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The Quick Camp
  |  First Published: March 2009



Rush, rush, rush. That’s all life seems to be these days and fishing trips are much the same. It’s a rush to get out the door, it’s a rush to set up camp and it’s a rush to get a lure or bait in the water.

Unfortunately we can do very little about our available time to get away, but these days you can get on the water quicker by setting up a quick camp for a short stay.

The idea of quick camping came to me in an inevitable rush to get onto the water to chase some cod and golden perch. My mate Ainsy is the super camp king and loves setting up the campsite properly. I hadn’t fished for cod for nearly 18 months so all I wanted to do was dump and run. But the sense in setting up a proper camp is there, especially when it can reach over 40ºC regularly in the Murray-Darling Basin.

After that trip I researched how quickly you could set up a camp and found a massive range of products that would do jobs effectively and efficiently. I even passed some of these ideas to Ainsy so he could perhaps be inspired to quicken things up!

Traditionally good camps have a few features that make them comfortable and safe. These include tarps, mozzie and midge proof tents, big comfy camp chairs, a few tables, the obligatory esky or two and a place to cook hot meals and boil some water. A site as simple as this could take an hour or more to set up properly, especially when you make sure your tarps are set properly and tight.

With a quick camp you do not have to sacrifice any of this comfort. In fact with the time saved in set up you could waste some of your fishing time by putting up a few more creature comforts – not that you would do that I am sure!

Two Options

After running through the product range at OZtrail, we came up with two quick camp concepts. One is Spartan and the other is relatively luxurious. Both are suitable for a couple of mates off for a fishing weekend on a limited time budget. The choice really comes down to how much comfort you want in your quick camp.

Keep in mind too that these are static camps. They are quick to set up and take down, but they are not camps or products you would use for hiking in back country or moving camps every day, unless you had a decent boat that could store everything in it.

Timely Comfort

The comfort option increasingly appeals to me as I get older, more tired and, well let’s face it, a little rounder than I used to be.

Our comfort camp consisted of Deluxe Pavilion, Eco Pop Up 2 Tent, Mitchell Swag, Lawson sleeping bags, two Big Boy armchairs, Extension Table, 12W Spiral Tube Lantern and two 23 LED UFO Tent Lights, an Anywhere Stove and a 90L Iceman Cooler. Now that sounds like a fair bit of kit and it is, but it all fit easily into my Toyota Kluger along with enough fishing gear for two anglers who just love lure fishing.

Let’s start with the Deluxe Pavilion. This unit is big and heavy (47kg), but don’t let that put you off. The Deluxe Pavilion comes in a very sturdy carry case that has wheels on the base and two carry handles. When set up it has ground coverage of 6m by 3m allowing everything on the campsite to be positioned under it. Covering up everything not only provides good shade during the day, it also protects your gear from rain and dew meaning you can up camp without having to worry about drying everything out when you get home. You can also purchase side protection for the Deluxe Pavilion, something we didn’t use.

The Deluxe Pavilion took the longest time to set up, with Greg Livingstone and I taking just over 10 minutes to have it up first try without looking at the instructions. The manufacturer recommends four to set this up but its simple nature is a great benefit to a quick camp and two can accomplish the task easily. Unlike older gazebo-type frames, the Deluxe Pavilion has very handy push buttons for those annoying press studs you find on most extendable legs. No longer do you risk jamming skin and fingers in between the press studs and frame – it’s fantastic!

The Eco Pop Up 2 was predictably easy to set up. Once you pull it from its case you just let it go and it’s ready in less than 10 seconds. Another minute sees it pegged down and a minute further has your sleeping bag and mattress in position and ready to go. Under the cover of the Deluxe Pavilion you don’t need to worry about a fly for the tent either. One caution though, the Eco Pop Up 2 is rated for two people, but for general use one person is better. I’m not that good a mate with Livo to want be in the Eco Pop Up 2 with him!

Setting up the Mitchell Swag was also easy. As the Mitchell comes with its own mattress and also has an internal insect mesh cover, you can be blessedly cool in the heat of summer. But if it’s cold or the weather is nasty you can completely close out the weather with the heavy-duty canvas outer cover. The Mitchell also uses three, pre-bent poles that keep the swag off you, so you get a very comfortable night’s sleep. When you set up all the poles, peg out the guy ropes and pop in your sleeping bag, the Mitchell Swag takes less than five minutes to set up.

The Extension table is invaluable as an organising table for food and tackle. Being 1.8m long you can fit heaps of fishing tackle on it at both ends and Livo and I found setting up our gear easy. The Extension table has locking clips on the side to provide rigidity and also packs down to be a neat and compact unit for travel and storage. To set up the table took less than two minutes.

All the other gear was spread around the camp as we needed it and we had the entire camp set up in around 15 minutes. That left us with a camp that was mostly weather proof, provided plenty of shade and was very comfortable for a couple of nights.

Minimalist Camp in Minutes

The second camp we set up was purposefully minimalistic. The idea was to be ultra quick, yet insect proof. We didn’t worry about weather proofing this camp and so it should be considered only in conditions when rain is not threatening.

The products used to set up this 10 minute camp included a Mozzie Dome 2, Mitchell Swag, Lawson sleeping bags, two Big Boy Armchairs, 12W Spiral Tube Lantern, an Anywhere Stove and a 90L Iceman Cooler. That is less gear than the comfy camp, but in reality it is all you need if you don’t mind roughing it a bit.

As this was the second camp the only new item we needed to set up was the Mozzie Dome 2. This is a great product for dry weather camping as it is completely insect proof and provides the best ventilation you will likely see on any product. The polyester tub floor means you can use the tent pretty much anywhere without worrying about a bottom tarp, but I’d use one underneath for no other reason than to prolong the life of the Mozzie Dome and 100% prevent moisture wicking from the ground into your mattress or sleeping bag. Two pole assembly and four pegs is all that’s needed for this neat insect proof cover. I love it.

With the two of us setting up this quick camp, one on the Mitchell Swag and one on the Mozzie Dome 2, we had finished our set up in just under 10 minutes. Now that’s efficiency. Sure it’s not totally weather proof, but the Big Boy armchairs and warm sleeping bags give you all the comfort you’ll need if serious fishing is on the agenda.

For an overnighter with a mate, this minimalist camp would do me just fine.

Get out there

These two options are by no means the only options when it comes to setting up a quick camp. Throughout the OZtrail range there are heaps of products that will add comfort, useability and safety to your quick camp. We simply chose what we most needed and went with that.

A quick camp is one of those things anglers love because it leaves us with more fishing time. Drop into your nearest retailer of OZtrail products to check some of the ones we used out, or log onto www.oztrail.com.au to see their entire range of outdoor products.

Facts

Win one of three Mitchell Swags valued at $334 each

Oztrail are giving away three Mitchell Swags for Fishing Monthly readers. To win one of these great prizes, simply send an email to --e-mail address hidden-- and tell us:

How long did it take the Fishing Monthly crew to set up the Minimalist campsite?

Entries close 30 April 2009.

Facts

Comfort Camp

ProductRRP ($)
Deluxe Pavilion434.00
Eco Pop Up 2 Tent89.90
Mitchell Swag334.00
Lawson sleeping bag54.90
Big Boy Armchair59.90
Extension table184.90
12W Spiral Tube Lantern79.00
23 LED UFO Tent Light19.90
Anywhere Stove34.90
90L Iceman Cooler299.00

Facts

Spartan Camp

ProductRRP ($)
Mozzie Dome 289.00
Mitchell Swag334.00
Lawson sleeping bag54.90
Big Boy Armchair59.90
12W Spiral Tube Lantern79.00
Anywhere Stove34.90
90L Iceman Cooler299.00

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