The vehicle was originally built as an outback service vehicle for Telstra & came already fitted with useful items with regard to converting it to a remote area camper. These included a winch, bullbar, dual spare wheels on swing down carriers, long range fuel tanks & driving lights in addition to the two door aluminium canopy.
I then built it as a camper, with sleeping accomodation in a roof mounted tent, & portable solar panels stored inside. However early use demonstrated that a rooftop tent was not to my liking & after several short trips it was removed & replaced with a towable bedroom. Placing the solar panels up onto the roof means no more constant packing/unpacking them. It was a tedious chore.
Subsequently with the purchase of the Tvan, we now have 2 kitchens. Redundancy is often a good thing, but 2 kitchens is a tad over the top. Problem is that MrsTea prefers the Tvan kitchen to the one I built. However both will remain, at least for the time being, as we now have the option to use the Patrol for solo trips when towing is not preferable. A quickly erected OzTent RV3 slides into a compartment under the canopy for use when we choose to ‘rough it’. Actual real world use is still to be discovered, & in the meantime we are opting for greater flexibility.
The vehicle has been set up to be indefinitely self sufficient in power, with a view to extended travel where there is no mains power to plug into, & with a view to camping in a single spot for as long as our water & food can last. With the addition of the Tvan which has it’s own water carrying capacity we are hoping we can manage up to a month between need to re-supply. (EDIT. In the years following writing this we have found that we can spend up to 8 weeks between the need to resupply, 8 weeks sees our food choices becoming ‘interesting’, 6 weeks is comfortable. Either relies on finding somehere to top up our water. 3 weeks water is easy, but we can stretch that to 4 if we know we need to. However no matter where we have been we have always found a supply of good drinking water (we are a bit fussy with water) & have never *needed* to move on just because water was getting low. (Our default is to always top up when we can).
Many folk who use their 4wd’s for short holidays or weekends often have trouble appreciating that a setup for long term use & extended outback travel needs to be different to what they have in a number of ways. We do pay the price in weight, hence the need to increase the legal carrying capacity of the vehicle by 500kg. Everyone says weight is the enemy of the 4wd, & whilst that is correct, we have a significant mitigating factor in our favour. We have no need to rush, we can go as slow as we wish. Most of the vehicles which get broken in desert travel are overweight, but mostly they are also being driven to a schedule by folk who have a limited time for their adventure. We have a ‘tough’ vehicle, to which we have added a diff lock primarily to allow us to crawl over rough country rather than needing damaging momentum to ‘get through’.
Anyway for those interested in what I have considered necessary for the travel ahead of us below is a list of the various features/modifications & accessories I have incorporated into our camper.
- GVM upgrade with engineer certification & approval plate. (included all new suspension & 2” lift)
- 3” Stainless Mandrel bent exhaust system with internally ceramic coated ‘dump pipe’.
- Nissan bullbar & towbar
- Roscos Trade Mate aluminium canopy with dual spare wheel carriers.
- Twin seat conversion (from original 1 + 1.5 ‘bench seat)
- Custom second glovebox storage
- Warn Winch XD9000 + Synthetic rope & alloy hawse.
- Harrop Eaton electrically operated front differential locker. (E-locker).
- Redarc EGT/Boost & Oil pressure & coolant temp gauges monted in a pillar pod.
- Redarc Tow Pro Brake electric brake controller.
- ROH Blak Trak steel wheels x 6 (& 3 matching wheels on the Tvan).
- Rear vision & reversing cameras (x2) & monitor
- Tyre pressure monitoring system
- Engine Saver Low Coolant alarm.
- Window weather shields
- Nissan front wheel arch flares
- Nissan Snorkel
- Nissan alloy sidesteps
- Driving lights mounted on bullbar + Stedi Lightbar.
- Icom 450 UHF + antenna + extension speaker.
- Twin fuel tanks – range approx 1100kms
- Pioneer iPod compatible radio +JL Audio C2 Evolution split system speakers .
- Black Duck Canvas seat covers
- Upgraded front brake discs & pads (RDA/EBC)
- Roof mounted Solar panels – 425w
- 360Ah Ritar AGM ‘aux’ batteries
- Redarc dc to dc charger/solar regulator (BCDC1240)
- Victron Battery monitor
- Victron Phoenix 350w Pure Sine inverter
- Victron 30 amp 240v battery charger
- Sophisticated 12 v electrical system utilising Bluseas distribution, switching & circuit breakers.
- Separate 240v system with certification.
- Kitchen with food storage, Lido stove with flame out protection, pressurised (electric) hot & cold water, sink.
- Fire extinguisher.
- Hot water from a 22 litre ’Surecal’ Marine Calorifier (heated by vehicle motor)
- Custom made 160 litre water tank .
- Silver Carbon water filtration
- On board air – Boss Air compressor PX 7 with 9 litre alloy tank
- Storage framework & storage bins
- ARB 60 litre Fridge /Freezer on ARB slide plus ARB 35 litre Fridge/Freezer on ARB slide. Both with transit covers.
- Hema Hx-1 on/off road GPS navigator
I expect there may be something I’ve forgotten, but hey I got to apply for my seniors card a few days ago, so if I have to I can use age as my excuse!