A simple 1996 Land Rover Defender dual cab 130 TDI 300 tray top ute.. with a few extras thrown in.. a TRAVELANDER camper slung on the back that we can remove & free stand when we like, (as in the first picture at top) and there we have it. Our home away from home til we get tired of it.! http://www.travelander.com.au/
We opted to stay with a older style Land Rover for Africa because we could pretty much get it fixed ANY where we were, and by not having the computer systems with it... just means less to go wrong and easier to fix. SIMPLE.
PCB land rovers at Plympton did all the maintenance and mechanical preparation before we left Oz, as well as install the extra tanks & bonnet with the spare wheel on top. We didn't really WANT the spare wheel there, but, it ended up being our ONLY option. The roof of our car had 2 safari hatches installed for us by Complete Windows. We particularly wanted to have open hatches that we can stand up through to take photos while we are on safari. Working mainly on boats or caravans, they had never put one in a car before, but gave it the 'good-ole college try', and bingo, 2 beautiful hatches that have been working very well.The great team at JACKSONS 4x4 in Murray Bridge went above and beyond to get the rest of the custom 'add-ons' installed.
Being on a VERY TIGHT time line, Wayne and the crew, custom designed and built the utility boxes for each side of the car, the large enclosed shelf that sits under the car, (which is great for the table, tent, chairs & those things that you need straight away when you stop) as well as electrical work for the second battery, car fridge & other fiddly bits. I was particularly happy when they custom made the side steps so i could get in and out the car easier. Aside from all this, we just felt so happy dealing with them cause some of them have done some real incredible travels themselves, so they knew the importance of being set up well and doing the job properly the first time.... cause we cant get back. They were great for advice on things, especially a range of important options we simply did not know about. He had done it, and was happy to guide us with his experience. We are very thankful to this team and recommend them totally.
The TRAVELANDER camper has been a real breeze to use and is very comfortable to sleep in. We are both VERY happy with our choice and often say it was a good choice... especially for over here in Africa where the going gets even more rough. Knowing what it is like here, we did not want to tow anything behind us, and we just love the way the camper just sits on the back and goes where we go. Once we get to our destination, throw the latches, push the remote control button and let it do it do it's stuff,.... automatically folds down and it is only a matter of a couple of minutes and the entire unit is open and ready for us. We love being so independent due to our solar panels and 2 fridges we have. (one 65lt draw style fridge in the camper, that also provides ice for my gin at night) and the other 52 lt National Luna fridge that sits in the back of our car in lieu of the single passenger seat. At first we were feeling we did not have enough storage space, but after a few times of using it, i noticed that we had all this empty space under the long drawer that we can open from in or outside the camper, (a GREAT ASSET THAT ONE). So now that we have that space occupied, we are quite happy. Naturally all our camping equipment is very compact & able to close down small.... REMEMBER...this unit has been bought not for a weekend getaway, but our home for 3 - 4 years, so it HAD to work & be user friendly.!!! We stop for coffee or lunch, just open the back hatch and there it all is, a fully working kitchen with stove, sink, pantry, fridge, mugs... all of it. !! We also have a wonderful shower that gives us hot water, so once again, fully independent. In fact, when the local people see our unit, they are amazed.... simply cause it has far more services and uses than their own homes. We have sometimes had our friends sleep on a inflatable mattress on the floor of the camper while we sleep in the queen size bed above, plenty of room to spare... and some nights when its cold and windy outside, we like to just set up the laptop on the inside table, sit on our chairs inside the camper and watch a movie. When its cold and windy, we STILL have somewhere to go and be comfortable.
We have a extra fuel tank under the car for long distance, extra water tank under the car for pure drinking water, (which over in Africa, we buy 20lt containers in the shop & fill it up), the 120lt tank in the camper is used for cooking, washing, shower, coffee and anything else. The list of extras goes on and on, but the one thing that we have been grateful for is a small folding step stool. it comes in handy for so many uses.... but mainly when we close the camper. Lets face it, there's not much to do.... press the remote button, stop at half way so Bob can fold in the feet, then go again. We choose to check the edges and make sure the folds are all sitting nicely as it all folds into place. Some times if you get a windy day when packing up it might make one of the folds extend out, it has been rare, but we always just check & tuck as we go just for our own piece of mind really. Within a minute, she is all closed, latched & we are ready to roll again. DOESN'T COME MUCH EASIER THAN THAT.!! (actually, it is MUCH quicker than a rooftop tent!!! Anyone interested in the camper can check out the travelander website. http://www.travelander.com.au/ Also good to point out that the Travelander comes in 3 options. We have the smallest of all 3 being made for a dual cab ute,.... there is a bigger version which is made for the single cab ute. Or... you may have the bigger version made into a trailer with a extra storage module on the front. Lots of options.... so check out their website. And now, as of 2017, check out our NEW CAMPER we leave with friends in South Africa, so it is always waiting there for us. Yes, We are keeping this camper here in Australia, and the other one in Africa so we only have to find air fares from now on. Check out the photos in the photo gallery under Our New beast for Africa. (having trouble getting it in here for some reason).