Preparing for our adventure…


Before heading off on our big adventure to mainland Australia and into the middle of nowhere we had a couple of trial run trips close to home returning with a long list of must have equipment for the big trip… the ‘WANTS AND THE NEEDS’ to be exact!

Now we are in ‘WANT VERSUS NEED’ territory lets talk about what we packed for our camping adventure… we really should have learned from our last trip, we had to think ‘lean and mean’ in our choice of accessories… comfortable, compact, lightweight and practical!

Hilux Upgrade…

  • canopy and support frame
  • suspension upgradeIMG_1825
  • bull bar and winch
  • rear roller draws
  • fridge slide
  • air compressor
  • dual batteries
  • roof racks
  • USB ports
  • UHF radio
  • snorkel
  • long range fuel tank
  • BF Goodrich off road tyres


  • Bikes and helmets
  • Fridge
  • Solar panel
  • Solar battery chargers – Monkey
  • GPS & maps
  • Battery radio
  • Gas bottles – 2x2kg
  • Cooker
  • Lights – LED strip lighting, head torches
  • 2 comfortable chairs (maybe a bit smaller for our next trip)
  • 1 foot stool (for me to reach the fridge)
  • 2 stools to go with tables (optional)
  • 2 small collapsible tables, one on which to rest ‘happy hour’ goodies, the other to support our cooker (could get away with one)
  • Roll out awning and tent enclosure to add some living flexibility, protection from the sun or bad weather and from the insects!
  • Matting for under our awning
  • Swag (optional)
  • Shovel
  • Axe
  • MaxTraxs
  • Tyre gauge
  • Tool kit
  • Recovery gear
  • Puncture repair kit
  • Compressor
  • 2 collapsible buckets
  • 1 collapsible washing up dish
  • Solar shower
  • Washing machine (bucket and plunger – washday always brought me to my knees but it was a great workout!)
  • Pegs and clothesline
  • First aid kit
  • Patches and repair tapes (Tenatious tape – brilliant)
  • Matches
  • Gas lighter
  • Dust pan and broom
  • Couple of old towels – good dust seals
  • Couple of old cloths
  • 2X20 litre water containers
  • Inverter
  • Laptop, Ipad and phone – extra data!
  • Downloaded apps – HEMA, CamperMate, Wiki Camps. Make sure you download the maps for each state before leaving home, then you can use them offline. They use quite a bit of data to download that you don’t want to use on the road!


  • Frypan with lid
  • Trangia
  • Collapsible kettle
  • Collapsible bowls
  • Camp oven
  • Saucepan and steamer
  • Thermal cooker – great for stews, roasts, soups (best thing ever)
  • Yoghurt maker
  • Gladwrap, foil, freezer bags, paper towel, sandwich bags (large, medium, small)
  • Thermos – hot water for a morning cuppa
  • Portable vacuum sealer and bags

Cooking and eating utensils…

  • Wooden spoon
  • Serving spoon
  • Salad servers
  • Masher
  • Egg flip
  • Whisk
  • Collapsible colander
  • Couple of sharp knives
  • Can opener
  • Bottle opener
  • Champagne cork – thanks Barb!
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Mixing bowls – I had a couple with lids, they doubled as serving /storage/chip bowls!
  • 2 bowls
  • 2 dinner plates
  • 2 mugs (we went through a few)
  • 2 keep cups (great in the car)
  • 2 glass wine glasses
  • 2 stubby holders
  • 2 knives, forks, desert spoons
  • Couple of teaspoons

Must have food on the road…

Our cleverest meals stemmed from being prepared and being a little creative.

The longer we were on the road, the more prepared and creative we became.

A little bit of creative thinking goes a really long way when you’re hundreds of kilometres from a supermarket and all we needed was a well-stocked pantry… followed by lots of growling about the weight we were carrying!

Here’s my list of essential food to take camping.

I had my pantry full of versatile basics and we were able to create some great meals out of very little, in some pretty remote places.

In my pantry…

  • Dehydrated peas
  • Instant mashed potato
  • Rice
  • Pasta – spirals & spaghetti
  • Instant noodles
  • Long life milk
  • Long life cream
  • Olive oil
  • Olives
  • Dijon mustard
  • Soy sauce
  • Tomato sauce
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Stock cubes
  • Cup of soups
  • Herbs and spices – only keep what you’ll use. I took basil, oregano, paprika, cumin, coriander, curry powder, cinnamon, turmeric, nutmeg, bay leaves, and salt and pepper.
  • Nuts – pistachios, cashews, almonds and walnuts
  • SR Flour & Plain flour
  • Juice for oats
  • Dried fruit –sultanas and dates
  • Rolled oats for porridge
  • Flax oil
  • Psyillium, LSA, Chai – We made muesli from these ingredients and soaked them in the juice. It was our breakfast staple most days.
  • Weetbix – in case of an emergency
  • Peanut butter
  • Vegemite
  • Honey
  • Raspberry jam
  • Sugar – for our visitors who had sugar in their coffee
  • Tea bags
  • Coffee
  • Wine & beer


  • Cheese slices
  • Feta cheese
  • Eggs
  • Salad veggies & meat (when close to the Fresh Food people)
  • Dips
  • Hommus
  • Beer
  • Wine

Tin food…

  • Baked beans
  • Tomato Soup
  • Carnation milk
  • Coconut milk
  • Beans (three bean, kidney)
  • Chick peas
  • Lentils
  • Beetroot
  • Champignons
  • Corn/carrots
  • Tomato paste
  • Tomatoes
  • Tuna (large for dinners, small for lunches)

Long life treats… it’s nice to have a little extra something every now and then!

  • Teddy Bear Biscuits
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Marshmallows

I kept everything we had opened in airtight containers or sandwich bags as all kinds of insects will attempt to feast on your precious pantry stores and there is nothing worse than waking up to ants everywhere.

Water too can be an issue when free camping and water is not always safe to drink so we carried lots of bottled water. For more remote camping areas we carried two 20 litre jerry cans full of water for cooking and drinking and aside from this we had a collapsible 10 litre bucket with a lid, a 20 litre washing bucket plus our solar shower filled with bore water… we made sure we had an adequate supply!

Cleaning products…

  • Washing up detergents
  • Washing up cloth, mop and steelo
  • Washing detergent
  • Sards wonder soap
  • Disinfectant – to wipe out the washing machines in the parks

Toiletries & medicines…

(we had a small bag each)

  • Presciption medication (make sure you have visited your GP for enough repeats for the time you are away)
  • Toothbushes
  • Toothpaste
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Moisturiser
  • Baby wipes (great when in remote areas for a quick wash) – I also keep one in the glove box in the car for emergencies!
  • Brush
  • Nail care
  • Quick first aid kit – Betadine, Band-Aids, Panadol, Vicks, Prescription Medications


  • Toilet seat liners
  • Toilet wipes
  • Toilet rolls x2
  • Hand wash
  • Hand sanitiser x2 (I kept one in the car)
  • Vicks – great for insect bites
  • 1 bottle of Tropical suntan oil with block out and 1 bottle of Dettol – Recipe – 2/3 suntan oil to 1/3 Dettol (an amazing insect repellent)
  • Natures Botanical (to keep away the flies) – can be purchased at Horse Land.
  • Sunblock


(these items all packed neatly into our rooftop tent)

  • Doona
  • Doona cover x2
  • Sheets x2
  • Pillows
  • Pillow cases
  • Towels x2
  • Beach towels x2

Then we get to WANTS…

  • I took lots of clothes… didn’t need them and didn’t wear most of them (however, we did need clothes for all weather!!)
  • Portable toilet seat (comfort factor, but only used once)
  • Crate to store bits and pieces – originally took 3, disposed of 2 in Sydney and the other took up way too much room and collected junk!

When I look at the food and essentials list it looks huge, but surprisingly it condensed down and the groceries all fitted neatly into 4 plastic containers in each of the two roller drawers we had fitted by ARB… overall all I think we did pretty well with our ‘WANTS AND NEEDS’ approach.

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