So after leaving it a bit late to pack the truck for my last trip. I decided to stay ahead of the curve this time. I had nothing particularly on this weekend, so spending a morning packing the truck and just having a general go through of my gear seemed like a good idea. Let’s face it, you are generally throwing this stuff in, in a rush, or too tired and dirty to be bothered with it afterwards. Seems like we all have different approaches to this (as it should be, everyone’s situation is unique, there is no ‘definitive’ answer).
Each trip is different, hence the truck pack is always slightly different. Is N coming? The dogs? Other people? How experienced/capable are they? Where are we going? What is the terrain?
This trip is to a new area for me. Seems like we will be having a few people along, of various experience levels. So I just think about making sure we have kit that means any probable situation (you can’t cover everything, just the likely stuff) is covered and hopefully everyone has a good time in the end. Looks like the 105 will also be 3 up at times, so I have to put a rear seat back in.
There could be some decent bog holes on this trip, especially with all the rain we have had lately. So I’ve brought most of my recovery kit. Also we hope to cook on the fire at night, as it’s illegal to collect firewood in National Park I am taking some with me.
So as each trip is different, each truck pack is slightly different, like many things in this game, it’s a continual work in progress. Isn’t that part of the fun?
As I am taking my time, I give the truck a wash, polish and wax (helps it shed the dirt easier/foliage tend to slide over the paint rather than marking it) and give the inside a clean. I feel much better going away in a clean vehicle, even if it’s going to get dirty almost straightaway, don’t know why...
So this is how the Cruiser rolls around normally. One box, a tarp and Hema road and 4wd atlas of Australia (I love GPS/internet, but paper maps absolutely still have their place, obviously no batteries required, but also for planning routes, etc, they are still the best in my opinion. Also I find people often ask ‘where are we/were are we going/where are you talking about’ and using a paper map seems to be the easiest way for people to understand that).
So what’s in the box?
The is my Buffalo Systems Special 6 Shirt, far and away the best piece of outdoor clothing I have ever owned. It’s probably time for a new one, as this one is 17 years old now. It has literally been everywhere interesting I have been in that time.
Seems they are up and running stateside too.
Recovery straps, 2 snatch straps, winch extension and tree protector, damper, rated shackles. Obviously I’m not going to use much of this day to day, but I find it just helps to keep it all together, where its not going to get wet, damaged or dirty.
Small trolley jack (in line for replacement now I have seen Tim’s ‘off-road’ modified version), jumper leads of reasonable gauge, ‘100 mile an hour’ tape, fencing wire and electrical wire - great for hotwiring classic 911's when the owner snaps the key off in the door :). Clear heavy duty bags, multiple uses, but also an effective last resort water gathering solution (thanks Ray).
One of two fire extinguishers I carry. The random piece of wiring is the fuel pump loom, that I managed to short out when re-fitting the LR tank after it’s filter change. It was easy enough to repair, but rather than run around with a potential weakness on such a crucial piece of wiring, I just got a replacement from my local Toyota wrecker. I kept this as those plugs or whatever might come in handy at some point. The other stuff in the box is:
- Cable ties - 2 sizes
- Wheel chock
- Metal mirror
- Waterproof jacket
- Heavy duty gloves
- Mechanics gloves
- Hi Vis vest
- Monkey Wrench
- Tyre plug kit
- Rubber hose and fuel hose
Also in the Cruiser.
Behind fire extinguisher 2, is my new genuine Toyota bottle jack. In the other compartment are the old auxiliary drive belts that I kept after replacing them.
Now I normally run two of these green boxes in the back on a trip. The other one is of a different design and can be used like a cupboard.
As I packed the truck I realised I was going to struggle to get the MaxTrax in nicely now I had the third seat in. So it was time for a re-jig, this was only an overnighter so the ‘pantry’ could stay behind this time. Moving the fridge to the back, with it being narrower, meant the Maxxy’s now fitted nicely. I told you each pack was different.
You obviously want your recovery gear fairly easy accessed, as you want the tools too. If you are in a situation you need this stuff you don’t want to have to half unload everything to get to it. Another plus having a 4 door wagon if you ask me.
The other recovery gear.
Tirfor hand winch (it’s heavy so I stick in on the floor, this is before I decided to move the fridge).
Not so popular now, but still a good solution for many situations. Especially if you are on your own. I actually gave myself a refresher in how to use this and the Hi-Lift before the Eyre trip, when I lived in Queensland recoveries were fairly common, but now we are in hard and dry South Australia, it had been a while between drinks. So I winched the 105 off the M3, as you do!
So, MaxTraxs, Tirfor, snatchstraps, Hi Lift and long handled shovel. Better bloody be enough!
So when we lived in Queensland, one of N’s friends got given this wicker ‘picnic’ basket. She had no use for it so she gave it to us. I didn’t think much of it at the time, surely that never going to be ‘adventure’ enough for me... Well over 10 years later, still going strong.
Let’s just says it’s a bit evolved from it’s original form, but again just having all that stuff in one place, that you can just pick up and go, makes a lot of sense to me.
As I said we are hoping to cook on the open fire this trip, so better get a tub of fire wood in before too much other stuff goes in.
I’ve picked up this cast iron fry pan from Ikea for said cooking.
However I’m still taking along our usual cooking apparatus. The mighty Trangia.
I first used these in Scouts (and a recently conversation with a youth leader would seem they still use them today), then when I started hiking and camping in Oz, I bought one for that. It’s not the lightest or most compact cooking set up, but you can make actual meals on it. I’ve never been one for not having decent food just because you are outdoors, in fact good food and outdoors compliment each other perfectly if you ask me.
This is our, ahem, well used version, with extra (non stick) fry pan lid strapped on top.
This is an Outback Thumper, it’s original promise is that it will run your fridge all night and still have the capacity to jump start your truck in the morning. This it will (not my truck, but I did get to test this one morning), with it’s own dedicated set of jump leads. This has also done over 10 years service, the batteries have been re-packed once in that time. I tend to take it along for any motorsport or similar events, it comes in pretty handy. I ran a TV off it when my brother and I went to Bathurst.
So my Bahco toolkit is now a regular addition. Again just (nearly) everything in one place. I have a screwdriver set of the same brand that comes, and then I pack another box of random tools.
A good hammer, cold chisel and a hacksaw, can be extremely useful when you are having ‘bodge’ something to get you home. A couple of rags on top keeps the rattling to a minimum.
I have an ARB compressor.
Again, I like the fact it has it’s own carry case. I don’t like the fact it needed a rebuild after what I thought was not that much use. It does the job but I wouldn’t buy another, it’s pretty slow and runs very hot. I think I would just get something bigger, cheaper and with more capacity next time.
I take these, mostly just for clearing the trail if required.
Chuck in two jerry cans of water, chair, table, sleeping bag and the swag (I’ve got the sand flag tucked into the swag, so it’s easy access and doesn’t get damaged).
travel with one’s personal belongings in a bundle.
“we were swagging it in Queensland”
Swags seem to be pretty much uniquely Australian concept. Originally just a bedroll, now more like a small tent made from heavy duty canvas and with a foam mattress. My one is a double, as one day I might convince N to stay in there with me... In reality I would recommend a double, I’ve borrowed the odd single and it feels a bit coffin like after the double. You can spend a fortune on them, this one was definitely at the cheaper end of the market, and has been used by many different people over the last 10 years or so. It shows no signs of giving up anytime soon. They are very durable, quick to set up and will endure pretty bad weather. Packed size is the main drawback, but not really an issue for me. They are perfect for these overnight trips. Anything much longer or if we want any ‘living’ space, then I’ll take the OzTent, despite the name, they can be sourced in the US too.
This is them pitched together at a campsite somewhere in north Queensland.
Well that it pretty much done for now. A bit of personal gear and add the food the night before (hot tip, run a mains power lead through the window to run the fridge overnight, so you can load it up the day before and then just disconnect and drive away).
Time for one of these.
I suppose to many some of this all might seem like overkill. However as we are often travelling alone in very remote areas, you have to be self sufficient in terms of vehicle recovery and repair. It’s also about peace of mind, we can really explore anywhere we want to knowing that we have the resources to deal with most situations. Hence, we are more comfortable and therefore more likely to take the path less traveled.
I just need something to strap this all down neatly now. One of these might be in my future I feel.