Temperature control is something you’ll want to get a handle on when travelling. Although I never have. And halfway through winter this year, I bolted up to Emerald in Central Queensland with one thing on my mind… Warm toes! It was a cracker of a winter in south-east Queensland this year and I was bundled up like a badly-dressed scarecrow most of the time. One of Carrie’s beanies perched on my head. Every second day I was down at the post office waiting for the beanie to arrive, to generate some warmth and cover up a crop of woolly winter hair.
Whether you’re camping, caravanning, or travelling in hybrid accommodation, there are simple things that can make life more comfortable during temperature fluctuations. Queensland is a particularly tricky place to be as summer can be humid and wet. Winter can be cold and as dry as a dog’s bone left out in the midday sun. There doesn’t seem to be more than a few days of just-right weather. But maybe it’s just me? When I lived in Canberra my toes blew up in winter in purple itchy chilblains. And if you haven’t experienced chilblains, well, let’s park that right here. Not on anyone’s bucket list. Never will be.
So what are the options if you’re on the road for a fair period of time and want to find the sweet spot, climate-control wise? You can follow the seasons as ski instructors seem to do. Or carry a large bundle of clothing that takes up space and weighs a ton. Neither of those options will work for most of us. And as a friend said recently, “He gets two cupboards in the caravan, and I get two.” Yikes! That won’t work for me. I want all of my clothing onboard all of the time including an assortment of footwear for hiking, Geocaching, paddling, pedalling and the beach.
I think the best way to get this down on paper is to divvy it up into things you can wear on your body, and gadgets that will make it easier to control the ambient temperature in your living space. And, yeah, keep it cheap and easy. Like some people you’ll meet on the road. Let’s start with the personal stuff. I’ll get around to discussing gadgets in another blog.
This should be obvious but wear layers, both on your body and in bed. You need to be able to shed clothing easily as the day warms up. I keep a zip-up fleece in the car, and a lightweight raincoat in my daypack for outings on foot. It’s also nice to have a clean jacket or cardy indoors. My car jacket only gets washed every few weeks and it gathers dust you don’t want to transfer to bedding and so on. Keep your abode dust-free.
You’ll need a hat. The Aussie sun is deadly. Keep it off your face. The hat I wear for geocaching and other outdoor activities is a scrappy pink cap with Ningaloo Reef printed on the fabric. Just make sure it fits well and keeps your face shaded. Occasionally I soak it in a bucket of suds. And of course my beanie for sitting outside on cool nights. It’s easy to lose heat through your scalp.
I’m convinced the key to bodily temperature control is in the head and feet. Thick bamboo socks are the best thing I’ve stumbled across this year, and they come in bright colours. Shop around as these puppy warmers can sell for up to $A15. I bought a second pair for twelve bucks. Great for boots, bedsocks, ‘tho you can wear them anywhere you like for sweat-free feet. And the fabric doesn’t pill in the wash.
Ladies, I gave up bras well before I gave up working in an office. Think, slumped over a sticky computer all day. Bras are designed to pinch your flesh and keep everything nice and perky. Toss them in the bin. They won’t wear well on the road and are finicky to wash. Buy a sports bra and if you can wear it all day without knowing it’s there, go out and buy another one. I like Sloggis. But have another bra to wear with strappy dresses. Of course, you could give bras up altogether if you don’t move around much during the day. A stretch top may suffice.
Shorts, skirts, T-shirts (short and long sleeved) jeans and stretchy gym pants. What else do you need? Oh, yeah, a pair of swimmers! Anything you can wash and roll up and stuff into a small space. I keep underwear in zip-up travel packs. Close fitting clothing makes it easier to maintain your body temperature. Like a second skin. Then add or remove layers to disperse or retain body heat.
This is going to sound weird. But I keep a square plastic bucket of shoes outside my camper. It contains an old pair of sandals, surf sandals for water sports, and my Geocaching sneakers. I leave a cloth in the bucket for quick wipe downs. I also have a pair of runners inside the door that I try hard to keep clean(ish). During transit I toss the bucket inside or in the boot – depends where you can fit it in.
My hiking boots live in the back of the car. The boots were repaired this week with a dab of glue. Followed up when dry with a squirt of WD-40 around the toes. (I could and maybe will write a piece on the wonders of WD-40, someday.)
That’s probably all you need that isn’t sportswear specific. I did fling a couple of shawls and dresses into a cupboard before taking off on my travels earlier this year. They haven’t been used.