Sunday, August 8, 2010

4WD touring - what worked - what didn't

Well after being back from our trip for so long I have had a chance to consider what worked for us and what didn't.

A bit of background - the 4WD is a fairly standard 1994 Landrover Discovery.  No lift or lockers.  It had a snorkel, bullbar and dual battery set up when I bought it.  It has travelled 335000km or so.  The head was replaced after I bought it as it had been overheated and cracked.

The roof racks and basket are and add on that I did.  We found that we can up some stuff up there that is light and bulky, like a second spare tyre, the portaloo and other stuff we dont use every night.  I attached an old curtain rod along the basket with the intention of using it to set up our tarp - maybe for morning tea and lunch stops.  Didn't get used for that once!  We did use it to attach the 12V LED 'UFO' camping lights to a couple of times.

Before we set off I fitted a set of driving lights to the bullbar.  I wanted them on when we went down to the Snowys when we knew we would be travelling from Thredbo to Jindbyne at night.  They actually came in very handy when we found ourselves arriving late at Noccundra.  The extra light is actually very noticable when you don't know the road.

The winch didn't get used at all - and still hasn't been used in anger.  There are a lot of forum posts about 4WD winches and buying reputable brands.  I'm not getting into that debate here, but mine is a 'cheapy' and it works.  I do run it in and out to make sure all is well before I head off road.

Similarly the farily standard AT tyres that are on there worked well.  Admittedly we weren't travelling on any 'hardcore' 4WD tracks.  But they coped with the outback conditions and got a run on sand.  I bought a medium duty air compressor wheich worked to pump up a fellow travellers camper trailer tyre and reinflate mine after a driving on the corrugated outback roads and on the beach.  What I need to invest in is a deflator.  The old 'key and gauge' method is a bit tedious.

A valuable lesson was learned.  Have basic spares.  I had had the car serviced a couple of days before we left, but the fanbelt still frayed.  Worthwhile having the appropriate belts in the car - would have saved us about a day.  Had a fuel filter - didn't use it.  Also had oil and coolant - didn't use it. Seems the only thing we needed was what we didn't have.

I was told to take WD-40, cable ties and 'gaffa tape.'  I did and used all three.

I installed a UHF CB on day one from this 4WD's predecessor.  I found it to be worthwhile.  Nice to be able to hear about road hazards from fellow travellers.  Also nice to be able to give and get advice while on the road.

The dual battery setup run our trusty three way fridge and powered all of our other stuff while we were away.  I like it.  It was in the vehicle when I bought it and is becoming a bit old and unreliable.  Doesn't charge when the lights are on.  Having a look at that to see what the go is!

The navigator that we use is great.  It runs OziExplorer software and as a result we knew where we were right the way along the trip.  The only issue was when the plug vibrated out of the socket and I though we had killed it.  After I plugged it back in it worked like a treat!

Our dome tent was a treat.  If you read back through our Snowy Mountain Trip you will see how we came to acquire it.  In all honesty it has been a bit of a blessing really.  It is quicker and easier to set up that the old tent, and packs away a bit smaller.

All in all we tool a lot of stuff that we didn't use, but could have!  I would take it all again.

If you have tips or comments feel free to either post them on the blog using the comment button or send me an email to

Stay safe!