Camping in Israel with your Family
Hebrew: טיפים ליציאה לקמפינג עם המשפחה
Planning a holiday in Israel? Tired of hotels and resorts? Want to get back to nature? Israel has many natural attractions and camping is a way to truly appreciate them. Before embarking on your Israel camping trip, there are a few things you should know:
- What facilities are available
- Is advance booking required
- The nearby attractions
- Are the grounds private or public
A mini-market, communal ablution blocks, hot water, a central kitchen, refrigerators, drinking water and electricity are some of the facilities the better campgrounds offer. You can even hire mattresses and bedding at an additional cost, at some of the sites.
Some of the sites have built-in barbeques, but they are often really dirty or greasy. Consider taking your own if possible. You can buy a disposable BBQ at specialized stores and most supermarkets. They are suitable for 4 people and come complete with coals and a rack.
A fair number of camp sites are located on river banks and natural pools. Some of these sites have water slides.
Some camp sites allow you to book in advance. If possible, we strongly recommend that you do. During the summer holidays - July and August, and especially the last two weeks of August, can be crowded especially over weekends. Crying babies and neighbors partying through the night can be irritating especially if you were looking forward to a really quiet get- away.
If you are looking to use your camp site as a base for your sight-seeing trip, make sure you have investigated nearby attractions thoroughly. Some Egged bus routes stop outside the camp sites. However, the may not serve the attractions nearby. Verify this beforehand, you do not want to get to your camp site and then find out that you are stuck there for an entire weekend as no public transport is available.
Some camp sites are run by the Israel National Parks Authority. This means that they are well staffed and serviced. Other camp sites are located on, and run by, a kibbutz. If so, you may well be able to have a meal at the kibbutz dining room (at an extra charge) or take advantage of other facilities on the kibbutz.
If you like camping in isolated spots - not in camp sites, check out if camping is actually allowed there. You cannot camp on all of Israel's beaches any more. Make sure you have not pitched your tent and rolled your sleeping bag out in a security zone. You would not like to be wakened and forcibly removed by the military or have the sounds of shooting practice going on around you.
The object of the game in camping is to have exactly what you need. The old saying "less is a case of more" truly applies here.
What to pack:
- Clothing is probably the easiest item to over and under pack. It must be appropriate to the season, activities and conditions. Outdoor, daytime temperatures can be boiling while nighttime temperatures can drop dramatically. Layering clothing is our recommended technique. Additionally, clothing should protect ones skin from potentially harmful foliage, snakes and other crawling things.
- Israel's summers are hot and night-time temperatures are warm. You may not feel the need for a tent or a sleeping bag. We recommend you sleep in a cotton duvet(comforter) cover. It's cool and gives you some protection from the mozzies (mosquitoes).
- Mosquito repellant and citronella candles
- Barbeque equipment, coals, fire-lighters etc. Don't forget the matches!
- Camping stove and spare gas cylinders
- A well insulated cooler box
- Good, strong, string to make a washing line and to secure your cooler box, watermelon, beers or other items so they can lay in the cold water and chill.
- A length of strong rope
- A mesh, nylon bag that can hold small items and can be easily tied and laid in the water.
- Clothes pegs for your washing line and they are also great to seal opened packets of food.
- A large grass mat (mich'tze'let in Hebrew) to put at the entrance to your tent. You can get these at supermarkets, large hardware stores or at a flea- or Arab-market
- Broom or carpet brush to sweep out those pesky dry leaves that will get into your tent.
- Water shoes or an old pair of sneakers for wading in rivers and campsite ablutions.
- Sun hats - Israeli summers are hot, hot, hot.
- A day pack.
- An ample supply of bottled drinking water - it is easy to dehydrate.
- Sun block and lip balm.
- A shovel, a hammer and a few long nails.
- Fold-up chairs.
- Party-lights extension cable (6 globes) if you have an electricity supply at the campsite
- Multifunction knife (Swiss army knife)
- Duct tape; invaluable if you need to repair your tent or patch your shoes.
In your picnic box
- Be aware of you environment and wherever possible use environmentally friendly items.
- Crockery and cutlery: Disposables, made from recycled vegetable matter, are now available in better supermarkets.
- Vegetable knives
- Chopping board
- Can opener, wine corker and bottle opener
- Plastic containers of various sizes for left-overs
- Table cloth
- Baby wipes; great for sticky hands and other clean ups.
- Paper kitchen towels, dishcloths, scourers and dish washing liquid.
- Large pot
- Frying pan
- Finjan (a small middle-eastern pot used to boil water and brew coffee)
- Aluminum foil and cling wrap
- Garbage bags
- Small amount of laundry detergent
- First aid; aspirin, antacid, hydrogen peroxide, eye drops, antiseptic cream, band aids, gauze, surgical tape, tweezers, nail file, nail clippers, cotton wool
- Backgammon set (Shesh-besh)
- Pack of playing cards or Israel's favorite card game - Taki
In addition to your preferred food items, make sure you have these items in your grocery box
- Long life milk in 1/2 liter quantities
- Instant rice, noodle or couscous meals served hot as a vegetable or cold as a salad.
- Individual boxes, one portion size, of cereal. Great for small kids and stays fresh too.
- Canned corn, beans, olives and pickles
- Fresh vegetables and fruit
- Turkish coffee - sit around your camp-fire or next to the river and enjoy the taste and aroma of cardamon.
- Lots of marshmallows.
- Israelis love "garinim" - seeds of all kinds; sunflower, pumpkin, watermelon etc.- great after dinner snack. Please remember to collect the empty shells and throw them in a waste bin. It is heartbreaking to see thousands of empty seed shells scattered all over the place.
Our Top Tips
- Clean a dirty BBQ rack by rubbing 1/2 an onion over it and then again with 1/2 a lemon
- See our recommended BBQ recipes
- Use large, plastic storage boxes, on wheels for all your camping equipment. They make it easy to schlepp your stuff from the car and they can double as tables.
- Get hold of 250ml bottles (plastic if possible) and fill them with smaller quantities of shampoo, hair-conditioner, dish washing liquid, olive and cooking oil
- Places of Interest & Attractions in Israel
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