4wd trip essentials
One of the first things you’ll realise after buying a camper trailer and starting to plan your first big trip with it, is that you have a lot more space.
Families used to squeezing everything in the 4WD can finally relax and put much of the bulky stuff, like blankets and pillows, in the camper trailer. But there are a few things you should always keep in the 4WD, no matter how you’re travelling.
Handy driver compartment
Maps, GPS, phone and charger, keys and music are all artfully thrown in the front doors before leaving the house. Anything you might need while driving goes here. I usually keep small valuables either locked or hidden in the car, rather than in the camper, although many campers these days allow you to lock compartments separately. I usually keep a couple of bottles of water up here too, and some quick snacks. That way they are always at hand.
This is a contentious one for some, because running a fridge in the car is more demanding (it gets really hot in there) than in a camper trailer, and many trailers have dedicated fridge storage compartments. But when I’ve set up the camper somewhere and want to go exploring, I really want some beer along for the ride.
Camping stove/kitchen basics
I like to keep a small kitchen in the back of the 4WD so that I can still make tea, cut up fruit/cheese or otherwise organise an impromptu picnic without worrying about emptying half of the kitchen out of the camper.
You never, ever know.
Even if you don’t carry a full-size kit in the car (though if you have kids you probably will be carrying the full-size kit), it’s worth throwing a few basic items like gauze, scissors, antiseptic and bandaids in a bag in the glove box. This goes for paracetamol and whatever other medications you like to have around on the road too.
UHF, satellite phone or personal locator beacon: these things are worthless if you leave them at camp while you’re out exploring.
If you’re like me, it is after you’ve dumped the camper trailer somewhere pretty that you’re likely to tackle those really intense hills or rutted roads. That means ensuring you’ve packed snatch straps at a minimum (I carry two, having watched a few break in the bush). I like to carry a tyre repair kit and an air compressor too.
You can keep things like wheel hubs and your heavier tools in the camper trailer. But it pays to keep a few basic tools in the car at all times: screwdrivers, claw hammer, cable ties and hose clamps, bits of hose, etc.
I’m an obsessive recorder of the world when I travel, so my gear always goes where I go. Don’t forget to take extra batteries, because if you’ve driven an hour away from camp into the bush and realise only then that you left a ten-pack of batteries in the kitchen drawer, it’s pretty annoying.
Speaking of annoying, keeping a little bottle of mozzie spray in the car comes in really handy when you realise you’ll be tramping around as dusk falls.
Not really something you can throw in, but it’s worth mentioning that having a dual battery in the car instead of just in your camper trailer via an Anderson plug means you can power the fridge and keep your beer cold without worrying about a dead starter battery.
It’s worth noting that roof racks, while they look so inviting, can be dangerous because they raise your centre of gravity. Keep loads up there light. A couple of spare tyres is okay, if you have to put them there, but jerry cans aren’t a great idea.
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