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IDEAS & IMAGES BY MARK KENDRICK

GEAR

Camping isn’t just about solar blankets, keg fridges, rooftop tents and portable meat smokers, you know. Here are Unsealed 4X4’s favourite cheap and easy accessories to make camping more fun, relaxed and easy.

3

Bushman Ultra Repellent
Possibly the greatest insect defence the average camper can get their hands on, Bushman Ultra Insect Repellent is a potent concoction containing up to 80 percent DEET (in the gel) to turn the mozzies vegan for the night. It’s cheap, at not much more than $15 for a decent-size aerosol spray or under $15 for the super-powered gel. Available from most camping stores and a heap of grocery stores, it could make the difference between hiding from dusk in bed to enjoying the ambience around the campfire long into the evening. They even have versions containing sunscreen too!

The simple tap key
You’ve been in the bush for a few days and finally pull into town. You find a shady spot at the park, drag your near-empty water jerry to the tap and find there’s no handle. This is the jigger you need to make it flow!

For under $15 from your local hardware store you can pick up one for yourself, it’s called a vandal-proof tap key. Just be wary of non-potable tap water and always turn it off properly after you’ve had your fill.

2

Sharp kitchen knives
There’s only so many meals of tinned beans and tuna one can survive on before you start to verge on gourmet. For years I cried through cutting onions with blunt knives. I could tear bread better than my knife could slice it. Steak, gnawed from the bone. Yeah, I was a bachelor. Then I bought a couple of decent knives and not long after convinced someone to marry me. Coincidence? Never. You don’t need to cough up for a Damascus steel sushi sword, but you do need sharp knives. Your local grocery or budget department store will sell something useable, but you’ll want to put a steel or stone to them to give them a proper edge – and then you have to look after the edge (and fingers) by not throwing it in the cook box unprotected. A kids pencil case can do the trick there!
While you’re at it, get some proper cutlery. Not the plastic-handled picnic set your mum gave you for your 22nd birthday (thanks mum 😐), but some quality stainless steel from Kmart or Big W that has the mouth-feel of home. Careful, it might cost you $20 to upgrade.

1
200kg Weight Rating
Head Rest for Carry Bag Storage
4 x Insulated HotSpot Pockets

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The straw hat
The height of camping fashion, one of these bad boys will prevent your face, ears and neck from turning pink in the sun. An Akubra might look and play the part, but not for $30 or far less and Akubras don’t come with convenient chin straps. High-fashion stores such as Bunnings have an appropriate range of one style to choose from for a tenner or so; your local fishing shop probably has a few for around $30, or shop where my wife does for the expensive $45 droopy thing on the right.

4

You won’t find the one on the left anymore!

Spondonicles!
Spondonicles. Spon-whatsthatyousay? This nifty 1950s Aussie invention was originally made for Paddy Pallin as a tool for removing your billy off the fire. You can get short-handled pressed aluminium billy lifters at most camping stores for under $20. While they work well over stoves they aren’t as good as the originals, which had longer handles to keep your hands out of the fire. A pair of the cheapest multi-grips, about $15, from a tool store can also do the trick but are more likely to chew up the rim of an aluminium billy or pot.

5
6

Lump hammer
Meet my friend Mr Lumpy. He hammers pegs through solid rocks while other campers tap lightly away with their claw hammer or plastic fantastic mallet. Sometimes called club hammers, they come from the hardware store, not the nightclub. An ideal 3lb (1.3kg) brute will cost from $15 up, but we aren’t earning money from hammering pegs so no need for a silicon-grip fibreglass-handled $75 extravagance.

Collapsible bucket
One of the first things I do when setting up my campsite is hang my bucket from the spare wheel carrier and fill it with water. There’s a safety aspect – a bucket of water goes a long way towards stopping a fire. Then there’s hygiene. Sure, a little bottle of hand sanitiser kills 99 percent of germs, but it won’t remove dirt like a good slosh in a bucket can, and dirt doesn’t taste good in dinner even if it’s clean dirt. The bucket really comes into its own when there’s a creek, river or lake nearby for easy refills. Don’t pay more than $25, half that is even better!

8

Citronella candles
Now hear me out fellas, these aren’t to make your campsite smell pretty like a perfume counter. Citronella is a chemical from a plant that repels insects. Arrange your candles carefully around your camp. You might not summon any demons but you sure as heck will stop those buzzy bastards from lingering nearby!

Worried about setting camp on fire? Get the candles that come in a glass jar. Don’t go for bamboo spike flares, if they tip over they’ll set the grass on fire and they leak anyway. An awesome side-effect is the gentle candlelight will help prevent tripping over guy ropes in the dark.

7

Leaving a candle in a hot car can cause performance issues

9

The multitool
Okay, this one isn’t exactly the cheapest tool in the shed. But one of these, well under $100 unless you go for a particularly high-quality brand name, will fulfil the role of a dozen cheap tools that together cost more than your multitool. The knife and pliers will probably be used the most, but having a pair of scissors and a screwdriver can be downright handy, plus don’t forget the bottle opener!

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Doormat
It’s no secret that the passenger-side footwell of my 4X4 has an exhaust straight underneath it, and after a bit of a drive the footwell becomes slightly warm ridiculously hot. Years ago I picked up this old rubber doormat to give a bit of insulation for the passenger’s feet, but since you don’t care about that, it does double duty doing what it was made for – the tent’s doormat. Because there’s nothing worse than grit, grass and grime in the tent or swag, this mat provides somewhere to stand to take your boots off before going inside. This mat was an offcut from a larger anti-fatigue mat that was maybe $50 for the whole thing from a hardware store, but any holey rubber doormat could work.

11

Kiddy stool-come-drinks table
I’ve had this stool since I believed in Santa, and it still goes on every camping trip decades later. Why? Because I can stick a cutting board or wooden jack base on it and have a coffee table next to the campfire. Or, I can be generous and loan it to a mate who forgot his own chair. Heck, now I have children of my own it gets used by the tin lids until darkness falls when it returns to drinks duty. Priced around $20 plus cutting board, what a classy camping champion!

10
12

Head torch
As a keen caver, head torches are all the rage underground. Spending north of $150 on a torch isn’t uncommon. However around the campsite, you can get away with a $15 head torch which has the benefit of not blinding as many people at once and taking common-sized batteries! The trick is to aim it down slightly so when you look someone in the eye you aren’t focusing your light on their face too.

Now these devices are one of Evan’s all-time least-favourites, something to do with the way they attract bugs to your face and Ev swallowing something that was still trying to fly. They also bring good humour when you head off to find a dark place to pee, and promptly shine your light on the very thing you’re trying to hide. Not that anyone can make it out from that distance …

Baby wipes
Camping is dirty fun, no doubt about it. Showers aren’t often available, and even if they were you don’t need one every night. If everyone smells bad, nobody smells bad, right? Well now, how about a baby wipe or three for the spots that get the smelliest? Don’t forget to put them in the bin though, won’t you?

13

Bug zapper light
You might get the idea we don’t like sharing with mozzies when camping … here’s another device that won’t set you back much more than $40, but works. See the picture! Hang it up in your tent, use the light and zapper when getting into bed and if a pesky mozzie followed you in, a frying for it will follow. This one was purchased online, it’s an Enkeeo brand. Some camping stores will stock similar gadgets and there’s a few brands and styles around to choose from.

14
15

Tent fan
I don’t have one of these yet, but I am certainly jealous of a good friend who did over the Christmas break. While my family sweated in the stagnant air of a heavy canvas tent, his family enjoyed a gentle breeze in their tent as if they were on a blanket under the stars near the beach, albeit without the stars and waves crashing. Retailing for around the $30 mark from plenty of camping stores, I think I’ll have to get one before next summer …

GEAR

Camping isn’t just about solar blankets, keg fridges, rooftop tents and portable meat smokers, you know. Here are Unsealed 4X4’s favourite cheap and easy accessories to make camping more fun, relaxed and easy.

IDEAS & IMAGES BY MARK KENDRICK

SCROLL DOWN

Sharp kitchen knives
There’s only so many meals of tinned beans and tuna one can survive on before you start to verge on gourmet. For years I cried through cutting onions with blunt knives. I could tear bread better than my knife could slice it. Steak, gnawed from the bone. Yeah, I was a bachelor. Then I bought a couple of decent knives and not long after convinced someone to marry me. Coincidence? Never. You don’t need to cough up for a Damascus steel sushi sword, but you do need sharp knives. Your local grocery or budget department store will sell something useable, but you’ll want to put a steel or stone to them to give them a proper edge – and then you have to look after the edge (and fingers) by not throwing it in the cook box unprotected. A kids pencil case can do the trick there!
While you’re at it, get some proper cutlery. Not the plastic-handled picnic set your mum gave you for your 22nd birthday (thanks mum 😐), but some quality stainless steel from Kmart or Big W that has the mouth-feel of home. Careful, it might cost you $20 to upgrade.

1

The simple tap key
You’ve been in the bush for a few days and finally pull into town. You find a shady spot at the park, drag your near-empty water jerry to the tap and find there’s no handle. This is the jigger you need to make it flow!

For under $15 from your local hardware store you can pick up one for yourself, it’s called a vandal-proof tap key. Just be wary of non-potable tap water and always turn it off properly after you’ve had your fill.

2

Bushman Ultra Repellent
Possibly the greatest insect defence the average camper can get their hands on, Bushman Ultra Insect Repellent is a potent concoction containing up to 80 percent DEET (in the gel) to turn the mozzies vegan for the night. It’s cheap, at not much more than $15 for a decent-size aerosol spray or under $15 for the super-powered gel. Available from most camping stores and a heap of grocery stores, it could make the difference between hiding from dusk in bed to enjoying the ambience around the campfire long into the evening. They even have versions containing sunscreen too!

3
200kg Weight Rating
Head Rest for Carry Bag Storage
4 x Insulated HotSpot Pockets

SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT

ADVERTISEMENT

The straw hat
The height of camping fashion, one of these bad boys will prevent your face, ears and neck from turning pink in the sun. An Akubra might look and play the part, but not for $30 or far less and Akubras don’t come with convenient chin straps. High-fashion stores such as Bunnings have an appropriate range of one style to choose from for a tenner or so; your local fishing shop probably has a few for around $30, or shop where my wife does for the expensive $45 droopy thing on the right.

4

You won’t find the one on the left anymore!

Spondonicles!
Spondonicles. Spon-whatsthatyousay? This nifty 1950s Aussie invention was originally made for Paddy Pallin as a tool for removing your billy off the fire. You can get short-handled pressed aluminium billy lifters at most camping stores for under $20. While they work well over stoves they aren’t as good as the originals, which had longer handles to keep your hands out of the fire. A pair of the cheapest multi-grips, about $15, from a tool store can also do the trick but are more likely to chew up the rim of an aluminium billy or pot.

5
6

Lump hammer
Meet my friend Mr Lumpy. He hammers pegs through solid rocks while other campers tap lightly away with their claw hammer or plastic fantastic mallet. Sometimes called club hammers, they come from the hardware store, not the nightclub. An ideal 3lb (1.3kg) brute will cost from $15 up, but we aren’t earning money from hammering pegs so no need for a silicon-grip fibreglass-handled $75 extravagance.

Citronella candles
Now hear me out fellas, these aren’t to make your campsite smell pretty like a perfume counter. Citronella is a chemical from a plant that repels insects. Arrange your candles carefully around your camp. You might not summon any demons but you sure as heck will stop those buzzy bastards from lingering nearby!

Worried about setting camp on fire? Get the candles that come in a glass jar. Don’t go for bamboo spike flares, if they tip over they’ll set the grass on fire and they leak anyway. An awesome side-effect is the gentle candlelight will help prevent tripping over guy ropes in the dark.

7

Leaving a candle in a hot car can cause performance issues

Collapsible bucket
One of the first things I do when setting up my campsite is hang my bucket from the spare wheel carrier and fill it with water. There’s a safety aspect – a bucket of water goes a long way towards stopping a fire. Then there’s hygiene. Sure, a little bottle of hand sanitiser kills 99 percent of germs, but it won’t remove dirt like a good slosh in a bucket can, and dirt doesn’t taste good in dinner even if it’s clean dirt. The bucket really comes into its own when there’s a creek, river or lake nearby for easy refills. Don’t pay more than $25, half that is even better!

8
9

The multitool
Okay, this one isn’t exactly the cheapest tool in the shed. But one of these, well under $100 unless you go for a particularly high-quality brand name, will fulfil the role of a dozen cheap tools that together cost more than your multitool. The knife and pliers will probably be used the most, but having a pair of scissors and a screwdriver can be downright handy, plus don’t forget the bottle opener!

VIEW GRAND PRIZE DRAW

Buy your tickets online now 

SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Kiddy stool-come-drinks table
I’ve had this stool since I believed in Santa, and it still goes on every camping trip decades later. Why? Because I can stick a cutting board or wooden jack base on it and have a coffee table next to the campfire. Or, I can be generous and loan it to a mate who forgot his own chair. Heck, now I have children of my own it gets used by the tin lids until darkness falls when it returns to drinks duty. Priced around $20 plus cutting board, what a classy camping champion!

10

Doormat
It’s no secret that the passenger-side footwell of my 4X4 has an exhaust straight underneath it, and after a bit of a drive the footwell becomes slightly warm ridiculously hot. Years ago I picked up this old rubber doormat to give a bit of insulation for the passenger’s feet, but since you don’t care about that, it does double duty doing what it was made for – the tent’s doormat. Because there’s nothing worse than grit, grass and grime in the tent or swag, this mat provides somewhere to stand to take your boots off before going inside. This mat was an offcut from a larger anti-fatigue mat that was maybe $50 for the whole thing from a hardware store, but any holey rubber doormat could work.

11

Head torch
As a keen caver, head torches are all the rage underground. Spending north of $150 on a torch isn’t uncommon. However around the campsite, you can get away with a $15 head torch which has the benefit of not blinding as many people at once and taking common-sized batteries! The trick is to aim it down slightly so when you look someone in the eye you aren’t focusing your light on their face too.

Now these devices are one of Evan’s all-time least-favourites, something to do with the way they attract bugs to your face and Ev swallowing something that was still trying to fly. They also bring good humour when you head off to find a dark place to pee, and promptly shine your light on the very thing you’re trying to hide. Not that anyone can make it out from that distance …

12

Baby wipes
Camping is dirty fun, no doubt about it. Showers aren’t often available, and even if they were you don’t need one every night. If everyone smells bad, nobody smells bad, right? Well now, how about a baby wipe or three for the spots that get the smelliest? Don’t forget to put them in the bin though, won’t you?

13

Bug zapper light
You might get the idea we don’t like sharing with mozzies when camping … here’s another device that won’t set you back much more than $40, but works. See the picture! Hang it up in your tent, use the light and zapper when getting into bed and if a pesky mozzie followed you in, a frying for it will follow. This one was purchased online, it’s an Enkeeo brand. Some camping stores will stock similar gadgets and there’s a few brands and styles around to choose from.

14

Tent fan
I don’t have one of these yet, but I am certainly jealous of a good friend who did over the Christmas break. While my family sweated in the stagnant air of a heavy canvas tent, his family enjoyed a gentle breeze in their tent as if they were on a blanket under the stars near the beach, albeit without the stars and waves crashing. Retailing for around the $30 mark from plenty of camping stores, I think I’ll have to get one before next summer …

15