Camping Good Practice Guide
Guidance for campsite set up, use and cooking.
Version 1.0 | Date 23 Sept 2019 | Details: Version one release.
Acknowledgment, disclaimer and preface
The Outdoor Council of Australia and the Australian AAS Steering Committee would respectfully like to acknowledge the Traditional Owners, their Elders past, present and emerging, for the important role Indigenous people continue to play in Australia and most especially on the land and waters used for outdoor activities and recreation.
Copyright 2019 Outdoor Council of Australia.
The information published in the Australian Adventure Activity Standard (AAAS) and accompanying Good Practice Guides (GPG’s), including this document, is for information purposes only and is not a substitute for, or intended to replace, independent, professional or legal advice. The information contained in the Australian Adventure Activity Standard and the Good Practice Guides are a guide only. Activity providers and any other person accessing the documentation should consider the need to obtain any appropriate professional advice relevant to their own particular circumstances, including the specific adventure activities and needs of the dependent participants.
The information published in the Australian Adventure Activity Standard and Good Practice Guides are subject to change from time to time. Outdoor Council of Australia gives no warranty that the information is current, correct or complete and is not a definitive statement of procedures. Outdoor Council of Australia reserves the right to vary the content of the Australian Adventure Activity Standard and/or Good Practice Guides as and when required. Activity providers should make independent inquiries as to the correctness and currency of the content and use their own skill and care with respect to their use of the information.
The Australian Adventure Activity Standard and Good Practice Guides do not replace any statutory requirements under any relevant State and Territory legislation and are made available on the express condition that Outdoor Council of Australia together with the authors, consultants, advisers and the Australian Adventure Activity Standard Steering Committee members who assisted in compiling, drafting and ratifying the documents:
- are not providing professional or legal advice to any person or organisation; and
- are not liable for any loss resulting from an action taken or reliance made on any information or material contained within the Australian Adventure Activity Standard, Good Practice Guides and associated documents.
“Adventure is worthwhile” – Aristotle
The Australian Adventure Activity Standard and Good Practice Guides are designed to ensure effective, responsible, sustainable and safe delivery of adventure activities to dependent participants. They can help people across the outdoor sector to develop appropriately managed adventure activities which enhance individuals and our communities, while protecting the environment and culturally significant places. In doing this, these documents can help ensure that people will continue to enjoy the benefits of adventure activities well into the future.
Best wishes for all your adventures.
The Australian Adventure Activity Standard Steering Committee.
The Australian Adventure Activity Standard (AAAS) and related Good Practice Guides (GPG’s) are a voluntary good-practice framework for safe and responsible planning and delivery of outdoor adventure activities with dependent participants.
The AAAS and related GPG’s provide guidance on safety and other aspects of responsible activity delivery, such as respect for the environment, cultural heritage and other users. They are not a full legal compliance guide, nor are they a “how to” guide or field manual for outdoor activities. They do not provide guidance on providing a high-quality experience over and above safe and responsible delivery.
Activity providers are encouraged to obtain independent professional and legal advice in relation to their obligations and duties in delivering adventure activities and should reference the relevant laws to the area in which they intend to undertake the adventure activity.
The AAAS and related GPG’s are specifically designed to help activity providers who are conducting activities involving dependent participants, to provide a safe and responsible experience. It is for each provider to determine based on their own individual circumstances, if they are working with dependent participants or not.
A dependent participant is a person owed a duty of care by the activity provider who is reliant upon the activity leaders for supervision, guidance or instruction to support the person’s participation in an activity. For example, this often includes participants under the age of 18, participants lacking the ability to safely undertake the activity, or participants reasonably relying on the activity provider for their safety. The degree of dependence may vary during an activity.
Considerations for determining if a person is a dependent participant may include, but is not limited to:
- the foreseeable level of competence of the participant in the activity and the associated level of reliance this creates on the activity leaders
- the level of foreseeable self-reliance of the participant to reasonably manage their own safety
- the possible variation throughout the activity of the level of reliance
- the variation of the degree of dependence throughout the activity
- the individual context, nature and circumstances of the activity
- the relevant circumstances and particular facts relating to the responsibilities assumed by the provider.
An activity provider can be any organisation – business, community group, government agency, school or any other groups – that organises and leads adventure activities. Individuals can also be an activity provider, if they have the ultimate legal duty of care to participants. In general, ‘the Standard’ and GPG’s relate to a provider as a ‘whole organisation’, rather than to ‘specific roles’ within the provider ‘organisation’.
Some providers may have their own standards or guidelines appropriate to their duty of care. It is recommended that these be reviewed periodically to ensure current duty of care expectations are met. ‘The Standard’ and ‘GPG’s’ may aid such reviews.
The AAAS and GPG’s are voluntary, not legal requirements. However, they may refer to specific laws and regulations which may be legally binding on activity providers.
While the AAAS and ‘GPG’s’ are voluntary, some land managers and other organisations may require compliance. This may be as a condition of obtaining a licence, permit or other permission, or some other condition (e.g. a contract).
Under Australian common law and relevant legislation, providers have a legal duty of care towards dependent participants in some circumstances. In broad terms, the legal duty requires providers to take reasonable care that their actions and omissions do not cause reasonably foreseeable injury to dependent participants.
The AAAS and GPG’s are not legal advice, and they cannot answer whether a legal duty exists in specific circumstances. All adventure activity providers should check what legal requirements apply in their own situation and seek legal advice if at all in doubt.
Even in cases where participants are not dependent, other legal duties and obligations may arise. The AAAS and GPG’s have not been developed for those contexts.
The AAAS (i.e. the Standard) has a related Core Good Practice Guide (Core GPG). They both include guidance that applies to all adventure activities. They set out recommendations for a common approach to risk management that can generally apply regardless of the specific activity being undertaken.
Individual activity Good Practice Guides include guidance on specific adventure activities.
For any given activity, (i) the AAAS (the Standard), (ii) the Core GPG and (iii) the activity Good Practice Guide that applies to that specific activity, should be consulted.
The AAAS and Core GPG cover only those activities specifically listed. While the AAAS and Core GPG may be useful in managing risk generally for other activities, they may not reflect good practice for such other activities.
The following words and phrases are used in all documents and have specific meanings:
- Must: used where a provision is mandatory, if the provider is to operate fully in accordance with AAAS or GPG’s. (This is equivalent to the keyword “shall” used in other voluntary standards e.g. Standards Australia, other International Standards Organisations (ISO’s) etc.)
- Should: used where a provision is recommended, not mandatory. It indicates that the provider needs to consider their specific situation and decide for themselves whether it applies or is relevant.
- Can/cannot: indicates a possibility and capability.
- May/need not: indicates a permission or existence of an option.
- But are/is not limited to: used to indicate that a list is not definitive and additional items may need to be considered depending on the context.
The following formatting is used throughout:
- Defined words are in italics. They are defined in the Glossary.
- Examples are in smaller italic 9-point font.
- In document references are in underlined. References are to section heading titles.
- External web or Australian AAS & GPG document links are in dotted underline italic.
The AAAS and GPG’s were developed with the input from a wide range of outdoors and adventure activity experts with extensive field experience. They draw on state and territory-specific standards previously in place across Australia. The development process included work by a range of technical expert working groups, as well as open consultation throughout the community of activity providers and other experts.
The Steering Committee acknowledges all the State and Territory Governments for funding the creation of the first national adventure activity standard and set of good practice guides for the sector.
Further details of the creation of the AAAS and GPG’s can be found at australianaas.org.au/about/history/
It is intended that the AAAS and GPG’s will be regularly updated to reflect changing practice and better understanding over time. Updates will be noted on the website www.australianaas.org.
Camping is the use of a temporary site in natural areas for overnight camping. This may be for one night or multiple nights.
Camping can occur in a diverse range of environments including but are not limited to:
- arid or outback
- mountain or alpine.
This activity GPG does not cover the activities involved or used in reaching the camping location.
Where the means used to reach the camping location is by an adventure activity, then the appropriate adventure activity GPG must be complied with.
For example, if camping occurs during a Bushwalking activity, then the Bushwalking GPG is also used in conjunction with this Camping GPG.
2 Management of risk
Refer to the Core Good Practice Guide – Management of risk.
2.1 Management of risk
There are no additional specific activity provisions other than Core GPG provisions.
3.1 Activity plans
Camping specific planning considerations may include but are not limited to:
- identifying suitable sites to camp
- availability of suitable drinking water
- the access to start & finish locations and throughout the activity.
- the impact of current seasonal factors
- identifying specific hazards and risks.
There are no additional specific activity provisions other than Core GPG provisions
Other environmental considerations other than climate or weather for camping may include but are not limited to:
• the type of flora expected (e.g. impeding progress, ability to cut or scratch etc.)
• the fauna expected (e.g. risks associated with venomous snakes, ants etc.).
5.2.1 Weather information
Refer Appendix 2 – Weather information.
5.2.2 Camping severe weather triggers
Trigger points must be based on the relevant Bureau of Meteorology weather warnings and actual weather conditions.
The risk management plan and emergency management plan should include guidance on trigger points and associated actions for:
- severe weather warnings
- thunderstorm warnings
- coastal waters wind warnings
- tropical cyclone advice: watch and warning
- extreme cold temperature
- extreme hot temperatures.
Actions for relevant weather may include but are not limited to:
- modification and/or evacuation to a safe location
- avoiding locations affected by tides or surf
- avoiding areas and river crossings that have the potential for flash flooding
- preparations to avoid the risks associated with blizzards
- moving to areas that are protected from strong winds
- managing risks of flying or falling items during strong winds
- moving to areas that are protected from hail
preparations to avoid the risks associated with lightning.
Camping locations likely to experience flash flooding should be avoided.
Areas likely to experience flash flooding should be avoided during severe weather or thunderstorms.
The suitability of water for drinking during and after flooding should be assessed.
Refer Core GPG – Bush fire, prescribed fire and fire danger.
Trees can drop limbs, or entire trees can fall without warning.
Measures to reduce the risk of injury from a tree or limb falling must be considered when selecting camping and sleeping locations.
Considerations when selecting camping or sleeping locations must include:
- observing any warning signage
- avoiding camping directly under trees that have unattached limbs or material suspended in its canopy
- avoiding camping directly under trees that appear to be dead or have dead limbs
- avoiding camping directly under large trees
- the potential impact of severe weather or other weather conditions on the likelihood of tree or limb falls occurring.
Also, refer to Core GPG – Tree Safety.
Procedures should be in place to minimise the risks associated with wildlife that may be encountered.
Procedures may include but are not limited to:
- staying within the limits or boundaries of camping areas where these have been defined.
Also refer to Core GPG – Environmental sustainability procedures for additional procedures.
6 Equipment and logistics
Procedures must be in place to ensure appropriate clothing for the expected and foreseeable weather conditions is available.
Procedures must be in place to ensure appropriate footwear for the expected and foreseeable terrain is available.
Procedures must be in place to ensure a personal drink supply is available.
Procedures must be in place to ensure suitable camping equipment for the context of the activity.
Refer Appendix 1 – Common equipment.
Example equipment lists can also be found in the Bushwalking GPG – Equipment appendix.
Incident data suggests that there is an elevated likelihood of incidents when cooking or using stoves.
There must be appropriate training in the use of stoves.
There must be appropriate supervision when participants use stoves or fire.
Procedures for the use of stoves or fire must include:
- establishing a cooking location and arrangement that minimises human traffic and congestion and avoids movement were users step over stoves
- having stoves located on a stable, flat and level base
- refuelling gas or liquid fuel stoves does not occur while it is still alight
- any spilt fuel during refuelling cannot be accidently ignited
- extinguishing the stove occurs before moving its location
- fuel containers being locating away from possible ignition sources
- use of suitable equipment to hold and manipulate hot cooking equipment
- passing hot equipment, water or food over any part of another person is avoided
- stove or fire users being situated to quickly avoid or move away from hazards that might burn them
- stoves or fire only being used in well ventilated spaces to prevent a build-up of toxic gas fumes.
The activity leader naming convention enables this activity GPG to be related to Core GPG requirements.
The leadership naming conventions for Camping activities may be but are not limited to:
Leader in Core GPG.
Assistant leader in Core GPG.
Where the means used to reach the camping location is by an adventure activity, then the appropriate adventure activity GPG may use a different naming convention.
This section outlines the competencies that activity leaders should have.
7.2.1 Competencies overview
The Australian Adventure Activity Standard and Good Practice Guides refers to units from the Sport, Fitness and Recreation Training Package for descriptive statements of the knowledge and skills required of activity leaders.
The Training Package units are used for the sole purpose of providing descriptions for the knowledge and skills required. It is not intended to imply or require that specific formal training, assessment or qualification is the only means of gaining or recognising knowledge and skills.
Providers can recognise activity leaders as having the ‘ability to apply knowledge and skills to achieve expected results’ (i.e. competencies) in a number of different ways as detailed in the Core GPG – Recognition of competence.
The Training Package units listed can be found by searching for the units on the training.gov.au/Home/Tga website. The code provided with the unit name assists in this search.
7.2.2 Camping competencies
Refer Appendix 3 – Leader competencies for camping activities.
7.2.3 Recognition of competence
Refer to considerations for recognition pathways outlined in Core GPG.
The following table outlines the maximum group size that should be used when leading camping.
Also refer to the Core Good Practice Guide – Recognition of competencies.
The following table outlines the supervision that should be used when Camping is the sole activity. If camping occurs as part of another adventure activity, refer to the activity GPG for the recommended supervision ratios.
Also, refer to considerations for determining supervision requirements in any relevant activity GPG and the Core GPG.
Considerations in determining if supervision requirements can be satisfactorily completed by a responsible person should include but are not limited to:
- the equipment, method and arrangements if participants are using stoves
- the ability to provide suitable emergency management
assess to additional support to address emergencies.
Incident data suggests that there is an elevated likelihood of incidents when participants are engaged in free time while at camp.
There should be appropriate supervision of participants during unstructured free time.
Procedures should be used to reduce the potential of participants becoming separated or lost.
Also refer to the Core Good Practice Guide – Recognition of competencies.
AAAS: Australian Adventure Activity Standard – See Preface for details.
Camping: the use of a temporary site for overnight camping.
Flash flooding: is flooding in a localised area with a rapid onset, usually as the result of relatively short intense bursts of rainfall.
GPGs: Good Practice Guide(s) – See Preface for details.
Trigger point: a particular circumstance or situation that causes an action to occur.
Also refer to the Core Good Practice Guide – Glossary.
The equipment required and the appropriate “type” of equipment used is dependent on the specific context of the activity.
Equipment used for camping may include but is not limited to:
- documentation (see Core GPG – Activity leader required documentation)
- emergency communication equipment (see Core GPG – Emergency communication)
- first aid kit in waterproof storage (see Core GPG – First aid equipment and medication)
- a waterproof method of storing and carrying documentation and communications equipment
- signalling device(s) (e.g. mirror, flares).
- communications equipment (standard communication rather than emergency communication where this differs) and spare batteries or backup “power banks”
- relevant maps and location information
- pen/pencil and blank writing paper
- watch or equipment suitable to tell and measure time for first aid purposes
- head torch and spare batteries
- same as for participant.
- personal medications (including for asthma and anaphylaxis)
- personal hygiene requirements
- suitable bag to store personal items
- waterproof bag liner
- water containers
- raincoat suitable for the environment
- sun hat
- footwear suitable for the conditions
- spare prescription glasses
- sit mat
- camp chair
- clothing suitable for the conditions:
- jumpers (woollen or non-cotton fleece)
- beanie or balaclava
- suitable socks
- shirt with collar and preferably long sleeves
- strong shorts or trousers (synthetic fabrics preferable)
- sock covers or gaiters
- small torch and spare batteries
- sleeping bag in waterproof bag
- eating utensils such as cutlery, bowl, plate and cup
- spare clothing
- sleeping mattress.
- appropriate sleeping shelters (e.g. tent)
- tarp, rope and pegs for shade or rain shelter
- cooking equipment and ‘lifters’ for pots
- cleaning equipment for catering equipment
- cooking stove and fuel
- glow sticks, spare batteries, candles
- trowel/shovel for toileting
- toilet paper
- hand sanitiser
- water purification system
- drinking water bulk water containers
- repair kit
- food for duration plus spare
- esky and/or fridge for cold storage
- containers with lids for food storage
- rubbish bags
- multi-tool with knife
- insect repellent.
The Bureau of Meteorology also provides a range of services. For details refer to:
The following table details the:
- current Australian weather warnings
- associated weather for each warning
- mainland warning trigger points for issuing warnings for strong winds and hail.
Bureau of Meteorology weather warnings and associated weather Table:
Also refer to Core GPG – Competencies.
The following table outlines the recommended competencies activity leaders should have when leading camping.