Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Over Labour Day weekend we went up to camp at Tawharanui.  It was a bit of a rush to get away and in the process I forgot to pack a few things, namely chocolate biscuits and Earl Grey tea.  Disaster!  Fortunately a quick trip to Matakana rectified the matter.  That and a few questions I've had lately about what to bring when camping spurred me to blog about what we do.

Anchor Bay. Tawharanui
[Anchor Bay, Tawharanui]

We camp in a tent.  It's a three room + vestibule dome tent.  When we considered which tent to buy we preferred to get a lighter tent rather than the larger, heavier framed tents.  It means we compromise a bit in terms of size, but that can be advantageous too.  We have had no problems so far with it standing up to rain and wind.

[Our tent at Tawharanui a few years ago]

We mostly stay in camp grounds with minimal facilities (water and toilets) so we take a gas camping stove and have recently added a Cobb portable BBQ/oven to the mix.

How much stuff we take varies depending on the length of time we'll be away and what we're intending to do while there.  We take the family car, a trailer and sometimes add in a roof mounted travel container.  I do use a list, but we were in a hurry this time and I didn't, consequently... no chocolate biscuits.  My plan for next time is to create some storage containers with dedicated camping items in them that can be grabbed and put into the trailer easily.  We've done this with the kitchen gear and tent gubbings and it has worked really well.

Sleepy girl
[Sleepy girl on her stretcher]
Everytime we go camping we seem to think up ways to refine our experience.  Our next challenge is to work out some way to have a fridge. DH has plans for solar panels, batteries etc to achieve this.  We haven't quite reached the glamping stage though! :-)

Making a dam
[Making a dam]
Feeding the whanau is something that features strongly in my role and it can be a bit of a challenge. While my children aren't fussy eaters, they do fail to realise that while camping the menu changes from what they are used to.  I do not have access to an unlimited pantry!  So what do I cook?

This is a list of things I'll often have on the menu.

  • Cereal
  • Toast
  • Eggs/bacon
  • Olive filled pita

  • Sandwiches
  • Canned stuff like spaghetti, tuna
  • Fruit

I normally try and bring fresh fruit and vegetables where possible, but the dried vegetables are often convenient and aren't too bad in terms of taste.  Canned peaches are a favourite dessert.  I will sometimes pre-make things like pancake mix or a spice mix for curry.  Keeping meat fresh is a challenge if camping for any length of time so either I have to make a visit to a store, or go vegetarian.  The latter isn't always greeted with joy by my carnivorous family. 
  • Bacon, eggs and pancakes
  • Pasta of various kinds with various sauces
  • Steak, potatoes, onions, salad
  • Devilled sausages with vegetables
  • Curry and rice
  • Burritos or nachos
  • Nasi Goreng
  • Pad thai
  • Canned soup 
  • Whole chicken on the Cobb with roasted potatoes done in the base part of the oven
  • Anything BBQ on the Cobb e.g. hamburgers, sausages, steak....
Now we have the Cobb, I am keen to try other things.  We've experimented at home and so far have tried pizza, a tagine, and Medfouna with varying degrees of success.

Anchor Bay, Tawharanui
Anchor Bay, Tawharanui

I will try and take a variety of snacks.  It always seems like the family is extra hungry when we camp.  We can go through a loaf of bread in a day.

  • Trail mix 
  • Nuts
  • Chips
  • Fresh fruit
  • Dried fruit
  • I will sometimes bake a cake or cookies to take

What do you eat while camping?

Making sand walls
[Making sand walls]


  1. Thanks for those tips ... and will save that packing list for future reference ... even if we only go camping once a year! Some of our camping adventures are tied in with travelling over Christmas to visit family ... so instead of getting the full set up with trailer we do a reduced camping experience ... last time all we had to cook on was a little frying pan so that made for some interesting meals. However prepared we are though, we always come back with a list of things to remember for next time ... I guess eventually those things will be refining additions rather than essentials we forgot!

  2. Hate it when one forgets chocolate! Your kids are so good at eating different foods! Unfortunately Aaron takes after his mother! Sigh ... I guess in another 30 years he might be a bit more adventurous hehee

  3. Great info, thanks for posting. If you are looking for a portable bbq then you really shouldn’t look any further. This thang rocks!