Easy camping the Oztrail way
  |  First Published: April 2009

In this article we are going to look at items required for a rapid set up, mobile, but quite basic sort of camp site: perhaps the sort of camp set up after a hard day's walking and fishing well away from the motor car.

Oztrail have an extensive range of camping and outdoor products suited to making camp on the move a pleasure so we'll be looking at what's ideal for this set up.

I've used Oztrail camping and outdoor products for a while now and find that while emphasis is on quality and durability, the price is not over the top. It's really good gear but still affordable: a great concept.

While the range of Oztrail products is huge I've selected a few suitable items that will fulfil the task of making up a basic but comfy camp when it's time to put down the fishing gear and rest for the night after a busy day. There cannot be a table and chairs nor silver service cutlery but the concept of lightweight and portable gear is still an excellent one.

Personally, I'm a great fan of this caper and have walked quite a few of the Granite Belt and New England cod rivers fishing from daylight until dusk and then enjoyed setting up a neat camp in just the right place as darkness slowly descends over the river valley. To me, this really adds to the river fishing experience. And it's even richer if it's possible to enjoy a good night's sleep without being molested by mossies, bitten by bugs or carried away by creepy crawlies.

My experience shows that a tired angler can make do with all sorts of ready meals, regular dehydrated foods, cereal and powdered milk (just add water), or maybe there's a fish in the coals where fires are permitted, but going without a decent sleep? Count me out!

outer Limits Starlight Two Tent

Oztrail have a lot of really good tents in their catalogue and at least five highly portable models but I like the concept of their Outer Limits Starlight two tent. It can sleep one or two persons, weighs a mere 1.9kg and sets up in about two minutes. It's peaked design will easily shed water, too, if there are showers about.

This is the ideal bushwalkers tent consisting of tent and over fly, a single east west pole and sturdy lightweight pegs. It packs into a very compact package for transportation and full and clear instructions are on a flap within the carry bag so they cannot go astray.

Once pegged into shape the tent with it's large fly screen sections has a smart sort of east/west bow that comes over the widest section to form the large semi circular door area with it's zippered fly screen. The fly goes on next and neat little hooks, plus a couple of clips, keep it securely in place down onto the base of the tent to guard against rain intrusion.

The fly is quite versatile with the option to leave one side, or a part of a side, partly open to allow substantial air flow if the night is hot. For me, this bit of kit gets full marks for ultra portability and usefulness and would be brilliant for a walk down river in cod country. Moving in or out of the tent is quite easy as the door opening is sensibly large. Size wise the Starlight Two will sleep a couple of people quite comfortably.

Buyers can be assured of a long life as the Starlight Two is constructed of 69denier ripstop material, breathable for best comfort, and features a water repellent floor. It also has ultra fine mesh to keep out the bities. It's three season rated which means it's quite suited to our spring, summer and autumn.

Outer Limits Hiker Self Inflating Mat.

This sturdy 183cm long, 53cm wide self inflating mat will fit into the Starlight Two tent with ease and features extra thickness in hip and shoulder areas for greatest comfort. It folds into a slim 800g parcel when rolled and is ideal to take along on an extended camp out fishing trip. At 53cm wide it's a one person unit.

Microsmart 270 Jumbo Hooded sleeping bag

Camping at this time of year can be a bit on the cool side, so enjoying a good night's sleep out in the sticks is going to depend heavily on a suitable sleeping bag. Again, Oztrail offer a many well made and comfortable sleeping bags. I have selected the 270 Jumbo Hooded sleeping bag from their Treksmart Series, which gives extreme performance from a quite compact unit.

This is a large sleeping bag, the sort of bag that is very easy to turn over in without becoming tangled, there is nothing worse than having a tangled sleep! This sleeping bag has a minus five rating, great for those cold nights in the highlands. Weight is a modest 1.7kg it and it packs into an 18x37cm bag for transportation.

A couple of features I really liked were the soft inner liner plus the heavy duty snag free zipper. When in use this well made sleeping bag spoils users with it's very soft 20cm thick chest collar and there's a decent sized hood for those extra warmth and snugness as well.

Construction involves an outer shell of breathable polyester material over a highly efficient inner lining of Exotherm material to provide that all important insulation against cold.

Compact UFO light

The last thing the mobile camper wants is to be without adequate light while setting up camp. This is exactly where the highly portable (weighs around 200g) UFO remote control 23 LED light shines. This is a fabulous little light with an immense light output. It will light up the Starlight Tent and about 15m all around as well!

The light operates with four AA size batteries and features a three phase sequence of operation. First click of the remote control switch will see three LED's in operation, second click will see 20 giving about the same amount of light as a torch in a dark room. With the third click all 23 LED's turn on for maximum brightness. The UFO light can be either hung via it's in-built strap or simply placed where convenient. Claimed battery life is over 20 hours so it certainly should be adequate for a few nights camped out.

XenLight LED Head lamp

And for moving away from camp, perhaps a snappy after dark session on the finny friends, the powerful but compact Xenlight is extremely useful. The snug fitting head light unit weighs but 208g and offers two separate functions: the main Xenon or two LED bulbs as chosen via the function switch. Again, emphasis is upon the ultra light packaway concept plus excellent function. The XenLight uses three AA batteries.

Mitchell Swag

We've looked at camping gear for the trekking angler but a lot of fishing situations do involve having the vehicle handy at the end of the day and it’s in this situation – where there is no requirement to set up a tent for an extended stay – that the Mitchell double swag will really be appreciated.

This heavy duty swag features Satproof 600+ canvas construction strong poles that are pre bent for easy set up, extra strong clips and fittings, very fine insect screens, ample ventilation, complete weather proofing plus a high density 7cm thick foam mattress with removable cover.

The beauty of the Mitchell swag is that it can be unrolled and set up in literally seconds and it will provide a great night's sleep with sufficient interior room for a couple of users to take in their sleeping bags if the weather is cold.

The Mitchell double swag is a three cross pole dome style unit with excellent ventilation, a wide and hooded door and even a screened window in the entrance area. Set up on level ground and fully zipped closed there would be little chance of water intrusion such is the finish and top shelf fitting of all sections that overlap each other.

Setting up is as easy as pegging down corners plus threading the flexible poles through the appropriate places. Hooks then hold the canvas to the poles in the correct manner. There's a heavy-duty ground sheet section to allow users to stay dry even if the ground is wet.

The swag weighs 11.5kg and rolls into a 140x28x29cm parcel for transportation.

Oztrail products are available in camping stores that offer quality equipment for the enthusiast.

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