Going camping isn’t as hard as you think! Below I’ve got a bit of an outline of a three day, two night trip you can take from Perth, which’ll take you up the coast to some beautiful spots. If you’re into to any calm water sports (leave the surfboard at home for this one) then bring them with you! Although I’m partial to both kayaking and stand up paddleboarding, I brought the paddleboard along and I recommend doing the same! All the other details are below.
From the outside camping can seem like an activity that requires lots of upfront investment, and whilst there’s definitely an initial outlay, you’d be surprised at how little you actually need to get started! Of course, you can go for the top of the line in everything, but if you’re just getting started we would recommend going for the decent quality basics and upgrading things as you need. After all, if you’re only going camping once a year (unlikely because you’re going to love it, trust us!), why waste the money on the top of the range when your entry-level equipment is going to be enough?
Here’s a list of what we got for around $400 AUD and what we look for when we were choosing every item:
- Oztrail Tasman 3v Dome Tent – An annex (the flap part at the front) is a great addition as it allows you to cook if it’s raining and gives an additional spaciousness to the tent. Go for double layer if you can, as they tend to have better ventilation and improve condensation. It’s tempting to go for the most expensive model here, but there’s no need if you’re just starting out
- Supapeg 175mm Keyhead Peg x6 – the cheaper tents always have crappy pegs, so swing a few bucks here and invest in some good pegs which won’t bend as soon as they see hard ground
- Coleman All Terrain XL Single Airbed – this is the place to splash out a bit more. Get a good bed so you’re not forced to spend half the night on a deflated mattress. A decent airbed will last you a while as well so in the long-term you’ll be saving money
- Roman 12v Air Pump – it’s easier and faster than blowing it up yourself. You’ll thank us later.
- Oztrail Leichardt Hooded Sleeping Bag – think about the season you’re going in for the temperature range. We went with 0 degrees, but for winter we would generally recommend -5 degrees and for summer +5 degrees. If you’re not quite as budget constrained this is another place worth spending a bit more
- Dometic Cool-Ice Icebox 33L – Skip the esky and grab yourself an Icebox. It’ll keep your food cool for days. Grab one with a bung, so you can easily let water out
- Gasmate Travelmate II Butane Gas Stove – you’ve got a few different options here. We went for a basic one which just requires gas cartridges, not a bottle
- Butane Gas Cartridges 4 pack
- Coleman Fold-In-Half Table – you’ll need it for the gas stove, and it’s just nice to be able to sit down. Go for something sturdy!
- Outdoor Connection Everyday Chair – do we need to sell the benefits of a chair?
- Coleman Headlamp CHT7 – you’ll need a headlamp! Go for a practical and basic model.
So that’s what you’ll need to buy! The rest you should have lying around the house. The main things to bring are:
- Cooking equipment – no need to go crazy bringing the whole kitchen. You’ve only got one burner after all! Think one pot with lid, one pan, cutting board, kitchen knives, cutlery, plates, bowls, mugs etc. One for every person on the trip. Detergent and throw in a few tea towels
- Food – check out our list of what we brought here
- Water – don’t forget it!
- Hygiene – pack as if you were going on holidays, but keep it light. You’re camping after all!
On the road
You actually don’t need a 4WD to go camping, we did the whole trip with a 2WD and it was absolutely fine. It might be something you think about later on if you fall in love with camping, but DON’T let your lack of 4WD put you off the fun!
The night before you leave, pack the car. I used four four-litre milk bottles, filled with water and chucked them in the freezer. Put one of them in the night before to start cooling down the Icebox. Then the only thing to do the next day, is put the rest of the ice in, put in your food and you’ll be on your way!
First day - Lancelin
First stop, for the day and night, isn’t too far out of Perth, you’ll hit it after about an hour and a half on the road. The beach at Lancelin is great for all sorts of activities but I’m partial to Standup Paddleboarding (SUP for those in the know) as we said above. The water’s generally pretty calm here and I was lucky enough to have an almost windless day. At Lancelin you can launch right off the beach and paddle across to the little island. The island is an easy way to spend an hour or two – it has stairs and a boardwalk across it, and is ready to be explored!
SUP is super fun! You can hire a paddleboard. Here I used an inflatable stand up paddle board from Goosehill SUP and it performed very nicely. And most importantly, it doesn’t require a roof rack to carry it around like a traditional hard board – which is good because there was no roof rack on the 2WD! I got it from Goosehill and was quite impressed by the quality! SUP is fun as you get to see the reef and whatever else is down below the water while staying very close to the water.
I also stopped at the sand dunes in Lancelin. They’re a great place to spend an hour or two sandboarding, 4X4 or just wandering around checking out the scenery, before returning to camp.
Nambung national park and the Pinnacles
After breakfast and packing up our stuff I headed to Nambung National Park, about 45 minutes down the road from Lancelin. The national park has a visitor centre, beautiful beaches and of course the Pinnacles, the rock formations that are found in the sand. Spend a few hours here enjoying the national park. If you leave early enough you can spend the morning here and then head over to your destination for the night – Jurian Bay.
Jurien Bay is another stop down the coast, 40 minutes drive from the Nambung. It’s a beautiful bay with white sand and crystal clear water. I stayed at Sandycape recreational camping and paid $20 for the night. It’s definitely not luxurious like Lancelin, but it’s got lots of camping spots, right on the bay!
Jurien Bay is another great spot for paddle boarding in Perth! Because it’s a bay the water is calm and it’s fairly protected from the wind. You can easily spend a few hours lazily on your paddle board around the bay, appreciating the peace, quiet and solitude. After all, what else is camping for?