The Ultimate NZ Adventure Set Up
Adventure in NZ for me, is about having an epic base to leave and return to. I have a list that gets longer on a daily basis, of adventures that I want to take my family on. For the last few years, I have spent sleepless nights lying in bed dreaming about building the ultimate travel and adventure set up that would provide us with the most efficient and epic set up possible and allow us to keep up with the bucket list of things we wanted to do.
We have always travelled a lot as a family and love adventure, but we also love good food, and good sleep. This can be a real battle when you are travelling as it seems it you are sometimes living from petrol station to petrol station. For me it was about designing a set up that enables us to comfortably tick off the km’s necessary to get to where we want to go, to be able to carry everything we need in the process and then to set up an epic base when we arrive.
We are lucky enough to be able to drive what we believe to be the ultimate NZ adventuring car – the Subaru Outback. This car has the amazing ability to handle the conditions of any NZ road and to tow a trailer without missing a beat, at the same time as being able to offer comfort and the luxury of a car that makes you happy to be in it, even if you are on the 12th consecutive hour of a road trip.
In NZ we love having the ability to keep our car as a car, hence the concept was born to have an entirely self contained camping trailer that can carry everything and also be unhooked at any time, allowing us to take the Outback where ever we want to go for day missions.
With 12hours to spare in late March, I managed to get my ultimate camping trailer on the road. Taking off from Wanaka and knowing that I had every piece of equipment I love with me, yet still having the ability to enjoy the spaciousness of my car.
1* golden labrador – manuka
2* kids (bella and tarn)
1* wife (sally)
4* mountain bikes
1* tow behind Chariot to carry bella
1* inflatable 4 person raft
1* stand up paddle board
1* inflatable boat with 15horse power motor
long line, speer gun, fishing rods and free diving gear for 4 people
1* fish smoker
4* macpac minaret tents
4* Macpac sleeping bags
4* macpac airbeds
2* macpac amp 45litre back packs for hiking trips
1* macpac baby carrier
24 pairs* of shoes (running, biking, diving, walking, casual and out for dinner shoes)
4* macpac duffle bags
1* climbing rope, 3* harnesses, 15 clip draws, 2 belays and 3 pairs of shoes
11 key features of the ultimate NZ adventure set up
1. Take it anywhere
The trailer was designed by myself but built in Wanaka. The ultimate goal of this trailer was to have a durable but light weight system that could withstand off road travel and the large km’s necessary to access all the best spots in NZ. We opted to go for an alloy plated CMD board to enclose the trailer space. The beauty of this board is that it is very durable and is easy to keep it waterproof, its light weight and with its perspex core it gives it a good insulation value which means condensation build up internally is kept very low. We went for a larger diameter 4-wheel drive tyre, allowing us to run the tyres at a lower air pressure, and giving us the ability to drive off road.
2. Storage for everything + and the kitchen sink
I wanted to have a designated space for each of us to make life as simple when on the road. So I designed a space, just like a walk in wardrobe (close enough anyway) to give each of us the ability to have 1 80 litre Macpac duffle bag. This bag then slides into the shelving system in the door of the trailer, with an additional space down the bottom for helmets and shoes. It also provides storage overhead for our tents, sleeping mats, and sleeping bags. everything is super accessible, water proof, and ensures we all have just enough room to bring what we need and nothing more. plus having our stuff in duffle bags, means if we are staying at friends for accommodation, we can simply take 1 bag each in with us.
3. Shelter in rain, wind and cyclones
With the help of Rhino Rack we used the fox wing awning which is an awesome asset to this trailer. It gives it 270 degrees of covered and sheltered space and at 2.4 metres long it allows for a really large covered kitchen and living area. It has zip on sides, so the space can be really sheltered and protected in the roughest of storms. It also gives a great space to store bikes and gear under when you are based somewhere for a while.
4. Hot showers
Instant hot water and 140 litres of water storage means that we can be self sufficient and can go without camping grounds, if we manage to find any dream spots on our travels. It is also an amazing asset to camping to be able to stay clean and hygenic, wash dishes properly, shower after you come out of the surf or off the bike and enjoy just a couple of the luxuries that you normally miss when you are on the road. We have mounted two 60 litre water tanks under the chassis of the trailer and installed a small 12 volt 90 psi pressure pump, which runs into a self lightning gas califont with heat control. this runs the kitchen taps and the shower at the rear of the trailer.
5. Day missions
The beauty of the Subaru Outback is that it is a station wagon, and allows us to maintain easy access to the roof, as we are a family of four who all like biking. We have opted for the Rhino Rack pioneer roof tray on top of the Subaru, which has allowed us to optimise the space on the roof with the wider roof rails, giving us the ability to put 4* hybrid roof top bike mounts on the roof tray. this is an awesome system as the bike mounts are lockable, simple and easy to use and allow us to go riding for the day and leave the trailer set up at base.
6. Fully charged
Our solar system set up integrates one single solar panel to a heavy duty deep cell battery. The deep cell battery has the ability to charge from solar panel or charge through mains power or camping ground power. We have 3 days capacity without sunshine, running the lights, water pump, fridge/freezer, smoothie maker, and charging etc – cell phones, laptop, go pros.
My wife has decided that the best way to stay content after 30 days camping is to have an actual bed to sleep in. I managed to trap down a supplier that makes a full canvas NZ made king size pop up roof tent. It is made of really heavy duty canvas which makes it extremely durable. It is very simple to put up and always provides a flat comfortable dry nights sleep. It also has the benefit of being able to stay made up with sheets, duvet and pillows throughout the entire duration of any road trip.
8. Switching it up
The Rhino Rack quick mount legs are a genius invention for easily swap out toy choice. The quick legs give the ability to simply remove the cross bars and change out the order of what is on the roof of the trailer. For example if we are just going on a kayaking adventure trip, we can just release the legs of the front two roof rails and remove the whole roof top tent in a matter of 30seconds. rather than having to debolt the products that are attached to the roof bars. this item also allowed us to bolt the leg attachments directly through the roof of the trailer making an extremely strong and durable mounting system.
Lights – the 4 pack led lights with the dimmer switches, allow us to have heaps of lighting. With the magnetic attachments, its super easy to move the lights around the trailer as required. Being low voltage led they do not demand a lot of wattage but provide a high powered light. Also having the kit means we can run these lights through 240 volt or 12 volt, dependent on our situation (i.e at a camping ground which uses 240 volt, or out in the middle of no where or 12 volt when we run the power through our solar system). As we were camping in April, this was hugely helpful as it got dark at 6pm and gave us the ability to cook, read and play uno.
10 Portable cafe
The key to our kitchen set up, was to have a simplistic system fully equipped with a drop down kitchen bench that would provide a clean working space. We wanted everything to be easily accessible so that we could stop on route at amazing locations and have lunch, without major faff factor. Having running hot water from a kitchen tap and an instant gas cooker ready to light, plus all our kitchen tools in easy to find and ready to go place, were the key essentials when it came to the kitchen design. Some other unique features include having all our eating and drinking containers hung up behind the kitchen bench, easy to access and store. The Macpac compact silicone plate/bowls and sporks were perfect for minimising clutter in our kitchen storage area. and the stainless steel rhino rack drink bottles turned out to be perfect salad dressing vessels.
11 Bunk beds in the boot
Bunk beds in the rear of the trailer were set up as a super simple system, keeping the ability to have a large amount of storage in the trailer, but also give us the easy ability to over-night somewhere if we were trying to get somewhere fast. our kids seem to prefer having their own space though. With our 9 year old happy to set up his own tent, and our 4 year old also happy to have her own Macpac Minaret tent that she snuggles happily into. When we are on the road, we can make them sleep in the bunks if we have to. The glow in the dark stars and moon on the roof top has achieved a clever gimmick that helps to reduce the resistance.
After 30 days on the road, I am happy to say that the trailer is everything I hoped it would be. We felt like we didn’t even get to touch the sides of NZ, in spite of driving over 6000kms. The more you do, the more you want to do. However having the ultimate set up is going to make planning and achieving what we want to that much easier in the future. We only just arrived home, but have already started planning the next adventure.