Picture this: You drive up on a great campsite, it’s tranquil with a perfect view, breathing in the fresh air, earth under your feet and all the gear you need to make your trip a memorable one.
Question: What’s that one thing coming with you rain, hail or shine?
Now, our 4WD checklist is likely to cause The Great Discussion … Do you go for comfort or necessity? Of course, you must have food and water, then there’s shelter, a bed, safety items … but you can’t take everything, right?
So we asked the seasoned pros; AKA the people who spend their time (and life) on the road for work, pleasure and exploring.
Find out what they’re not leaving home without in this 4WD checklist.
1. ALL BOXED UP
An organised trip is a good trip, made even better with storage that keeps your gear safe.
“The Expedition 134 box has been invaluable in my travels. Being able to store light gear (such as clothing) on the roof and be certain it stays dry, is amazing. Couldn’t live without it on the road,” says Troy Bignell from Adventure Media Collective.
2. FRIDGE FIRST AND FOREMOST
“Ice boxes just don’t cut it for me, food always ends up soggy, you constantly have to worry about how often you open them and, God forbid, you need to put something warm in them like leftovers or warm drinks – the ice is history after that, he says.
“I counted the other day and I’ve got six 12V fridges if that’s any indication of how much I like them!”
3. THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES
Freeze your moments and memories on the road.
“Being able to capture moments on the road is super important as I know when I’m older I’ll be able to look back and remind myself of all the memories created.”
4. WAKE UP CALL
Essential: Shade and protection from the elements. Must have: Freshly brewed coffee.
“A 4WD awning will be your best friend on the road,” he says. “It protects against the scorching sun and heat, and torrential rain; and if you add walls, it can be a handy wind break, while creating a private space for you too.
“I think it’s an essential must-have for all off-roaders and tourers.
“However, something I can’t live without when I’m travelling … freshly brewed coffee. We always travel with a portable stove-top coffee maker and ground coffee. So it’s definitely towards the top of my 4WD checklist.”
5. BOOTS MADE FOR WALKING
“There are so many must-have items for a trip. Too many to list. But I would say having a good set of hiking boots is a must. You never know what tracks or trails you will find when you’re out exploring,” he says. “A good set of boots means you can get out from camp to explore.”
6. HAT’S OFF TO YOU
“The things I always make sure are in the car first are my Akubra and a good pair of sunnies,” says Taylor. “Obviously, if I’m camping I’ll need food, drinks and a swag.
“But a spectacular view can be lost if you can’t see it because of the glare or brightness of the sun, and my Akubra is perfect for protection in all weather, rain, hail or sunshine.”
7. GOOD SLEEP = GOOD TRIP
“If you don’t get a good sleep you won’t have a good trip,” the couple says. “If it’s hard to set up and pack up, it will become frustrating.
“Also, in adverse weather, a good quality tent will pay dividends. We always opt for comfort and practicality over weight, hence why we have a large rooftop tent that goes up instantly.
“Buy the absolute best option you can afford for sleeping and your trip will be that much better.”
8. CHOOSE YOUR TRAVEL SOUNDTRACK
The journey of a thousand miles begins with … music for sparky Nathan, or BAD-179 as he’s known on Insta.
“For me, I have music playing 25/7 so having a good sound system that runs off the second battery is a must. If I’m stopped at camp, my music is always on,” he says.
“The other one would be my rooftop tent. I used a swag for many years and, during a trip across the Simpson Desert, decided I’d had enough of sleeping on the floor and rolling it up each morning!
“Nothing beats sleeping off the ground with a set up of less than 20 seconds.”
9. ROPES, PEGS AND BEERS
While Brian Johnston, an avid explorer and the founder of the Aussie-made Alpine Campers, has a camping and 4WD checklist of essentials as long a roll of toilet paper, which is also on his list, he reckons you shouldn’t leave home without ropes and pegs.
“Ropes and pegs are items a lot of people often forget when they head away,” says the seasoned camper. “I always find I need extras.”
But he says you also can’t leave home without some nice-to-haves as well, and for him that’s…
“… Alcohol. While it’s not for everyone, sitting back and relaxing on the beach with a beer in hand is certainly a big win for me!”
10. GEAR TO GET YOU HOME
“There is nothing worse than being stuck and not being able to get yourself out,” he says.
“My must-take item is my ultimate 4WD recovery kit. It has all the pieces I need to get me out of trouble when travelling solo or with friends.”
11. 12V SYSTEM: THE HEART OF A TRIP
“We are currently travelling full-time, so we have answered this as a must-have when doing a long-term trip,” the couple says.
“We think it’s important to have a reliable 12V set-up while travelling full-time. It’s the heart of your experience to keep your food refrigerated, beers cold, lights on and the good times rolling.
“A good 12V system gives you comfort in the most rugged and remote locations!”
What’s on your 4WD checklist?
We think these avid adventurers have this 4WD checklist must-take travelling items all wrapped up. What else would you take that you deem a necessity or that you simply can’t live without. Leave a comment below.