Travelling as a family

Submitted: Wednesday, Aug 06, 2003 at 18:33
ThreadID: 6407 Views:2431 Replies:6 FollowUps:5
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We are a family of 6 (mun, dad, two teenagers and two still at Primary school) and have done a fair bit of travel with a GQ and off road camper. We are now considering a few more adventurous trips. One we are considering is the Simpson desert, but I dont know how to fit every one and thing into the GQ. What with bedding for 6, fuel, water and food .... it dont all fit.
I am curious if anyone else has travelled remotely with 6 people in a vehicle, and how they managed to fit everything in!!

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Reply By: bruce.h (WA) - Wednesday, Aug 06, 2003 at 19:43

Wednesday, Aug 06, 2003 at 19:43
we travelled the northwest with six in holden hj station wagon but it was many years agowhe npolice were not worried about kids not wearing safety belt
we slept all six of us in side the vehicle, as follows
1 across the front seat
back seat layed down 3 across the back
we then strung a piece of canvas between the right hand doors at the front & rear
& the left hand doors front & rear so as to form 2 hammics
we traveled for 5 weeks like this but were probaly a way from a town for no mre than 6 days carried no more than 3 set of clothes 1 on 1in the wash 1 spare
food consisted of lots of mince & risa riso,tined or packet food so as to keep the space taken to minimum
but with 2 teenagers probable the best way to go would be swags & a tent & pack light duel use everything ie sleeping bags draped over the seats as seat covers & not rolled up same goes for towels
your biggest problem will be carring all the water you will need for 6 people
hope this helps in some small way
btw the trip with 6 in the holden was a trip i will rember always as it was A1 fun
you dont need to do it fancy to enjoy it
Regarsd Bruce
AnswerID: 26975

Follow Up By: Hilly - Wednesday, Aug 06, 2003 at 20:07

Wednesday, Aug 06, 2003 at 20:07
Bruce, what a great idea about the sleeping bags as seat covers. Really simple but I'd never have thought of it.

I can rival your trip tale though. 7 of us in a HR holden wagon from Perth to Sydney return, across the nullabor before it was sealed! It was so loaded up in the rear that it looked like an aircraft in that last second before the nose lifts of the ground. Seemed like an adventure at the time. We had a ball


FollowupID: 18499

Follow Up By: bruce.h (WA) - Wednesday, Aug 06, 2003 at 20:27

Wednesday, Aug 06, 2003 at 20:27
traveling was so much more fun when nobody cared what you had or how you did it just as long as you did it & had fun, we croosed the nully before it was sealed was only 5 of us then & we had the add space of 6x 4 box trailer best part was dodging the holes i the road & counting how many truck tyres were stacked in them so that you could see them the memory a bit shacky but i think the most we counted was seven high
Regards bruce
FollowupID: 18501

Follow Up By: Member - Melissa - Thursday, Aug 07, 2003 at 12:57

Thursday, Aug 07, 2003 at 12:57
Geez, and here I was thinking our family of 4 + the cat crossing the Nullabor on an 8 week trip to WA when I was a kid was something! The road wasn't sealed then either, we all slept in the Ford wagon and we were towing a boat. No such thing as car fridges, LR tanks, water tanks, sat phones etc back then, didn't need fancy 4WD's or campertrailers with all fruit. Just a the desire and enough sense of adventure to do it! We are so soft these days...myself included!

:o) MelissaPetrol 4.5L GU Patrol &
Camprite TL8 offroad camper
FollowupID: 18556

Reply By: kezza - Wednesday, Aug 06, 2003 at 21:23

Wednesday, Aug 06, 2003 at 21:23
Cameron - My wife and I take the kids everywhere (Im an ex-outdoor adventure instructor and really take my kids into the bush and up mountains since they were really young- oldest is now 16) and always have - we are a family of 5 and usually we go off with another family of 5 which makes an instant crowd of 10 (plus the odd friend or 4 thrown in for a laugh - no probs in 2 X 7 seater nissan patrols we have done 1000klm overnighters and on weekends are rarely home before 10.00pm sunday night - catering is down to a fine art.
We often have the vehicle full the roofrack full (no trailer) and do some of the best and hardest adventures and often sleep under the stars or under a big tarp. ( We have a Taj Mahal tent but never bother with it unless staying for a week or so.)

But our trip to the simpson??

We considered all the options looked at the interest the kids would have in another 1000ks before we saw the next tree - let alone the next swimming hole etc etc, and decided to leave the kids at home.

My wife and I escaped for a few weeks and didnt have to cater worry or even eat if we didnt feel like it.
Totally the best time we'd had in 15 years.
Luckily my mum and dad were able to look after them - they all had a all had a ball.

The kids didnt even want to come when we told them where we wanted to go.

I decked the (already grand touring equipped) patrol out with a bunk the best fridge and spares - cannot describe the feeling of freedom.

Its not a great thrill for kids - in hindsight one of the things I did notice is I didnt meet one other vehicle in the desert with kids on board and met a few parents who had done the same as us.

just another perspective


AnswerID: 26986

Reply By: Member - Bob - Thursday, Aug 07, 2003 at 08:14

Thursday, Aug 07, 2003 at 08:14
No matter how you do it, six is going to be very crowded, even without ancillary gear. The car will be so overloaded that it will probably not stand up to the pounding, esp if you add a roof rack. Even using a trailer for your extra fuel, water and camping gear it is going to be a struggle. Sadly, my advice would be that the compromises to comfort and safety are so great that the trip shouldn't be done. (try sitting in the very back of the wagon as it goes over a few dunes and see if you could handle 1100 of them)
AnswerID: 27012

Reply By: TonyT - Thursday, Aug 07, 2003 at 09:12

Thursday, Aug 07, 2003 at 09:12
Not the same as your plans but wife and I took teen daughter plus (then) boyfriend and best friend to Centre 4000K on the dirt- they basically didn't get out the Jackaroo until ASprings- shops- 2 of them didnt leave the car at Chambers Pillar until they had to get out and eat/camp- tented all the way- daughter was a lifelong camper with us but what a waste of time with them on that one- I guess they might have got something out of it but with towels over their windows and ears plugged in to Walkmans they could have been at the local beach- just a thought- Cheers TonyT
AnswerID: 27017

Follow Up By: Member - Bonz (Vic) - Thursday, Aug 07, 2003 at 18:51

Thursday, Aug 07, 2003 at 18:51
It would have been easier on the way home without the boyfriend too wouldnt it Tony?So many places to go!
So much work to do :0(
FollowupID: 18583

Reply By: Member - Melissa - Thursday, Aug 07, 2003 at 14:48

Thursday, Aug 07, 2003 at 14:48

Weight as much as space is going to be your biggest problem. I'd say you absolutely need a roofrack and should probably consider fitting a long range fuel tank and possibly water tanks. You will probably also need to beef up your suspension.

Bedding can be very bulky so a few suggestions to cut down here are kids sit on their pillows (or go without, could use their jackets instead), invest in good sleeping bags for everyone...the kind that pack away into a tiny bundle, kids go without mattresses for this trip or no more than those thin high density foam variety that you can buy from K-mart for ~$15 each. Take only a very lightwieght dome-type tent which packs away into a duffel bag or sleep out...a tarp to go under everyone and one over the top, perhaps strung out from your roofrack. All this is nice and light and should be carried on the roofrack.

Perhaps consider 1 or 2 water bladders, the kind that fit in the footwell behind the front seats. Ours holds 55L so 2 of these would be a good supply. I've seen others make a temporary false floor over the bladders so that the kids aren't walking on them. If you do this, just remember to keep it as light as possible. A tip to keep water consumption down is to take some good quality nappy wipes with you. Much better than "Wet Ones"..we've found using 1 or 2 wipes provides a fantastic alternative to a shower.

Revise your "camp kitchen" set-up to accomodate taking minimal amount of cooking implements. eg. consider 1 pot type meals so you'd only require a single camp oven and a billy and a single gas ring or 2-burner stove.

Lastly, to food...remember, you don't need to be fully stocked up for a 4 week trip if you'll have the opportunity to restock every few days or so. Just pack what you need to get you comfortably from town to town (and you can get limited supplies in Birdsville) with some emergency rations. Yes, you might pay a bit more than at your local Woollies and the range might be limited but I'm sure you're kids will cope. Also to keep wieght down, keep heavy tinned and tetrapak foodstuffs to a minimum by substituting with dried and powered foods wherever possible.

Hope these tips are of some help. Enjoy your trip!

:o) Melissa
AnswerID: 27036

Reply By: jonsal - Monday, Aug 11, 2003 at 00:35

Monday, Aug 11, 2003 at 00:35
did the trip with 2 big teenage boys (19 and 17) and 12 year old girl. They loved every minute. no trailer or camper. in a cruiser. water and fuel main concern with weight distribution.we have 150 litres of diesel so didn't need to carry extra. have seen water bladders that fit into door cavities. we strapped first 24 hours water supply across bull bar in soft drink bottles. had to explain to kids not to go guzzling down water whenever they felt like it. ask mum or dad first. beautiful drinking water at 3 o'clock creek bore on west side of the desert but none until birdsville. purnie bore only for washing. avoid too much salty foods (chips and savoury bics) as this makes you more thirsty. we also had kids sitting on sleeping bags. also left a couple of sleeping bags(not in their bags) to pack down beside rear windows or any other hidey hole left vacant. tuna and salmon in foil packets a great idea. can go on biscuits or fish cakes or mornay. also found burritoes etc excellent with jam or honey on them instead of bread. they toast up ok too. these are great in emergency food box too. took pop tarts and crunchola bars, powdered cordials in foil satchets are great too. an orange bag full of spuds and little butternut pumpkins and a roll of alfoil baked in coals, saves water for drinking. one large saucepan and one large frypan. 2 burner gas stove. weetbix and dried fruit . powdered milk. tubes of condensed milk a treat in cups of tea and if you can find them, coffee and condensed milk in tubes too. goulbourne valley fruit now comes in plastic jars which travel well, also provides a bit of juice. we don't have a fridge. the kids dealt with not having butter and cold drinks, for the adventure. took paper plates and paper bowls(these are hard to find). if you have a small campfire you can burn them or they can go into thick rubbish bag on roofrack to take to tip once you have crossed the desert. only allowed 1 pair of good new boots each, a warm parka with beanies in pockets, and a small backpack each with couple of sets of summer/winter gear. we also strapped air beds to cargo barrier above the kids heads. bags slung behind seats carried thongs, cosies, sunhats, a book to read, paper and pencils. we put lightweight chairs, dome tent, waterproof bag with towels, spare tyre casing on alloy roof rack. hope this has helped a bit. we had many trial packs and when we finally came up with a good one i plotted where everything went down on paper. we took 4 days to cross the desert and had a couple of nights in dalhousie. (fantastic) birdsville has most things in camp food (no powdered cordials) as does oodnadatta. i'd go on a trip closer to home all geared up as a trial run to see how things go first before tackling real remote stuff. can you take one of the rear seats out? this might give you some extra space. good luck.
AnswerID: 27407

Follow Up By: jonsal - Monday, Aug 11, 2003 at 09:33

Monday, Aug 11, 2003 at 09:33
been thinking overnight that things might be pretty squashy.
not worth breaking car by overloading. can still experience remote stuff at dalhousie with day trip to purnie. you can get your camper to there no probs.
FollowupID: 18865

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