The traditional Bunnings sausage sizzle is about as Australian as thongs, akubras and some seriously scary wildlife. But did you know you can also pick up a heap of cheap and affective camping gear at our favourite hardware store. From cooking to plumbing, sunscreen to solar lights, you can find so many camping essentials, plus a few ingenious ways to re-purpose equipment.
We have used most of these ourselves to either make camping a little easier or safer, or even during our complete camper trailer kitchen revamp.
All your rigging, tie downs, tent pegs and guy lines
This is everything you will want to set up your tent, camp trailer or caravan and secure it.
- Rope! You can never have too much rope. Most Aussies will remember Telecom (Telco) Rope – it holds a knot really well, its cheap and it lasts forever.
- Small tie-down straps: These are such a convenient thing to keep in your car. We use them to secure our fridge in the car. Have a few spare as you’ll never run out of uses for them
- Occy straps: needs no explanation – can be used for just about everything 😉
- A collection of tent pegs: sand pegs/steel pegs/extra large pegs because the ground underfoot can be different everywhere you go.
- Coach bolts: a handy little tip from my dad – when the ground is really hard and you cannot hammer your pegs in, use a coach bolt and a socket and rachet, or a cordless drill if you pack one. This can save heaps of time and frustration
- Glow in the dark guy lines – or even better – reflective pull tie downs (as pictured above). replace your rope guy lines and not only can you then avoid tripping over them in the dark, but they are super strong and save time in set up.
- Tension springs: save your tent eyelets and canvas by letting the spring take the stress of wind gusts. This can save more fiddly or expensive repairs later.
- Mushroom ground sheet pegs: keep your sand mat in place and that mushroom head saves any damage from hammering the pegs into the ground
- Carabiners: if your tent doesn’t have steel D-rings put these through your tent eyelets and then the tent peg through the carabiner instead – this can protect your eyelets and the strapping to your tent from long-term hammering.
If you have a camper trailer or caravan, you can get really creative with your plumbing system! Jed recently completely redesigned our camper trailer kitchen and plumbing system.
We removed the sink and tap as we found them to be awkwardly positioned, and instead installed a hand-spray tap on a long hose. This way we could either fill a sink bowl, water bottles, use for cooking or even hose down the kiddo – because you know how dirty kids get in camp!
To make sure our water was always drinking quality we installed this RV water filter between the tank and the tap. Next we plan to install one on the input to the tank, along with a little pump, also so we know we are never introducing any nasties to the trailer tank. That would be really hard to clean!
- Extension leads: so, SO, handy for when you have a powered site. We tend to go pretty remote camping but book powered sites sometimes to recharge all our gear. Having our batteries run dead and the fridge and freezer defrosting would be a major downer! (Jed is currently working on a kick-arse solar and 12V system so we can stay out in the bush indefinitely)(not that he’s a prepper or anything too crazy – yet).
- Outdoor power lead connector safety box – because rain and electricity does not mix.
- Power lead caddy – because who wants to be getting knots out of your cables when you just arrived at camp 🙂
- Power board – to charge multiple things at once – great when you’re in a powered site just don’t charge lots of things off your batteries all at once.
- 5m anderson electrical lead to keep your fridge running if its not immediately beside your power source
- 12V to anderson cross-over
- 12V connectors and flat-blade fuses – keep plenty! Such a small amount to pay and tiny to store for 12V peace of mind
- Deep-cycle battery charger to recharge on the go but all to keep your batteries in good health when you get home
- Cable ties: a million uses. If it cannot be fixed with cable ties, duct tape or WD40 then it ain’t worth fixing.
- Headlamps are the most convenient light source – just keep it pointing down so you don’t inadvertently blind your camping buddies when chatting with them. It is also handy if your lamp has a red light option as red light does not affect your night vision. You don’t want to miss out on those starry skies!
- a good quality torch.
- Camping lantern
- Solar powered garden lights: great to put around camp, signify where guy lines are and to mark a path between places.
- Outdoor solar fairy lights and gutter clips: to make a pretty campsite but also good for ambient light that isn’t too bright
- LED work light: these often come with a hook and a magnet on the back making them a great bright light to hang from your spreader bars or above your camp kitchen
- Little lights on hooks: so cheap and easy but great for a little extra light in your tent
TIP! Blue light attracts bugs (think of a bug zapper) but red light does not as much.
Cooking and Kitchen
You can pick up cooking supplies at so many places, but Bunnings tents to be one of the cheaper outlets.
- Charcoal, fire starters, good chips
- Barbecue cookwear
- Foil cooking dishes and drip trays – because going for a generic brand is so much cheaper than one of the name barbecue brands
- Barbecue wipes and cleaning tools
- Gas camping stoves and barbecues – so much choice
- Camp tables and chairs
- even meat thermometers and corn cob holders 🙂
You will find storage boxes galore at Bunnings! Collapsible buckets or stackable boxes are the best. Repurpose any kind of workshop organisation to camping organisation. For example using the durable little draws to store cutlery or condiments and keep your kitchen area tidy, even after a long drive down an unsealed road.
Steel tool boxes can be easily added to the outside of camper trailers or truck for additional storage. The added bonus is they are usually lockable.
Kids chairs, table and even outdoor playrooms can be a fun and practical way to make your kids feel special. They can even have their own tool kit and help mum and dad around camp.
Some extra handy things
- S-hooks have been invaluable to us on our trips. I love how we can hang them from any spreader bar and create some simple storage for clothes or even to hang a light.
- Vinyl tiles are cheap, easy in install and make a great kitchen work surface for your camper. If they get damaged its easy to rip it up and put another down for about AU$1.50. Bargain
- Hammock and springs – for lazing around on those long summer afternoons
- Outdoor plastic rugs are the ideal ground cover for outside your tent or trailer. They wipe down, sweep easily, and are cheap if bought at Bunnings. I’ve seen them sold at expo’s for over $150 each – eek!! $20 at Bunnings 🙂
- Picnic rug with the plastic liner to stop any moisture coming up and giving you a soggy bottom
- Suncream and citronella candles
- My Favourite – the plastic rain poncho!! I seriously pack this instead of my fancy rain jacket these days! Why? Because its cheap (AU$2.50) and covers not only myself but by backpack and camera if I’m holding it.
Even with all these camping goodies, it can all get a bit overwhelming sometimes. Looks like time to get another sausage sizzle and head home…
This is an ever evolving post. Even as I write this Jed is sitting beside me coming up with new ideas – so watch this space… Sign up to our news letter and you’ll be the first to know when we add heaps more Bunnings hacks.