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Preparing For A Road Trip

by mythic44

Follow these steps to ensure you’re adequately prepared for a venture into the great beyond

Packing for a trip into remote territory can be daunting, namely because there won’t be a Walmart around the corner if you forget something.

Breakdown
Don’t leave planning to the morning of the big trip, as haste will guarantee you mess things up. Make sure you have your list written well before you start packing your bags, so there’s plenty of time to add things as they occur to you in the middle of the night. this spares you the dreaded moment when the workload turns dark and you realize you packed 18 AA batteries but not a single AAA battery.

Shakedown
Take a practice trip far enough away that you have to think about packing, but close enough that you don’t have to totally commit yourself. That way you won’t be far from the convenience store when, after chopping up your ingredients for dinner, sinking a beer and pulling out the stove, you realize you didn’t pack a lighter. Or matches.

Clothes 
The amount of clothes you take depends entirely on how often you can, or will, wash them. When you’re travelling you tend to get dirty fast , notwithstanding a muddy recovery in the dark, which can leave you looking like a sewer worker.

Cut down
Cut out things you’ve never used on previous trips. This doesn’t apply to things like a winch, which are cumbersome and heavy but might just save your butt one day. I’m talking about things like that remote control helicopter you thought would be great with a GoPro attached to take catalogue-worthy aerial shots. Is that really a necessity?

Replace
Replace things you have used on previous trips. There’s nothing worse than opening your cooking kit and discovering you didn’t do a great job of cleaning it last time, because it was the last day on the road and you had a long stretch of driving ahead of you. Or realizing that the toilet paper stash that was always in your cat’s glove compartment ran out somewhere around Toowoomba on that last trip.

Take spares
How far you want to go with this one is up to you, the sky is the limit, assuming you’re driving a convertible. Which you probably aren’t, if we’re to be honest, so make a carefully considered decision. I like to carry at least two spare tyres, more if I’m towing a camper trailer. It’s one thing repairing a lat, it’s another if you shred the thing.

Fuel for the Road
Make sure you account for areas where fuel is scarce. This isn’t a major problem in most places, but there are few spots where fuel is a real concern, like the deserts. Make sure you’re carrying it safely, not on the roof rack if you can help it and nowhere too exposed. The front of your camper trailer is probably the safest place.

Fun
Don’t forget entertainment. Camping can be exhilarating until the sun goes down, but that can be a early, and unless you’re travelling with an expert at ghost story telling, a rare skill these days, you’ll need a good book. Playing cards are a staple, too. And if you’ve got the kids with you, you’ll probably need a portable DVD player. Don’t forget all your chargers, one of the few things you can’t replace easily on the road is a charger for your phone or laptop. Add those to the list early so you’re lease likely to forget them.

Safety
Don’t forget to bring the stuff that, when things really go wrong, will ensure you make it home. If you’re going to venture far into the outback, this means enough water for every person on the trip to have several litres per day, a good UHF radio that you know how to use, and ideally some sort of EPIRB or satellite phone for emergencies.

Sort
Keep all of your camping gear together in plastic bins that you can easily get to, so that when it comes time to pack for a trip half the work is already done. I pack lights in one box. the kitchen in another and so on, so that it’s easy to find everything at home and on the road.

Now that you have pored over the maps and created your itinerary, the only thing left to do is pack your bags, the car and the camper trailer. Choosing what to take and what to leave behind maybe the last thing you do, but it’s by no means the least important; it has a huge bearing on your comfort, fuel economy and safety, too.

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