Blasting off in a car stuffed to the roof with mates, gear and vibes is a prime recipe for an unforgettable weekend, but your road trip can get old pretty quickly without some car-keeping and creature comforts. Tim nutted out these road trip essentials after spending a week with 3 other ski bums in a tiny red van.


tim ashelford, 6 Road Trip Essentials Learnt From A Week In A Tiny Van, new zealand, ski tourI don’t think we ever properly named the van. We tried, bouncing through contrived names like “little red” or “the shakkamobile”, but nothing stuck. Nevertheless, without fail every morning, the van would turn over, cough its guts onto the frosty grass like a 2-pack-a-day retiree, and cart us up a janky NZ ski-access road in glorious, sketchy 2-wheel drive.

tim ashelford, 6 Road Trip Essentials Learnt From A Week In A Tiny Van, new zealand, ski tour

Daily servo stop for the thirsty boi (and the van).

We had 4 adults, 4 pairs of skis and poles, a snowboard, a mountain bike, camp chairs, snowshoes, duty-free-rum, shellite and a shit-ton of beans and bananas. But we survived this ghetto version of van life thanks to these things we did (or learnt) along the way.

tim ashelford, 6 Road Trip Essentials Learnt From A Week In A Tiny Van, new zealand, ski tour, snow

Bonus Tip – Surfboard bags are great for storing skis and getting strange looks at the ski field.

Water

Hit up a camping shop or Bunnings for a water jerry. It’s less likely to break and soak your bread rolls, plus it’s better for the environment. Reuse, repurpose n’ recycle team.

Next step — get your own water bottle to ride shotgun with you. A few hours of chips, lollies and aircon (or struggling fumey heater) will give you a special kind of cotton mouth.

tim ashelford, 6 Road Trip Essentials Learnt From A Week In A Tiny Van, new zealand, ski tour

Proof that we had waterbottle up front and somewhat had our lives together.

Oil

Most of us are still cruising around in cars that predate the iPod, hell, my car’s claiming 90s kid status, but older engines burn oil and need regular top ups to keep in fighting shape. When you’re doing bulk kilometres with the boot piled high, the stress on the engine gets more intense, and there’s nothing worse than preventable fuck-ups.

tim ashelford, 6 Road Trip Essentials Learnt From A Week In A Tiny Van, new zealand, ski tour

Proof that our lives weren’t all that together — we poured this whole thing into the engine just to get a reading on the dipstick.

Drop into an auto shop and grab a bulk container of the right engine oil before you leave. You’ll be more likely to top up and avoid the heinous servo oil prices.

USB Charger

GPS sucks battery like a Dyson on heat. Get one that works and test it so you can stay juiced while you drive/live-tweet the entire trip. Bonus points for kitting yourself out with an inverter to run a 240-volt plug (great for charging camera batteries). Just don’t leave it on once you stop driving!

Battery Packs: They’re really good now. It might be worth sinking your cash into one of these instead, for added portability and smugness.

tim ashelford, 6 Road Trip Essentials Learnt From A Week In A Tiny Van, new zealand, ski tour

These chargers: because phones are the new cigarettes.

Aux Cable

Everyone deserves a crack at the coveted position of ‘Trip DJ’ — be an equal opportunity vehicle and grab an Aux cable before your road trip. No one wants to be stuck listening to the one My Chemical Romance CD stashed in your glovebox (c’mon we know it’s there) and while country radio stations are fun for a bit, the situation quickly becomes dire once the songs start repeating 3 hours in.

tim ashelford, 6 Road Trip Essentials Learnt From A Week In A Tiny Van, new zealand, ski tour

We didn’t have an aux cable, so we accompanied moments like these with Sweet Child of Mine blaring over 89.8 THE ROCK FM at sunrise. Actually, it was pretty sweet.

Be Prepared: Most new phones don’t have headphone jacks! Make sure you’ve got the right adaptors or bluetooth setup, or bring a portable speaker to crank the tunes.

Rubbish Bin

How did the car get so messy? Guys it’s been 2 hours! Why is there sauce on the windscreen?!

The first time I put a bin in the car on a road trip it changed my life. You can rock a plastic bag or go all out with a plastic bag in a box, the point is that there’s somewhere for people to put their burger wrappers, pie tins and banana peels (jokes, banana peels are definitely going out the window at the other car in your convoy).

Keep It Green: Add a recycling bin for your cheeky tins — it’s greener and your rubbish bin won’t fill up so fast!

tim ashelford, 6 Road Trip Essentials Learnt From A Week In A Tiny Van, new zealand, ski tour

Hey I didn’t say it was pretty.

Reusable Coffee Cup

Things that a KeepCup can hold: coffee, tea, whisky, beer, wine, oats, lollies… oh and water. You literally don’t need another cup so why not take one that lets you get a guilt-free brew, fits in cup holders and seals up when you’re done. Get the whole crew onto this!

Just one of the many things you can put in a KeepCup!

What’d I miss? Hit me with your road trip essentials!

tim ashelford, 6 Road Trip Essentials Learnt From A Week In A Tiny Van, new zealand, ski tour, snow, lake ohau

This is as dodgy as it looks.


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