Trip Planning T&Ts

Even though aftermarket springs – whether coil or leaf – may be classified as ‘Heavy Duty’, they are not designed to allow you to load your 4WD above the GVM (gross vehicle mass) specified by the vehicle’s manufacturer.

Popular additions to touring vehicles include, bull bar, winch, long-range fuel tank, water tank, drawer system, fridge, extra spare wheel, roof rack and recovery gear. Add to this some passengers, camping equipment, food and drink, plus fuel, and there is a good chance the GVM of the vehicle has been exceeded.

It pays to check that the weight of your vehicle is below the legal limit before starting on your trip. Failure to observe the manufacturer’s GVM is irresponsible, and can lead to serious ramifications if you have an accident.

Some suspension businesses advertise ‘GVM Upgrades’. However, while the replacement suspension may be ‘beefier’, the vehicle manufacturer may still void any warranty; as the GVM rating also takes into account the equally-important specification of the driveline and braking system.

[Extract from 2013 4Way Suspension Catalogue, Marque TT&W, July 2013]

In a 500ml spray bottle combine 15 drops of lavender oil, 3-4 tablespoons vanilla essence and 1/4 cup lemon juice. Fill the bottle with water, shake and it’s ready to use.

If the mozzies have already got to you and you are starting to itch, heat a spoon under hot water, quickly dry the spoon then press it onto the bite for about a minute. The heat will destroy the protein that caused the reaction and the itch.

[Written by Ian Baseby, Marque TT&W, May 2018]

Dialling 000 on your mobile phone will get you emergency contact via your own carrier if in range, but dialling 112 will get you contact through any carrier in range, anywhere in the world. Mobile phones do not connect to satellites and to get reception you must be in range of one of the mobile phone carriers.

[Written by Ian Baseby, Marque TT&W, January 2010]

The National Public Toilet Map (the Toilet Map) website at  has been updated and shows the location of more than 14,000 public and private public toilet facilities across Australia. Details of toilet facilities can be found along major travel routes and for shorter journeys as well. Useful information is provided about each toilet, such as location, opening hours, availability of baby change rooms, accessibility for people with disabilities and the details of other nearby toilets.

There is also a mobile app available.

[Written by Ian Baseby, Marque TT&W, May 2011]

Collect old teabags and leave them in the sun for a couple of days to dry then place them in an old jar with a splash of kerosene, petrol or diesel. Next day remove them from the jar and leave them to dry again. Store in a dry container and use them as firelighters.

[Written by Neil Lowe, Marque TT&W, June 2009]

The Royal Flying Doctor Service South Eastern (RFDS SE) Section is reminding the public of the dangers posed by snakes during the summer months and what to do if bitten. The most important do’s and don’ts include:

  • Do try to note the colour, size, distinctive markings and patterns of the snake without putting yourself at risk. A positive identification will help medics get the correct anti—venom into the patient more quickly.
  • Do NOT wash the area of the bite or try to suck out the venom. It is extremely important to retain traces of venom for use with venom identification kits
  • Do NOT incise or cut the bite, or apply a high tourniquet. Cutting or incising the bite won’t help. High tourniquets are ineffective and can be fatal if released
  • Do stop the spread of venom – bandage firmly, splint and immobilise. All the major medical associations recommend slowing the spread of venom by placing a folded pad over the bite area and then applying a firm bandage. It should not stop blood flow to the limb or congest the veins. Only remove the bandage in a medical facility, as the release of pressure will cause a rapid flow of venom through the bloodstream.
  • Do NOT allow the victim to walk or move their limbs
  • Use a splint or sling to minimise all limb movement. Put the patient on a stretcher or bring transportation to the patient
  • Do seek medical help immediately as the venom can cause severe damage to health or even death within a few hours.
[Source, RFDS Press Release, Marque TT&W, December 2016]

When I was a boy and we had to bulk buy eggs, to keep them for long periods we simply smeared each fresh egg with petroleum jelly (Vaseline or similar) to ensure no air can get in through the shell. This will stop the yolk from going bad. If travelling in the outback pack eggs in the original cardboard container and they should still be in one piece when needed.

[Written by Ian Baseby, Marque TT&W, April 2016]
  • Encyclopaedia of Aussie towns – a great trip planning resource!
  • WikiCamps – The ultimate camping companion for your smart phone, tablet and Windows 10 PC ($7.99)
[Feel free to contact the webmaster with the names and links of websites you think would be useful to include here].

A clear plastic drink bottle full of water can act like a magnifying glass by concentrating the sun’s rays sufficiently to cause a fire. To date there has been one such incident in the cockpit of an A320 Airbus and eleven instances in cars in New Zealand.

An experiment in the Pilbara found that holes can be burned in upholstery in about 40 seconds and paper will start smouldering in about seven seconds. Although such incidents are rare, the potential for a bottle full of water to cause a fire is real and genuine. Always cover a drink bottle exposed to the sun. And not just in cars. A bottle in the window of a house or office has the same potential.

The plus side is that this is another way to start a fire in a survival situation.

[From The Landcruiser Club magazine, Marque TT&W, January 2012]

Paint ordinary matches in nail varnish and keep in a ziplock bag ready for use in the wet.

[Written by Keith Walker, Marque TT&W, June 2009]

I recently decided to buy a new canvas touring tent and the owner of the company kept drilling into me the importance of weathering. This is the process of wetting the canvas and letting it dry out to make the tent waterproof. The owner/ manufacturer of the tent also stressed that hosing down the tent is not good enough. What the tent needs is a good dose of constant rain.

Why is this important? When a new canvas tent is manufactured, the sewing machines force cotton threads through the canvas leaving small holes – the needles being bigger than the size of the cotton thread. These holes will cause the tent to leak. Giving the tent a good soaking in the rain saturates the canvas and the cotton thread expands. When the tent dries out, the canvas shrinks sealing up the holes created during manufacture and the tent becomes waterproof. This soaking and drying process may have to be completed a couple of times to completely waterproof a new canvas tent.

I’ve weathered my new tent and so far It has been completely waterproof. It was well worth the effort to ensure I stay dry during inclement weather

[Written by Gavan Swift, Marque TT&W, May 2010]