What to pack to GEt YoU oUt oF a JaM.


Pack­ing for when the chips are down

Most of us have done it. We’ve gone out for the day to get some fresh air and to test the lat­est mod­i­fi­ca­tion on our 4WD by tack­ling a favourite track a few kilo­me­tres from home. You’ll be back by lunch to mow the lawn, right? But what if your rig breaks down and you’re not able to get back?

Or what if you’re trav­el­ling well off the beaten track and suf­fer a se­ri­ous a me­chan­i­cal fail­ure, run out of fuel, roll-over or be­come dis­lo­cated from your ve­hi­cle? There may be no option to phone a friend. After all, in Australia, there’s mo­bile cov­er­age for more than 90 per cent of the coast-hug­ging pop­u­la­tion, not 90 per cent of the coun­try (it’s closer to 65 per cent, in fact). Did you have the fore­sight to buy a PLB or satel­lite phone be­fore you set off?

Re­mote area trav­ellers should be­come ac­cus­tomed to hav­ing a good sup­ply of tucker on­board. With ad­vances in re­frig­er­a­tion and the sci­ence be­hind pack­ag­ing and preser­va­tives, camp cook­ing has come a long way since the days of the Burke and Wills.

The chal­lenge in prepar­ing for any trip is know­ing how much food to travel with – and when you’re likely to be able to re­stock sup­plies dur­ing your jour­ney. Food also be­comes an is­sue for those of us who plan to leave our ve­hi­cles and get among the scrub on foot or with a bike or small boat.

While things are go­ing ac­cord­ing to plan, there’s prob­a­bly not too much to worry about. As usual, the is­sue comes if we’re faced with the un­ex­pected. If you’re an ex­pe­ri­enced out­doors­man and bush tucker spe­cial­ist, you’re prob­a­bly go­ing to be okay. If you’re not, you’ll quickly start to won­der whether the pre-pack­aged, sin­gle serve, one-use food items that you chucked in the rig were the best option. If you find your­self look­ing at a stale bag of chips on the back seat of your car or in your back­pack, you’ll know you should have (and could have) come bet­ter pre­pared.

How many calo­ries you need to sur­vive de­pends on your meta­bolic rate, age, height, weight and fit­ness lev­els. Re­gard­less, some food prod­ucts of­fer you bet­ter nu­tri­tional op­tions and more flex­i­bil­ity than oth­ers. So here’s some sim­ple ideas that can help you out if you get into trouble – whether you’re on a sim­ple day trip, or tack­ling the Big Lap.


I’ve looked in a lot of tucker boxes in my time. Trav­el­ling with friends and think­ing about fam­ily camps as kids, there’s usu­ally been a

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