Now that our borders are closed, more and more Aussies are getting the chance to explore the great outdoors, soaking in the sun, sand and surf, topped with a few laughs along the way. Camping has picked up in popularity in recent years, and manufacturers and retailers are expanding their product line-up to meet ever-growing customer needs. Besides the obvious trailer and caravan equipment, to make your outdoor experience memorable and more enjoyable, you’ll need a few extras that bring the comfort of home to your camping doorstep.
Once you’re settled in and set up your awning, there are a few things to help you transform your outdoor settings. These include privacy screens, various types of caravan matting, and additional screens and covers, to keep you both protected from outside elements, and create the ambience you want.
To help keep away prying eyes, and add a little shade and wind protection, you can add a privacy screen to your caravan or camp trailer awning. Privacy screens can be fitted to the front edge of the awning and come with eyelets that are pegged securely in the ground. Side privacy screens fit at either end of the awning edges, and they too can be pegged down. Once you’re done, you’ve created a little space to keep things private, especially when caravan parks get particularly busy.
Privacy screens come in varying lengths to fit any camping vehicle, from pop-tops to full-blown RVs. They fit easily to any camper. Once out of the bag, just give them a gentle shake and thread them through the awning leads. Privacy screens are made of durable materials, with reinforced edges to prevent fraying or tears, and D-points and pegs for a tight, secure fit. Installed properly, they won’t budge.
A privacy screen is the ideal camping accessory. If you’re after something to keep you protected from the harmful UV rays of the harsh Aussie sun, keep out insects and excess wind or rain, while at the same time giving you the comfort to wind down, then this is it.
To complete the look of your little space, you’ll need some kind of matting. Installing a caravan mat in front of your caravan should keep things inside clean and free from dirt, sand and water. Mats also should be easy on the feet, and sustain comfortable temperatures throughout the day, no matter how hot it is.
Most caravan parks don’t allow tarps for matting purposes, since they easily kill the underlying grass. Thankfully, manufacturers produce various types of caravan matting that is safe for you and the environment. With their special meshing, they provide enough breathability and sunlight for the grass below, while at the same time remove any collected sand or liquids. This is especially important for caravan parks around coastal areas where sand may be an issue, or in the case of accidental spills or heavy rain. With a caravan mat in place, you get a clean, non-slip surface, ideal for going barefoot in any situation.
As with privacy screens, caravan mats come in various sizes, covering the full length of your vehicle, and providing enough space for any camping furniture and additional camping equipment. You’ll find the right size to suit your needs.
Cheaper multi-purpose annex floor matting made from ultra-light foamed PVC is lightweight, yet durable enough to stand a beating. They don’t need pegging, but they still have enough stability to avoid any curling. Foamed PVC mats provide a comfortable non-slip surface, smoothing out any rough surfaces underneath. Ideal, if you have kids running about.
If you’re a frequent camper, you might be better off with dual-layered synthetic caravan mats. They have comparable comfort to PVC foam mats but are generally heavier. They are made of materials able to withstand long exposure to sun and rain and have better sand, dirt and water removal. Dual-layered annex caravan mats provide better durability and stability and are usually pegged down. They are sold with compatible D-rings and heavy-duty pegs in convenient carry bags. Though a little more expensive, they’ll also last longer.
Caravan mats are easily cleaned from any sand, grass or anything else that might get caught in the weave. Just give them a good shake, and hose down anything remaining.
Besides for matting purposes, caravan mats can also be used as a substitute for privacy screens or windbreaks, since they offer decent UV and wind protection.
To give you added convenience, there are other items that may come in handy. Insect nets keep mozzies and flies out, and the kids happy during hot, humid nights. They fit most caravan and camp trailer doors and windows and are easily removed when not needed. Caravan and RV covers provide added protection for your expensive camping investment, shielding from the elements when not in use. Their detachable segments also double as makeshift awnings if the need arises.
Buying and Maintaining Outdoor Camping Accessories
You can find privacy screens, caravan mats, insect screens and caravan covers at major camping chains or small, family-owned stores. Both offer online orders, ideal when you’re in a hurry to get going on your next camping adventure. Items usually ship within 24 hours of payment. Smaller stores will generally give you better advice as to what you need or suggest alternatives at a similar price point.
If you’re conscious about your buying choices, there are several brands that either manufacture locally or design their camping accessories in Australia. Though they might be a little more expensive, they’re usually of higher quality and offer extended warranties on your purchase.
When buying privacy screens and caravan mats, consider the length of your camper and the awning. How many screens do you need? Do you need any replacements? What are the conditions in the caravan park? Will you set up your caravan near water or sand? Though generally durable, privacy screens and caravan mats may tear or fray under prolonged use, especially when exposed to the sun.
Consider also buying replacement D-rings and pegs if any are damaged, so they’ll be no billowing in stronger wind. As for insect screens, they are relatively cheap, but a handy item to have at all times. And covers may come in as an expensive accessory, but nice to have in the long run, to protect your caravan, camper, or RV when exposed to bad weather.