Expedition 134 Box with Food

Camp scavengers

Most of us have been there and done that and had an experience with wildlife wandering into our campsite on a bit of a hunt for scraps. Some of these experiences can be with cute little animals and birds, whilst others can be outright frustrating, provide a bit of a fright, or worse, serious injury. Camping in Australia often means protecting your food from a range of native wildlife, from ants and goannas to the determined dingo. Struggling to keep animals out of your camping food? Here are some tried-and-tested ways to secure your food from animals while camping.

Ants

plastic cup thrown on the beach and full of ants

The biggest problem from our camping experiences is often the smallest critter in the outback: the humble ant. Yes, these pesky little buggers get into everything if given half a chance. In some places of this fantastic countryside, the ants can be so bad that one is tempted to pack up and move to another location. Especially if they enjoy biting.

Besides using bug spray directly on the ants, you may need a bit more of a proactive approach if things are getting real. A 1:1 vinegar and water mix was what my mum always used and it seemed to work pretty well as a deterrent when sprayed around the food preparation areas.

If you are camped right on or next to an ant colony and nothing is working, then you may need to revert to the old mix of borax and sugar solution to try and thin them out a little. Boiling water also works to some degree, but remember that ants have one thing in mind: find food for the colony.

Keeping a clean camp and securing your food in properly sealed containers is really the best thing you can do. Clip seal bags, an esky and properly sealing storage boxes like the Expedition134 help the most.

Goannas/Monitor Lizards

Monitor Lizard

Goannas, or monitors, are another common bush scavenger that have no hesitation wandering into your camp looking for food. Lace monitors and sand monitors are the most common and can grow up to two metres long. With sharp claws and teeth, these lizards shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Encounters with goannas are quite common anywhere in the outback, especially if you are occupying a campsite where the bins are often full for days and the goannas have become used to humans. For the most part, they can be ignored and will wander through or past your camp looking for food. They eat almost anything and will get into your rubbish or open food boxes in a heartbeat if your items are left lying around.

These large lizards need to be treated with caution as there is not much that will deter them if they are no longer afraid of humans. A good-sized dog might be the only exception here, but don’t be surprised if a large one makes a meal out of your fluffy handbag dog either. If you corner one, they can and will bite and have sharp claws, so be cautious if you have to extract one from your tent!

Keeping your food and rubbish in plastic storage boxes with secure latches can effectively deter goannas and monitors from attempting to scavenge through your campsite. Make sure your latches have been closed correctly every time you leave your campsite.

Birds

Bird on a trash can

Scavenging birds are probably the least of your problems, but can and will create quite a mess of anything left out while you are not in camp.

Crows are probably the main offenders here. Very intelligent, they are pretty hard to fool or sneak up on. The only way to deal with crows or other birds is to be proactive and not leave out tempting items, including the rubbish bag. If you do, and the crows are watching, it’s quite likely you will end up with rubbish strewn all over your camp or your planned dinner somewhere on the ground ripped to shreds.

To avoid this, we recommend leaving your rubbish bags, or any plastic bags for that matter, securely stored in your tent, car or a secure box when you’re away from your campsite.

Dingoes

Dingo on Camera

Dingoes shouldn’t be confused with wild dogs, as these are two separate species in Australia. However, they will both take any opportunity to scavenge food from your campsite if given half a chance.

Native Australian dingoes are normally quite timid around humans, but they can be very bold in places where they have become accustomed to finding food amongst humans. Dingoes are extremely intelligent and opportunistic, and have been known to attack small children without adult supervision.

Dingoes are also clever enough to open containers that are not latched down, if they know there is food inside. Queensland’s Fraser Island is a dingo conservation area and according to the Qld National Parks and Wildlife, may soon become home to the purest remaining strains of dingo populations in Australia.

Fraser Island is also a hugely popular tourist destination and a place where dingoes can be seen in the wild nearly every day. You have to be very vigilant on Fraser Island and know the rules when it comes to encounters with dingoes. In particular, you need to keep any food securely stored and not provide a situation where the temptation for a dingo is just too great.

Dingoes have been known to open latches on boxes, so it’s best to invest in a storage box with multiple heavy duty latches, such as the Expedition 134. You can also loop an occy strap around your box or esky or stack multiple boxes on top of one another for extra security. Definitely don’t leave rubbish bags around your campsite if dingoes are present and dispose of your fish remains as soon as you’ve filleted them.

Keep Your Food Safe & Secure from Animals

If there is one recurring theme here, it’s about being proactive and keeping a clean camp with your food and rubbish both secured where scavengers can’t access them. This is not only for the sake of us as campers enjoying the outback, but also for the safety of our native wildlife.

Welcome to Expedition 134

We’re excited to introduce the new Expedition 134 website, the new home for Open Sky Touring.

This change is another step in our journey to consolidate our branding and name in the marketplace.

While things might look different, the passion to make the toughest and most functional gear possible hasn’t.