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september 2012 - WWW.OUTDOORUAE.COM


The BARE necessities John’s BARE family camping necessities I have been camping my whole life and, for the past 41 years, have spent many nights in tents, sleeping bags, stretchers, under the stars, in the rain, hail, wind, dust and who knows what else. Not to mention all my military deployments where I even once had to sleep in a Baobab tree because of lions that were in the area! If you are asking me for a list of the minimum gear or equipment you need for camping, you first have to tell me what your intentions are; are you going to go hiking, climbing, cycling or are you just camping to relax? The ONLY people that should be concerned about what to take and what not, are those who have to carry everything in their backpacks! Their mission is not camping, but rather hiking, the activity or sport they love and enjoy. They don’t mind sleeping in a cramped, one-man tent, on hard, cold ground, because they are out there doing what they love.

For family or recreational camping, there can never be a minimum list, especially here in the UAE where we don’t have trees, or other natural “objects” to assist with camping! Most countries accommodate campers and have camping facilities with ablution blocks, showers and allocated areas to wash dishes. However, there are virtually no such places in the UAE or Oman. Also, the natural vegetation and surroundings elsewhere would allow you to get some shade, protection from the wind, and wood for the campfire and BBQ. There would also be some rocks that you could use to “elevate” the grid from the fire. Good luck finding that here, and if you enjoy holding the grid for the duration of the BBQ,



Words: John Basson

then I suppose you don’t need to bring a portable BBQ. Also, if you enjoy the taste of sand in your food, I suppose you then don’t need a windbreak either…? No, I’m sorry, I take everything with me! All my friends laugh when I explain how much stuff I take camping. However, once we arrive and my “camp” is pitched, they cannot but agree that, that is how all camping should be! There are my “one-night” camps which I impulsively decide upon and would then take the boys away for just one night. We’d plan to leave home at about 16:00 and all our food would be prepared at home (hotdogs or something light). This I do to get the boys outdoors so they can exhaust themselves on the dunes. We return early the next morning and have breakfast at home. For these one-night trips, I only take sleeping gear, the prepared food and lights for the camp. For any camping other than this; I take EVERYTHING with me. I converted my quad bike trailer into a bit of a camper to make these one-night camps, and of course the longer trips, an even more “camper friendly.” I fit-

Easy one - night camp with limited stuff…

ted 2x200-litre water tanks under the trailer and, as can be seen from the photos, I also got a large tent made that attaches to the trailer. The structure is very sturdy and can handle most of the wind and dust we often experience. The trailer, of course, also allows me to take quite a few extra “necessities” that most people have to leave at home because of limited space. Don’t think that there is any SUV that can accommodate a family of four and one weeks camping gear! Not even a Land Cruiser or Nissan Armada has sufficient space. I am sure many of you are disagreeing as you are reading this, but I have seen what the campsites look like when two or three families arrive on Mashira Island with their SUV’s loaded and cramped-in like sardines. There is just not enough space and they have very limited facilities! Let me give you a rundown of what I take with me. Then as you read, you may again think that this is total overkill, but everything I have was bought out of “necessity.” Every time we camp I make a list of the extras we needed on the camp and ensure that I don’t go camping without these items the next time we go. The minimum equipment I would take on

OutdoorUAE September 2012  

OutdoorUAE September 2012

OutdoorUAE September 2012  

OutdoorUAE September 2012