To see a country by car may be one of the most enjoyable ways to travel according to Johan, marketing manager at Primus. You can choose where you want to go and how long you want to stay. It gives an opportunity to be spontaneous and it's also a way to get close to people and cultures. For those who appreciate an active holiday, travelling with a car gives the possibility to bring equipment for different kind of activities as well.
One of Johan's favorite destinations is Norway, with its stunning scenery and infinite possibility for fun activities. That Norway is easily accessible from Sweden is also a plus, and he makes sure to drive over there at least once a year. But practically all trips have a lot of great moments and it's often the most challenging moments (for the moment) that leaves memories to laugh at for years to come.
- An example of this was when we were on the Kola Peninsula in Russia and discovered, after half a day of driving that we had lost the front registration plate of the car. As the Russian border control is known to be very rigorous, we were worried that a missing sign could mean problems when we would cross the border out of the country. We simply had to turn around and slowly follow our tracks all the way back to the border. We had waded through a number of major rivers along the way and suspected that the sign had come loose in one of those and thus, the search involved a number of very cold scans of rivers with 5 degree water up to the thighs. We never found the sign, but instead we made our own on a piece of cardboard... Luckily the border inspectors paid no notice to the new sign and we were let through.
Johan thinks that having a clear plan of what you want to see is a good idea if you can be open to changing the plan if somewhat unpredictable as a lost registration plate should occur. Or if you find a nice place that you wish to stay longer at. Otherwise it's easy to constantly hurry up with the belief that the next place might be even better or that you have to see everything.
He appreciates a car that can drive through rough terrain and rivers, but also claims that it's not a must to be able to discover a country. Travelling on the main roads will take you far and you often get the chance to meet more people. However, there are some qualities of a car that Johan finds more important if you plan to drive through the more remote parts of a country:
- If you have a car that is relatively easy built up and doesn't need a lot of expensive special parts you can often find help at most village mechanics anywhere around the world.
Other qualities are the ability to organize the gear in the car so you don't need to waste time looking for things all the time.
- I like to pack my stuff in transparent plastic boxes that can be stacked onto each other. This way you can easily see what's in each box without having to open them. We usually sleep in the car or in a tent and then it's good to have a simple routine to switch between day and night mode and that you have a rain-safe place for things that will not fit in the car during the night.
Based on where they are, their food varies a lot, so the car needs to have space for a lot of basic ingredients that doesn't need refrigeration. Depending on access they try to fill up with fresh ingredients along the way. Having a small fridge in the car where you can store refrigerated food a couple of days, is worth a lot Johan states.
- After our trip to Oman, dates has become a big favorite. Dates contain plenty of energy and nutrients and the high sugar content makes them stay eatable even in the heat. In general, there are plenty of good treats from the Middle East that can withstand the heat: canned or pickled products and stuff marinated in oil.
Johan always makes sure to pack a stove, a firestarter, map, GPS, telephone, clothes that can withstand even the most unlikely weather, some tools, cable ties (zip ties), water, toilet paper, first-aid kit and a good book.
- Two trips I hope to do in the future is to drive to Tibet and from Alaska to Argentina. The nearest one planned is a lot shorter than what I've done before and I need to reduce my packing size significantly as I will be taking the gravel roads from Stockholm to Åre on a motorcycle this time.
Below follows a selection of Johans favourite products that he always packs when travelling by car.