Back in 2011, we were brimming with excitement as we set off for a Big Lap of Australia with a 4×4 and camper in tow. At the time, we thought we had the ultimate camping accessories list. After 13 months touring the back roads of Australia, our camping essentials list has been further refined. The following list is our 11 Top Camping Accessories:
DC DC charger: If you are not familiar with this device, check out the yarn elsewhere in this newsletter on our 5 Top Tips for Surviving the Shake Down Trip which explains this device in further detail.
Australian companies Redarc and Projecta both manufacture top quality units. Avoid the cheap Chinese copies for obvious reasons, even if they look remarkably similar. Product failure on the remote Cobourg Peninsula or similar is at best inconvenient and will cost you a lot more than having purchased a quality unit from the outset. Buying solely on price is false economy – you’ll pay for it somewhere.
Pricing: A Projecta 25Amp DC/Solar Charger is $600 fitted.
Fridge Freezer: A 12V compressor fridge freezer is the best choice for touring, particularly for the northern extremes. Compressor fridges will run cooler than other fridge types both at rest and on the move, if installed and setup correctly.
A dual zone fridge freezer is the best option if intending to stay off the grid for longer, as it preserves meat better. Just like your kitchen freezer at home, meat will keep for months at a time before losing its nutritional value.
A fridge-only, relies on vacuum sealing to keep meat fresh, but only for a few weeks at a time. Vacuum sealed meat imparts a certain aftertaste on fresh meat, particularly if using low cost portable sealers and it is not to everyone’s liking.
We like the Evakool Aussie-made fridge freezer range. They are one of few fridges still made in Australia, very efficient in use and boast an industry leading 5 year warranty.
Pricing: A standard Evakool 60L fridge freezer retails for $1539. Rhinomax special build fridges retail for $1595 and include stainless fittings, the hinge lid on the short edge for improved access and mounting from the base onto the fridge slide, eliminating the need for tie downs. A range of other sizes are available.
In-line Water filter: There are two schools of thought regarding water filters – either filter incoming water or outgoing water. The incoming approach uses a fresh water hose and filter to treat all incoming water. This means the tanks are always filled with treated water, conditioning the tank as part of the process and eroding any nasties along the way. The alternative option is to add the water filter on one of the outgoing cold water lines such as at the kitchen. You still use the fresh water hose to fill the tank/s but filtering is only done at the outgoing tap level. This method allows potentially affected water to pass into the water tanks and fester therein, with ingestion possible from using one of the unfiltered outlets. For this reason, we use the B.E.S.T. water filters and the former approach.
Pricing: B.E.S.T. water filter $110.
Bellman Espresso Maker: Quality campsite coffee with real crema doesn’t come much better than the Bellman Stovetop Espresso maker. Unlike coffee percolators of days gone by that boil the coffee giving it a burnt and over extracted taste, the Bellman is a fully sealed unit and produces good crema at 1-2 bar pressure. It features an adjustable filter basket which can make between 3-9 expresso shots. Better still, the frother produces a strong jet of steam to heat and froth milk for the ultimate cappuccino, latte or even hot chocolate.
DreamPot: After a long day in the saddle it’s great to roll back into camp knowing that tasty tucker is only a few minutes away. The DreamPot is a thermal cooker that doesn’t require a constant heat to get the job done. Simply start the cooking process in the included stainless pots, drop it into the DreamPot and the thermal cookware takes care of business.
Some of the more popular recipes include roasts, breads, cakes, soups and more. It can even be used as an ice bucket to keep things cool.
To show how easy it is to use, Mike has accepted the 4-week cooking challenge, creating one recipe per week, showing his (or the cooker’s) versatility. You can follow his progress on Facebook or chat to him about it in-store.
Pricing: $325 5L Pot. To WIN a DreamPot package valued at $395, keep reading the Sep newsletter.
CGear Awning Mats: these mats were initially developed for the armed forces to repress the upward movement of stone projectiles during helicopter landings. The camping industry has been a benefactor of this development. A two-layer mat manages to sift dirt though the mat but not back up. As an awning mat, it reduces the amount of dirt walked into your camper, while providing something pleasant to stand on in and around the kitchen. Much better than a 3-corner jack!
Pricing: from $149.
Poo Powder: yep, you read that correctly! Poo Powder is the clever concoction from our mates at Ezygonow, the manufacturer of bush camping toilet solutions. While chemical toilets are the main-stayers along the popular tourist routes, options quickly reduce once off the blacktop where dump points are few and far between. Being chemical based, you can’t just dig a hole and dump the contents in a hole or dispatch in a long drop toilet which will only kill the natural bacteria.
In comparison, waste treated with poo powder can be disposed with normal garbage. Simply place a biodegradable bag in the bowl of your existing portaloo, tucking the ends of the bag under the toilet seat and toss in a spoon of Poo Powder (PP). The PP breaks down the waste. Simply tie up the bag after use and put in with the rubbish. A deodoriser masks any smell. Bags can be used for more than one sitting, just add another scoop of PP each time.
You can purchase a Toilet in a Bag kit which includes biodegradable bags preloaded with PP or PP in 60 or 120 use containers.
Pricing: Toilet Kits from $31 or Poo Powder from $60. A range of other bush toilet products are available.
Stone Stomper: Stone protection is an important consideration once you leave the blacktop as road debris will quickly remove any paint coating. Worse still rebounding stones will ricochet off the camper onto your vehicle damaging precious paint work and glass.
The Stone Stomper is a horizontal netting that sits between the camper and vehicle. Any debris simply hits the netting and bounces back to the ground. Road tested during our big lap in 2011, we can vouch for the product.
We have collaborated with Stone Stomper to develop a solution specifically for the Rhinomax and Pod Trailer range. Check out our Product Spotlight in next month’s issue for full details.
Pricing: from $700-$800 fitted.
Portable Solar Panels: There are occasions when you just can’t or don’t want to camp in full
sun. We like camping in spots to catch the morning sun before the heat of the day kicks in, which represents the most efficient solar capture time. The afternoon sun is hotter and the heat de-rates the panel output. In these conditions, it is good to have some afternoon shade. A portable solar panel can be run out to hit more rays while the camper stays cool in the shade.
The soft folding solar panels such as those from Projecta fold to the size of a laptop bag. Not only are they significantly smaller and easier to pack, they also weigh half as much, meaning almost anyone can set them up.
Pricing: 120W from $699.
Ozpig Is the ultimate personal campfire for use in the bush or on the back deck at home, ideal for entertaining friends or for cooking and warmth at your campsite. It is fully enclosed, improving safety and reducing wood use, so you get all the ambience of a campfire but without needing a trailer load of wood to feed it. Better still, it has a range of accessories to broaden its use such as the chargrill, heat bead basket and extra extension legs
Pricing: from $380 with a BONUS Diffuser.
As travellers ourselves, these are products we personally use, so can vouch directly for their performance and reliability out in the wilderness.
You can read more about these accessories HERE.