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Why it’s important to pack your 4WD with supplies
Exploring the unchartered territory of Outback 4WD roads gives you the chance to experience parts of Australia not many will see in their lifetime. However, with untouched beauty comes the flipside of having to navigate the lack of conveniences of remote areas. As such, it’s important to pack your 4WD with the appropriate supplies to ensure you are prepared for the weather, remote access and any unexpected challenges that may arise.
The weather can change suddenly
Some states experience sudden weather changes such as flash flooding. While you can mitigate many of these issues by checking the weather before your trip – it’s still important to make sure you have what you need if the forecast was to suddenly change, and you find yourself stuck (just in case).
Remote areas can mean being further from help
When travelling through Outback areas, cell reception/towers can be few and far between. As such, it's worthwhile to take a satellite phone in case you need assistance along the way. In addition to this, it’s always best to take backup food and water when travelling to remote areas in case you need to wait for assistance.
You may come across unexpected challenges
Part of the excitement of a 4WD adventure is getting out into nature and exploring the untouched beauty of Outback Australia. However, as is in regular life, unexpected challenges such as injuries or illness can happen while adventuring through these wild spaces. So it's important to ensure you are packing your 4WD with appropriate first aid kits and to have all the 4WD essentials to combat these challenges if they arise.
What is included in your 4WD hire vehicle
When packing for your 4WD adventure, it's good to know what is already included so you don’t double up (and our Britz 4WD campervans come with a lot!). Here's a full list of what’s included in your 4WD:
- Kitchen essentials: portable gas stove, plates, bowls, cups, cutlery, cooking utensils and tea towel, gas kettle, frying pan, saucepans, colander, chopping board, utility basin, bottle/can opener
- Dustpan and brush, clothesline and pegs
- 40L slide-out camping fridge (can be set to freezer mode instead of fridge mode if you choose)
- 20L of fresh water (supplied in 2 x 10L jerry cans)
- Self-inflating sleeping mats, sleeping bag, pillow, bed linen, towel (per person travelling)
- Outback Safety Kit including Emergency Position Indication Radio Beacon (EPIRB), snatch straps, D-shackles, shovel and gloves
- Camping table and chairs
- Small first aid kit (to be paid for if opened)
- Tools to change the tyre (spare tyre supplied)
Additional items to pack for your 4WD trip
While many of the 4WD essentials come included in your Britz 4WD van, there are also a number of things that do not come included. You will have to consider your own food, clothes, personal items, as well as other 4WD essentials when planning your packing 4WD checklist. Here are some of our 4WD camping must-haves:
Packing food for a 4WD Outback adventure will require a little more thought than a condo/hotel getaway, as you will be limited on space. To help you maximize on the space you have, some of our top food 4WD essentials to pack, include:
- Snap-top bags – These are great for reducing volume and weight, and are great for holding food where you don’t need the whole pack
- Small containers – It’s worthwhile buying some small containers at an outdoor shop to hold things like olive oil, powdered milk and sugar, as these are robust and easier to handle cleanly
- Back-up supplies – Always have some food as a reserve that cannot be affected by heat or go off, for example, freeze-dried or canned, as part of your backup supplies
Clothes 4WD checklist
When planning what clothes to bring on your 4WD travel itinerary, you will want to consider the weather and the type of terrain you will encounter (will you be in the mountains, beach or desert?). Regardless of where you choose to adventure, some of our top tips for clothes to pack, include:
- Outdoor-specific fabrics – Fabrics such as merino or synthetic materials rather than water-absorbing cotton are important for items such as t-shirts/socks/undies
- Hat – In addition to choosing a wide-brim version to help keep you sun safe, consider choosing a well-ventilated option to keep your head cool
- Slip-on shoes – shoes such as thongs/sandals are handy to have around camp, as are an old pair of runners for walking on rocks at the beach and in the water
- Gaiters/leggings – These will help to protect your legs below the knee from getting scratched by the bush on walks and against the unlikely, but the potentially serious event of a snake bite
- Rain Jacket – Have a light water-resistant jacket as well as a full-weight Gore Tex rain jacket
- Warm layers – having one or two of these is always important as temperatures can dip significantly at night
Personal items 4WD checklist:
Like every travel adventure, a 4WD travel itinerary requires a few everyday essentials. Some of our top personal items to bring along, include:
- Chamois-type synthetic towel – These are great as a compact backup to a regular towel and are usually quick drying
- Insect repellent – Having a couple of brands as some work better than others in different conditions (mozzie coils are great also) Head torch & small hand torch (with plenty of extra batteries)
- Snake-bite kit – carry this everywhere (just in case)
- Pocket knife or multi-tool – A Swiss Army style one or Leatherman multi-tool is also handy
- Camelbak for water – It’s a good idea for someone to carry a cup as this helps you fill up from small springs where the water may only be dripping
- Sunscreen – A must, and plenty of it (SPF 50+ is best)
- Vaseline – This or another water-based lubricant is the perfect antidote for chafing in warmer weather conditions
- Small tarp – This has a lot of uses, ie keeping things clean when you are folding them on the ground for a start
- Don’t underdo the toilet paper – Get what you think you'll need and double it, and you’ll be closer to the mark. No one wants to run out of this 4wd camping must-have
Camping 4WD essentials
When it comes to an Outback 4WD adventure, there are a few items that take a trip from good to great. Here are some of the ultimate 4wd camping must-haves to consider adding to your 4WD checklist:
- Satellite phone (available for hire at the branch) – With over 90% of Australia not covered by the mobile network, we highly recommend you hire a satellite phone when you pick up your camper. Satellite Phones offer you 100% coverage, so in the event of an emergency, you will feel comforted knowing that you will be able to connect to those you need to at all times
- Solar panels (available for hire at the Broome, Darwin, Alice Springs and Perth branches) to boost your battery charge
- Esky (available for hire at the branch). Great for extra space to keep your drinks cold
- A long-handled washing scrubber will allow you to wash crockery in hot water without burning yourself
- Detergent - You don’t need much detergent so this can go in a space-saving smaller bottle
- 12v compressor – If you are going on an extended trip and need to let down the tyres, a small compressor is a good idea (available at Britz branches)
- Antiseptic/hand sanitiser - always useful when travelling, especially when you don't want to waste precious water
- Rubbish bags - useful for storage of dirty and wet clothes, as well as for rubbish (because the Outback doesn't have a bin every 400m)
- Duct tape - literally the most useful thing ever invented. - Take a role, you'll be surprised what you can mend if needed
- A larger first aid kit if there are multiple people travelling or you're travelling for an extended period
Things to do before you begin your 4WD adventure
Before packing your 4WD and hitting the road, there are a few things to do before you begin your 4WD adventure:
Research where you are going
Once you have booked your 4WD van, it's important to understand the area that you are travelling to. Things to research and understand, include:
- What is the terrain like?
- What wildlife may you encounter?
- Are there any notices about the road conditions/restrictions?
- What are the local attractions?
- Where are the closest fuel and water fill-ups?
One great addition to planning your 4WD van travel itinerary is to download the thl Roadtrip itinerary planner app. This app is a great way to research for your trip, and check out the closest water and fuel fill-ups, as well as attractions, campsites and more.
Consider following an itinerary
As tempting as it can be to hit the wide open road and see what comes, it's worthwhile following an itinerary to ensure you know how much food/water to pack as well as to ensure you keep to safe/permitted tracks on your trip. Looking for some inspiration? Britz has plenty of great 4WD road trip itineraries to follow for your upcoming Australia road trip.
Check the weather
Checking the weather before you set off will ensure you are prepared for the road ahead. It is particularly important to check for heavy rain or storm warnings. As if this is the case, you may need to adjust your plans, as some unmaintained outback roads can become unusable in these conditions.
Have a practice drive in your vehicle in an easy spot
Once you have checked the weather and everything is clear, spend a little time practising how to use your 4WD in an easy spot. This will help you to understand how everything works, gauge where everything is and so on.
Ready for your next 4WD adventure?
Ready for your next 4WD adventure? Hire a Britz 4WD in a branch or online today. For more tips and 4WD essentials, such as how to drive a 4WD and how to handle a 4WD water crossing, check out the Britz blog.
For more tips and hints about packing and preparing, here are the 10 things you need to know before a 4WD holiday.