Mobile Outback Camping

by Julie on May 7, 2019

When it’s time for your next holiday, there are just as many ways to travel as there are destinations to choose from. You can travel in royal luxury, waited on hand and foot by solicitous staff, wining and dining in the most romantic spots on the globe. Or, you take the Ernest Hemingway route and rough it like your pioneer ancestors.

Either way is fine and frankly, there’s nothing wrong with a little luxury now and then, but if you want to save money on your lodgings so you’ll have more for other things, there are some interesting options you should consider.

Truck Tents

An affordable option you should think about is using a truck tent. These are tents that cover the bed of a standard pickup – with the tailgate let down – and turn its bed into a real bed for your next globe-trotting adventure.

The size you get will depend on the kind of truck you own (or rent, if you’re overseas) so make sure you get the right one. Although these tents extend out on the tailgate, you should measure the bed only when you’re sizing it. Most of them are less than $350, even the ones that extend onto the ground behind your truck.

Tips and Tricks

Camping requires a bit more creativity than plunking down your credit card for a hotel room. Here are some handy tips and tricks to help make it a more enjoyable experience.

  • Level Parking

You’ll be sleeping in the truck so make sure you’re parked on a level spot. Even a slight tilt can make you feel like you’re sliding or falling out of bed in the middle of the night. If you can’t find a spot that meets your requirements, slip some 2×8’s under the tires on the low side to help level it.

  • Luggage

If you’re driving to a destination in say, Baja Mexico for a kiteboarding lesson, you can take a lot of luggage in the truck, then store it in the cab of the truck during the night. The sky is pretty much the limit. If you’re flying overseas for a tour of the Serengeti, your tent will be part of the luggage you check on the plane. Pack fewer clothing items and buy them once you arrive at your destination.

  • Trees

Camping in the shade sounds great and looks romantic in the movies, but during a storm heavy branches can crack and break in the wind, then come crashing down on your truck, your tent, and you. There’s not much romance to be had in a hospital bed, so stay away from trees when you’re looking for camping sites.

General Camping Hints

In addition to hints that are specific to truck tents, there are a number of hints and tips for camping in general, little things you can do to add to your ease and comfort.

  • Plastic Sleds

A plastic snow sled, the kind little kids use, will slide on grass and sand. Instead of trying to roll your cooler across the ground, put it on a sled and pull it. It’ll be a lot easier and it won’t be nearly as prone to tipping over.

  • Swiss Army Knife

The phrase Swiss army knife has practically become a word denoting any small, pocket-sized multi-tool. Most of them have a Phillips head and flat head screwdriver on them, bottle openers, scissors, and hole punch in addition to the regular knife blades. You’ll discover a million-and-one uses for it once you’re in camp.

  • Knife Holders

Sharp kitchen knives are always challenging to carry or transport safely. One innovative camper used some short pieces of PVC pipe as protective tubes to carry them in. Glue a cap on one end, with a pop-off cap on the other, and you’ve got a homemade knife carrier. How creative is that? And it’s cheap.

  • Duct Tape, Wire, and Rope

Don’t laugh. You’d be amazed at the things you can fix, fasten, tie down, or repair with these three simple items. A rip in the tent? Put some duct tape on both sides of the hole and you’re good to go. Did you fall in the water and your clothes are soaked. Stretch a length of rope between two trees you’ve got an instant clothesline. Did your cooking grill break? Wire it back together and keep on cooking.

Necessity is the Mother of Invention

Be prepared to use things in ways you never imagined. After all, “adventure” is doing things you never did before. Enjoy it!

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