Story & Images: Anthony Hayden
Highway Dreams - A Family of 4 Around OZ
Everyone has their tips, tricks and ideas for making a camping trip or life on the road easier- we have ours too and we want to share our Top 10 tips with you.
- Never be tempted to use WD40 or similar sprays on your adjustable tent poles. It may seem like a great idea to begin with and makes the poles slide easier but after a short while the WD40 will attract dirt, dust and sand and drag it all inside the poles when you use them making them gritty, and worst of all the dirt will stick in the thread of the thumb tightening screws and will make them difficult to use! Use a silicon spray or dry-lube stick instead.
- Forget the expensive mozzie and sand-fly repellants- make your own and save $$$. To a 1 litre spray bottle add 300mls of Metho, 200 mls of baby oil, 100 mls of Dettol and a few drops of citronella oil- mix well. It may seem expensive to purchase the ingredients initially but it makes heaps! The baby oil makes the spray stick to your skin, the Dettol is used to soothe your skin and protect any existing bites you may have, and the citronella helps deter the mozzies and sand-flies. The Metho is simply to help mix the solution and make it go further and thins it out to make it possible to spray it. I’ve heard of people adding sunscreen, lavender oil and skin lotion but that’s a personal preference. I’m allergic to sand-flies and they absolutely love me. This is the only effective solution I have found that works for more than just 5 minutes!
- Use a hand-held CB to give directions when reversing your van. Keep your arguments private and save your marriage!
- Portable Toilet chemical substitute- Use home brand nappy wash/soak (similar to Napisan). But make sure it’s the home brand one as it contains less nasty chemicals and perfumes (better for the environment). The nappy wash contains the same active ingredient that breaks down the waste. Less smells, no fuss and a lot cheaper than the proper expensive chemicals. A simple spoon full in the bottom tank with a litre of water to begin with and another teaspoon after each use (or as required). Try it!
- Ropes, Ropes and more Ropes!!! You can never have enough ropes! Especially if you plan on camping near the beach or just in case the weather turns bad!
- Consider converting your 12v lighting to LED lighting, its brighter and far more economical on power. Most modern vans are now using 12v LED as standard.
- Basic tools such as a long handled shovel, an axe, a plastic rake and a hard bristled brush/broom. Take them with you- you will find a use for them for sure! Oh and never buy a cheap hammer for your tents pegs, buy a decent one to start with and save $$$ in the long run. We bought a few cheapies and they just fall apart after a while.
- Invest in a $30 trailer lock. The type that attaches to your tow hitch with a padlock that stops a tow-ball being hooked up. Its cheap insurance and a great deterrent!
- Create a list of part numbers for your vehicle and keep it handy. Such as Air, Oil and Fuel filter numbers, brake pad numbers, your engine model and vehicle make/model etc. This info can be handy if you ever need to order parts and you don’t have the luxury of having a mechanic handy. And take some spare filters/hoses/oil with you just in case too!
- Star pickets cut down in size make great tent pegs for beach camping or to secure annexes in heavy winds. Take a few with you next time just in case.
Some of these tips may seem like common sense or even seem a bit frugal but sometimes the simple tips are the ones taken for granted the most.