The down side was
that rear view
mirror was then
useless. Side mirrors are good but it is still nice to see what is
directly behind the car. This problem was easily solved by installing a
small colour camera inside the rear door window of the car connected to
the colour LCD rear view mirror mounted screen. Now I have a perfect
view of what is behind. Money very well spent. To communicate with
travelers or truckies
TX 3400 split face UHF radio does the trick.For the man who has
including a wife
continually send you down dead end streets and into impossible
situations I have the answer.An in-car satellite navigation
system. We have
Navman S30 into the Patrol and may I say its magic. So far it has
looked after me very well and has kept me on roads that actually have
an open end!!!. They are getting cheaper and cheaper and if you cover a
lot of miles in unknown territory they are worth the $400.00. I have
recently had a real battle with the service department of Navman, with
the service I received being the worst I have ever experienced. Next
time I will be looking at another brand that will hopefully care about
it's customers both before and after they have taken your hard earned
our trip in 2006 we met many many outstanding people, many of
whom we still keep in regular contact with. One such families was
the Hammonds. Bryan and Jane own a Caravan Business in Eden NSW. On our
way home we stayed with these guys and while there used there work shop
and Bryans expertise to install complete new suspension, a new longer
draw bar and raise the van 75 mm (see November 2006). You could not
believe the difference that made to the van. Then in September 2007 we
visited again, this time completely resheeting the van and adding a
front boot, as well as many other improvements (see 2007 update).
The van has now been totally transformed and not only looks like new,
but is as good as new.
These are outstanding friends.
As I stated earlier, there is no perfect form of accommodation while
travelling. Do you get a caravan, motorhome, 'off-road' van, a roof
topper or a camper
trailer? That's a tough decision that I will leave up to you. For us,
going off-road to visit those little gems at the end of a dirty rough
track, called for something robust that would do the job. In 2007
we searched and searched for a camper trailer that had everything we
wanted. Our inclusion list was long but fairly basic. We wanted it
tough, but not over the top. There is no point starting out with
something that is so heavy that you are unable to pull it out the other
side of a creek crossing. Do you get a hard or soft floor camper? With
children the choice was an easy one as the hard floors, while superior
just don't have enough room. They are really designed for two people.
Our trailer is 7x4 ft, has a 75 x 50 mm frame and a 100 x 50 mm
The debate about suspension was something I agonised over for ages.
Beam axle and springs, independent or Alko. Which is best, which will
stand the punishment and which can most easily be fixed by your average
bush mechanic, or worse, me. Again this is a personal choice but we
went for an expensive, good quality, Australian made beam axle and
spring setup from Vehicle Components in Brisbane. We have now traveled
thousands of kms over some very ordinary dirt roads and it has worked
perfectly. What would I go for if I had my time again? Most likely
exactly the same.
The axle has parallel ford/ford bearings, electric
brakes and Nissan
Patrol rims. If possible it is important to have the same wheels as
your tow vehicle. We have two 60 litre water tanks underneath, 2x 4.5
kg gas bottles, 2 x Gell batteries and 2 x 120 watt solar panels
mounted permanently on the top of the camper, being regulated by a
Plasmatronics PL 20. When set up the solar panels are supported by gas
struts and can be adjusted to any angle depending on the position of
the sun. The trailer has a swing out tailgate with kitchen attached.
It's simple but effective. We are able to carry 2 x spare tyres on the
trailer, one at the front and one at the rear if needed. The drawbar is
longer than normal, has two large boxes on it and is protected by a
stone guard. The canvas work was done by Traditional Canvas in
Bundaberg and is high quality and is standing up to the tourture very
The trailer looks the part on the road, is easy to set up and is
standing up very well to whatever we throw at it. The 'Beast' as we
call it is our home away from home when the caravan just wouldn't cope.
It is so much nicer than tenting with the added bonus of being able to
carry a pile of gear. There is a link about our camper in 'Links' on
the cover page if you are interested.
My only word of warning is be careful what you buy if you actually plan
to go off-road. Some off-road'
campers I have seen being sold would struggle on the bitumen. Remember
if you go remote, it will cost you a small fortune if you need to get
your trailer recovered. Shop around, spend a bit extra and enjoy a
stress free off-road adventure, you won't regret it.