CAMPING LIST CHECKLIST | camping list checklist

CAMPING LIST CHECKLIST – is essential before going on a trip.

ESSENTIAL BEFORE HEADING OUT ON A TRIPWell folks, I never in a thousand years thought that I would be going on a camping trip after the disastrous trip with three small children and a husband who didn’t know when it was time to stop to set up the caravan, make a fire, and feed the hungry mob.

Had I known all this before setting out I would definitely have made out a CAMPING LIST CHECKLIST and stuck to it.

When my sister-in-law, Hazel, invited me to go on a trip with her to Mosselbay, to stay in her caravan, it was a totally different kettle of fish.

You see, Hazel is one of the most organized people I know, we had a #campinglistchecklist. This was something totally alien to me.

The time Matt, the children, and I went on a trip and towed a caravan, we didn’t even think of a list, or that the caravan was too heavy for the car we had at the time, and that it would almost overtake us going down the hills.

The most important thing to remember was the dreaded nappy bucket in those far-off days.

Little did we know that when arriving at a really ghastly caravan park in the middle of nowhere, we would be confronted by a dead rat in the bath, should have brought our own bath plug, and many other essential things we thought would be supplied, but aren’t.

You can imagine it was with some trepidation that I agreed to this trip with Hazel.

Am I happy that I did?


Although we left at the time we had planned to leave, having checked our CAMPING LIST CHECKLIST and packed the vehicle the day before, the trip took two hours longer than we had anticipated due to nine, yes, nine road stoppages for road works.

It was a case of making haste slowly.

We decided that as there was nothing else but to enjoy the trip and the really gorgeous scenery, that is what we would do. Do not get frustrated by the roadworks.

At one stage we were behind four enormous vehicles which must have been carrying something very important or noxious as these were escorted by not only the usual escort vehicles large vehicles require but also traffic police.

They were in front, at the side of the heavy-duty vehicles, and also at the back, stopping all vehicles in front and keeping those poor souls, we included, far behind. There was a traffic police vehicle at the side to keep the oncoming traffic far over to the side of the road, so they could not drive close to these behemoth trucks.

All extremely interesting and I would love to have known what they were carrying.

WHAT A LOT TO LEARN ABOUT A CAMPING LIST CHECKLISTWho would have thought that making a camp fire is such an art?

First and foremost, it was what I was to bring along with me. I had a CAMPING LIST CHECKLIST to adhere to, to make sure nothing was forgotten.

As with a husband and two sons, who all loved making a barbecue (braai), I had never had to light a fire in my life. Or cook anything on a campfire. All the really hard labor took place in the kitchen, while the men stood around with a beer in their hands and cracked jokes.

The womenfolk made salads, cut rolls, or heated garlic bread, got the meat sorted out, crockery, cutlery, serviettes, drinks, etc. I made sure there was enough seating for everyone. You women know the drill, I am sure.

According to the CAMPING LIST CHECKLIST, Hazel and I shared the chores. It was a good learning experience for me. At home, I was normally the one in charge of the kitchen and all that went on there but around a campsite it was a completely different story.

Making a fire and getting it to the correct temperature for the meat that is to be cooked is a fine art. Particularly when there is a wind blowing, which as we are at the coast is usually the case.

Hazel and I work to a roster, she cooks one day and I clean up and wash the dishes, and then this is reversed the next day.

What surprises me too, is the passing parade, it doesn’t take long to get to know the fellow campers, as they all have their input into what is going on.

They are genuinely interested in what you are doing and if you should require any help, they are there for you.

The wind played havoc one night, and a gentleman from one of the nearby caravans noticed that one of the tent pins was coming loose, without further ado, he got a mallet out and pounded it back in for us.


Everyone is willing to help with any task, especially when they realize it is two lone women camping, and that some of the jobs are rather onerous.

Hazel and her late husband, Attie have been camping for many years and have become friends with so many of the regular campers.

When Attie was alive, he and Hazel traveled all over South Africa and Namibia, spending months away from home. This has caused this to become such a way of life for Hazel and although she at one time thought of selling the caravan, she realized it was just not on.

Gosh, I am so pleased she didn’t and also that she invited me along to enjoy this marvelous experience.

Knowing that towing the caravan is rather a skill and also a bit of a worry, Hazel stores the caravan in Mosselbay, and then one of the people here sets it up on the site she chose, by the time we arrived it had all been done for us.

In a way, I guess, this is a bit more like glamping when it is done for you. What a relief when we arrived to see it all set up and ready for us to unpack the car and settle in.

Thankfully we had followed the CAMPING LIST CHECKLIST and had all the necessary requirements on hand so didn’t need to rush off to the shops on a spending spree.



When we went off to the mall to do a bit of shopping, I spotted a really fancy Mercedes-Benz U.V. with a gentleman sitting inside.

As Hazel had some errands to run, I decided to chat with Bennett, who I learned was the owner of the UV, sitting patiently waiting while his wife was shopping.

He graciously let me ask him some questions about his fantastic vehicle and he invited me inside to have a look and allowed me to take some photographs.

Gosh, what a bonus.

My word, what a fantastic vehicle.

It was great to see the well-kitted-out bathroom and shower in the van. No trekking out in the wind or rain to the ablution block with necessary toiletries in hand. That would be perfect for getting all dolled up and sweet-smelling before going out for a meal.

I was to see another one similar at the caravan site and they also allowed me inside to take pics. The card game carried on while I worked my way around, asking questions all the while.

After chatting to both Bennett, Eddie, and Esme, who so kindly let me take a squizz around these amazing vehicles, I could see why they had chosen to travel this way.

They have everything they could need to enjoy real comfort as well as enjoy the camping lifestyle.

What a wonderful way to relax for hardworking people. This is indeed a great way to  spend a holiday



What an interesting and glorious town Mosselbay is. There is so much to see and do and the beaches are truly beautiful.

There is definitely something for everyone.

A very worthwhile place to visit. So if you are ever traveling down the Garden Route of the Cape, in South Africa, do yourself a favor and stop for a stay (long or short), and enjoy this jewel of the Cape.

There are many places in which to stay, but even if you have not tried camping before, there are caravans for hire and it is such a great experience.

Perhaps as you wend your way down the Garden Route, you would be tempted, as I would be, to stay a Harkerville Forest Lodge. It is in the Heart of the Garden Route, between Plettenberg Bay and Knysna.

It is ideal for those who wish to visit the Knysna Elephant Park, Birds of Eden, Go on an Ocean Safari, or even try the Tree Top Canopy Tours.

So many amazing adventures right on the doorstep.

They offer such a wide range of accommodation. Here is their Telephone Number +27 (0) 44 532 7777, email info@harkerville.co.za

Jill Alexa

Jill of all Trades. Master of Many. Too busy to die.


  1. Hi Jill, one more of your great articles. I must say that I enjoy going camping with my wife and kids but now is winter so I will wait for spring so we can go outdoor camping. I usually tend to forget water when I go camping so that can be very problematic.

    • Hi Danijel, Thank you for your very kind comments. Yes, indeed, one cannot leave the water behind. 

      It sounds as though your winter and ours in South Africa are vastly different. We are still able to go camping in winter as with the right equipment, not too bad.

      Wishing you all the best,

      Kind regards,


  2. Thanks for sharing your glorious sounding adventure to Mosselbay, it definitely sounds like something that my wife and I would love to see. We haven’t had much time to get away and with all the stress lately from everything going on, I think a camping getaway would be right up our alley.

    Your excursion has given me the incentive to put together a checklist for a camping trip that I think my wife and I are past overdue. Do you have any specific recommendations on what might be some necessities to take along since it’s been so long since my wife and I have been on a trip of this nature?

    • Hi Neil,

      I am so pleased you are thinking of going on a camping trip with your wife. It is a really good way to de-stress. Life can become so hectic that one misses out on the fun times.

      Hazel, my sister-in-law has a permanent list as she goes camping regularly. We were fortunate that she had organized for the caravan to be at the site she had chosen and that when we arrived there the tent was up and all we had to do was unload the car.

      Essentials on this sort of camping trip are vastly different from a hiking camping trip. So I will just tell you what I found essential for this one.

      sleeping bag, warm one, as the nights can be pretty cool and it can be tossed off when getting too hot.

      My own pillows. (I have a thing about sleeping with them, silly me!)

      Usually, all the extra groceries can be bought in the town, but it is good to take along essentials like COFFEE!!! Toilet paper, food for the first meal so one doesn’t have to prepared when you arrive tired. We took supplies from home which would have been wasted had we left them and then bought what we needed as we were not out in the bush.

      We found that the braai Hazel had at the caravan had rusted, so we purchased another and it worked like a charm. I even learned how to make a fire. I come from a family where all the menfolk did things like that. Now I know what to do. Very empowering.

      What I learned from Hazel, who is super efficient is to keep a list from year to year and then just tick it off and then nothing will be forgotten.

      Take along something warm for the early mornings and evenings as they can be very cold.

      Wishing you all the best,


  3. I haven’t done much camping, but I’d like to try camping in the middle of nowhere, in a forest. Just me and the nature, that would do wonders. Lighting fire is something I can’t do, though. Sometimes it’s not even allowed if it’s a dry summer.

    It would be interesting to know, what is on the camping list checklist. What are the essential items you should take with you when you go camping?

    • Hi Kirsti,

      Fortunately, I was with my sister-in-law, who is one of the most organized people I know, so I had a list of the items I had to take along.

      My sleeping bag, pillows (have to use my own pillows, it is just something I love to do.)

      Everyone has different tastes, coffee was a must for me. As we were not camping in the wilds but in a camping site in a town, everything we needed foodwise was readily available.

      Found it essential to take a track-suit to wear when going to the ablution block in the early morning, Make sure you always have toilet paper. If you are camping in the forest, you will need to find out whether or not you are allowed to make fires. 

      If you are back-packing, take the lightest clothing, but must have warmth, good sleeping bag, and I would not go alone.

      Kind regards,


  4. Hi Jill,

    Wow, what an adventure! It seems that you and your family had so much fun!

    We are planning a trip to South Africa next year, and we are not sure if booking a hotel or going on a camping trip. The pictures are beautiful, it made me want to get there already:) I love South Africa, what a beautiful country. Can’t wait to be there. 

    Is there a link that leads to the company that rent caravans so I can check what is available, I prefer not to speak on the phone before I see pictures and info.

    Thank you for this great post!

    • Hi Daniella,

      How lovely that you will be visiting our shores next year. It depends on what you really want to see when you come over to South Africa. 

      Many visitors come to see the wild-life and go to the game reserves. There are many to choose from.

      I would advise you to google the South African information bureau and tell them what your requirements are and then see what they send you.

      One of the great pleasures of any trip is the planning. May I wish you a very happy stay when you do come over.

      Thank you for reading my post and the comments.

      Kind regards,


  5. Hello Jill,

    Sounds like the camping trip via the caravan was quite the adventure. I haven’t been on a camping trip in a very long time and remember going with my parents and aunts and uncles but our trips were usually close and for 2 days over the weekends. Leave with the traffic and come back with the traffic.

    Anyway, curious about what you would eat and drink as you did not mention that in your campinglistchecklist. I am a type 2 diabetic and I am very particular about my food, so for the last couple of years I eat at home and on a very specific diet to manage my diabetes.

    What do you think?


    • Hi Jimmy, Thank you so much for commenting on the camping expedition. It was such a lot of fun.

      My sister-in-law and I took turns to cook and clean up. Due to experiencing rather a lot of wind it wasn’t always possible to cook meat on the braai (barbecue).

      We had health rusks with coffee for breakfast. Cheese, pickled onions, gherkins, etc. for lunch and cooked a full meal of meat, sweet potatoes, and always included a mixed green salad for supper.

      I am sorry to hear about your diabetes. It does make choices more difficult.

      Wishing you all the best and better health.

      Kind regards,




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