Those who know us, know that we are minimalist overlanders. Our gear must last and serve dual purposes and we have no time, money or space for the superfluous. It is a state of mind which ensures that we have the time and resources to fulfill our dream of travelling the planet, to keep us inspired, healthy, happy and informed. The following is a list of gear which we find essential. Full disclosure, we are not being paid to list any of these products (except commission on the Snomaster fridge), I wish we were. NB: some of these products are not available for purchase but substitutes may be available.
LifeSaver Jerry Can 20000UF - USD300
The LifeSaver water filtration system does what it says on the box by filtering out 99% of all the crap which contaminates water. It has now become our number 1 system for the storage of and purification of water - gone are the days of filling our water tanks with hoses and large single use plastic containers as we can source water almost anywhere. We used the jerry can when staying in an apartment in Portugal and a hurricane hit the city which compromised the water supply, we used the jerry can when we were stranded in the Moroccan mountains for four days and we use the jerry can every day to fill the kettle for morning tea. We also have the Liberty water bottles, which we fill from the jerry can rendering our drinking water double filtered. Both the jerry can and water bottles have leaking issued if over pressurised, which is not a huge problem at all.
Overland Journal Magazine. Gift subscriptions from $45.00
In the world of the internet many publications have abandoned quality and integrity for quantity. Overland Journal is a publication which has retained it’s integrity and delivers a world class dose of inspiration to your home, phone or computer quarterly. A subscription for yourself or loved one is money well spent and it is a gift you can enjoy throughout the year.
Sony AM FM radio ICF - SW11 - USD250 (discontinued by manufacturer but available on Amazon)
We bought this radio in 2014 to listen to the BBC World Service as we travelled through the Amazon. Since then it has accompanied us almost every night as we watch the sun set and has entertained us on four continents. To be honest we hardly ever use any of the AM bands, the FM is sufficient. Being a Sony product it is built to last and used daily, it has withstood the harsh overland life, using two batteries once every four or five months. The radio pipes local music, language and culture into our lives, wherever we may be.
Thetford Porta Potti 145. Approx. USD50
What a game changer. For six years we have been digging holes and hovering at communal ablutions. But enough is enough. When we rebuilt our Landy we were sure to build a space for the storage of a compact, flushable toilet. It is not glamorous but not gross at all to use and maintain. A splash of chemicals in the poop cassette, a splash of water for flushing and a family of four can relieve themselves daily with guaranteed privacy and sanitation. Emptying the cassette is the mans job and requires a quick gulp of breath, empty, rinse and reattach (Luisa put on such a performance the first time she emptied it, it was clear it was a job she was keen to outsource).
National Geographic Africa Atlas - USD27 used or USD85 new on Amazon
Unfortunately this Atlas is now out of print and difficult to source but if you are set to overland Africa and take a bit of time to search the internet, you should find a copy. Large and bulky (and slightly out of date) it is not ideal for overland travel until you are in the middle of nowhere in Mozambique, the sun is setting, your headlights are broken and the GPS has committed suicide. Then the Atlas is worth it’s weight in unobtanium. With detailed maps of every country and major city in Africa as well as a Lonely Planet style travel advisory, we would not and will not tour Africa without it.
Feather Down Duvets and Pillows
Yes, you read that correctly. Luisa had one condition when we set out in 2009 to tour Southern and East Africa - she refused to sleep in the roof top tent with anything other than feather down duvets and pillows. Sleeping bags and inflatable pillows are horrible, uncomfortable, tortuous creations. When you are hot you can sleep on top of the down duvet covered in a sheet and can slip under the duvet when the cool before dawn creeps in. When it is cold you will be as snug as a bug in your thermal pajamas under a layer of insulating feather. Feather pillows are supremely comfortable and pack well - you may be a tough overlander but you should still sleep like royalty.
Snomaster USA CL-60 Fridge/Freezer - USD1249.95
We have been using this unit for almost three years and it is excellent - far superior to the Waeco and Engel fridges we used for many years (in their defense they were old, battered units by the time we finished with them). The Snomaster fridge has a remote control which is solar powered and with which you can adjust the temperature and motor speed as well as monitor the temperature of each fridge compartment. The build quality is so good that we removed the stainless steel handles from the fridge and have permanently mounted both into the roof of our camper for closing, and the insulation is thick and effective. Again, our top tip for using a fridge is to run it during the day off the engine and solar power and switch the unit off at night and keep it closed. If you buy any unit with this discount code a2a2018, we get a kickback and you get a 5% discount. Do it.
Goose Gear Cutting Board - USD29.95
In 2015 a man walked up to Luisa at the Overland Expo in Arizona and handed her a gift - the Goose Gear Bamboo cutting board. Harder and more durable than traditional wood boards this board has been part of our culinary arsenal ever since and shows no signs of deterioration despite constant abuse by a fat Gordon Ramsey wannabe (Graeme). The current board on offer is not as thick but is no doubt as durable. And pretty.
Stanley French Press / Mug / Flask - USD35
Luxury is a cold drink or, even better, a hot drink, especially when driving massive distances. We have worked through our fair share of flasks but have never found one which actually delivered what the label promised and none stood up to the rigors of international overlanding. Until my wife Luisa found this little gem, that is. I must have been a very good boy because, one fine day, I was presented with a present; an all in one Stanley flask and coffee press (technically a flask, not a mug). At first I thought it was just a small flask until Luisa boiled the kettle, poured some ground coffee, a tablespoon of honey and some milk into the flask before adding the hot water, stirring, waiting a minute, then using the Stanley press to extract the good stuff. She closed the lid and handed it to me. Hang on a second. She had just given me the equivalent of three mugs of coffee. I was sure the liquid would be tepid within half an hour, it was not. Four hours later I still had hot coffee. Pure luxury.
The Overland Trilogy. 15% discount with code XMASFUN
Ok. Shameless plug. These are our books which we have written and which fund our international overland journey. They are loved by those who read them and have achieved a cult status among hard core intercontinental overland travellers. There is nothing like them on the market. Yes, I am biased.
We Will Be Free is the first book and details our painful extraction from the “real” world, a six month journey around Southern and East Africa and our solo circumnavigation of South America. Be Free!
Overlanding the Americas - La Lucha is the controversial sequel to WWBF and describes our journey from Argentina to Alaska and our experiences in North America. This was our fight to survive and thrive as international overlanders.
Travel the Planet Overland. Written to inspire and inform TTPO is packed with beautiful images and humorous insights, the “how to” overlanding book every overlander should have in the rig or on the bookshelf. The insights shared here will put you on the right path and save you big bucks!
Bonus - Wish List!
Flexopower Lithium 444 Power Pack. From $512.00 (free delivery in the lower 48 (USA)).
We really want this portable power pack as we work and travel, having another power source to run our laptops and phones will keep us working and moving.
From the website - "The portable Lithium444 power pack by Flexopower features high-quality Lithium Polymer batteries, MPPT solar charge controller, ultra-pure sine wave inverter and patented safety features.
The AC ultra-pure sine wave output delivers continuous 400W and is suitable for sensitive electronics including power tools, mixers, laptops, TV, CPAP machine
The DC output runs appliances from the 5V USB and 12V Cigarette lighter adapter.
Re-charge the Lithium444 from mains or in camp from the Baja-105 solar panel or while driving from a 12V car plug without the need for a dual battery system."