Visa processing times continue to keep our itchy feet on British soil; the good news is that we have been granted Kazakhstan and Mongolian Visas and are just waiting on Russia now. For all our planning and painstakingly precise lists there are still two big logistical questions before we hit the road; will it all fit in and will it all work? With bonus time on our hands we set off for 3 days camping on the Isle of Purbeck in Dorset. Designated as an ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’, this peninsula boasts the highest number of native wild flower species in Britain and is home to all seven of the UK’s reptile species. The weather has been gorgeously sunny throughout England over the past couple of weeks; we chose Burnbake Campsite, a quite woodland spot as the location for our overland overhaul.
Space was pretty much maxed-out as we drove off which has provoked some thought about how we can reduce our equipment to allow a less crammed-in carload. The majority of our possessions are organised into 13 Wolf Boxes which stack together and allow us to store and access our equipment easily and methodically. These have also controlled what we take with us; both Andy and I have limited ourselves to one box each for clothing and one for personal possessions. Throughout our travel trial the boxes were shuffled and re-packed, with some items being relegated as superfluous and others being added to a new list.
Our rooftent is now a boudoir of luxury with new duvet and bedding, we have also fitted foam camping mats between the mattress and the fibreglass base for extra insulation when we venture close to the Arctic Circle. We fitted DIY hole-punch peg eyelets to the bottom of our awning walls to fix it securely to the ground and stop the sides flapping about in the wind.
Some kitchen Feng-shui presented us with an efficient work area for food preparation; the industrial-lino-covered tailgate has already proved to be an excellent work surface. Our pristine Coleman dual-fuel burner stove was taken out of the box and (following careful reading of instructions- it runs on petrol!) was soon cooking up our first outdoor cuisine. Despite being limited to just 2 boxes our kitchen has pretty much everything; including the kitchen sink (collapsible, of course).We were keen to see how long our ‘house battery’ would last before needing a re-charge; impressively, for the 3 days we were there our fridge ran constantly at 3⁰C, we charged laptop and camera batteries, and had lights underneath the awning and in the rooftent at night (with 25% power remaining when we left!).
Our ‘2 second cabin’ lived up to its name when bursting out of the bag (mastering the art of folding it back in took slightly longer). This lightweight, compact 1m x 1m tent is ideal for use as a shower, washroom, toilet or changing tent. The adventure Hammock had its first ‘stringing-up’... following this our productivity noticeably decreased; nothing is more relaxing than swinging gently in the dappled sunshine with a warm breeze and only background bird song. We can’t wait for some of the shine on our new equipment to be replaced with dust and mud but in the meantime it’s reassuring to know that we’re well prepared for the journey ahead.