Make it hard for thieves
  |  First Published: July 2004

THERE have always been thieves about, those vermin who chance to prosper from the hard work of others by taking possessions that don’t belong to them, to sell for profit or simply have themselves.

These parasites get nowhere near the punishment they deserve when caught as it is deemed to be only petty crime. Try telling a bloke who has just had $20,000 worth of tackle stolen that it is only ‘petty’. If you took that much from a bank they would lock you up forever.

A whole industry is built around protecting us honest citizens from the grubs but there is only so much that can be done, particularly if you are on holidays. So you have to take it on yourself to make sure you take every precaution to protect your belongings.

Camping is one of those situations where you can only do so much to protect your belongings. A cotton tent wall is hardly a fortress but there are things you can do to keep your gear intact.

Out of sight is out of mind and by keeping many items out of sight, particularly rods, reels and other tackle, you minimise the chance of prying eyes spotting them.

Keep your camp tight and clean. Don’t spread your gear out over a large area. Keep tables, gas bottles, barbecues, eskies, surfboards, pushbikes, chairs and the like near the tent so the night-time walk-by thieves can’t do their thing.

When the sun goes down it is always a good idea to lock in your car any items that can’t be stowed in the tent with you and park the car close to your tent. You can hear anyone getting into your vehicle and scare them off. Tackle boxes and small rods fit into this category.

You can’t hide everything and we have to be realistic with things like tables, large eskies and other heavy items but still keep them close and fold up any chairs and keep them close by.

Bikes can be chained together. If you have a boat, leave as little in it as possible. Rods, tackle boxes, lures, outriggers, radios, knives – anything will disappear and I’m talking from experience.

It may even be a good idea to purchase a pressure mat that wires to an alarm and lay it on the floor of the boat so if anyone steps in the boat, the alarm goes off. This will deter most grubs.

Never leave watches, phones, wallets or any valuables visible inside your tent. If you have to leave anything, hide it under something because anyone entering your tent will be in and out in a hurry on most occasions and if they can’t see it, they can’t grab it.

It also helps if you strike up friendships with your camping neighbours. Most know who should and who shouldn’t be around and you can bet that there is someone around or awake at most times of the day who will often take note of any suspicious events.

Finally, make sure your camp is weatherproof and not going to collapse at the first puff of wind. If you go out for the day and the wind comes up and blows all your belongings about the place, it may not be thieves but casual passers-by who walk off with your gear.

Camping should be fun but it is a sad reality that that someone will take advantage if you drop your guard. From experience, the most popular time for a thief to strike is during a wet, windy night, when sound is muffled and there is little light. But it can happen any time so take care.


Let’s move onto something that may help make your short weekend camp or even your next fishing trip a bit easier, particularly where keeping things cold is a necessity.

Glad easy release ice cube bags are really handy if you need some ice in a hurry or even if you plan ahead to have ice on hand. They are simple to use and can be used as an ice mat or layer, or as each cell is perforated, a cube or two can be used individually in drinks. You just remove a bag from the pack and fill it with water and pop it in the freezer.

The trick is each bag has 24 small cells which each fill individually. When the bag is full the entry hole seals itself to prevent leaks, just like a one-way valve. The bags will fit into the freezer compartment even if there is only a small amount of space and when frozen they remain pliable, as each cell is an individual.

These are very handy for sports injuries because they can be wrapped around a limb or joint. They are great for keeping the catch or bait fresh just by throwing a couple of bags into the fish box when you head off fishing.

So keep them in mind next time you are at the supermarket because they will come in handy and you often don’t have time to go and buy ice.

Another handy couple of items are the Multi Reel and the Compact Reel from Flat Out International. These are designed to hold hoses for drinking water or sullage.

The Multi Reel will store 18 metres of flat drinking-water hose or nine metres of flat sullage hose – or even 40 metres of heavy-duty power cable, on a reel 375mm in diameter and about 60mm wide.

The Compact Reel holds 12 metres of flat drinking hose or seven metres of flat sullage hose and has a diameter of 300mm.

These are great for caravans because the hoses roll flat on the reel for easy storage. The hoses are not your everyday garden hoses, either, they are purpose designed to give maximum performance.

The flat drinking-water hose is a scaled-down fire hose with a food-grade liner and is guaranteed non-tainting. It is 100% polyester so there is no need to dry it and it has a bursting pressure of 850psi, about 10 times average tap pressure.

Each hose comes with quality brass fittings so it should last for ages, unlike some of the plastic fittings these days.

The sullage hose is made from PVC and has a memory that allows it to flatten when wound onto the reel and to open out to a 25mm internal diameter for disposal of the greywater.

It comes with two end plugs and a 25mm joiner so if you have different sized outlets from your van you can plumb in your own adaptation. You can purchase them from Getaway Camping, 39 Princes Highway, Unanderra, phone 02 4272 5036. For trade inquiries call Flat Out Australia at Batemans Bay on 1800 722 163.


Glad easy release ice cubes are great for camping, boating or just popping into a drink on a hot day.

Make sure your tent is set up properly so all your belongings, including the tent, don’t blow away at the first hint of a breeze. It also rained on this camp – what a mess!

The Multi Reel with drinking water hose all rolled up and ready to go – a great space-saving idea.

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