Camping stores can be overwhelming, often packed with so many products that you don’t know where to start, particularly if you’re new to the outdoorsy scene. This is something Elli Bradshaw, Angus Gibbs and Tom Farmer, owners of Clunes Outdoors in Collingwood, wanted to avoid.
“Our intention was to create a space – because it’s so small in the shop – where you can engage straight away,” says Bradshaw.
The cosy Johnston Street storefront was designed by Will Loft of Loft Etcetera, who also fitted out Leroy’s cafe in Newport. Second-hand timber shelves line the walls, and wooden beams stretch overhead, reminiscent of tent poles without the tarp. Most of the materials used are recycled, right down to the wrapping paper used for purchases (it’s recommended you keep it for kindling). The products are also selected to last and have been chosen with environmental friendliness in mind – you won’t find anything with single-use batteries here, for instance.
“That’s how we’ve thought about all the products in the store: functionality, and also how they’re produced,” Bradshaw says.
The product selection is minimal, but everything has been tried and tested by Bradshaw, Gibbs and Farmer to ensure it’s spot on for rural Australia. There are Blundstone boots, galvanised steel camp stoves from Companion, vacuum-insulated Miir thermoses, Leatherman knives and biodegradable bamboo camp cups.
The trio has been friends for years. Gibbs and Farmer grew up on the Mornington Peninsula where they spent a lot of time hiking and surfing. Bradshaw grew up in London and was a bit of a camping newbie before she married Farmer.
“Tom took me [camping] years and years ago and put me in a swag for the first time. It could have gone really horribly wrong, but it went the opposite,” she says, laughing.
The avid explorers came up with the concept for Clunes earlier this year while hiking to Beauchamp Falls in The Otways.
“We’d seen a positive change in our experience through products that we’d brought along,” says Farmer.
Beyond providing people with good camping gear, the team wants to share its experiences with customers and inspire them to take advantage of the beautiful outdoor escapes around Victoria.
“I always encourage people to go to places where they haven’t been before that are really easy and accessible,” Gibbs says. “You can get out there and start doing walks and see all these different environments and be like, ‘Oh, that’s what these guys are on about’.”
77 Johnston Street, Collingwood
(03) 9417 6984
Tue to Sat 10am–6pm