DFCE, Drifta Fans Camping Event. Camping en-mass by fans and would be fans of Drifta, a booming camping and four wheel drive equipment manufacturer based in Gloucester.
We attended its debut at Camp Cobark earlier this year.
Generally, my intentions for camping are one of solitary rekindling with nature. In a word (or two) not shared with hundreds of other people. This has been reaffirmed by those temporary neighbours with loud children, and louder generators.
DFCE posed a couple of challenges and potential. Could a mass camping event be orchestrated safely and for the enjoyment of its attendees. And would I, a wannabe soloist push social boundaries, join in, and enjoy it?
Considering the gravitational pull that is Luke Sutton and his brand, Drifta fans all have one thing in common, an icebreaker of sorts, and interestingly the scope is wide – from kitchens, camper, canvas, to boutique Japanese camping cookware. This was poised to be bloody good.
Whilst I can only comprehend the scale of work involved, upon arrival to Drifta HQ in Gloucester we received a very cool and thought out welcome package of all things Drifta, a FAQ and a quick guide to what Gloucester had to offer. That plus an all access pass to the Showroom of course.
Having eyed off this ‘other’ brand Uniflame’s steel table online I was quietly curious, being a stout Snow Peak fan when it came to Japanese camping, but blown away upon inspection and we left with an actually shiny new camp table in hand. Well done Drifta.
Camp Cobark is a property not far out of Gloucester boasting a genuine camping experience along the river on their expansive property. Drifta had claimed a large area and hired portable toilets and even set up some solar powered camp showers that boasted a picturesque view of old gum trees, gentle hills and grazing horses.
About as casual as you would expect, everyone arrived whenever it suited, some earlier but most on Friday and chose where to setup. Spread along the river and spilling ‘inland’ it was impressive to see from the road driving towards the entrance to the property.
We opted for an ‘inland’ position, set up the Oztent and awaited friends arriving in their caravan.
Whilst we didn’t get to meet everyone we wanted to, we did walk around and got chatting to our neighbours. Something I am not particularly well versed in doing, but not only survived, I enjoyed.
The central hub burned the Drifta and Snow Peak firepits well into the night and many a toast was shared. We were able to contribute our Snow Peak glow to what would have been an awesome nighttime drone photo with our own firepit on its debut, having only served in the backyard as yet.
We devoured corn cobs and sausages cooked on the fire with sauteed vegetables cooked on the Coleman. After plenty of cheese and crackers as dictated in the camping rule book.
Although it promised to be cold, our winter sleeping bags kept us toasty and we both slept well. I think outback Victoria in June toughened us up a little.
After the obligatory bacon and eggs for breakfast and hot coffee we meandered around the camp, armed with the ultimate icebreaker; not ‘How do you camp?’… but ‘How do you ‘Drifta?’
The variety of this was the coolest part. I mean, we stumbled across Drifta researching the 76 LandCruiser and then again as the closest supplier of Hannibal awnings and so forth, our neighbours bought a camper trailer and found it kitted with a Drifta DPOR (kitchen drawer fitout). And as promised I’m sure; seeing different Drifta products in action by countless happy strangers certainly moved some product off the shelves in Gloucester. Us included, despite our expansive collection already, we subsequently upgraded our Oztent to accommodate the pegable SupaPeg poles after both the stiff Barrington winds and our cute neighbouring kids challenged the guy ropes to keep our Oztent in the paddock.
Drifta himself toured the camps and it was good to catch up and talk camping with Mr Camping himself.
Luke had organised a tag-along drive throughout the property, which regrettably I missed, and impulsively decided to commiserate my loss with cake and coffee in town.
The second night was somewhat more subdued, sore heads perhaps? But no less communal and the Drifta lads kept the firepits stoked with deliveries of hardwood.
We had fire cooked steaks and I knocked up an extra cheesy boscaiola with zoodles on the Coleman, in the Snow Peak pan of course.
Packing up on Sunday was as expected, reluctant but also excited in what was achieved; a clean, safe community camp event enabled by a brand in the only way it should, in action.
My only regret, on top of not meeting and greeting everyone, would be not expressing my true fan-girl and begging a photo with Ronny Dahl. But I did wear my 4wheelingWA shirt.
Bring on the WA DFCE….