Summer holidays are just around the corner and with the weather warming up it’s time to pull out the camping gear for a thorough check-up.
WORDS Claudia Bouma
You wouldn’t be the first eager traveller to discover the tent canvas has a bit of a mould or the caravan needs some serious attention.
It’s actually really helpful to have a holiday checklist that takes you step-by-step through each item that you need to bring with you. So where do you start?
The car tops our checklist and is checked by the local mechanic before we go an on extended trip. Don’t skimp on car services as it will catch up with you, most likely leaving you stranded on the side of the road, in the middle of nowhere.
Make sure your tyres have plenty of tread as this is the only rubber between you and the road. We’ve always invested in good-quality tyres and as a result we’ve never had a flat tyre – even while travelling along unsealed roads for hours on end.
Next is the camping rig which in our case is a camper trailer. My husband checks the bearings every couple of years and gives the trailer a routine inspection before any trip. Tyres, suspension, lights and any other electrics must be looked at to ensure a safe holiday. Make sure the gas bottles are full – this is easily overlooked and can be rather inconvenient if you’re heading bush. The same applies to caravans and you might want to get the van inspected by an expert every two years, even if it is for peace of mind.
If you travel with a tent, set it up weeks before you are planning to leave and check the canvas meticulously. Pull out the peg bag and make sure you have enough to secure the tent. You wouldn’t believe how many pegs we have found during our travels, making us wonder how people manage to set up a tent after leaving half of them behind.
For those of us who like to go bush, pull out the shower tent and any other shower-related gear to give it a good check-over. Nylon does deteriorate in the harsh UV conditions and you don’t want to find yourself exposed to the elements in the middle of a lovely shower, due to a tear or cut.
These days it’s popular to bring outdoor cooking equipment, such as a Weber. Test it well before your departure date. Many travellers now head the road with a car fridge/freezer – connect it so you know it’s still working.
When you’re travelling with kids, you have to bring lots of essential items such as hats, sunglasses, sunscreen, fly repellent, bathers and swim hats (that fit). Get the older kids to make their own list, including outdoor games, board games, roller skates, etc. Simple items such as a soccer ball, cricket set and tennis rackets will entertain for hours.
It is our experience that these vital preparations add to the excitement of going on a family holiday. A big part of a good summer holiday is the time of anticipation and talking about all the wonderful things you’ll be doing. So what are you waiting for?
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