Stuff it!

Let’s talk about stuff.

How much stuff do you really need on the road? Not much. And when travelling, the old adage less is more holds up.

I started with an SUV loaded to the roof with things I thought I’d need. Most of that stuff is now in storage, or was given away. The car is still well-stuffed; but it’s populated with things I need or could be useful at a pinch. So, I won’t cover basic tools like a ratchet screwdriver and vice-grips here.

The lists below are not exhaustive. But maybe they will get you thinking about what you need, want and can do without. (There’s nothing wrong with wanting something, if you can find space for it, and it makes you happy.)

Some essentials

  • A first-Aid kit and compression bandages for snake bite. But you already know that, eh? If you don’t know how to treat a snake bite — learn! Treat EVERY snake bite as venomous. Make sure you have tweezers in your kit.
  • Tip… Snakes have buggy mouths (bacteria). If your skin is broken, expect to get an infection.
  • Purchase a small reliable air compressor that operates on 12-volt. These retail under $200 in auto stores. If you buy a compressor with attachments, you can use it to pump up bike tyres or a basketball. I have eight tyres of differing sizes on the 4WD, caravan and mountain bike. And a giant blow-up pretzel for the beach.
  • Tip… Check the length of the leads on the compressor before purchase. You need to get from the car to the caravan tyres with shady trees in the way.
  • A fire blanket. I know, I know, you have no intention of starting a conflagration. But it happens. Spectacularly! Even if you have a small fire extinguisher, it’s worth investing in a fire blanket. These are portable and can be stuffed into a small gap in the car or caravan. Pull the straps and you’re in action.
  • A mallet with a solid wooden handle. I keep it in the back of the car. It gets used on tent pegs, stiff fittings and levers, and for whacking things.
  • WD-40! I have several cans of this, seriously. I use it on the towball, caravan drawbar’ fittings, to get sticky residue or paint off my fingers, tight lids that won’t come off, rust, and just about everywhere else. Easily the most essential item in my inventory.
  • I’m having some angst about including this point but suggest you carry a hydraulic jack of some sort. Sure, it’s heavy and takes up space. But it could also save you time, sweat and tears. I have a trolley jack. Bottle jacks are also worth a look 🤔
  • I carry a Swiss Army knife (multitool), dive knife and a machete. If you’re not an outdoorsy person, and not into DIY hacks, you probably don’t need all of these. Can I suggest at least a SWAK?
  • A travel blanket. Tambo Teddies make a nice one that folds up into itself with straps. I bought two, one for my daughter, one for me. I’ve had the same travel blanket named Sam for over 30 years; and it’s still travelling well.

You’re kidding, right?

  • You don’t need a large wooden rolling pin. I know this from experience. Yes, it’s great for hitting things but it takes up space in your ride or abode. Leave it. Use your hands to press pizza dough.
  • I have scored free stuff from other travellers and believe in paying it forward. You can wander around a campsite making friends and giving away things you can’t use. I’ve been given anti-flappers for a caravan awning. And gave away a small air compressor.

If you have space and payload…

  • Herbs. Plants travel well in small pots that can sit in the footwell of the car. Then set up outside your tent or caravan. Fresh herbs are a delight. Much cheaper to buy a living plant. Then compost and get another plant or cutting. I kept a small pot of travel-basil alive for six weeks.
  • Tip… many caravan parks have herb gardens. If you can’t see it, ask the caretaker? Rosemary bushes are planted at most war monuments; stop to read the plaques and pick fresh herbs.
  • Pool noodles. Chop into 30cm lengths and slit. Place on guy ropes as anti-trip devices. Many uses for noodles, so be inventive.
  • Keep your payload and petrol bills low. If towing, travel with empty water tanks unless camping off-grid. If you’re unsure, carry an emergency supply of water spread evenly between both tanks.
  • A pizza tray. I have no shame in saying this. Pizza is simple to make on the road. It’s a nutritious meal if you make your own dough and there are usually leftovers for the next day.
  • A tyre puncture kit. Used properly, it can get you back on the road fast. Handy for remote travel. A temporary fix.

Lurching towards winter in Australia!

Travelling can lead to freedom if you let it. Don’t bring your baggage along for the ride.

Declutter your physical space. Free your mind.

Note… I’m in the middle of a full-length writing project that consumes most of my time. (Well, when I’m not at the beach.) But hope to pick up the pace here, now the book draft is nearing completion.

Images are my own or sourced from pixabay. Cover image was taken at sunset on Perlubie Beach.

Perlubie Beach, South Australia
Talia Cove, South Australia
Wild rosemary bush

Sea caves at Talia Cove, South

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