Winter's here, the travelling months have kicked off and the caravan is ready for a drive. Everyone has their basic necessities: spare fan belt, a comfy camp chair, a good crime novel. But what about those gadgets you've picked up over time and didn't know you would actually need? When you're stuck in a pickle, this is the tool that you've turned to in order to avoid or help you out of a tough situation.
Doesn't matter if you prefer a camper trailer over a campervan, every person has their own must-haves.
We have a few of our own favourite gadgets to use while driving through the Nullarbor or along the Great Ocean Road that have helped us time and time again. Here are our top 7 gadgets to use while roaming through Australia, whether you're a full-time nomad expert or a newbie traveller.
1. TYRE PRESSURE MONITORING SYSTEM
Getting stuck on the road with a busted tyre, no petrol station and no other car in sight is a sticky place to get yourself into. While you may need to fork out a bit of cash to get one of these, it could potentially save your vehicle and your life. If your tyres are too damaged to be repaired, it could end up costing you way more than it did to buy one of these systems in the first place. Avoid a blowout with a tyre pressure monitoring system that'll help you keep tabs on the highway. A cap-based system can normally be attached without any fancy equipment, and is an effective way to prevent accidents and continue your travels.
2. JOCKEY WHEEL
Okay, a jockey wheel isn't a high-tech flashy gadget. But a jockey wheel, especially for smaller sites or hefty caravans, can help you maneuver more easily around the park. Depending on what you're towing, there are a few different types you might be suit, including ratchet and motorised jockey wheels. While the motorised jockey wheel may make your life a lot easier, the ratchet can be a more affordable option. It all comes down to how economical you're wanting to be. Either way, you'll be able to move your home more efficiently when setting yourself up on site.
3. HANDHELD, RECHARGEABLE VACCUUM
Part of our love for caravanning comes from its simplicity: you can sit back, relax and not worry about the stress of cleaning a whole house! But naturally, dirt comes in and a mess can't always be avoided. What are hiking boots without the scuffs, the mud and other signs of adventure? From Spot's dog hair getting on the seat to tracks of dirt around the entry of the van, a portable vaccuum will keep your home a little bit cleaner. Bonus: it's easy to find a reasonably priced vaccuum between $30 and $60.
4. WEATHER STATION
While most can check their phones for oncoming changes in weather, it's challenging to check what it'll be like in more remote areas. A weather station can help you monitor the conditions of your location. For those of us that don't want to get our caravans stuck off-road during a storm and travel in both the dry and wet seasons, a weather station is a must. Or, if you're just nerdy about knowing the weather - from humidity to windspeed to barometric pressure - waking up and checking your own station is a bit of fun.
5. GOPRO CAMERA
We travel to visit the places we've always dreamed of seeing and to discover places few get to witness. But we also love to capture the moments to share with our friends and family back home. From smart phones to a high quality digital camera with lenses that cost you more than your first car, there are all sorts of ways to take a photo. However, they aren't always so durable. A GoPro Camera is the renown action camera. They can take photos at the lookout, videos while on the hike and be taken underwater in the ocean or lake. You can really take them anywhere (maybe not the moon).
6. MOBILE WIFI
Maybe you're working while on the road or you simply want to stay connected. If having access to internet is important to you, mobile hotspot devices are portable solution. From uploading photos to Facebook to sending emails to the grandkids, these devices let you connect a number of devices to use the internet. These are also great for groups. If you're caravanning with a group of your friends through the Top End and need to search for the nearest place to stop for petrol, a mobile hotspot will help guide you.
Most importantly: how do we get from point A to point B without getting totally lost? There are a few benefits of using a dedicated GPS device over the maps application on your phone. They tend to do better for off-road and remote, have a larger screen, allows for more space on your phone, have ongoing map updates and can be comfortably mounted on your windshield. Don't get stuck trying to find a Discovery Park. Plug us into your GPS, roll up to the park and say g'day!