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Making Herstory: A beginners guide to camping as a solo female

Making Herstory: A beginners guide to camping as a solo female

 

An idea that turned into a 5-night camping event in the East MacDonnell Ranges. The roadtrip to The Red Centre saw women from diverse backgrounds and of all ages take to the road. They came with their story and they came to make Herstory a Guinness World Record.

 

There are countless community focused clubs and groups around, but this idea came from an online community for women that enjoy to camp and go on roadtrips called Rolling Solo Australia. They have over 6,000 members and these women have the courage and the adventuring spirit within them to just get up and go.

 

Working at REDARC we get to work with and meet a lot of people out travelling, who are living their dream and experiencing our beautiful country. And when the opportunity was presented to REDARC to host a workshop at this camping event on DC to DC battery charging and portable solar charging, we jumped at the opportunity to be involved.

 

Happy campers; Steve and Tennille

 

When I told my family that I was going to attend this event their exact words were “Really? This doesn’t sound like you. Why?” Well why not? I thought it was about time I got out of the office and got hands-on and used some of our products.

 

This trip saw us drive 4,100kms in total, and a 2-day drive from Adelaide to get to Alice Springs really makes you appreciate how big our country is. Once in Alice, it was a quick trip out to Ross River Resort, the location of this camping event.

 

The day we arrived was the World Record attempt for the longest line of camping chairs. Each chair represented one woman who lost her life to gynaecological cancer in 2016. To help achieve this record the wider community was asked to sponsor a chair with contributions going to Save the Box to help find a cure for gynaecological cancer. When the final count came in, they achieved it, 1,819 chairs sitting in a row – the record was smashed out of the desert and it was a great effort towards Save the Box.

 

9 of the 1819 chairs during the world record attempt

Now back to my camping trip, the truth was, this was my first time camping and I would be lying if I didn’t admit I was feeling a little anxious. Having never set up a camper trailer before, my travelling buddy and fellow workmate Steve Moore, Area Sales Manager for SA, helped set up the camper then after a quick afternoon drink, he bid me farewell.

 

Right, I thought to myself, time to learn about our camper trailer and time to learn about all of our products. I pushed buttons, checked information like how a 2-year-old would use their parent's mobile phone with no fear of breaking anything, and luckily nothing broke. I knew how to turn the lights on, I turned on the water heater so I’d have hot water and I got my electric blanket out and made my bed, ensuring I wouldn’t be cold once dawn set in.

 

Given I arrived on the day the World Record attempt was broken, that night saw the celebration dinner and I was lucky enough to meet a large majority of those that attended the 5 days. The group came from far and wide, their backgrounds varied and their reasons for attending the event diverse - what it taught me was that whilst everyone is different, we can all find something in common and in this instance, it was adventure and comradery. On the celebration night, with a band to keep everyone entertained, many stayed up and danced the night away and since my trailer was no more than 50m away, I decided to stay up and join them.

 

 It's not a proper party unless theres a conga line

 

The trip wasn’t all play though, we had a workshop to host and Steve, who stayed in Alice Springs whilst I was out camping, spent Sunday morning with a very attentive group, teaching the ladies about the basics of portable solar panels and DC to DC battery charging and how to get the most out of them. 80% of the ladies who attended the camping event travelled in motorhomes and caravans, with the majority of the attendees staying on unpowered sites. This was a great opportunity to have a conversation with solo female travellers to help them improve their camping experience.

 

Steve went through the differences in batteries, vehicle alternators, dual battery systems, solar panels and Pure Sine Wave Inverters. During the presentation, he even gave some important tips and equations for everyone to remember such as those below.

 

Steve was a hit a with the ladies, after his presentation

 

Solar

 

To work out the current of a solar panel:

Divide the wattage by the solar max power voltage (typically 18V) i.e: 120W / 18V = 6.66A

-          Rough amount of current available from the 120W panel would be around 6.66A x 5 – 7 hrs (sunlight hours depending on location in the country)

-          Total Ah recoverable 6.66 X 6 = 39.98Ah that will go back into your battery to help replenish its charge

-          Or read up on how to choose the right solar blanket from our website before you take off.

 

Batteries

 

To work out Amp hours: load current flowing for time =

-          i.e.: LED light drawing 2A for 5 hours = 2 x 5 = 10Ah

 

Series and parallel

 

-          12v batteries wired in parallel will double the Ah (capacity) while the voltage stays the same 12v

-          12v batteries wired in series will double the voltage but the Ah (capacity) will stay the same

 

Battery State of Charge

 

It’s helpful if you keep a simple table nearby to have an idea of how much charge is in your batteries.

The below graph shows an AGM battery state of charge, voltages and SOC will vary depending on the battery chemistry.

 

 

 

With many questions that followed the workshop, Steve ensured he was able to help out those attending the event.

And with my first camping trip over, there were some valuable things I learnt along the way too. Below are just some of the basic tips I’d give a fellow camper starting out – and yes, I would definitely do it again!

 

 

6 things that I learnt

 

1. People from all walks of life can come together for a cause and an idea

 

I met a lot of first-timers, I admired them for finding the courage but they were smart for travelling with the Rolling Solo group. The convoy comes together so people who would normally travel alone can travel with a group of people.

 

Young girls, sisters, mother’s and daughter’s all came together to make the trip. There were the experienced travellers, those that just get out and travel by themselves, but also those that normally travel with their partner but this time they left them at home. There were also those that were dipping their toe in the water to see if they wanted to start up the travel lifestyle.

 

Sometimes in life, it’s important not to overthink things and just do it.

 

2. Canvas is cold

 

The experienced travellers at REDARC told me it would be cold, I thought I’d be fine but they were right, the canvas is cold!

 

3. Everything needs to have a place

 

The experienced traveller has a list, has a place for everything and has a system. After 3 days of camping I quickly understood this, when things have a place, you know where to find them.

 

4. Dirt is everywhere

 

When you’re travelling into the middle of Australia it’s going to be dusty, dirt gets in everywhere, you never feel clean, you just need to get over it and enjoy being outdoors!

 

Ross River Resort

 

5. You need to turn the gas bottle on before the gas stove top will work

 

OK so I must confess, I don’t cook the BBQ at home so I didn’t realise that whenever you finish cooking with a gas bottle, you turn the gas bottle off. So when I went to turn the gas stove top on to cook up lunch I couldn’t understand why it wasn’t working, just as well Steve, my technical expert, was around to help me out.

 

6. There is a lot of misguided information

 

Whilst it’s good to talk to lots of other travellers, make sure you’re talking to experts when it comes to your power needs. Having a battery full of power can be the difference between having a great trip and a spoilt trip. At REDARC we pride ourselves on customer service both before and after the sale and we have a team of technical experts on-hand to answer any product related question. That’s the benefit from buying Australian and from a company based in Lonsdale, South Australia.

 

One of the many interesting dwellings in Cooper Pedy

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