Equipment

This page lists some of the kit that will accompany us on the trip.

SLEEPING

I decided against having a roof top tent for a variety of reasons and have opted for a ground tent. We have a Quechua Base Seconds 4.2 tent that will be the primary sleeping option. It has two separate sleeping compartments so that we can get some privacy, and a central living area. The tent held up very well for the first two trips and is reviewed on the blog.  A back-up option will be to sleep inside the Defender, so a wooden sleeping platform has been built into the vehicle to facilitate this.

Getting a good sleep is an important factor when camping, so I had some memory foam mattresses custom-made for the trip. They have been sized so that they fit neatly into the rear of the Defender (on the sleeping platform). If we have to climb into the back, the mattresses are already in place. If we are using the tent, it is a quick and easy process to slide the mattresses out of the rear door of the Defender and into the tent. They are six inches thick and are very comfortable! We also have a pair of memory foam pillows to contribute to a good sleep.

Quechua Base Seconds 4.2 tent
Quechua Base Seconds 4.2 tent

COOKING

I initially planned to fit a gas cooker to the rear door and carry a large propane gas bottle on the truck. I abandoned that idea in favour of options that are lightweight and don’t take up much space.

I have two Trangia stoves that pack small, with nested pans. The stoves can operate with methylated spirits (which is widely available) and can also be adapted to use small butane camping gas bottles. Having two of the stoves allows me to run two burners at the same time which cuts down on juggling pans between the burner(s). When the weather is bad, I can set the Trangia stoves on the table inside the tent and cook indoors without a problem.

I also have a Bushpig braai that is quite compact and lightweight. It is a useful addition for when I want to grill meat. And for heating up quick lunches whilst on the road, I have a Wavebox 12-volt microwave.

Both Trangia stoves in operation
Both Trangia stoves in operation
The Bush Pig braai, just outside the tent during the storm
The Bush Pig braai, just outside the tent during the storm
Wavebox 12-volt microwave
Wavebox 12-volt microwave

COOKING SUPPLIES

I have another Wolf box that stores all of the cooking/kitchen supplies – eating utensils, cooking utensils, chef knives, cutting boards, enamel metal plates/bowls/mugs, plastic wine glasses, salt/pepper/herbs, cooking oil, dishwashing liquid, dish towels, etc.

FOOD STORAGE

The Defender is fitted with an Engel MT45 fridge/freezer for storing perishable foods. The fridge is fitted to a slide-mount behind the driver’s seat and is accessible via the second row door. Other food items are stored in a Wolf box in the storage area of the Defender.

WATER STORAGE

I have two 20-litre jerry cans for water that are stored in the area behind the front passenger seat. I also have two smaller plastic storage containers that will only be used for potable water.

I have purchased a Platypus GravityWorks water filter that can be used to clean water that we have to collect, or water of an unknown quality. We will also have Milton steriliser fluid to treat water of an unknown quality.

POWER SUPPLY

The Defender has a dual battery system with a leisure battery dedicated to the fridge and ancillary power outlets. Due to the compact size of the Optima batteries, they both fit neatly into the under-seat battery box. The vehicle alternator can charge both batteries via a split-charge system. There is also a GB-Sol semi-flexible solar panel glued to the roof to keep the batteries charged when the vehicle is stationary.

The Raptor dash has a bank of charging outlets so that we can operate and charge a variety of electrical equipment. The dash has both USB sockets as well as the standard cigarette-lighter 12-volt sockets. Additionally, there is a ring of 12-volt sockets at roof height in the rear section of the vehicle, situated near the doors.

I will also be purchasing a pure-sine 12-volt to 110 power inverter. The inverter will be connected to the 12-volt cigarette lighter socket and will provide 110 power for charging camera batteries, laptops, etc.

Underseat battery box - two Optima batteries, solar panel regulator, split charge system
Underseat battery box – two Optima batteries, solar panel regulator, split charge system
GB-Sol 85 watt solar panel glued to roof of Defender
GB-Sol 85 watt solar panel glued to roof of Defender

FUEL

The Defender is fitted with an additional fuel tank to increase its range. The 45 litre tank is fitted in the rear offside wheel arch, between the filler cap and the standard tank. Its design allows fuel to flow directly from the higher auxiliary tank into the lower main tank without the use of pumps.

SECURITY

The vehicle relies on X-Eng security products to prevent or deter theft of the vehicle. It is fitted with the X-Defend column lock, X-Defend pedal box lock and the X-Defend gear stick lock. The front cab is fitted with a Raptor lockable steel cubby-box for storing electronics and valuables. There are steel security screens fitted to the windows at the rear of the truck and the wooden sleeping platform presents a barrier to the items stowed in the rear storage area.

X-Eng pedal lock in locked position
X-Eng pedal lock in locked position
X-Eng gear lock
X-Eng gear lock

TRACKING & COMMUNICATION

We have a Delorme In-Reach satellite tracker/communicator that can operate in the vehicle or can be carried by us when we leave the vehicle. The In-Reach sends GPS coordinates every 10 minutes that can be viewed live by anyone who has the password to the online software. The unit also allows us to send pre-set or customised SMS text messages via satellite, together with our GPS coordinates. It also has an SOS feature that we can activate if we have a serious problem, alerting search and rescue services of our GPS coordinates so that help can be sent. The In-Reach allows friends and family to keep an eye on our progress and allows us to remain in contact even when there is no cell-phone coverage (at less cost than a sat phone).

NAVIGATION

For western Europe, navigation will be via Garmin GPS (sat-nav) that has mapping for 45 European countries. I am waiting for the release of the Garmin Monterra for use in Russia, Mongolia and the Stans, as that unit can be loaded with Open Source mapping as well as waypoints provided by people who have already travelled in the area.

We will also have several paper road maps for the areas we will be visiting, as well as a hand-held compass to assist with map reading, should the electronic option(s) fail.

LIGHTING

I haven’t fitted additional driving lights to the Defender. I don’t plan to be driving at night due to the increased risks associated with doing so. Further, arrays of additional lighting tends to draw attention to the vehicle and I’m trying to keep the exterior looking as close to a basic Defender as I can. We do have an LED worklight fitted to the rear of the truck.

We have two LED light strips fitted in the rear section of the Defender for those occasions when we have to sleep inside the vehicle.

We each have Petzl head-torches that are worth their weight in gold. For inside the tent, we have a Coleman CPX6 LED Duo rechargeable lantern. It puts out a good amount of light and can be recharged whilst we are driving. It also has the option of running it from four D cell batteries.

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