I’m sharing my ‘Top 5 Touring Essentials’ because I’m often asked by other female off-road travellers what I pack to take away, how much I pack and what item I wouldn’t leave home without.
Since we first started travelling, Mr Winch has been VERY strict with his ‘packing rules’ and limited my clothes space to ONE box. Yes, that’s right. One box to fit all my travel clothes in. It means I need to be smart about what I pack and choose wisely for all those extra essentials.
I know plenty of ladies that would baulk at this and tell him to shove it up his exhaust, but in all honesty, when you travel like we do in a Patrol and not towing a camper trailer or caravan, it does makes sense to pack lightly. This means my choices are limited and often I wear the same clothes for three days in a row unless of course, they are very dirty. Don’t fret ladies; chances are everyone else on the road is recycling clothes too!
Yes, there are many days when I wish I looked as glamorous as those gorgeous female travellers living the “Van Life” wearing pretty flowing dresses that somehow never looked crushed…. but it’s just not practical for the adventurous life we live!
My Top 5 Touring Essentials
1. Akubra Hat
A good hat is integral to travelling, and there is no chance I would’ve sat in the truck without packing my trusty Akubra! I’ve had the “Traveller” style for a couple of years now, and I love it. If it gets bent out of shape, it flawlessly pops back in which is perfect for us ‘travellers’ who take it everywhere. Practical for sun coverage and also looks stylish if you wear it for dressy occasions. I wore it with a pretty ‘Auguste’ Maxi dress to the Mt Perry Country Races and had plenty of compliments which is nice to feel like a lady when you’ve been ‘roughing it’ out bush!
Advice: Don’t waste your money on other brands of trendy hats. Pay the $$ and buy an Akubra. There are plenty of styles to choose from, and the quality is exceptional.
2. Mexican Rug
All ladies love to lie on a big, comfy blanket on the beach right? My pride and joy almost didn’t make the final packing cut as Mr Winch was adamant that there was no room and that I wouldn’t use it. He was WRONG! I got my way, the rug slotted in nicely in the back of the Patrol (next to the Camp Oven) and I use it daily when we’re on the road. It is super versatile and comes in handy as an extra blanket during those chilly desert nights, as my “work bench” when I’m living the digital nomad life or best yet, easy to pack and take on a sunset ‘Happy Hour’ adventure.
3. ‘Mainie’ Wrap
My all-time favourite item in my clothes box! The 100% pure silk wrap is versatile, elegant and very practical for a traveller like me as it can be worn as a wrap, sarong, skirt or scarf. The Maine collections are unique in that each style has ‘authentic Aboriginal designs by traditional artists from Central Australia’s remote Tanami Desert region’. I wear it as a sarong on the beach or while I go fishing, as a scarf when I’m cold and as a skirt when my travel shorts are in the wash or if I want to “dress up” when we are somewhere nice.
Cool Story: When Mr Winch and I were driving back along the Tanami Highway from the Kimberley to the East Coast we dropped into the Yuendamu Aboriginal Community to visit the Warlukurlangu Artists Art Gallery which is where the artwork on my Mainie Wrap was created by Indigenous artist, Mary Napangardi Butcher. Mary wasn’t at the gallery that day, unfortunately, but we met other female artists and saw more of their work. It was a very moving experience, and I’m so proud of my unique piece of wearable artwork.
4. Skin Care Products
There is no need to skimp on your skin care routine just because you are travelling. I invest in quality skin care products (Kiehls) that doesn’t blow my budget and I never go without packing a Cleanser, Moisturiser, Exfoliatant, Mask, Eye Cream and a 50+ Suncream while travelling. The harsh conditions on the road cause havoc on your skin, so it’s important to look after it. I even give myself facials while travelling too. I boil the ‘Billy’ to wash and steam my face and kick back around the fire with a mud mask on. Mr Winch thinks I’m a little nuts but who cares if it makes me happy!
We all know that good shoes are essential for travelling and if I could only take one pair on my trip, other than sneakers, it would be my Birkenstocks! They are brilliant for travelling because they are sturdy, comfortable and versatile. I have ticked off plenty of hikes wearing them, and when it comes to rock hopping and walking through water, they hold up well. Some people may think they are daggy, but I tell you what, talk to anyone that owns a pair of Birks, and you’ll realise just how good they are!
Warning: The outfit below was not by choice but the result of starting a “summer” hike in Tasmania wearing shorts and boots. The temps dropped to about 2 degrees, the boots finally broke hence I ended up looking like a crazy German tourist who wasn’t wearing any pants!
Do you have a packing essentials list? Anything that I’ve missed that you would recommend?