car & camp kit

Car & Camping Equipment:

There will always be debate about the best car to use. Usually it decends into a Land Rover / Toyota Land Cruiser pillow-fight.

It may not be the most comfortable; it may not be the most reliable; it may not have all the ‘toys’ on it, but for us the Land Rover 110 is the quintessential Africa-overland vehicle.

We’ve had a couple of Defenders over the last 6 years but our 1997 Defender CSW, with a 300 Tdi engine is simple enough that a bush mechanic can fix it (I probably can’t); robust enough to cope with most terrain; and just about comfortable enough to travel 50,000+ Km in.

Maybe the basic 110 Defender itself would cope with most eventualities. Just in case it doesn’t, in addition to the usual camping kit, we’ve had a series of modifications made including:

    • Hannibal roofrack with collapsible camp table stored under
    • Hannibal rooftent & extended canopy / ground floor weather-tight room
    • Engel 40L fridge / freezer
    • split-charge dual battery system
    • photo-voltaic panel fitted beneath roofrack
    • 600w power inverter
    • compressor (for tyre inflation etc)
    • Coleman 424 cooker which runs on a pressurised tank of unleaded fuel, backed up by a brazier called Campfire-in-a-Can bought in the USA.
    • 40 litre wheel-arch water tank (+20L jerrycan in car)
    • NaturePure, World Health Organisation standard water filter, pump and taps
    • heavy duty 80 litre fuel tank + 40 litre emergency tank + 2x 20L jerrycans on roof
    • lockable storage drawer & boxes
    • a concealed safe
    • security grilles on rear windows and divider between rear and front of vehicle
    • a roll-cage (certainly one thing we hope we don’t need)
    • uprated front seats (heated – oooh, posh)
    • Old Man Emu suspension and Polybush kit
    • diff & steering guards + rock slider sills
    • LED interior lights
    • extra security systems (which I will discuss if anyone wants to contact me privately).

3 Years Later…

Readers of our Blog Home Page will have noticed that, over the last 3 years travelling, we’ve had a few issues with the car (see the Mechanicals! tag on our Home page for a comprehensive tale of woe).

On reflection, the issues we’ve had boil down to 2 main categories:

  • Normal overlanding problems / general wear-&-tear when driving 70,000km over mostly terrible terrain
  • Problems created by me naively buying an absolute dog of a car from Nene Overland in the first place

Putting aside the car issues, ALL of the equipment listed above has performed superbly.

In particular…

The Hannibal roof-tent has been outstanding. Robust, strong, windproof, waterproof, comfortable, easy to operate. Certainly one of our best-buys and, from what we’ve seen being used by other travellers, far better than the other roof tents on the market. The bag / cover will need to be replaced as it’s become brittle and cracked from being baked and drenched in the severe African weather, but that’s pretty simple and we’ve been quoted $75 by Hannibal for a replacement.

The NaturePure water filter has ensured that we have never had any form of stomach upset. Using it has meant that we have been able to fill our tanks any time we find water, without worrying too much about its source. I have little doubt we could fill our tanks with pond water if that’s all that we can find.

The Engel fridge has been excellent. Our solar panel and the auxiliary battery it is linked to are possibly a little undersized. When we’re really remote and not running the engine for a few days, the fridge drains the battery fairly quickly so we’ve been running it as a freezer for a while which reduces its energy consumption. This also means that, when we do find good meat and fish, we can load it up and ensure we’ve got good food for a longer period in more remote areas.

The Coleman stove has been very reliable. We were concerned about travelling long-term using gas bottles and the potential difficulty of getting them refilled in remote locations. Sure enough, we’ve met quite a few people who have had difficulty getting gas and had to resort to campfires day after day. By using the Coleman, all we’ve had to do is find unleaded petrol. Even if the fuel we find is crappy, adding a squirt of carburetor-cleaner to the tank means we cook on clean, economical fuel wherever we go.