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Is your 4WD really suitable or do you need a truck?

Touring Australia with lots of gearIn my opinion, too many people today are using 4WD’s to do a job they were never really designed to do. When I say 4WD’s, I’m referring to anything from a Suzuki Sierra through to a full size wagon like a Y62 Nissan Patrol or 200 Series Land Cruiser.

If you are towing a heavy trailer, this especially applies to you, but it also applies to those who have vehicles which are heavily loaded even without a trailer. Lets start with the basics; do you know what your 4WD weighs when its loaded? What about the total weight of your trailer and 4WD? If you don’t, you are living in a very dangerous position. Continue reading here.

Our secret to a big travel day in the 4WD

Larrawa Station costsNo matter what vehicle you drive, there’s no getting around the fact that Australia is a big place. When I say big, I’m not referring to just a bit big. Its massive, and to travel from one town to another can take a very long time.

Before having our son Oliver, we would do 1200 – 1400km in a day, without an issue in the world. They were long, tiring and boring days, but done carefully and in a manner that was safe. These days, we try and limit our travel days to a maximum of 800km, with at least a few hours of break in between and stopping for more than one night at each spot. Continue reading here.

Stedi ST4K 42 inch LED Light Bar Review

Stedi LED Light bar reviewLED technology has come a long way over the last 5 years. This, in turn, has made LED light bars substantially more affordable, even for the better quality units.

I ran a 600mm Narva LED Light bar on the 80 Series Land Cruiser, and it did a pretty good job, but was limited in distance and overall coverage. Every year that goes by lights for 4WD's get better and better, and cheaper too.

When it came to planning the Dmax build, I looked at the chances of hitting something at night in the early days of our 3 month trip away, and couldn’t justify not installing something to give me a bit of extra distance.Continue reading here

Solar panels for camping are't really worth it, are they?

Camper trailer solarWhile camped at the Kununurra Lakeside Caravan Park, a bloke arrived on the campsite next door, and we got chatting. He wandered over to our mammoth solar setup on the camper trailer boat loader, and asked me what I thought of solar panels, saying 'Solar panels for camping aren't really worth it, are they'.

I felt a bit unsure of what to say really; solar technology has come in leaps and bounds, and I know for us, we’d never be without it. As our conversation developed, I realised he didn’t know a whole lot about 12V gear, and perhaps there are others out there who think solar isn’t worth it. Continue reading here.

Caravans vs camper trailers; what's better?

Caravan or camper trailer?The age old question; is it better to travel Australia in a camper trailer, or a caravan? You’ll get people on either side of the argument who will swear black and blue that they are right. In the end, it comes down to your requirements, and trying to match those as best as possible to what you tow.

Before we start though, I’ll be completely honest with you; whether you buy a caravan or a camper trailer, it will not be the perfect arrangement. I guarantee it will let you down in one way or another. There is no perfect camping arrangement. The only thing you can do is get it as close as possible, and be able to accept the downsides of what ever way you go. Continue reading here.

 


Isuzu Dmax touring 4WD build; a look into what it weighs

Dmax ute setupA few months ago, I was backed into a corner with the weight of my Isuzu Dmax. It was going to be over weight at the end of the build and no matter what I thought of the only real solution was to get a GVM Upgrade. This was done by ARB using an Old Man Emu suspension package.

This particular kit lifts the GVM from 2950kg to 3220kg, and effectively gives you 270kg of additional payload to play with. If you want to know more about it, you can read the post here - Isuzu Dmax GVM Upgrade. Continue reading here.

 


There is no perfect 4WD and camping setup

Complete Campsite camper trailerEvery time we head away, I’m on the lookout for ways to set our 4WD and camping arrangement up better. Its an elusive search, and I can pretty much conclude that there is no perfect 4WD and camping setup. No matter what you buy, or how you modify it, it will never be perfect.

Guaranteed that you will have to compromise in one way (or more than likely many). The only thing you can do is make your setup as close to what you need as possible. The tricky bit though, is working out what you need. Each person is different, and wants different things, but you have to pick what is most important to you and run with that. Continue reading here.

 


Is your dual cab's chassis likely to bend?

Dual Cab 4WD chassisDual cab utes are super popular, and for good reason. They are extremely versatile, and can do the job of two different cars fairly easily. However, as part of the package, you get a lot of tray or tub that sits behind the rear axle, and this can be very, very bad.

By now, you would have seen at least a couple of bent dual cab utes. If you haven’t, jump on Google and look around. Almost every week someone bends a dual cab ute chassis, and although there are many different factors that contribute to it happening, you start way behind the eight ball by design on a dual cab. Continue reading here.


The good, bad and ugly of owning a soft floor camper trailer

Soft floor camper trailerCamper trailers have been around for a long time now. To start off with, they were basically tents on trailers, and over the years many have evolved into luxury accommodation on wheels.

You can buy soft floor, hard floor, forward fold, rear fold or side fold, and sometimes a combination of. One things for sure though, soft floor camper trailers have been around for a long time, and are used by many, many people in Australia and around the world. Continue reading here.

 


Lorella Springs; a one million acre playground in the NT

Helicopter Pool at LorellaMany years ago, there were two places in the Northern Territory that I read about, and made mental notes of. One was the hot springs at Mataranka, and the other was Lorella Springs. We'll call them both bucket list places, and they've been on our to do list for some time now.

When we planned our 3 month trip up north, we booked Lorella for a full week; by far the most time spent at single location. To make it even harder, it was a 1000km round trip detour from our nearest stop, so why go to all of the effort to get there? Continue reading here.

 


A simple towing guide for keeping your 4WD and trailer weight compliant

4WD's make great tow vehiclesEvery day there are arguments, questions and lengthy discussions about what is legal when it comes to towing with a 4WD, and every guide I've ever read has not made things overly simple or clear.

There was an educational exercise done in the Eastern States some time ago, where a heap of vehicles towing caravans and other trailers were weighed in various ways by the transport authority and police. Majority of them were not legal. Only one fine was handed out with the intention of it being an educational exercise, but it proves the fact that people don't understand what needs to be done to be compliant. Continue reading here.

 


What's better; Fixed or Portable Solar panels for your 4WD or Caravan?

200W 12V solar panelWhen it comes to solar power for your 4WD, Caravan or Camper trailer, the age old question is this; should you go with fixed panels, or portable ones? People will argue all day over which is better, and I’m here to settle it once and for all.

Fixed panels are attached to your vehicle or trailer in a way that makes them difficult to remove. Usually this means bolts, but sometimes they are riveted or siliconed in place too. You’ll find them mounted to roof racks, on top of caravans, on boat loaders and sometimes even angled as wind deflectors on the top of 4WD’s. These are wired up permanently, and feed power into your batteries whenever the sun is out. Continue reading here.

 


Larrawa Station; a great camping option between Halls Creek and Fitzroy Crossing

Magic sunsets at LarrawaThe drive between Broome and Kununurra is roughly 1050km by bitumen along the Great Northern Highway or 920km by the gravel on the Gibb River Road.

Given we were coming back down the Gibb, we decided to take the bitumen from Broome to Kununurra. The aim of our trip was to spend as much time in the Northern Territory as possible, and that meant decent size travel days. There are a number of free sites along the way between Fitzroy Crossing and Halls Creek, but finding one that we really looked forward to was proving hard.

Originally we had planned to stay at Sawpit Gorge, but at the last minute I came across a nice review of Larrawa Station, and we changed our minds.Continue reading here.

 


Vacuum sealing food; our secret to easier camping

Vacuum sealing for campingFood preparation and cooking at home is usually a fair bit easier than done while camping. What if I told you that food could be prepared and cooked at home, and then made ready in minutes when camping?!

A few months back we purchased a Dometic Vacuum Sealer from Snowys for $159. You simply add the food into special plastic bags, and it sucks all of the air out of it, leaving your food nice and sealed with no air for the nasties to breed in. It runs off 12V and 240V, and is fantastic.

We purchased this specifically for our 3 month trip away into the Northern Territory, but it is used for almost every camping trip we head away on including fishing trips.Continue reading here.

 


Our soft floor camper trailer for travelling Australia

Dual Cab 4WD chassisTravelling Australia can be done with a huge number of different setups, and we've gone with a 2016 Isuzu Dmax, and a soft floor camper trailer.

We purchased the camper trailer back in 2017, and have done a number of modifications to it since, to make travelling easier and more comfortable. Continue reading here.

 


Cable Beach Caravan Park Review

Cable Beach Caravan ParkOur first trip to Broome in 2015 was spent at Cable Beach Caravan Park, before we headed to Cape Leveque and The Gibb River Road. We loved the park, and had no hesitation in booking it again just recently. We spent 4 nights there again this year, and our opinion hasn’t changed; its a fantastic place to stay.

I'll be the first to admit I'm often not much of a fan of Caravan Parks (I much prefer bush camping), but in locations like Broome you don't have much choice, and this one is fantastic. Continue reading here.

 


Our Isuzu Dmax build for touring Australia

Changing 4WD's

It took a lot of thought to commit to selling our 80 Series Land Cruiser, and to move to another vehicle. I pondered for weeks, made multiple spreadsheets, looked online at every possible option I had, and then made the choice; we’d sell our Land Cruiser and buy an Isuzu Dmax. Continue reading here.

 


Cape Keraudren; camping on the Pilbara Coast

Cape KeraudrenNice. Terrible. Amazing. That was the three stages I went through when describing Cape Keraudren, for our short stay in May.

In our planning stages to Drive to Broome, we were looking for places to camp that were free/low cost but amazing, and we stumbled across Cape Keraudren, about 160km out from Port Hedland, and 60km from the De Grey river camp ground (which is currently closed!). Continue reading here.


10 ways to destroy your 4WD's fuel economy

33 inch tyres on the luxModern 4WD’s are absolutely incredible when it comes to fuel economy. You can get a full size 4WD that's far more economical than a sedan from 15 years ago, despite the huge weight and size difference. However, there is no beating physics. No matter what you do, here are 10 things that will totally destroy your fuel economy. Continue reading here.

 

 


Kalgan's Pool in the Pilbara; the best free camp we've stayed at

Camped at Kalgans PolWe've stayed at a huge number of camp sites around WA, and loved many of them. However, every now and again you come across something that is truly magic, and that's Kalgan's Pool to a tee.

We'd heard of Kalgans Pool many times before, mainly from my Dad who spent several years around Newman many years ago. However, despite being fairly well known there isn’t actually a lot of information or photographs online. Continue reading here.

 


3 months with a camper trailer, 4WD and toddler; the summary

Ningaloo StationOn May 14, we headed off from Perth on the trip of a lifetime; 3 months with our little son Oliver, an Isuzu Dmax 4WD and a soft floor camper trailer. We covered a large portion of the Pilbara, Kimberley and Northern Territory before returning via the Coral Coast to Perth. In the coming weeks, we will share a heap of information on places that we stayed, what we enjoyed, what was hard and what we'd change next time. Continue reading here.

 


Fitting out our Dmax Gull Wing Canopy

Installing 12V electricsBefore buying our Isuzu Dmax, I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted the end product to be. Something that was reliable, functional and capable enough to tour Australia. With a ute, the canopy is often where most of the goodies lie, and I spent a fair bit of time planning, designing and then building the canopy. Continue reading here.

 


 

Bilyuin Pool; a quiet, free camp on the way to Newman

Bilyuin Pool CampingBilyuin Pool was our first nights stop on our 3 month trip to the Northern Territory. You'll find it about 860km north of Perth, or 84km north of Meekatharra. Its about 15km off the bitumen road, and a great place to stop for the night. Continue reading here.

 

 


 

Driving from Perth to Broome, the relaxing way

Kalgans Pool in NewmanLast time we drove from Perth to Broome, we did it in 2 days. I drove the whole way as Sarah didn’t have her manual license, and we spent about 14 hours from Perth to Newman on the first day (longer as we took a wrong turn!), and about 12 hours the following day from Newman to Broome.

Whilst it is doable, its certainly not enjoyable. There’s no escaping the fact that this amazing country is absolutely massive, and when you want to take your own gear along driving is the obvious choice. Continue reading here.


Would you drive an 85k Land Cruiser through salt water?

Tides at Port SmithTides are not something that I am used to having to deal with. Perth has very small tides, and launching a boat is done easily regardless of time of day or season. However, this is not the case once you start heading north, especially in the area surrounding Broome, where tides can be up to 9 metres difference.

Yep, let that sink in for a minute, the difference between low and high tide can be 300 - 500 metres of walking down a beach. What this means, is you have a very limited window for launching and then retrieving a boat, and its even worse if the boat ramp is make shift, or pretty much non existent. Continue reading here.

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