2 years and 9 months ago we left the Netherlands behind and started our great overland journey! You can prepare all you want for your journey, but you will only find out what works and what doesn't once you've been out there.
We’ve decided to give you a chance to get a little head start! Below you will find our 3C’s of travelling; Car, Cooking and Camping. After all, these are probably the most important aspects for starting your adventure. We swear that by the time you have finished reading this, you’ll want to steal these tips and tricks for yourself!
You’re dealing with a tonne of crap when you’re camping. We found out that it’s easy to lose stuff, which is hard to replace once you’re on the road. Having a well thought out system for where you put stuff in the car means you minimise the risk of losing things. You’ll want to think of a method where things are accessible but not in the way.
We found that the key for us is using strong, foldable plastic crates. We use a cabinet holding 4 crates in the shape of a block and our drawer system holds another 4. We have one extra crate stored in a folded position which makes the system dynamic.
If someone invites you inside for a night? load some clothing, a pillow, toothbrush and your favourite shampoo in the spare crate and you’re ready to go.
And if you don’t need the spare crate? Use it as stepladder, table, or workout bench. If you have drawn a crowd with your newly learned fire starters (see below), you can use it as a seat as well.
On one occasion, we needed to strip down the weight of the car for a 4wd recovery. No worries, we just quickly stacked the crates next to the car and we pulled out an easy 300kg of weight in supplies, spares, tools and kitchen stuff in no time.
Forgetting things is quite human right? fresh cup-a-coffee on the bonnet in the morning, fuel caps on top of the fuel pump where you just got gas, your favourite pair of thongs at your previous camping spot on the beach?
It will help if you stay organised but you cannot always see everything. For the things that we keep on forgetting and can’t directly see we’ve marked clothes pegs with a permanent marker. 3 Plastic, bright coloured pegs you’ll find marked with; “tires low”, “hubs on”, and “Benzine for stove”. In normal conditions, they’ll stay hidden behind the sun visor but when one of these 3 is ‘active’ you’ll find it in a central place in the middle of the dashboard.
Use duct tape to tape a spare car key somewhere where no one can see it. Dirt and dust will cover it shortly and camouflage it from being there. It has saved our lives once too often!
Plastic sealable containers
These can be used to save leftovers but also helps with packing the fridge efficiently. It also helps keep food from uninvited guests! Our tip: cook and prep food that will last you a couple of days in advance. It will just make planning the journey ahead that much easier.
We also use them to store nuts and bolts, electronics and even to prepare omelettes and pancake mix (shaking with the lid on of course!).
We’ve tested quite a couple before investing in a range of different sized containers. The brand ClipFresh is by far our favourite!
Foldable water bladders
We are using good quality 10L foldable water bladders for fresh water. Amazing, but even better as we don't only use them for storage of drinking water! They are black so you can put them in the sun for a little and transfer it into a warm outdoor shower. Fill them to a certain level and use them in the fridge to fill up the empty space, get the fridge to run more efficiently and to use as cold drinking water. For those who suffer from cold feet, fill one of the bladders with hot water and throw it in the bottom of your sleeping bag before bedtime. Awesome!
Cooking efficiency trick
Do you use one stove while preparing a multi-dish meal, to save gas, or to see the sunset before dinner while everything is being cooked?
Here is a unique tip. After preparation of your meal, roll your pots and pans in a towel or wool blanket before putting them in your down sleeping bag! For instance, we cook the chicken curry on the stove, but we want to make rice to go with it.
The rice will be cold by the time the rest of the dish is ready. A good way to keep the rice warm is to wrap a towel around your hot pan before stuffing it in your sleeping bag, blanket or swag. This way your sleeping bag will work as an insulator whilst you wait for the curry to finish up cooking on the stove.
We’ve found rice, potatoes or pasta will finish cooking in a blanket after it has been cooked for a short while on a stove.
Fresh bread is hard to find and fresh brown bread is definitely one of my personal favourites. Therefore we make it ourselves: Make a small campfire, mix flour with water and yeast, let it rise, turn it into a ball and put it in a Dutch oven (heavy metal pan), put some hot burning coals on and underneath the oven, wait 45 minutes and your fresh bread is ready! Interested? find the full recipe on our website: www.rinushartsuijker.com
Nice to keep you hydrated and warm, even better if you throw in a couple of washed unboiled eggs to boil with it. It makes for a nice snack in between meals.
Having a problem keeping eggs unbroken or simply no room in the fridge? why not store them broken? A small empty water bottle will hold 8 eggs for the perfect omelette!
Looking for a snack?
Popcorn works great on the campfire and pizza is easy to make in a Dutch oven. Find all the recipes on our website: https://www.rinushartsuijker.com/single-post/2017/04/02/Recipes-on-the-Road
Reduce, reuse and recycle! Our used cooking oil goes into a plastic container once it’s cooled down. The plastic container is filled with toilet paper, napkins, or small pieces of cotton. It will soak up the oil and once soaked it will work as a great fire starter.
Wrap duct tape from the roll thickly around your water, fuel or any bottle. Instead of having to use the roll this way, it saves on space and might even save your life one time.
Do you never really feel clean after washing with salt water?
Helga says; “After washing in salt water I know I’m clean but my hair feels like rope and the salt still clings to my body”
“When travelling in WA I met an old Australian couple that had been travelling along the coast for years and were still catching the occasional wave.
They taught us that you don’t have to leave your wild camp spot to feel fresh. Just buy a bottle of Selsun, anti-dandruff shampoo. Wash yourself with this and then dry yourself. You’ll find out when you are dry almost all of the salt has somehow washed off”
Selsun is a product sold at your local Chemist. Chemist Warehouse sells a bottle for $5. We can’t explain the magic behind this but we do know that Selsun contains Selenium Sulphide 1%. Other antidandruff shampoos like Head & Shoulders for example does not contain this and so won’t work.
Looking to start your 4x4, camper trailer or caravan upgrade but not sure what products will allow you to travel the way you want? Take the REDARC Hilux product tour to find out what products are best for your power management and towing needs.