What comes to your mind when you hear the term “outback”? If you’re a traveler, you’ll know the exact meaning. But someone with little knowledge will confuse the Outback with a place that’s not urbanized. Well, they can’t be more wrong.
The Outback is a term widely used for Australian territory only. Many people think that places far from mainstream cities are a part of the Outback, but that’s not entirely true. The Australian Outback is categorized by more than one criterion.
By convention, an Australian Outback includes those places that get less than 300 millimeters of rain annually. These places are also inland from the main coast. A common misconception has promoted places like Darwin, Kakadu, and Cairns as the Outback, but not only do these places lie on the coast, they get over 1,000 millimeters of rain in a year. That is too wet for a place to be an Outback. Alice Springs roughly makes the center of the Outback and is also its capital.
What’s the Outback Famous for?
The Australian Outback offers some of the best sunsets you’ll ever see. The whole place is huge and has everything that an adventurer could ask for. While you would be surprised to know that you won’t find random hopping kangaroos in the city, the Outback is literally crawling with exotic creatures. Owing to its unique landscape, many directors opt for shooting movies in the Outback. Who knows, you might come across an active movie studio while enjoying your trip.
Traveling to the Australian Outback for a vacation requires a bit of homework to be done beforehand. You will have to plan how you will spend every day and the things you need to carry. Since it won’t be anything like a luxurious vacation, you can’t just dump everything in the bag and decide later what thing could be used for what purpose. You will have to pack smart so that you can enjoy your trip to its fullest without worrying about the luggage.
Packing Guide for the Australian Outback
We can imagine you standing in the middle of a mess and can’t decide what to pack and what not. “To put this in the traveling bag or to pack that” is the real question. To be honest, packing light and smart is an art not everyone knows about. It depends a lot on your past travel experiences and your knowledge about the place you will visit.
Assuming that you already know everything about the Australian Outback, we bring you the ultimate guide of what to pack and what to leave behind for your trip. You can choose to skip some things and add some of your own to customize your luggage, but the real idea remains the same.
You can start by dividing your stuff into categories of essentials, weather, gadgets, and miscellaneous. Start by gathering all the bags you have and check which ones can be taken to a place like the Outback. For your convenience, we have enlisted types of bags and how to use them:
We recommend that you get yourself a duffel bag or a backpack that takes up less space. Apart from them, there are several other types of bags specific to their roles. You can invest in them according to your requirements and the kind of trip you want to have in the Outback.
1. Laundry Bag
If you have planned for a long camping trip, you will eventually run out of fresh clothes to wear. The Outback is not the place where you’ll find a help-yourself laundromat at every corner. A laundry bag is just like a portable washing machine. All you have to do is put the dirty clothes with water and detergent in the bag, close it and rinse thoroughly. The water won’t splash out, and the clothes will be dirt-free in no time.
2. Dry Bag
Your trip won’t be complete if you haven’t taken a dip at the nearest pool of water or a river. We don’t blame you for getting all eager and tempted. But taking care of your essentials is also your responsibility. For that purpose, a dry bag can be your best friend. It saves up your gadgets and documents that should not get wet at any cost. Keep your precious belongings in the dry bag while you enjoy a quick swim in the water.
3. Packing Cubes
You must pack light but sufficient for your trip. If you have kids traveling with you, you are all too familiar with the struggle. They demand a change of clothes at every little inconvenience and digging through bags to get their favorite outfit is no fun.
Packing cubes is a fun and smart way to stash your stuff. They come in different sizes so that you know what to put in each cube. They also have meshwork at the top, so it’s easier to see and tell which cube has which things in it.
It is quite evident you won’t be wearing any formal dresses throughout your trip. Packing comfortable but proper clothes for the Australian Outback hugely depends on the climate you’re visiting in. It may sound unbelievable, but it can get very cold in the Outback. Central Australia frequently falls below zero in winters.
Here’s a tentative list of clothes that won’t take much space but are essential to have:
1. A Hat
This goes without saying that you have to protect yourself from the sun’s harsh rays. Even in winter, when the warm sun feels great, you will still have to wear a broad-brimmed hat. You don’t have to go for something expensive; any good hat will do. The only thing you should be careful about is that your face and neck should not be in contact with direct rays from the sun.
We encourage that you pack lightweight and comfortable clothing. It will reduce your overall luggage weight and save you the hassle of choosing an outfit every day. For pants, you’ll have to pack a pair of jeans as well as casual pajamas. Make sure that your pants have lots of pockets so that you can carry little things in your pockets for immediate use.
During the summer season, taking a couple of shorts will come in handy. Although there is a high chance your legs will get a nice tan, some people prefer shorts anyway. Make sure that the material is durable enough to endure hiking and stretching.
3. Tops & Shirts
T-shirts are easy to pack. They can be rolled into compact forms so that they take less space in the bag. Like bags, you might be convinced to pack everything casual with short or no sleeves but remember, it gets cold after evening. Therefore, it will be wise to pack at least one full-sleeved shirt along with 3 to 4 casual tees.
The most important thing from your wearables while traveling is your shoes. Your shoes solely have the power to make or break your entire trip. No one wants to have painful feet, just a few hours of walking. We recommend that you get proper hiking shoes. You can be sure that they will serve you well for some years.
Since you’ll be trekking a lot, it is natural that you’ll need fresh socks every day. Instead of packing regular socks for this purpose, spending some money on hiking socks is far better. They are made with cushioning inside, which makes them more durable than the regular ones. Of course, you will still have to pack the ordinary ones to wear when you are back in the camp.
These days, you cannot live a single day without technology. You may loathe the idea of carrying devices to a serene place like the Outback, but the truth is that you will eventually need some of them. We don’t recommend carrying heavy electronics like a laptop, but if you must, keep it in a place so that it does not bother with its fragility. Following are some gadgets that you must carry:
1. Power Bank
You can’t expect to have power outlets when out in the wild. Plus, you will need your cellphone even if there is reception. You may have to keep track of the way by using offline maps or similar apps. For that purpose, your phone must be juiced at all times when you are out and about. A fully charged power bank does this trick for you. A 10,000mAh easily charges two devices at the same time. Moreover, it is lightweight and easy to carry in a backpack.
2. Multi-port USB Charger
Almost every device these days gets charged via USB cables. And it is nothing but a hassle to carry a charger for every single device. A more convenient way is to get a multi-port USB charger, which can be connected with several devices at once via separate cables. The charger can be put into a car’s outlet to ensure fully charged devices.
3. Camping Lights
You will scarcely find any place in the Outback that has power. For that matter, you’ll have to arrange your own lighting systems. Luckily, LED camping lights are lightweight and easy to carry. They come in different shapes, such as bulbs. They are battery-powered, so you don’t have to worry about setting up the wires. These lights do a pretty good job at lighting a camping site.
One of the most exciting aspects of traveling to the Outback is the cooking part. Unless you have rented a camper, you will have to cook food yourself. Make a list of the most basic food you will cook in the wild and decide what utensils and pans you need. Make sure that these things can get heavy, so no need to insist on adding unnecessary stuff. Keep it simple and light.
Toiletries & Medicine
It’s obvious that you will pack the most basic toiletries like towels, soaps, toothbrushes, and shampoo. Apart from these, we suggest that you take sunscreens and wet wipes too. The sun’s harsh rays can burn your skin if you don’t apply a protective layer of sunscreen. Also, you won’t find running water everywhere for washing purposes, so it’s better to keep the wipes at hand.
For ladies, stash up your menstrual hygiene products. Be it sanitary pads or menstrual cups, you don’t want to panic in the middle of nowhere. These things take up very little space in the luggage. For younger girls, you can opt for period panties that are easy to wear and won’t cause any unnecessary distress.
Keeping small bandages in your pocket is one thing, but things can go ugly real quick when you are out in the wild. To keep yourself and the people around you safe, you must carry a handy first-aid kit with you. Most kits come with essentials like painkillers, anti-allergy meds, muscle relaxants, and other basic medicines.
By no means is this list complete, but it will definitely give you a good idea about what to pack when traveling to the Australian Outback. The real deal is to know the essentials of your trip. Once you have realized that you can enjoy the trip without packing a ton of stuff, you shall be in bliss. All you have to do is work your way smartly through the wardrobe, and you’re all set to be mesmerized by the Outback.