Snowys blog covers all things to do with camping, hiking, 4WD and RV Touring, walking, outdoor adventure, travel, and more. It provides all the knowledge and advice you need for your camping and outdoor activities.
For most people, tyre pressures are something that might be thought of and checked on the odd occasion. However, if you own a 4WD and take it out of the city, tyre pressures are something you’d be far more aware of.
4WD tyre pressures are super important and need regular adjusting depending on what terrain you are driving on, how much weight you are carrying and how fast you are driving. When you actually stop and think about it, those round rubber things that your car runs on are very important. You’ve only got a small handprint size of rubber that makes your vehicle behave the way you want it to.
On bitumen, you’ll have a tyre pressure that you normally run, and all you have to do is top it up as they go down over time. On bitumen, a 4WD is the same, but that’s where the similarities end.
4WD tyre pressures are very important.
What’s makes tyre pressures on a 4WD so important?
A bitumen road is rather forgiving when it comes to providing an easy, comfortable and safe surface to drive on. 4WD’s are designed to go beyond the bitumen, where the tracks are rough, uneven, soft, muddy or full of bone chattering corrugations. The right tyre pressures go a long way to helping you safely drive through these conditions.
The wrong tyre pressures can get you stuck easily.
Traction – braking, steering, acceleration
When you’re off-road, there’s not a lot more important than good traction. No matter what motor you have, if you can’t put the power down as traction, you aren’t going anywhere. Traction is not just important for acceleration though; it’s what you rely on for braking and steering too, and you want to be able to do this without any hindrances!
Once you leave a bitumen road, the level of traction you have deteriorates. On a good gravel road it might only be a little bit, but on a heavily corrugated road or muddy track your traction can be absolutely woeful. This is dangerous. To counter the lack of traction, you should be deflating air from your 4WD.
This increases the surface area of rubber touching the ground, and recovers some of the lost traction. It also spreads the load, making the vehicle float on top of the surface better.
Corrugations need the right pressures.
Reduced stress on your vehicle
Only when you’ve been down a really rough road can you appreciate how hard a 4WD works. If you haven’t seen any slow-motion footage of a 4WD’s suspension working on rough corrugations, check it out. By lowering air pressures, your tyres help to absorb a huge amount of the stress passed upwards from the track. This, in turn, means your suspension works less hard, and everything on your vehicle has an easier ride.
Everything from the nuts holding your wheels on to electrical connections, dashboard clips and body mounts take less abuse and will last significantly longer. If you want to see the huge difference it makes, don’t lower your tyre pressures on really rough corrugations for a few km, and then deflate and see what it does. The difference is chalk and cheese. You notice it, and so does your vehicle!
Beyond the shock absorption, on soft surfaces, the correct 4WD tyre pressures make your motor work less hard. The number of people who overheat 4WD’s on a soft beach is huge, and it’s all because the motor is working harder than it needs to. Too high pressures means 4WD tyres aren’t floating on top of the sand, and the motor needs to push sand out the way to make progress.
How hard does your 4WD’s suspension work?
4WD tyres today are much better than they’ve ever been, but punctures are still relatively common on 4WD tracks. In many cases, the puncture occurs when something sharp (a rock or stick for example) goes through the tread of your tyre. Sometimes this can be fixed on the tracks with a plug, but at the very least it’s an inconvenience.
By deflating air out of your tyres, you allow them to mould around what they are driving on, and your chances of punctures through the tread are hugely reduced.
A good set of tyres makes a big difference.
Improved fuel economy and tyre wear
Fuel economy is directly related to how hard your 4WD has to work. If you have the wrong tyre pressures (even on the bitumen) you will use more fuel, or if they are too high you will wear your tyres out unevenly.
The right tyre pressures will give you good economy, whilst protecting your 4WD and doing a multitude of other things. On soft sand in particular, if you have tyre pressures that are too high, your fuel consumption will skyrocket as the vehicle has to work much harder to keep it moving.
If you aren’t floating on top of the sand, your 4WD is working very hard to push through it, and that’s not good.
Soft sand requires low tyre pressures.
Increase your capability
If you want a 4WD that will go further, learn how to adjust your tyre pressures well. The difference that correct tyre deflation makes in relation to how far you get up a hill climb before getting stuck is truly incredible.
Lower tyre pressures gives you more traction, which in turn means your vehicle has an easier job climbing over rocks or up a slippery hill climb. No doubt you’ve probably seen a 4WD stuck or struggling on the beach before? In almost all cases, this comes from incorrect tyre pressures.
If your 4WD is having a hard time on the beach, hop out and let some more air out of your tyres, and you’ll be back to cruising down even very soft beaches without much difficulty at all.
Struggling up a soft hill climb.
When should you adjust your tyre pressures?
Tyre pressures should be adjusted for each terrain that you are driving on. If you are just doing a short, great condition gravel road you can get away without hopping out, deflating and then reinflating at the end, but if you are going to be on gravel for some time, or the road is rough, soft or slippery you should be adjusting your tyre pressures.
It is super easy to be lazy and not get out to let your tyres down, but so often it comes back to bite you in damage done to your 4WD, lack of safety or you get stuck. You don’t need the perfect 4WD tyre pressures either; adjusting them every time you drive through a bog hole, or a patch of soft sand would just be tiring and impossible.
Let your tyres down properly.
Matching speed and tyre pressures
The major thing that needs to be thought of in relation to tyre pressures is speed. As you reduce the air pressure in a 4WD tyre, you should also be reducing the speed that you drive at. This is done primarily due to heat build-up, and the increased chance of a tyre rolling off the wheel.
On very rough roads, we’ve mentioned that your tyre takes a lot of the shock. It does this by allowing the sidewall of the tyre to flex up and down. This constant movement (in the thousands of times an hour) creates heat, which warms the air up inside your tyre. If you allow too much heat to build up, the tyre starts to deteriorate and fall apart from the inside out. Drive too long like this, and it will literally blow up into a lot of pieces. Not something you want, as it’s expensive and extremely unsafe.
A tyre repair kit and compressor is imperative.
Paying attention to how warm your tyres are getting is very important, and you can do this by just putting your hand on the sidewall after driving off-road for some time. If it’s more than just a little warm, you might need to slow down.
As a result of this, you should be driving at a slower speed with reduced tyre pressures, wherever you are. For very low tyre pressures like you’d have on a soft beach (10 – 20PSI) you shouldn’t be going fast at all. The general expectation is around double to triple the tyre pressure in speed. For example, if you have 25 PSI in your tyres, you shouldn’t be doing more than 50 – 75km/h. The lower your tyre pressures, the more likely a tyre is to walk off the wheel, and you’ll come to a very quick stop.
Particularly on soft beaches, avoid turning quickly and sharply, and keep your speed down. If you go around a corner quickly on the beach with your tyres down at anything lower than 20PSI, expect a tyre to come off. In some situations, this also results in your 4WD digging in and rolling, so play it safe.
Down to 10 PSI to get up this hill.
What’s the right 4WD tyre pressures?
There are so many variables here that it’s almost impossible to give a guide. However, let’s work with percentages (and remember this is general advice!). On the tyre placard, it will give you the recommended tyre pressure, which is a good starting point. Let’s say that’s 35 PSI.
1. Dirt roads
For dirt roads, you should be lowering your pressures by about 30%. That would mean around 24 – 25 PSI.
2. Soft sand
For soft sand, around 50% is a good starting point, which means 17 – 18 PSI.
3. Mud and rocks
Mud and rocks are generally a little higher than this, but it does hugely depend on your individual setup.
Find your tyre placard on the driver’s door pillar.
Tyre pressures change
Lastly, be aware that tyre pressures change! As your tyres get warm, the air pressure increases. If you start off in the morning on a soft beach with 16 PSI in your tyres, and it gets to be very warm in the afternoon you may find your tyre pressures have increased to around 20 – 24 PSI. It might not seem like much, but it’s the difference between sinking like a rock and having no issues floating on the top.
4WD tyre pressures are super important for many reasons, so next time you head off road have a good think about them and set them correctly. See you out on the tracks!
Have you ever got yourself into a tricky spot because of the wrong tyre pressures?
If you’re considering travelling by bicycle, then you should realise that you’re limited on space and you will have to choose to live without many comforts.
All cycle tourists are different in what they choose to bring and what not to bring on tour. We know of cycling minimalists who are famed to have cut their toothbrushes in half to reduce weight. Then there are cyclists who pretty much carry their entire home with them. We even know cyclists who carried a USB chargeable blender for mixing sauces and dressings.
However, there is optional gear which can make your tour more comfortable and tailored to your needs. A few of the following are our favourite optional gear for cycle touring.
These are the non-essentials we recommend for cycle touring.
A water bladder is not essential for all cycling tours as many people buy bottled water or just drink straight from taps or springs. However, a heavy-duty water bladder like our MSR Dromedary can make carrying water considerably easier, particularly for long tours.
An additional benefit for the MSR Dromedary is that it has a threaded opening that we can screw our water filter onto.
We use a water bladder because it’s more convenient for us.
It can be argued that this is an essential item, but we have met long term tourers who don’t travel with a filter and either risk drinking unfiltered river water or instead buy bottled water. So, we have put this in our optional gear, and we find it very useful to make sure your river water is safe to drink.
We use the Sawyer Squeeze Micro-Filter that fits perfectly with our MSR Dromedary but there are many options including UV filters, Life Straw, Ceramic Pump Filters and Grayl Bottle Micro-Filter. The latter would be our preferred filter if we had to get another due to its weight, functions also as a water bottle and its speed at filtering.
Some tourers go without, but we would recommend taking a water filter with you.
Laptop or e-reader
Imagine, you’re at the end of a long day. It’s been a busy road you’ve travelled on and your campsite is just an old quarry. You had dinner early and have nothing to do. Luckily you brought your e-reader /laptop and you can immerse yourself into a nice book or watch an episode of your favourite show. This might make you feel like your home again, at least for a little while.
Your laptop will provide entertainment after a long day.
A thermos is a pretty straightforward item… It keeps hot liquids hot and cold liquids cold. We would nearly argue it’s essential because for us it’s been a mental lifesaver during the extreme heat and freezing cold. A hot coffee in minus 15 degrees or iced cold water in the tropics is the difference between a good and bad day in those climates. Don’t travel without a good thermos!
A thermos gives you the luxury of a hot drink when you need it.
It’s common for cycle tourists to cook only with wood but there are a few downsides of not travelling without a multi-fuel stove. First, the wood turns all of your pots black and, in turn, everything inside your panniers too. Second, some places have barely any wood such as Tajikistan in the winter.
They use yak dung for their fuel most of the time and this is hard to find if you don’t own a yak. Petrol can be found nearly anywhere, and the multi-fuel stoves are lightweight, packable, easy to maintain and use plus it cooks food very quickly.
Your multi-fuel stove will be a lifesaver when one supply runs low.
Need to charge your power bank, smartphone or head torch? A foldable solar panel with around 10W to 20W will be super helpful. We travel with the Black Wolf 20W solar panel and it has been working perfectly for over a year now.
If your travelling remote areas in winter, then a solar panel just might not be enough to charge all your electronics. That’s where a power bank comes in handy. There are many types out there and I’m sure the technology is even better than when we bought our power bank which charges our smartphone 10 times!
You can keep your smaller electronics charged with a power bank and a solar panel.
Bungee cord or cam buckle
It’s simple but versatile. Bungee cords and Cambuckles can be used to strap down your gear, hang out the washing and tie down parts of your tent when you can’t peg it into the ground. We have even used a bungee cord to hold our panniers to our bicycle racks after they broke a little on very bumpy roads.
In terms of comfort, and air pillow will make a huge difference.
Cycle tourist can use various types of pillows, we even know one cycle tourist who uses a loaf of bread as his pillow before eating it the following day. We have tried different types of pillows like compression pillows and the old stuff your clothes in a bag trick, but we finally found that the best option for us was an air pillow.
When we finally spent the minuscule amount of money on an air pillow, after 1 year of travelling, we were dumbfounded as we didn’t know why we weren’t travelling with one before. They pack to absolutely nothing and they are lightweight and comfortable. What else could you want!
If you need a caffeine boost in the mornings, pack a coffee press.
A travel coffee press is our ‘over the top’ comfort item, which is totally unnecessary, but we couldn’t bring ourselves to travel without a good brew. We use the Aeropress Coffee Press but there are many different travel coffee presses out there to choose from.
If you’re like us and enjoy the smell of a good bean brew, then this is what you’ll need as most countries are unfortunately tea drinkers.
Whether you’re on a holiday or living on the road, the amount of gear needed for a caravanning or camping trip can very quickly add up. There’s sleeping gear, cooking gear, adventure gear, emergency gear, as well as personal items such as clothes and toiletries.
Whilst camping might be considered a simple way of holidaying or living, things change as you start to play a Tetris-like game of fitting it all in!
Tubs become your new best friend when caravanning or camping, especially with 3 boys!
Smart packing and storage can make a massive difference to your trip. A place for everything, and everything in its place. A neat and organised space means you can spend more time exploring or relaxing, and when you need to reach for something, you’ll know exactly where it is. So, here are our 7 caravan storage tips for life on the go.
Before you hit the open road, have a think about what you really need to take with you and how it all might fit in.
1. Only take what you need
This one might seem obvious, but it’s amazing how those ‘just in case’ items add up. It’s a popular belief that when caravanning or camping that every item must be dual purpose, and this certainly helps a lot when you’re trying to cut down what you’ll take in your caravan or camper.
Lay out all the items you need, then aim to halve the lot! Do you really need that backup bottle opener or extra saucepan?
We used to try to take it all, but we soon learnt getting it in the first time doesn’t mean it will fit on the way back!
2. Organise your gear into categories
You want to be able to locate your items as quickly as possible when you need them. Grouping them into categories for storage means you know exactly where something will be. Consider your kitchen, bathroom, clothes, shoes, sporting gear, tools and technology.
Next, think about how these might be best stored. This will depend on your set up and might include tubs, cupboard space, drawers, bags or space in the car.
We live full time in our van with 3 children. We have a stationary and school accessories cupboard sorted out into easily accessed tubs.
3. Tubs are your best friend
When you’re travelling in the camper or caravan, you want everything to be secure so it won’t roll or rattle around. If you are camping in a camper trailer or tent, large waterproof tubs might be best. These can be packed into a trailer and then stacked to form part of a camp kitchen or even a bedside table. If you have cupboard space in a caravan, flexible tubs are brilliant as they mould into those awkward spaces.
Tubs are great for keeping items neat and organised and can be removed to find what you are looking for, fast. Even kids find tubs easy to use, as they don’t have to pull out everything, every time.
We use small tubs like these throughout the caravan. These are our bathroom and toiletries tubs, safe and secure.
4. Think about where you will keep your shoes
Shoes need to be treated separately to clothes. They can be bulky, and most likely, at some stage will be smelly! We’re a family of 5, living full time on the road, and pairs of shoes swiftly add up. Many people prefer to keep them outside the caravan or tent, as this keeps the floors clean and the odour out!
However, there is nothing worse than a missing shoe that was flung away or discarded at the door. This can also be a tripping hazard. Consider a tub to place shoes into, preferably with a lid to prevent unwanted bugs, or worse, slithery friends making your shoe into a cosy home overnight.
Limit the number of pairs of shoes, remembering that when camping, you will often live in your favourite pair of runners, sandals or thongs for the majority of a trip.
We have a shoe tub we keep by the caravan door. It also houses sporting equipment for easy access.
5. Setting up your outside space
A huge part of camping is spending time outside. Your outdoor living space is central to camping. Consider if you will set up an outdoor kitchen, dining or living area, and how you will use the space. If an outdoor kitchen is important, consider a portable pantry and washing up space.
These can also double as storage when travelling and can be made from tubs or other items you already have. Remember, every item needs more than one use! In a caravan, items may be stored securely beside, under or at the end of a bed, and taken outside upon arrival.
When we camp in tents we set up our gazebo as a camp kitchen. Everything lives in tubs making it easy to move around and secure from unwanted pests.
6. Don’t forget wall space in a caravan
Every nook is important when setting up an organised camping space. Walls are no exception. No, we’re not talking about an art or photo gallery (although that would be nice!). Walls are great for hanging hats, bags, remote controls, even brooms and mops. There are a huge amount of hooks, both screw in and removable stick on hooks, that can be used for almost any purpose. The limit really is your imagination!
Sticky Velcro is brilliant for remote controls and walkie talkies, keeping them secure whilst travelling. If your caravan came with a lot of keys, think about how you might store them on the walls for easy access.
Get creative, office supplies can be used to store technology and travel magazines. We have even used bicycle drink bottle holders next to the kid’s beds to prevent drink bottle spills. If there is a gap, use it!
We’ve never used so much Velcro! Remote controls, walkie talkies and a whole range of other items can be stuck to the walls to keep them in place, but readily accessed.
7. Be creative
There are lots of nooks and crannies in cars, caravans and campers. Think about wasted space and how you might be able to use it. You can also be creative with other items, like your bin bag.
We use our bin bag to store all of our water and grey water connections. There’s still room for rubbish too, so when we visit national parks we can take out what we bought in.
Bin bags can be used as additional storage for things like grey water hoses. We use ours for that and taking out our rubbish when visiting free camps or national parks.
Storage for a camping trip is more about every item having a safe space to be kept, and less about keeping something ‘just in case’. Of course, emergency first aid and repair items are necessary, but when it comes to clothing, kitchen items and entertainment, only take (and keep) what you use regularly. Generally, we need less than we think.
Everything should have 2 uses. Yep, that’s our dishes tub and our awning pole currently in use as an ‘octopus retrieving system’.
8. Remove clutter
If you find yourself not using something, make a note to leave it out next time. If you are travelling long term, try to donate it if possible, or bin it if you have to. Carrying items that you are not using creates clutter and adds unnecessary weight.
Try to keep it simple when getting outdoors. Nothing beats a beer and a firepit at sunset!
9. Be flexible with your storage options over time
Your needs may change over time, so be flexible with your storage options too. Remember, camping is about simplifying, so reduce what you have, always keep it in its spot, and spend more time doing what you set out to do without hours of unnecessary tidying up.
If the boys keep catching whiting like this we can definitely cut down on the food we take along!
An organised space makes for a quick pack up and set up too, This means you have more time to get out and explore, sit down to read your favourite book…or have a sneaky sunset fish!
What are your great storage tips when caravanning or camping?
Fly in from Perth arriving at 7.30am, get picked up by your whale shark tour provider, and then hire a campervan from Exmouth Camper Hire for the duration of your stay.
Drive from Perth (1250km). Recommended stops: Pinnacles Desert, Dynamite Bay, Hutt Lagoon, Kalbarri, Tamala Station, Steep Point, Gnaraloo Station, Warroora Station, Five Fingers Reef.
Drive from Broome (1370km). Recommended stops: Barn Hill Station, Eighty Mile Beach, Cleaverville, 40 Mile Beach, Bullara Station.
Sandy Bay in Cape Range National Park.
Day 1 – Whale shark tour, pizza and beers at Whalebone Brewery
Get straight into the action by hopping on a whale shark tour and getting right out there on the Ningaloo Reef. Your day will start with a 40-minute ride out to Tantabiddi Boatramp where your powerboat or catamaran awaits. On the way look out for dingoes and the lone woolly sheep that call the cape home whilst your guide provides you with information about the largest fish in the sea.
Once you’re on the boat it’s all go! Wetsuits and snorkel gear are handed out and you will be in the water for your first reef snorkel in under 20 minutes. The first dive gives the crew a chance to suss out everyone’s level of swimming experience and to provide some advice on making the most of your day. Then it’s back on the boat headed for the outer reef. The skipper will be getting information from the spotter planes and pointed in the direction of your first whale shark. Pretty quickly you will be jumping off the boat into the big deep blue and face to face with the most beautiful giant fish.
Get up close and personal with a whale shark on the tour.
The experience is actually hard to describe, but we loved every second. We were in and out of the water for a few hours and so tired by the end of the day. Luckily, food was provided so we were full too, topped off with a glass of bubbly at the end of the tour. By the end of the day, we also had a link to all the photos the onboard photographer had taken of the day.
Whalebone Brewery is the perfect wind down after an exciting day with $10 pints and big $20 pizzas all consumed to the background music of a live band. We would recommend one of their pale ales, spicy ginger beer and the Moby Dick pizza. Whalebone is walking distance from both the RAC and Ningaloo Caravan Park.
Swim out amongst the fish in Turquoise Bay.
Day 2 – Turquoise Bay drift snorkel, Oyster Stacks, Osprey Bay
Exmouth is all about the water and Turquoise Bay sparkles. Walk along the white sand a few hundred metres before swimming out for one of the most effortless snorkels across diverse coral, colourful fish and cruisy turtles. Make sure you get out before the sandy point where the current flows out to sea. Walk back up the beach and just do it all again on repeat.
Go snorkelling in the Oyster Stacks.
Check in at the ranger information centre to find out the best times for snorkelling Oyster Stacks. It can be too shallow to swim over sections on the lower end of the tide. Large rock pillars rise up off the reef and are home to not only oysters but a wide range of marine life and coral.
You might be snorkelled out by now and Osprey Bay is the perfect place to sit back and take it all in. Campsites book out quick so be sure to check availability online and lock in your dates. There is a reason this campground books out fast, it is beautiful. It is also the best place to see turtles. Just offshore, there are thick weed beds that the turtles come to feed on and you’ll be able to see them whether you are in or out of the water.
Book your campsite at Osprey Bay in advance.
Day 3 – Paddle Yardie Creek, hike Charles Knife Canyon, sunset at the old lighthouse
In the morning take a paddle, kayak or SUP, up Yardie Creek. Cool dark water contrasts against rising walls of orange as you take a peaceful ride down Yardie Creek. You can also take a ranger-guided boat tour down the gorge which runs twice daily.
Go for a paddle up Yardie Creek.
If you’re travelling in a four-wheel drive you can take the inland track from Sandy Bay to Charles Knife Canyon and the views are rewarding.
If not, take the outer road back round through town. Charles Knife has been described as Exmouth’s Grand Canyon and there are so many places to stop and lap up the views. Take a hike and explore the different cliffs on either side. If you’re around longer Charles Knife is a great place to catch the sunrise.
Take in the incredible views at Charles Knife Canyon.
The old lighthouse is every local’s favourite place to watch the sun go down with drinks and a picnic. What a way to end an epic few days on the Ningaloo Reef, watching the sunset over the ocean you’ve spent most of your time in.
The beach near the old lighthouse is ideal for watching the sun go down over the horizon.
Access to the lighthouse is via the dirt track 50m north of the Ningaloo Lighthouse Caravan Park. Flights generally leave Exmouth to head back to Perth at 10.10am. It was so hard to pull ourselves away from Exmouth. It’s an easy place to spend a few weeks, but I know it’s hard to allow yourself the time when all you can get is a long weekend away from normal life.
I hope you see all the beauty that we were consumed in and that you meet a few friendly travellers along the way that make this a meeting place for north and south migration.
Have you experienced Exmouth for yourself? What was your favourite spot?
One of the best upgrades you can do to your 4WD is a decent breakdown/recovery policy.
For those of us who use their 4WD off-road, basic roadside assistance and standard vehicle insurance is useless.
Promises and packages abound. I don’t have the answer to what is the best policy. However, I do know many of the questions to ask, and the importance of asking them.
Ensure everyone understands your cover and has your insurance details.
If your policy says ‘remote access recovery’, it doesn’t always mean your covered
For starters “remote access recovery” may mean something completely different to your insurer then you. Read the fine print, but more importantly, ask questions up front.
Put specific scenarios to the broker or customer service operator. Maybe pick a spot on the map – What if I got stuck here? What if my engine failed here? Or if I crashed here? What if I became too sick to travel out of here?
If they don’t know the answer, escalate the call till you get someone who does.
Check if there is a 24 hour or weekend contact number. Don’t get caught with Monday to Friday business hours, or internet only support. Access can be unreliable and there is a strong chance you may be caught out on a weekend.
It will also pay to check before you need to use it whether your satellite phone can call 1300 or 1800 phone numbers, as not all can.
If your car is still under warranty, what stipulations apply so it isn’t voided? Does the cover apply only for the first 12 months or full extended warranty period?
Just as significant, what recovery options does it include? Only 2WD or remote areas as well?
Who’s responsible for making bookings with tow companies and who makes the calls to get it started?
Your insurance company has a different definition of off-road than you
The cost of a breakdown out bush and bringing a vehicle to a repair centre can be thousands of dollars.
Is there a condition that stipulates towing only provided if accessible by a 2WD vehicle in all weather conditions? What is the definition of accessible by 2WD?
While you’re at it, what’s the company’s definition of “off road”? Gazetted tracks only, is beach driving covered, how about muddy roads? Ask for the details, especially if you have a specific trip in mind.
What’s the company’s definition of “off road”?
I want to upgrade my policy, can I?
What sets premium recovery coverage apart from company offerings? Are these features that you really need?
What different excess payments are available?
Is there an option to top up my cover if I’m planning to go into a remote area such as the Simpson or the Old Telegraph Track? Do I need to?
Can I top up my cover if I’m going into a remote area?
Membership benefits and responsibilities
Reciprocal rights between motoring clubs RACV, NRMA and RAA etc mean you’re covered by your home State provider.
Do you know if your extra cover or care package applies to the 4WD or a specific member? Do they have to be with you if you need to call?
Is your retrieval package restricted to pay only to transport your vehicle from where it is stranded to the nearest bitumen?
Who’s responsible for the rest of the trip to the repairer? Is this covered by a roadside package or third-party provider? Does the tow company have to provide separate invoices?
Is there a weight limit to what can be towed? Some only cover up to 2000kg.
Is the van or camper tow included? In many cases this is standard. If you need it, check it’s covered by the basic excess.
Is your retrieval package restricted to transport your vehicle to the nearest bitumen?
Supportive service and entitlements
Waiting for a tow can sometimes mean a long wait, so make yourself comfortable.
You will find it much less frustrating if you already know the answers to these questions.
What support do you get if you break down or are stranded? A replacement vehicle, accommodation, fuel, food allowances, other incidental costs?
Who’s responsible for making bookings with tow companies and motels etc? Will you have to pay upfront and apply for a refund?
What are the restrictions placed on allowances covered? There might be only one price point accommodation option. Will you be out of pocket if it’s too high? Is there a time limit if you must wait for parts or a repairer?
Is the van or camper tow included?
If I have a deadline will you deliver?
How about getting home if I must, and the car’s not ready?
Is there a timeframe for the camper to be freighted? Will it be a speedy delivery of my clothes, food and belongings packed inside or do I need to get them out?
Keep notes and share the details
Ensure you and your travelling partners understand your cover and have your insurance details.
Jot the numbers down, so if something happens, it’s one less stress for whoever must deal with it. Confirm who has the authority to make a claim, do you need anyone additional listed?
Waiting for a tow can sometimes mean a long wait, so make yourself comfortable.
Don’t be fooled
Fancy advertising images and clever testimonials are the devil, not the detail.
Don’t be caught out when it matters most. Many major companies offer recovery cover. Do your research well before you leave home.
Ask, ask, ask before you sign, so that you can be confident that you’re getting what you need and what you’re paying for.
Has your 4WD ever broken down? Were you covered by your policy?
What if you could affordably set up your campsite with compact lighting everywhere it’s needed?
You can, with tent lights!
Compact but bright lights that easily hang inside of, under or attach to the side of shelters, right where you need them for every task.
With these lights, you can keep your large camp lantern in a central location of your campsite (you can see our best-selling camp lanterns here). Then you can place small lights in your tent, over your camp kitchen and in your vehicle so you don’t have to take the main light away from the rest of your party or mess around with flashlights or headlamps.
If this sounds like what you need to give your camp some custom lighting, check out our top selling compact tent lights below… working backwards from number 10.
10. Biolite PowerLight Mini LED Light
This little pocket powerhouse of light does it all. The Powerlight Mini from BioLite isn’t just a tent light, it’s also a work light, bike light and a powerbank all in one.
A built-in USB rechargeable lithium-ion battery gives up to 52 hours of runtime and can give your mobile phone some emergency charge. A neat little kickstand keeps it standing on a table or can be used to suspend it inside a tent or under a shelter.
The BioLite PowerLight Mini comes complete with a USB cord, bike light attachment and straps for mounting just about anywhere and is possibly the most versatile light you could have in your camping kit.
9. Goal Zero Light-A-Life Mini USB LED Light
These chainable LED lights are the ultimate solution to being able to hang multiple lights inside your tent or under a shelter. All you need is a USB power source and you can string up to four of these little guys together.
The Goal Zero Light-A-Life Mini has an adjustable diffuser so you can switch between area and lamp lighting and a switch on top so you can turn each one off individually if chained together.
With each of these giving 110 lumens of light and weighing in at well under 100g they are suitable for both camping and hiking adventures.
8. Coleman Micropacker Lantern
This neat and affordable little lantern from Coleman is a simple yet functional camp light for use inside your tent, around camp or is a great option for the kids.
The Micropacker runs off of 3 x AA Cell batteries and has a single light setting along with a sliding reflector in the rear to switch from area to directional lighting along with a hanging hook on the top to suspend in or under a shelter.
7. OZtrail Halo Tent Light
The Halo light from OZtrail has the benefit of being armed with two light modes – superbright white LEDs and an amber night light.
It features a large button in the centre to switch between high, low and night settings and a loop on the top so you can hang it in your shelter.
Powered by 3 x AA batteries which are included, the Halo Light from OZtrail is a perfectly affordable and compact way to light up your interior camp spaces.
6. Zempire Capsule Light
Aptly named as it shares the same shape as, albeit much larger than a vitamin capsule. The Zempire Capsule Light is a ridiculously affordable tent light ideal for smaller tents or emergencies.
It runs from 3 x AA batteries and at 25 lumens it’s not the brightest light in our range, but at such an affordable price you can add a few of them to your kit.
The base is flat so you can stand it on a table and it also features a hanging hook for easy suspension inside a tent or under a shelter.
5. OZtrail UFO Tent Light
There’s no guessing why this one is called the UFO light! Powered by 4 x AA batteries for 24 hours of runtime, the OZtrail UFO light will give you 100 lumens of light from 23 LEDs.
It has three light settings so you can choose your preferred lighting level and features a Velcro loop on the back so you can easily hang it inside your tent or under a shelter.
A unique feature of this tent light though is the magnet on the rear which makes placing the lights under a gazebo, on the outside of a vehicle or camper or to any metal surface a breeze.
4. OZtrail Powergrid Rechargeable Tent Light
If you don’t want to muck around with disposable batteries then the Powergrid 1800 Light from OZtrail has a USB rechargeable 1800mAh lithium-ion battery that doubles as a phone charger for emergencies.
The Powergrid 1800 light has a soft diffuser and a shockproof and water resistant construction so it will see you through any camping trip.
A carabiner clip on top makes for easy attachment to your shelter and when the battery life gets low you can charge this light up from any USB power source.
3. Black Diamond Moji Lanterns
I’m yet to hear anyone say something bad about the Moji Lantern from Black Diamond. They are about as tough as tent lights get and despite only having a 100-lumen rating, the feedback is that the light from these little guys is more than enough for medium to large sized tents.
The light is dimmable and operated by a single switch on the side and is powered by 3 x AAA batteries for up to 70 hours of runtime.
The hanging hook on the top is a unique and functional design that allows you to hang these lights in a multitude of locations. These tent lights are loved amongst campers and hikers alike.
2. Zempire Hangdome USB Rechargeable Lantern
Not only is this light functional it also looks cool… a bit like a pendant light for your tent. It has an integrated USB rechargeable battery and gets nothing but good feedback from our customers.
A silicone diffuser covers the LED light and it’s all attached to a 12cm cable with a hook on the end so you can easily suspend it for soft lighting throughout your tent.
The Hangdome has three light modes, offers up to 115 lumens of light and are affordable enough to be able to hang a few of them around your campsite for hands-free light wherever you need it.
1. Luci Inflatable Lanterns
There are four different lights in the Luci range by MPOWERD at Snowys, and the Outdoor 2.0 model blows every other lantern in our range out of the water when it comes to the number of lanterns our customers buy.
These are incredibly versatile little lights. Firstly they are inflatable so they are both waterproof and they float. Secondly, they have a built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery. Lastly, they have an integrated solar panel so all you need is the sun to keep your Luci Lantern powered up.
On top of this, the Luci Lanterns have multiple light modes and a battery indicator so you can keep a close eye on the power status. For the most versatile lantern in our range for just about any camping, hiking or vehicle venture, you can’t go past the inflatable lanterns from Luci.
If you reckon you’ve nailed a custom light set-up for your camp, let us know in the comments below.
It was raining, the road ahead was shrouded in a mist of rain. The driver of the minibus we were in said it wouldn’t be much, and she was right. By the time we arrived at the information centre, it had stopped. Starting at the Information centre in Flinders Chase National Park, the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail is a 61-kilometre 5-day walk that takes you through a mixture of forest, thick scrub, and amazing coastline.
It passes such features as Rocky River, the wild Southern Ocean, Cape du Couedic Lighthouse and Remarkable Rocks. At times the Wilderness Trail can be rough with lots of rocky surfaces to walk over as you pass through low scrubby areas of vegetation. And other times you are going through beautiful eucalyptus forests.
This trail takes you along the Southern Ocean, and beautiful eucalyptus forests.
The beginning of the walk
My wife and I had the obligatory photo taken at the gate you go through at the beginning of the walk and then we headed off. At first, the trail is well maintained and takes you past some waterholes where if you are patient it is possible to see a platypus.
We waited with several other people, but it was in vain, so we decided to keep moving. Other walkers we met, later on, said they had better luck and got some great shots.
The trail takes you along the soft sand of the beach.
The first section
The first section you pass through are forests of Eucalyptus and Mallee, and if you are there in spring then we were told many wildflowers would be in bloom.
There are lots of wildlife and birds, but you have to keep your eyes peeled as they are pretty shy. We also went past a rocky outcrop called the cascades which were supposed to be very scenic, if there was water in them.
We did see a wild pig at a rest stop which didn’t hang around. They are a pest, and there were many signs of where they were digging into the ground causing a lot of damage as they searched for food.
This is an example of the typical track surface you’ll be walking on.
Cup Gum campsite
The first day is only about four hours walk and finishes at Cup Gum Campsite. The facilities at each of the campsites are excellent. Here we had a choice of raised platforms or sand pads for the tent to be erected on. Although at the other camps there were only sand pads.
The shelter has several large tables and a stainless steel bench for cooking on, as well as a sink and taps powered by a pump and filtered water, (although it was still advised to treat the water before drinking).
The end of the first day finishes at the Cup Gum Campsite.
Shelters and facilities available
There were also solar powered lights that came on as it got dark, which were also in the toilets. There are stainless steel basins in the toilets with a tap as well, also connected to a pump. They look brand new, and since every camp is accessible by a service road, they are cleaned almost every day. These were the best shelters I have ever seen in my many years of walking and camping.
One of the best parts of walking holidays is meeting other walkers and sharing experiences. The comradery in the camps was great, with everybody friendly and easy to talk to.
The shelters had excellent facilities.
The second day of the walk
The next day we started heading to the coast along the Rocky River until it meets the sea. We then walked along the cliff tops with the wild foaming sea below. The views along this part of the coast are spectacular. We stopped many times to try and capture it on our cameras.
At one point you descend to Maupertuis Beach and walk along its soft sand. This was quite hard as the sand was really soft. We did try to walk closer to the water’s edge looking for harder sand but often had to make a run for it when a wave came rushing in.
Eventually, you’ll descend to the soft sand of Maupertuis Beach.
In the end, we found walking in other people’s footprints was the best way. So long as you found someone with the same stride you would be fine.
After about a kilometre we went back up to the cliff tops and continued there for the rest of the day. The surface of the track here is pretty rough, consisting of mainly broken limestone. This was a bit hard on the feet and legs as you have to step over never-ending rocks and small boulders.
In the distance, you can see the Cape du Couedic Lighthouse. It gets closer each time you come over a small ridge, but it is never reached as the track turns inland about 2km before it and shortly after that, you arrive at the Hakea Campground.
Linda and I at the mouth of the Rocky River.
Keeping your gear clean and dry
My only criticism of the campsites is the lack of any sort of raised platform to sit a backpack on that is close to the tent. Since the tent sites are sand it means whatever you put on the ground risks getting dirty.
It may only be a small thing, but most walkers like to keep their gear as clean as they can when sometimes washing opportunities are limited. We found by putting our rain covers over the harness we could lay our packs on the ground face up therefore not getting anything dirty and still accessing our gear from the packs.
I’d recommend putting your rain cover on the harness so your pack doesn’t get dirty.
The weather conditions
The weather overall was fairly good, with cool days and on the first two days, we had some light drizzly rain that was more annoying than anything.
We did get some rain on our first night though, otherwise, we had reasonably good weather for the entire trip.
We had reasonably good weather on our hike.
The third day of our hike
Our third day went inland and curved around towards the South coast of the island coming out at Remarkable Rocks.
For me, this was the most boring section of the trail as it went through thick scrub that didn’t allow any views anywhere. All you could see was thick scrub.
It was good to finally come out at the coast and take the side trail to Remarkable Rocks where we caught up with some of the others and were able to eat lunch while looking around this impressive natural feature.
We still had about 4km to go so we loaded up again and went back in the scrub, for only a little bit, then back out to the coast where we continued along more impressive cliff tops.
Having a rest at Remarkable Rocks.
Our third camp was called Banksia Campground with the usual great facilities. There was plenty of conversations around the cooking tables as we discussed the pros and cons of everybody’s different setups and walking experiences.
This was our coldest night with the temperature going down to about 4 degrees, and the next morning everybody had their flysheets hanging on trees and bushes trying to dry the condensation off before we packed them away.
A much easier section of the trail.
The next day
We continued on from Banksia firstly toward the coast then back inland. The terrain was changing now with the limestone giving way to smoother sections where walking was much easier. We were now going through more open forests rather than thick scrub.
We knew we were getting closer to Hanson Bay Beach as we started to hear waves crashing ashore, but where was it. It can be a little frustrating when you know you are close to something but just can’t seem to get there.
Hopping aboard the boat.
Crossing the river
We knew up ahead there was a small river we had to cross using a boat with a rope attached to pull ourselves over, but it seemed to take forever to reach it. This was going to be our lunch stop and we were getting hungry.
Finally, there it was. A small boat for one person and their pack at a time to cross. We watched some of the others go first as we had our final lunch break on the trail.
We then took turns to cross over and left our packs with some of the others just off the trail and walked the 300 meters down to the beach. It was almost deserted with a few small cabins on the other side of the beach that were able to be hired out.
We returned to pick up our packs and in about half an hour we were at our final camp, Tea Tree Campsite.
Crossing the South West River.
The final night – Tea Tree campsite
It was a lovely sunny afternoon, and everybody sat around soaking it up until the sun went down. Then the night chill started to come in and everybody started preparing their final dinner of the walk.
It was another chilly night and more tent fly’s had to be dried before we could head on our way. This was our last day and it was only about 7 kilometres to go.
The last section of the trail
This last section of the trail went through eucalyptus forests and past lagoons where there was some bird life, but you would have needed a good lens for your camera as the birds were all across the other side several hundred meters away.
It only took us about two hours to do this last part, and then we were at the finish at Kelly Hill Caves. I set up my camera on a timer and took our photo as we went past the sign that said we had completed the walk.
A side trip to Admirals Arch.
Services on the trail
Part of the fee you pay to do the walk covers a cave tour. It was a bit disappointing to realise we’d missed the tour that the other walkers we were with went on, as we were last to arrive. Still, we saw them when they came out of the caves and we were able to say our goodbyes.
From the caves, we contacted the campground where we left the car and they came to pick us up. Because the Wilderness Trail is not a circuit, arrangements have to be made to be picked up when you finish. National Parks can offer this service as well as several other resorts and campgrounds.
Reaching the end of the trail.
Fitness and gear you’ll need
The Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail is an enjoyable walk with varied terrain and fantastic scenery. It can also be done as a series of day walks with pickups by arrangement at each campsite, or car shuffling to some of the public car parks along the way.
You would need to have a reasonable amount of fitness as you will be walking about 13km each day except for the last day when it is only 7km.
You’ll need to be quite fit, as you’ll be walking on sand.
Good boots are essential because of the rocky surface. Some may prefer walking shoes, however, don’t bother with lighter footwear.
If I had a dollar for every ATM withdrawal fee I shrugged off, I’d be able to fly first-class (more than once). See, travelling is alluringly easy now… more than it’s ever been before.
Flight websites are vying for our attention, with low-priced tickets. We rent out local’s apartments (thanks Airbnb) and hop in cars for cheap rides around.
But, no matter how spontaneous a traveller we are, there are must-know tricks to make our dollar (and itinerary), go further.
Wherever you travel in the world, these tips will come in handy.
The no-fee bank card
I used to pre-load a Travelex card, before moving over to a Qantas Cash Card… purely for the points. Every dollar I loaded, I received a Qantas point. But, it was a hassle trying to figure out how much to put on the card. Plus, the bank charged a fee and it locked me into one currency.
My ah-ha moment? Discovering the no-fee Citibank Debit Card
This little baby doesn’t charge the standard 3% on international purchases and $0 on ATM withdrawals. Like I said, if I knew this years ago, I would be rocking it up in first-class. It’s free to apply for and you just need to link it to a savings account.
I use my card for most purchases plus, if I need cash I know I won’t be charged a hefty $5 withdrawal fee if I need it.
A no-fee bank card is a game changer.
Travel insurance. Yes, this is an essential!
Guys, I’ve been there… trying to save money and flirting with the idea of just risking it, without insurance. “Oh, but I’m just going on a short trip to Bali. I won’t need it.”
Well, as it tends to unfold, that was the trip I actually did need it. A volcano, on Bali’s neighbour island, Lombok, erupted. All flights were cancelled for a week, but thankfully, it was covered under my policy.
I suggest finding a company that offers a hybrid coverage of health and travel. Make sure you’ve got full protection in an emergency. Also, pay a little extra to secure your valuables. I just have two: my iPhone and MacBook. With the amount I travel, one too many knocks through airport security can be the reason it decides to take an extended ‘nap.’ I use the ‘Qantas’ of travel insurance: World Nomads.
They’re Australian, totally helpful, and donate part of their profits to third world countries.
Insurance is an absolute must-have when you travel.
Loyal to Skyscanner for years, I’ve recently leaned more on Google Flights. Not because of price or partner airlines, but rather, because of functionality. You can see a calendar view to quickly work out which day is best to fly (as opposed to having to reload the page, isolating a specific day). If you can be flexible with the day you fly, check out Google Flights.
Google flights give Skyscanner a run for their money.
A universal adapter
This is one of the very few items I’ve kept in my hand luggage for years. I love the flexibility of knowing I can charge up, within seconds, no matter where I go. Usually, the universal adapters are slightly bulkier than the single country products, but if you’re continent hopscotching, you’ll love it, too.
TSA padlocks and a universal adaptor are a must have.
TSA padlocks… and the bag upgrade
There’s nothing worse than being frantic in an airport. No matter how organised I am, items like padlock keys just seem to vanish. Switch to TSA locks and make life easy for yourself – just don’t forget your four-digit code.
Speaking of bags, I spent my entire 20’s flying around the world with a backpack. Even when it wasn’t exactly the easiest on my back, I felt connected to a sense of identity… the nomadic backpacker.
But, last year, in celebration of my 30th birthday, 60th country and the emergence of a new title (expat), I decided to leave the memories of backache behind for a gorgeous, statement denim suitcase.
And, oh, did it feel good.
Upgrade your travel bag for extra comfort.
On those long 10+ hour flights, my trick is to break up the time. I’ll watch a couple of movies for the first three hours, sleep the next chunk, then either write or read for the last leg. This way, I focus only on the three or four hours ahead. Turn off the flight path, as this is as painful as watching paint dry.
When I’m ready to be (slightly) productive or to shift the boredom, I pull out my headphones and open Audible. I’ve pre-downloaded a book in there, so I don’t need WiFi.
While the fun is in the journey, find items, tools and little tricks that’ll offer helpful shortcuts or a welcomed ‘travel companion.’
What are the essential items you always take when you travel?
A lantern is a staple part of any camping kit. Without one you’ll be fumbling around in the dark, tripping over guy ropes and good luck to you if nature calls during the night!
At their simplest, a lantern provides light to function by at night. They have come a long way since the days of kerosene powered hurricane lamps or LPG lanterns though. Nowadays LED technology has launched the humble camping lantern into the technological world with more light coming from smaller packages.
They are now also equipped with other features including the ability to charge your smartphone and built-in Bluetooth speakers.
So, how do you choose?
To give you a solid place to start your research, we’ve collated our 10 best-selling camping lanterns. This list has got something for everyone, but if it’s compact lights to hang inside your tent that you’re seeking, you may be interested in our upcoming tent light article – so stay tuned for that.
Starting at number 10…
10. Companion XStream X60 LED Lantern
There’s nothing fancy about the Companion XStream X60 lantern. It only has 60 lumens of dimmable light, runs on three regular AA batteries and has a simple but functional plastic housing.
However, it comes at a price point that cannot be looked past and delivers far more than the cost may suggest. It has 6 surface mount LED’s that emit light through a frosted lens to give a soft light ideal for use inside a tent or on a camp table.
The Companion XStream X60 lantern is the perfect choice for kids wanting their own lantern to find their way around at night. It can also be used just as an emergency light either in our camp kit or at home for blackouts.
9. Goal Zero Lighthouse 400 Lantern & USB Hub
This is the most technical lantern in our top ten and is the brightest lantern in the Goal Zero range. The Lighthouse 400 isn’t just a lantern though, it’s also a portable power bank that can be charged via USB, with the built-in hand crank or via a compatible solar panel.
The Lighthouse 400 is equipped with a carry/hang handle and folding legs delivers 400 lumens of dimmable light and has a USB output port to charge electronic devices. It even has an emergency red flashing light mode which will run for up to 48 hours.
The Lighthouse 400’s durable housing packs small for easy transport, and with its spaceship-like looks is likely to become a talking point in your campsite.
8. Zempire Enduro 300 Lantern
The Enduro lantern is, on the surface, identical to the best-selling lantern on our list. It has a 300-lumen output, runs on 3 x D cell batteries and features a carry handle on the top as well as a removable lens and hook on the base for use as a hanging light.
What’s most noticeable is that it comes in at a far lesser price than its near-twin. This likely comes down to what’s inside i.e. the quality of the LED and all the componentry… but hey, I’m only making assumptions here.
Overall, the Enduro 300 Lantern from Zempire is a compact camping light that gets a good rap and is very friendly on the bank balance.
7. Coleman Vanquish Push & Push Li Lanterns (regular and ‘Li’ version)
The Vanquish Push lanterns are a great size, offer up to 450 lumens of light output and are made tough with over-moulded rubberised edges that meet ANSI 2M drop tests.
You can grab these lanterns in the red version which is powered by 3 x D Cell batteries or the well-equipped white model which is armed with a lithium-ion USB rechargeable battery that can also charge your electronic devices.
Both Push 450 lanterns from Coleman have three light modes operated from a push button on the top. They come equipped with Coleman’s Battery Lock system to prevent discharge in storage and have a metal carry loop on the top.
6. Coleman Vanquish Spin 550 Li Lantern
This lantern is the top shelf version in the Coleman Vanquish range of lanterns. The ‘Spin’ in its name comes from the spinning top handle used to select between the four different light modes.
This is a larger format yet lightweight lantern thanks to a built-in lithium-ion battery. This is recharged via micro USB and features a USB outlet to give other electronic devices some power. It’s also made tough with impact resistant edges that meed ANSI 2M drop tests.
The Spin 550 lantern offers up to 550 lumens of light, is armed with a Battery Lock system to prevent battery drainage in storage and features a burly carry handle on the top and carabiner clip on the base for hanging under a shelter.
5. Coleman Lithium Ion Rugged LED Lantern
A modern take on camping lanterns with a classic look, the Coleman Lithium Ion Rugged LED Lantern has an integrated rechargeable lithium-ion battery that makes the whole lantern weigh in at just over 600g.
Operation is simple with two settings via a dial on the front delivering up to 300 lumens. This lantern has a comfortable carry handle and room to store the USB charger in the base.
It’s also equipped with a charge indicator light and has a USB output so you can give your electronic devices a charge when other power isn’t available. All-in-all this is a simple, affordable and functional lantern.
4. Coleman Lithium Ion Easy Hang LED Lantern
The Easy Hang Lantern from Coleman is a versatile light that gets nothing but good reviews from those who have purchased it. Its square shape is very packable and features an impact resistant rubberised housing for durability.
The unique feature of this lantern is the hook and loop fastening strap which features two different attachment points for versatile carry and attachment options.
A fast charge micro USB port and battery indicator helps you to keep track of your power reserves and a USB output port allows you to give your electronic devices some emergency charge. The Easy Hang Lantern is possibly the most versatile lantern in our current range.
3. Zempire Luken Lantern
This neat little unit has a built-in lithium-ion battery making it much lighter than lanterns powered by alkaline batteries. The Luken Lantern from Zempire can be charged via any USB outlet and has a diffused 200-lumen output that is perfect to find your way in the dark or as a soft light in the middle of your camp table.
The light is dimmable via the front dial and you can give your devices some emergency charge with the USB output. All in all, this is a compact and lightweight lantern with handles that fold neatly out of the way when not in use…it’s also very affordable.
2. Primus Frontier Camping Lanterns
The Frontier lights from Primus have are available in three different sizes from the 250-lumen version that runs on 4 x AA batteries to the 500 and 1000 lumens models that utilise D cell batteries.
What sets the Frontier lanterns apart from the rest is the number of light settings within. You can choose from dimmable natural, cool or warm light as well as a flickering candle setting so you can really set the mood.
The casings are robust and they all have durable carry handles and all feature battery life indicators. Furthermore, the top lenses can be removed from each for non-diffused area lighting. The smallest version even has a hook on the base for use as a tent light.
1. Primus Nova Max 300 LED Lantern
This little beauty has been around for years. Powered by 3 x D cell batteries and boasting a particularly robust casing, the Primus Nova Max 300 LED Lantern throws 300 lumens of light making it ideal for use around the camp table, in your camp kitchen or to find your way to the loo at night.
It has a large carry handle, is water resistant and has a removable lens and a hook on the base so it can be flipped upside down and hung inside your tent.
Take the fact that the Nova Max 300 is affordable and bundle it with the above features, it’s no wonder it is by far our best-selling lantern.
Coleman 360 Sound & Light Lantern – How did this lantern not make the list?
This guy has it all, and I’m sure that the only reason it didn’t make our top 10 list is that it’s new and hasn’t had the exposure it deserves. I’m pretty confident it will be sitting high up on our list next year though.
The 360 Sound and Light Lantern has 400 lumens of dimmable light, a tough and handsome exterior, 360 degree light without shadows, IPX4 water resistance, an integrated USB rechargeable lithium-ion battery and, the cherry on top – a built-in Bluetooth speaker.
Fill your campsite with diffused light and your favourite tunes with the 360 Sound & Light Lantern from Coleman.
It’s all LED lanterns that make up our top selling products here on this list, but gas, multi-fuel and methylated spirit lanterns are still a popular choice for some campers.
Western Australia has some magical places to enjoy and Margaret River comfortably finds itself on the list of top locations. There are lots of reasons to visit what WA has to offer, but occasionally you stumble across something that ticks so many boxes it’d be hard not to have fun. Margaret River is world renown for a whole variety of attractions and is worth at least a few nights to soak it up.
You’ll find Margaret River in the South West of WA, in amongst the Karri forests, vineyards, spectacular beaches and incredible caves. It’s only 3 hours away from Perth, and extremely close to a number of amazing locations including Hamelin Bay, Busselton, Dunsborough, Prevelly and Augusta.
Redgate Beach is just one of the incredible places to visit.
What makes Margaret River so good?
There is something for everyone to enjoy around Margaret River. Whether you are an adrenalin junkie, food lover, wine addict, nature aficionado, 4WD owner, avid fisherman, craft-a-holic or local produce enthusiast, you’ll find lots to do. If you are chasing a relaxing break away with lots of time spent at a spa, it ticks that box too. Margaret River is home to numerous festivals every year and is visited by WA locals, travellers and international visitors year round.
There are so many wineries to enjoy.
Margaret River weather
Much like the rest of southern Australia, the south west of WA receives its rain and colder weather between June and August. The warmer months are December, January, February and March. Regardless of what the weather is doing, it’s a spectacular place to visit year round. In summer, the south-west is a hugely popular destination for those who live further north, as it’s an escape from the hotter weather.
Whatever the season, you can enjoy what the area has to offer.
Adventure in Margaret River
There are more adventure activities to do in Margaret River than you can poke a stick at. From canoeing the beautiful Margaret River to world-class surfing and body boarding, hiking, mountain bike trails, cave exploration, adventure rope courses, cliff abseiling, helicopter rides and the list goes on. If you love adrenalin, the south-west of WA is one giant playground.
If you are keen on some serious adventure, do an adventure caves tour at one of the bigger caves; you’ll go beyond the usual tourist path and crawl, climb and slide your way through some of the most beautiful underground caves in Australia.
Margaret River has world-class surfing.
Food and wine
Margaret River is famous for its food and wine. With the annual Gourmet Escape festival held in November each year, and more wineries than you’ll know what to do with, it’s a combination you’ll never tire of. A lot of produce is created in the South West; from fresh wood-fired bread to delicious fruit, chocolate, cheese, yoghurt, olive oil, candy, berries and the list keeps going.
Visiting the Margaret River Market.
The farmers market in Margaret River is held every Saturday morning at the education campus and is full of amazing produce that you can buy for a great price. This is 100% worth the visit, even if it’s just to top up your fruit supply and get a snack for breakfast!
There are more amazing places to have a meal at in the South-West than you’d be able to visit in weeks of staying there. Most wineries have amazing menus, with food that is truly spectacular. There is a heap of cafes and restaurants that also add a lot of value to the region, so check them out.
Margaret River is known for amazing wineries.
One of the major reasons so many people flock to the South West is the stunning natural beauty. From towering karri forests to some of the best beaches in the world and everything in between. You can spend weeks exploring the region.
The natural spa at Injidup Beach is hugely popular as are the many caves (Mammoth, Lake, Jewel and many more). If you don’t mind a bit of gravel driving, that can be somewhat corrugated the Boranup Forest Drive is spectacular, just off Caves Road.
If you are keen on seeing stingrays, Hamelin Bay Beach is a fantastic place to check out. It does get very busy though!
Explore Lake Cave when visiting the region.
4WDing and fishing
For us, the real attraction is the natural beauty, combined with great camping and 4WD tracks. With a bit of adventure, you’ll find some of the most amazing little 4WD tracks around Margaret River. They take you to pristine, quiet beaches or through incredible forests. Bob’s track, Point Road, Kilcarnup and North Point are just a couple of the amazing places you can take a 4WD.
Fishing in the area is fantastic off the many beaches and rocks, but the ocean can be unpredictable and rough, so stay safe when near waves that can roll in.
Explore the Point Road 4WD track.
If you are looking for beautiful beaches, then the South West has you covered. Many are 2WD accessible and easy to get to, whilst others require the use of a 4WD and tend to be more secluded. You can visit where the mouth of the Margaret River meets the ocean, or explore the many rock pools that line the coastline.
Beach access can be had in a huge number of locations from Dunsborough right the way down well past Hamelin Bay. Smiths Beach is a truly stunning location to spend the day, as is Gnarabup and Redgate. If it’s busy, or you want something different, just hop back in your car for a few minutes and drive to the next one!
There are some amazing hidden beaches at Margaret River.
Arts, crafts and local produce
A huge number of high-quality local produce comes from the Margaret River region. From fine woodworking furniture to glass blowing, jewellery, textiles, paintings and photography through to fruit and vegetables, you can be sure to pick up something amazing.
There is every form of accommodation you’d ever want around Margaret River. From unpowered bush campsites to beach shacks, glamping, backpackers, motels, apartments, tree houses, mud brick cottages, lifestyle blocks, bed and breakfasts, Airbnb’s, luxury resorts and super high-end homes for rent.
Being such a large area, you’ll find accommodation in Margaret River itself, Prevelly, Gnarabup, Boranup, Cowaramup, Metricup and Gracetown. Each location is unique, and beautiful in its own way.
You can stay near the beach, or set back on amazing properties with rolling hills, or nestled up amongst the karri forests with no one around for miles. There are some truly amazing homes that can be rented for a couple of families to stay at, and it works out pretty cheap overall.
Staying in a cabin at Boranup Forest is one of your options.
Camping around Margaret River
The best place to find a campsite in Margaret River is on the Wikicamps app. This shows you the well known (and some lesser known) camping locations in the area. You can stay close to the coastline, or set back amongst the forests.
There are a number of places that you can camp at, ranging from the usual caravan parks through to private property stays and the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) sites like Jarrahdene and Contos.
Jarrahdene is a fairly new DBCA campground not far off Caves Road, nestled under the Karri Forest with well-maintained toilets, camp kitchens and lots of sites for different size camping setups. Booking is 100% online, so do it prior to arriving. This is a fantastic bush camping site and comes highly recommended.
Jarrahdene is a fantastic bush camping site.
Kids and Margaret River
If you’ve got young ones, there’s a huge amount of fun to be had in the Margaret River area. From the beautiful Rotary Park just out of town with its bridge over the river and great playground to a number of animal farms, winery playgrounds, kid safe beaches, mazes and cafés or town playgrounds, you’ll never be short of something to do.
The Rotary Park playground is perfect for the kids.
Other great places to check out
At the end of the day, the whole South West is a beautiful place. Augusta, Hamelin Bay, Yallingup, Dunsborough and Busselton are all spectacular places in their own right, but all within an hour’s drive of Margaret River. This means no matter where you stay, you have a huge range of options.
One thing worth mentioning is that you have options when it comes to the wind; sometimes the beaches at Margaret River are windy and unpleasant, but if you head up to Dunsborough often the beaches facing the other direction are perfectly flat, calm and beautiful.
Where Margaret River meets the ocean.
Is it busy?
Margaret River can be quite busy; it’s well known, and people come from all over to check it out. However, like anywhere, if you are prepared to look around you will find plenty of great places that allow you to have lots of peace and quiet. The main town and beaches are well known and get a lot of traffic. If you want to get away from the crowds, head to the lesser known attractions, or just follow your nose.
Margaret River is truly an amazing place, and rates highly for us as a place to head for a weekend away from Perth, or a week away from the big smoke. If you haven’t been there before, put it on the list; you’ll love it.
Are you going to add Margaret River to your destination list?