Camping is a fun, relaxing and exhilarating outdoor activity, especially for adventurous people, nature-lovers and those who want to take a break and have a breath of fresh air. That is why people camp to de-stress and be one with nature and practice their survival skills in the bush.
However, going camping is not as easy as it looks in movies and TV shows that show only a montage of all the campers’ fun stuff, such as putting up a tent in less than 5 minutes, and toasting marshmallows around the campfire.
Camping requires risks, sacrifices and struggles from the campers, right from the set-up through to the pack-up. One of the biggest challenges camping is the lack of electricity. We can’t deny the fact that electricity plays a vital role in our lives. Just thinking of going only a day without electricity would freak some people out.
Outdoor camping and electricity are two words that seem not to match no matter what angle we look. Some people believe that camping at a powered site misses the ‘true spirit’ of camping. On the other hand, there are many conveniences we’d like to access even if we’re out in the sticks. It can be challenging to do even basic activities when we’re completely cut off from power.
If you find yourself at a campground without any electricity, there are alternatives. There are plenty of practical hacks and strategies you can use while camping without electricity. While having access to electricity can make camping more convenient, camping without power can open up new possibilities.
Planning to go camping without electricity? Here are a few helpful tips you should take note of. They’ll make you realise that, indeed, camping without electricity is worth trying at least once!
1. Bring A Good Quality Esky
The first on our list is to bring a good quality Esky.
Esky, as an insulated storage box, can maintain the temperature of anything you put inside. Put a bunch of ice together with your favourite drinks for a long-lasting iced cold beverage. Make sure that your cooler is of good quality and does its job perfectly before taking it with you, keeping your food at a safe temperature and ideally not leaking any melted ice.
After all the food and drink has been consumed, a cooler can also be used to hold any rubbish you’ll need to take home with you. Remember not to leave anything behind and keep the campsite clean.
2. Freeze Your Food The Night Before So It Stays Cooler For Longer
If you plan to cook your food at the campsite, it is advisable to freeze items beforehand so they stay cool as long as possible. You can freeze both raw and cooked food ahead of your camping trip.
Freezing raw ingredients helps ensure they don’t spoil and will enable you to keep fresh food for longer in your esky. Some people even prepare their meals ahead, freeze them and warm them up at the campsite.
3. Invest in A Gas Stove or Grill
Experience living in the wild fully by cooking your food at the campsite. But then again, you do not need to do it in the most primitive way, such as cooking over fire or hot coals. Instead, invest in a portable gas stove or grill and take it camping – you may even enjoy it enough to use your grill year-round.
Cooking on a gas stove or grill does not only save time and energy, but it also cooks your food evenly and more quickly than campfire cooking. It’s one way of enjoying the same foods you love, even when you don’t have access to a kitchen or oven.
4. Buy a Reliable Portable Battery
No electricity? No problem! You can even bring your very own source of power. Invest in reliable portable batteries and be the king of camping. You can find well-priced battery boxes and portable power sources at all major camping and outdoor stores.
Having reliable portable batteries when camping in the middle of nowhere helps you last for a few days without electricity. Portable batteries may power your phone charger, lights, fan and other gadgets that need charging.
5. Battery Powered Fans
Always bring a fan to the campsite no matter what the weather is like – fans can also be used to drive away annoying insects, such as mosquitoes and flies.
There are portable battery-operated fans on the market that you can take with you anywhere, including off the grid. This type of fan is compact and easy to pack in the car or van, and can give you a fairly generous run time when fully charged. Most models can also be used with a cord when you do have access to power, so they’re a great addition to your camping supplies.
6. Torches and Flashlights
What’s camping without exploring the moonlit bush and braving a night walk? Take a handheld torch or flashlight with you to light up your paths at night. In fact, bring as many light sources as you can. You’ll never know what to expect at the campsite, especially at night, so you don’t want to be running low on batteries (or relying on your phone’s flashlight).
There are many types of torches to choose from- a tiny keychain torch, battery-powered torch, rechargeable torch, penlights, etc. The main priority is to pack enough for everyone, as well as plenty of batteries.
7. Radios – For Emergencies And To Listen To!
If you want to stay safe on off-grid camping trips and be prepared for potential dangers and emergencies, bring a reliable camping radio. It has many functions that secure your safety during a camping trip.
The typical features of camping radios are durable and long-lasting power sources, an SOS alarm, an additional light source, and, in the absence of emergencies, a source of entertainment when you tune in to a radio channel.
A camping radio is a powerful tool for safe camping, and if you’re planning to stay in a remote location, can be a critical lifeline if something goes wrong.
8. Get A Flint And Steel Fire Starting Kit
Now we go to the main star of camping: the campfire! You’re guaranteed to impress the other campers with your survival skills when you volunteer to start a campfire using your flint and steel fire starting kit.
The flint and steel fire starting kit uses a kind of steel and a sharp-edged stone that, when rubbed together, creates fire for cooking or a bonfire.
Bringing your own portable fire starting kit is much better than looking around the bush for possible fire starters.
9. Pack Warm Clothes
Be sure you’re prepared to stay warm and dry without the help of a heater, especially when camping in the bush during winter. Pack your warm clothes when camping to protect yourself from cold weather, and ensure the whole family has a warm enough sleeping bag when the temperature drops at night.
Having warm clothes also lessens how much you need to carry, as you can rug up at night without needing lots of extra blankets. If you’re camping in a very chilly southern area, you may even want to invest in thermal underwear. An extra layer can make all the difference when you don’t have the choice to turn on the heat.
10. Bring Books and Board Games
You get to stay away from your mobile phones and other gadgets for a while during camp. So bring that book you’ve been meaning to read! Also, forget video games and play board games instead – it’s a great way to get the whole family having fun together, the old-fashioned way.
Make the most out of the peace and quiet of the campsite and enjoy the company of your friends and family by logging out for a few days. Live in the moment and you’ll be surprised how much fund you can have off the grid.
11. Keep A Powerbank Full To Charge Your Devices
An additional power source never hurts, and especially if you aren’t bringing a generator or power source, do not forget your ever-reliable powerbank. Even if you’d prefer to be off-grid for your trip, you’ll want to have a working mobile phone in case anything goes wrong. Investing in a high-capacity powerbank or portable charger can keep your phone charged throughout the trip, ready for emergencies.
Bringing along a car charger is also a good strategy, ensuring that even if your portable charger runs dry, you can give your phone the juice it needs. Ensure you can also charge a GPS unit for navigation, as these can typically be used even out of phone service range.
12. Use Natural Airflow To Avoid Relying On A Fan
Minimising the use of fans helps you save your batteries and other power sources. During the daytime, you should stay out of your tent as much as possible and let the campsite breeze keep you cool.
Take a walk and explore the campsite while enjoying the fresh air. If you prefer to stay inside your tent, keep it open to let the natural air flow inside. This is easier said than done when mosquitos and flies are out and about, so having fly screens or mesh windows on your tent can help keep everyone cool while keeping the bugs on the outside.
13. Keep A Jerry Can Full
Most of the campsites are located far from the city proper, and a fair hike from any local petrol station. So, never go on camping trips without backup fuel for your car or other vehicle, like a camper van or quad bike. It is not enough to fill your tank – you should also keep a jerry can full for emergencies, too.
Even if you don’t end up needing it, other campers might, and it’s always good to be able to lend a hand in an emergency. Take the opportunity to help your fellow campers and be prepared!
Can I Use My Car Battery For Power In An Emergency?
Absolutely! If you know how to do this confidently, your car’s battery can function as a power source in an emergency situation. You will need a power inverter to be able to tap into your car’s battery for electricity. But if you haven’t tried it before, think twice before doing so. You might damage your battery and be left with a non-functioning car, and trying to modify your car battery can be dangerous.
Can I Use A Solar Panel To Charge My Phone?
Yes. There are many types of portable solar panels available to purchase from camping and outdoor supply stores. With suitable connectors, cords and cables, solar panels can charge your phone and power your other devices. Just remember not to rely solely on solar power for your camping trip, as a cloudy weekend or a shady campsite can quickly make it ineffective.