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Going off-grid camping the right way

Camping is one of the top activities to do for many older Australians when the warming weather hits – and for those looking for an added bit of adventure, setting up your tent or caravan in a remote location off the beaten track can offer you tranquillity, peace and quiet and a fully-immersive experience in nature.

Key points:

  • Care and consideration should go into picking the best spot for your off-grid adventure, which should ultimately be close to a township where you can stock up on essentials if you run out
  • Investing in your setup can ensure a pleasant camping experience with all the home utilities you are used to
  • Many campgrounds and National Parks offer basic toilet and shower facilities, but shower tents and portable toilets are an option if you are camping in a more rural setting

But off-grid camping can be difficult and you want to be assured that you have everything you need for a successful trip and aren’t caught out missing crucial supplies. 

Off-grid doesn’t have to mean leaving all your comforts at home, but without access to power and water you need to think about how to do things differently.

To help you live your best grey nomadic life off the grid, here’s our guide for ensuring you have the best experience possible with no hiccups.

So what should you consider when planning an off-grid camping trip?

Picking the perfect place

So you’re looking for an off-road adventure – but where are you going to go?

When it comes to choosing a location, it is important to consider the surrounding areas and where you might go in an emergency or if you run out of essentials. 

You may feel uncertain about the isolation, but by checking out your surrounding area and what facilities are available, you’ll be able to find the perfect spot that offers remoteness and safety.

While travelling, you should also be aware of any nearby medical facilities in case of an emergency.

If you are a less-seasoned camper, consider picking somewhere that is within a reasonable distance of a township where you can access more food, water and medicine if you happen to run out.

It is also good to have a look at the forecast for the week in the area you pick. Is it going to be really warm or super cold? Camping without power can make fending off the elements difficult, so you’ve got to be prepared for the climate.

Before leaving, consider investing in some battery-powered appliances such as fans and heaters to help stave off hot weather. 

In the winter, plenty of blankets and thermal clothing are also a great way to camp in the cold fuss-free.

Regardless of where you choose to go, be sure to let a family member or friend know your itinerary so someone knows where you are and when to expect you home.

Choose an adventure that meets your abilities

When organising an off-grid camping trip, it is important to keep your abilities and mobility in mind while mapping out your itinerary.

Rough terrain or strenuous activities could prove challenging if you lack strength or require a mobility aid such as a walking stick.

If you have any ability or mobility issues, do some research into more accommodating camping facilities.

Make sure that you have an appropriate supply of any regular medication you take with you for your trip and have access to any other health related aids such as sleep apneoa machines and EpiPens.

Sorting out the essentials 

The most daunting thing about off-road camping is the lack of access to essentials and utilities, such as light, electricity, food and water.

But off-road camping doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice anything if you’re prepared to invest in your set-up.

Saving water is very important, particularly if you will be going away for a long stay. 

Water tanks and containers that can be refilled are good for dishwashing and showering, and boxes of water from the supermarket are good for drinking and cooking.

You can find places to fill up water containers and tanks by speaking to the local town’s information centre or council. They may even have that information available on their website. 

Battery-powered lamps, torches, a campfire and a solar panel with a generator are all options to help shed light on things. 

Make sure that if you are considering making a campfire, you abide by the local Australian fire ban rules and research how to safely light and put out a campfire to ensure you and your surroundings stay out of danger.

Sorting where to scrub and grub

Without the facilities of a caravan park or a hotel, off-grid camping poses the question of where to shower, use the toilet and what non-perishable foods can be brought along to eat. 

A lot of campsites and National Park areas are fitted with basic toilets and cold showers for a low daily fee.

If you don’t have access to these facilities, there are some things you can bring to help make showering and using the toilet a pleasant experience.

You may be travelling with a caravan that has showering, toilet and cooking amenities to use. If you are using your van for such utilities, make sure the gas bottles are full and you have appropriate electricity set up. 

You may be bringing a gas bottle anyway to use a heater or an outside barbecue, so make sure that’s full too. 

Don’t have a caravan? You may want to invest in a portable setup with a shower tent and portable toilets. 

Look for the closest dump point to where you will be camping so you know where you can empty the toilet canister as needed.

For cooking, a kettle, barbecue or butane stove are the best appliances for off-grid outdoor cooking. 

Non-perishable foods such as canned goods and long-life milk are items to add to the pre-trip shopping list.

Cans of tuna, root vegetables and tea and coffee can all be prepared and eaten without having to have a fridge available. 

What are your off-grid camping essentials? Let us know in the comments below. 

Related content:
Best summer activities for older people
Hot tips for safe summer travels
A daily dose of ‘Vitamin Sea’ – beach safety tips for summer
Grey nomads guide to purchasing the right caravan


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