What's Important

Submitted: Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 13:09
ThreadID: 31933 Views:2973 Replies:14 FollowUps:9
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Just wanted to know other people's opinions on what is important to you when on a trip. Do you need a set up that give as much creature comforts than at home? Easy set up and pack up rigs. Will the vehicle / rig get you to where you want to go without too many adjustments. Do you really need all the extras? Is what you sleep on or what you sit in important? Is cost spent verses what it is used for a factor? Have you ever said to yourself, "Why did you do a particular thing or bought something that was a waste of time and money? Have you ever not been able to get to a destination because didn't prepare enough? After spending all the money and time on your recreational vehicles/ rigs are you satified with the returns you have received?
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Reply By: Jodi - Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 13:32

Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 13:32
Things we love that are worth the moola.

4x4 mat - takes up space but worth it

Dual fuel lantern - better than any I have known and so so easy to run and store. If we run out of fuel, well off to the car we go or to the servo for a bottle of shellite - one bottle lasts easily 2 weeks camping running for about 4hrs a day.

Trangier - not sure on spelling but again the best thing we ever got. If we're going for 3 nights or so we forget the rest and just take that to cook in.

Engel - best thing we ever bought.

I didn't realise how good these things were until we started leaving the main cooking and lighting stuff at home before each trip cos we simply didn't need it anymore. Spend the moola on a few good quality items and the hundreds and hundreds of dollars on 30 items taking up more space seems crazy.
AnswerID: 161677

Follow Up By: Mad Dog (Australia) - Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 17:30

Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 17:30
Jodi, what is a 4x4 mat ?
FollowupID: 416398

Follow Up By: Jodi - Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 17:38

Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 17:38
Mad Dog I don't know the technical name for it and I suspect different brands call them different things. Essentially it's a self inflatable mat with a layer of high density foam in it. About 2 inches thick when inflated. Rolls up tight to about 30cm diameter (this is after much practice and use). Best sleep ever and worth it. No bouncing around like on an air mattress and no feeling bumps poking through thin little mats...

When we have too many guests staying over, they end up on the 4x4 mat on the lounge room floor in front of the fire. Had no complaints yet - all apparently had a great sleep. Although not sure if it was mat or consumption induced (there's a reason they're staying and not driving home).
FollowupID: 416399

Reply By: Member - Bware (Tweed Valley) - Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 14:39

Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 14:39
Hi Greiglin,
I love this type of post, it really shows the 'horses for courses' thing. A favourite past-time of mine is strolling through a caravan park and checking out all the different set-ups for ideas.
We are definitely of the 'simple is better' attitude, although cost is a big factor in our set-up. Things that serve more than one purpose are very practical and space efficient. We used to own a lantern that ran on 6v batteries which we ditched because we are already using gas for cooking so we bought a gas lantern. Batteries are expensive and now the gas cylinder is doing two jobs.
We haven't gone down the dual battery/fridge track because it is expensive if you want to do it properly; If you want to stay put for a while and not drive anywhere dual batteries are not enough, you then need to look at generators and/or solar panels. If you don't do remote travelling a good ice box is just as good if ice isn't far away.
As for comforts; hell yes! Gone are the days of being comfortable on a log by the fire. A good chair is worth spending the money on. When finances are tight it really makes you think about your puchases; when we decide on something we need we will buy quality. Bedding: we used to use the old style inflatable mattress but you need to keep pumping them up every two days and if you forget you wake up in the middle of the night very uncomfortable. Now we use a good quality queen size self-inflatable; it's better than our mattress at home. The cold doesn't travel through them from the ground and a good night's sleep makes a holiday much more enjoyable, esecially with kids! And we've just invested in a 12v shower.
Our 80 series is a standard diesel - very standard! I've upgraded the wheels and tyres, got some bars on the roof for the canoe and whatever else I can fit up there and for comfort I put GXL buckets in and a decent stereo. As for lift-kits, diff-locks etc, there isn't many places a standard 4wd wont go unless you are deliberately searching out those places to see how far you can push your vehicle.
I own basic recovery gear. I'm about to fit a cargo barrier for safety as well as then being able to pack the cargo area up to the roof. With more money I think my next accessories would be a snorkel and a tow-bar for that trailer I will eventually need as the kids grow and want to take their bikes, surfboards etc
AnswerID: 161687

Follow Up By: Greiglin - Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 17:15

Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 17:15
Have to agree about the bed. We also have a QS self inflator and we call it the 8th wonder of the world. Yep it is as comfortable as our one at home. After spending 3 1/2 months camping in NW WA and NT And Qld, we always maintained that what we slept on and what we sat in were very important as well as making sure all was ok with the 4x4, spare tyres, parts, etc, etc...and the UHF radio... good for company and making friends. We have a Kia Sportage and got into everywhere we wanted to go,no probs. Highlights of that camping trip were the GRR, Mitchell Falls just spectacular and Gehrig National Park NT.
FollowupID: 416393

Reply By: fozzy - Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 14:41

Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 14:41
most important to me is the company travelling with and what you put into trips yourself.
spent to much to want to think about it but to big list to put here.
always working on set up and constant learning cycle from here and others you meet.
someones always got a better item or idea and its a maytter of time and money to modify your outfit to suit your everchanging(or mine anyway) needs.
ps worst was a 4 piece toaster-used once and never again-back to single mesh one at a time
ps best- 240/12 volt fridge / freezer
AnswerID: 161688

Reply By: TerraFirma - Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 14:44

Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 14:44
Off course each destination is different in terms of 4WD-ing , I would have thought reliability is the most important factor when travelling. Easy of setup always depends on the time you are camping or away, weekend trips you would prefer something easy and convenient. You may need more creature comforts if you are travelling with a wfie or girl friend that insists on them.? As far as spening all that money on rigs, it depends on how often you 4WD, how far, the difficulty , too many factors here. Buy a rig you can afford to run and maintain that suits your purpose.

As for camping, yes a Good Tent thats easy to rig, an Engel or Waeco or Chescold fridge or even an icebox with ice and techni ice can work for weekend only trips. A good matress is important, if you don't sleep well you wont enjoy the trip. Make your cooking easy to do, portable stoves or bbq's, hotpplates etc. Start basic with everything and when you do a trip you will establish what is important to take and have, go with your heart...!

AnswerID: 161689

Reply By: revhead307 - Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 14:54

Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 14:54
we splashed out on a queensize semi inflatable offroad matt. More comfortable than our bed at home lol.

Having a good sleep while away keeps you happy, rested and able to tackle your next adventure.

Have had my share of uncomfortable nights, waking up sore, tired and cranky.

AnswerID: 161691

Reply By: Mike Harding - Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 14:58

Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 14:58
Always a difficult question to answer because pretty much everything I take is important (eg tin opener and matches). Of the major items I guess my Amateur Radio kit is high on the list - provides a safety net for me and I get to chat with all sorts of interesting people all over the world.

12 volt shower - beautiful at the end of a long day in the bush.
Fridge - I do enjoy my chilled white wine, it's useful for food too :)
Chain saw - provides wood to heat the shower water and keep me warm on the cold winter nights in the High Country.
A really good chair - with padded seat and reclining backrest.
A good loo setup - either my home made one or the folding stool thingie.
A 100mm thick self-inflating matress.
A sheet of plywood about 36" x 24" to put on a plastic storage box for a "coffee table".

Mike Harding
AnswerID: 161693

Reply By: johannagoanna - Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 17:27

Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 17:27
What is important to us? First of all it has to be able to fit in the car, or in the basket on the roof, so No1 consideration. Second consideration has to be easy and fast to use, like self-inflating mattresses, touring tent, roll out awning. Then the rest of the stuff is just necessary stuff. We are on a very limited budget, and everything is not necessarily the best, but we make do. If possible we cook on a fire - save gas, take a lot of compact food, packets etc....saves space, and we don't have a fridge, just an evacool icebox, and that does us just fine if we use block ice. We are never more than a few days away from ice, and really it only keeps dairy, and drinks, and sometimes meat. The other important thing for us was water, as we found going backwards and forwards to the tap/creek really annoying. Bought a water bladder, and now have hose at the back of the car, again takes up little space. As already said, what is important to one car, is not to another!!! - Jo
AnswerID: 161704

Follow Up By: Atropos - Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 17:30

Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 17:30
Hi Folks,

Well our kit comprises of

Camper trailer (cub-o-matic) being renovated and fitted with a queensize innerspring bed... you gotta have a good sleep, I'm having the trailer lined with canvas at the same time which should make it nice and snug inside, we also have an annex which zipps on .

Fridges.. we only have the waeco cool-boxes we have three one that holds 40 cans one that holds about 24 cans and a small tropicool classic which holds about 6 cans (we have a/c adaptors for all) I would consider a gas operated fridge in the future when funds permit

Cooking we have a single burner (areosol can style) portable gas ring, I have an old tripod style projector stand from back in the days on 8mm cine films which makes a great stable platform for the little stove and folds down to take very little space

We have an electric jug and a toaster for powered sites or if we MUST use the generator, I use all cast iron cookware its heavy but its the best.
We bought a cheap dinner service plates, bowls , cups and even wine glasses which packs away into a plastic storage box, I like a nice cup/mug to drink out off and am not keen on plastic plates, the entire dinner set for 4 people including knives and forks cost a princely $9-99 so its no drama when something gets smashed.
Talking cooking I always take a gaslighter better than matches..for lighting mozzie coils and such like.
MOzzie coils are burnt in a proper metal burner (no chance of accidental fires)

Power < I have a small 12v battery pack , will run the fridges for a couple of hours only then I have to revert to an Austech Scorpian 800w generator.

We have various 12v rechargable lantens and torches, and if staying on a powered site I use a small halogen reading lamp at night

Coffee (an important item) I take a single mug size bodum coffee plunger
just because I'm camping does not mean I have to drink "instant"

We take 2xlarge S/steel vacum flasks which we fill with boiling water and another small flask which we fill with milk (you can keep milk cold and fresh in a vacum flask for a couple of days, I'm not a fan of UHT milk)

We have a Kathmandoo (basecamp) screen dome tent , this gets used as a kitchen of for meals if the flies are a problem
and a couple of alloy tables one good one and one el-cheepo

Toilet.. well I'm not keen on holes in the ground, so a porta-pottie is part of our MUST have gear (and yes we take SOFT toilet paper with us) The age is for reading only .........

Blankets, spare tarps and power-boards and extention leads.. very can have too many (grin)

Keep in mind that 99% of our camping will be in "soft" locations normally caravan parks with power, we can manage the odd night away from "civilisation" but daily showers and so forth are important, we also like company. nothing better than sharing a drink with a new friend in the evening.

so nothing special but we like to "comfort camp" rather than just camp! (huge grin)

Oh well apart from ensuring we have a good supply of red and white I suppose thats it.. apart from not forgetting the corkscrew!

FollowupID: 416397

Follow Up By: Mike Harding - Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 18:28

Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 18:28
Hi John

>Keep in mind that 99% of our camping will be in "soft" locations
>normally caravan parks with power, we can manage the odd night
>away from "civilisation" but daily showers and so forth are important,

>so nothing special but we like to "comfort camp" rather than just

There is no need at all to be uncomfortable in the bush no matter how remote one is. See my post above for the things I take which make camping very pleasant. I have a hot shower every evening in the bush (despite being an ex. Pom :) along with a comfortable chair etc. I eat pretty well too.

Someone on this site has an excellent sig. which reads something like "Any mug can be uncomfortable in the bush" - correct but it's really quite easy to be comfortable too.

Mike Harding
FollowupID: 416409

Follow Up By: Atropos - Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 19:06

Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 19:06
Hi Mike,

The reason that we will be in "soft" camping spots is that we dont have a FWD to allow us to leave the main roads :_) I'm not so silly as to try it in my old tarago...

What I ment was that one can "comfort camp" with a sensible range of gear regardless of location...

I know my limitations , I dont know enough to leave the main roads and dont have the car to do it in... Not saying that I could not learn, but I dont intend to make an "idot" of myself and have to rely on others to get me out of a mess...

FollowupID: 416414

Follow Up By: Mike Harding - Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 19:13

Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 19:13
Hi John

Fair enough.

Although there are a lot of good places you can get to in a 2WD providing you exercise caution - underbody clearance is normally the most significant issue and may mean you have to stop and remove rocks etc rather more often than a 4WD but I think you have a wife, don't you? :)

Mike Harding
FollowupID: 416415

Follow Up By: Atropos - Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 19:16

Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 19:16
Yes I have a wife, but she is no good at breaking rocks...would be my head I think... (grin)
FollowupID: 416416

Reply By: Patrolman Pat - Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 17:37

Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 17:37
It's all about the location and the company for me. I'm as happy in the swag or tent but sitting round the campfire reliving the days driving is the best part. I'm not one to camp in one spot for days on end unless it is a central location to get me to lots of tracks to play on or different things to see and do.
AnswerID: 161709

Reply By: cackles - Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 18:37

Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 18:37
We have the usual tourer tent, waeco etc but these are my best comfort items:

A piezo start gas lantern, no buggerising in the dark to find matches etc.

a small picnic backpack, all the cooking and eating utensils fit in there.

packets of wet wipes, I like to wash my hands 10 times a day, also great for a quick "shower" before bed. Clearasil face wipes for the stinky underarms.

if we are going to be in one place for a while, usually at the beach, my must take item is my camping recliner. It's a bit bulky but veerry comfy, good for afternoon kip when it's too hot to kip in tent.

Can't think of any other secrets at this stage.

AnswerID: 161726

Follow Up By: scottp - Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 20:15

Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 20:15
Yep, gotta have a girl proof gas lantern. Saves the the hot toung and cold shoulder you would get for getting back to camp late after fishing.
FollowupID: 416425

Reply By: Willem - Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 18:55

Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 18:55
I have been doing the camping and offroad adventure thing for the past 40 years.

Started off as a real novice and learned as I went along. One tries out multiple ways to eat, sleep and travel and I have been through the lot, I think. Still improving as I travel the byways of this great country and other places.

You cannot equate your recreation to money. It is what you want to do and you could spend the minimal amount to do it your way or mega bucks to feed your ego.
Its up to you.

AnswerID: 161730

Reply By: Lone Wolf - Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 19:23

Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 19:23
A damn fine post!

I, like a lot of others, have spent sick dollars on camping stuff. I was at the stage, for a while, where I was going to have to join Campers Anonymous....

Well, after having, and using, and selling some gear, I have found that for MY style of camping, and I re-iterate.... MY, we use the following...

Big shade tarp 3600 x 3600. This attaches to the side of the vehicle.
2 swags, on top of stretchers. Rain all ya like, and still roll ya swag up with no mud.
1 1800 x 900 trestle table. Got this from Mitre 10, new, for $44.00.
Coleman 2 burner gas stove.
12 volt fluro.
Green cotton / canvas bags to hold my stuff in.
Space cases for tucker, so the ants don't eat it!
2 Kookaburra folding chairs, the WIDE buggers!

This seems to work for us, whether we are on the move, or staying for four days, as we did here.


AnswerID: 161733

Reply By: Member - Norm C (QLD) - Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 19:33

Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 19:33
The Essentials
Reliable vehicle that get you where you want to go (and back).
Comfortable sleep
Adaquate storage and preparation ability
Plenty of water and other stuff to drink
Good company that you like spending time with

In my younger days, I was happy to do it rough. Lived out of a back pack (food, water, tent, sleeping bag; the lot), for days at a time. Moved up to small tent, camp stove and esky in the car, then bigger tent and other stuff in a 6x4 trailer.

Now, if it is more than a few days, it has to be the CT, fridge, queen sized bed, comfortable camp chairs and the wife along for company. We try not to load up too much, but always have room for the camp oven, some good wine, the BBQ and a few other comforts.

I guess we are all at different stages. But until you have done it rough, you don't really appreciate the comforts.

AnswerID: 161735

Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Tuesday, Mar 21, 2006 at 01:06

Tuesday, Mar 21, 2006 at 01:06
Well, having "collected" a fair bit of Camping essentials over the years, I must say that the best thing I now have is a Camper Trailer where I can keep everything in, ready to go next time.

No more rummaging about in the shed and ticking items off a check list.
It is already there.

The only thing required is the discipline to replenish "spent" items as we use them.

Much more room in the shed now too.
I actually have a metre wide patch down the middle of it. Buggered if I know where I used to store all the gear now in the Camper.

I'm diagonally parked in a parallel Universe!

My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

AnswerID: 161812

Reply By: Greiglin - Tuesday, Mar 21, 2006 at 11:00

Tuesday, Mar 21, 2006 at 11:00
Thanks to all that took the time to read my post and answer. Yep we are all different and that's what makes the world go round. One thing though, it gets you thinking, talking and listening. Good luck to you all on your next trip whenever and whever that may be.
Mish & Greig.
AnswerID: 161881

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