for a full shower every day unless you need to.
If you haven’t gotten particularly sweaty or dirty, cleaning yourself with a wet face washer and a small container of water works just as well!
A damp face washer is another great way to wash grubby hands and faces without having to run the tap. A lot of people use baby wipes, but they are atrocious for the environment, plus they just add an extra unnecessary cost into your budget.
#saynotobabywipes – Replace baby wipes with a stack of reusable wash cloths.
Reduce your hair washing to once or twice weekly. You’re camping, so if you can get away with tying your hair up or putting a hat on instead, then don’t stress about your hair being a bit greasy.
Water Containers & Bladders
It’s a good idea to have a spare container, jerry can or bladder for potable water that you can put in your car.
If you’re able to fill your spare water vessel up at a water tap or maybe in a nearby town, then you’re going to be able to camp for longer. Use the container or bladder to top up your van/ trailer water tanks without having to move your whole setup.
Having plenty of food on hand will keep you camping longer, particularly when you’re out bush or away from towns and shops. Here are a few cooking and food storage camping hacks Australia.
Mix up your fresh food meals with non-perishable meals to stretch your supplies further. There’s nothing wrong with baked beans or spaghetti on toast. Once the fresh food runs out, you can use frozen veggies, canned goods, packets and jars to help bring a meal together.
Camping Food Checklist + Menu Planner
- 4 pages
- 12 food item categories
- Checklists pre-filled with 100+ items
- Menus pre-filled with 21 meals, 14 snacks & 3 desserts
- PRINTABLE & DIGITAL
- Download once, use over-and-over again
It’s a good idea to stock up your freezer with bread, meat, pre-cooked meals, pies and whatever else you like to eat. That way you can take comfort in knowing that you’ve got plenty of supplies on hand.
Tips to Save Freezer Storage Space:
- Take food packets out of their boxes and ditch the box
- Store food in portion sizes in ziplock bags (push all the air out)
- Take meat out of bulky supermarket packaging & store in ziplock bags
- Get meat cryovaced by the butcher
- Use a food sealer to seal food in flat, portion-sized packs
Cook in Bulk
Having a big cook up before you go camping and pre-freezing the meals will save a lot of time and dishes on your trip.
When you are cooking on the road, consider that it takes less gas to cook up one big meal and reheat the food the second night, rather than cooking smaller, separate meals every night.
Cook once, eat twice!
Camp Fire Cooking
Cook as much as you can on the camp fire. It’ll save you on gas and probably even some dishes.
If you don’t have a camp oven, try wrapping different meals in foil and putting them in the hot coals to cook. Meat, vegetables and pastries cook well this way – you can even reheat some meals using this method.
Fish & Forage
If you’ve got the skills, fish and forage for food. Not only does this save money in your budget, but it will make your food supplies last longer. Hunting and gathering food is a skill most of us don’t have these days, but it can be a much more sustainable way of life.
These handy camping cookware sets are fantastic for space storage. The handles fold back around the sides of the pots for packing away and the pots all slot into one another.
Are you sick of having to cart along an extra table for the BBQ? Check out these super handy swing-away BBQARMs.
They easily attach to any draw bar, rear bar or tow hitch in under 2 minutes.
Just sit the mount on your bar of choice, then finger-tighten the nut. Slide the arm into it’s cradle and twist the handle to tighten. Then slot in the BBQARM tray and pop your BBQ on top.
The mount and arm can stay on your trailer permanently if you like, just swing the arm away and lock it in for travel.
Portable Solar Panels
The more power you can produce with solar panels and store with batteries, the better.
It’s well worth investing in a good quality solar set-up so you don’t have to worry about power usage so much. As long as you have a good set-up and the weather isn’t awful for weeks on end, you can camp off-grid for as long as you like.
A good inverter means not having to worry about how you’re going to charge the laptop, GoPro and drone, plus run the washing machine and other appliances. The inverter doesn’t even need to be huge – our 350 watt Redarc Inverter, ran all of those things for us with no problems.
Utilise Power During the Day
Make the most of sunny camping in Australia and do all of your device charging, cooking, washing etc. during the day when the sun is shining and you’re producing maximum power. Then come night time you should still have plenty of power in storage so that you can use the fans and TV’s without a worry.
If you do find your batteries are getting low, having a generator on hand to top them back up will keep you camping longer without any troubles. To be honest, we’ve never once had to pull the gennie out, but we do have one there for back up should anything happen to the solar.
Gas Hot Water
Most caravans and campers will have a switch to turn the gas hot water on and off. When that switch is ‘On,’ the hot water system will keep heating up periodically throughout the day and night to keep the water in the tank hot. This means that a lot of gas is being wasted on heating water when you really only need it once a day for hot showers.
Flick the Hot Water button ‘On’ 10 minutes before shower time, then switch it back ‘Off’ after showers. While it’s on, you might as well use that opportunity to put some hot water in the sink for dishes.
Boil Hot Water
If you need to wash the dishes while the gas hot water is switched off, just boil up half a kettle (or less) of water for greasy dishes. This will be quicker and use less gas than heating up the entire 30L hot water tank. If your dirty dishes aren’t greasy, then cold water will clean them just fine.
Free BBQ’s are everywhere. You can find them in parks and Rest Stops in particular. Use them as much as you can to cook your meals as it saves on your own gas.
If you’re worried about the cleanliness of public BBQs, grab yourself a reusable BBQ Mat. They are easily washed after use in warm, soapy water with your other dishes.
12 Volt Fans
These little suckers are the best things ever when you’re free camping in hot weather in a camper or caravan. They’re even useful to keep the air circulating at night when you’ve got the windows closed. 12 volt fans draw bugger all power too!
USB Charging Ports
USB charging points are essential for easily charging up your devices while camping. Most caravans and campers are coming with them in-built these days. But you can also buy the style that slot into a cigarette lighter plug, to be used in a car and anything else that has a cigarette plug.
Solar Panel Power Pack
If you need a small portable way to charge up your USB devices (such as phones and bluetooth speakers), then a Solar Panel Power Bank Pack is the way to go. Simply put the panels out in the sun to charge up the in-built battery pack. Then you can plug in any USB device to charge from the battery pack, day or night.
I’ve had one of these sitting in the cupboard for years and it’s still holding charge that was collected a few years ago! They’re such an invaluable off-grid resource.
OTHER CAMPING HACKS AUSTRALIA
Now for our final few hints, tips and camping hacks Australia…
Square Not Round
Since storage space is prime real estate when you’re camping, you need to make the absolute most out of every inch. Go for square and rectangular containers over round ones, which are much easier to fill and stack. Round containers and boxes really waste a lot of space.
Whether it be for food, clothing, cookware etc., there are plenty to choose from on eBay.
These days there are so many collapsible camping items on the market to save you a tonne of space in your set up. From collapsible buckets and water containers, to collapsible sinks, kettles and bins.
Here are some collapsible camping ideas.
Camping Grass Mat
The only way to keep your sleeping space clean (be it a tent, camper, caravan or RV) is to put a good, solid mat at the entrance for people to properly clean their feet on.
By far the best entry mat I’ve ever used (and trust me, I’ve tried many!) is the Muk Mat. It’s an artificial grass mat specifically designed to keep dirt, grass, sand, mud and prickles out of the car and camping spaces.
There are a few sizes available, depending on the space you need to fill, so check them out.
Travel Mugs & Tumblers
Having one all-purpose travel mug or tumbler will save you having to take a stack of different cups for multiple purposes. If each person has their own personal mug, everyone will know who’s is who’s and you’ll save a bit more space in your kitchen set up.
Features of a Good Multi-use Travel Mug:
- Insulated (for hot and cold drinks)
- Lid (no leaks or spills)
- Sturdy (won’t fall over)
Here are some ripper travel mugs and tumblers.
Hot Water Bottles
You cannot go past the good old Hot Water Bottle and an extra blanket to stay toasty on a cool night. All you need is some water plus a kettle and you’re good to go.
Remember on cooler days to close up the van, camper or tent early to keep the heat in for the night. This includes windows, hatches, curtains, blinds and flaps. It’s amazing how much difference it makes.
When a hot water bottle is just not going to cut it, a diesel heater is another popular way to heat the trailer in the cold. As the name suggests, the heater runs off diesel rather than power, making it perfect for Free Camping. Cooking on your indoor stovetop on a cold night will help to bring some welcome heat into the van.
A tip for the guys – pee outside on a tree and save the toilet space!
A tip for the gals – put your toilet paper into a lidded bucket or container for the rubbish bin. This will save prime space in your toilet cassette/ tank.
A few drops of Eucalyptus Oil mixed with water in a spray bottle works perfectly to keep your toilet bowl and bathroom smelling fresh. It’s a great, natural homemade air freshener and also works to reduce over-flushing and wasting water and space in the toilet.
If you’re going for a drive past a dump point at some stage during your stay at the camp ground, be sure to pop your toilet cassette into your boot so you can empty it. Then when you get back to camp, you’ve just bought yourself another few days of toilet space!
Lock it up
Most camping sites we’ve been to have been very safe. Very rarely have we felt uncomfortable about unhitching and leaving the van behind to do some exploring. But if we do unhitch, we always lock it up with a hitch lock.
Another security measure we often take is to throw an alarmed wire lock around the BBQ and put the chairs back into the locked tunnel boot if we’re leaving camp.
Don’t forget to lock up any other valuables that may be left lying around if you leave your camp. Think about fridges, generators, solar panels, bikes and scooters etc.
Although we’ve never had anything go missing, it’s not uncommon to hear stories of other people losing items.
Road Trip Packing List
No matter what your accommodation style is, the Road Trip Packing List will ensure that you don’t forget a thing.
- Pre-filled with 600+ items
- 17 categories
- PRINTABLE & DIGITAL
- Download once, use it over-and-over
Travel Planning Tools
PIN IT for later!