Fun doesn’t even come close to describing my early years of camping and four-wheel driving!! I was born into it and I often warmly recall those distant childhood memories, fuzzy though they may now be.
My Dad had an old Series 2 Land Rover tray back ute and a couple of different sized canvas tents. We’d think nothing of it, bashing along old bush tracks, Mum and Dad in the front, the kids and the dog sliding around in the tray. We’d get to our spot, set up and that’d be us for the next week or two. Good times were had!
Then along came my own kids and we continued on with the tradition. Rather than a week or two in a beach side national park or outback riverside oasis, we moved more towards extended, nomadic touring. We began planning trips with multiple stops. Two weeks became three then four and before we knew it we started experiencing holidays where the journey itself was part of the adventure.
As our camping style began to change, so too did our vehicle and camping gear. Our vehicle changed from a soft roader (which I might add, took us to some pretty damn good camping spots) to an off-roader and finally settled on our current 4X4 – my trusty Toyota Prado 150.
So if you’re contemplating kitting yourself out for touring, here’s a list of gear you could consider to keep you rolling comfortably for weeks on end.
If you’ve travelled through the outback, you’ll have seen how much road kill is about and I wouldn’t leave home without knowing I have some front on protection from a rogue roo or emu.
Although rarely used, a bar-mounted winch is one of those modifications that can be a real blessing when the going really gets tough.
To say these lights are simply awesome wouldn’t do them justice and I consider these a real safety feature by allowing me to see a long way ahead as well as a decent spread of light either side of the road.
Keeping in mind that we regularly travel through some pretty rugged country towing an off-road camper (and also conscious of the additional front end weight the bar and winch add to the vehicle), we decided to upgrade the suspension with a full TJM XGS Gold Suspension Kit.
Situated under the bonnet, the air filter is the weak point in deep river crossings and keeping this high and dry is paramount. This is where the snorkel comes in by moving the actual air intake to a higher position, level with the roof line.
Expecting a mix of driving conditions, I opted for an all terrain tyre choice. The first set lasted just over 80,000 kilometres and with 40,000 kilometres clocked up on my second set of BFG AT’s, there’s still plenty of rubber yet to hit the road.
Probably one of the handiest pieces of kit I’ve added would be the 2.5m TJM awning. Mostly used in hot and sunny conditions, keeping us cool while we stop for a bite to eat. More recently though, it’s also saved us from a drenching or two and acts as a great little shelter above the kids in their swags.
Holding the awning up is my Rhino Rack Pioneer Roof Tray. It carries everything from the kids’ swags (theres three of them), spare wheel, shovel and high lift jack, through to the two spare jerry cans. Remember to try and keep your roof weight to a minimum!
Underneath the Prado and protecting the transmission, sump and steering components is a suit of armour which ensures I don’t cop a radiator puncture from a rogue stick or flying gibber rock.
A ‘must’ for any remote travel is an ability to communicate, and arguably one of the most common forms of communication is a UHF Radio. I run a GME TX3340 with the controls on the mic itself. This way I can adjust the channel and volume settings without needing to look at the radio unit.
Taking the ‘she’ll be right’ approach to tyre pressure is a common mistake in off-road travel. I run Hannibal Safari’s ‘SensaTyre’ wireless tyre pressure monitoring system which takes the guesswork out by keeping tyre pressure forefront of mind.
Re-inflating my tyres to the right pressure is a TJM Air Compressor.
Don’t leave home without it! My kit contains everything you need to help get you out of trouble, including snatch straps, a tree trunk protector, winch recovery blanket and rated bow shackles.