What is Free Camping ?
Setting up to be Free to choose where and how long to stay in one place. Many people refer to this type of accommodation as free camping, freedom camping, or outdoor camping.
There are many steps to getting set up ready to free camp so that you can choose not to stay in expensive motel rooms, or caravan parks every day. Most people travel on a budget of some kind, the only variation is the amount. Some of us wish to work fewer hours and travel more or travel for longer before having to return home or go back to work. Free camping is a great option for many.
In my earlier post, I wrote about my history and how throughout the time I have traveled across Australia, in fact, I have done so several times. I have whenever possible, free camped either as a traveler or for a weekend getaway with the kids.
Mobile Accommodation Options
In order to reduce our accommodation costs, many people choose to take their accommodation with them. This could be a motorbike or car and tent, camper trailer, wiz bang van, caravan, motorhome, 5th wheeler (goose neck), bus or even truck. Today they come in all shapes and sizes with so many variations.
Then to reduce costs even further you can choose to free camp overnight, or for longer periods of time, in places where you don’t have to pay any fees, or maybe just a minimal fee. This could be a family member’s property, a roadside stop, a gravel pit, state forest camp area, national park campground, behind a service station, or even on a spare block of dirt along the side of the road. There are lots of outdoor camping spots scattered across our great country.
Amenities while free camping.
Some places have amenities and some do not. So it is important that we take some sort of toilet and shower with us. The days of going behind a tree are not recommended simply because our population is increasing and there are now so many people traveling. As the urban sprawl continues to creep into what was once camping areas, there are fewer places to stop, therefore if we don’t clean up our mess as we go – then someone else will be camping in it.
So just not a nice thought.
Please make sure a portable toilet of some description is included in your travel vehicle if you plan to stay away from amenities. There is a government website which does list all public toilets including showers as well.
What else do we need if we are free camping?
Once we have selected our choice of vehicle, what else do we need? I will work through some choices – in no particular order. Generally, most people start small by going away for weekends, then weeks, months and maybe if you are lucky years (like me. At the time of writing, I am now into my 6th year without a house).
We need all the usual items that we have at home like something to sleep on, bedding, linen, clothes to wear and store, the means to cook and store food (unless we can afford to eat out for every meal), food utensils for cooking as well as eating with refrigeration, lighting, electricity, ability to source water for drinking as well as showering and cleaning.
We also need life’s little luxuries like entertainment and something to do to fill in time. This could include things like books, TV, computers, movies, games, hobbies, telephones, fishing, music, photography, walking, cycling and the like. Everyone is a little different, but if we stay in one place for any length of time then we need something to do.
As we travel another thing we need to consider is how to clean our clothing and linen. Some people chose a small washing machine which is fine but you do have to consider the availability of water. There are also products available that are basically a bucket that assists you to hand wash your clothes. Again these are also small and not ideal for larger, heavier items. Drying clothes can be by portable clotheslines, lines across caravan awnings, ropes across trees and the like as well as dryers in laundries.
Most caravan parks have a reasonable size laundry if you do choose to stay there every so often, and of course, there are self-service laundromats across Australia. Depending upon your choice of vehicle the main concern is storage and having enough clothes until you can wash larger items or loads.
Water is also a major consideration when free camping. Sometimes we have access to a river where we can swim and get water to bath and wash but mostly we need to store water and bring it with us. There are many types of large storage tanks in all formal camping vehicles, but for some, it may be necessary to add tanks to store water. This could be in the back of a ute and the like. When first purchasing a new accommodation vehicle, get as much storage as you can so that you don’t overload the vehicle by adding this later.
Rubbish removal is also a big factor in outdoor camping. Most free camping areas do not have a bin to place rubbish and many roadside stops and bins in public places easily become full. Take some consideration firstly in the type of packaging you buy and how you can store it until you can find a place to correctly dispose of it. Food scraps can be disposed of easily, but should be buried as items such as bread can be very harmful to wildlife. Sounds simple, leave bread out for the birds, but this is very harmful to them. So always consider very carefully how you dispose of your rubbish. Bags left out can also attract wildlife during the night as well as ants and bugs so you need a container with a secure lid and a place to keep your rubbish that animals cannot access. Outdoor camping spots often abut bushland which is teeming with wildlife.
Another major issue to consider is power, cooling, and heating. On a camping front, this can be for cooking from barbecues, gas cookers and electric cooking appliances. There are many types of each of these. Shower and water can also be heated by gas. Lighting is generally 12volt (off batteries) and there is electrical appliances of both 12volt (battery) and 240volt. Of course, with 240volt we then need to plug into a power-point somewhere away from the grid. There are some wind systems, but generally, this means solar panels with battery for storage for the 12volt items and a portable generator for backup to charge batteries and operate small appliances. The only issue is that popular small lightweight generators are small but have a very limited power output which is Ok for the weekend or occasional traveler, but for those traveling a lot bigger generators are better. These are heavier so need to be placed where they can be easily accessed, rather than lifted in and out to use. Most modern ones are key start for easy use.
I will endeavor to find various products to assist in putting all these needs together for newbies and help existing campers overcome issues. I will then review them and let you know what I find. I have sold or had access to many products over the past 6 years that directly relate to caravans and other vehicles for people who choose free camping as part of their travel plans.
Did you find this helpful? Please let me know if there are any other issues you need help with along these lines.