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What to Pack for an Australian Outback Camping Trip

A widely quoted proverb of the native Australian Aboriginal people goes, "We are all visitors to this time, this place – we are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, learn, grow, and love. And then, we return home."
Nothing could be more fitting to characterize the romance of the rugged Australian Outback. Much like the mystique of the American Wild West, the Australian Outback has always been one of the wildest frontiers in civilization and the attempts by early British settlers to colonize the land and their encounters with the native peoples are firmly cemented in the Australian national identity. The Outback has come to symbolize the independence and adaptability of the Australian people, and its natural beauty has attracted millions of foreign visitors who want to experience its wonders in person.

In the event that you've planned a trip to the outback, maybe a holiday to Kimberley, one of the oldest settled regions in Australia, you're going to need to pack for the unique conditions of the Australian Outback. Not quite sure what that means? Let us give you a few pointers to help you with your Kimberley Holidays!

Pack light and compact
Once upon a time, horses and other beasts of burden were required for any foray into the Outback, but today four wheel drive vehicles are the method of choice, and that means a lot for how you should pack. Given that all your luggage will be stored on roof racks, there is a strong emphasis on packing light and compact so that the 4WD vehicle is balanced and is not at risk of rolling over on rough terrain. Because of this need to pack efficiently, it is recommended to slim down on luxury items.
Prepare to Camp
What would a trip to the Outback be without spending some quality time in the elements? Most Outback adventures entail camping, so unless you are embarking with a group that provides lodging, a tent, sleeping bags, a gas stove, and other camping essentials are required. Other specifics to consider could be pots and pans, dehydrated backpacking meals, camp chairs, and perhaps a portable shower.
Dress for Heat
Aside from regular camping wear such as hiking boots, hats, and sunglasses, the Outback's unique combination of unrelenting heat and withering dryness makes for a special clothing situation. One peculiar characteristic of a desert is that despite the boiling heat in the daytime, nighttime temperatures can be surprisingly cold and so it is best to dress in layers. Obviously, the daytime heats calls for short sleeves and short pants, in addition to something to protect one's mouth and nose from dust, and nighttime dress should include at least a medium jacket and long pants.
Be Prepared To Take Everything With You:
While the "leave no trace" principle is well-known amongst avid campers and outdoor lovers, many tourists do not follow its basic tenant of leaving a wild area the same as you found it, if not better. This idea is in full affect in the very wild and pristine Outback wilderness and in that regard, any visitor must be prepared to pack out every single ounce of trash they produce, including solid waste. Many casual campers will balk at the idea of packing their excrement across hundreds of miles of desert, but when one imagines the landscape if everyone were encouraged to poop all willy-nilly across the desert, it becomes obvious why everyone must follow the proper procedures.

Whatever your adventure, whether it be one of the many fine Kimberley holidays, or something even more adventurous in the desolate interior, it always pays to be prepared, especially when the closest human settlement is hundreds of miles (or kilometers) away. If you are using a guide service, then many of our pointers will be redundant as many of these amenities, and more, are provided, but for those seeking a more independent adventure, hopefully this article will help you on your walkabout.
Happy trails!

This article was written by travel enthusiast and outback explorer Ellen Richards on behalf of Best of the Kimberley - the premier provider of the most exciting and breathtaking Kimberley Holidays.


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