When is the best time to head off??

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When is the best time to head off??

Postby Demeter » Sat Mar 28, 2009 12:06 pm

We are planning a trip up the centre to Alice Springs (leaving from Melbourne) then over to Cairns and back down the east coast. Our plan was to leave late July but I have no idea if heading into the desert in winter is a good idea or not!

Any advice would be much appreciated :)

Bec
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Re: When is the best time to head off??

Postby GypsyLady » Sat Mar 28, 2009 3:08 pm

The desert in winter is definitely cold but if you prepare for camping in the cold you will be fine. It is only overnight that will be an issue, daytime will be fine.

You don't say what you are travelling/camping in Bec!!


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Re: When is the best time to head off??

Postby Demeter » Sat Mar 28, 2009 5:28 pm

Haha, I suppose that would help!

We'll be travelling and sleeping in a commodore wagon. I will have the tent with us but in the cold I think I'd prefer sleeping in the car.

What sort of average temp can I expect for daytime? I had expected that nights would be freezing and we will take loads of blankets etc Should I invest in some good thermal underwear also?

Thanks for your help gypsylady :)
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Re: When is the best time to head off??

Postby GypsyLady » Sat Mar 28, 2009 5:41 pm

Thermal underwear, hot water bottles, socks, gloves, ugg boots and beanie for starters. Add a down dooner, flannelette sheets and insulate under & on top of the mattress as well. -5 sleeping bags are a must if you are using them instead.

Take a tarp & throw it over the car or the tent if you intend on using it. A tarp over will keep the chill from being directly on the car/tent roof and therfore away from you.

Also make sure you have a decent jacket and jeans and jacket will be fine for the days & you probably will only need jeans and long sleeve top when you are travelling in the car.

The day time temps can get up to the mid 20s and beyond. It will be the evenings and early mornings that will be the coldest.

What are you doing for cooking??

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Re: When is the best time to head off??

Postby Demeter » Sat Mar 28, 2009 5:52 pm

Eeeek, that sounds cold :shock: :lol:

What should I insulate the mattress with? Normally I lay down those interlocking foam block/sheet things then a foam mattress, mattress protector then sheet.

I have a 2 burner stove for cooking.
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Re: When is the best time to head off??

Postby Poodle Jewel » Sat Mar 28, 2009 6:01 pm

Foam mattresses are best for the cold.Or even look at swags,it will save you packing a ton of blankets.
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Re: When is the best time to head off??

Postby Demeter » Sat Mar 28, 2009 6:18 pm

Do you mean sleep in a swag in the car (like just the bottom bit)? Or set it up outside? I'm claustrophobic and swags all set-up terrify me! I got a fabulous one off ebay a few years ago set it up to try it out and nearly put a hole in the side I had to get out so quick!
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Re: When is the best time to head off??

Postby Poodle Jewel » Sat Mar 28, 2009 6:28 pm

Yes i did mean a swag in the car,you can get just the basic flat ones that zip up but maybe they are not for you.I hate sleeping bags especially the ones that go skinny at the feet i go to stretch my feet out and i can`t.
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Re: When is the best time to head off??

Postby Demeter » Sat Mar 28, 2009 6:55 pm

I know exactly what you mean about the sleeping bags!! I feel trapped in them :lol: Are swags heaps warmer? I could do a flat one if my head wasn't inside, if that makes sense.....
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Re: When is the best time to head off??

Postby Derek Bullock » Sat Mar 28, 2009 6:59 pm

veganbec wrote:Do you mean sleep in a swag in the car (like just the bottom bit)? Or set it up outside? I'm claustrophobic and swags all set-up terrify me! I got a fabulous one off ebay a few years ago set it up to try it out and nearly put a hole in the side I had to get out so quick!


Ahhhhhhhh, so I am not the only one. I put a caution about claustrophobia on a previous post about swags.

Just adding to what Gypsy said regarding sleeping in the car. Slept in a car once at Glenn Innes in NSW in winter. The condensation from our breathing created ice on the INSIDE of the windows. This caused the car to be colder inside than outside so yes, make sure you throw a tarp over the car to stop some of that cold.
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Re: When is the best time to head off??

Postby GypsyLady » Sat Mar 28, 2009 8:55 pm

Bec, sleeping bags come in Jumbo sizes now so are not as bad as they once were. My mum used to say the same thing until I took her shopping & we found a Jumbo one which she now uses and loves.

If a sleeping bag is out of the question I would go for the foam mattress or better still a self inflating mattress, a good one like an Oztrail or similar. To that I would add a 100% Down dooner and woollen blanket with the flannelette sheets'. I would put a lambswool underlay under the bottom sheet. To insulate under the mattress in the tent (although not necessary with a self inflater or foam mattress) I would use an old blanket. Wool is a natural fibre and therfore a better insulator than anything else.

I personally would not be going to a swag as I too am claustrophobic and they are also bulky. You would need a might big car to put 2 of them inside & still sleep comfortably.

Add to your bedding the hot water bottles and thermals with a tarp over with socks & a beanie & you should have it all sorted.

re the cooking...I would also be bringing the gas bottle inside over night or at least covering it up as much as possible to prevent to gas from liquifying in the lines in the cold. If this happens you have to wait until it warms up to use it in the mornings.

You are on the eve of a great adventure Bec, prepare right and it will be fantastic. BTW I too am heading outback in May - June this year and really looking forward to it.

Re being cold over night...yes it will be and it will most likely be in the minuses but like I said if you prepare for it right....you'll ace it...

Cheers Gypsy...

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Re: When is the best time to head off??

Postby HGMonaro » Sat Mar 28, 2009 9:46 pm

That time of the year is ideal. Cold nights but enjoyable days. We did our central Oz trip at that time and part of our diary was to record the morning temperature. Just looking at it, it was -1C in Alice Springs on Jul 9th at 7:00am. Didn't record daytime temps (they would be on the 'net somewhere if you looked hard enough I reckon) but they were shorts and t-shirt stuff (mid 20's). We sleep under canvas (wind up camper) so similar to a tent and it can be a bit cool getting into bed (you could use the hot water bottle trick to smooth that process) but once under the doona, all's good! We also stayed out at Chambers Pillar in a lightweight dome tent with no problems (it was actually warmer when we woke up than in Alice).
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Re: When is the best time to head off??

Postby Blue Bravo » Sat Mar 28, 2009 10:16 pm

Winter is the best time to visit Central Aus. We arrived at end of July last yer and da time temperature was 29 degrees Overnight can get chilly but not artic and it warms up fairly early.
A good sleeping bag, a doona and a hot water bottle will suffice, however insulation under your matress will help. If sleeping in the car remember to leave a fair gap in the window or condensation becomes a problem. There is so much to see in the centre.
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Re: When is the best time to head off??

Postby Demeter » Sat Mar 28, 2009 11:13 pm

WOW! Thanks so much you guys :mrgreen:

It sounds like we've timed it just right! I feel the excitement brewing!!!!
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Re: When is the best time to head off??

Postby Poodle Jewel » Sat Mar 28, 2009 11:18 pm

I`m getting excited reading it too Bec but i`m not going :cry:
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