My Camp: Kampe’s Main Camp
  |  First Published: June 2011

I had little choice but to call this article Kampe’s Main Camp as I do in fact use three different camping set ups depending upon requirements and duration of stay.

For really short, overnight stays an Oztrail Mitchell swag will be packed into the car along with a chair, some sort of light and a few other items. Quick, simple and easy!

If the boat is coming along and we intend to stay a while, the Southern Cross all canvas 3.5x3.5m tent with its single upright centre pole will be the accommodation. With a self-inflating double air mattress, down sleeping bags plus a blanket at this time of year if necessary, things are usually very cosy. The point is that this tent, despite its decade and more of use, does not leak no matter how heavy the rain. It wasn’t cheap but the dollars were well spent in my view. And it allows me to tow the boat, which is integral on a boat trip!

Boat Free Main Camp

For extended stays on rivers and in places where the boat isn’t part of the fun the Trek Kudu fills the bill admirably. I’ve owned this outfit for several years and with its dry weight of 750kg it tows well but you will need a larger car for better towing capacity. Also, as the Trek sits low on the road, there’s no restriction with rear visibility.

Features that are really handy include the large storage box on the draw bar, the 60L under-body water tank with pump, and the handy slide out storage unit right up the front of the trailer that is 33cm wide, 24cm deep and 165cm long. In our case we use this storage box as a kitchen unit that we keep fully set up at all times with paper towels, foil, cling wrap, freezer bags for the fish (large ones naturally), utensils, cutlery, spares, detergent and other items to make it fully self-contained. I maintain a list of items and refresh where necessary.

The Trek Kudu has a lot of well-sealed storage space under its king sized bed. Once the camper’s lid (on strong gas struts) is lifted, the rear door of the trailer can be opened to allow access to a storage area 197cm long, 170cm wide and 50cm deep, which will swallow up a lot of gear.

Poles for the tent area of the camper are kept to the right, along with a bag of ropes and pegs. Then there’s the long handled shovel (I cannot make a good damper without a shovel to allocate coals where I need them) and a portable grille unit, which consists of a metal frame welded together with a large nut in each corner into which long bolts are threaded to form legs. The handy grille, which is used on every camping trip, stows flat in a potato bag for storage between uses. It’s heated when in use, so the germs die!

Most times the body of the trailer is set up with virtually anything we want to take along from extra bedding in plastic bags, tackle boxes, rod tubes, additional water in drums right down to bags of clothing. Even food boxes can go in there as the storage area is well sealed and dust intrusion is a non-event.

Setting up the Trek

The worth of any camp is in the set up time, not how good it looks later, but how long it took to get up and running when fish are clearly on the go close to camp.

The Trek shines. It has a main canvas tent roof area of 220x220x250cm which extends from a folded position over the bed. Three bows, back, centre and forward, are extended to hold the roof high and handsome, while two upright poles are set into the outer edge of it. A couple of extendable braces up top (separating the three bows) are set into place to keep everything ship shape and then it’s a matter of selecting what sort of final tent area is required.

At this point around two minutes have elapsed in set up time.

Walls, set into place via strong Velcro strips, are available for every outer part of the roof and our usual set up involves walls each end, with the front left open unless the weather is nasty. In that case we simply Velcro a wall into place there as well.

Which brings me to a great feature of this camper: its great flexibility in final form. Walls can be set up as desired or entirely left out unlike many other units that have walls affixed to roof areas and no options other than windows if the weather is hot. The Trek’s outer walls do have windows, of course, and we make use of them to suit the day.

We purchased a large (230x230cm) annex for our Trek and with its full height roof left permanently zippered onto the main camper roof we usually set up the annex with a back wall, a side wall, sometimes a front wall as well if we decide it will be more comfortable. This takes around five or six minutes with four poles and associated ropes required for the job.

Other features

Once roof and walls are set up more features will make our camp even more comfortable. There’s a good sized table that clips onto the rear end of the trailer body and it’s handy for meal preparation or as a place for setting up the Primus two burner gas stove.

Yet another feature is the bench that extends out into the annex area from the rear of the trailer. With the rear trailer door open the bench is lifted up, braced, and ready for use. It has a cut out area for a plastic wash basin to sit in plus a fitting for the water supply’s hand pump to be installed. As such, it makes a great place to wash the dishes.

As can be seen this camp, with some shade cloth on the ground, is going to be very comfortable come rain or shine. Our refrigeration is courtesy of a Chescold gas fridge/freezer and with lots of Korr strip lighting around edges and other areas we can enjoy night camping as well. Hot water for a shower comes courtesy of the Glind unit in the car and believe me this is a major blessing after a long day chasing trout or cod on foot.

All sound comfortable? Sure is.

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