[25 October 2007]
Andrea Fisher has prepared these helpful and detailed notes for first-time Raiders (and veterans too!) on what to pack and how to do it. Andrea and Ian were on Raid Australia 2004 and have registered for 2008.
Click on a topic to go to that section;
A few general thoughts
Cooking & Eating Utensils
First Aid Kit
Food - this link will take you to Andrea's notes on food on the What to Take>Food page
Shayne asked me if I had a list of what we took on the last Raid, to give first-time Raiders some ideas on what to bring; here it is below. 2004 was our first Raid, and we started the list from scratch; it stood up well to the practical test, but we have modified it a bit, based on what we have learned since, and I have also added a few extra thoughts on various topics. I hope this will be of help, but please don't just take it all on as World's Best Practice - there are lots of different approaches to all of this. It is important to put your own thought & research into what suits you: talk to other Raiders, and check out camping shops and hiking shops (our needs overlap both of their markets, so both will have useful stuff); consider what issues you may face, and how you can prepare to overcome or prevent them. For me, this planning stage is a big part of the enjoyment of the whole Raid experience.
It is probably obvious, but a philosophical attitude and a sense of humour are good to have on an expedition like this; also a moderate amount of physical fitness to make pushing cars, getting out of tents, etc, easier (a good time to start working on this would be about now) and perhaps brush up on some first aid knowledge and mechanical skills. Some camping practice is a good thing if you haven't done it before; even one dinner cooked with the trangia and a night under canvas in the back yard will teach you so much!
And go to the dentist in June so you can identify & treat the problems beforehand, and not get a toothache at Well 3 of the CSR. (They say: "if you ignore your teeth, they'll go away"). These days they do not suggest regular tetanus booster shots, but if you go to the doctor beforehand you might want to ask if it would be a good idea in these circumstances.
Saving space and weight
Don't economise on quantities of fuel or water - you cannot afford to run out of either.
One way to save travelling weight is to lose a few kg beforehand; most of us probably need to, and perhaps this could be the extra motivation we need to actually achieve it this time? (But -don't diet while the Raid is on!)
Accommodation: a good night's sleep is important so you can handle all the driving involved; if you are a hardy soul who can get enough sleep with just a sleeping bag in a bivvy bag, this would be a great minimalist option; alternatively, my own suggestions are:
.. a tarp under the tent (to protect it from getting holes)
.. a 5cm self-inflating mattresses (we used to have thicker ones but have found the thinner ones are fine). Don't get an air bed, they don't insulate as well.
.. a tent. Ours is fairly lite-weight, 3-man, fairly easy to put up (remember you will need to do this every day, and maybe in the dark), and it is high enough that you can sort of kneel in the middle. Before buying, make sure you can get in & out easily, and consider whether you prefer doors at the sides or one at the end.
.. my own little indulgences are a small inflatable pillow and a cotton sheet.
Some people have mentioned taking a fridge (and battery to power it) but we think for most foods you can get alternatives that do not need refrigeration (discussed elsewhere in my thoughts about what food to take), which will save lots of weight & space. Even the beer could be replaced with butterscotch schnapps, red wine or port (or pretend you are English and drink it warm??).
Gas stoves are popular, but we managed perfectly well with a trangia; the 3-4 person version was quite big enough for our needs. It is 1.4kg, 10cm*22cm dia, and includes the whole set-up - stove, saucepans frypan & kettle; even the fuel (metho) comes in plastic bottles, you can stock up at any shop. We easily managed with just one burner, and thought the cooking speed was quite ok. Also, some groups will want to share meals, which gives even more cooking capacity.
Alternatively, Shayne uses a Coleman dual fuel stove because he can use the same fuel that he uses in the car. He says: "They are not great at simmering, but they are perfect if you want to boil water or fry a steak." Additionally it fits inside his pot, which is also his kettle, and the two form his entire kitchen.
Quantities. Don't take a big jar of something that you know you will not need all of; use small plastic containers (several so they can be stacked to save space or disposed of or re-used). Coffee, shampoo, laundry powder etc - last Raid, I did some measuring-out estimation of what we would need, although this time the event is longer which makes the guesswork harder and also you may find you need the whole container anyway. You can get small bottles from the chemist so you only need a small space for shampoo in your wet pack.
For all sorts of reasons, don't take glass food containers (don't take glass anything, probably); or pyrex saucepans; or your library card. Basically, look at everything you take, and think about whether you need it (and when & where, for packing purposes) and what alternatives might be more efficient.
You need light at night - we found "headlight" torches to be the best thing, in fact I would consider it essential - you always have your hands free and the light is always where you are looking. Just before dusk, hang it round your neck so you know where it is once it is dark. Take one set of spare batteries just in case. You might also want a fluorescent light to run off the battery for more general campsite lighting, but I would consider this an extra.
Water storage: spread the risk and weight, don’t keep it all in one container. Bulk storage, two 20-litre collapsible containers, but these are awkward to access often; also, fill at separate locations if at all possible, in case one source turns out to be unpleasant. Decant what you are likely to need soon into 2-litre (juice) bottles that can be stored in small corners - worth having lots of these. Use these to top up your in-car drink bottles.
Sturdy plastic bowl: another indispensable item. Ours is rectangular, 320*370*150cm, we used it for dish washing, handwashing, as a laundry basket, and most of the time it was a container for the 20-litre (20kg) water container, to protect it from damage and to make lifting it easier (it weighs 20kg when full, and it is an awkward shape to manoeuvre).
Environment. As a large group, our impact on the environment will be noticeable, especially when we are bush-camping. I hope that it will not be too hard for us to take a few steps to protect the beauty of the areas we will be visiting.
.. of course carry out all rubbish if there are no bins;
.. never pick the flowers;
.. I think it might help to use environmentally-friendly detergents, eg Wilderness Wash, which is pH-neutral, and can be used for dishes, clothes, and also as soap & shampoo (yes I have tried it, it seems fine to me);
Sun protection - has anyone tried the spray-on sunblock? Does it work? Dust sticks to the lotions; I wonder if spray-on would be less sticky? You will also need insect repellent & fly net, hat & sunglasses.
The basis of our packing was to decide what was needed, at what time of the day, and how quickly it would need to be accessed; and then to try to store it in an appropriate place.
Our main packing containers were five 30-litre plastic boxes; they sit 3-across and two-high along where the back seats would normally be: one each for our clothes, one for food, one for cooking utensils/trangia/etc, and one for various car tools etc. Together they formed a fairly stable, compact, reasonably dust-proof packing unit that allowed needed items to be located & accessed fairly quickly; it was also a good way to keep clothes to a minimum, as they had to fit in the box. (Note: measure the space inside the car, and measure the boxes before you buy them to make sure they will fit!). I don't know of anyone else who used this system, therefore I suppose everyone else will be doing something different; find what works for you, then tell us in case we like it better too! [Last Raid, Ielko & Sylvia did lots of things right: they seemed to have everything they needed, but their car was always packed well below the window-sill level. Nice to see they are registered again this time - can you give us any suggestions??]
We also used small lunch box-type containers under the seats, for things that needed to be accessed while driving (again, measure the boxes and the space), eg:
.. a box for on-the-road snacks like dried fruit & muesli bars;
.. another for lotions eg sunblock & insect repellent.
We also had water containers mounted within easy reach, so we could drink as often as needed (driver - camelback hiking-style drink container with mouthpiece, mounted on the B-pillar; navigator - bottle in holder fixed to seat leg); we topped them up whenever we stopped.
Having said all this, a lot of this is up for review in the next few months; I have just realised that last time the boot was full of stuff that will not be there this time (the second spare wheel will be under the bonnet, and we are taking much smaller sleeping mats). Most of the other stuff (table, gerry can, sleeping bags, tent etc) fitted in the space between the seat backs and the box stack, but next time some the lighter stuff may possibly go into the boot (if we don't fill it with parts). Heavy stuff like water & petrol supplies need to go between the axles.
Cooking: trangia, bottles for the metho (trangia fuel) that are short enough to stand upright in the box, gas-stove lighter (saves the risks of matches, although we did take them as well), leather-palm gardening gloves (use as oven mitts or protection from hot/sharp objects)
Cleaning: dish cloth, tea towels, detergent, wilderness wash, compact hand broom, paper towels, handwash lotion
Cooking Utensils: can opener, serving spoon, spatula, egg turner, sharp knife, tongs, chopping board
Eating Utensils: plastic wine glasses*2, knives*4, forks*4, spoons*4, teaspoons*4, bowls*4
Storage: ziplock plastic bags for food storage, plastic bags (large & small), aluminium foil (pieces), clear plastic bowl, rubber bands, duct tape.
Drinks, UHF radio, route notes, map book, rubbish bag, instruction book for 2-way radio, pen, notebook
Snack Box (under navigator's seat)
Dried fruit (mango, apricots, muesli bars)
Use stuff from your home first-aid kit, but do check use-by dates.
Tweezers, panadol, savlon, bandaids, bandages, scissors, antihistamine tablets (Telfast), Diarrhoea tablets (Imodium), 7.5cm x 2.3m crepe bandages (for sprains & wrapping large wounds), triangular bandages, safety pins, broad-spectrum antibiotic, re hydration electrolyte sachets, eye drops (Visine), needle & thread, cotton buds, Stingose spray, face washer, eye bath, cold sore cream, first aid book
The most space-saving option is to put dirty clothes in a plastic bag in your clothes box, and pegs, laundry powder etc in the general Utensils box; alternatively, use a separate bag, eg a green shopping bag that can be used as a laundry basket as well; if you are up-to-date with the washing it can be squeezed into a very small space.
Laundry powder (in plastic jar), wilderness wash, pegs, yellow camp clothesline, string.
toilet roll, wipes, ziplock bag for paper disposal, antibacterial handwash lotion
Tent (& fly, pegs, guy ropes)
sleeping bags (liner/sheet? pillows?)
small folding table, 2 chairs
2 spare wheels
water storage: 20 litre collapsible (maybe two of these?) and lots of 2 litre bottles
Ian (30 litre box)
Personal Money, credit card, wallet, driver's licence, insurance papers, Medicare card, health insurance card, phone, charger, torch & batteries, clothes etc reading material,
Wet Pack Soap, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, towel, cotton buds, toothbrush, toothpaste, nail clippers, dental floss
Clothes This is not much different from other people's lists already on the site. Quantity: probably one of each unless specified. Layers: I am thinking of taking the basics in lightweight fabric and then adding long-jons in the evening for warmth, to save the bulk of trakkie daks. If you are concerned about colour, choose clothes that will all go with each other. If you don't want to risk something getting damaged, bring an alternative from the op shop. Although denim is sturdy, I reckon it is not warm enough/cool enough/quick-drying enough/compact enough in this situation; on balance I think there are better options.
Ian - Small Plastic Box under seat
mosquito net for hat
phone (turned off - turn it on to check when you can get a signal) & charger, clip-on bag.
camera & charger, memory card, clip-on bag
torch (headlamp) & spare batteries
Instruction books (radio, digital watch, camera) nail file, comb
Andrea (30 litre box)
All clothes etc should fit in the box. Approx 5-10kg
Wet Pack Soap, shampoo, conditioner, wilderness wash, wipes (water-free washing alternative at bush camps), deodorant, towel (camp towel or hand towel - you don't need a full-sized one), face washer, moisturiser, toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, tweezers, comb, hand cream
Clothes Shoes - sturdy boots (my preference is above-ankle laceup boots, although slip-ons have advantages too; I need to wax the seams to keep them water resistant; and be aware, hiking boots may not be a good idea - I find them unsuitable for driving), canvas shoes, thongs (for shower)
Long pants - lightweight; add long-jons for warmth in the evening
Shorts - lightweight, medium-length
Long shirt - cool fabric for sun protection
Short shirts - just a couple of cool blouses, we will be given a raid T-shirt
Jumper - and perhaps a fleecy vest
Pyjamas - use LS top & track pants/long johns
Undies - sox *3 (explorer sox, my other little luxury), undies *3
Warm - long johns & top
Sunhat & fly net
Other Items papers (eg contact address list), magazines, personal items, reading glasses, coins, house key, medication & prescription, other cards (Medicare, health insurance, driver's licence)
Andrea - bumbag/pouch/handbag
Ladies: Personally, I find a handbag is impractical in this environment; wherever possible I keep things in the car, and use a small bumbag or a pouch attached to my belt for things that I will need to have on me while away from the car, like money & credit cards, spare car keys & small magnifying glass (so I don't need to bring my reading glasses). I also take a cheap hiking watch so my nice one doesn't get damaged.
Store second spare wheel under bonnet
Get windows tinted (or put on sunscreens: mesh cover over window #2?; shadecloth & suction cups for window #3?)
Mesh sunroof; or silver/bubble insulation in roof?
Octopus strap to hold bonnet down
1 Month test pack of car - boxes without contents
test pack of boxes
2 Weeks buy long-life milk, camping meals, packet tuna, etc
1 Week remove back seat
pack clothes box, cooking utensils box, food box
affix water bottles/holders into car
FOOD (30 litre box)
[Andrea's notes on food are on the What to Take>Food page]