Going camping – whether you do it in a luxury caravan or a one-person tent – should always be relaxing, at the least. And that means useful and familiar gear that will enhance your experience and make it more comfortable.
So what do you always take camping? I know I have certain items I wouldn’t leave home without, quite aside from food, drink, first aid kit and sleeping facilities.
These are articles that have proven themselves time and again and got me out of trouble on more occasions than I care to think about.
5. CHAINSAW AND AXE
I accept that national parks are designed to retain areas of our natural heritage in their native state, but in places where it’s permissible to have a fire and to collect your own firewood, you’ll need the right tools for the job.
I always try to bring a bag or two of firewood with me if I know I can have a fire, but that generally doesn’t last long and I soon find myself in the scrub looking for fallen timber that’s been on the ground for a while. Smaller wood is okay for starting a fire, but if you want some real heat and good coals for your camp oven, you’re going to need solid chunks of hard wood. And ‘hard’ means an axe is too much like hard work, so you will need a chainsaw.
To keep the chain saw in top condition I carry a sealed plastic container of chainsaw bar oil, a mini power drill and a chainsaw sharpening bit. Cutting hard wood will soon demonstrate why you’ll need those.
The other main use for this gear is clearing a tree off your track. Occasionally you’ll come across a tree that’s really too big to be tackled by an amateur with a small saw, but generally speaking, you can clear a path through downed timber fairly quickly.
Keep an axe on hand in case you lose the use of the chainsaw or you need to split timber. Keep it sharp and keep it out of the way of children and it will see you through a lifetime of service.
Always remember to wear heavy boots and eye protection whenever using this sort of gear.