Road trip packing tips

Michael Browning — 14 July 2014

Now that you’ve prepared your caravan, it’s time to pack the things that you will really need when you’re on the road. They are easily identify – they’re the ones you realise you need/want when it’s too late! Make a list and leave it in the caravan to refer to in future trips. Feeling stuck? Here are some ideas…

10 camping essentials

1. BBQ

The Weber Baby-Q cooks meat, and just about everything else beautifully, without burning; the flame is fully-enclosed, so it’s OK on most fire ban days and isn’t affected by wind; but, most of all, because you can shut the lid and pack it away as soon as it cools down and clean what little mess it leaves at a convenient time.

2. Coffee machine

If you’re going to be accessing a powered site, bring a coffee machine. If you’re going to be free camping or in a national park, revert to a plunger.

3. Chargers

Because of all the appliances that need recharging these days (phones, tablets, laptops, sat phones, camera batteries, etc.) plus other appliances (TV, portable radio, etc) that need to be connected to 12V, always take a bag of various plugs, connectors and cables. There’s nothing more frustrating for a tech nerd than discovering that a vital cable is back at home!

4. Solar charger

Some things can also be charged via a solar panel and so carry a battery solar charger. Note that it will take a long time to charge an iPad, which requires a 10W charge – better charging that via a regular inverter and your caravan’s battery.

5. Shade

Pack a spare plastic tarp, a couple of guy ropes, pegs and two expanding poles so that you can find some extra shade – or privacy – if you need it. This is ideal for outdoor showering, as well!

6. Shower

Create an outdoor shower of your own for warm-weather camping. Plug a length of hose and a trigger spay to the drawbar water tap of your caravan, stand in a cheap laundry bowl to avoid muddy feet and wash off the dirt. Put your smalls in the bowl and trample while showering for a combined and very cheap laundry service. Cleans up camping feet beautifully too!

7. Seating

Remember a pair of low folding beach chairs to carry to a pleasant lunch or pre-dinner locations when you want to watch the sun go down in comfort.

8. Thongs

Thongs or Crocs are essential. Wear the thongs whenever you take communal showers and the Crocs are for wading into rocky water.

9. Radio

While you might make any friends playing loud music in a national park, you don’t want to miss out on the radio. Not only does the PAL radio, designed by pick up AM and FM radio, but it delivers great sound from your music library when connected to your iPhone/iPod via a cable to its rear auxiliary port.

10. Fire

Bung an axe, some old newspaper or firelighters, matches and a short shovel in the  boot. The axe, paper/firelighters and matches are for lighting the fires; the shovel and matches are for life’s other necessities when there are no suitable facilities!

We're sure every traveler will have many other items to add to this personal list, such a head torch or a cool bag for carrying drinks to great places, so tell us what we’ve missed from your usual packing list.

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Michael Browning

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