Camping for the 2020 Season

skull

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Well, we collected it on Friday and just spent the weekend having our first van life experience up at The Entrance. So much more luxury than the tent life.

Back home after our first adventure.JPG
BlueSki styles.jpg
Does your car have a kitchen?.JPG
Home and just fits.JPG
Ice creams the mobile house..JPG


 

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Jacko4650

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Awesome set up Skull. Camping on a new level. Plenty of time to practice putting those snow chains on.
 
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Jacko4650

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Is a 4motion, so AWD. Going to get some winter wheels with winter tyres on them and hopefully not need to put chains on unless it is serious business weather.
Much more betterer. From memory, you prefer the Thredbo Valley camps rather than Island Bend, so not quite as knarly when snow and ice become a problem. I am very happy with how my snow-rated tyres (Continental I think?) work in the winter.
 

Moondog55

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I've been thinking that I might just have one more white season left in me; even if I can't afford a lift pass I can still ski the back county on my touring gear. As the lavvu still hasn't sold I might drag that and the stove out to Pretty Valley for one last trip
 

Jacko4650

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Have purchased back-up parts for my diesel heater, which makes 'camping' a pleasure during the Alpine winter. Problem is that the Qld temperatures are so hot, even at night, that the heater will not work as the thermostat turns it straight off. Other than trying it in a large freezer, I will have to wait a few months.
 

coolair

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Starting prep for this season, pulled out the Avan to check over after 6 months in the garage, needs a new water pump, maby 2 with the shower, heater and fridge working, snow chains need another link for easyer fitting, Daughter just brought a board set up so we look like getting season passes now.
Put the jug on Jacko.
 

nezumi

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I'm starting to consider the option of camping for future trips. What are people's thoughts on campervans/motorhomes vs camper trailers/caravans vs tent based camping?

If staying at Island Bend, how much hassle is it to pack up a campervan each day for the drive up to Guthega?

@skull, how did you decide on things like internal shower/toilet/etc? I'll be in a similar position in the future of having 2 small humans to take to the snow, plus possibly one full size person.
 
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Jacko4650

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There are pros and cons for everything. @skull's experience this season will be invaluable but there are plenty of regulars in mid sized vans (Ford Transit, Mercedes Sprinter etc) that camp regularly. Campervans have to be packed each day for transport and unless they are 4WD you may need to considered chains as a matter of course. Getting from Island bend to Perisher is pretty easy, but Guthega is far more difficult on an icy day. The road above the Power station is dirt, so it can also get a bit rough and through a lot of mud all over your vehicle.
Camper-trailers are only any good if you can get a VERY secure spot to protect from the crazy winds (think 100+klms regularly). I recall a year where I was lifted off the ground in mine (a little unsettling).
Vans are tricky to tow in snow and ice and can be very hard to get up small hills into the camping area. Last year was carnage on occasion, with lots of people being pulled out and others wisely parking on the side of the road to avoid trouble.
The van permits you to have your living space separate to your snow transport - so most ski gear stays in the vehicle, ready to go the next morning. Outdoor BYO hot showers are OK in short doses, but if you stay for long you will wish you spent the extra on an internal shower. Water must be collected, so you always need plenty of large water containers - you either get from the Snowy River nearby or at taps in Jindy. The other option is to consider camping in one of the campsites up toward Thredbo, the one just up from the Tube means you can use the Tube if road conditions go belly up?
There is lots to consider and there will be lots of costs - best to think long term and aim for it - perhaps compromising on a few things until the budget permits. The money you save on accommodation goes a long way though when you do the math.
Good luck.
 

Jacko4650

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Starting prep for this season, pulled out the Avan to check over after 6 months in the garage, needs a new water pump, maby 2 with the shower, heater and fridge working, snow chains need another link for easyer fitting, Daughter just brought a board set up so we look like getting season passes now.
Put the jug on Jacko.
Remember the shower will not work late in the day and into the evening due to water pipes freezing and sometimes splitting at the joiners. Water pumps can also freeze up and not work or burn out if your turn them on.
 

Moondog55

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Maybe add a few star stakes and some strong guy ropes for tiedown purposes although I am coming around to the idea of using ratchet straps rather than rope, a decent sledgehammer or blocksplitter helps to drive in a picket too.
As the Bosses idea of "Roughing it" means 3star accommodation not 5star I may have wasted my money on the new tents, so I am buying lottery tickets in the hope of financing a small caravan
 

coolair

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Remember the shower will not work late in the day and into the evening due to water pipes freezing and sometimes splitting at the joiners. Water pumps can also freeze up and not work or burn out if your turn them on.
Thats why i need to replace the pump, looking at fitting a drainage valve , have a few monthsto sort out.
 
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skull

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how did you decide on things like internal shower/toilet/etc? I'll be in a similar position in the future of having 2 small humans to take to the snow, plus possibly one full size person.
I don't have experience with camping at the Bend.

We usually stay at Diggings or Ngarigo as we ski Thredbo. They have showers at the pool, which you can access (be it as part of your season pass or pay as you go). So we would finish up a day skiing, go to the pool and swim, then shower. We would then either head back to camp to cook dinner or eat at one of the restaurants at the village.

For your question of campervan vs trailer vs tent. We started with tent, our biggest issue was wind so we would have to watch the forecasts and plan accordingly and be prepared to leave if it got bad (we did once last season). The rain was another issue, arriving Friday night and it is raining, I would get soaked setting up then sit there in the tent cold and miserable. Hence the van now, we haven't done a ski season with it yet but in terms of bad weather we are a bit better. The issue now is when we leave for a day on the slopes when we would have just jumped in the car and then back to the tent after the day we need to pack up the roof, set the seat back up and then drive. Also losing our spot if someone else comes in.

trailer and caravan were off the list as I didn't want to tow them every weekend and we live in an apartment.

Drying gear with tent wasn't too bad. We would leave jackets on the heated seats driving back down, and gloves on the dash with heater going. Although some mornings stuff was cold/damp. We had spares for that.
 

telecrag

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Van life is not bad, you will work on your routine. I have a set routine to get everything ready for transit, while the defrost is going. Be more complicated for you (unless flying solo), but same principle. It will take a few trips.
 
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skifree

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I don't have experience with camping at the Bend.

We usually stay at Diggings or Ngarigo as we ski Thredbo. They have showers at the pool, which you can access (be it as part of your season pass or pay as you go). So we would finish up a day skiing, go to the pool and swim, then shower. We would then either head back to camp to cook dinner or eat at one of the restaurants at the village.

For your question of campervan vs trailer vs tent. We started with tent, our biggest issue was wind so we would have to watch the forecasts and plan accordingly and be prepared to leave if it got bad (we did once last season). The rain was another issue, arriving Friday night and it is raining, I would get soaked setting up then sit there in the tent cold and miserable. Hence the van now, we haven't done a ski season with it yet but in terms of bad weather we are a bit better. The issue now is when we leave for a day on the slopes when we would have just jumped in the car and then back to the tent after the day we need to pack up the roof, set the seat back up and then drive. Also losing our spot if someone else comes in.

trailer and caravan were off the list as I didn't want to tow them every weekend and we live in an apartment.

Drying gear with tent wasn't too bad. We would leave jackets on the heated seats driving back down, and gloves on the dash with heater going. Although some mornings stuff was cold/damp. We had spares for that.
Shower, swim shower.
 
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skull

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anyone got recommendations for purchasing and installing a diesel heater in a van in Canberra or Q-town?
 
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skull

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oh and recommended wheel and tyre sellers for snow tyres.
 

Snow Blowey

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Van life is not bad, you will work on your routine. I have a set routine to get everything ready for transit, while the defrost is going. Be more complicated for you (unless flying solo), but same principle. It will take a few trips.


Theres a big difference between solo van life and 3 person van life! I'm guessing its even worse with 4 person van life. Small doses only to save the relationship. Single van life is luxury.
 

Dropbear

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I'll be up for some car camping this season, in the back of the 4wd.

My main query is how to dry snowboard boots? They usually get damp inside most days - even sunny days - from water seeping in. Not too much of a drama when you can pull the liners and soles and and leave them in a drying room, but in a car? (I'm only thinking of driving between Perisher / Guthega and Island Bend for the most part, which probably isn't enough drying time in front of the car heater).

Also, I like Skull's routine using the Thredbo pool. Are there any similar options for accessing showers at Perisher - without going all the way down to Jindy every day?
 

Sage Oya

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I'll be up for some car camping this season, in the back of the 4wd.

My main query is how to dry snowboard boots? They usually get damp inside most days - even sunny days - from water seeping in. Not too much of a drama when you can pull the liners and soles and and leave them in a drying room, but in a car? (I'm only thinking of driving between Perisher / Guthega and Island Bend for the most part, which probably isn't enough drying time in front of the car heater).

Also, I like Skull's routine using the Thredbo pool. Are there any similar options for accessing showers at Perisher - without going all the way down to Jindy every day?

Some electronic boot dryers will help dry them. With snowboard boots though they may not fully dry overnight as they typically get a lot wetter than ski boots.

Sidas make some that work well imo and can be connected to a large power bank or 12v source.

https://www.ski.com.au/xf/threads/sidas-drywarmer-pro-usb-boot-dryers.85037/#post-3947625
 
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nezumi

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My main query is how to dry snowboard boots? They usually get damp inside most days - even sunny days - from water seeping in. Not too much of a drama when you can pull the liners and soles and and leave them in a drying room, but in a car? (I'm only thinking of driving between Perisher / Guthega and Island Bend for the most part, which probably isn't enough drying time in front of the car heater).

I can't comment on efficacy, but I have seen these advertised a few times now: https://www.drysure.co/

They are essentially overgrown versions of the "freshness" sachets that you get in shoes/electronics which absorb moisture. They might do the job, especially if you can leave them on the dash in full sun while parked to allow them to dry out themselves?
 
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Donzah

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You guys that camp in the park. Particulary with RV type setups. Do you have any provision for Grey Water disposal from your camp?
 
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coolair

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You guys that camp in the park. Particulary with RV type setups. Do you have any provision for Grey Water disposal from your camp?
Lucky to put out 5L for a weekend, take any dirty cooking stuff home to the dishwasher, damp cloth wash.
Could be an issue in some sites or long term if drain pipes are not spread around, any food type waste in discharge
Wont be there in the morning.
 
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Jacko4650

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anyone got recommendations for purchasing and installing a diesel heater in a van in Canberra or Q-town?
There are two types of diesel heaters - the European made ones which are very expensive and the Chinese ones which are very cheap.
You can buy about 10 chinese ones for the same price, so my tip is to buy 2 - one to install and the other to swap in when the first one fails! Camping with diesel heaters in sub-zero, high altitude conditions is generally trial and error until you get the hang of it. I'm on my third one but too keep it going without incident, I have to bring in diesel from outside cold areas where fuel companies add either heating oil or kerosene to prevent freezing - hence, it's called winter diesel or alpine diesel. Kerosene is approx 3 times the price of diesel, heating oil is not, so guess which one is the primary additive???? This is OK for you car which has moving parts and can easily account for the oilier additive, but diesel heaters are merely combustion chambers (no pistons etc) and the extra oil produce a lot of soot/carbon. Eventually, the soot stops the heater from working properly (usually during a classic Snowy Mountains blizzard!).
Altitude also affects the 'burning' characteristics (higher alt = less oxygen) and this too can cause problems because things burn differently. Some smart cookies buy special controllers to adjust air to fuel ratios and all that, but I have found that if you use "normal" (ie: not alpine or winter) diesel mixed with 15% kerosene everything burns about right, producing sensational, low-cost heat without sooting up and failing. It is luxury in the wilderness!
If this scenario sounds daunting rather than a challenge, consider a gas heater which costs circa $2000-$2500 fitted - but there are no such issues.
Good luck.
 

JeremyG

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Bit late to the party here but for the benefit of others I don’t think you need the four season tent, great sleeping bags etc, particularly if staying on a powered site in Jindabyne.

As for tent, the taller the tent the more likely it will be impacted by wind. However, with exception of the worst nights it will survive provided it is well pegged including the guides with door facing out of the wind. You will need good pegs. The tent will be noisy, move a lot and the roof will bend in but with a few people in it, you won’t go anywhere. The tent collapses I have seen over past seasons have been unattended tents, typically not properly pegged out.

There occasions when the winds get 100km plus in Jindabyne. Generally there are strong wind warnings - probably not a great time to camp but nor is it a good time to ski, the beauty of camping is that you have more flexibility to pick the weekends.

As for warmth, great if you have a four season bag. But you can also use an average bag with a donna on top, an electric blanket is also great. Beanie really helps keep the head toasty. An oil heater is also a good addition and will help dry your clothes. Remember most nights in Jindy don’t get into negative temperatures and the coldest is about -7.
 

crackson

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Yeh, -5 bag with a fleece is heaps.

I've trashed multiple car carpets camping in winter and mtb'ing.

I reckon your better off to pull the carpet and underlay out of winter skibum vehicles.
 

Conkers

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When you finish your first bottle of red/vodka/whiskey for the evening, fill it up with hot water and place it at the foot of your sleeping bag. Then when you go to bed you bring it up closer to your chest. In the morning when you are feeling a little foggy you can unscrew your bottle and have a few swigs (can also wash down the panadol).
 
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crackson

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Yeh. New tires and chainguide. Also messing with air volume reducers in my 36's.

Did a cruise to bullocks and back to make sure everything felt nice for thredbo.
 
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Interruptedbyfireworks

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We just bought a Subaru XV and the back is looking quite roomy for some car camping (sleeping in the back solo) this season.

I'm thinking a foam mat for the back, maybe a hiking sleeping mat on top, decent sleeping bag and some insulating bubble wrap stuff for the windows. I'd probably only do it for 1 night (come up night before to try to avoid parking dramas) and then drive home after a day of skiing.

Am I overlooking anything?

PS how frowned upon is stealth camping at a certain overnight carpark...
 
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Sage Oya

Like the herb, cup ramen devotee
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We just bought a Subaru XV and the back is looking quite roomy for some car camping (sleeping in the back solo) this season.

I'm thinking a foam mat for the back, maybe a hiking sleeping mat on top, decent sleeping bag and some insulating bubble wrap stuff for the windows. I'd probably only do it for 1 night (come up night before to try to avoid parking dramas) and then drive home after a day of skiing.

Am I overlooking anything?

PS how frowned upon is stealth camping at a certain overnight carpark...

People were fined last season on occasions if I recall correctly. 4wd self inflating mats work well in the back of wagons and are fairly cheap.
 

Interruptedbyfireworks

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My mate who sleeps in his Nissan xtrail bought a roll of this stuff and cut it to fit all his windows. Seem to help keep the moisture down a bit, adds warmth and a bit of privacy.

https://www.clarkrubber.com.au/products/11778-formshield
That looks pretty nice. I was looking at this stuff too (though obvs would need to find an Aussie supplier, doesn't look like it ships here from my cursory look)


I found napping in the back of my car at Thredbo last year during the day to be freezing (was sleeping off a hangover before driving home LOL) so would definitely need something to cover the windows I reckon, since I am a cold sooky frog
 
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Sage Oya

Like the herb, cup ramen devotee
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Damn. @Sage Oya's videos of driving into Ngarigo have scared me right off camping there LOL

This plan probably requires more thought regarding benefits vs day tripping from Canberra

It was really only slippery going down the road to Ngarigo once last season during the big multi-day system. Rest of the time though it was fine. Worth staying overnight to avoid the extra 2 laps of the Monaro with kangaroos imo.
 

Sage Oya

Like the herb, cup ramen devotee
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That looks pretty nice. I was looking at this stuff too (though obvs would need to find an Aussie supplier, doesn't look like it ships here from my cursory look)


I found napping in the back of my car at Thredbo last year during the day to be freezing (was sleeping off a hangover before driving home LOL) so would definitely need something to cover the windows I reckon, since I am a cold sooky frog

Would by pricy id imagine to post insulation as it’s pretty bulky. I think my friend spent less than $150 to do his whole car with the Clark rubber stuff. He uses a normal sun shield for the windshield.

Can’t imagine you’d be too cold with a good mat in the back and a sleeping bag or a good doona/blankets. Could always add a hot water bottle if needed.
 

telecrag

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I bought custom coverings from some mob in QLD, bit expensive, maybe $600 for the van. I pulled all the panels off and put a insulation in behind them too, I used a foil/foam sandwich thing, which I have seen people use for windows too.

They occasionally raid the carparks, though the fine is a fraction of a nights accommodation!

Plenty of stealth locations to stay around the place though, if like me you just want peace and quiet, and are a no trace type.

it was all fine for ages, then the lets have a dance party, burn everything and leave a pile of rubbish crew started to come, and fked it for everyone.
 

Interruptedbyfireworks

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Ooh, go to ACT Foam and Rubber, and get them to cut you a custom foam mat, tell them what you want it for, mine is deadset so warm and comfy, and going strong after 8 years.
Good idea. I don't know how feasible or long term the car-camping for skiing idea is, but I do know that in my old Suzi I slept in the backseat on more occasions than I'd care to admit, so would like a more grown-up version for the more grown-up car!
 
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