Squeezing the family into a compact box on wheels can quickly turn disastrous without proper planning and preparation, according to storage expert Dave Strutton.
Mr Strutton, who has just completed a caravanning trip around the North and West of Australia (fortunately leaving home well before the latest Delta variant outbreak) says careful planning and packing can make a huge difference when space is tight.
Taking the caravan off-road for parts of the trip has reinforced the value of quality storage items specifically designed to stack, save space, protect items and prevent leakages.
Hacks when indulging in caravanning
“Especially when caravanning, small choices can have big implications,” he said. “Having experienced this rugged road trip, I can vouch for the benefits of good packing and using lots of clear stackable storage containers, so you can see what’s inside each box at a glance.”
“The rich red tones of the Australian landscape are beautiful – but not when you find red dust all over your clothes and toiletries, groceries, crockery and cooking equipment.”
“Just because you are out in the bush doesn’t mean you have to live like wild animals. Everything we are using on our travels has a place and is stored in well-sealed containers.”
Storage items that are specifically designed for leaks and spills are a tremendous help when taking the caravan off-road, as many people will be doing as they travel around Australia.
“The last thing we wanted was a big bump in the road sending a container of leftovers all through the caravan fridge and contaminating the rest of the food,” he said.
Some of Mr Strutton’s other tips include the following.
Individual packing cubes for separating clean and dirty clothes and toiletries are essential.
Enjoying a camp-cooked meal in the desert has more appeal when you eat with clean cutlery and crockery and cook with utensils that have been stored inside sealed plastic containers – and it’s a smart way to avoid washing up before you even start cooking.
Space is precious when caravanning to bring along kitchen nesting bowls for the trip.
Not only do they provide everything you need to prepare for mealtimes (measuring cups, sieve, colander and a range of mixing bowls) but they also stack neatly and are space efficient.
Collapsible items such as the clothes airer, dish drainer, washing basket and bucket allow you to carry out life’s necessities in the most basic of conditions.
Quality drink bottles are essential for hikes and treks.
In particular, the Struttons say stainless steel, double-walled insulated water bottles were a godsend while walking in the Kimberley. Being double walled, drinks were kept icy cold in the heat and there was no condensation build up on the outside of the bottles.
Swap to sustainable products
Campsites expect you to take your rubbish with you and see how much waste is generated.
Using accessories like beeswax wraps, plastic food storage containers and travel cutlery sets on the go helped the Struttons reduce their waste and impact on the environment.
Mr Strutton, who owns Howards Storage World in Mile End, Adelaide, encourages travellers to carefully consider their specific needs.
“Every van and family are different and so it’s definitely not a case of one size fits all.”
“The easiest way to work out what fits best is to park your van outside a store and physically take products in and out. It’s easier than trying to work from dimensions.”
“Vans have awkward spaces and sometimes being creative helps you find the best solution.”
“Packing for a long road adventure in a caravan requires time, trial and error and it’s a good idea to have a practice run to make sure items have been packed correctly, everything is securely stored and you don’t experience rattling and movement.”
“Putting in the effort before you hit the road to organise your van will allow you to focus on seeing the sights and enjoying your time away.”