We’re always fine-tuning what we need in the camper and what we don’t. A weekend trip requires a different setup than an international roadtrip does, and we’ve learned a little bit more every time we’ve taken a big trip. Every person’s needs are going to be a little different based on what they’re doing, how long they’re doing it and how much room they have. This is a (fairly) brief rundown of some of the things we need, some of the things we like to have and some of the things we truly don’t need at all.
- Power Source– We have two golf cart batteries that can power most everything in the camper. They are charged when we plug the camper into an electrical outlet, when they are plugged into a generator or when they get enough solar from the panel we have on top of the camper. During our last trip through Mexico we got power through a combination of these, which is what we anticipate this time around too. At one point while Aaron was working in Arizona, we lived on BLM land fully on solar power for months at a time. As long as we’re aware of what we’re using and charge devices while it’s sunny, solar works pretty well. In order to run the A/C or the microwave, we need to be plugged into electric or running the generator.
- inReach GPS- We bought this puppy three years ago and it was such an excellent buy. We went back and forth between this and the SPOT and decided that having a GPS that was more than an SOS button was worth it. It’s got a ton of uses though we’re hoping not to get too friendly with the SOS feature. We can text via satellite, pair it with our phones, receive messages, and send out locations as much or as little as we want. Our families can track our location (down to the 10 minutes if we want), which is good peace of mind for both them and us. $450 (plus a plan while it’s in use) is a lot of money but we’ve found that this is totally worth it.
- Cell service- In the past, we’ve bought Telcel sim cards and prepaid for data and texts/calls. While we were in Arizona a few years ago we were literally a mile away from the Mexican border and got overcharged all the time because At&t thought we were in Mexico. When we called to get the charges removed, we found out that we could add our talk, text & data to Mexico for no extra charge. We said yes and have not brought it back up just in case it was some sort of fluke.
- Dog food- Dog food choices in Mexico are few and far between, so we stocked up on food for Piña. She should have a well-balanced diet between the food we bought and all the dead fish and trash she will be enjoying.
- Bug stuff- The mosquitos and sand flies can be heinous and we’re not trying to get Zika. Deet & citronella are good friends to have.
- Spare tire- Especially if it’s an oddball size.
- A solid guidebook- The Lonely Planet books are great and pretty comprehensive. If you’re someone like me who likes to get a little nerdy about where you’re headed before you get there, a thorough guidebook is really nice to have.
- Luci light– These little gizmos are SO COOL. They’re fairly inexpensive, waterproof solar lanterns that lay flat until you inflate them. They give off way more light than you would expect and have been really nice to have when we’ve been low on power.
- In-house bathroom– You can certainly do a big trip without a toilet but man is it nice not to have to run around trying to find a bathroom on the verge of pooping your pants.
- Broom/sweeper– We track a lot of sand into the rig and having a little handheld sweeper is super helpful. Aaron also really seems to enjoy using it which is excellent. A sweeper also pairs well with…
- A 12 volt vacuum– Like I said, sand. It’s really wonderful not to be sitting in it all the time. The vacuum helps.
- Good camp chairs– Aaron was truly passionate about our chairs which I thought was a little bizarre but hey, to each their own. Now I get it, they have taken a beating are still in excellent shape and really comfy. REI doesn’t make the ones we have anymore but they are similar to these.
Completely Unnecessary Items
- A propane fire pit: This is bougie and ridiculous for sure. But we met a couple in Baja who had one and we were totally jealous so we bought one. We will unapologetically enjoy it too.
- Beer- Mexican beer is good until it’s not. It’s nice to have some in reserve for the times you really can’t take one more warm Pacifico.
- Vitamix- Takes up lots of space and requires huge amounts of power. But there are so many fruits! And tequila!
- 4 Surfboards, 15 balls of yarn and a Costco sized bag of dog treats- Way too many of the things that make us each happy but we’re gonna run with them anyway.
Obviously, we have lots more than that loaded up in the camper, but the healthy list above highlights some of our favorites and ride or die road trip items. Hopefully we will be firing up that blender soon!