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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.


Australia is a magic place; get out there and see it!

Francois Peron waterThe more of Australia that I see, the more I fall in love with it. What an absolute privilege it is to call this place home. We have more amazing places to explore than you'd be able to cover in a lifetime, and we are giving it a fair old crack.

We've covered a lot of Western Australia, with still many, many places to see. We've done a fair bit of the Northern Territory, and touched on Queensland and a few other places in Australia, but still have a lot to see. Continue reading here.


Half way through our 3 months away

Isuzu Dmax GVM UpgradeActually, I lie. When this post comes out, we only have 3 weeks left! We've been travelling now for 9 weeks, and even though some days have gone very slowly, overall time has flown.

What a truly magic trip its been so far. We've seen, stayed and enjoyed so many places in WA and the Northern Territory already that have totally blown our mind. The trip has been unreal, but not perfect. I've had a few mishaps with the Dmax, all my fault as the driver, which certainly ruined the moment a few times. Oliver has been pretty good all things considered, but camping out of a camper trailer for 8 weeks with a 20 month old is not easy in any way you want to look at it.Continue reading here.


What do you need for a successful camping trip?

Amazing beaches in WALife is busy. Sometimes its stressful and chaotic, and being able to unplug, and leave it all behind for a weekend or even longer is a fantastic way to recharge. Australia has some of the most incredible places in the world where you can camp and done well, you’ll create amazing memories, recharge and feel fantastic. Continue reading here.

 

 


Our new 4WD and camping setup

Kalgans Pool with the GVM UpgradeWe've had a few different 4WD and camping arrangements now, and have recently 'completed' our newest setup. I say 'completed' because you never really finish a 4WD build. It's done in terms of the major changes, and there is some tidying and cosmetic work that will be done when we get back from our 3 month Northern Territory/Kimberley trip. Continue reading here.

 


An unexpected mod for the Dmax; a diff drop

Dmax underbodyA few months ago I didn't even know that a diff drop was a reasonably common modification done to independent front suspension vehicles. I most certainly didn't have it planned to go into the Dmax build, and yet somehow it ended up there.

Much like the GVM upgrade which was never a part of my build plan, things don’t always go to plan, and you have to adapt and make changes along the way. Continue reading here.


Our new camping kettle

Campfire camping kettleFor years and years, we’ve had a basic stainless whistling kettle that we’ve taken camping. It works fine, except for one thing; you cannot avoid spilling hot water when pouring. Now, looking back, I have no idea why we put up with it for so long. Continue reading here.

 

 


Projecta Dual Battery Monitor Review

Dual battery monitor by ProjectaIf you've got a second battery in your 4WD, and you want to keep an eye on the voltage you can't go past the Projecta Dual Battery Monitor.

We had one installed in our 80 Series Land Cruiser for several years, and really rated it. I've just had another one installed in the back of the Dmax Canopy, to keep an eye on both batteries. Continue reading here.

 


 

Tyre size; you can go 50mm above the biggest tyres in your model range

Isuzu Dmax with bigger tyresThe question of 'how much bigger tyres can I fit' on your 4WD comes up regularly, and one of the most overlooked pieces of information is what the law is, and what the consequences are of running a vehicle that has tyres bigger than they are allowed to be.

VSB 14 states that you can increase the tyre size by 50mm. What it doesn't tell you though, is that in some cases you can actually go more than this. Continue reading here.


 

The Dmax gets a GVM Upgrade

Isuzu Dmax Suspension GVMBefore buying the Dmax, I sat down and made a spreadsheet covering the accessories and modifications that I wanted to put on the 4WD, as part of building it into a comfortable, reliable and mildly capable tourer.

A GVM upgrade was never on the cards, but I've ended up with one.

About 2 months before our big 3 month trip up north I was getting into the swing of building the Dmax, and was thinking about the weight of everything in it. I made a decision to visit the local tip to check what it weighed. With just the winch, bull bar, aluminium Bull Motor Body canopy, a 45kg battery in the rear, baby car seat, a full fuel tank and myself in the vehicle it came back at 2380kg. Continue reading here.


 

Dmax electrical upgrade, and a brilliant mobile auto electrician in Perth

Ute electrical boxLong before I purchased the Isuzu Dmax, I joined the Dmax and MUX Facebook groups. Model specific groups are by far the best way to find out what goes wrong with different vehicles, along with how best to spend your money and more.

One of the things that continually popped up on my feed was auto electrical work done by a bloke called Stephen Hunter. With our 3 month trip looming up quickly, I came up with a plan of what I wanted, and bought a heap of components. These came from eBay, Goodchild enterprises and a couple of online stores. Continue reading here.


 

We've headed north; 3 months with a 4WD, camper trailer and toddler

Camper trailer tyre upgradeIt's been a completely mad last couple of months, with nearly every spare minute spent on getting ready for a massive 3 month, 16,000km trip through the Kimberley, Northern Territory and Coral Coast.

By the time this post comes out, we should be at our first nights stop - some 900km north of Perth.

We've done a heap of work getting everything ready - the complete Dmax build has been done in a little over 4 months, along with several upgrades to the Camper trailer and getting a fair bit of new gear up and running. Continue reading here.

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