I haven't even introduced you to our beautiful Carrie yet. How rude!
'Carrie' is our Carry Me Camper (get it?) which sits atop Matt's pride and joy, 'Luxie', his 2004 Toyota Hilux ute (champagne coloured I'll have you know). We bought Carrie in the middle of last year, after looking around at other campers, most of which we couldn't afford, but wanting to upgrade from our camping situation of swag in the back of the ute - although that did serve us well for many years on trips to Dargo, the Victorian high country, Fraser Island and around Tasmania. Carrie is actually third-hand to us, but was hardly used by her previous two owners. She has a roof top bed and a side canvas tent all in one. So this is where we sleep up top, high and dry from crocodiles when we get up north! We also put in a handy clothes hammock which holds our essentials. Matty has also thoughtfully installed lights (both white light and yellow light for less bugs) for some bedside reading.
Underneath our bedroom we have Carrie's kitchen. Let me just remind you that Carrie was an empty box when we bought her - and we decided we were going on this crazy honeymoon adventure around Australia and were going to live out of Carrie four months before hitting the road. It was a massive job we didn't think we could do, but with the help of some awesome friends and working late after work a lot we got 'er done! Oh and we planned the wedding in between. We needed a holiday!
We had drawers built to fit into Carrie - a pots and pans drawer and spot for our gas stove to sit, a pantry drawer and a slide out bench. We also splurged and bought a new 40L Engel, which is on a slide and tilt Matt customised. The pull out bench has got to be my favourite feature, everyone knows bench space in a kitchen is critical! If we want to stop for a quick lunch I can just whip out the bench and chopping board no worries. I like to think it has an industrial chef like quality ;) Above the stove are two canvas zip bags holding matches and tea/coffee/sugar. On the side of the fridge is a nifty canvas utensil holder. You can see we also hang tea towels off the fridge handle. The fridge lid can be held open by a strap Matt fasten to the roof/door. The plastic drawers did come with Carrie, but we've modified it to suit our needs better. The drawers hold everything from food and cleaning gear, to books, maps and toiletries, utensils and chargers. Basically, everything!
On the other side of Carrie is where we cram all our stuff - clothes, chairs, another Engel fridge (we might use as a freezer), table, solar panels, gas hot water, buckets, my craft bag, my camera bag, our Akubras and various pairs of shoes. There is also another big drawer which houses a lot of Matt's tools and miscellaneous things like the camp oven and fishing gear. Our table and solar panels are held in a cage custom built just for them so they don't move.
The back of Carrie holds our spare tyre (there is another one underneath Luxie as well) and our jerry can of fuel. Luxie is fitted with a long range fuel tank (137 litres), as well as a water tank underneath his tray holding 40 litres and another water tank inside Carrie which holds 50 litres. The spare tyre swings out to reveal a door we had cut in the back of Carrie. Inside are Carrie's legs, which are big and bulky and were a bit of a nightmare to figure out where to store! When we want to just take Luxie and leave Carrie behind we can put her on her legs safe as can be. Also in this hidey hole are things like shoes and blocks of wood incase our campsite isn't level. Our MaxTrax are also secured on the back, a wedding gift which I am hoping we won't have to use too much! But oh so helpful if we do find ourselves stuck in some sand.
So there she is! She might not be much but she is home to us and we love her. She's cosy and snug in the 'bedroom', sheltering from the wind and rain in the 'dining room' and the 'kitchen' is very functional and suits our needs well.
Many thanks must go to Matt Farrell for all the welding work he did on Carrie, and our friends Elisha and Dan, who also have a Carrie and were a wealth of knowledge and good ideas. Carrie was picked up by Matt all kitted out the morning of our wedding. Yep, we were cutting it fine. But we made it. And now we get to sit back and relax!