Waterside

PREPARING FOR YOUR WATERSIDE CAMPING EXPERIENCE:

Ask yourself what you are going to use the water for. Are you fishing, water skiing, kayaking, swimming, sailing or simply sun-baking in front of it? Once you’ve established this, it’s all about what Mother Nature could dish up and being prepared for that.

 

PREPARING YOUR CAMPSITE POSITION – WATERSIDE CAMPING

A windy lesson learnt:
I will never forget a camping trip that Kerri and I had years ago that was on a wide river system. It was a spot we frequently visited because we could walk straight out of our tent and cast a fishing rod or simply sit and watch the world pass by. It’s an exceptional spot. This particular weekend we packed up the car and headed off and I forgot to check the weather forecast. Our campsite faced north and the minute we got there a horrific northerly blew straight across the river and through our campsite for four days straight. If I had sat on the water’s edge and cast a fishing line out it would have come back and hit me in the forehead! Now I don’t know about you, I can handle all the wet weather possible, but strong wind for four days – no thank you!

Mums the word – research your campsite position:
When we talk about camping in Victoria mum often brings up the cold winds from the south in winter. She says you never face your campsite to the south in Victoria because the wind is freezing. It’s wise to research which way your campsite is facing when camping near water. It’s all about keeping yourself up to date with the weather forecast.

Sun reflection:
One of the largest hidden dangers with camping close to water is the sunburn we can receive from the water’s reflection. Simply ensuring we are in the shade of a canopy and not in direct sunlight does not protect us from the sun or from skin cancer. It’s something very relevant to think about when choosing a campground, a campsite or a makeshift canopy for the day near the water’s edge. Look at where is it facing, where the sun will be at the peak time, and ask yourself if it is worth sitting back from the water’s edge a sensible distance. Personally, my two girls love swimming so for us being closer to the water gives me peace of mind from a safety point of view. This just means we have to slip, slop, slap and keep hydrated if we’re on the water’s edge.

Portable and collapsible canopies for the waters edge:
Whist many campgrounds are based near water, some of the campsites could be a hundred metres or more away from the water’s edge, especially in areas that have large tides. Portable gazebos and dome shelters now give us the ability to easily set up a makeshift canopy down on the water’s edge for the day. The style and type of gazebo or dome shelter depicts how quick they are to assemble and how compact they are to pack. They are great for many uses and even come in handy at home and down at the beach as a sun shelter.

DURING YOUR WATERSIDE CAMPING EXPERIENCE:

 

CHOOSING A CAMPSITE

Choosing a campsite – Boating
Most people camp near a water environment for a particular purpose and that’s usually because they love boating! So it’s pretty handy to know where the boat ramp is, how far it is from the campsite and it’s also smart to think about where you’ll store the boat overnight. Once again, it’s all in the research and preparation before you book your desired camping ground and campsite. After all, there’s nothing more irritating than getting to a campsite and realising there is no room to park your boat and trailer as they’re valuable assets, so we want to keep a sharp eye on them and find it easy to enjoy them.

Choosing a campsite – swimming, fishing & toilets
If your reason for water environment camping is based around swimming or fishing, then having the ability to camp as close to the water as possible is a dream. However, there is always the inconvenience of being too far away from the toilet block and this became very apparent to us when Kerri was pregnant. Due to flooding and constant water levels fluctuating over periods of time, a lot of the dams and lakes have toilets on higher ground, which means you need to find a compromise between being either close to the water or close to the toilets! I find most young families sacrifice waterfront sites for a spot closer to amenities to cater for kids wanting to go to the toilet at a minutes notice.

Choosing a campsite – rising creek levels
I had my sister come back from a camping trip years ago and she went on to tell me how she was woken up at 3am in the morning by the park manager telling her  to quickly pack up camp or she would be swamped. She was camping near a small flowing creek and in a spot we’d camped in for years. There just happened to be some flash-flooding kick in overnight and it was all up stream. To this day my sister is stunned at how quick this creek came up and she has vowed and declared she will never camp on ground that low or near a creek like that ever again. If you are going to camp close to a creek try to find some higher ground.

Post your waterside camping experience

If you are camping near saltwater, then check out the Post Beach Camping Experience (Link here), however if you are camping near freshwater then this is what I recommend you should do:

 

Packing up camp – freshwater camping

Unless there’s a lot of dust around, there’s not going to be a lot to clean up when camping near freshwater. So clean your gear as you pack it into your trailer because this will seriously the hours spent cleaning when you get home.

Kerri and I make sure we clean everything from top to bottom before we leave our freshwater campsite so that when we get home our trailer is simply parked, stored and ready for next time. Just remember to separate the items that need to get cleaned like the fridge/icebox, clothes and sleeping bags. Oh and don’t forget the tucker either – you don’t want a nasty surprise like forgotten food fermenting in the trailer when you go off on your next adventure.