We are often asked this very question by people we meet on our travels and especially by caravan owners who see us pull up at a campsite and are shocked and amazed by our minimalist setup. YES, it is possible to fit everything you need for 1 year into only 3 aluminium boxes and a tankbag totaling just under 120 Litres. We even have room for a hammock, oh the luxury.

Francois Fully Loaded

Francois Fully Loaded and ready for Camping, where ever that may be.

Although we are now seasoned minimalist travelers we still manage to find room for some creature comforts and it’s not like we sleep on rocks. The key to packing is in our organisation. Having colour coded bags helps easily identify the cooking gear from the toiletries and the first aid kit from motorcycle spares. But as every square centimetre counts our packing is very tight and unpacking cooking gear is like Russian dolls, it just keeps on unpacking until everything is spread out and fills up a picnic table easily.

We basically have separate and versatile packing of the following inside our panniers:

  • Tent & Sleeping bags
  • Cooking Gear
  • Clothes
  • Toiletries
  • First-aid kit
  • Towels
  • Dirty laundry
  • Tools and parts

Then in our tankbag we carry valuables and electrical equipment that is sensitive to shocks and vibrations. We have foam lined interior designed for just the equipment we carry. The advantage of carrying cameras in the tankbag is that the bike is the most stable in the middle between the two axles so less vibrations and shocks and less likelihood of damage to our expensive equipment. Secondly when all our valuables are in the one place we can easily and quickly remove the tankbag and carry it as a backpack leaving the bike in parked in all tranquility.

Relaxing in the Hammock after a long day's ride.

Relaxing in the Hammock after a long day's ride.

As we like to camp and we cook our own meals quite often, we carry cooking equipment. There are some really ingenious devices out there, like the jetboil that is a self contained cooking system. Although it is small it is also very efficient and cooks up a treat in a very short amount of time. As we don’t have much room for storing food we usually either carry conserves or buy the same day just before setting up camp for the night. This way we don’t have to worry about keeping food refrigerated.

CampKitchen

Our camp kitchen setup is minimalistic but serves us well. We use our boxes as seats and table, reducing the need for extra equipment.

Our camp kitchen never fails to surprise campervan owners at campsites, they are often speachless when they see what we manage to carry in such a small space. Basically we are very organised and pack everything into into three containers.

All our Jeboil gear fits inside packing neatly:

  • Jetboil PCS (jeboil)
  • Coffee Plunger accessory for Jetboil (coffee press)
  • Jetboil pot support (support and stabiliser)
  • Salt & Pepper shaker
  • Then all the food and consumables fit inside the MSR 1.5L pot:
  • Tea bags (black, mint or green)
  • Fresh coffee grounds
  • sugar sachets
  • UHT milk or milk powder
  • Rice
  • Masala spice mix (From our local indian shop)
  • Individually wrapped butter
  • Small pot of jam
  • Vegemite – YUM
  • Med collapsible Bowl (sea to summit)
  • 2 x steel spoons
  • 2 x steel folks
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Small grater

Then we have a plastic tupperware container for our washing up gear to keep the wet stuff separate:

  • Small Sponge/scourer
  • Cloth doubles as drying towel
  • Washing liquid (sea to summit)

The exceptions are:

  • Chopping board sits ontop of our topbox (see photo above)
  • 230g Butane/propane gas canister fits anywhere there is room
  • Thermos & Frypan (optional)

The following items are in the Tankbag as we need fast and easy access to them:

  • Wenger Swiss Army knife (with large locking blade)
  • Victorianox Swiss army knife (standard size)
  • Lighter

That covers the cooking equipment. Now we have the camping gear. We each have a sleeping bag and a matress. We store the matresses on the outside of our topbox and as the tent poles are too long to fit in the panniers, we secure them with the matresses and the ten goes in the left pannier. Our tent is a small 2.5 person tent with a vestibule. The Vestibule is probably the most important thing because it allows us to keep our motorcycling gear under cover when it is raining but not inside the tent where we sleep. That way we stay clean and the gear stays dry. For packing compression sacks are our best friend and significantly reduce the volume of our sleeping bags.

It takes a few goes to get it right and we often have to shuffle things around inside the panniers to maximise the use of the little space. It also helps to have top loading panniers so that we can really push and shove things into them, it even happens that Arja would stand on the gear in the pannier to push it down, but it’s best to have them off the bike if trying it yourself.

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