Thinking of ways to beat the boredom blues? How about switching things up and going on a fun camping trip? If you don’t quite know where to start, we’ve compiled a list of 16 camping hacks from camping permits to telescopes for stargazing, projectors for an outdoor movie – and everything else you might need to know before you embark on your camping adventure in Singapore!
1. Apply for a free camping permit
Camping in Singapore is free, and all you have to do is apply on the gov.sg website for a permit two weeks in advance. You’re allowed to book a maximum of four days per month to camp per person, and do note that your camp has to be five metres away from other camps so as to prevent overcrowding. There might be occasional checks, so make sure you have your permit ready.
2. Pick the right camping spot
Picking the right camping spot is important, especially since you’re going to spend a significant amount of time at your campsite. First, establish what kind of camping experience you want to have: roughing it out in the outdoors, casual camping with modern comforts, or a luxe ‘glamping’ vibe. Whichever style you prefer, there’s a campsite for everyone! There are four official camping spots you can book a permit for in Singapore – Pulau Ubin, East Coast Park, Pasir Ris Park, and West Coast Park.
Did you know that you can spend the night on Pulau Ubin? You can pick from three campsites — Endut Senin, Mamam, and Jelutong.
The Endut Senin campsite is located in a grassy area surrounded by forest. There are toilets near the campsite, and it’s further from the sea, ideal for those who prefer a more enclosed space to camp in.
Mamam is located next to the sea, bordered by a rail and trees, ensuring more privacy. There’s a campfire at the Mamam campsite, so you can roast smores by the campfire. Adding to the atmosphere are the rumours that Pulau Ubin is haunted, so here’s where you can share ghost stories and scare your friends.
Lastly, the Jelutong campsite is perfect for those who want an authentic camping experience but still want to be closer to civilisation. Located just a 10-minute walk from the jetty, the campsite faces the sea and is just beside Butterfly Hill, home to various animals and adorable butterflies, so if you love observing wildlife, this one’s for you.
East Coast Park
One of the most popular camping and picnic spots in Singapore, East Coast Park is well-known for its large stretch of beach and cycling paths. You can’t go wrong camping here – it’s a perfect spot for those new to camping! There are two areas you can camp in: Area D and Area G. Getting here is pretty convenient too, with bus services that stop right alongside the beach.
Area D sits right beside a 5.4-hectare cycling park, which has both amateur and professional circuits, so you can go night cycling. There’s also a kids’ play garden in the area which will keep the kids occupied for hours, and a toilet in case you need it!
For a camping experience by the sea, pitch your tent at Area G, a spot filled with plenty of BBQ pits for those who want to have a barbeque with friends. Toilets are also available near the campsite, so you can even shower after your party.
Pasir Ris Park
Easties, here’s a camping spot you’ll love: Pasir Ris Park, conveniently located next to Downtown East and Wild Wild Wet, is a great spot for your BBQ needs, alongside plenty of activities that’ll keep the kids occupied!
Right outside Downtown East is Area 1, a popular spot with BBQ pits, playgrounds, and ample toilets. It is also located in close proximity to the main mall that you can retreat to in case of a heavy downpour. Running low on BBQ essentials, snacks, and drinks? Hit up the NTUC FairPrice in Downtown East.
Head deeper in and you’ll find Area 3 with a sea view, plenty of BBQ pits, convenient toilets and shelters, and even a halal restaurant (Rasa Istimewa Restaurant).
West Coast Park
West Coast Park may have just one camping area, but there are plenty of amenities and facilities including the likes of playgrounds, boardwalks, nature walks (for animal spotting, perhaps) and a McDonald’s, just to name a few. If you enjoy camping with conveniences at your doorstep, West Coast Park is the spot for you!
3. Get a foldable tent
If you’re camping with one other person and dread setting up a complicated tent, consider foldable tents (from S$24.90) instead, which can be easily purchased online or at most sports stores. You can get various configurations of foldable tents depending on who you’re camping with, and the best part is they’re portable and easy to manoeuvre – definitely one of the most important camping hacks to conside when planning to go camping!
4. Bring camping lights
Your tent might be a little dim, but all you have to do to fix this is attach a camping light (from S$6.98) to the top of the interior and you’ve got a cosy space to snuggle up in. You’ll be able to find your way back easily in the dark, and if you want extra mood lighting, a camping lantern will come in handy!
5. Choose a good sleeping bag
Sleeping bags are arguably the most important part of the camping experience, so make sure to invest in a good one! A sleeping bag (from S$15.90) should be made out of lightweight material with good insulation so that you can carry it around easily, and also have plenty of room for you to snuggle up in. A small air mattress will also come in handy if you need extra back support.
6. Go early
There are bound to be plenty of eager campers on the same beach or park, so come early to secure your spot! We’ve been told camping spots fill up early, so it’s best to be prepared in case you arrive to a full house, especially on weekends.
7. Get a portable camping stove
If you want the rustic experience of cooking your own food in the great outdoors, there are portable camping stoves (from S$28.60) you can easily whip up a meal with. Definitely one of the camping hacks you would have a ton of fun with – all you need is a reusable camping stove, a frying pan or a pot to heat up or prepare your ingredients in, and you’re good to go.
8. Prepare what you can in advance
Thinking of having eggs in the morning (an easy omelette or some sunny side-ups?) but afraid they’ll crack along on the journey to the campsite? You can pre-crack your eggs in advance and store them in an airtight bottle. All you have to do is pour the egg mix on the frying pan and you’re all set! Chopping up the ingredients you need in advance saves time too, so the camping experience is likely to proceed smoothly without a hitch.
9. Find a campsite along food places
If you can’t cook to save your life and want something convenient, pick a campsite located near food places. There are plenty of food options at the various campsites, like McDonald’s and hawker centres, ideal for those who just want to soak in the camping atmosphere without having to worry about preparing their own food.
10. Quick camp stove meals
Here are some quick and unique meal ideas you can’t go wrong with:
Japanese Curry Rice
Most supermarkets sell rice (both the freshly cooked and instant version) and instant Japanese curry mix packs you can bring to your campsite – just heat up pre-made Japanese curry on the stove and you’re good to go!
This one’s easy – all you have to do is prepare salsa, diced tomatoes, onions, ground beef, or any other ingredients you prefer and make tacos. Everything can be prepared in advance, and the only thing you have to do is buy tortillas, warm them up, and enjoy!
Canned food, like sardines and canned beans, are especially useful in a pinch; they can be easily heated up for a fuss-free meal that won’t break the bank. It’s both a lightweight and convenient option for those that don’t want to think too much about their next meal.
What do you do when there are no toilets at your campsite? Adapt, improvise, overcome … we’re kidding. But you can make the best out of your bathroom situation with these handy tips and tricks.
11. Bring enough toilet paper
If you’re going camping, always bring enough toilet paper and wet wipes in case of emergencies (though its not one of the most important camping hacks, but more of a necessity). Keep your essentials dry and clean by storing them in a Ziploc bag — easy and fuss-free.
12. Use portable toilet bags
Need to use the bathroom in the middle of the night but have no toilets nearby? Daiso has portable toilet bags (from S$3.14) that make for a clean and odourless experience (and they can be easily disposed of without making a mess).
13. Wash your hair with dry shampoo
Believe it or not, you don’t have to compromise on hygiene while camping. Keep greasy hair at bay with dry shampoo (from S$14.60), which are available in most Watsons and Guardian stores. And of course, make sure to bring plenty of wet wipes and/or travel-sized shower products with you.
14. Bring a portable projector
For the ultimate camping experience, why not bring a portable projector (from S$79) and project your favourite Netflix shows on your tent as you settle in for the night? You can find portable projectors which can last 2 and a half hours without a charge, just as long as most movie runtimes.
15. Go stargazing
For both amateur and professional astronomers, camping is also the best time to go stargazing, given that you’ll be sleeping under the stars. And if you bring a telescope (from S$37), you might be able to count yourself lucky and get a cool view of planets, meteor showers, and the occasional blood moon.
16. Go on a beach walk during low tide
Low tide is the best time to go to the beach, as you can see plenty of marine creatures scuttling about the tide pools. Remember to be careful if you’re going on an intertidal walk, and treat marine life with care!
The most important thing to remember while camping is to have fun – take chances, get messy, and make memories. As long as you’re having fun, you’re doing great! So, why not take a short camping trip sometime soon and use these camping hacks!
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