8 essential items for your outback adventure

What is the outback exactly? Even if you’ve lived in Australia all your life, it can be difficult to define precisely what the word means, and if you’re a visitor, it’s even more of a challenge. We’ve all got an idea of what ‘outback’ means to us personally, but until you’re there in the unknown wilderness, you’ll never really know. 

Perhaps this is why so many people choose to go for an outback adventure for themselves. They want to know just what this vast emptiness is really all about. Yet heading off into the bush is not something you should do on a whim, and to remain as safe as possible, you will need to prepare a way in advance. This includes ensuring you have all the essentials you’re going to need for your trip, no matter how long you intend to be away. Read on for an idea of the kinds of things you’re going to need to take with you. 

A reliable vehicle 

Although the image of you walking off into the Australian outback might seem like a rather romantic one, and the one you have in your head whenever you think of your adventure, actually doing this would be a terrible idea. With searing heat during the day and plummeting temperatures at night, you’ll soon get into difficulties. 

Instead, you’ll need a reliable vehicle, ideally a Ute that has room in the back for all the belongings you’re going to need to have with you, and space to sleep should that become a necessity. Make sure you have the vehicle checked over before you get going and have not only a full tank of fuel but a spare container too. Spare 4WD wheels, water for the radiator, and a working knowledge of mechanics just in case something goes wrong will all be useful too. 

Headlamp

A torch is always going to be useful on any kind of adventure, but when you’re trying to get dressed in the dark or make breakfast, or even just boil the water for your cup of coffee, having two free hands is much safer and more practical. This is why a headlamp is better than a handheld torch and why investing in one (and some spare batteries) should be on your to-do list when it comes to getting ready for exploring the outback. 

Sunglasses 

As we mentioned earlier, the sun is going to be unforgiving when you’re in the outback, and protecting yourself with your clothing is crucial. Don’t forget your eyes, though. A good pair of quality sunglasses that are designed to block out the harmful UV rays of the sun will be required, and to make the most of the stunning views you’ll come across, they should have polarised lenses.

Because things can get lost in the wilderness, you might also want to take a spare pair of sunglasses with you, and we would advise not to buy any designer names as the harsh conditions may not be kind to them. 

Sunscreen

Even though it saves lives and, at the very least, prevents uncomfortable burns, some people don’t like sunscreen and prefer not to wear it. If you are one of these people, a trip into the outback (or Australia in general) is probably not for you. 

For everyone else, sunscreen, and lots of it, is the order of the day. Whereas you might try to avoid the sun in your daily life, particularly when it is at its hottest, this is not easily done in the outback, and that’s why sunscreen is going to be your saviour. Make sure you don’t neglect areas like the back of the knee, feet, and ears. Top up your sunscreen every few hours, and always do so after you’ve been swimming or if you’ve been sweating a lot.  

Insect repellent 

In the outback, you will generally be outnumbered when it comes to you versus the insects. In fact, for every one of you, there are about one trillion little flying bugs and critters. You can see now why insect repellent is going to have to make an appearance in your packing. 

Spray a little around you before you go to bed and at regular intervals throughout the day and you should be safe from tiny teeth. It would be hugely inconvenient to by bitten and have to contend with itchy skin – or worse, an infection – with no relief for thousands of miles. 

Deck of cards 

However you intend to go through the outback, whether you’re driving yourself or you’re travelling by bus, there will be many long hours on the road. Taking a deck of cards or other game that doesn’t take up much space and can be used as entertainment is an excellent idea. You don’t want the overriding memory of your adventure in the outback to be one of boredom. 

If you are driving, make sure you switch with someone else once in a while and, of course, never play cards when you’re behind the wheel – if there is an accident it could be some time before anyone finds you. 

Baby wipes 

Baby wipes can be controversial since they aren’t so great for the environment, but they are perfect for wiping away the copious amount of red dust that is going to get absolutely everywhere when you are in the Australian outback, and, love them or hate them back home, you’ll be glad to have them when you’re there. 

Perfect for a quick wipe down when things get too dusty, all you need to do is take your rubbish home with you and don’t leave it in the outback. It’s not much to ask to keep such a stunning landscape beautiful. 

Water bottle 

One of the most important things you can have in your arsenal when you go exploring in the outback is water. Every time you leave the vehicle or camp, make sure you have water with you. It could be the difference between life and death if you get lost, and it really won’t take long in the outback’s heat to dehydrate and expire without some water with you. 

The best thing you can do is drink at least five litres a day. 

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