While some camping travellers prefer to stay in a luxurious 5-star resort, or even camping at their favourite caravan park down south, more adventurous travellers prefer no more than camping in the outback beside or in their 4×4 ute.
While you could just throw in your camping swag and some essentials before venturing off into country Australia, many camping enthusiasts prefer to upgrade their ute with advanced 4×4 and ute accessories to create the ultimate camping ute.
One of the best parts of creating the ultimate camping ute is that you can take your time and work on one aspect of your ute at a time. To help you work towards your dream camping ute, split your customisation up into these 5 key areas.
Depending on the length of your trip and how rural you’re planning to venture, you may need to pack a significant amount of food, water and camping essentials. This makes storage planning extremely important.
Before considering storage options, make a camping checklist labelling everything you’ll need on your next trip. Be sure to include personal items such as clothes and toiletries, as well as camping and safety equipment, such as fridges, kettles, spare tyres and sleeping arrangements.
Once you have a list and understand the space required, look into how you can maximise the space and layout of your ute storage.
The most valuable storage space in your camping ute if often the ute tray. To increase the available space while protecting your camping gear from weathering, add a hardtop canopy or soft-top canvas canopy. Within the ute, consider adding some additional ute tray storage solutions such as a ute tub storage drawer system or swing cases to maximise the use of space while making organisation easy.
Adding roof racks and even a roof rack cage to the top of your vehicle will substantially increase your storage capabilities. Having a canopy installed on your ute will allow even greater surface area on top to store larger items. This includes canoes, coolers, recovery equipment, etc.
While camping on powered caravan sites in select destinations have your power needs covered. Travelling to more remote Australian areas means your camping ute will need to be ready to power your camping trip.
Charing your personal devices using your ute’s auxiliary power socket and stocking up a few coolers with ice can usually get you through a few days in remote Australia. However, if you’re hoping to power a portable fridge, kettle, toaster or larger appliances, consider installing one of the following camping ute power solutions.
Dual batteries can be purchased and installed by most local auto electricians. They provide a second auxiliary battery that can be used for appliances that remove the risk of your battery running flat (which could leave you stranded).
Solar panels are great power companions to your camping ute, especially in Australia where we experience clear skies and sun for most of the year. They do require safe storage and are restricted to powering low-current appliances – so if you’re using power-hungry appliances, solar panels may not be sufficient.
Petrol generators work great to power your camping ute appliances and more luxurious items that require access to power such as a tv, radio or even a microwave. However, in more build-up areas and popular camping destinations, generators can become a nuisance for your camping neighbours as they are often very loud.
Expecting to hit the rugged rural tracks of Australia?
Venturing off the beaten track can be very dangerous if you’re not adequately prepared. Before tackling the more rigorous tracks, upgrade your ute with essential 4×4 recovery equipment, front and rear bars and be sure close friend or family know your expected location in case the worse was to happen.
Front and rear bullbar protection along with side panel protection options can help reduce the damage your ute experienced in the event of a crash. In more remote destinations, this can be the difference between driving away or being stranded with no easy way back to the main road.
When venturing off on a rural 4×4 track to camp, it’s essential that you at least prepare with an adequate 4×4 recovery kit. This includes a durable shovel, snatch strap, air compressor, ute jack and base plate and a good quality UHF radio.
While securing your camping gear correctly is important regardless of where you’re travelling in Australia, it becomes even more essential when you’re adventuring off the beaten track. Rugged terrain can send your gear flying damaging expensive tool and camping equipment, with the potential to also severely damage the inside of your ute. Strap down all camping gear using bungies and netting, or ensure it’s organised and secured in ute tray drawer systems and storage containers.
It’s time to organise your living and sleeping arrangements while travelling in your recently updated camping ute.
This section of the ultimate camping ute guide comes down to preference as some travellers prefer a more luxurious camping experience, while others are happy with the bare basics. Speak with your travel companions and decide what works for you.
You’ll hear most campers that own a ute say that one of the most essential accessories to their kit is a ute awning attached to the roof racks to provide shade and protection from the rain. Add on some annexe walls and some mesh flooring and you’ve now created a travellers retreat attached to the side of your ute.
There are many sleeping options to suit most types of travellers which either attach directly to your camping ute or can be easily stored and transported. A few of the most common camping options to consider are camping swags to sleep under the stars, an expandable rooftop tent for those seeking an ‘off-the-ground’ sleep and attachable ute tray canopies allowing you a spacious sleep in the tray.
The options all have their pro’s and con’s, but the decision comes down to personal preference. So, do some research and find a sleeping solution that works for you.
If you’re hoping for a relaxing camp, it’s important to pack some camping chairs, tables and appliances (powered by an aftermarket power source mentioned earlier). Camping furniture and appliances usually take up a substantial amount of space in your ute, so be sure to plan out where each accessory will be stored in transit.
Before you finish off your camping ute, consider these final points.
While a big lift kit and tyres paired with spotlights brighter than the sun may sound like a great idea, they may not comply with local laws. There are plenty of ways to create the ultimate camping ute while complying with road safety legislation. Be considerate of the rules and regulations in your state.
If you’re planning a more remote adventure in your camping ute, consider investing in a reliable UHF radio. Australia is known to have poor reception in more rural areas which can make communication in the time of emergencies extremely difficult. A UHF radio allows travellers to communicate across considerable distances without the need for network coverage, allowing you to travel safer and smarter. It’s also recommended that you keep a list of emergency service numbers in case of an emergency.
Following your camping adventures (or routinely during on longer trips), empty all the camping gear from your ute and give it a big cleanout. Dirt, dampness and debris can quickly build up if not properly managed which can generate mildew and mould that could be dangerous during prolonged exposure. Keeping your camping ute clean and serviced will ensure no hassles on your next trip.
Now that you’ve planned out your 4×4 camping ute upgrades, it’s time to work out your next travel destination. Find amazing WA travel destinations, guides and local insights with West Australian Explorer.
This article is written by Alex Hamilton on behalf of LINE-X Australia. LINE-X focus on providing aftermarket 4×4 accessories allowing you to customise your 4×4 camping ute to suit your lifestyle. With multiple locations across Australia, LINE-X is the ideal location to customise and upgrade your camping ute.