In no particular order.
The type that comes in a roll and is cut to the length that you require. It doesn’t need pegging down and hugs the ground naturally. Somehow, dirt and sand falls through it and doesn’t come back up. Make sure that you get the one that is soft on your bare feet, because once you’re in the tropics you don’t want to be putting shoes on just to walk across the mat. Aldi also sell good rubber matting, just wait for the camping specials.
Awning De Flappers
We fix two to each awning arm to keep the awning in place in light breezes.
Guy Ropes are attached to each end of the awning to keep it stable in a strong breeze. Even better are the gripper attachments that come with an annexe to hold it to the awning. They do a really good job of keeping the awning taut and stop the flapping. If the wind gets stronger, just pull the whole thing in, it saves worry and gives you a good nights’ sleep.
This is a must for all caravanners and campers, but especially for those who enjoy free camping.
So quick and easy to boot up. It’s small enough to go anywhere it can be used as a backup camera and for posting your blog using the WordPress app.
GPS and maps
Good maps, you can never have enough. The GPS is like having another person in the car. A very annoying person. Who you can swear at and blame when things go wrong or when you get lost. Which when in a small space is better than blaming your partner. I’ll bet you thought that they were to prevent you from getting lost.
UHF (CB) Radio
To get advanced warnings of road conditions ahead and being able to talk to the truck drivers who are overtaking you. The most important reason though is for the free entertainment and gaining an understanding of life as a truckie.
First Aid kit
Make sure it includes something for sandflies / midgies. I’m sure that everyone has a favourite but the best one that we’ve found so far is “Sandfly and Mozzie Stuff” from The Locals at http://www.thelocals.net.au.
Aldi Electric Hot Plates
These come as a small unit with two instant heat hot plates. They easily sit on the van’s outside drop down table and when power is available they’re so much quicker than getting the BBQ or Weber out.
Hanging thingies for washing
I have a nylon clothes line with suction caps on each end. It is invaluable for hanging underwear and bathers (swimmers) in the shower to dry. I also have a rather cumbersome hanging arrangement that has pegs built into it, it hangs from the awning arm and although awkward to store does a great job of handling a bit of hand washing. I wouldn’t travel without it. A friend of mine has a line attached to the awning that runs from one arm to the other. A built in clothes line really.
So many towns in outback Australia don’t get a regular newspaper delivery and my husband is an avid reader. With the PressReader app you can download your favourite newspapers and magazines to the iPad whenever you have internet service, which surprisingly is in a lot more places than there is a regular newspaper service. Bear in mind that some daily newspapers are only available via their own apps.
Kindle Ebook reader
We would be lost without these things and they’ve had so much use that I’m wondering when they’ll wear out. There are four simple reasons for reading books electronically: firstly they are light and there are no pages to grasp when reading in bed, secondly you can store
thousands of books on your reader which saves space and weight on the van, thirdly if you do run out of books while on the road you can buy more in seconds when you have internet service and fourthly, Ebooks are so much cheaper than printed books. We both read daily and yet we seem to get about a months use from each power charge (ours don’t have built in lights).
Numerous old towels
Stow them under the bed for a rainy day. They’ll keep the mud off the floor. You’ll bless the day that you packed them.They’re also handy for packing between the items under the bed to prevent bulky items like chairs from rubbing together.
We carry portable folding ones but most new vans now come with solar panels fitted on the roof. It is such a simple way to power your life and with solar panels and a good battery system your electricity is free.
Ours is a pure sine wave and we use it for recharging sensitive electronic devices with ‘clean’ power when free camping. It plugs into the 12 volt outlet.
Hot Water Bottle
For those cold winter nights when you don’t have power.
As above when you DO have power, heavenly.
12 Volt Shower
Disconnect the shower head and use it as a pump for filling your water tanks from a bucket when free camping and water isn’t on tap.
Lock and steel cable
For locking up the Weber BBQ. Either they are an extremely desirable item or everyone is paranoid about them. You never see one without a cable attached and we’re not going to take any chances.
A good air compressor
Use for re inflating your tyres after travelling on corrugated roads and for checking tyre pressures at any time. Good ones come with a variety of fittings for blowing up air beds and water toys.
Cable Ties, Velcro and Gaffer Tape
With these babies on board you could just about get to the moon and back.
Everything seems to need a battery these days and they all require different sizes. Carry a zip lock bag full.
Zip Lock Bags
Can be used to store anything, especially the burgeoning rock and shell collections.
The cheap plastic type. It may sit under the bed for a year, but when you do need it, it is
oh so handy.
A few dabs on the underside of a tissue box will hold it in place on the bathroom bench for thousands of kilometres.
Don’t use melamine mugs in the microwave, as they don’t heat the contents evenly and are often too hot to handle. Unless of course you want to do a little food welding as they do a good job of glueing the food to the bowl.
I’ve yet to find the perfect outdoor chair. We’re on our third set since we’ve been caravanning and we had countless when we were camping. They need to be comfortable especially for ageing backs. Draftproof, you don’t want a chilly back around the fire in winter. Heavy enough not to blow away in a storm. And most importantly light enough to carry to happy hour, which may be 3 or 400 metres away, whilst juggling drinks and a cheese platter.
I reluctantly mention tables because every table that we’ve had is annoying in some way. Either they don’t stay flat, they have splayed legs which tend to trip you up or they’re downright difficult to erect. Our current table has rounded edges and the wine glasses slip off. It splits in the middle for easy storage but never stays completely flat, adding to the wine glass problem. Worst of all the only way to erect it is to bend over from the waist and shove your arthritic fingers into painfully tiny holes to release the mechanism. In the midst of all that pain the whole camp gets a jolly good look at my cleavage.