Essential camping hacks for a stress-free holiday

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Essential camping hacks for a stress-free holiday

If our Best of Summer campaign has inspired you to book a trip to one of the country’s 10 best campgrounds, use these tips to ensure your holiday is a success.

Always have a campsite in sight

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Download the CamperMate app for listings of campgrounds and holiday parks around the country. Many of the properties are bookable through the app, and information includes local attractions and reviews by other users of the app.

Get the most out of campervanning with NZMCA

For an annual fee of $90, signing up to be a member of the NZMCA secures membership of the New Zealand Motor Caravan Association, a worthwhile investment to access the organisation’s range of benefits, including fuel savings and discounts at a variety of retailers.

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An NZMCA membership really proves its worth with member exclusives, including their annual Travel Directory listing thousands of overnight camping locations throughout the country.

Essential camping hacks for a stress-free holiday

Top hacks for a successful camping sojourn. Photo / Getty

Camping with family? Safety exists in numbers

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For family campers, there are two key efficiencies of scale in having a big crew at your campsite: cooking and childcare. By taking a turn looking after half a dozen kids on a kayaking trip or a morning fishing mission to a nearby river mouth, you’re buying yourself a couple of afternoons of freedom when some other adult steps up to the kid-wrangling duties.

Cooking en masse is a drag on the one night of the week when you’re doing it, but marvellous on the six nights when you’re sitting back, supping something cold and watching dinner appear.

Essential camping hacks for a stress-free holiday

The birthrights of Kiwis are many and glorious – among the finest is the family summer camping trip. Photo / Getty

Keep your food fresh and tasty

Smoked fish is ideal for salads and sandwiches. It has quite a strong flavour so you don’t need that much of it. Smoked trout or mackerel is delicious in a noodle salad with pickled ginger. Smoked chicken will also keep longer than fresh chicken.

Most fresh vegetables will keep for several days, as long as they don’t get squashed. Alternatively, tins of beans or corn kernels are almost faultless.

Buy your meat from your butcher and ask them to vacuum-pack it. It’ll last three to four days longer than non-vacuum-packed meat. Another great idea is to freeze your meat before you go. This has a double effect of, firstly acting like an ice pack and keeping other things cold, but also the meat will defrost during the first day and then should still last another two days.

Have a good time, even if you're a camp scrooge

If the first thing that falls out your mouth at the suggestion of pitching a tent is, “I hate camping”, you may find yourself an outlier among friends: your every attempt to propose renting a bach overthrown by plans to pitch up at a DoC campsite instead. Fear not, camping grinch, you can still ace the camping game and enjoy it.

To enhance the experience – and perhaps make it a little less feral than you fear – invest in a good quality chilly bin (then freeze food and drink before it goes in the cool box). Always check tent gear before departure – a branch is not a substitute for a tent peg. A headlamp will save you from trying to balance a pot, spoon and torch while making dinner, and finally, for a clean tent, “inside shoes” are imperative.

Improve the longevity of your tent

A well-cleaned and packed tent can make a huge difference, not only to how easy it is to use next time but also how long it stays in good nick.

Firstly, sweep, clean or dry your tent. It’s crucial to do it as soon as you can after arriving home. It will be easier to clean and prevent any damage. Next, do a small spot clean with a little washing up liquid and sponge. Avoid using bleach or spot remover as this can damage the material.

If you’ve used your tent for several days, it’s time for a full wash: clean the tent body and fly in a basin of lukewarm water and a cleaner designed for outdoor gear. Stay away from regular detergent and leave to thoroughly dry out. And don’t forget to wipe the poles and pegs with a wet rag. Pay attention to the ferrules, which are the parts that insert into the next segment, as these can get rusty or muddy and damage the poles.

Essential camping hacks for a stress-free holiday

Follow these camping tricks and tips to ensure a fault-free summer camping trip. Photo / Getty

One golden rule to rule them all

Wear Jandals in the shower – if you need to ask why, you really don’t want to know.

For more travel inspiration, go to newzealand.com/nz.

Check traffic light settings and Ministry of Health advice before travel at covid19.govt.nz

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