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  1. #61
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    Default Re: 2 year solo 4x4 africa exploration

    I would tend to go double cab and not to sleep on the back seat but to build drawers for your camera equipment and to keep reading matter close by. The front passenger seat can be used if you need a guide to travel with you. I’m also retired and also a hobby photographer and all my life I worked in the Television world as an Editor. I tried to do video and photography on some of my trips but concentrated more on photography as I believe you need a dedicated video camera! My DSLR can capture video and I have to admit that I never explored using it and might start doing it but DSLR cameras are progressive and not interlaced! Might not be an issue anymore as your target market might be YouTube which is 90% progressive!

    Many people commented that you must go as stock standard as possible with the vehicle and that is very true. I drive a Defender 110 Tdi300 and had some problems in Botswana and Namibia and spares were easy to get even from an old rusted vehicle along the road! You must have a comprehensive toolbox with you, at least 5 liters of oil; here I use the small 500ml bottles stacked away in small spaces. Same for other oils. Small container for wheel bearing ghries just to get you to a workshop. I will add air springs at the back as they do help a lot. A workshop manual – book or pdf files – is very important!

    My wife forced me to buy a more “reliable” 4x4 vehicle, a more modern one as the Landy tends to breakdown on our holidays in RSA when towing my off-road camper! She never goes with me when remote regions are calling therefore I started to equip the Landy for one person but can add a passenger.

    I do have a RTT but discovered it to be a pain to close early mornings or when it’s wet. Now I prefer a small Ranger canvas tent but looking for a slightly bigger one like a 2,5mx2,5m as there will be space for a small table and director’s chair inside if the weather is foul. The tend goes on to the roofrack.

    Additional batteries, special battery managers and chargers is very important hand here I moved to Victronic products, expensive but very reliable and rather use a pure sinewave inverter than a modified one for charging camera batteries and laptop.

    For years I visited remote regions and got stuck, sometimes in mud or deep sand and managed to get myself out using a sharp pointed spade, sand ladders and highlift jack but on my last excursion the wife said I must add a winch, which I did or get a satellite telephone! Went the winch way but have not used it! Also got an airbag to pump the vehicle out of mud if needed as the last time there were no trees or rock nearby to use a winch! Currently doing a Ham Radio course so that I can use shortwave radio if I have a problem as there are many shortwave radio operators in Africa, I hope!

    I also believe to pack everything, not only into Wolf crates but also make special canvas bags and not to use any plastic bags as they tend to break. Eish, there are a lot of things you need to be aware of how to easy pack your vehicle especially if you going solo and want to stay in some regions for a longer period. One thing I just cannot avoid is the use of a freezer and a fridge! I have two 52lt National Luna fridges, yes they are bulky but they provide me with luxuries while I’m in the bush!

    The best to is to view other people’s setups and take it from there!

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  3. #62
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    Default Re: 2 year solo 4x4 africa exploration

    Quote Originally Posted by opsafari View Post

    I do have a RTT but discovered it to be a pain to close early mornings or when it’s wet. Now I prefer a small Ranger canvas tent but looking for a slightly bigger one like a 2,5mx2,5m as there will be space for a small table and director’s chair inside if the weather is foul.

    I am busy developing a tent for our purposes. Bigger, more practical, more weather protection see on this community https://www.4x4community.co.za/forum...g?goto=newpost

    Additional batteries, special battery managers and chargers is very important hand here I moved to Victronic products, expensive but very reliable and rather use a pure sinewave inverter than a modified one for charging camera batteries and laptop.
    Try and have too much capacity in battery storage and charging rate. I use up to 3 extra 105's and can get them from 50% to 90% in 2 hours. That is 120Ah stored.



    The best to is to view other people’s setups and take it from there!
    It is obvious that you have been there. I added my 2c as well

  4. #63
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    Default Re: 2 year solo 4x4 africa exploration

    Quote Originally Posted by opsafari View Post

    I do have a RTT but discovered it to be a pain to close early mornings or when it’s wet. Now I prefer a small Ranger canvas tent but looking for a slightly bigger one like a 2,5mx2,5m as there will be space for a small table and director’s chair inside if the weather is foul. The tend goes on to the roofrack.

    Opsafari gives excellent advice and it is apparent that he has done plenty of bush travel over the years. I would guess, that in dismissing a RTT, he has never used the new hard-shell models. I also only used ground tents for years because I had witnessed the hassle of folding up the soft-shell RTTs for a mere game drive. In prolonged travel in rough conditions, a hard-shell RTT will save you buckets of sweat, preserve your pleasure in traveling rough and provide the impetus to press onwards. I cannot imagine setting up quietly in a wild camp at the end of a long days driving, in a ground tent.


    I also believe to pack everything, not only into Wolf crates but also make special canvas bags and not to use any plastic bags as they tend to break. Eish, there are a lot of things you need to be aware of how to easy pack your vehicle especially if you going solo and want to stay in some regions for a longer period. One thing I just cannot avoid is the use of a freezer and a fridge! I have two 52lt National Luna fridges, yes they are bulky but they provide me with luxuries while I’m in the bush!

    Here I tend to differ as well, rather than packing in ammo-like boxes/crates and bags I prefer packing articles loose in specially designed compartments like sliding drawers, shelves, cubby holes, pockets, consoles, overhead storage and the like. My pet hate is having to unpack the rear of the vehicle to fetch a single item. I cannot tolerate living under prolonged circumstances where one thing is packed upon another, the item you need is often right at the bottem. Any efficient storage system for prolonged travel needs a flip file with an item locality index. It is tough enough out there and any thought and money spent on making your daily existence more comfortable and convenient will yield great dividends.

    The best to is to view other people’s setups and take it from there!
    Landcruiser 76SW.

    “Great journeys are memorable not so much for what you saw, but for where you camped”.

    At least "Once a year go someplace you have never been before" Delai Lama.

    Trans East Africa 2015/2016 Trip report http://www.4x4community.co.za/forum/...e16?highlight= from post 315.

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  6. #64
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    Default Re: 2 year solo 4x4 africa exploration

    Quote Originally Posted by smcs View Post
    Once the site is up I will advise.
    following...

  7. #65
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    Default Re: 2 year solo 4x4 africa exploration

    Q: I will be installing a tow bar with a double wheel carrier. (I understand that there might be some chassis strength issues to consider between the two models).

    A: The key question here is whether you really need the second spare. Based on South American experience when we did a 9 month trip around Southern and Eastern Africa in 2017 we bought a second spare and carried it on the roof rack. We didn’t have a single flat in 40,000 + Km. Most flat tyres can be repaired, so as long as you have a compressor you don’t need a second spare. We are going to do another long trip this year so we are going to find out whether this is really good advice…


    Q: Fuel Range is obviously a significant priority. Jerry Cans on the roof to be avoided if I can.

    A: Understand the concern, and we seek to avoid cans on the roof too. However if properly mounted they pose a fairly low risk – the biggest concern is raising the CoG. If they’re filled only for long “fuel-free” journey legs then this is not a big issue. Buying and installing a long range tank, properly designed, is however a good plan, although as noted it usually means putting the spare tyre somewhere else (if it started out under the body). Having said that, if you’re getting 1500 Km without cans, you are hardly ever going to have to resort to cans. The longest runs I know with no access to fuel (in Southern Africa) are from Maun to Kasane and across the Central Kalahari GR, and in both cases we had to carry around 190 L.

    Q: Expensive photographic equipment must to be secured/protected as best as possible. … If a Dual Cab – the rear seats will be removed and a base installed for securing camera equipment in hardened cases.

    A: Hence double-cab rather than single (in fact our preference is a wagon rather than a pick-up, in which we find that the pick-up’s bed is not very useful in terms of storage (or we’re not very capable of using it efficiently – we prefer to have most kit inside the vehicle (cab) and are also concerned that the bed is relatively insecure). A comment: how much kit do you really need? On our first “big trip” some years ago we found that we had more than we really needed. We are now down to carrying no more than two camera bodies and three lenses between two of us, plus tripod and bean bag, however we are not professionals by any stretch of the imagination.

    Other notes:

    You have decided on a pick-up which obviously works for you. However... travelling on your own gives you the opportunity to go for a solution which avoids the weight (and higher CoG) of a roof-top tent - which is to equip a wagon to sleep inside.

    Winch: I've travelled with a winch in various bits of the world off and on for 45 years or so and have hardly ever used it. However, I would not consider a journey like the one OP's planning without one. It's like an umbrella - it never rains when you have one...




    "North of our borders you will not easily find aftermarket shock replacements and that includes Nairobi."


    True in general, although you can find good kit in Nairobi at Rob’s Magic. Once again, if an upgraded suspension is properly installed, AND if the vehicle is not over-loaded, you should not have any problems. In 2017 with a lifted ARB suspension we had zero problems (and encountered a lot of tough roads) in 40,000+ Km. We did replace the bushings at the end of the trip, as well as the lateral damper, but did not need to do anything during the trip. Admittedly in a 4 year trip, you need to plan on access to replacements .

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  9. #66
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    Default Re: 2 year solo 4x4 africa exploration

    On the topic of carrying two spare tyres.

    We did (BFG ATs) and I will be forever grateful for that. We probably had about 10 punctures in the 45,000km we covered. We also had to replace 3 tyres that were wrecked. Never were we down to our last spare (2 consecutive irreparable punctures) and yes most punctures can be self-repaired which is what we did mostly.

    However we planned to go far off the beaten track and this is when the rewards of African travel are at their peak. I would definately reccommend the same for you. Saloon cars can now drive from Cape to Cairo! When taking a tough route by choice for its isolation, scenic rewards and encounters with unsullied Africa, it is a pity to have it spoilt by the lurking fear of running out of tyres. You need the confidence to tackle such routes and the lack of unnneeded stress that 2 spares gives you. I would hate to suffer an irreparable sidewall cut, halfway on the 6 night Eastern Lake Turkana Route and then later another puncture and have to complete this route under great stress with no spare.

    There are parts of Africa, that most would plan to visit, where 2 spares give you the confidence to do it solo. Closer to home this would include exploring the north-west of Namibia.
    Landcruiser 76SW.

    “Great journeys are memorable not so much for what you saw, but for where you camped”.

    At least "Once a year go someplace you have never been before" Delai Lama.

    Trans East Africa 2015/2016 Trip report http://www.4x4community.co.za/forum/...e16?highlight= from post 315.

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  11. #67
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    Default Re: 2 year solo 4x4 africa exploration

    Quote Originally Posted by Stan Weakley View Post
    On the topic of carrying two spare tyres.

    We did (BFG ATs) and I will be forever grateful for that. We probably had about 10 punctures in the 45,000km we covered. We also had to replace 3 tyres that were wrecked. Never were we down to our last spare (2 consecutive irreparable punctures) and yes most punctures can be self-repaired which is what we did mostly.

    However we planned to go far off the beaten track and this is when the rewards of African travel are at their peak. I would definately reccommend the same for you. Saloon cars can now drive from Cape to Cairo! When taking a tough route by choice for its isolation, scenic rewards and encounters with unsullied Africa, it is a pity to have it spoilt by the lurking fear of running out of tyres. You need the confidence to tackle such routes and the lack of unnneeded stress that 2 spares gives you. I would hate to suffer an irreparable sidewall cut, halfway on the 6 night Eastern Lake Turkana Route and then later another puncture and have to complete this route under great stress with no spare.

    There are parts of Africa, that most would plan to visit, where 2 spares give you the confidence to do it solo. Closer to home this would include exploring the north-west of Namibia.
    I am also in favour of the 2 spares, absolutely.

    This is how I learnt the lesson.

    On the gravel road between Grunau and Aus we had a blow out. Replaced with the spare and continued to Luderitz.

    In Luderitz we could not find a spare 265/70 r16 for love nor money. The blown tyre was unrepairable as the sidewall was cut.

    So exploring Luderitz and the surrounds was not ideal, we were paranoid about another tyre blowing.

    It was 4 days before we found a tyre the right size, at a kwik fit in an obscure town in the middle of Namibia whose name evades me.

    Cheers

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  13. #68
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    Default Re: 2 year solo 4x4 africa exploration

    If you are comfortable with repairing tyres - and reseating a tubeless tyre on a rim - then carry a spare casing only and not the whole spare wheel. That's what we do, and we also carry two spare tubes in case of a sidewall cut that can't be repaired - just put a gator on the sidewall cut and then insert a tube. It works for a couple of hundred kilometres of not-too-extreme travel. Most punctures can be repaired quite quickly with a snot plug kit, but you don't want to have to do it for the first time in a remote location. Go to your local tyre shop and pay them to give you a few lessons before heading out. Not having a second spare of some sort would be silly, and having two complete wheels, rim and all, is definitely first prize.
    Tony Weaver

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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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  15. #69
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    Default Re: 2 year solo 4x4 africa exploration

    It looks like you want to do what I do. I have a 1999 Defender and Conqueror Conquest trailer with everything I need for long expeditions. I am 69 years old am come from Scottsdale, Arizona USA. I have been doing wildlife photography in Africa for about 22 years. I am home right now but will be returning in early April. i have the guys at Independent 4x4 in Pretoria installing a RemTec remanufactured engine and its about rere to go. I usually keep my truck and everything stored with a friend in Pretoria or with friends in Kasane, Botswana.
    Anyway, I will be in Johannesburg and Pretoria the first week in April and would be happy to meet up and show you how I am set up. Maybe it will give you some ideas about you want to do things. Not many people.are on the road for months at a time like you.want to do.and as I do it.
    Terry L Haney on Facebook if you want to see my setup.

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  17. #70
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    Default Re: 2 year solo 4x4 africa exploration

    Hi Terry - Great water crossing and rig!
    Forum members will be interested to see you use a Gazebo. Looks like Tentco brand?

    “Africa changes you forever, like nowhere on earth. Once you have been there, you will never be the same." - Ernest Hemingway

  18. #71
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    Default Re: 2 year solo 4x4 africa exploration

    Quote Originally Posted by Az2Africa View Post
    It looks like you want to do what I do. I have a 1999 Defender and Conqueror Conquest trailer with everything I need for long expeditions. I am 69 years old am come from Scottsdale, Arizona USA. I have been doing wildlife photography in Africa for about 22 years. I am home right now but will be returning in early April. i have the guys at Independent 4x4 in Pretoria installing a RemTec remanufactured engine and its about rere to go. I usually keep my truck and everything stored with a friend in Pretoria or with friends in Kasane, Botswana.
    Anyway, I will be in Johannesburg and Pretoria the first week in April and would be happy to meet up and show you how I am set up. Maybe it will give you some ideas about you want to do things. Not many people.are on the road for months at a time like you.want to do.and as I do it.
    Terry L Haney on Facebook if you want to see my setup.
    Terry, any chance to post pics here for the few that are not on facebook?

  19. #72
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    Default Re: 2 year solo 4x4 africa exploration

    Bassfisher - A few of Terry's pics
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    Last edited by Paul Dold; 2019/02/13 at 11:08 AM.

    “Africa changes you forever, like nowhere on earth. Once you have been there, you will never be the same." - Ernest Hemingway

  20. #73
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    Default Re: 2 year solo 4x4 africa exploration

    Terry's pic's
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    Last edited by Paul Dold; 2019/02/13 at 11:16 AM.

    “Africa changes you forever, like nowhere on earth. Once you have been there, you will never be the same." - Ernest Hemingway

  21. #74
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    Default Re: 2 year solo 4x4 africa exploration

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Dold View Post
    Terry's pic's
    Thanks for the pics Paul. I like to play around with my bakkie, but that water crossing is hectic

  22. #75
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    Default Re: 2 year solo 4x4 africa exploration

    Split rims with light truck tyres like you get on the Land Cruiser 78 or 79 will give you piece of mind.They are robust and available all over Africa.

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  24. #76
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    Default Re: 2 year solo 4x4 africa exploration

    Quote Originally Posted by cobuss View Post
    Split rims with light truck tyres like you get on the Land Cruiser 78 or 79 will give you piece of mind.They are robust and available all over Africa.
    They can also run on 235/85/16 tyres. (My personal opinion, the only size you should use up up north.) The diameter is almost exactly the same as the original tyres and outperforms almost anything else in overlanding situations. My 2 spares are both splitties. (ugly but bulletproof) Finding another rim or tyre will not be a problem anywhere in Africa.

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  26. #77
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    Default Re: 2 year solo 4x4 africa exploration

    Quote Originally Posted by Pieter de Waal View Post
    They can also run on 235/85/16 tyres. (My personal opinion, the only size you should use up up north.) The diameter is almost exactly the same as the original tyres and outperforms almost anything else in overlanding situations. My 2 spares are both splitties. (ugly but bulletproof) Finding another rim or tyre will not be a problem anywhere in Africa.

    Agreed. 235/85/16 are virtually identical to 750x16, the old standard bakkie/Land Rover/Land Cruiser etc etc tyre, and you can pick up a second hand replacement casing at roadside tyre repair "shops" (called jua kali - hot sun - dukas in East Africa) in just about any reasonable-sized village.
    Tony Weaver

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    Cooper Discoverer STT tyres, four sleeper Echo rooftop tent
    2012 Mitsubishi Outlander.

    Previously Land Rover 1968 SII, 1969 SIIA, 1973 SIII, 1983 Toyota HiLux 2litre, 2006 Land Rover Freelander TD4 HSE.

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  28. #78
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    Default Re: 2 year solo 4x4 africa exploration

    Tony Weaver, I am now a strong believer taking 2 spare wheels and a spare tube on my solo trips. I also read many of your trip reports, thank you so much for them!

    I don’t have the same expedition experiences you have but I’ve learnt a lot from you and from this forum over the years!
    My first trip to Epupa and Kaokoland including VanZyls Pass was done in 1996 with my two very young boys. No flat tyres and were using tubed tyres!

    My 2nd trip with a homemade trailer with wife and one son to Messum and Doros regions, one spare and no flat tyres in 2000 again tubed tyres.

    In 2001 with my parents and their friend touring through Namibia, only 2 flats (same tyre) where I used snot plugs and no flats thereafter. These where tubeless.

    In 2016 I changed to tube tyres again and did a solo trip through Etosha (flat 1 had it patched), on the way to Epupa (flat 2, had it patched in Epupa) on my way to Puros (flat 3, used 1st spare and had it patched in Fort Sesfontein. Lunch at Palmwag noticed a flat 4 (bad job at Sesfontein), changed to spare 1. On my way to Messum flat 4, changed with spare 2. On my way to Henties, flat 5, change with spare 3. At Henties had the 3 tyres fixed.

    Arrived at Swakopmund, noticed again bad job done at Henties and had the spare fixed. Then to Sossus and back to Windhoek and then through Botswana back to home, no flats.

    Did a trip 2017 with 2 friends through Botswana and Zimbabwe with the same tubed tyres and had 3 flats and had it fixed at towns. Later that year wife and I visited Namakwaland (flowers) and Richtersveld with my trailer. My trailer has the same wheels as my Landy so I only took 2 spares as the trailer also had a spare. Had a puncture on our way out of the Richtersveld (flat 1) around Eksteenfontein nasty side wall cut (flat 2). Arrived late at Springbok (Saturday night). Left early Sunday morning and midway back to Jhb, broke left back rim! How, don't know! All my rims were series steel. Used the spare of the trailer.

    During 2018 again did a solo extensive Namibian tour, this time with new tubeless tyres with 3 spares and a spare tube all on Wolf rims. No flats!

    Planning a solo trip later in 2019 and will still use tubeless and still take 3 spares with me although now I am no longer concerned about time, if I do run out of spares I do have the time to insert a tube into the tyre BUT that is a day’s job, not young anymore!

    Lesson learnt to use tubeless as it’s so much easier to insert a snot plug than to patch a tube yourself, however, you should know how to do it in an emergency and have the tools!

    One spare on the roof, one at the back and one on the bonnet of the Landy.

    Regarding rooftop tents, I do have experience with rooftops on top of my Landy and then moved it on top of my trailer and then into my storage room. I no longer have the budget to get the hardtop versions (they were not on the market when I bought my original rooftop). Now I do prefer using canvas bow tents and I can use it to mark my camping spot in public campsites if I stay over for a few nights.

    During my military days I slept inside vehicles and found it terribly cold (winters) inside! A major said that I should sleep underneath the vehicle which I did thereafter (luckily it was not a Landy – not leaking oil!). Many times then and fairly recent I slept in the open till one morning in Kaokoland when I woke and saw two fresh lion tracks 25m from my sleeping bag! My ranger tent does fit on top of my roof rack so when I’m nervous, like in CKGR, I will put it on top of the Landy.

    As mentioned, my Landy is now my solo expedition vehicle (space for one passenger) and I hear you saying about drawers system which I am planning to do but still believe in my canvas bags system for odd things no plastic shopping bags!

    On my 2017 trip to Kaokoland the left back side shaft stripped at the wheel rim and I was stuck at the bottom of Breakheart Pass! Had two auxiliary batteries which I connected it in series with the main battery, starting the engine and did a welding job using 2 sets of jumper cables and two sets of dark glasses! (I had 10 2.5mm welding sticks in my toolbox.) I managed to continue my journey through Namibia and back home! Just keep in mind my Defender 300 Tdi is a 1996 model, still fairly easy to do bush repairs.

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  30. #79
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    Default Re: 2 year solo 4x4 africa exploration

    I note that you would like to remove the rear seat to install a tray for camera equipment. I have attached some pictures of the system I have. It consists of a tray that bolts into position with a loos box that ties onto the tray. On top of this box I have a box with a drawer that pulls out between the two front seats which holds my camera for ease of access.
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  32. #80
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    Default Re: 2 year solo 4x4 africa exploration

    Hi Sean, good luck with your trip and enjoy one of the best parts of it ... the planning!

    Something that I did a few years ago was that I ditched Deep Cycle batteries in favour of High Cycle batteries. I carry 4 batteries in my Defender and 3 in my Discovery and they comply with the OEM specifications that is required for the vehicle whether it is my Defender or my Discovery. The most NB requirement is that they match the required Cold Cranking Amps (CCA) there after I look for around 105Ah. Should anything go wrong with the vehicle battery, and has, twice in my case, you can 'borrow' one your auxiliaries and have a properly spec'd replacement battery. You would need to monitor your fridges and other electronics accordingly until you can get a replacement.

    I found that DC batteries take to long to recharge unless one is traveling between stop overs plus game drives are generally are not long enough to charge sufficiently. HC batteries are also a lot cheaper which is an added bonus.

    My vehicle (Defender130) is different to the vehicle that you envisage but I believe my setup may of interest to you regardless of what you finally decide on.

    .. back bench seat out, with a plate on the floor to secure batteries and toolboxes.
    .. above that another plate carrying 1x60l fridge for short term perishables plus 40l fridge for liquids (cough) plus a 65l drum for drinking only water.
    .. passenger seat is for my photography gear, new HD foam cutouts are on order.
    .. in the load bay (cattle rails, canvas covered) home made drawer slides for 8 ammo boxes - way to many but investigating fuel bladders that can fit in 2 of the crates.
    .. above the drawer system is where I sleep, 2 x bedside kas's with clothes, toiletries, books etc plus 1x 66l freezer for long term frozen food.
    .. roofrack one - two spares, one on rim the other just a carcass, sand tracks.
    .. roofrack two - 6 jerrycans, two aux wooden boxes for chains, oil, filters ,some spares ( Oil change on the road if required), Highlift Jack and 3m x 3m nylon Coleman pop up tent for longer stopovers.

    Fully loaded my consumption is ave. 13.3l/100km on trips of 10,000+ km

    Enjoy the planning and the trip 🚚 👍

    Click image for larger version. 

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    VW Amarok V6 4Motion Highline Plus
    Defender 130 HCPU TD5
    SOLD - D4 SDV6 HSE

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