Mick “Rusty” Costello had one of those blokey moments, when after decades of happy camping trips with his family and mates, he walked into his crammed shed and thought: Where the hell did all that come from?

“Blokes tend to not chuck out camping gear. It’s still good. Or it’ll come in handy one day,” he said, eyeing off piles of used tents, campers, fishing tinnies, camping mattresses, cooking gear and trailers which threaten to burst through the shed walls.

He then had his big bright idea: “Why not let someone else get some use out his still useful stuff?”

But to sell it a bit at a time would take a lifetime, so why not stage The Great Aussie Camping Swap Meet?

“I think there’s just one other in Australia, so this will be close to unique,” Mr Costello said.

“The car and motorcycle world have their own swap meets, but there’s nothing much for camping, and I know lots of people have their sheds full of stuff they’d like to move on.”

The swap meet will be held at the Malone Park Recreation Reserve in Marong, on March 24 and 25, supported by the Eaglehawk Rotary Club and the City of Greater Bendigo.

“There’s millions of dollars on show at the new caravan and camping exhibitions, but camping doesn’t have to be expensive. The swap meet will help keep costs even lower,” Mr Costello said.

Demand for stall space has been brisk, but Mr Costello says he’s happy to take bookings right up to the event itself.

His passion for heading bush began nearly 20 years ago when he and his wife and three children hitched a basic camper trailer to his Falcon and headed west.

Mick can be contacted on 0491 014 049 or via www.greataussiecampingswap.com.au