Advice from experienced travelers/pensioners




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  1. #1
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    Default Advice from experienced travelers/pensioners

    I am now in the position I must choose the rig for my future travels.
    I have 3 basic options of which I can choose baring in mind swambo is scarred of heights and she can not get into a rooftop tent.
    1) a fully rigged 4x4 Defender with bed inside (roof lifts up for bed inside) or 4x4 bakkie with canopy camper on the back.

    2)a 4x4 bakkie/Defender well equipped towing a small 2 sleeper offroad caravan.

    3) I can get a Land Rover Forward Control which has a professionally fitted Lexus V8 with disc brakes and aircon fitted motorhome style camper. This vehicle can also tow a small 4x4 such as a Jimney or Pajero shorty on an A frame

    Please read the usage before commenting.
    The usage would be at times for touring and a few 1 and 2 night stops and then some 3 and 4 night stops with game drives and visits to interesting places in the area.
    It will also be used for longer stays 7 to 14 days in one spot for beach and fishing holidays.
    Places we would like to visit among others are Namibia North and South. Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi and maybe up to Tanzania and Kenya and places in South Africa like Rigtersveld garden route,wild coast and many other areas.
    I find it difficult to decide which rig would be most suited as all of them have their pro`s and cons such as you can not reverse with a vehicle on an A frame etc.
    Eventually the decision will fall on to me but I would like to hear from you to get a better idea before I make my choice.
    Thank you.
    Nappies and politicians should be changed regularly AND FOR THE SAME REASON
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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Advice from experienced travelers/pensioners

    Having a rigged camper is a nice to have and for purely one night stops a fair choice, I say fair because your kit that you can take along is limited and can cause a lot of moving stuff around to make the bed. I have done a fair bit of one nighters with the rooftop tent and for one nighters.......bearable. Doing longer stop overs at a place it becomes a schlepp.

    For me the idea of a small caravan makes the most sense. One night stop overs is easy as and you don't even have to unhitch. Like the place ...easy unhitch and your place is secured no other folks can take your campsite, You have somewhere to come home to that is "pitched" and waiting for you, you dont have to unload everything to sleep or prepare food. When you strike bad weather a caravan is a bit bigger than the back of a LR, please note I said when not if

    As for a forward control ....... workable but with a 1UZ conversion......... walk away you will have reliability issues as well as problems in getting spares. If you can get spares it will cost an arm and a leg and then you still have to tow another car along . I have done a lot of conversions in my life, enough to know not to fool with my touring vehicle. Yes I have tuned her and uprated a few bits and pieces but reliability has always been primary.

    Hope it helps. BTW who is going to give us updates of that side of he pond if you go touring
    Henk
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  5. #3
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    Default Re: Advice from experienced travelers/pensioners

    I am hopefully selling the lodge but my house I am keeping as my home base so when not on the road I will still be around
    Nappies and politicians should be changed regularly AND FOR THE SAME REASON
    Save the rhino kill a poacher
    Dung beetles have right of way
    2006 DISCO 3 TDV6 HSE
    1998 Disco I V8 Bought it back Sold again.
    1973 Series IIA 109 (Jorrie)
    1974 Series III S/W modified Ford V6 Defender box. Body work (Sold)

  6. #4
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    Default Re: Advice from experienced travelers/pensioners

    Ernie I would say to go for the small offroad caravan - then no need to tow an extra vehicle and as said above - no need to re-set up each time you want to go out or take a game drive or track etc.
    Answering the call of the wild is just so much beter than answering the telephone.
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  8. #5
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    Default Re: Advice from experienced travelers/pensioners

    The Forward Control would be the coolest thing, no doubt....but most likely not the most sensible choice for reasons mentioned by hbannink....unfortunately....

    The Defender with the flip up roof and bed inside:
    From the driving point of view this would be the best setup since you don't have to worry about a trailer or a vehicle on an a-frame behind your car and will enable you to visit literally any place if you want to.
    Everything else really depends on how it is build. It can (most likely will be) be cramped inside and it can be a hassle, depending on the conversion, to set up and get it ready to drive. It will most likely involve some 'climbing': Getting into the vehicle, getting out the vehicle, getting into the bed, getting out of the bed. Most likely fine for now, but think 5-10 years down the line (in case the 66 in your profile is true...).

    2-Sleeper offroad caravan: Lots of choices there and the confusion will start when looking at what is available on the market and it will get even more confusing when opening a new thread here on the forum with the title 'what will be the right off camper trailer for me?'
    Even though a trailer wouldn't be my first choice for various reasons, there are some really nice ones out there. But like everything else, they do come with pro and cons.

    As an alternative: A Defender or bakkie with a camper cabin build behind the seats.

    Maybe you should reflect on how you traveled so far and go from there. I guess on every trip there is a moment where someone thinks about his personal 'ideal setup' and makes virtual modifications to his existing one in order to design the most perfect virtual setup. This could be your blue print.... And since Swambo will be your travel buddy: What are her thoughts?....happy wife, happy camper life...

    I guess all the answers you will receive here will give you plenty of food for thoughts. I am curious to see on where you settle down in the end...
    Last edited by LR110; 2018/04/16 at 04:18 AM.
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  10. #6
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    Default Re: Advice from experienced travelers/pensioners

    Shemula, 1st thing; good on you for having plans like that. Even when choosing the "wrong" vehicle, it would be better than not doing it at all....

    Forward control is an idea if you are a seasoned Landy man, but NOT for towing too.
    I'm not a camper man as I travel "my way", but in your case it is a good option. Keep the weight down and simple to pitch and take down. Rather take simplicity over bells and whistles...
    A pop-top defender is a good idea (and closer to "my way") You will be limited in what you take with, or it will be to cramped. Also consider converting a 130 into a Hiline with pop-top or pop-top and throw-over sleeper (over the cab and nose). Keeping heights as close to standard as possible.
    Since you sound like a Landy man, maybe best not to suggest a Cruiser Troopy with a 1HZ diesel...
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  12. #7
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    Default Re: Advice from experienced travelers/pensioners

    Our experience: www.kevinandmichelle.co.uk
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  14. #8
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    Default Re: Advice from experienced travelers/pensioners

    Thank you so far for all your coments and thoughts. I have been battleing fo a few months now and every time the other option seems better. This was the origen of this thread..I am a Landy man as I have rebuilt 6 series Landy's from a 1961 88 " series 2 to a 1984 series 3 .Now busy with no 7.
    The caravan will be a 2 sleeper if I gothat route.
    Nappies and politicians should be changed regularly AND FOR THE SAME REASON
    Save the rhino kill a poacher
    Dung beetles have right of way
    2006 DISCO 3 TDV6 HSE
    1998 Disco I V8 Bought it back Sold again.
    1973 Series IIA 109 (Jorrie)
    1974 Series III S/W modified Ford V6 Defender box. Body work (Sold)

  15. #9
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    Default Re: Advice from experienced travelers/pensioners

    My two cents:

    Forget the forward control - ungainly, unreliable, dogs to drive, you'll pay extra in some reserves because of the size, etc etc.
    It's a pity that a rooftop tent is out of the equation, as that would be my first option. Given that, I would go for the vehicle/caravan combo as a long-term plan. That gives you far more comfort for longer stays, even though it will rule out travelling some of the rougher routes in the region.
    Tony Weaver

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    Cooper Discoverer STT tyres, four sleeper Echo rooftop tent
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    Previously Land Rover 1968 SII, 1969 SIIA, 1973 SIII, 1983 Toyota HiLux 2litre, 2006 Land Rover Freelander TD4 HSE.

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  17. #10
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    Default Re: Advice from experienced travelers/pensioners

    Certain routes don't allow trailers. For instance the nossob eco trail in Kgalagadi so perhaps a combo of a camper van/bakkie with removable camper type setup for those and the camp trailer for most of the time.
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  19. #11
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    Default Re: Advice from experienced travelers/pensioners

    going through the same problem as you, i looked at a 4x4 sprinter to make a nice touring camper but the price tag put a quick end to that out of your choices a landy with a pop top that you sleep up in sounds the best my problem with a caravan is cant tow a boat but will be the most comfortable and i like to go from fishing spot to spot

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  21. #12
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    Default Re: Advice from experienced travelers/pensioners

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter1949 View Post
    Ernie I would say to go for the small offroad caravan - then no need to tow an extra vehicle and as said above - no need to re-set up each time you want to go out or take a game drive or track etc.
    Agree with Peter.
    Up to the Companion style caravan should be suitable.

    Now don't kill the messenger but I strongly advise to stay away from the Land rover options you mention and I am sincere not sarcastic at all.
    - At your age you do not want to sit with more than the average vehicle hic-ups.
    - Defenders are discontinued and although spare parts and assistance is in abundance you do not want it.
    - Search this 4x4community program and the most reported problems encountered on type of vehicles is the Land Rover marque. As good and loving as they are off-road they are always a risk.
    - Rather look for a vehicle that has a reputation of trustworthy. Spend (invest??) that little more Rands in the beginning. You will not be sorry.

    Good luck and safe travels.
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  23. #13
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    Default Re: Advice from experienced travelers/pensioners

    Shemula kry vir jou n Camper wat jy agterop jou 4x4 kan sit dan ry jy enige plek en baie gemaklik

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  25. #14
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    Default Re: Advice from experienced travelers/pensioners

    thank you for all tour suggestions and advice. I think I have gutted the Forward control now I am left with the alternate two.
    Nappies and politicians should be changed regularly AND FOR THE SAME REASON
    Save the rhino kill a poacher
    Dung beetles have right of way
    2006 DISCO 3 TDV6 HSE
    1998 Disco I V8 Bought it back Sold again.
    1973 Series IIA 109 (Jorrie)
    1974 Series III S/W modified Ford V6 Defender box. Body work (Sold)

  26. #15
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    Default Re: Advice from experienced travelers/pensioners

    What about this pop top idea from Alu Cab. A handyman should be able to knock something up at halve price.
    Being a roof top tent that is accessed from the inside, it should suit the wife more.
    Sleeping at roof height you retain living space below (for bad weather) and get a better breeze on those warm east coast nights...

    http://alu.cab/en/icarus-rooftop-conversion/
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  28. #16
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    Default Re: Advice from experienced travelers/pensioners

    Hi, if i look at your travelling ambitions it means it will include plenty one night stop overs, kms of sand track, mud work where it cant be avoided, the odd water crossing and wild (unfenced camping) as well as easy local weekend camping ie full spectrum. This for two people. Given this you have no choice but to design for the toughest longest journey. That converts to employing the principle: Weight, speed, space,safety regarding every aspect of the design.

    Skipping writing a book and providing all the detailed reasoning - having a vehicle modified inside for two people to sleep in whilst having the ability to access the drivers seat without having to get out the vehicle is the ideal. If money matters there sre only two vehicles currently available to do the: Landrover Defender 110 and Landcruiser (Troopy body shape). Both are not available brand new anymore and asking prices for available 2nd hand Troopy's for the high kms they tend to have now are a bit rediculous. So its the Defender 110 or nothing.
    Confining the further discussion to the Defender the basic conversion is easy. You do not need to fork out 100k plus for a lift up roof set up. Take out the back passenger seats. Put in a drawer standard system at the back with a well suported top deck. 52l fridge sits in middle just behind two front seats resting on a bridge spanning the back seat footwell. Each side of the fridge make up a connect-it table (legs stand on the back deat footwell with a top that extends to and is flush with the top deck of the installed drawer system. Get custom made 10cm thick matrass cushions made up in 4 sections. Two to fit on connect-it table tops and two that fit side by side on the drawer system top deck. Make them so they fit against and into the side back window space where they can be strapped out the way. Get fitted sheets made up for all four cushions. Make up and install a mosquito net curtain on a curtain rail covering the rear door. Here comes the labour of love - work out a steel grid with moz screen design that can slot into to two side back door roll down windows and slide open windows with removable rain screens (can give you photos of my design). Done. When sleeping heads the back door side feet the front seat side. Acess to beds via side back doors. Can sit up in bed. Bags moved to front seats at night and to the back next morning. Setup tested in Central Kalahari, Okavango and Kruger and some weekend camping trips so far - perfect for us late 50 somethings. Only thing - got to be prepared to do the hard yard, late nights and weekends to make the set- up happen with a constant beligerent attitude that giving up is not an option. Only other option for such a set up is giving your credit card to Alu-Cab or settling for double/single cab sleep in vehicle design with the one livable drawback of not being able to directly access the drivers seat from the bed. I reckon see the decision making as a fun challenge and not a major stress and it will be all good.

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  30. #17
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    Default Re: Advice from experienced travelers/pensioners

    In my humble opinion budget is the deciding factor.

    If wishes were horses, beggars would ride. Well, here is my wish:

    An Iveco 4x4 chassis cab with a self contained "caravan" built as part of the cab by people like Alucab or similar.

    I have an idea this rig will appreciate in value, so it will in all likelihood be an investment.
    *
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  32. #18
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    Default Re: Advice from experienced travelers/pensioners

    My 2c....

    Been there, done that.... moving right along. The "small offroad caravan" (in my case a Jurgens Oryx) has it's pros and cons. We love ours, but feel it may be time to move it on. Bear in mind setup and takedown time isn't zero, there is quite a bit of the "flip-flap-flop" needed just to get a bed to sleep in, and tomorrow morning, pack it all up again to move on.... but yes, staying somewhere for more than a couple of days - can't fault it other than being a bit small inside so you have to live outdoors - fine when the weather is fine - not so much otherwise. There is at least a 30% fuel penalty, which might cause you to not want to do some trips, or curtail others. Towing is a schlepp, overtaking needs plenty space and a gritty determination, parking (like in the mall when doing shopping) isn't fun, and generally means one shops whilst the other "guards" the car/caravan against petty theft opportunities for the locals...

    Done the RTT thingy too - what a pain, say no more.... and vehicle handling isn't what you'd really like, and also a 10~15% fuel penalty...

    So where to now? Personally we're ready for the motorhome and a Jimny, just need to sew some deeper pockets, but until that maybe this option might work:

    https://www.gumtree.co.za/a-caravans...80910274326409

    I like that it is (apparently) easily demountable so you can set it up and leave to go exploring, has no extra licence fees or similar issues, you put your own bakkie underneath it (Land Rover if you must) or something designed this millenium... and there you go, the world to visit (or at least the southern most bit of the continent).

    Cons - price mainly, they start at around R250000 and you work your way upwards (about the price (new) of the small offroad caravan). So that may be outside your budget. Weight might also be an issue - could be a bit of a dog to drive, and off course the ever present fuel penalty, which I would estimate at around 15~20%. Think about storage space too, for things like tables, camp chairs, a gazebo etc. etc. But here you have a complete home on wheels to go anywhere you choose, ideal for one-nighters as well as longer stays. They also have a central-heating option - great for winter camping or chilly places at the top of mountains.

    I'd be interested if anyone on the forum has some experience with these, to maybe encourage me to buy one, or abandon the idea entirely.

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  34. #19
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    Default Re: Advice from experienced travelers/pensioners

    Quote Originally Posted by Roadman View Post
    Hi, if i look at your travelling ambitions it means it will include plenty one night stop overs, kms of sand track, mud work where it cant be avoided, the odd water crossing and wild (unfenced camping) as well as easy local weekend camping ie full spectrum. This for two people. Given this you have no choice but to design for the toughest longest journey. That converts to employing the principle: Weight, speed, space,safety regarding every aspect of the design.

    Skipping writing a book and providing all the detailed reasoning - having a vehicle modified inside for two people to sleep in whilst having the ability to access the drivers seat without having to get out the vehicle is the ideal. If money matters there sre only two vehicles currently available to do the: Landrover Defender 110 and Landcruiser (Troopy body shape). Both are not available brand new anymore and asking prices for available 2nd hand Troopy's for the high kms they tend to have now are a bit rediculous. So its the Defender 110 or nothing.
    Confining the further discussion to the Defender the basic conversion is easy. You do not need to fork out 100k plus for a lift up roof set up. Take out the back passenger seats. Put in a drawer standard system at the back with a well suported top deck. 52l fridge sits in middle just behind two front seats resting on a bridge spanning the back seat footwell. Each side of the fridge make up a connect-it table (legs stand on the back deat footwell with a top that extends to and is flush with the top deck of the installed drawer system. Get custom made 10cm thick matrass cushions made up in 4 sections. Two to fit on connect-it table tops and two that fit side by side on the drawer system top deck. Make them so they fit against and into the side back window space where they can be strapped out the way. Get fitted sheets made up for all four cushions. Make up and install a mosquito net curtain on a curtain rail covering the rear door. Here comes the labour of love - work out a steel grid with moz screen design that can slot into to two side back door roll down windows and slide open windows with removable rain screens (can give you photos of my design). Done. When sleeping heads the back door side feet the front seat side. Acess to beds via side back doors. Can sit up in bed. Bags moved to front seats at night and to the back next morning. Setup tested in Central Kalahari, Okavango and Kruger and some weekend camping trips so far - perfect for us late 50 somethings. Only thing - got to be prepared to do the hard yard, late nights and weekends to make the set- up happen with a constant beligerent attitude that giving up is not an option. Only other option for such a set up is giving your credit card to Alu-Cab or settling for double/single cab sleep in vehicle design with the one livable drawback of not being able to directly access the drivers seat from the bed. I reckon see the decision making as a fun challenge and not a major stress and it will be all good.
    R

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    Default Re: Advice from experienced travelers/pensioners

    Quote Originally Posted by Shemula View Post
    I am now in the position I must choose the rig for my future travels.
    I have 3 basic options of which I can choose baring in mind swambo is scarred of heights and she can not get into a rooftop tent.
    1) a fully rigged 4x4 Defender with bed inside (roof lifts up for bed inside) or 4x4 bakkie with canopy camper on the back.

    2)a 4x4 bakkie/Defender well equipped towing a small 2 sleeper offroad caravan.

    3) I can get a Land Rover Forward Control which has a professionally fitted Lexus V8 with disc brakes and aircon fitted motorhome style camper. This vehicle can also tow a small 4x4 such as a Jimney or Pajero shorty on an A frame

    Please read the usage before commenting.
    The usage would be at times for touring and a few 1 and 2 night stops and then some 3 and 4 night stops with game drives and visits to interesting places in the area.
    It will also be used for longer stays 7 to 14 days in one spot for beach and fishing holidays.
    Places we would like to visit among others are Namibia North and South. Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi and maybe up to Tanzania and Kenya and places in South Africa like Rigtersveld garden route,wild coast and many other areas.
    I find it difficult to decide which rig would be most suited as all of them have their pro`s and cons such as you can not reverse with a vehicle on an A frame etc.
    Eventually the decision will fall on to me but I would like to hear from you to get a better idea before I make my choice.
    Thank you.
    Hi. Maybe i Have what you might want to copy.
    Defender hardtop/bakkie with the sides back door and roof removed and alu unit built onto the vehicle. Access through rear end and it has a clam style roof with full Queen bed up top. Roof opens like Dormobile. Few steps inside to bed area. Can stand inside has 2 seats at rear fully cupboarded inside, has a 15lt Engel between front seats and 21 lit at rear area. 3 batteries solar panel spare on rear frame and another on bonnet. 45lt diesel extra under right fender and 45lt water under left. we camped with hardtop previously but no place to sit if weather bad or animals around. Now we have it all. The 2 of us have camped for 47 years together and this we have found this to be best ever. Extra wheels behind you always a hassle and this rig does 10/100 so is economical cruises at 100kmph and is more than comfortable enough. It cruises through and along heavy sand tracks or over any mountain and although I dont like to do trails ,it can go anywhere. Theres not another bakkie type vehicle that can compare and although everyone knocks these vehicles, I am totally happy. Its a TDi with 270000 behind it and only a few small hassles. The unit was built by Burnco in CT and is just the answer. We are late 60's and have never had a RTT but everything else. Had 4 combis previously although brilliant, they cant go offroad but a synchro could but I never had one. I can send photos but dont know haw to attach to the forum

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