If you’re an outdoor lover, an Oman camping road trip ticks all the right boxes for an adventure. In fact, it’s hard to think of another country that could rival it for such an incredible, rewarding, convenient and safe experience. With a superb infrastructure, cheap fuel and legal wild camping, Oman is one giant adventure playground just waiting to be explored.
With deserts, mountains, beaches and wadis to discover, camping truly offers the most rewarding experience. And in a country where accommodation can be a huge cost, it certainly keeps the budget in check! With three Oman road trips under our belts and two months spent wild camping throughout the country, we’ve got some vital tips to share. Here you’ll find everything you need to know about planning an Oman camping road trip.
Looking for suggestions on how to spend your time in Oman? Take a look at our road trip itineraries. The 10 Day 2WD itinerary is a great introduction to the country, while the 10 Day 4×4 itinerary offers up something a little more adventurous. And for those with more time, this 1 month road trip itinerary covers many more amazing destinations.
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Oman is made for off-road adventures and hiring a 4WD is the best way to explore. There’s no denying that this will set you back twice as much as a 2WD, but we guarantee you’ll have twice the fun. Plus, if you’re camping you’ll be saving a huge chunk of money that would otherwise be spent on pricey hotels, so why not take advantage of everything Oman has to offer?
Off-roading through Wadi Al Abriyeen
How much does it cost?
A decent 4×4 costs from around $40/day, a 2WD $20/day. There are a number of car hire agencies at Muscat Airport, making it easy to pick up and drop off at the airport. We always use Holiday Autos to book our hire cars and find they have the best deals.
Have the correct documents
Check what documents you’ll need in order to pick up your rental – you might need an international driving permit for example. If you plan to drive in the UAE also, check that your rental company will allow cross-border travel. There is usually a fee for this, payable upon pick up. We had to wait a day for the insurance documents to be prepared and return to pick these up so it’s worth requesting this in advance so your documentation is ready when you arrive. If you use Holiday Autos the team can arrange this for you if you ask and the documentation clearly outlines what you need, plus all the T&C’s.
Some travel insurance policies cover for car rental excess, so take this into consideration when deciding on a policy. We travel with either World Nomads or True Traveller insurance cover, both of which have the option to include this.
A 4WD will take you anywhere
A 4WD will allow you to go almost anywhere, making the most of Oman’s excellent off-road network. We often joke about how Oman’s off-road roads are better than many countries’ regular roads – an absolute pleasure to drive on. They criss-cross the country, linking mountain villages and remote beach towns, often a mere stone’s throw away from a main road yet a world apart. Many of Oman’s best wild camp spots require a 4×4 to reach, and hiring one will give you far more freedom and flexibility.
A 2WD can still take you many places
Renting a 2WD will still allow you to visit many of Oman’s highlights, but in our opinion it isn’t best suited to a camping trip. You’ll find yourself having to park up and carry your camping gear to the best sites, or compromise and settle for less spectacular spots. If it’s all the budget can stretch to though, it’s still doable – check out our best wild campsites post for some great 2WD accessible camping suggestions.
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What exactly will you need to embark on an Oman camping road trip?
Oman’s major hypermarket chains have pretty much everything you need if you’re looking to get set up from scratch on arrival. Or, of course, you can travel with your own gear from home. We found mixing and matching a bit was the perfect balance between comfort on the road and the practicality of flying with all our equipment.
Gear For Camping In Oman
Widely available and cheap (from 5 OMR) in Lulu and Carrefour, but not necessarily the best quality or able to handle windy/wet conditions. If you have your own, it’s probably best to bring it. We travel with our Big Agnes Copper Spur and love it.
Basic camping mats, blow up mattresses or raised camping cots are all available in the hypermarkets. We used our Thermarest mats which are amazingly comfortable, lightweight, and packable.
It can get cool up in the mountains at any time of year but often too warm for a sleeping bag by the coast, so having both a liner and a bag is a good idea. You can pick up a sleeping bag in the local hypermarkets, but best to bring a liner with you (silk is our preferred material).
Best to bring a packable camping pillow with you, but normal bed pillows are easily available.
Easy to pick up from 2.5 OMR
While you could plan stops around cafes and restaurants for meals, having your own cooking equipment and food will allow you much more freedom.
Stove & Gas
The main gas canisters that are widely available in hypermarkets are the dumpy European Campingaz style (like this) or tall cylindrical nozzle type (like this). The tall ones are the most easily available across small stores, too. It’s hard to source the dumpy screw in type (like this) outside of the Sultan Centre in Muscat. Therefore, choose your camping stove accordingly!
Given that you can throw everything in the car instead of having to pack it on your back, buying a tabletop camping stove is the most convenient option. You’ll be able to buy the required gas almost anywhere, and the stove is nice and stable. We picked one up at Lulu for 5 OMR after running out of Kovea gas and having our other small burner break.
Pots, Dishes & Cutlery
If you plan on cooking for yourself you’ll need a few basics. These can all be bought easily in Oman, or bring your own if you already have a camping cook set.
We also bought the following to make life easier and allow us to cook the sort of meals mentioned in the food section below:
assorted utensils bundle
small cool box
Tupperware (for leftovers)
And if you’re a coffee addict like us, we highly recommend this travel coffee dripper.
You can buy wood for a campfire at the hypermarkets and you can also pick up a portable BBQ pretty cheaply, plus bags of coal if you wanted to cook this way. Personally we stuck to our stove to keep costs down.
Charging & Staying Connected
Unless you plan on hanging out in coffee shops and malls, attached to the wall socket for extended periods of time, you’ll need to pack some extra equipment in order to stay fully charged while camping in Oman. It’s also a good idea to pick up a local SIM in order to stay connected.
This is the easiest way to charge your electronics on the move. Most rentals will have a USB socket so make sure you have the appropriate USB cables for your devices with you. A USB cigarette charger adapter is also useful for being able to charge multiple devices at the same time. You can buy these easily in most supermarkets/shops if you don’t have one with you. If you have a laptop you want to keep charged, you’ll need an inverter in order to use the power supply from your car. We had to hunt around a bit but eventually found one in Carrefour Muscat, lurking around in the car section. If this is a must for you, best to bring one from home.
Another option for keeping charged is to harness the power of all that lovely sun you’ll be basking in. Solar panels are lightweight and portable, meaning you can carry them with you on day hikes easily. They’re great around camp too, allowing you to keep everything charged even on short drive days.
It’s always a good idea to have a power bank on you when you’re out and about, or for that overnight charging of your phone when nothing else will do.
Oman is well connected, with mobile phone reception and data connection reaching far and wide. In more remote locations it is a bit patchy, but you’re unlikely to go more than half a day without getting a signal. Picking up a local SIM when you arrive at Muscat airport is quick and easy. We opted for Omantel, but there are a few others, such as Ooredoo, to choose from. You can get a set package from around 1 OMR. We paid 15 OMR for 12GB over 30 days.