Many of you will know about the obvious basics you need when going outback. I’ve listed some of mine at the end of this blog.
Here are some of my other handy camping items that help make a good outback camping trip great!
#1 Portable Electric 12V shower
Hang it in the tree and have a quick shower anywhere where there’s water.
Even quicker if you’re using the water you’ve been carting in the 4wD.
Nothing nicer than a quick shower when you’ve been sweating in the heat setting up a tent!
#2 3S 3 cell 3700 Lipo Battery
These little Lipo batteries are great for driving the shower, so you don’t have it to connect to your car/spare battery.
We also connect the Lipo to a small electric pump, to inflate the air mattress. We love our Kings swag, but the supplied mattress just isn’t comfortable. So now we roll-up the deflated air mattress inside the swag. It’s perfect and takes up less room in the car.
#3 Fly Swat
Even though we have a fantastic flywire tent to sit-in, a fly swat allows you to create havoc with the illegal immigrants that DO make it past the wired border. Because, these tiny little flies are cunning and way smarter than you when it comes to penetrating the border.
Plus … it’s fun pretending there’s a fly on your girlfriend’s butt….
#4 Dustpan and Broom
So your girlfriend can sweep-up all the flies that you’ve had fun swatting to death. In fact, on the odd occasion, I might even allow some to follow me into the tent...
#5 Garmin Inreach Mini - 2way GPS system
Most of Australia has no mobile reception. If your vehicle breaks down, you might be in a spot of bother.
The Garmin Mini allows you to not only send an emergency locator beacon, but you can send text and email messages to anyone, and they can message you back. You DON'T need mobile network reception, as it connects to satellites.
You’re crazy if you venture outback without one. The reason I originally purchased this was because I love riding my adventure bike in outback locations, and I’m generally alone when I do these trips. It gives family and friends comfort to know that I can stay in touch and call for help.
#6 Collapsible Bucket/Sink (or both)
So you can collect water from the rivers, rock pools and gnamma holes, to feed the shower pump, or have a shave. We also use river water in our collapsible sink for washing dishes. They fold relatively flat making them easy to store.
Camping just isn’t camping if you can’t light a fire during those cooler times. I suggest you strategically position the fire so that you can smoke your girlfriend out of bed next morning. A sure-fire way (pardon the pun) to get your breakfast early .
#8 Hema Maps
...because, the vast majority of Australia has no mobile network reception. Hema Maps works 100% offline, downloaded on your phone or tablet. It also has heaps more detail than google maps when it comes to small tracks, rivers, creeks and other points of interest outside the suburbs. It does get some interesting reviews, but for me on my old Samsung Galaxy phone, it works great.
#9 Solar Mat
It charges the battery when we are camped up, so that our fridge and inverter can run. Having the inverter means we can charge laptops and Deb can even blowdry her hair out here (not that she does..).
This mat of ours is a 120W mat. I’m thinking about buying a second one or a larger one, so that I can use the inverter for longer periods of time. The inverter drains the battery charge really quickly.
SOLAR MAT HACK: our mat folds up which places obvious pressure on the seam-wires connecting each panel. On one occasion, the mat stopped generating power. By feeling through each ‘seam’ I was able to isolate a wire that had come loose. I cut the seam open at this point and soldered the wire back on, then used electrical tape to put it all back together. YES I could’ve sent it back to supplier, but we were isolated at the time and needed to keep our gear charging.
#10 Pocket-size Gas Bottle
… for those times when you “can’t be bothered”* dragging the bigger gas bottle and stove out of their designated storage areas, or when it’s impractical to light a fire.
Like the time when we camped on the beach south of Carnarvon, and a wind storm greeted us at daybreak. We packed up “fast as”*, drove a few kilometres inland, wiped the sand from our eyelashes and lips, and then made our coffee. It never tasted so good!
I also use this bottle when doing longer trips on my Honda Adventure Bike, because it’s so compact.
* - see slang guide i#9+10 here
#11 Garden Spade
AKA a portable dunny! So you can dig a hole and bury your droppings. 🙂
Make sure you locate it conveniently within the car for those emergency situations.
Also be sure to dig your hole deep (animals have good noses) and bury your toilet paper too. Nothing worse than seeing someone else’s toilet paper strewn all over the ground when driving along the road or when parking up at a scenic campsite. Leave it nice for the next person!
A few small things can make a big difference to your camping trip and add a little bit of fun too!
As mentioned, the other basics I wouldn’t be without are below (I probably missed a few too!):
• 2nd battery in a battery box connected to alternator / solar mat
• Scan Gauge - to read engine errors and reset codes
• Tool Box and Socket Sets
• 12V soldering iron ... plugs into Lipo battery ... fix electric wires and faults – e.g. on solar mat!
• Puncture Repair Kit
• Compressor – for inflating tyres
• Quick Release air valve gauge - to let your tyres down when crossing sandy river beds etc
• Trax Mats – for getting yourself out of a bog situation
• Spare Key for car, hidden on the outside.
• LOTS of fresh water. It gets hot out here!
• Flynet – Deb wrote about this in her blog here...