Best Camping Gear in Australia:Tents, BBQs and more


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Top Pick for

Tent for Families

Oztrail Lumos 12 Person Fast Frame Tent

Top Pick for

Camping Chair

Wanderer Premium Reclining Alloy Lounger

Weber Q or Weber Baby Q

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Camping Solar Panel

EcoFlow Solar Panel

Best Camping Gear in Australia

Holidaying as your typical Australian family in 2023 isn’t easy. I know; I’m in the thick of it. As the dad in a family of five, with three kids aged 11, 9 and 7, my wallet shakes with fear at the thought of buying five flights at the current crazy prices. Or getting resorts with big enough rooms. Even big road trips hurt the hip pocket with the current fuel prices.

But these are the best years of our lives and they’re not to be wasted. So we camp. A lot. It remains the most cost-effective way to have a great family holiday in Australia.

Like most avid campers, my assortment of equipment has grown appreciably over the years, and then been refined as I’ve upgraded the essentials. If you’re new to camping with kids, or are looking for some tips on how to improve your family camping setup, you’re in the right place. This best camping gear guide for families will hopefully give you the insights you need.

Read more detail on our methodology below.

Let’s start with the obvious: you’re going to need a tent. There’s a couple of features I’ve come to love about the Oztrail Lumos 12 Person Fast Frame tent that I think make it a great fit for families.

Firstly, it’s large enough to stand up in and has multiple rooms. This is particularly important to my wife, but obviously makes getting changed and moving around sleeping bodies a lot easier. It’s also built with full blackout material that works well. The added darkness allows you to get kids to be earlier during daylight savings. But also, it ensures you can all sleep-in after big nights.

There’s a built-in LED light in this tent, too. It runs on batteries, and with a press of a button, allows you to light up the inside with ease. The fully enclosed front annex provides a weather safe entry space for dumping gear or hanging out in less favourable conditions. Best of all, though, the fast frame system means there’s no threading poles through tiny loops. The tent is upright in a few minutes, allowing for one parent to start inside, while the other is pegging in the fly.

On the negative side, said fly still takes quite a while to set. The tent takes up a decent amount of space, too – both when set-up, and when packed in your garage.

I’ve also recently been exposed to the Dometic Santorini FTK 4X8 inflatable tent. I haven’t used it, so will hold off on a full endorsement. But what I’ve witnessed is very impressive. Setup and pack-up is just a few minutes, and the space inside looks great. It’s also worth a look.

Special Mention: Dometic Santorini FTK 4X8

The standout reason why I would recommend the 75L Lithium Dual Zone Fridge/Freezer is because of the in-built lithium battery. This provides at least an additional day (and I’ve frequently got close to 2 days) of charge once your fridge is unplugged. This can be a lifesaver when you’re off-grid and the sunlight doesn’t show up to warm your solar panels.

Indeed, I’ve taken this fridge on multi-week adventures and never had to take it out of the back of the car or charge it. I just plug it into the 12-volt port in the boot when I’m driving, and it gives the lithium battery a big enough kick to keep it forever powered.

The dual zone set-up also allows you to freeze on one side, and fridge on the other. This is particularly handy on longer road-trips. It can also be opened from either direction, and has power ports on both sides, so you can get into it and charge it no matter which way you stick it into the car. There’s other nice features, too, like USB ports and bottle openers, as well as flush handles.

On the negative, the lids – which are otherwise strong enough to stand on – can stick a bit after some use. The in-built battery also means it’s bigger than comparable 75L fridge/freezers. I’ve also had mixed results using solar panels directly into it, so instead power through a portable battery.

Read our full review here.

In the perfect world, you’ll cook your food on the same campfire you’re sitting around. But you can’t always have a fire in Australia, or have the required bed of coals ready when it’s time to eat. So a BBQ is definitely handy.

There’s certainly a good argument for a 2-burner gas stove, be that LPG or butane. These are light and easy to transport if you’re travelling in a smaller vehicle. And they cook with incredible speed. But you’re operating on a small footprint, which can be a pain when cooking for families.

As a result, you can’t beat the versatility of the Webers. They have plenty of space for a large family meal, and can double as an oven thanks to the well-insulated lid. If you pick up the stand to go with it, you don’t need to use up any table space, either. It’s got a good even heat, and the hotplates mean you don’t need to always dirty pots and pans.

We also use it all the time for non-camping activities – for example, picnics in the park or kid’s birthdays at the beach.

It does take up a lot of space, however. Especially with the required gas bottle. And it’s an inefficient way to do minor heating jobs like water for a coffee.

Don’t underestimate the need for good storage boxes when camping. If you think you can go down to Bunnings or Office Works and just get a plastic tub to hold your bits and pieces, be it equipment or food, you’ll end up wasting your money. They break easily, and quickly. Often not even making the journey if you have to tie them down to a roof rack.

The most impressive storage box I’ve come across recently is part of the Dometic Go range. It’s as strong as an ox – you can dead-set stand on it. It also maximises its shape. You don’t get the tapered bottom or the concave down lid that reduces the amount of space you actually have to store stuff.

It also has a nifty, easy on the hands latch system for opening and closing. And a smart tie-down design that means you can access what’s stored inside without having to undo the ropes or straps pinning it down. My only grief is that there aren’t any larger options than 50L.

Not every camping site has a nearby tap on hand: in fact, many have no access to water at all. In these instances, you’ll need to bring it with you, or do many runs to a central water tank. On very long trips into such terrain, you’ll need big 20L jerry cans of water, but they are overkill for most common family camping trips.

I’ve become quite a fan of the 11L Dometic GO Hydration Water Jug. Like most Dometic gear, the build quality is excellent. The carry strap makes it easy to transport to and from a water source. And the little tap – with a speed dial – allows you to access the water inside with ease. Especially compared to the water containers you may get from Woolies or Coles, with taps on them too hard for small fingers to open.

You can also pair this jug with a USB-charged faucet, for proper camping luxury. This allows the jug to sit on the ground, with just the tap at the edge of your table space. With a touch, water pours out. This makes it super easy for the kids to get a drink or brush their teeth, and to multi-task. For example, holding a pot and activating the water flow at the same time.

The power station I use is the EcoFlow DELTA 1600 Max Portable Power Station, so I felt compelled to nominate it. Although as I will get to, there is a caveat. Why do I like this power station? It’s got a huge 105 amp-hours of life.

Primarily you’ll be using a portable battery, or power station as it’s more accurately referred to, for your fridge. They can be a big draw, especially in the Australian sun, so the more amp-hours the better. But this device also has USB-A and USB-C ports, 4 x AC ports, as well as ports to run your lighting.

It’s mighty enough to jump-start your car if required, and is super handy around the home given it can run fridges, microwaves and the like as well during blackouts. Solar panels can be plugged directly in to charge, too.

The caveat is that it’s big and heavy, and it’s expensive. It may end up being an over-investment for many families. With that in mind, smaller, more affordable options that still perform well include the Dometic PLB40 and ATEM Power AP500x, which both offer about 40 amp-hours. Just know you’ll need to bump these up daily with solar.

Special Mention: ATEM Power AP500x

There’s two kinds of table you’ll come across. The kind that folds, and the kind that doesn’t. I find the kind that folds are generally more frustrating to use with kids. Yes, they are easier to pack away, but they tend to slope at the edges as the two halves never quite come together properly. This often means cups and plates can slide off.

The reason why I opt for the Coleman Pack Away Table & Bench 3 Piece Set, is that it offers one, nice flat surface. It also comes with two-bench seats that back discreetly into the base of the table itself. Granted, you will often have camp chairs anyway, but we often leave those by the fire, then use this table for card games, kids arts and crafts, and eating.

The main issue you may find is that it’s plastic, so it’s a little risky cooking near it. If you’d prefer a foldable table, I’d consider the Dometic GO Compact Camp Table. It’s neat (if heavy) when folded, but incredibly strong and robust when set up. It has three heights in the adjustable legs, too. So it doubles as a cooking bench, normal table or as a coffee table for cheese and crackers.

Special Mention: Dometic GO Compact Camp Table

When it comes to family camping chairs, I purchase something great for my wife and I, and something much simpler (read: cheaper) for the kids. I recommend all your chairs have a drink holder. As soon as you don’t have one, it’s amazing how much you miss it. Side tables are handy, too, but not as essential.

The Wanderer Premium Reclining Alloy Lounger is my chair of choice for its ability to not just recline, but to hold my 100kg frame (sometimes with a kid on top) at any angle. Many reclining chairs do not achieve this goal. It also comes with a side table, that has a drink holder, and a foot rest.

I love being able to tip it up by the fire, and look at the stars while my toes are warmed. Although it’s a bulky item when packed (as are all recliners).

For the kids, honestly, Bunnings chairs will work. But I’ve stepped it up in recent years as the big recliners – while awesome for camping – are a pain for other activities due to their size. For example, picnics, fishing or kids sports. I’ve found the OZtrail Getaway Chair a good value for money proposition in this regard.

Special Mention: OZtrail Getaway Chair

Showering while camping? Pretty fancy! In Australia, I find most of our showering is done via a swim in the nearest river, lake or beach. But that’s not always viable. Especially in winter. Or if you need a good scrub to get that fish guts off your hands.

The Companion AquaHeat Lithium Gas Shower is light, compact, and easy to use. You screw in the replaceable gas bottle, put one hose into a bucket of water, and put the other hose – with the nozzle attached – over your head. Press a button and you’ll be surprised by how quickly very hot water is pouring over your head.

You can buy a specific shower tent for such activities if you want to get fancy. Alternatively, just sit the bucket on a table and go for it in your costumes. Or nude, we’re not judging.

If you’re starting to feel age grinding away your vision as I am, then your tolerance for operating in low light has likely dropped to zero. A good light setup at your campsite is going to make a big difference to your enjoyment, but you also don’t want it to be overwhelming. Head torches are great, but they don’t seem to last long before breaking or being lost.

I’ve taken to using the Dune 4WD 10 Bar LED Lighting Kit. What I love about it is that it comes with 10 individual bars of LED lights that you can use as one long run, or split into two rows of varying lengths with the included splitter. It then plugs into your portable battery, and lights up everything under its length.

We set this up in our awning in two rows of five that run down both sides. They have double-sided tape on the back so you can stick them into place. Plus, it comes with a remote and a range of effects, so you can create some atmosphere by changing the colours, dimming.

Most campsites you come across use one of two kinds of awnings or camping shelters. The kind that comes off the side of your car. Or the classic square/rectangle variant with no walls. When travelling as a family, I much prefer a third option: the dome shape offered by the Coleman Event 14 Sun Shelter + Sunwall.

Firstly, it has a massive footprint; you can fit tables, kitchens, bikes, BBQs and more inside. The curved edges offer protection from both the elements and the prying eyes of neighbours, without compromising the ability to stand underneath. It’s easy to assemble with two people, and can be done by one struggling battler, and it’s strong against the wind.

The sunwall can be moved, too, allowing you to follow the rays or wind, or block out an annoying neighbour’s light or campfire smoke. We tend to use it as the back against which all our kitchen gear goes. Best of all, the curved shape allows it to sit nicely over the entry of your tent, creating a means of getting from indoors to outdoors without ending up in the rain.

To a certain extent, I can see the value in getting the same brand solar panel as your portable battery. But even with that in mind, there’s plenty to like about the EcoFlow range of solar panels.

They’re not hard or rigid, instead folding in on themselves so they can be easily carried and stored. This design also allows you to lay them in ways that mould to your environment, such as over car bonnets or against bushes. But it does come with a kickstand, too.

The connection points are easy to understand and clip together, especially if you daisy chain a few solar panels together. But best of all with kids, they are durable and waterproof. I find that the solar panels in hard frames just end up a magnet for kicked balls and uncontrolled bikes. The EcoFlow ones provide the same efficiency as the harder-framed alternatives, without that hassle.

Is this overkill? Potentially, but if you’re going to go “proper bush” with the kids, then GME’s personal locator beacon does provide serious peace of mind. Especially given how patchy telecommunication coverage is in our country as soon as you’re out of the big cities.

Small, compact and light, this IP68-rated (so you can drop it in water) beacon is not much bigger than a pack of cards. But it comes ready to use its 72-channel GPS receiver to instantly send out an emergency signal for help once activated. The battery lasts 7-years, so there’s no need to replace it regularly. And it gets extra points for being Australian made, too.

Obviously, you hope you never have to use it, but as someone who has watched a 2m long Eastern Brown Snake cruise between my 2-year-old’s legs when I’ve been a long, long way from help, I’m happy to have one with me.

Best Campfire Equipment

There’s a number of essential items you want on hand to make the most of a great campfire experience. Especially if you are setting up for a lengthy stay. There’s a few bits and pieces I never leave home without.

Campfire Protective Leather Gloves: These heavy duty gloves are in constant use. If it’s not placing logs lovingly into the coals, you’ll use it to grab cooking equipment.

Campfire Cast Iron Camp Oven: 9 Quart: This is the perfect size in my opinion, as it’s not too big, but can still make a family-sized damper, or hold a large chicken.

Campfire Billy Teapot: We do all our water boiling on the fire with our billy. Be it for coffee, soup, noodles, hot water bottles, washing up… whatever.

Campfire Jaffle Iron Jumbo Double: The easiest way to sort out food for the kids, is to stick this bad boy in the fire with bread and a filling of your choice.

Campfire Tripod: We use this more than you might expect to dangle the Billy over the best part of the fire, even if it’s loaded with burning logs.

Best Camping Gear for Winter

For a country famously thought of us being hot, it’s amazing how cold it can get at night. Especially in winter. I’ve taken the family on camping trips that have dipped below zero in the dead of night, and been so stuck down gullies that the sun only shines directly down for a brief few hours. These are still great trips, but here are some essentials.

Hot water bottles: Before you get into your sleeping bag, boil a Billy on the fire and pour it into a hot water bottle. Kids and parents alike will love it.

Hot Hands Hand Warmers: These little packets don’t feel like a great result for the environment, but if you crack them, they generate a heat you can place at key places around your body to push back against the cold.

Thermal blankets: These work in two ways: you can opt to wrap them around you while you sit by the fire, but a good jacket achieves the same goal. Instead I tend to use them under our bedding to reduce the cold coming out of the ground. Some good options include the ​​Rumpl Down Puffy, which comes in 1 and 2-person sizes. But also the ​​Dometic GO Camp Blanket, which is handy for picnics as well.

Stretches: Another consideration can be stretches, which lift you well off the ground. We do have some and use them, but they do take up a lot of space at home. Plus, they don’t fit in all tents and aren’t so great on sloped surfaces. So buy with caution.

Best Camping Gear for Winter

During every camping trip you think of something new you need for next time. It’s a given. Especially when you see it in use with someone else’s setup. Here’s a couple of bonus bits and pieces that I love having on hand when we’re camping.

Bug Zapper: Dealing with annoying insects is just a part of every Australian’s life, but what really sucks, is when they get in your tent. The trick is to place a bug zapper – I use the Gecko 3.7V Solar USB Rechargeable Insect Zapper – in your tent before you go to sleep to clear out anything that has got inside.

Hammock: Take your relaxation to the next level with a hammock. You don’t need to go over the top, just something simple you can string up with ease. Just get something with a good weight rating, as multiple kids will jump in at once. I use a Two Trees hammock, which is Australian made.

Drink Cooler: Be it the sun, your body warmth or the heat from the campfire, drinks don’t stay cool for long while camping. There’s a few options out there, but I’ve fallen in love with the ​​Dometic THBC 37. It’s smartly designed, holding different width vessels firmly in place and keeping them very cool. Then easily converting to a thermal mug for coffees and soups, too.

Projector: Ok, I’m lying when I say this is essential. You don’t need it at all. But if you want to be the coolest parent in the campground, and give yourselves a couple of hours of peace around the campfire, why not set up an outdoor cinema? I’ve taken to using the ViewSonic M2e Portable LED Projector, plugged into my portable battery and projecting onto the side of an awning. Quality is great, and you can just play off a downloaded file stored on a USB stick, or via Bluetooth. Also good for big sporting events.


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