Life is good! We have been living in our Caravan for 6 months now and it’s safe to say we’re well into the ‘swing’ of things and loving this nomadic lifestyle. We have not only been busy swimming, hiking, surfing, fishing and diving around Oz but we have also had the time to really nut out what it’s like to live full time in our home on wheels and what ‘things’ we love and use the most along the way.
Here are our top must-have travel items for caravanning and camping around Australia.
1. Handheld UHF Radios – These little guys are SO awesome and have come in super handy during our travels. We mainly use them to communicate when we are reversing the caravan into a new camp spot, but they also come in handy when Rob heads off for a fish or even to the play park with the kids and I can tell him dinner is ready.
These radios also played a very big part in us getting out of our ‘bridge-uation’ safely a few months back where we had missed a turn and good old Google Maps took us down a street with a low 2.9 meter bridge!! (our van is 3.3m!!) It was a busy Friday afternoon in peak hour traffic and we had no choice but to reverse our caravan back through a busy cross intersection of traffic. With the help of the radios I was able to stay in touch with Rob as I directed traffic around us as he reversed.
2. Truck GPS – Following our bridge-uation we invested in a GPS that features a ‘truck mode’. This means we can input the height and length of our rig and it will configure a route for us through a major town without meeting any low bridges, tight streets or dead ends. Phew!
3. Reversing Camera – We have a camera installed in our truck which allows Rob to hook up to the caravan without my help to guide him on. This leaves me free to pack up inside the caravan… we’ve also had many comments about it ‘saving our marriage’ too! haha. Once the caravan is hitched the camera then switches to show behind the caravan as we drive using the camera that we had installed on the rear of our caravan.
4. 5 in 1 Jackets – Space for clothing is usually very limited when travelling so these Kathmandu Jackets have been our go-to for keeping warm and dry on this trip. Rob and I have a 5 in 1 jacket and the kids have a 3 in 1.
What is that I hear you ask? This means that they can be worn in a variety of ways. Eg. a super warm puffy lined waterproof jacket that breaks down into individual items: Puffy jacket, Puffy vest or Gortex Jacket.
The kids jackets are similar but are a Fleece jacket that zips into the waterproof shell.
5. Car fridge – Having our car fridge on board our adventure truck is definitely one of our favourite things. It not only gives us more room to store food when we are travelling off grid for long periods, it also allows us to pack lunch and stop wherever and whenever we want while on day trips. We have a second battery set up (that runs our fridge), which is charged as we drive, and if we are not driving we simply plug in our solar blanket to ensure it stays topped up.
6. Inverter / BCDC Charger and Solar Blanket – 12 Volt power is a must for caravanning and camping nowadays, our setup allows us so much freedom and is so easy to keep charged up. As mentioned above, our second battery in the truck is used to charge and run all our devices and appliances while we are off grid. We keep this battery charged by driving or plugging in our 150 Watt Solar Blanket.
We also have a 2000 Watt inverter that allows us to use our normal 240 volt household appliances like a toaster, coffee machine, thermomix, blender etc. This can be a bit confusing to get your head around so we have taken the time to explain it simply in our ‘Chain of power‘ article
We have also created a short video about it below:
7. Fire Box Stove – This little setup is definitely well loved, used to death and is still going strong. It collapses flat about the size of an Ipad, you can use it to cook your dinner and boil water using wood or a trangia (metho burner). It’s also great as a fire pit and very efficient on wood. If you follow our adventures on Instagram (@theblondenomads) you would have seen this feature on our stories ALOT :-).
8. Lunch Tins, Wax Wraps and Water Bottles that don’t leak – If you are travelling with mini adventurers like us you will know that food is a big deal… hands up who’s kids are ALWAYS hungry and after snacks?! When planning long drives I pack the kids a ‘tin’ which is a nice selection of healthy food to keep them happy in the back of the car. I also wrap any other food and snacks in our beeswax wraps. These are a great replacement for plastic food wrap, are reusable, great for the environment and not to mention they smell divine!
We have gone through a variety of water bottles for the kids and have finally found some that don’t leak!! These Kathmandu bottles are great and the best thing is they sell replacement straws too! (which I change regularly).
Note: they are a little bit tricky for little ones (under 2yrs old) to open themselves. Before these, we found these Contigo bottles with a press button to open pretty good too.
9. Anti-flap kit and side panels – This has definitely transformed our caravan and outdoor living space. Having the Anti-flap kit installed means we can leave our awning up most of the time. It has withheld some pretty strong winds too. You can see more in the review video we created below.
10. Washing line – Rob installed a simple fixed washing line on our caravan awning. It is made of plastic coated steel cable connected at each end with crimps and a turnbuckle. It means we can hang our washing or wet beach towels up. This is SO GREAT as once it is installed you never have to take it down. You can pick up the materials for this from any Bunnings. We also travel with a little mini clothes hanger that folds up for all our ‘smalls’.
11. Stackable Pots and Flat kettle – Space is definitely something you need to consider when living full time in a home on wheels so having a collapsible kettle and stackable cookware is definitely helpful for us. These are great quality to cook with, are non-stick and as they are square in shape they are also great to store leftovers in your fridge or eski.
12. Bed Throw/Protector – Our bed doubles as a couch, play area and major living space for us all so we have a simple queen sized throw that we keep on top of the bed that we can quickly take outside and shake off, or wash easily when needed. It can also be used as a picnic rug or hang it up for some extra shade if needed when camping so it is very handy.
We get our bedding from Adairs – it always lasts and washes up well.
…another item we travel with is our OzTent – Watch how easy it is to set up in the clip below or read about it here.
What are your must-have caravan or camping items? We’d love to know – pop them in the comments below.
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