We like to use a Scrubba Wash Bag when we are in more remote locations. It does not require much water or effort to do small loads of washing. Just put in your clothes, water and detergent. Roll the bag down and clip it together. Release the valve to expel the air then agitate the bag to wash the clothes for approximately 3 minutes (also good to let them soak). Pour out the dirty water and fill with rinse water and repeat the steps above. Instructions are printed on the bag to make it easy. We find using Martha’s Wool Mix in this works well as it rinses out of the clothes easier than other detergents we have used, so ultimately saves water.
Keep $1 and $2 coins handy for when you are in a Caravan Park and need to use the Washing Machine or Dryer
Buy detergent that can be used in both a Top Loader and a Front Loader machine, as it does vary between Caravan Parks
We bought a pop up Laundry Basket which has come in very handy. Great that it packs away flat, but it also has multiple uses, such as a wash tub for the dishes.
We use a pop up Laundry Hamper for collecting the dirty clothes and also handy for carrying them over to the Laundry in. Also great that it packs away flat.
Small portable clothesline. This has come in really handy and I managed to find one on Gum Tree for $20.
Don’t forget a big bag of pegs. I put mine in a zip lock bag and peg the bag to the Caravan Park Clothes line to make it easier.
Alum is a flocculant that you can purchase from a gardening shop, as it is used for changing the acidity of soil. Col was first introduced to it by a ‘Bushy’ who lives in Victoria. When he was a kid they used to pump Murray River water into their tanks and use the Alum to clarify it for showering and washing (not drinking). In camping, you can use the same thing if you have a water source that is really murky and muddy. Collect the water, add approximately 20g (a dessert spoon full) to 40L of water and the Alum will stick to the muddy particles, they then form clumps and sink to the bottom. You can then syphon or decant the clear water off the top to use for washing and showering (not drinking).
As we will be on the move constantly for the next 10 months, I wondered how we would get deliveries sent to us. Not so difficult if you are staying in one spot for a reasonable length of time, but trickier if you only stay for 1 or 2 nights and keep on the move.
I did a bit of research and found that Australia Post offers a ‘MyPost’ service. You need to sign up for an account and then add the Post Office you want to collect your parcel from to your list of Post Offices. They will then provide you with a unique reference number and the address of the Post Office to get your items sent to. They will also notify you when your parcel arrives and hold it for 10 days. We used this service for the first time on our trip and collected our parcel from the Ceduna Post Office. All went smoothly and it is a great way to be able to let people or online orders know where to deliver your items along your path.
You can even change the delivery address while the parcel is in transit, depending on how close the item is for delivery. This would be handy if you get delayed somewhere or your plans change. You can also track where your parcel is in transit.
Col came up with a great idea for the bin and the paper towel holder. Suction hooks! This gets the bin bag off the counter/cupboards and doesn’t take up any space, you just need to get small bin bags with handles. He also found this awesome suction hook paper towel holder. Helps to preserve precious bench space.
We have come to really value these hooks and you can’t have too many! They help to keep things off the bench and seats so keeps things a little tidier. Just don’t leave heavy towels on them when you are on the move or they do fall off. But we haven’t had any issues with them falling off while we are stationary. Col got all the hooks from Bunnings. He got the paper towel holder from the Foodland at Woodcroft.
Col and I decided to not have a toilet and shower in the van. This was a big discussion, but ultimately I think a good decision. We have a hot water shower on the outside of the van and use a privacy tent. We have both a single and a double one that can have the port-a-loo on the other side. You can open up the adjoining wall between them if you prefer.
This offers a little more privacy than being in the van and reduces the cleaning. It is still located close enough that it is not an inconvenient walk to get to it. It also meant that we could get a smaller, cheaper van too, which suits our off-road needs.
The double tent has a zip between the two sections. When showering I usually set up a table in the toilet section to put your dry clothes and towel on. Keep the middle section zipped while showering as you will likely spray the hose in that direction. There are also handy pockets on the tent to put your shampoo, conditioner and soap etc. Make sure you set the tent up far enough away so you don’t block the vent, as this is a fire hazard.
We also have a small tarp floor that we put down which helps to keep your feet clean, but it is not shown in this photo. The idea with the outdoor shower is to wet yourself, turn off the water then soap up and we then use the water we are standing in as a bath and use it to rinse off a bit as well. This helps to reduce your water usage when water is not readily available.
We don’t use the hose hung up like this, just handy for when not in use.
If you are worried about the challenges of folding up the toilet tent when you have finished, try watching the video on an easy folding technique for these that saved us hours of frustration.
I downloaded Audible for the long drives so I can listen to a book instead of music. I highly recommend it. I started to feel a bit sleepy at the 2 hour mark and was counting the kilometers listening to music. I switched to the book for the last half of the drive and was alert and didn’t notice the time or the kilometers. I could have kept driving. Needs to be a good book I guess! You can preview the narrator before you purchase and I would highly recommend this, as some of the voices would drive me crazy to listen to. You also need to download the book ahead of time, so be prepared. The great thing is you have access to a book store anywhere you have internet, they are way cheaper than paperbacks, easier to travel with as they don’t take up room and you can listen to your favourite books while driving. Winner. I also downloaded the Kindle app on my laptop too.
Thinking I might start an on-line book club if anyone is interested in reading and discussing each month – let me know. I am currently reading ‘Silent Child’ by Sarah A. Denzil.
Books I have listened to:
‘Silent Child’ by Sarah A. Denzil
‘The Girls of Mischief Bay’ by Susan Mallery
‘Sometimes I lie’ by Alice Fenney
‘Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine’ by Gail Honeyman – Currently listening to this one and it is my favourite book so far. Only a few chapters in.
Carry cash – small notes for National Parks and Bush Camps that you need to sign in yourself and put the money in an envelope. Col and I use credit cards a lot and if we have cash it is often a bigger note. So be prepared for this as you don’t get change.
You also use many $1 and $2 coins for washing machines, dryers, water and even showers. Start saving them up and keep them somewhere handy.
Find a big second hand shop near you and stock up on summer stuff before you go. You don’t need perfect clothes for the trip and what you will likely wear in the hot and humid weather up North is not what you would necessarily have in your wardrobe on a day to day basis. I found a QuickSilver wetsuit in great condition for $18 at Savers in Noarlunga. You can save a heap of money and get what you need this way.
Insect Repellent – Natures Botanical – Rosemary and Cedarwood Oil. I love the smell of this product, and I am very hopeful that it will be effective up North, as I don’t like using DEET base replants. My partner’s sister swears by this stuff, so will see how it goes. So far so good – thank’s Sam!
Portable toilets seem to invoke mixed e-motions (sorry about the potty humour) among the various campers and caravaners we’ve met. I’ve never been keen on portable toilets because I simply don’t like the smell of the chemicals that camping shops sell and I could not think of a worse combination of smells – poo and chemicals – that confronts you when you empty them. I’ve even seen people dry reaching when emptying their’s which was very off putting.
We bought our caravan and chose a trip to Bendlbey Ranges (in the Flinders Ranges) to give the van its first decent run. Once we had returned, I noticed a few stone chips on the front of the van. So I fitted a stone guard that I bought offline and thought “she’ll be right”. Wrong…