Tuesday 25 July 2023

Travelling the Dempster Highway and Road to the Arctic Ocean with Overland Yukon

We're recently back from an amazing trip to Yukon, the North West Territories, and Alaska!  

We rented a Jeep with a roof top tent in Whitehorse from Overland Yukon and spent two weeks driving the Dempster Highway, up to Tuktoyaktuk on the Arctic Ocean, followed by a quick diversion into Alaska along the Top of the World Highway.

Yukon Overland Jeep

This was our first visit to NWT and Alaska, but our second trip to the Yukon, after visiting in March 2022.  It was great to see the contrasts between Summer and Winter.  You can read more about our Winter visit, which focuses on Whitehorse and Dawson City.

Day 1 - Whitehorse

We were met at Whitehorse Airport by Andrew from Overland Yukon, who introduced us to the vehicle that would be home for the next couple of weeks and showed us how to set up the roof top tent.  The roof tent is really simple and quick to set up, and we were very impressed with how comfortable it was.  With our family of four, we opted to upgrade for the larger tent, and it fit us perfectly.

We then drove into Whitehorse to pick up some supplies, including the all important beer and gin from Yukon Brewing!  With an afternoon arrival and knowing that we needed to stock up before heading on the road, we decided to spend the night near Whitehorse, so opted for a night at Caribou RV park.  It's a great full service campground on the southern outskirts of Whitehorse, where we stayed in a cabin at the end of our Winter trip.  

Jeep and RTT at Caribou RV Park

The first set-up of the tent on our own went very smoothly thanks to Andrew's clear instructions, and we were quickly ready to enjoy a beer and the free popcorn (Fridays only) on the deck outside the campground reception, before heading next door to the Wolf's Den restaurant for dinner.

Feeding the bear at Caribou RV Park

At this time of year in Whitehorse the sun hardly sets at all, so it was strange going to bed in almost full daylight. A red fox wandered right past the tent just as we were heading up to the tent, which turned out to be the first of many foxes on this trip.

Day 2 - The Klondike Highway

We headed into Whitehorse in the morning and went to the Visitors' Centre to pick up some maps and information booklets.  Being Canada Day, there were lots of events planned in Whitehorse, we wanted to hit the road, so didn't get to experience much, but we did go to the pancake breakfast at Shipyards Park. The sourdough pancakes were delicious, even in the rain; as the locals said 'if our beer is worth freezing for, our pancakes are worth getting wet for'!

Canada Day pancake breakfast in the rain

The 530km Klondike Highway from Whitehorse to Dawson City is paved and can be travelled relatively quickly, (roughly 6 hours) although there was a pretty long stretch of muddy construction work where it wasn't clear which part of the 'road' we were meant to be on!  We'd been this route before, so didn't hang around, but there are some worthwhile stops at the Braeburn Lodge (for their famous cinnamon buns) and the Five Fingers Rapids viewpoint.

Fuel stations are few and far between, so take advantage where you can to fill up.  We stopped in Carmacks to top up the tank.

Our second night was spent at the Klondike River Campground, just outside of Dawson City.  This was to be the first of many Territorial Campgrounds which all have similar facilities; fire rings, free fire wood, pit toilets and picnic tables.  The campgrounds cost $20 per night, and work on a self-registration system - take cash and a pen!

Chopping wood at Klondike River Campground

Day 3 - The Dempster Highway

The next morning we topped up the tank again and picked up more ice for the cooler in Dawson, before starting on the Dempster.  There is also a public card lock gas station at the Dempster Highway junction, so you don't need to go into Dawson City if you don't want to.

Dempster Highway and Arctic Ocean Signpost

The Dempster Highway is 740km of unpaved road between Dawson City, Yukon, and Inuvik, NWT.  The road is hard-packed gravel, and traverses some beautiful scenery; varying from huge mountains, glacial valleys, and upland tundra.  The route crosses the Arctic Circle, and the mighty Peel and Mackenzie Rivers (by free ferry).

Dempster Highway

We had a relatively short day today, travelling the first 193km of the Dempster to Engineer Creek Campground (Yukon Territorial).  We had a pretty leisurely start to the day, and were just getting used to driving the jeep on the gravel roads, so it probably took us about 3 hours from Dawson City to Engineer Creek including a quick picnic stop at Two Moose Lake. 

Jeep and RTT at Engineer Creek Campground

The Engineer Creek campground is right by the Ogilvie River and is a great site, although the biting bugs were some of the worst we were to come across on the whole trip.  We highly recommend taking a Thermacell repellent (you will need to buy the gas refills on arrival in Whitehorse if you are flying in)! 

Day 4 - Crossing the Arctic Circle

Now getting used to the road, and after a short previous day, we were ready to tackle a good stretch of the Dempster by Monday. 

After a quick stop in Eagle Plains for gas and lunch in the roadhouse restaurant, we continued north to the cross the Arctic Circle at 66°33' N and onwards over the Yukon / North West Territories border.  

Crossing the Arctic Circle

Overland Yukon Jeep at the NWT border

Just south of Fort McPherson we took the free ferry over the Peel River, and then stopped at the NWT Territorial Campground at Nitainlaii (about 345km from Engineer Creek).  With the stop for lunch, this was about a 6 hour day.

Dempster Highway Ferry

Despite some serious swarms of flies around the Jeep as we waited for the ferry and on arrival at the campground, the bugs really weren't too bad!  We were the first to arrive at the campground so found a shady spot with a bit of a breeze which really helped, not that it really got full at all.  We were really surprised by how warm it was north of the Arctic Circle, with temperatures hitting almost 30 degrees C tonight, and remaining in the high 20s for most of our trip!  By now we had 22 hours of full sunlight per day, so it never really got cold at night either.

This campground also had hot showers and flushing toilets, luxury!

Day 5 - The Road to The Arctic Ocean

The next day we completed the last 190km or so of the Dempster and made it to Inuvik, Canada's largest settlement north of the Arctic Circle.  After a trip to the visitors centre, we filled up at the gas station, and resupplied at the grocery and liquor stores.

The short stretch of paved highway between Inuvik airport and the town was a welcome relief but didn't last long, as it was soon time to hit the Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway.  The first road in North America to reach the Arctic Ocean; the ITH, or Road to the Arctic Ocean, was completed in 2017 and linked Canada from Coast to Coast to Arctic Coast by road for the first time.  The gravel highway stretches 140km from Inuvik to Tuk. Crossing the Arctic treeline just north of Inuvik you leave the Boreal Forest and enter the wide open tundra of the Barrenlands; home to herds of reindeer and caribou (although we saw neither!).

While the ITH is well maintained and doesn't have many potholes, it is very thick gravel which hasn't been as compacted as some of the previous sections of road; we found it pretty slow going.   The 345km or so from Nitainlaii to Tuk took us about 6 hours including the stops in Inuvik. Just south of Tuk, you'll see the Ibyuk Pingo rising up from the surrounding flat tundra. Pingos are unusual hills formed around a core of ice, and there are 1350 of them in the region. Ibyuk is Canada's tallest and the world's second-tallest pingo at 49 metres (about 161 feet) in height. Eight of these pingos are protected by Parks Canada as the Pingo Canadian Landmark

Ibyuk Pingo

On arrival in Tuk, follow the road through the hamlet to a spit of land jutting out into the Arctic Ocean, here you'll find the famous sign and also the informal camping spots backing onto the ocean.  We'd heard that there was a fee for camping, but we didn't find any details of how to pay and no-one came around!  There are a few picnic benches and some 'porta-loo' style toilets for campers.

Arctic Ocean Sign, Tuktoyaktuk

Camping on the Arctic Ocean at Tuktoyaktuk

Day 6 - Tukoyaktuk

Tuk has more of interest than it appears at first glance, check out the beautiful carving highlighting important people in Tuk's history and the sod houses. 

Also a dip in the Arctic is a must - our youngest son seems to think putting his finger in counts but we aren't so sure! Chat to the locals, it is super interesting to hear what they are doing, and understand more about their way of life. We also managed to buy some "Eskimo donuts" from a lady who drove by the campground and was selling them fresh, and they have to be one of the most delicious things we have ever tasted, with 6 holes rather than our one! 

Tuktoyaktuk Sign

Arctic Ocean swimming, Polar Bear Club

Day 7 - The Road to the Arctic Ocean (Southbound)

Midnight sun at Tuktoyaktuk

After a couple of beautiful nights camping by the Arctic Ocean, we were sad to leave Tuk.  We headed back down the ITH, stopping again in Inuvik for gas, ice and groceries.  Then we were back on the Dempster heading south.

We spent the night at the Gwich'in Territorial Park campground, which had great views over Campbell Lake, and was pretty much deserted on a Thursday night.  With the stop in Inuvik, it took us around 3 and a half hours to cover the 190km.

Jeep and RTT and Gwich'in Territorial Park

Day 8 - The Dempster Highway to Eagle Plains

We really wanted to camp at Tombstone Territorial Park, on our way south, so it made sense to break up the journey at Eagle Plains.  While it looks like a major settlement on the maps, Eagle Plains is really just a roadhouse.  The facility was purpose built at the halfway point between Dawson City and Inuvik and consists of a gas station, motel, tire repair shop (of course), restaurant, (of sorts, it had a canteen like feel to it, but isn't bad and certainly serves a purpose out there), bar (complete with a ton of stuffed animals and a pool table) and campground.  

Eagle Plains Bar

It's not the most scenic campground, and feels a bit like a car park, but the views are amazing and we managed to find a small back-in site amongst the trees at the edge of the site. There are decent washrooms, and a pretty run down shower facility, but the bar was open serving cold beer, and the boys enjoyed a couple of games of pool, there is also decent wifi service. It really filled up as the afternoon went on, so I'd recommend getting there fairly early in the afternoon if you can.  The 330km from Gwich'in took us around 5 hours.

Jeep and RTT at Eagle Plains Campground

While we had been lucky so far with respect to punctures, we met one traveller who had been stuck at Eagle Plains for a week while waiting for replacement tires to come in.  She was in a small VW car, which probably had an unusual tire size, and only had a 'donut' spare, so her experience is probably not the normal, but it really reinforced the need for a full size spare (or two if you can) as well as the tools and ability to change a wheel!

Day 9 - The Dempster Highway to Tombstone Territorial Park

After a hearty breakfast at Eagle Plains we continued down the Dempster to Tombstone Territorial Park.  After feeling pretty smug yesterday about managing to avoid a flat, and getting a bit complacent about state of the roads, we hit a series of potholes just north of Tombstone and picked up a massive puncture in the sidewall of the tire.  

Flat tire on the Dempster Highway

Puncture on the Dempster HIghway

We quickly changed the wheel for the spare, but certainly travelled the last section to Tombstone a lot more carefully knowing we didn't have another spare, and would need to make it Dawson before we could pick up a replacement.

The campground at Tombstone is beautiful, and after a leisurely breakfast and the puncture it was about 1700 before we arrived.  Being Saturday night, the campground was pretty full, but we still managed to find a great spot.

Jeep and RTT at Tombstone Campground

Day 10 - The Dempster Highway to Dawson City

We had hoped to do a bit of exploring around Tombstone Park, but with the flat we decided to make an early start and head down to Dawson with the hope of sorting a replacement tire.  We took the 110km pretty slowly, so it probably took us a couple of hours.  Unfortunately as it was Sunday, none of the tire shops we found were open, so we had some delicious coffee and breakfast at the Riverwest Bistro, before checking into the Downtown Hotel, which has been taken over by Coast Hotels since we stayed last year.

Downtown Hotel, Dawson City

Knowing we were stuck in Dawson for a while at least, we decided to take advantage of the hotel for proper showers and a chance to do some laundry.  We spent the rest of the day exploring Dawson in the summer.

SS Keno, Dawson City

Since Coast took over, the Sourdough Saloon has been opened up to children, so we also got the chance to partake of a Sourtoe Cocktail that we missed out on last time.   The Sourtoe cocktail traditionally involves Yukon Jack whiskey and a severed human toe!  The story goes something like this:

Apparently two bootlegging brothers got caught in a snowstorm, one had fallen through the ice and got a wet foot. He got frostbite, and his brother chopped his toe off with an axe. They decided to keep the        toe in a jar of whiskey, and left it in a cabin. Years later someone found the jar and decided to drink the whiskey, I think it was probably a drunken bet! And so the sourtoe cocktail was invented. Or something like that anyway...

Sourtoe Cocktail, Dawson City

Day 11 - Dawson City

On Monday morning I took a drive back to the nearest tire store, to see about a replacement.  They didn't have our size in stock, but ordered one from Whitehorse which would come in the following morning.  That gave us another day to further explore Dawson.  We took a trip up to the Midnight Dome to compare the Summer and Winter views over the city, had lunch at Sourdough Joe's, and visited the Dawson City Museum.  The museum tells the story of Dawson City through the Klondike Gold Rush era and is well worth a visit.

Midnight Dome

Sourdough Joe's, Dawson City

Dawson City Museum

One night in a hotel was enough for us (or Ridley anyway!), so we decided to take the (free) ferry over the river and camped at the Yukon River Territorial Campground in West Dawson.  Last time we were here we drove over the river on an ice bridge, so this was a pretty cool comparison!

Jeep and RTT at Yukon River Campground

Take a wander through the campground and a little further down the river you'll find the Paddlewheel Graveyard, where you can explore the remains of three abandoned paddlewheelers left high and dry on the shore. This was a favourite part of the trip for the boys who really enjoyed figuring out which bits of the old steamers they were climbing on. 

Paddlewheel Graveyard

Boys on a paddlewheel at Paddlewheel Graveyard, Dawson

Day 12 - The Top of the World Highway

The next morning we swung back over to Dawson to pick up the new spare, (they had said they would let us know when it was ready but we called early and it had been done so best to check in if you want to get going), and then crossed the river again to head west on the Top of the World Highway.

The Top of the World is another (mostly) unpaved road between West Dawson, Yukon, and Jack Wade, Alaska where it joins the Taylor Highway (which continues on to Tok).  So called because it travels most of its 127km length along the ridge of a mountain with expansive views over the valleys on both sides, it really does feel like you are on the top of the world.  Don't be lulled into a false sense of security when you cross the border at the Poker Creek crossing; although the first 10kms on the US side are beautifully paved, it soon reverts to rough gravel!

Overland Yukon at Poker Creek Border Crossing

Overland Yukon Jeep at the Alaska border sign

The first settlement you come across is Chicken, Alaska.  This small gold mining hamlet, was originally intended to be named Ptarmigan because of the number of the birds in the area, but none of the miners could spell it so they settled on Chicken!

Chicken Alaska

Chicken Signposts, Alaska

We pulled into the Chicken Gold Camp to check out the giant chicken statue, and the boys spotted that it was pizza night and that they had gold panning.  Despite intending to travel a bit further today, the pizza and gold sold it to us, so we decided to spend the night.  

Panning for Gold at Chicken Gold Camp Alaska

We had a great evening chatting to the locals and eating delicious pizza, before wandering up to the Chicken Saloon.  The saloon doesn't take kids but is definitely an experience.  Ask them the story about the knickers hanging from the ceiling, and if you're lucky you might get to see a pair being fired into the air from a cannon!

Chicken Saloon Pants

Day 13 - Alaska to Haines Junction

After a short day on Tuesday, we knew we had a long day ahead of us to get back across the border and close enough to Whitehorse for our flight the next day.  The map said that the Taylor Highway to Tok  (pronounced toke) was paved, which the majority of it was, but there were some really rough sections and it was pretty unpredictable, watch out for the orange cones (pylons) by the side of the road which mark some of the worst potholes.  There were some long sections of road construction works, with pilot trucks leading the traffic through, and the border crossing at Beaver Creek was pretty slow.

We had planned to camp at Congdon Creek on Kluane Lake, which looked like a great spot, but due to the presence of lots of bears in the area all tents had to camp within a bear proof electric fenced area.  Unfortunately this area wasn't accessible to vehicles, it stated solid sided campers in the other areas and we didn't feel comfortable risking being in the roof tent outside of the fence, so we had to carry on towards Haines Junction and eventually camped at the Pine Lake Campground.  This was a journey of over 550km, and took us over 8 hours of driving.  In hindsight this was a very long day, and we should have left longer for this section of the journey, but we were constrained by the unscheduled stop in Dawson City and our flights the next day.

Jeep and RTT at Pine Lake Campground, Yukon

The weather was pretty awful for most of the afternoon, which meant we missed out on what should have been beautiful views of Kluane Territorial Park and Canada's tallest mountain - Mount Logan.  The rain continued all evening, so we hid in the tent and played cards!

Day 14 - Haines Junction to Whitehorse

After a very quick pack up in the rain (we were getting pretty good at packing up the tent by now anyway), we headed down the road to Whitehorse.  The weather cleared as we got closer to Whitehorse, and we headed back to Shipyards Park (where we had the pancake breakfast on Day 2) to re-organise our kit and clear out the Jeep while the boys played in the great playground.

After a quick lunch, we headed to the airport to meet Andrew and hand the vehicle back, before catching our flight.  We were all very sad to be leaving the Yukon, but we were heading to Calgary for Stampede, so that made it more exciting!

Overland Yukon Jeep, Whitehorse Airport

Top 10 Tips for the Dempster Highway

1.  Leave plenty of time, the highway is unpredictable!  We were lucky and only had a couple of days of unscheduled stop in Dawson, but some people spent much longer waiting for tires.

2.  Take a full size spare (or two if you can), and make sure you have the tools and know how to change a wheel.

3.  Make an effort to get to your 'must see' spots early in the journey, so you have time for un-expected challenges.

4.  Go at your own speed on the highways, you will get other vehicles travelling faster (and slower) than you, but just pull over and let them pass.

5.  Fill up on gas, water, ice, food and booze whenever you can.  It's a long way between some places to stock up and if you end up somewhere without a store at least you are prepared.

6.  Speak to the locals, they are full of interesting stories and helpful information.

7.  Keep the bug spray handy in the glove box, and make it the first thing you do on arrival at the campground.  But also don't be put off by the bugs, sure some places were pretty bad, but most weren't!

8.  Pick up a campground map at the visitor centres in Whitehorse, Dawson and/or Inuvik.  There are plenty of campgrounds, but some are more spread out than others.

9.  Try not to overplan!  This was a challenge for us, but all of the campgrounds are First Come First Serve anyway, so just go with the flow.

10.  Pack a solar shower, the vast majority of campgrounds don't have showers and a solar shower is handy for a quick freshen up.

Friday 9 June 2023

Galiano Island

Last weekend we camped at Montague Harbour Marine Park on Galiano, and I think it probably deserves to be added to our Top Gulf Island Campsites list!  

Getting to Galiano

Galiano is one of the largest of the Southern Gulf Islands at about 27km long, it's also one of the furthest offshore from the coast of Vancouver Island.

We decided it was probably a bit too far for our little boat, so took the BC Ferries service over to Galiano and towed the boat with us.  There are various routes and multiple sailings per day to Sturdies Bay on Galiano from Swartz Bay (Victoria) or Tsawwassen (Vancouver), with stops on Mayne Island and / or North Pender Island.  The route is non-reservable, so just buy tickets at the terminal.

Montague Harbour is about a ten minute drive from the Sturdies Bay terminal.

Galiano Campsites

The park has 16 vehicle accessible pitches, 28 walk-in sites and a group camping area.  We had a great pitch (38) on the bluff overlooking Montague Harbour. 

It's a short walk to the pitches from the car parking area, but is up a short but fairly steep hill.  There are wheelbarrows available to help carry your kit in, and we took our little folding trolley which was really useful, the boys also loved using it to collect water and fire wood over the weekend.

Most pitches have a fire ring and food cache, there is a covered picnic / BBQ area, and pit toilet facilities.  Potable drinking water is available throughout the campground. Booking is highly recommended through the BC Parks website.

Why we love it

The great views over Montague Harbour from the camp sites, and the sandy beach on the other side really make this campground special.  As usual we loved exploring in our Stryker, finding deserted beaches, and the whales didn't disappoint - with our first humpback of the season. 

What to do on Galiano

1. Take a drive or cycle up to the north end of the island and check out the many arts and craft galleries along the way.

2. Visit one (or more) of the 3 Provincial Parks.  As well as Montague Harbour, there is Dionisio Point (boat access only) in North Galiano and Bellhouse near the ferry terminal.

3. Take a stroll around the Saturday Farmers Market at Lions Park in Sturdies Bay.  There are lots of local artists and craftspeople, as well as some tasty looking food!

4. The Crane and Robin at Montague Harbour is a great spot to watch the boats go by while sipping on some excellent margaritas.

5. The Humming Bird Pub really lives up to its name; watch out for the hummingbirds buzzing around the deck while enjoying a delicious lunch.  They even have a shuttle bus in the evenings from the campground or marina.

6. Sturdies Bay Bakery serves great coffee and some amazing baked goods.  Well worth a visit!

Backcountry Camping Gear

Check out the Gear Page for more details on the gear we use and recommend for backcountry camping, including our Stryker inflatable boat. 

Friday 2 June 2023

How to get to Vancouver Island

Travelling to Vancouver Island can be confusing as there are lots of different options, and we often get asked questions about the best way to get here.  Here's a quick guide to the major routes and methods of travel to Vancouver Island.

Vancouver Island from Vancouver

Float Plane

Our favourite way to travel between the mainland and the island!  There are a number of different options to fly between Vancouver and Vancouver Island, most of the float plane flights are operated by Harbour Air.  

Our preferred route is the one between Victoria Harbour and Vancouver Harbour; you get some great views of the Gulf Islands on the way across and the terminals are both in the heart of the downtown areas.  If you are flying via Vancouver Airport (YVR) there is also a Harbour Air terminal there.

Harbour Air Routes Vancouver Island


Helijet is a great alternative option to Harbour Air.  They also fly between Vancouver Harbour or Vancouver Airport and Victoria Harbour or Nanaimo Harbour.


There are frequent scheduled flights between Vancouver Airport (YVR) and Victoria Airport (YYJ).  Air Canada or West Jet are the most frequent.

Car Ferry

BC Ferries operate the ferry routes between Vancouver and Vancouver Island.  There are three different options:

    1. Vancouver (Tsawwassen) to Victoria (Swartz Bay) - This is the shortest route at 1 hour 35 mins, and is one of the most scenic as you pass through the Southern Gulf Islands.  The Tsawwassen Terminal is actually in Delta, 36km south of downtown Vancouver. Swartz Bay is the closest terminal to Victoria (in Sidney) so is a good choice if you are coming to the southern end of the island.
     2. Vancouver (Tsawwassen) to Nanaimo (Duke Point) - This route is slightly longer, at 2 hours, and lands further north on the island at Nanaimo.  It's worth considering landing in Nanaimo if you are travelling to the north or west of the island.

    3. Vancouver (Horseshoe Bay) to Nanaimo (Departure Bay) - This route takes 1 hour 40 mins, and is our most common route.  It's a great terminal if you are heading to/from Whistler, and we find that access to downtown Vancouver is easier from the north than it is from Tsawwassen.  Last weekend we actually left the car in Nanaimo and travelled as foot passengers, as we couldn't get a last minute return booking for the car.  There is a great bus service from Horseshoe Bay right into downtown Vancouver, which takes less than an hour, look for the 250 or 257 (Express).  We were pleasantly surprised at how easy it was, and would definitely reconsider taking the car next time.

Passenger Ferry

There is also a foot passenger ferry service running between downtown Vancouver and Nanaimo.  These fast catamarans run 4 times per day and take 1hr15mins. Check out the website Hullo for more details.

Vancouver Island from the USA

Float Plane

Kenmore Air fly to Victoria Harbour or Nanaimo from either Kenmore (Lake Washington) or Seattle (Lake Union).  You can also fly with Harbour Air from Seattle via Vancouver.


There are frequent scheduled flights to Victoria Airport (YYJ) from various US cities, including flights with Air Canada or Alaska Airlines.

Car Ferry

Black Ball Ferry Line operate a daily service on the Coho Ferry from Port Angeles to Victoria.  The journey takes 90 mins to cross the scenic Juan de Fuca Strait.

Passenger Ferry

The Victoria Clipper runs from downtown Seattle to Victoria Harbour.  The fast catamaran takes 2 hours and 45 mins.

Tuesday 16 May 2023

Camping Kitchen Set Up

Hopefully you've already checked out our posts on choosing a tent and sleeping systems.  We thought we'd continue the gear recommendations with our ultimate kitchen set up for car (or boat) camping.  These are our favourite bits of kit which make our camping experience so much easier - some may seem slightly dull, but when you need them they don't feel dull - they give us less worry, better ease of set-up and an organised camp (Ridley loves an organised camp!) and more time to enjoy what we are there for - the adventuring! 

Ultimate Camp Kitchen Set Up Gear Layout

Camp Organisation

We use one of our 70 litre RUXs as our Camp Kitchen organiser.  It's the perfect size to take all of our camp kitchen equipment, and usually still have room for some dry food items as well.  With multiple carrying options, the RUX is easy to move around from car or boat to the campsite, is waterproof, and keeps everything neat and tidy.


A cooler is pretty essential if you want to keep fresh food (and beers) cool on a multi-day camping trip.  If you've been following us for a while you'll know we are massive Yeti fans.  Whilst they are expensive, they really do live up to their reputation of being 'built for the wild' and performing exceptionally.    Yes there are cheaper versions, but in our experience they can't keep stuff cool anywhere near as long as a Yeti.  We considered powered versions like Dometic (which are highly rated), but quite often we are off grid, so they weren't the right solution for us.

We tend to use the Tundra 65 for longer camping trips for our family of four.

We also use a Roadie 20 for weekend trips, or for carrying food to the RV or cottages.  Our version has now been replaced by the Roadie 24, which gets equally good reviews (including from Sarah's parents!).

For hiking or SUP'ing picnics we use the Backflip 24 which we love but has now been discontinued, as has the replacement version (stay tuned for a new release).

Don't skimp on the ice blocks either.  We were totally unconvinced by the Yeti Ice originally, but after multiple comparison tests, the Yeti Ice really does win.  It's so good that we've had melted ice cubes re-freeze on the Yeti Ice blocks!  

The below image gives you a good idea of how many blocks are recommended for each cooler.

Yeti Ice Configuration Chart

Camp Stove

We've just recently purchased a new camp stove; after living with a single burner suitcase style stove for a very long time, it has finally given up the ghost!  Our new stove is the Jetboil Genesis Basecamp System, it's a big upgrade in functionality, and seems like it's going to be great.

Cutlery and Dishes

Knife Set - we have set of these knives from Starfrit.  The protective covers are really helpful for keeping them safe while packed or while on the camping table and small people are around!

Cutlery Set - we have this set from Outwell, which comes in a handy carry case and also includes a small chopping board, dish cloths and the ever essential bottle opener!

Bowls / Plates - for our family of four we usually carry 8 bowls / plates, this means that if we don't get a chance to wash up after breakfast, we still have some plates for lunch or dinner.  We find that the plates with a raised edge can be used either as plates or bowls, and pack smaller than a mixture of bowls and plates would.

Coffee Press - no camping trip is complete without a morning cup of coffee.  This french press style coffee maker is made of a BPA-free shatter proof material.


Our campsite is never without some Yeti cups!  We usually take a combination of the Lowball Ramblers and Wine Ramblers.  The Lowballs have just been replaced with a stacking version, which will be much better for packing.

The wine version is great for wine obviously, but also a nice shape for a G&T or a campfire whisky!

Water Carriers

We've had a variety of collapsible water carriers over the years but none of them have been very effective or lasted well enough to recommend.  Last season we got a couple of the Yeti Gallon Jugs, and they have been great.

Washing Up

In order to have as minimal an impact on the environment as possible, we don't use standard washing up liquid while camping.  These Camp Suds are biodegradable, can be used with cold water (or even sea water if you're really short), a few drops go a long way, and they can also be used as shampoo!

We use a collapsible bucket as a sink, and use silicone sponges (as they don't go mouldy and can be popped in the dishwasher for re-use).  We generally pack a small packing cube with garbage bags, food waste bags, sponges and camp suds, and fire lighting tools, so that you can easily find them in your camp kitchen box.

We do have a collapsible table, and even a collapsible storage cupboard, but they don't often make it camping with us unless we can get the car right up to our camping pitch, we are staying for a long time, or we are using our big tent!

* Disclaimer this post contains affiliate links, which means we get a small referral fee if you follow the link, but it won't cost you any more. Everything on this list is actual equipment that we own and use regularly.  We will never promote equipment that we haven't fully tried and tested ourselves.