Branching Out: A new (to me) type of camping

Branching Out: A new (to me) type of camping

For as long as I’ve been a camper, the pastime has involved filling up the 4wd and heading bush with swags, tents or a trailer in tow. And the same applies to just about every other camper I know. But there are so many ways to get outside  overnight that I’ve decided to broaden my horizons and give backpacking a go.

I’m not talking about going to Europe and spending a year hitch hiking, getting around from hostel to hostel. I’m talking about loading up a pack with just the essentials and really becoming a part of it all. Technically it’s not the first time I’ve given it a go. I threw a cheap hammock and a few odds and ends in a bag one time after watching too much Bear Grylls. It was a rough and terrible night, I got seasick from the hammock swaying about in the wind and had to sleep on a rock as it was the softest thing around. I woke up to a Millipede nestled in my eye socket. It wasn’t funny at the time, but it’s hilarious now!

Not one to let a single experience taint my opinion, I set out to learn what I actually need to make it a good experience this time! Here’s what I have learned so far:

Backpack: I could probably pack light and just use a regular backpack, but for overnight even a light pack is gonna be kinda heavy and I have a bad back. So I decided to spend a bit on a larger bag which fits better and has the proper support. I found good information on choosing and fitting a backpack on REI.COM.

I ended up with the Black Wolf Mountain Ash 65 litre pack for $199 at BCF

BW14_Mountainash_Blue_CharcoalSleeping: The last time I gave this a go I went in summer. I literally took just the hammock to sleep in and wore jeans and a jacket. I got pretty chilly, especially when I moved from the hammock to the rock. This time I have a nice compact down sleeping bag, some good thermals and self inflating matress to get some shuteye. I’m not purchasing a tent at this stage, but I’ll be getting a cheap rain fly when I can find one!

Eating and Drinking: When I was in the USA I picked up a really cheap aluminium cookware set (about $8 US I think!). It’s light, packs down into itself and will do nicely for now. I’ve also bought a cheap companion hikers stove (about $50) from BCF, and the disposable canister to match at about $15. I’ll take along a spoon and fork from the kitchen and use my survival knife. Water is tricky, in knowing how much I need to carry. I’m guessing 4-6 litres for a short overnight hike? And food, I will be picking a few recipes from the Trail Chef E-Book  which I reviewed last year.

Hiking: It’s all about trousers to protect my legs from the prickly ass Aussie bush, long sleeves for the same reason and as defence agains sunburn, and a very sturdy pair of hiking boots. Other things I’ll be carrying include a first aid kit of course, hat, sunscreen, insect repellant, some of my smaller camera gear and my favourite tool of all time: the machete!


Our first outing: We’re not going all out for some OMG epic destination on our first trek. The vast expanse of bushland east of my home will do the trick, and we will hike our way back into civilisation. Probably only 15 or 20km out, just keeping it fun and relaxing.

So that’s where we’re at. I’m not quite prepared yet, but as soon as I am I’ll be heading straight out. Before I finish for today though, I’ve gotta give a shoutout to Snowy’s Blog for all the information and idea’s I’ve gathered off their site. They have so many informative articles on all aspects of camping, hiking, 4wding, kayaking and just about everything outdoors! Some of the articles that have helped me the most are:

What To Pack For An Overnight Hiking Trip

Top Ten Hiking Hacks

Hiking Stoves Basics

How To Prepare For An Overnight Hike


If you’ve got any tips you can put forward for me on this new adventure I would love to hear them. Obviously I’m not gonna get it right on the first outing, that’s how you learn!


Alex Garner




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  1. Mark
    April 10, 06:34 Reply
    Good luck mate! I'm researching a two day trip at the moment so will be interested to see how you go.
  2. Larry LEdford
    April 10, 08:08 Reply
    As teenagers our overnight camping trips generally involved the backyard or the city park. That way we could drop by the all night petro station for sodas and a snack. It was rough!!!!!

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