We have an unprecedented choice of leisure travel options. Flights can rapidly jet us to all kinds of enticing destinations, from glamorous cruises, to resorts and luxury hotels. But as the planes crisscross overhead, there’s something truly unique thirty thousand feet below… The roadie!
As empty Nesters, most of us have done our time. Those memorable family holidays. The kids in the back, “are we there yet”, the good times the bad, the laughs along with all those disciplinary threats. And most of all creating the many unique family bonding experiences to be reminisced and laughed about for years on end.
But as the kids are now doing their own thing, its now our turn. With the Aussie summer season upon us, what could be more enjoyable than a Roadie. To get out there among it to enjoy the great outdoors. To relive the true spirit of what a roadie offers. This time just you and a partner or with a friend or friends. Or why not a parent/ adult child trip as someone I recently met just recalled. One trip was across their home country in the US, another was winding their way through Ireland. Either way, its all a fantastic way to bond a relationship.
An experience that’s more than just a trip, but so good for the soul. But first, let’s look at getting started…
The best thing is you can enjoy a roadie even if you don’t have the luxury of a caravan. If you’re overdue for some spontaneity, this is a trip you can put together in a short amount of time. My partner and I were on a fifteen thousand kilometer road trip around Australia within a couple weeks of deciding to go.
By preparing the right gear, you’ll have the benefit to take advantage of the many naturally enticing camp sites. You won’t need power so you’ve got the flexibility to free camp or take advantage of lower cost non powered camp sites. As well, if you want to enjoy the occasional special night, let’s call it a date night or with friends, a few more comforts, just choose a hotel along the way that takes your fancy. You can look forward to be treated to some unique Aussie hospitality at many of these country and outback pubs.
Here’s some tips to make your Roadie a really memorable great experience…
Firstly, an SUV vehicle is preferable as it lends itself to being a bit more flexible for any slightly off road camp locations. Plus its more manageable for packing and convenient for living out the back of the vehicle on site. But its certainly not essential.
Make sure your vehicle has been recently serviced and has been deemed by your mechanic as good to go for your intended trip.
Ensure the spare tyre is in a serviceable condition, along with the appropriate tools. Unless you’re a mechanic and take a heap of spare parts, an RAC or equivalent membership is highly recommended.
Take a tent that is quick to put up. You could get by with a two person tent, but a four person size will give the two of you a bit more room to move. Oh and don’t forget the hammer for the pegs.
Inflatable air mattresses have come along way since years gone by. Er on the side of good quality. It’s really really annoying waking up with your butt or hip scraping the hard ground. An extra tarp under the mattress will offer an extra barrier to prevent possible punctures. A mattress repair kit can prove useful for any unforeseen leaks. Use an inflator that is powered from your car cigarette lighter. If you really want a no fail mattress option, self inflating mattresses are an excellent alternative, though more expensive and will take up more room.
I prefer a sheet and duna than the restrictions of a sleeping bag or blankets. Find a bag you can stuff the bedding items into to keep it compact instead of sprawling all over the car when you’re packed up.
If you think an esky with ice will do, well yes it will. But don’t even think about it. Get yourself a small engel car fridge. You will thank me for it, just like I thanked my brother in law after I tried to feebly convince him we could get away with just an esky and a daily bag of ice.
Most cars only provide auxiliary power when the ignition is on. That’s bad news to keep the fridge going during the night or when you’re off on a half day walk. Instead install a cable that connects directly to the battery. Since this is a trip on short notice you probably wont have time to permanently install the cable from the battery to the back of the car. With some creativity you can do it quite smartly without attempting to battle your way through the cars engine firewall.
You should get away without flattening your battery overnight if you set the fridge to low. A camp light is essential with one that plugs into the car or instead a light that recharges off the car. The handheld fluor or LED type lights have minimal battery drain.
Make sure you have jump start cables or a power pack just in case you overextend the drain on the car battery.
Organize, organize, organize, is the best advice you could ever get when it comes to packing your camping items. Unless you love living in total chaos, because you’re now living in makeshift conditions, not being organized will inevitably result in frustration and angst with a lot more time than budgeted staying in a hotel!
So, pack like kind loose items such as cutlery in one container, etc. Then pack all the same category larger items and small containers in larger storage type boxes with lids.
Now if you have one of those old primus type camping barbeques that’s hose connected to a gas bottle, leave it home. You’re not cooking for your tribe anymore. Get yourself one of those single gas stove cookers you can pick up at a hardware store for about twenty dollars. Buy a couple packs of spare gas cannisters and you’re good to go.
Take a light weight decent size fold up table. Too small and you’ll be frustrated with lack of space to prepare meals. Most camp chairs are fantastic for lazing around with a beer or glass of wine, but try eating at the table with them. I’d much more prefer a more upright style chair to make eating a meal more enjoyable.
Include a rope. It’s good for such things a makeshift clothes line. And never leave home without a roll of duct tape. If you don’t have the tools to fix or make what you want along the way, you can be sure duct tape will get you by.
And lastly, download the wikicamps app. It’s the user driven bible for choosing the best camp sites that are just waiting for you and your partner to also enjoy. Especially free camp sites that allow you to enjoy being a touch closer back to nature. Though personally, as a safety practice we prefer other campers to be within reasonable close proximity
Don’t forget the daily wine and cheese happy hour at sunset is mandatory.* As is the awe inspiring experience of gazing up into a star lit night. It’s like it allows you to reconnect with the basics of what we are. We come into the world with nothing, we go out the same way. Leaving behind the comforts and conveniences of home, there’s a certain magical and re energizing experience as we humbly lay there between the stars and the Earth. This is just part of what makes a roadie truly so special… and good for the soul.
*The wine and cheese setting pictures was on the way to Uluru in Central Australia. It was an impromptu setup to enjoy the sun setting over the rock in the distance.
DRY/ CANNED FOOD. Including…
salt & pepper
tomato/ ketchup sauce
spices: curry, mixed herbs, cinnamon
long life milk
wine/ beer (cask/ cans)
FRESH FOOD. Including…
CAMPING BOX. Including…
oven temperature gauge!
dish washing detergent
fold up table
2 x camp chairs
duct tape… never leave home without it!
PICNIC SET. Including….
The Youthful Art of Midlife Travel. (A new titled version of My Senior Gap Year) A story described by readers as entertaining and inspiring. Find out more at youthfulmidlifetravel.com. The book and kindle version is available from Amazon: Click here: Amazon.com (Australia: Amazon.com.au)
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