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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Campervan travel kit list

We each have our personal preferences. The items that I would be looking to take on a campervanning trip would be the following. Starting with a short duration trip:

Short Duration Trips (2-3 days)
1. GPS: A Garmin Etrex Vista CX - because its colour, has high capacity memory card, is rugged and does everything I could possibly want, aside from being more waterproof, and having better reception.
2. Laptop: Its really hard to find a laptop that does everything I want it to do. I used to love my old Toshiba Libereto with a 5inch screen. Travelled all over Asia with it, but its a dinosaur now. I await a similar designed & size unit with a battery power of 5-7 hours. The Sony VGN-TX850P which I am currently using has that battery life, but I dont like the flat keys and the poor screen. I also want a solid-state HDD is I can take it over rough terrain, whether in a campervan or MTB. A laptop can also function as a radio, TV, DVD player, MP3 player. Really not happy with Sony computers in the last 5 years. Alot of crap. Its importantly access to the internet and maps, info on canoeing and MTB trails. Plus a carry bag, mouse & mouse pad.
3. Waterproof Digital Camera: The next big feature in digital cameras I guess is durability. Olympus seems to be the leader in stand-alone waterproof digital cameras, as opposed to those ones that require some encasement in some bubble. I have a habit of getting the latest, which was the Olympus 720SW about a year ago. I note that they have since shrunk the size by a third of mine, which is cool. There are features about this camera I dont like, so I might migrate back to Sony's in future, but I need waterproof, so until then - its an Olympus. The features I dont like are the difficulty selecting settings and the slow shutter speed. Sony was more intuitive.
4. Sevylor Tahiti Inflatable Canoe & 3-section oar: Having an easily stored 2-man canoe is a useful item in the back of a car or campervan. If you are cruising around a country and come across a river its great if you can pull out a canoe.
5. Mountain bike & helmet: Another useful piece of equipment is a MTB. I love getting off the road to go places you cant go in a vehicle. I am not particular about the brand, though I refer just front suspension, hand brakes and aluminium frame for light weight.
6. Backup HDD: You need to backup your work when you are travelling, so if I cant do this online, then I want a portable HDD. If I am not dealing with alot of files I will just use a USB flash card - say 1-2Gb, though they are capacity is growing all the time.
7. Steamer: I want a well designed steamer in which I can stream meat, vegetables, rice. I dont like that alot of camper's come equipped with a burner. I guess its great if you can store fuel in your car and book with gas, but I prefer to stay electric for everything, and a diesel genset if power supplies run low.
8. Small Fan: Air conditioning is not practical to cool a camper so I like having a small fan for the back of the vehicle. It tends not to be a requirement in Australia. It makes more sense to park in the shade or open a window. Its not humid enough in the south, so its a necessity for the north.
9. Toaster: A toaster is not the most energy-efficient device but it does its job well, and you only use it for 3minutes a day.
10. Nokia E61i cell phone: This is the best phone on the market in terms of value. It has great MP3 player, though I find it hard to hear people, and the camera has wifi. I like having the big size keyboard for typing notes and the wifi, though I have always found it hard to get a free connection in Australia. All wireless connections are locked and cafes more often than not dont have them.
11. Deep cycle batteries: I want enough deep cycle batteries to last me around 3 days so I dont have to recharge them from the diesel genset so often.
12. Refrigerator: I require a 60-litre refrigerator to store fresh fruit & vegetable, as well as drinks.
13. Bedding: I just use a sleeping bad though a blanket will surfice. A pillow or just a rolled up jacket is enough for me.
14. Clothing: I would normally take 10 pairs of undewear, 5 pairs of socks, 5 T-shirts, 3 pairs of shorts, one pare of nice jeans, nice dress jeans, basic dirt shoe, dress shoe, 3 hats for all occasions, a jacket fit for the snow, light nylon pants for canoeing (sun protection) or skiing (snow), 3 dress shirts, prescription sunglasses.
15. Cutlery & utensils: Just need 2 knives/forks/tea & tablespoons and a can & bottle opener. Two plates and bowls, and an open washing basin, containers to store cut fruit & vegetables.
16. Personal items: Shaver, tooth brush, mouth wash, soap, shampoo

Long Duration Needs (>5 days)
The changes I would make to this set up if I was spending more time on the road, or playing to do alot of trips in excess of 3 days would be to get the following:
17. Coleman Diesel Genset: The intent being so I dont have to pay $30/night going to a caravan/RV park, and can just stay on the road instead.
18. Water tank: A 50-litre water tank for drinking and washing purposes. For shorter trips I would use public swimming pool and club facilities.
19. Portable toilet: Basic model only since I would be inclined to be using public facilities as a matter of preference, particularly for shorter trips.
Andrew Sheldon


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