GREAT inventions don’t have to be complex. In fact, some of the greatest inventions are fairly ‘why didn’t I think of that’ simple.
Here are a few bush tricks our readers have learnt over many years of travel to make campsite life a little bit easier. So, quit crying over broken glass or uncooked potatoes and have a read.
Feel free to join in and send through some tips and tricks that could help fellow 4x4ers.
Whenever I go out on a boat, I worry I’m going to drop something into the depths of the ocean, to be met with quizzical looks from bottom-dwelling fish. A friend, however, shared an insider tip with me and now I’m going to share it with you. Attach smaller items, like keys and rings, to a cork. So, if you do happen to drop it, it’ll float! Harold Piper
Using a square section skewer when cooking a potato in the coals of a fire transmits heat to the potato’s interior so it cooks more evenly and quickly. The potato is done when the skewer can be easily turned in the potato. You can buy the skewers in kitchen supply stores. If they’re too long, just cut them down to size, but avoid zinc-coated skewers – make sure they’re safe to use on food. Terry Agland
Stubby holders are an essential for any camping trip, but they come in handy for more than just avoiding frostbite on your hands. Use them to keep more delicate items safe while driving, such as wine glasses, sunglasses or even mobiles. If you find somewhere nifty to stick them (Blu Tac usually does the trick) then it doubles up as an extra cup holder or a holder for all those other bits and pieces. Brian and Mary
There’s nothing worse than finding broken crockery and glasses when you start setting up camp. So, here’s a solution: use blocks of foam and cut out shapes to match the items you need to transport – mugs, glasses, coffee pots etc. They’ll not only hold them in place, but they provide enough padding to ensure there are no annoying breakages, so you’ll still be able to have your coffee in the morning. Phew! Jan Corbett
KEEP IT CLEAN
Whether it is mud or grass, camping brings plenty of rubbish into the camper. Here’s a handy makeshift tool to rid your rig of dirty carpet. Three stiff bristle brushes have been screwed to a bent aluminium bracket to scrub off detritus and a flat extension to the bracket allows you to stand on the end to hold it all in place. Greg Conlon
Coming from the dry heat of SA, Phil built this 12V air conditioner from an old garbage bin. An old windscreen washer pump takes water from the base of the bin to the top where it trickles down over insulation matting from an old evaporative cooler. A 12V fan sucks in air through holes on the outside of the wet matting and blows it out the front. The whole thing was made from scrap (other than the fan) and draws 1.39 amps flat out, so it doesn’t drain the battery. Phil Pullem
Sometimes a sleep-in is necessary, and if you can’t do it when you’re camping, when can you? But depending on how you travel, a skylight can really dampen the sleep-in idea. A simple Velcro cover over the skylight can help solve that problem and let you get some extra zees in the morning. Sharon Small
These days, there’s rarely a shortage of light when out camping – you’re either close enough to a caravan park to use their lights, or in the middle of nowhere where the moon sheds more than the average household downlight. But sometimes, we need an impromptu light – so why not tie your headlamp around a bottle of water for an instant bedside lamp. Emmanuel Rise
Ever needed to mount a heavy duty LT tyre case and the compressor struggled to seat the tyre onto the rim? There’s a solution: use two compressors. You’ll need a Tee piece with two barbs to suit the ID of your compressor hose and internal thread to take the valve stem, a complete threaded valve stem and hose clamps. An alternative is to use a Tee piece with three barbs and single barb to be soldered to the valve stem, a short length of hose and hose clamps. The tyre popped onto the rim seat without hesitation. You will need to use a soap solution on the lip of the tyre, though. John Schache
SAVE THE SCRATCH
We hate carrying nasty chemicals around to keep the bugs away, especially mosquitos – my daughter seems to attract them as if she’s made of light. So, given sage is a mosquito repellent, we always carry dried sage with us when we go camping and throw it on the fire every now and then. It’s not fail-safe, but it usually does the trick. Stella Beuney
SHAKE IT OFF
Offer the kids some pancakes for breakfast and they’ll rarely say no! So why not pre-prepare the mixture with powdered eggs and milk and save the fridge space? Simply throw in some flour, baking powder, salt, powdered egg, powdered milk, shortening, sugar and water, then shake it like a Polaroid picture. Bingo, pancake batter. Ellie Wood