10 camping and caravanning hacks grey nomads need to know

Jan 20, 2020
Camping and caravanning just got a whole lot easier with these hacks. Source: Getty.

Life on the road is usually a dream, but it can also be a nightmare depending on the situations you find yourself in and how prepared you are for them. The unpredictability and spontaneity of being a grey nomad is one of the best parts and if you do it right, you can live the adventurous life you were born to pursue.

But whether it’s staying safe, recycling waste or saving money, it’s time to learn how to tackle whatever life on the road throws at you with these smart hacks that could help you out of a sticky situation!

1. Reduce kitchen space wasters

Don’t let excess packaging take up what precious space you have in the cooking area. Avoid taking spice containers by transferring the contents into straws and sealing off the ends with a lighter. Every time you cut them open to use, simply seal them off again when you’re ready to get back on the road.

You can also avoid transporting a bulky egg carton if you plan on simply eating scrambled eggs, as a 600mL water bottle will carry about eight to nine eggs and can be scrambled with a dash of milk and a quick shake!

2. Fix a droopy tarp

Setting up a strong and safe campsite doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg — instead you can use everyday items to enhance the whole thing with barely any effort. If your tarp is beginning to get loose, thread a strong stick through the middle rope and fix it above the tarp to tighten and lift a droopy centre.

3. Repurpose waste

Living on the land and travelling from place to place places even more importance on reducing waste and recycling. You’ll soon realise everything can be repurposed, including any kind of container which can then be used as tackle boxes, bowls or storage.

A spoon can be made out of a plastic soft drink bottle by cutting down the sides and using a single groove on the bottom as the base of the spoon and the side as a handle. A cereal box could also be used as a no-spill rubbish bin by keeping the plastic filling in the box. However, make sure you separate the two once you’re ready to get rid of it as the cardboard can be recycled but the soft plastic can’t.

4. Avoid pesky mozzies

Don’t let bugs get you down on your trip away! If you’ve got a few bites from mosquitoes, applying roll-on deodorant to the spot will help to reduce pain and swelling as well as fight that annoying itching feeling. You can also burn sage in your camp fire to provide extra repellent against the pests.

5. Make your campsite safe

Have a risk-free campsite by fixing brightly coloured pool noodles to each of your ropes to avoid running into them during the night, or at least soften the blow if you do. Simply slice up the centre of the noodle with a Stanley knife, fix to the rope and secure.

You can also line walking paths and steps with glow-in-the-dark tape and even keep electrical cords off wet ground by taping them to the top of an upside-down bucket.

6. Keep contacts close

Buy a whiteboard and hang it on your front door. Use this to write emergency contacts, addresses of places you’re staying, reminders for certain dates, numbers of spaces you’re parked and contact details for accomodation. As you leave each place, simply rub off the information and start fresh for the next destination.

7. Save money on petrol

Use handy apps to locate areas where petrol is the cheapest. Make sure you organise this in advance as you may need to adjust your route slightly to get the best deal. Certain apps can also help track your fuel consumption and let you know where and when you’ve been chewing through the most petrol.

8. Stay charged

Don’t let a dead phone be the reason you get stuck in the middle of nowhere. Make sure your phones are always charged by taking portable chargers and recharging them every time you charge your phone.

Also make sure emergency items like torches, generators and radios are always charged up. The best way to do this is to purchase things that can be recharged without the need for a power source. This could include having solar panels, wind-up rechargeable torches or even using batteries, so long as you have a good supply on you at all times.

9. Make your own shower

Before you leave, take a portable shower with you in case you run into the worst-case scenario when it comes to bathing. You can either take a watering can or, if you’re looking for something slightly bigger, secure a lid onto the top of a large bucket and drill holes into the top and the sides. Fix a rope to the top and create a pulley system to work as a fully functional shower that you can use on your own.

10. Avoid that spotlight glare

If you’re sitting around the table at night and want to avoid shining a spotlight into the eyes of all your guests, fear no more! Point a headlamp or a stronger light into a clear water container to filter through the light without the painful glare. An empty 2L soft drink bottle or jug filled with water would work well for this.

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