Mobile Living Made Easy Australia Issue 1 - Page 21

HOW MODERN TECHNOLOGY HAS CHANGED THE WAY WE TRAVEL T he 1970s. Most outback highways had yet to be sealed. To explore the Red Centre or Top End meant towing overloaded caravans along red, corrugated tracks with overloaded HQ Holdens and XY Falcons. Back then, tourers were a split radiator hose away from potential disaster. Back then, they either had the spare parts and tools to cover most scenarios, and knew how to use them, or faced serious problems. The outback and other remote areas, such as Far North Queensland, remain at the top of most touring wishlists, but they are no longer Australia’s unreachable final frontier. THE TWO ‘Cs’ Ultimately, modern technology has given vanners two ‘Cs’: confidence and comfort. When it comes to on-the-road confidence, mobile communication is the big one. Not only does it save lives, it has given countless caravanners the peace of mind to travel to places that would’ve otherwise remained a dream. A satellite phone in the glovebox will do wonders for the resting heart rate in the outback. The caravans of today also play a role. Caravans that are purpose-built for long-term travel,with technical features that enhance off-grid touring, have significantly increased both the confidence a n d c o m f o r t f a c to rs . I n f a c t , m a ny p e o p l e have been swayed to the RV lifestyle based on technology alone. Running short of tank water? Just as well the van can draw water from a river so that you can still wash your dishes or have a shower. Can’t do without your hair-dryer in the bush? That’s where lithium batteries come in. When it comes to comfortable free-camping, the advent of lithium batteries – which remain quite expensive – has been a game-changer. Not only do they weigh significantly less than their conventional deep- c y c l e c o u n te r p a r t s , t h e y c a n b e ro u t i n e l y discharged to 20 per cent and re-charged much faster, whether by solar panels,a generator or off the tow vehicle during transit. Fancy also using your 240V toaster or washing machine 100km away from the nearest mains outlet? Via an inverter, a lithium battery makes this a much more realistic option compared to a single 100Ah AGM battery, which should never be discharged further than 50 per cent. A THIRD ‘C’? Perhaps, however, there is a third ‘C’ factor: convenience. When was the last time you unfurled a paper map for directions? Why would you, when you can simply type your destination into a GPS Mobile living made easy. — 21 ­