Packing the basics for Outback travel
Basic comforts can mean the world of difference when you’re on the tracks.
When you’re in the NSW Outback, the last thing you want is to be uncomfortable. Camper trailers offer plenty of extra comfort, but a few handy tricks when you’re packing will go a long way once you get there.
SLIP, SLOP, SLAP
This might sound blatantly obvious, but things like sunscreen make a big difference out on the road. One full day’s drive in the outback will burn you to a crisp if you’re unprepared, so lathering up each morning really helps, especially if you’ve still got a few weeks worth of driving to do. Lip balm stops your lips from burning in high winds, and bring your sunnies as the glare gets pretty intense.
MOZZIES AND MIDGES
Mozzies are annoying and there are plenty out this way, especially around water, so keep some repellent handy. If you’re doing a spot of fishing, the repellent may repel fish if it gets on the line, so take
care when placing your bait. Also pack mozzie coils and citronella candles as they’re less stinkier in the long run. And remember, light attracts midges. So keep the lights in your camper trailer off, and camp away from the main campsite light.
Nets are another option. Head nets help keep bugs off your face but the net itself is often more annoying than the bloody bugs! Another option is to string a portable mozzie net or shade cloth around your bed or chair. If you’re unlucky enough hit a locust plague, stretch the shade cloth over your bulbar as you drive to stop them from damaging your radiator.
BEATING THE FLIES
Flies are damn annoying. I remember years ago, out near Alice Springs, NT, the flies were that bad you’d inhale one every couple of breaths, but one fella wasn’t getting pestered anywhere near as much as everybody else. His secret? Rosemary and Cedarwood cream! It’s about $20 a tub, but lasts a long time and actually works. It’s harder to find than standard insect repellents, but worth searching for. In fact, it’s used to keep flies off horses as well, so some stock producers keep it handy, too.
Every 4WD should be equipped with a well stocked first-aid kit, no excuses. You never know when something’s going to go wrong and, in the outback, help can take some time to arrive, making quality first-aid skills and equipment vital.
While you definitely need the main first-aid gear handy, remember the not-so-serious stuff, too. You’ll use pain killers and antihistamines more often you would think! Stingose spray is another good for dealing with bites and stings.
Keep a few bandages big enough to wrap your entire leg. There are plenty of venomous snakes in the NSW outback and, while they’re not lurking behind every bush waiting to attack like some suggest, you just never know what’s going to happen, so it pays to be prepared.
SPARES TO CARRY
Spare parts can be dead-set trip savers. Carry the basic perishables; things like fan belts, radiator hoses, filters, and fluids for the engine bay.
A front and rear wheel bearing kit and grease are also handy. Even if you’re not mechanically minded, you just never know who you run into on the tracks or in a small country town. After all, getting the parts is usually three quarters of the battle when it comes to repairs in country towns.
Check out the full feature in issue #95 December 2015 of Camper Trailer Australia magazine. Subscribe today for all the latest camper trailer news, reviews and travel inspiration.