Over the past two years we've been on two incredible holidays as a young family of four. In 2021 we travelled from Perth to the Gold Coast, up along Gibb River Road across the NT and straight through the guts of outback Queensland. We did this in 5 weeks and crossed off a plethora of bucket list must-do's. While this was amazing, a lot of thought had to go into preparing for our trip. As already avid campers, we had to modify the way we pack to suit our then 4 year old and 1 year old. With kids comes A LOT of extra gear. Nappies, toys, snacks - you get the idea.
April this year, we ventured on a trip of a lifetime over to Dirk Hartog Island for 9 nights. A campers paradise. Limited phone reception, no running water, no power and no supermarkets to top up on milk and bread. While our setup is self sufficient, this was a whole new level of isolation to us. With our 2021 trip in mind, we really refined what we did and didn't need.
So I've written a shortlist of some of the lifesaving gear we take that totally changes the game for us as parents!
Slide n' Dry Pegless Clothesline. These Aussie made gems are compact once stored and you won’t lose pegs along the way. Can hang from just about anywhere with the two bungee straps included. Highly recommend adding to your camping or carvanning setup.
Thermacell mosquito repellant device. Gone are the days of mozzie coils only to find them snapped during your travels. Does it work? Yes. We had a moment where our refill had run out and we were absolutely swarmed!! Changed the pad and good as gone. Highly recommend when traveling the tropics.
12V fan. Another must while traveling the tropics, we use this more than we thought we would up in the tent for a comfortable nights sleep. Also super handy for midday nap time with young kids.
Jetboil for boiled water, fast! Anything that saves time when you’ve got kids running around is a winner in our books.
Sea to Summit collapsable bowls, cups and X-Pot. Storage is key for us and these bad boys complemented the setup. The X-Pot pleasantly surprised us. Whipping up boiled veg and pasta couldn’t be easier with the X-Pot on the Jetboil (with a pot trivet attachment), voilà!
Darche 1800 Hi-View Rooftop Tent. Bigger than the standard 1400 rooftop tent, it's spacious enough to sleep two adults and two kids under 6 comfortably. Rooftop tents have their pros and cons, and you really need to weigh up if they're suited to you. For us, quick setup and storage is a massive factor and having the tent on the canopy just makes life a lot easier. Contact us today to special order.
Campmaster butane cooking pan. Don’t get us wrong, we love a good Weber camp cook up but with storage being our sore point, the cooking pan is a no brainer. Non-stick, removable pan making it easy to clean and no need for a bulky gas bottle. We made some delicious one-pot kid friendly meals in this thing. Winner winner chicken dinner!
Before we left on both trips, I prepped several meals, vac sealed them and popped them in the freezer. Butter chicken, bolognese and chili con carne were a few of the faves. We were lucky enough to have two Engel fridges on board, one fridge and one freezer. The freezer also stored our bread (to save it going squished and mouldy) and little luxuries for the kids like icy poles, along with the frozen meals. These meals were great after long drives, defrost day before, quick heat up in the pan and dinner is good to go!
Grass mats. Seems like a simple peice of gear but when we’re talking sandy kids feet, these were great at keeping it off. We had two mats from Bunnings, one for under the RTT ladder and one rotated between sitting under our shower awning or for the kids to sit on and play with their toys.
Scrubba Wash Bag. This is one of our more recent purchases, and we highly rate. We had no access to washing machines over on DHI so this came in handy for doing a laundry load or two!
Collapsable laundry bucket for bath time. Anyone who’s had young kids camping will know how grubby they get! Easy to store and perfect for a quick evening soak.
In car entertainment. With touring comes a lot of time spent in the car. We have an iPad for each child with a holder on the back of both headrests, a Seat Organiser for the bits, bobs and snacks and some books for screen-free time - check out the books we take on our travels!
Grab Me Gear Gear Mates to store clothes. Two GM18 for the adults and two GM14 for the kids. These compact little pods held a weeks worth of clothes and were absolutely indestructible. The clear tops make it easy to see what's inside before unzipping. Again, easy storage. Aussie made goodness standing the test of time and rugged terrain.
Hope some of these suggestions were useful for you and planning your next trip with kids. It really doesn’t need to be hard and you don’t need to pack a lot of things, the little comforts can go a long way but remember you are in nature after all; enjoy it!
Have you tried any of this gear on your adventures? We’d also love to hear your non-negotiable peice when traveling with kids!
Not an advertisement. We weren’t paid or sponsored to post these recommendations. This is just what worked for us, tried and tested.