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The Waki Way - Living full-time in a motor home

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We always seem to get asked the same questions about living somewhat off grid in a motor home, to which the answers seem to spark a dozen more questions! So (to give our voices a rest!) here's the answers to our most frequently asked questions...

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How to reduce weight in the Camp-Kitchen

Image courtesy of Ben Schonewille, freedigitalphotos.netImage courtesy of Ben Schonewille, freedigitalphotos.netSometimes weight is a real issue, an overweight backpack can seriously slow you down, cause painful sore spots, put additional pressure on the knees, and increases the risk of twisting an ankle on uneven ground - all things that will make a camping trip memorable for the wrong reasons! There's also the issue of fitting it all in when space is the issue, for instance when touring on 2 wheels...

Aside from buying a quality set of lightweight pans and utensils (that’s a whole article in and of itself!), there is a lot more you can do to lighten the load for your camp kitchen. Check out our tips below for keeping the kitchen lightweight on your adventures:


1. Cartons weigh less than cans!

Tesco currently stock a good selection of Organic food in cartons such as chopped tomatoes or beans. They also pack down flat when empty so are much better for managing your waste afterwards. See what else you can find next time you’re shopping!


2. Make it work FOR YOU! 

Frozen meat and beverages make great ice packs so put them to work! Seriously, why carry inedible fluid and excess plastic when you can put the food itself to work whilst in transit?


3. Water = weight.

Water weighs 1g for every ml (that’s 1kg for every litre) so dried ingredients will always be lighter than wet mixes. Think dried noodles, pasta, rice, and powdered soups. There’s also good old instant mash to make use of, and not forgetting powdered milk and eggs which ensure you never suffer an ‘off’ cup of coffee on your 3rd morning or break an egg in transit, as well as saving on water weight!


Needless to say you should NEVER skimp on drinking water, especially if you’re venturing into an area with very little fresh water to satisfy your needs, in which instance dried food might not be the best idea either. Also remember, if you’re topping up your water from natural sources don’t forget to make sure it’s properly purified or filtered!


4. Simplify!

If in doubt always get back to the bare basics. Are you even going to need that extra saucepan in the nesting set? A butter knife each when you can make do with your personal sharp folding knives instead? Just because it's in the set as standard doesn't mean you have to bring everything on this particular trip. Ask yourself what bare basics you personally need, everything else can go.

Our lightweight cook-set usually consists of one large saucepan, an enamel mug (each) that serves to heat enough water for a cuppa, and our enamel eating bowls which can also be heated or used as mixing bowls for bannock bread etc. I even go so far as to packing only one large spoon and one teaspoon instead of two of each (I’d rather eat breakfast with a smaller spoon anyway)!

You can even pre-mix your spices and other ingredients into a lightweight pot or bag instead of bringing many containers from which you’ll only use a spoonful.


5. Bring enough, but no more.

Meal planning is extremely important if you want to pack efficiently and light. Does the meal you packed actually feed two of you for lunch, or perhaps after a hard days hike you'll be needing a lot more? When it comes to MRE's it’s essential to try a couple of the meals at home BEFORE your trip to see how you fare on them. Testing them beforehand also means you’ll be sure that you actually enjoy the food you are packing to avoid a miserably hungry night!

Of course it’s wise to bring a few extra snacks or a little extra flour in case you’re hungrier than anticipated or your return is delayed etc, but if your pack weight is an issue don’t bring along several extra meal options just because you’re not sure what you’ll fancy on the day…


6. Know what's available on site.

Unless you're heading way out into the wilderness, many campsites are based on farms (or at least near one!) and so often there's a wide range of delectable local produce and fresh eggs to be purchased on the site itself so why bring the same boring stuff from your home supermarket? Of course everything is a trade off between cost, weight and convenience but it pays to check in advance what is available locally and what you actually need to bring with you.

On our two-wheeled adventures to the Isle of Man, where pannier-space is most certainly at a premium; I pack our spices and condiments, coffee/tea, and pre-bag some pancake recipes etc, but write a shopping list for the rest of the grub since there’s plenty of quality shops and butchers to be found for a taste of the local island produce. We have to pop into the camping shop in town anyway to purchase gas for cooking with since it’s not allowed on the ferry (something else worth checking if you’re travelling overseas!).


We hope you find these tips helpful, let us know how you got on and feel free to share any tips of your own that we might have missed in the comments below!


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About us:

My name is Sarah and in 2011 my husband Ryan and I decided to buy and re-fit an old motor home - we named it Waki and now live in it full time in the UK!

We live neither on or off-grid, rather somewhere in between, and are not the first and I dare say not the last to choose this way of life... read more>> 

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