Last year, Australians spent $61 billion on domestic trips!
It's not hard to see why. With beautiful scenery across the country, Australians are spoilt for choice — even in winter! Whether travelers want up-and-coming secluded gems or action-packed winter sports breaks, there are tons to choose from.
But just because the temperature's dropping doesn't mean you can't go camping!
Winter camping is a unique adventure. Hiking, skiing, or just exploring all go perfectly with sleeping outdoors.
To make sure your winter camping trip is safe and comfortable, you need the right gear. Here's our checklist for the best camping gear for winter in Australia.
Winter Camping Clothing
Even with the best equipment, if you're wearing the wrong clothes, you'll fail. Either you'll be coming home early or you'll be coming home with frostbite. That's why it's first on our list.
Your clothing should be three layers thick.
The first layer is thermals. Even a cheap set will keep you heaps warmer than an ordinary shirt.
On top of your thermals, wear a fleece. This keeps the heat from your thermals trapped in.
Third, make sure your outer layer is waterproof. That includes a waterproof jacket as well as waterproof trousers.
Whether you wear three layers on your bottom half as well as your top is a personal decision. Some find their legs are warm enough with just thermals and waterproof trousers. If you're going for just the two layers, make sure your waterproof trousers are thick enough to keep the heat in.
Waterproof snow boots are the safest option for a chilly camping trip.
However, some campers are also keen hikers. When hiking, snow boots may not be comfortable or supportive enough. Hiking boots are then your best bet, but only if they're waterproof!
Don't forget your extremities! It's no use wearing triple-layered clothing if you forget your gloves. Here is all the extra clothing gear you need to complete your outfit:
- Waterproof gloves
- Thermal socks
- Beanie or winter hat
- Neck warmer or thermal scarf
Best Camping Gear for Sleeping
Once you're dressed appropriately, we need to make sure your heat can endure the night. Here's how to make sure you stay warm enough when you're sleeping:
It's worth investing in a decent winter sleeping bag. Check the temperature rating on yours, and see if it's designed for the climate you'll be camping in.
Your sleeping bag should also have a hood. The amount of heat you'll save by insulating your head overnight is astronomical.
If you're unsure whether your sleeping bag is up to standard, you could purchase a thermal sleeping bag liner instead of a whole new bag. These quick fixes improve your bag's temperature rating and can be removed for summer camping trips.
Speaking of extras, heated electric throws are also an option nowadays. Battery-operated versions are perfect for warming you up when you're out in the bush and far from any power. Just make sure they've got enough charge before you go!
Now that you've got a cozy sleeping bag, where are you going to put it? On the ground?
Absolutely not! Here's how to protect yourself from the cold and the elements.
The four most popular options for winter camping tents are:
- Roof-top tent
- Hiking tent
Roof-top tents keep you far from the cold ground and often come with thick, comfortable mattresses. This is generally the best option, especially if you're camping above the snowline.
Waterproof swags are one of the easiest options to transport. But they require some extra components, like a mattress or sleeping pad. Some campers even prop their swags off the ground with stretchers, which require more room.
Cots tackle this problem by coming with a built-in stretcher and sometimes even a mattress. That makes them almost as practical as a roof-top tent, except for the space needed to transport it.
Is an ordinary old hiking tent good enough for your winter camping trip? That depends on whether you're above or below the snow line, whether you have a stretcher to lift it, and how good the rest of your gear is. We wouldn't recommend it for winter, but it is doable.
If your sleep set-up doesn't include a mattress or mat, you'll need to buy one separately. The two best options are a typical air mattress or a sleeping mat.
Air mattresses can provide more separation between you and the cold ground, so are generally preferred.
But if you prefer the ease of not blowing up an air mattress, sleeping mats will also serve you well. Make sure to bring several that you can stack on top of each other. That'll stop the cold from getting to you at night.
Camping Cooking Gear
Pack the classic camping cooking equipment you'd take even in summer. That includes pots, pans, utensils, and of course food.
In winter though, the challenge is how to cook.
Stoves & Burners
Typical gas burners aren't your friend while winter camping in Australia. The fire goes out too easily in the cold and wind.
Instead, use a hiking stove or fuel burner.
Of course, fire is also perfect for cooking. Plus it'll keep you warm — and social!
If you're choosing this route, bring enough dry firewood with you. You'll also need kindling and a firelighter or flint striker. This all takes lots of room, but lots of campers think having a fire is worth it.
Extra Cold Weather Camping Gear
Don't forget these odd bits and pieces. They could make or break your trip:
- Lamp or headlamp
- First aid kit
- Porta Potti
- Snow chains
- Lip balm
- Bug spray
Now You're Ready to Go!
There's no need to be scared of camping in winter! As long as you're prepared with the best camping gear, you'll have a cracking time.
Have you been camping in winter in Australia? Tell us about your experience or share your insider secrets in the comments!
And we've got loads more tips where this camping gear list came from! Check out the rest of our camping stories for experiences from all over the country.
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