Free Campsite Checklist: 50 Things You MUST Have To Free Camp in Australia

If you want to freedom camp, and stop wherever there is a free site or bush camping, here are a few things you need to pack. So we asked CAMPS AUSTRALIA WIDE Facebook friends what they consider is important – their top 3.

When it comes to camping, there are few rules – the most important one is LEAVE NO TRACE.

You can go as basic as you want – as long as you can sleep well, eat well and enjoy your own, or another’s company – really what else matters?

But judging by your answers there a few creature comforts Aussies consider Free Camping Must Haves. We’ve added your suggestions to ours – and here is the COMPLETE CHECKLIST – must haves and optional extras!

1. Water Drinking water is essential. But you’ll also need water to bathe and wash up in. Full water tanks are preferable, and spare water containers recommended.

2. Solar If you want to be off the grid, solar  is another thing you can check out. Solar power, solar batteries and ‘good’ solar panels. An inverter, which converts solar into usable power is also recommended.

3. Beer Preferably a carton, and a beer fridge, preferably full, was the resounding response. Again, a fridge fully dedicated to beer. In case you didn’t hear, it was to be full.

4. Hubby was mentioned 10:1 compared to the importance of bringing your wife or loved one. I think the reason why was the male respondents were more concerned their top 3 listed the beer and beer fridge.

5. Camps Australia Wide Travel Pack Camps 12 will have all the sites to choose from across Australia – free and budget, from National Parks, farm stays to lookouts and picnic areas – all approved for camping, to give you confidence to stop. Combined with a Caravan Parks 6 book, which lists tourist parks where you can stop, wash your laundry and top up your water. Note, the Travel Pack is available in two sizes. Don’t forget to use the dump point! (For those not yet in the know – that is for your black water, or sewage.) You want to have your books or Camps App, well before you go, so you can add your travelling friend’s favourite must-dos and circle or pin camps people tell you about straight into the maps.

6. Food supplies  Not to be sneezed at especially when you have a growing tribe on board. With our limited fridge space, we had to stop for perishables every few days. Cans came in handy. Our ‘Motorhome Frittata’ was a weekly feature, that survived to become a family favourite. For lunches, tomato, onion, ham and cheese sandwiches are still called ‘Motorhome Sandwiches’. And when there’s no fresh bread on hand, and we don’t want to turn on the gas stove for toasties – saos, tomato and cheese did the job.

7. Coffee fixes A stove top coffee machine, mini-espresso hand pump or coffee machine also rated just as highly as bringing your pooch! I love our unspillable Contigo – it lasts me all morning for my cup of tea as we are driving. They are in different colours, so I don’t drink Heatley’s coffee. Or worse, put my tea in his coffee tainted thermos!

8. Dog/puppies/pooch are an essential for travel for many. If you do bring your pets, note it will restrict access to National Parks and some other sites.

9. Portable toilet If you don’t have a loo on board, consider a portable toilet, or bring a spade. There is nothing more unsightly than dirty toilet paper flying about a site. Please consider other people and the environment. Self contained also means containing your grey water. Grey water is any domestic wastewater – but not sewage. The CMCA (Caravan and Motorhome Club of Australia) can help you out with this, and their tote – in essence, leave no trace. Here’s how.

10. Camps Australia Wide Mobile App The App enhances the value you have from your Camps Australia Wide books. You can review sites, read other’s reviews, see more photos and read more information about the site, as well as what thing we recommend you do and see in the area. We still talk to devoted readers everyday, who don’t know we have one. At only $9.99 a year for all the latest info, it is a no-brainer.

11. Wine Bottle of wine (‘even better a cask!’ said one reader) is a definite to include. I think this wasn’t rated as highly because women listed their husbands! PS, the cask packer said once empty, you can fill the bladder with water and leave in the sun and save gas for your hot water shower.

12. The Camps Australia Wide Community Cookbook 
Easy recipes, shared by other campers will make dinner simple each night on the road. Plus there are desserts, breakfasts, tips for leftovers and happy hours. These versatile recipes are for camp oven, BBQ, gas stoves, ovens, microwaves, thermal and slow cookers. Plus campers share their favourite campsites and caravan parks and their must see and do recommendations, all in a compact book.

13. Generator A generator for backup, see no. 34.

14. GPS POI If you like travelling with a GPS, why not access the latest POI data for a whole range of satellite navigation devices.

15. A good chair We totally agree with this addition. Try before you buy. Comfort is vital, and we do spend time relaxing in our chair (we have a his and her’s) when we travel.

16. Books or a kindle We love finding book swaps and op shops to replenish.

17. Flooring  We use rubber matting, others suggest shade cloth. Keeps our van much cleaner.

18. Large Rubbish bags  Large bags to take your rubbish with you is essential.

18. Petrol/fuel and gas. You don’t want to get caught out on this one, always bring spare fuel when travelling to remote locations.

19. Axe  or small chainsaw A 12V chainsaw will save cash on firewood.

20. Something to cook on A gas butane cooker, billy – you may have a cooktop and oven in the van, we have a Thermos Shuttle Chef, too. This is a whole other topic!

21. Cash in small donations Handy for donation boxes, also useful when you stop at laundries or hot showers.

And more…..

22. Mosquito coils or sticks,  insect repellant and bug spray

23. Torch

24. Camera

25. Bait

26. Ammo

27. Ice

28. 12V submersible pump to pump water from container into van

29. Towels – Microfibre towels for quick drying

30. Stem glass

31. Fan or rechargeable fan

32. Good manners

33. Spatial awareness

34. Noise suppression

35. Friendliness, great company, friendship

36. UHF radio

37. PLB – personal location beacon – was suggested by a solo traveller

38. Shower

39. Engle fridge or ice

40. Zip lock bags

41. Tarps and bungees for all weather tenting

42. Wool mix (half the water and no rinsing)

43. Fresh & Crisp bags keeps your fruit and veggie for twice as long

44. Thermos (two litre) so you have hot water for a roadside coffee/tea breaks or hot water to do a quickie dish wash (Thanks Jenni and Murray for this later addition)

45. Paper towel

46. Wet ones

47. Soda Stream

48. Comfy mattress

49. Fishing gear

50. Sunscreen and Hat

We also pack a deck of cards, port and Tim Tams. They have been our camping essentials for almost 25 years. These days, we add the board game Sequence to that mix.

‘Dare to be Bare’ stickers were also suggested. It is not something I have added, not sure if it will make my list. What about yours?

Find out more about budget and free camping sites or caravan parks throughout Australia.

Score 15% off Camps 12 B4 (Easy to Read with Photos) by adding in the below code at checkout.


Add the code EXPLOREAUS into the checkout and SAVE today!

Download the Camps App for iPhone/iPad or Android




Plan the trip of a lifetime with our Travel Guides

Get the App & put all our guides in your pocket!

Stay informed with our free Newsletter

Join our Facebook Community

Share and connect with travellers across Australia

Subscribe to our Email Newsletter

Stay up to date with our free weekly email newsletter and get the latest travel tips, reviews and news straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our FREE weekly Newsletter and receive

15% Off

your next order in our Online Shop!