Self Sufficient - Camping Without Facilities

What You Need to Camp Without Facilities

What does it mean when people running trips advise;

‘Be fully self-sufficient for the whole weekend/trip’

Many time’s you may have read or heard that you had to be fully self-sufficient for the trip, so let’s clarify just what people are going on about.

Camping off the grid without facilities requires reliable gear & some preparation. If you are self-sufficient, you can easily save several hundred dollars a week in camping fees alone.

Here, we look at what it takes to be a self-sufficient camper, which allows you to camp in places where the facilities are lacking, or non-existent. Staying at campsites without facilities - or bush camping as it’s known, are often the most remote, beautiful and memorable camping experiences you can have. Not all of them have running water, flushing toilets and hot showers. In fact, many have none of the above!


Water has to be your first thought and highest priority when travelling through and staying in areas where you are required to be self-sufficient. Water is necessary for cleaning gear and yourself, not to mention for hydration and cooking. You will need between 5-10 litres of water per person, per day while bush camping.

Sometimes you can get water from creeks and rivers, and this is easily used for dish washing and showers (Remember to bring a bucket). For drinking water, fill your jerry cans at home or purchase smaller water filled bottles. Some people split their water storage into drinking and non-drinking containers. Whatever the case, take enough clean drinking water and some more in case something goes wrong.


The food you eat when camping is going to be slightly different to what you have at home. Some food lasts a long time, and others will perish quickly. Long-term bush camping isn’t difficult without refrigerated goods, but for those who like a choice, an esky or a fridge is a must. Ice in esky’s will only last so long, which makes powered refrigeration an alternate option if you want to enjoy secluded locations. A variety of 12V and gas fridges are available options and open your food choices up substantially.

There are as many ways to cook as there are recipes when camping. Basics will be a stove of some sort & be sure to bring spare gas. When camp cooking on an open fire is an option, make sure you bring a good set of welding gloves, a long solid hook & a shovel, along with your choice of cooking pots/pans/grills to suit your menu. Don’t forget to bring your cooking utensils, plates, cups etc.

12V power & lighting

12V power is available in battery/generator/solar options these days and you can run a wide variety of gear off-grid without much difficulty. People find having some sort of power is a necessity when camping for extended periods to have greater independence off-road.

Lighting is essential to get you around camp safely at night, lighting up your cooking area & ensure you can see what you are eating. Headlamps, Lanterns and LED strip lighting are common options. These days we have access to quality and efficient lighting at an affordable price.


2 options here when the location is lacking a drop toilet of some sort, which is very common. It’s not that hard, but it’s something that people need to turn their attention to, as it’s becoming a massive problem out bush.

The simplest and cheapest option is to dig a hole and do your business in it. You need a shovel, some toilet paper and a bit of time. Dig it at least 30cm deep, make sure all toilet paper is well buried (or burnt if safe to do so), and cover it in. Don’t go near creeks, rivers or lakes and populated walkways, and make sure it’s left clean.

A huge array of portable toilets are available from many suppliers & do improve comfort whilst camping. Don’t leave it too long before you empty them upon your return home & never put your used toilet paper in them.

Shower/bathing facilities

If you can get clean water from a creek or river, you won’t have any issues having a shower or wash. When water is short, just use a flannel and bucket to clean yourself or alternatively try some baby wipes to get you through.

The cheap solar shower bags work reasonably well when the temperature is above 25 degrees, you can also pre-heat some water & fill the bag (Check the temp first). Other options are hot water on demand units, make sure you bring extra water.


You have to be warm/dry/cool when camping. Dress & pack appropriately. Bring clothing to suit the location you’re going to and make sure your sleeping bag is rated low enough in winter. A campfire is not always possible, so don’t rely on having access to one to keep warm. Be prepared for any changes in the weather & bring a spare set just in case. Check the forecast before you set off from home.


The camping options are endless. These days there is a massive choice of tents & swags available on the market. Other options are roof top tents, camper trailers, hybrids and caravans. All options vary hugely in price and features, so get something that suits your needs and budget.

There are a huge amount of websites containing additional information in relation to this topic, many with tips & tricks on keeping things simple to free up more of your valuable time for camping etc.

NOTE: Topic is a general guide only & is not a comprehensive list. No responsibility taken for any items missed.

(Submitted by member - Karen Gray)