Packing list that can save you thousands while camping

Lee’s tips: My 6 glamping essentials

Glamping is so hot right now. Wilderness retreats – canvas-walled cabins with hard floors or billowy bell tents with big double beds, ensuites, decks, and private chefs – are springing up all around the country, even in national parks.

And while all this luxury feels good, it doesn’t come cheap – expect to pay anywhere from $150 to $1400 a night to camp out in style. You might need to pack a bit of extra gear, but there are ways you can inject a bit of glamour and comfort into camping on the road without breaking the bank.

1. A decent bed

One of the main reasons glamping is so popular is you sleep in a proper bed. You can do this yourself by ditching the sleeping mat and getting a raised camping bed. If you do have to make do with a blow-up mattress, make it up with sheets, pillows, and a doona rather than a sleeping bag, and warm it up with an old-fashioned hot-water bottle before you get in it.

2. A tent you can stand in

It’s hard to be glamorous when you’re on your hands and knees. If you don’t fancy towing a van or camper trailer, invest in a tent that is big enough to stand up in. If you’re camping with kids, use the old pup tent as a play space, which will also keep the main tent, trailer, or van much tidier and cleaner.

An awning is a must-have if you want to enjoy the views in class
An awning is a must-have if you want to enjoy the views in class

3. Extra shade

Take the time to put up an annex or awning if you’ve got one – it might not look as classy as a private deck, but who cares when you’re enjoying the view with a glass of bubbles (or beer) in the shade or sheltering from the rain?

4. Proper pots

DIY glamping means DIY private chef, too, I’m afraid, but packing decent pots, pans, and a good sharp knife rather than the crappy stuff you should’ve thrown out instead of consigning to the camping box can make cooking in the bush much more enjoyable.

Proper pots and pans and a good knife can make a big difference to your meal prep
Proper pots and pans and a good knife can make a big difference to your meal prep

5. Your own shower

It might not have all the comforts of a marble ensuite, but a pop-up shower tent with a rubber door mat and a handheld battery-powered shower using a bucket of water you’ve warmed up on the stove is a true luxury when you’re camped in the bush. They are inexpensive and available at all good camping stores.

6. Real coffee

The one thing I’ll never camp without is an espresso maker. It’s the size of a Thermos, rechargeable by USB in the car, and makes just one shot at a time, but it’s nice and strong, so that’s all you need. Every princess deserves a decent coffee in the morning, right?

No road trip is complete without coffee
No road trip is complete without coffee

Bill’s tips: The right version of ritz on the road

When it comes to a camping road trip, what’s your definition of luxury? Some people will spend more than a million dollars on a huge super-deluxe grande motorhome with every conceivable creature comfort (though the helipad is usually an optional extra). Others, such as our friends Neil and Lucy, are perfectly happy to go camping with only what they carry on their backs.

They’re currently on an adventure in the northern Canadian wilderness, somewhere up near the Arctic Circle. It will take them about 35 days to walk a route that very few people are prepared to tackle. They have to haul everything in their backpacks, including a couple of small inflatable rafts, because there are several wild rivers to navigate. They survive on dehydrated rations. Bears are a threat, so they have various deterrents that, hopefully, they won’t have to use. They are very experienced at this sort of travel and for them, the ultimate in luxury is the exclusivity that comes with being able to reach the most remote, wild places on Earth, as far as possible from other humans. And you can’t do that in a motorhome, at any price.

Investing in the fanciest van isn't a great idea if you want to go remote
Investing in the fanciest van isn’t a great idea if you want to go remote

So if you’re about to invest a sizeable amount of money to set yourself up for the big lap – especially if you’re one of those lucky folks who will do it with no return date – or regular road trips, the first question to ask yourself is where you really want to go. If the call of the wild beckons, you’ll be able to hear it in comfort, but probably in something smaller and more purpose-built, such as a camper trailer or hybrid, rather than a big caravan or motorhome with all the mod cons.

Hybrid campers are a relatively recent invention and the smaller ones – say, 13-15 feet – are sufficiently compact, light, and robust to tow into remote, off-the-bitumen locations that a larger van can’t reach. They can include a toilet and shower, air-conditioning, TV, hot water, and solar power generation. Inside, you also get a comfortable bed and (just) enough space to live in if the weather turns nasty, but you cook outside in a slide-out kitchen (with usually a slide-out fridge as well) under an awning. It ain’t the Ritz, but for $40,000 to $60,000 or so, a compact hybrid has everything you need for living comfortably on, and off, the road.

And when you go to bed, you don’t have to worry about the bears, either.

This article originally appeared on Escape and do not necessarily represent the views of

About the author


Hi! I’m Ozzie!

Before joining Australia Exploring, I was a writer at Tripadvisor.

I'm looking for the best posts for you about travel adventures in Australia and around the world. This website has the purpose to inspire you to travel… travel more and better. I hope it can help you explore the world a little bit better.

I graduated from the University of Sydney. I live in California with my wife and two children.


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