Thursday, July 17, 2014

A camping kitchen in a small backpack

We  are planning a trip to the Great Barrier Reef and leave in two weeks time. I was building a small camping trailer to take with us and then we found out that our small car, a Chery J1, can't have a row bar attached! When we discovered this there was much wailing and rending of garments I can tell you. Once the hysteria was over, thankfully my Captain Practical re asserted herself and I started planning how we would manage without the camping trailer. I went exploring the interwebs for interesting links and was really assisted by this great blog post Compact Car Camping on Zero Cost Living From here I started the cull and here is my full camping kitchen in a backpack.

The back back is actually a travelling picnic set that we won many years ago, we use it for local picnics as it has plates, glasses, cutlery, chopping board, sharp knife, etc. So it was ready to be turned into our small car camping kitchen!

The a Wine bottle section 

The wine bottle section, where the wine bottle goes for day picnics. I have used put all my kitchen utensils in this space, luckily these are all small and some fold up. It holds: scissors, tin opener, spatula, egg flip, a biggish bowled spoon, a drainer, two glass holders that are pushed into the ground, bottle opener, Swiss Army knife, wooden spoon, cheese grater, small tongs.
The front pocket section
The next section is the small front pouch holding: 3 tea towels, two enviro reusable sandwich wrappers, the table cloth and 2 napkins.
The 'fridge' section
Next is the back section which is the 'fridge' compartment when picnicking, it contains our: cooking stove, a Trangia which has two pots and one frypan, a kettle and a handle, it's the best piece of camping equipment we have ever bought, a hand towel and some more napkins, plastic garbage bags, ziplock bags, another wooden spoon and a lemon juicer (bit of an indulgence but it fits, so why not, good for gin and tonics :) and the stove lighter.

The major compartment

I swapped out the original plates for our travel plate set as they have a plate, bowl, spork, cup and smaller bowl with lid all packed nearly together. Then there istwo plastic wine glasses, two tin mugs, two aluminium cups, the camp toaster, cutlery for two, three tiny chopping boards, miscellaneous small things such as clips for table cloth and bags, etc. Also, a small measuring jug, another set of fire lighters, matches and a lighter, our tea makers (we use these tea strainers instead of tea bags, one teaspoon of tea, place in cup, pour on boiling water, let seep for a delicious fresh cuppa, much better for the environment, the leaves go into the compost :) 

So, there you have it, a kitchen in a small backpack, I'm very pleased with this arrangement. The washing bowls are collapsible but don't fit into this, but that's fine, they can be slide into a small section of the car.

Happy small car camping!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Fixing the trailer for rego for our Explorer Box

Part 1 can be found here

Preparing for rego
So we have been preparing the trailer to re-register, we pulled it apart, took away the rust, took of the heavy metal cage ...

Painted the cleaned up frame. 

Painted the sides for rego, a happy, bright yellow, as it was in the shed, waste not want not :)

Bought the marine ply for the whole Explorer Box, very pleased to get it on special as well, $215 for the whole lot! Bought new mud guards to attach to the trailer.

Cut the base.

I'm now painting the base while A checks and fixes the electric system for indicators and lights. We hope to register the trailer next week.

Building a travel kitchen

I have also been looking at kitchen layouts, the Explore Box comes with a nice shelving set-up, but I want something that pulls out and my co-builder says we can do that. I put together all my camp kitchen gear to see what why I needed to pack in this space.

I then looked at various American style chuck boxes which are a clever system, developed by the scouting movement I believe. However, Americans, bless them, have huge cars and big trailers, I needed to model something created for a small car with limited pulling. I was quite taken with the layout below.

I then looked to Europe and found just what I was looking for! It's called a Campinambulle and is designed for small European hatchbacks. It's really clever and I'm going to base my build on it's layout. I'll be using plastic boxes for lightness, but I am in love the pullout stove and cooking space and the table.