So your husband or partner is keen to head into the desert on a 4WD adventure and would really love you to join him???
Not really your idea of a holiday though? No hot showers every day and no flushing toilet!! Sounds more like a blokes trip to most, but believe me, I’ve done many trips with my husband Adam over the years and it’s actually not as daunting as it may seem. With a few tips on what to take, I guarantee you’ll be glad you tagged along! Why let him have all the fun?!
My experience on Tagalong tours is that you don’t want to be the last ones ready in the morning with everyone waiting for you to finish packing up. A quick and easy set up is a must. Now, everyone has their personal choices on what they would like to sleep on and in, but whatever you choose, it has to be easy and something you can both set up and pack up with out arguments!! Nothing worse than starting the day cranky because you didn’t fold the tent or ground sheet the right way!
A roof top tent is an easy set up and nice to be up high but a long way down for a midnight wee!
A ground sheet to lay down outside your tent is a must…we have a double layered mesh one that keeps the sand and dirt from coming through and it doesn’t need to be huge.
Find comfy camp chairs (sit in before you buy) and a good idea is one with a small table attached. A bit more bulky to carry though if space is tight.
Shoes…keep it simple. I always wear Red Back or Blundstone boots and socks every day. Keeps your feet clean and prickle free. A pair of crocs to slip into is a good idea too and you can wear them with your socks if need be rather than putting on your boots for that nighttime wee and in and out of the tent.
A shower everyday is probably not going to be an option so I always make sure I have a few packets of wet wipes handy, in the car, in the lunch box and somewhere close at night for a quick wipe of my face, arms and legs if you’ve had sunscreen or mozzie repellent on during the day. Another option is a few washers/flannels and a small bucket handy for putting a bit of warm water in and having a sponge bath before bed. It’s amazing how good you can feel afterwards. You may not be able to wash your hair every day but a can of dry shampoo can make all the difference between washes! There will rarely be more than a few days between showers on most of our trips except perhaps the Canning Stock Route but at the end of the day everyone is in the same boat so there will be no judgements made.
Now toilets….or lack of them!! A scary thought for most women and the final straw in agreeing to come along. A game changer for me though was buying a porta potty and it gets used for number ones and twos! It’s easy to duck behind a tree for a wee during the day and in the evening but number twos are trickier. Digging a hole and burning the paper before covering back over is not always easy or very glamorous so we just use our porta potty. We carry a quick fold shower tent and stick the potty in there when we get to camp and it’s the last thing to go away in the morning to give you plenty of time to go in that time.
Keep the toilet paper and flushable wipes handy at all times. There will always be times along the way when public toilets will be available to use and dump points to empty your potty. I carry a packet of disinfectant wipes too, to wipe down the potty every other day to keep it clean.
And for a quick shave I always carry an electric ladies razor to save using water and soap. And a little portable mirror is handy to pop in too, or the side mirror of the car works too!
Flies…now I’d be lying if I said you won’t see any in the centre of Australia, but during the cooler months of the year when we generally travel outback and through the desert, they aren’t so bad, but I do recommend you carry a couple of fly nets for your head or hat (there’s a few different types). Easy to stick in your pocket and use if needed.
Lunches…When we stop for lunch between camps I find it useful to have a small seperate container with a few essentials to whip up a quick snack without unpacking all your gear to find a knife or plate etc.
I usually keep a small cutting board, sharp knife, butter knife, tea towel, wettex, tea bags, coffee, thermos of hot water boiled in the morning, dry crackers or wraps, spreads of your choice eg vegemite or peanut butter and tinned tuna and keep butter, cheese and any cold meats and milk handy in the fridge. I use a small bowl and little bottle of detergent to wash the knives and board and table afterwards. It all depends on your setup, but sometimes all the essentials are packed deep in the car or camper trailer and this little box just makes it all easier for a quick stop.
We always have a thermal cup of our favourite hot drink (tea, coffee, chai, soup) to sip on along the way. Fruit, muesli bars, biscuits, lollies or nuts and dried fruit are handy to have in the car too. I keep a little basket at my feet for easy access, especially when the kids are with us and there is a constant need for snacking!
If you’re one to enjoy a snooze in the car then an inflatable or soft neck pillow is a good idea too and for the long drives we download lots of podcasts and audiobooks to listen to. It makes a huge difference to the journey.
Keep your swimmers and towels (microfibre the best for quick drying) handy in the car as there is often a opportunity for a quick dip in an artesian spa/hot spring or river crossing to wash off some of the dust. Carry a small bag with some washing line rope and a few pegs so when you get to camp you can hang up any wet things.
Dinners can often be a bit daunting, wondering how to keep ingredients fresh and over the years we have found that cooking up meals before we head off and cryovacing them and freezing them makes life at the end of the day so much easier. We tend to make dishes that we can just reheat and add either pasta, rice or potatoes in the fire and dinner is done! Little washing up and no waste.
Carrying rubbish is made easier too with a bag that hangs over your spare wheel on the back of the car and if you enjoy a drink at the end of the day then drinks in cans or wine casks, not bottles helps to minimise your rubbish.
So hopefully that gives you some food for thought and perhaps makes it all a little less daunting to join your man on a trip of a lifetime.
You won’t regret it…starry nights and camp fires and lots of amazing photos and memories. Go on, give it a go!
👍Easy camp set up
👍comfy chairs with tables if space allows.
👍Roof top tent
👍Wear boots and socks
👍Toilet flushable wipes
👍Fly net and hat
👍Lunch box – sharp knife, butter knife, t bags, coffee, thermos, t towel, detergent, wettex, crackers, tuna, bowl for washing up, small cutting board
👍Download audiobooks and podcasts on phone
👍Thermal cup for tea or coffee or soup
👍Lollies and fruit, nibbles for car
👍Neck pillow for sleeping
👍Antihistamine for bites
👍Swimmers/towel for hot springs/rivers
👍Bin for spare wheel