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  1. #101
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    Default Re: 2 year solo 4x4 africa exploration

    Quote Originally Posted by smcs View Post

    For my purposes, with high demand on a daily basis, is this investment worth it? Alternatively, do I keep to what I know: 2 x Deltek 105 Ah Deep Cycle Lead Crystals. Powered through CTek DC2DC charger.

    (In all probability - I will be seeking an alternative DC2DC option. That choice is probably not directly pertinent to my question).


    Lets assume a static camping position without alternator/DC2DC charging for 4 days. Solar panels of 200W to compliment at "average" sunshine levels and "average" efficiency for 6 hours p/d.
    I have not provided absolute current requirements. The unknowns are too broad and variable. Rather, I am looking for "gut-feel" broad responses and comments from those that are experienced - based on my supplied criteria.
    A couple of flying statements for starters:
    Keep to some of what you know. Increase the Deltek's to 4 at least
    Get industrial solenoid system
    200W panel is only good enough for 1 fridge
    Consider upgrade on alternator to 120 A

    You need a high performance system that can store energy quickly in a lot of battery capacity. I often use 3 Deltecs and store close on 120Ah in less than 2 hours.
    Oversize everything especially cables and connections.

    Read attached article from where you can make your own sums
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  3. #102
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    Default Re: 2 year solo 4x4 africa exploration

    First on vehicle choice.

    Single cab you can load the most, even put a camper on. If not a camper, yhen you have ample nooks and crannys to store enough fuel, water and equipment.

    Dc you have the luxury of a dust proof space when you remove the back seats and build a drawer system

    Wagon [my choice] you have the whole vehicle dust proof and fairly secure. The more space means you have more space for rubbish.

    Priority.

    In no order, batteries, charger/ regulator, solar and inverter.

    Decent dry bed and comfort- RTT or pop up tent, then a very decent matress and stretcher, chair, awning

    Refridgeration, 120l dual fridge. Stay with NL or Engel.

    Secure storage- protect your equipment from wondering eyes and itchy hands.

    Bushmechanics-Sufficient tools, compressor, service components, emergency goodies, tyre repair, etc etc

    Recovery equipment-get decent stuff. I will definately have a winch if alone

    Water and fuel storage

    Dry rations for emergency.

    I have kitted a few vehicles for africa and it becomes very expensive very quickly.
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  5. #103
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    Default Re: 2 year solo 4x4 africa exploration

    Engel is the expert and his suggestion of the station wagon because it is dustproof is spot on. Dust is a major and debilitating problem.
    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.

  6. #104
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    Default Re: 2 year solo 4x4 africa exploration

    Quote Originally Posted by smcs View Post
    My deep gratitude and thanks to all of of you that replied - offering your knowledge and experience!

    To my mind, after vehicle choice and suspension, is the matter of tyres. I am going to skip this one because it will take us down more rabbit holes than there are in Southern Africa!

    So, my next question to those knowledgeable and experienced masters on the forum is about auxiliary vehicle power. This is probably the aspect I rate even above tyres and any other mechanical matters. It is critical to me. It is also probably, the aspect where I have the most experience and knowledge. Nevertheless, I never cease learning from the masters such as Fluffy, Eggie, Poen... and many others.

    Question:
    BlueNova 13V 154Ah (C10) 2kWh lithium (LiFePO4) utility / leisure battery

    For my purposes, with high demand on a daily basis, is this investment worth it? Alternatively, do I keep to what I know: 2 x Deltek 105 Ah Deep Cycle Lead Crystals. Powered through CTek DC2DC charger.

    (In all probability - I will be seeking an alternative DC2DC option. That choice is probably not directly pertinent to my question).

    Daily usage:

    • 40l Fridge (Waeco) set at 4 degrees C - day and night. Assume 30C ambient.
    • 60l Freezer (opened only once per day) (SnoMaster) set at -8 degrees C - day and night. Assume 30C ambient.
    • Several camera batteries/video batteries/video lights & batteries/drone batteries/ for daily charging (I cannot be precise at this time).
    • 2 x 15" MacbookPros - video downloads and editing - several hours per day.
    • Inverter for charging laptops and other possible limited AC charging requirements (1000W pure sine)
    • Mobile phone
    • iPad
    • Incidental LED camp lights (minimal).


    Lets assume a static camping position without alternator/DC2DC charging for 4 days. Solar panels of 200W to compliment at "average" sunshine levels and "average" efficiency for 6 hours p/d.
    I have not provided absolute current requirements. The unknowns are too broad and variable. Rather, I am looking for "gut-feel" broad responses and comments from those that are experienced - based on my supplied criteria.
    Those lithium batteries look pretty neat, but I would be wary. Not all DC2DC chargers can do lithium, and since few people have experience running them due to availability and cost you would be making an experiment of yourself.

    I'm sure I'm in the minority here, but I think you could consider reducing your freezer capacity. A single smaller fridge/freezer combo unit might suffice. This would result in less weight, less cost, and your battery and solar needs could also scale down. We did our admittedly shorter trip (3 months) with a 40 liter fridge and a 15liter drinks fridge in the cab, the smaller of which at the first sign of battery stress (like longer stays) we would just switch off. To me the need for a large freezer (and thus associated battery capacity and solar wattage) comes down to how much meat you eat and how often you provision.

    It's true that further up into Africa the ease of finding trustworthy meat sources gets harder, but basically the less meat you eat and the more vegetarian meals you mix in will stretch your supplies to span decent provisioning sources. Of course vegetarian can be a dirty word to some, but though my wife and I are omnivorous we have had many an excellent vegetarian meal in camp from the great produce that is very cheap and readily available along the way all over.

    Also you may be able to reduce your battery capacity if you only charge gadgets (laptops, phones, etc) off the inverter while driving. Inverters are hard on batteries, so if you only use them while driving (and therefore charging) you don't need to rely on solar and battery Ah to support that. If you are happy with a lot of batteries and a lot of solar then by all means, just a thought.

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  8. #105
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    Default Re: 2 year solo 4x4 africa exploration

    Quote Originally Posted by Stan Weakley View Post

    The only possible addition would be a vehicle-mounted caravan female "blue plug", wired so that a 220V feed to it would run all your electrical appliances and charge all your batteries. Also take along a very long lead and a "blue caravan'' male plug. We had this setup and it is amazing how many of the less rural campsites have 220V electricity that you can tap into if equipped to do so.
    I also pondering about this installion for a while now not willing cutting into the body work.

    Stan if I may ask , how did you install the female caravan plug?, did you install it on the body work or bumper which means cutting a square hole into it for installation, ( https://www.4x4direct.co.za/caravan-...box-black.html) or did you have a separate box attached to the eg bumper, or did you only use one of these (https://www.4x4direct.co.za/caravan-...er-16-amp.html)

    Did you install any brakers and earth leakage for safety?

    I normally run the electrical cord/lead between the door and body to have acces 220 V in the vehicle , pinching the electrical cord/lead . I'm looking for a more permanent solution like what you mentioning here.

    I normally carry a normal electrical lead/cord with the normal three point plug and a Fredlin caravan plug adapter like these https://www.outdoorwarehouse.co.za/p...n-plug-adaptor

    Thanks

  9. #106
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    Default Re: 2 year solo 4x4 africa exploration

    Quote Originally Posted by MonkeyPeeler View Post
    I also pondering about this installion for a while now not willing cutting into the body work.

    Stan if I may ask , how did you install the female caravan plug?, did you install it on the body work or bumper which means cutting a square hole into it for installation, Installed and seated onto the after-market rear bumper on the passenger side ( https://www.4x4direct.co.za/caravan-...box-black.html) Similar but not exactly the same as this, with a built-in mount or did you have a separate box attached to the eg bumper, or did you only use one of these (https://www.4x4direct.co.za/caravan-...er-16-amp.html)

    Did you install any brakers and earth leakage for safety? I did not do the installation myself, but there is earth leakage for safety

    I normally run the electrical cord/lead between the door and body to have acces 220 V in the vehicle , pinching the electrical cord/lead . I'm looking for a more permanent solution like what you mentioning here.

    I normally carry a normal electrical lead/cord with the normal three point plug and a Fredlin caravan plug adapter like these https://www.outdoorwarehouse.co.za/p...n-plug-adaptor Yes I have a lead with a three-prong plug on the one side and the female blue caravan plug on the other which I normally use. I also have a male adaptor as some camping electrical boards are not three-prong but blue plug caravan. If travelling beyond Southern Africa take a full set of plug adaptors including for British plugs in East Africa.

    Thanks

    I think it is important that the blue caravan plug does not only feed 220V to your freezers and other appliances, but also to charge all your batteries, crank and deep cycle and feeds to invertors, obviously via suitable intelligent
    chargers and management systems. I was dependant on the outfitters for those details.
    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. #107
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    Default Re: 2 year solo 4x4 africa exploration

    Thank you Stan for sharing your setup and advice .

    I was also thinking of installing my 25 Amp Ctek charger more permanenly in the engine bay with a seperate female caravan plug and cable in the front .

    Most of the time the charger is connected as the vehicle is not used daily, weekly or sometimes monthly and discharge of the main and auxilliary battery happens fairly quickly with some significant discharge within a week .

    Thanks again, will proceed with this installation in the near future.

  12. #108
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    Default Re: 2 year solo 4x4 africa exploration

    There is a neat little device called Battery guard made by Kemo(European) I got it from Communica. +- R300
    It is an adjustable cut-out on voltage. I set it 12.5 V and run the fridge through it. It then becomes a cooler box and the freezer can have all the reserve capacity for itself. I have it switching a decent 12 V relay that is normally open. The fridge draws more than 5 A and may stress the device.

    Ideally one should do the same for the freezer (At the battery low limit - Deltec about 12.1V ) as their cut-out levels are normally set too low and will destroy your batteries. (By the way these limits are adjustable on the newer Danfoss compressors !! If interested I can find the info for you)

    I run my invertor through a switched connection. This means it will only work when the ignition is on. My laptop and battery chargers are permanently connected and only draws power when the engine is running. The invertor can kill a battery in no time and I see you have a 1kW invertor. (That translates to a 12 V current in excess of 80A !)

    My Royal (Deltec) batteries last 8 years +. (I had one for 13 years)
    Last edited by Pieter de Waal; 2019/04/08 at 08:41 AM.

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  14. #109
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    Default Re: 2 year solo 4x4 africa exploration

    I was also thinking of installing my 25 Amp Ctek charger more permanenly in the engine bay with a seperate female caravan plug and cable in the front .


    Don't place the Ctek in the engine bay, its delicate and don't like heat!!! When I bought my Defender 22 yrs ago the previous owner had the Thompson airpump installed in the engine bay and I had no 2nd thoughts about it until I had to use it. Due to heat I could only pump 1 tyre when the pump auto kills to protect it self from over heating! Then I removed it and installed it underneath the driver seat and no longer have problems!

    I have 3 aux batteries in the vehicle but had a special alternator setup installed by "Plan My Power" which went bust a few years ago but never had a problem with the setup. My requirements were that the alternator have to charge 4 batteries: main and 3 Aux while game driving and it was met.

    Regarding freezer and fridges. I use (when going solo) two 52 ltr NL, one for deep freeze and one to keep veg and drinks (only water and maybe 2 beers per day) and maily without 220v only from my batteries. Been in the wild for more than 3 weeks without any kind of shop nearby! If stationed I use 2 85w solar panels to charge. They were the glass panels and heavy and replaced them with 2x100w lighter versions, not roll type (to expensive) Also try to recharge laptop and cameras while driving.

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  16. #110
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    Default Re: 2 year solo 4x4 africa exploration

    Hi Sean. With all this talk of electrical stuff I think you would be prudent to stash one of those small power packs (about size of a cigarette box) somewhere just in case you find you have no power to get the starter turning at some time. They're cheap and small yet pack enough of a punch to start tractors etc.
    Last edited by B Murr; 2019/04/12 at 05:40 PM.

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  18. #111
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    Default Re: 2 year solo 4x4 africa exploration

    Quote Originally Posted by B Murr View Post
    Hi Sean. With all this talk of electrical stuff I think you would be prudent to stash one of those small power packs (about size of a cigarette box) somewhere just in case you find you have no power to get the starter turning at some time. They're cheap and small yet pack enough of a punch to start tractors etc.
    Best R2000.00 you will spend - these also double up as USB back up / charging power for satphones, mobile phones, camera's and with newer laptops you're able to run / charge the machine off these Power Units.
    I run a USB fan off it at night in the really hot & humid areas then charge it up whilst driving the next day.
    Shop around as various makes have different sets of adapters and plugs.
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  20. #112
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    Default Re: 2 year solo 4x4 africa exploration

    Oreo, sorry to say but you can not charge DSLR camera batteries with that device, only "point and shoot" type cameras that allow you to use a usb cable! You need an inverter (12v to 220v and best to use pure sinewave but I did use a 400w modified sinewave successfully and mostly while vehicle is moving) to charge your DSLR batteries!

  21. #113
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    Default Re: 2 year solo 4x4 africa exploration

    Quote Originally Posted by opsafari View Post
    Oreo, sorry to say but you can not charge DSLR camera batteries with that device, only "point and shoot" type cameras that allow you to use a usb cable! You need an inverter (12v to 220v and best to use pure sinewave but I did use a 400w modified sinewave successfully and mostly while vehicle is moving) to charge your DSLR batteries!
    You can and I do charge my Canon 1D batteries with my power bank ... as I said choose the unit that best suits your needs and equipment as there are multiple options wrt adapters & plugs that come with various makes and models.
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    Last edited by Oreo; 2019/04/16 at 10:15 AM.
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  22. #114
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    Default Re: 2 year solo 4x4 africa exploration

    I'm not a vehicle expert, my opinion for what it's worth, look for a Troopy.
    With a Troopy you'll have plenty of space and everything can be inside which will be a lot safer and then the issue of dust is also largely sorted.
    With the Troopy you can even build your bed inside so then you don't need the RTT.

    On the electrical.
    Yes I would say a Lifeypo4 battery like the BlueNova 2 KW is a great idea. Others suggested you should carry up to 4 traditional lead acid batteries, but this will take up a lot of space and weight.
    The Bluenova 2KW battery will basically give you the same capacity as 4 traditional lead acids but it is much lighter and will take up much less space. Those batteries also have a much higher cycle life than lead acids, so it will last a lot longer.

    Considering a 2 - 3 year trip, say you discharge your batteries to 50% each and every day a lead acid will give you around 700 cycles, call it 2 years then they are shot.
    On the other hand, the Bluenova batteries will give you around 4000 cycles if only discharged to 50%, that's over 10 years if used every day so they will be able to take a continuous hammering and still last for years.

    You'll need a compatible charging system and also solar, 2, 3, even 400W of solar panels depending on space.
    Install a DC/DC charger but also a solenoid for backup and learn how to wire your aux battery up to the solenoid in case you have issues with the DC/DC. Same with your solar controller, take along a spare, a cheap PWM controller should do the trick as a spare in case of emergency.
    I don't drink water, unless it's been through a brewery first.
    You probably heard people saying Africa is not for sissies. Well, neither is it for wussy equipment.
    Man who dies with most gear wins!

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  24. #115
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    Default Re: 2 year solo 4x4 africa exploration

    A great number of people gave their inputs and by the end of the day SMCS has to buy a Unimog for his trips! Let’s go back to SMCS first entry to this forum:

    1/ I am planning an extended (1, 2, 3, or 4 year) overland journey across and through Southern Africa – and probably further north. I am single and 64 years old (or about, I think). Currently living in Johannesburg.

    One little problem SMCS is time you can spend in any given country! As far as I know you can only spend max 3 months in any African country with a tourism visa or stamp in your passport! So you will have to be moving a bit. Age is not a big issue as long as you are fit and body able. Loneliness can be a problem every now and then as you don’t have someone with you to share daily activities! I know, pent 3 months in Namibia followed by a month in Botswana solo before returning to JHB and my wife. Already planning a follow-up journey, again solo as my wife does like the remote destinations but not the roads I travel! Communications are via wifi whenever that is available. Currently doing a Ham Radio course so that I can communicate via HF, VHF and UHF if I experiencing problems as Sat phones are to expensive. Otherwise being solo you can do what you want and when you want!

    2/I am a photographer and videographer by profession. Photography and videography will form a major part of my explorations.

    I’ve been a Video Editor for 40 odd years mostly in the Broadcasting environment. Do have experience being a director, cameraman, soundman and lighting. Been involved working on musicals, documentaries, commercials, promotions and sport. Naturally bought a video camera before the digital age but found editing footage a major problem if you did have access to pro equipment! But digital changed that completely and now you can edit on a powerful laptop somewhere in the wild! I gave up on video and concentrating now on photography but people are pushing me to capture my travels on video as well!

    3/ I will hopefully very shortly be buying my ideal vehicle for this extended expedition. (Within my budget and specific requirements).

    Budget is the main issue here and you only have one vehicle available for your African Adventures and that is the Toyota Land Cruiser (I use a Defender 110 Tdi as I bought it 23 yrs ago. Now kitted as my adventure vehicle and can carry 3 people if needed. My other vehicle is a Pajero Sport 3,2 for towing my bushvan with my wife on more smoother roads!

    4/ CHOSEN VEHICLE: 79 Series Land Cruiser 1Hz 4.2-liter diesel engines. (Hopefully new – or alternatively, with low kms) First Question for the Forum: Single cab or Dual cab?

    SMCS, if you can get a low km 2nd hand vehicle, go for it (budget wise) and I will go for a double cab. The front seats are for you and a possible passenger or guide. Remove the backseats and install drawer systems for your cameras on the driver side and in the center so will in the vehicle you can access some of your cameras. The other side will be for clothing. The drawer system must not be higher than the bottom of the windows and hopefully they are remote controlled, making it easier for shooting from the driver’s seat when necessary. The drawer system must be level so that you can place a matrass on top for an emergency bed if your direct environment is flooded!

    4.1. 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). This is a wise option or maybe a single carrier and another spare wheel on the roof. Your choice. Seen many double carriers in Africa and in difficult regions and the guys had no problems. Just make sure you have strong recovery points and highlift jack points.

    4.2. I won’t be dragging anything behind me. Just make sure you do have a proper towbar and connections you might help others.

    4.3. I will be mounting a Bushtec canopy over the load bay with a RTT. I’m not a RTT fan, yes it is sometimes comfortable but I removed mine as it became an issue when I want to drive off quickly to shoot something early in the morning. The Land Cruiser is a long vehicle and if the Bushtec canopy is the same height as the double cab rove you can add two roof racks and pitch a 2,1x2,1 guide bow tent on top (I did it occasionally in CKGR). I much prefer to sleep on the ground! But maybe pack two tents like I do, a bigger 2,5 x 2, 5 bow tent provides space for a small camp table and director’s chair so you can transfer data from cameras to laptop in some shade environment or work will the outside weather is foul!

    4.4. Fuel Range is obviously a significant priority. Jerry Cans on the roof to be avoided if I can. By installing a bigger upright fuel and water tank inside the canopy makes a lot of sense might be even cheaper to add additional fuel tank underneath the chassis. I will still use one fuel and one water jerry can.

    4.5. Expensive photographic equipment must to be secured/protected as best as possible. As mentioned a drawer system behind the driver seat with lots of foam to protect gear.

    4. 6. If a Dual Cab – the rear seats will be removed and a base installed for securing camera equipment in hardened cases. Already covered.

    Regarding to other equipment. Refrigeration. Being away off the beaten tracks your vehicle becomes your home and being away for days like in the Kaokoland where there are no shops other than liquor shacks you need to carry all your foodstuff. I use two National Luna 52 liter freezer/fridge’s I bought over a period of time. If I have to buy new again it will be a 40 liter fridge and 52 liter freezer. I still have (and still working) an early Engel Swing Motor fridge, very power hungry and the walls far too thin. Also have a Snowmaster in my bushvan and have no complaints but I still prefer using the National Luna product. Once the deep freezer is in operation it does not use that much battery power and you can precook food and keep it frozen, same for meat. As a single person you will be use a lot less meat than couples and I discovered that I tend to eat less in the wilderness too! I like a good whiskey with ice when I reached my campsite before preparing food and then a glass of cold white wine with my meal. Cold bear or two during the day if needed and the rest of the fridge space for butter, fresh vegs and what have you!

    To provide power to these fridges, lights and computer work you will need additional batteries and an inverter (12v – 220v) This used to be a minefield and so many people will comment on this but it has become much easier but still expensive! I’ve used so many various products before Victorn products crossed my track. My Land Rover has a complicated alternator charging system originally supplied by “Plan-My-Power” years ago (no longer in the business) which was designed to charge the main battery and two additional deep cycle batteries at game drive speed. Still working like a charm. But I was looking for a DC to DC system for the Pajero and my brother gave me a CTEK D250s Dual as a birthday gift.

    Have not installed it but tested the solar side of it at home to charge the battery for one of my Luna fridges that I use as a bar fridge when not in the wilderness. Hooked up an ACDC portable 130 watt panels (bought a few yrs ago as my first solar panels) and was not that impressed with its charging capabilities! Before my brother gave it to me I bought a Victron Smartsolar 20Amp regulater and tested it and it’s by far a better product as a solar regulator! It charges faster and it has a built-in wifi app so you can check from your camping chair how much power is going into the battery and how much the fridge is drawing!

    Inside the Landy I have a 400 Watt modified sinewave invertor to charge my camera batteries which I usually do when I am on the move. It does work well charging my laptop as well but I’ve discovered that the laptop charger becomes very hot due to the modified sinewave and decided to change to pure sinewave and bought a Victron 1,2K invertor/charger.

    Very handy when you have 220 volt available at campsites! The separate solar regulator will be used with solar panels when no 220 is available. Personally I use 3x 100 watt flexi solar panels on my home built bush trailer pointed to three directions; morning, mid and afternoon sun when I spend the day away from my camp. If I don’t use the trailer I place the solar panels either on the roof of the Landy or on the ground around my camp to charge the batteries when I am using 220 and never had a problem.

    But, batteries are a problem! Learnt and still learning an expensive exercise! Because I use two deep cycles in the vehicle I never really looked after them! Once back at home you should use these batteries either to power 12volt security lights or power your 12volt fridges, they must work and be charged otherwise you soon need to buy two new ones! I am currently looking to get two new and the same type of batteries before I venture off again and this time it need to be more of use to me. When back at home I will use it to power my desktop pc, so the invertor will need to be removed from the Landy to my office, and solar panels on the roof to charge the batteries! To charge individual batteries once 220v is available I use a CTEK ZAFIR.100 charger which I bought years ago as a MAKRO special and very happy.

    Lithium batteries might be the option to go but they are expensive and are slightly lighter than AGM. For my purposes I will need two 100Ah batteries and not one large one due to packing space inside my Landy. As far as I know you can not connect 2 lithium batteries in series but with AGM you can. Why would I want to connect in series? Once deep in the Kaokoland broke the hub that is connected to the back side shaft thus no more 4x4! Did had welding rods with me and connected the two deep cycles in series and welded the parts together and I am back safe at home! You can email or visit Victron at Kyasand for advice, they are very helpful people. Victron also sells DC to DC chargers and my humble opinion they are far better than CTEK as I here to many problems from users (not always published!)

    I don’t like cold showers therefore I bought a Karibo gas geyser that also acts as a cooker top. Bought a 12 volt shower unit, made additional plastic pipes and heat water in a blue jerry can before my shower. Takes less than 20mins for a lekker hot shower either in the open or a pop-up shower cubicle. I use 2x 7kg gas bottles and they last a long time. Welded a small standing grid that fits into a Wolf crate for braai and to cook on fire no longer to search for big rock to make your braai grid level over the coals and sturdy for pots and ketel.

    For lighting around the campsite you can use LED but once I am enjoying my meal or just thinking about my day’s adventures I like the light from a paraffin lamp! The paraffin lamp is packed into a purpose made wooden case to protect the glass. Also very handy are bright and small LED bars (6 LEDs) that I’ve mounted on the side of the roof rack, great to light up your campsite when you arrive after sunset! Also two LED work lights at the tail end of the roof rack especially handy when you have to reverse at night. The vehicles reverse light is fairly useless in the bush and I connected the wiring to the two top LED worklights. Very very handy! LED lights for your tent.

    Being a photographer and videographer you might need some portable lights as well. Once photographed the inside of a cave with some LED lights connected to a small 7Ah battery and it was wonderful but the battery was too small. Bought some bigger 7Ahx2 to give me a bit longer lighting time as these batteries are very cheap at the China Malls and light enough to pack into a rucksack. Placing my home made lights onto cheap tripods and I am a happy shooter. Yes, the LED’s are not RGBW but it does not matter for digital raw but might be a colour temperature problem for video however colour correction is so much easier now in the digital domain!

    Back to the vehicle. You will need a highlift jack as well as a bottle jack. If you need to change or work underneath the vehicle you can use the bottle jack to jack up the axle if on level and solid ground, much easier than using a highlift. I will invest in an air jack for just peace of mind. Once got stuck in mud and it took me 5 hrs to get myself out with a highlifter. A winch would not have worked as there was no big rock or a tree nearby and forget about digging a tyre in the mud as an anchor, I needed to revers and not going forward! However, my wife forced me to install a heavy duty winch just for peace of mind and so far never used it, once where tempted to recover a fellow 4x4 but decided to use the tow strap instead and he came out easily. Also very handy are dogfood bags especially the 20 – 25 kg bags. You can use it to fill it with sand for recovering or for storing wood you collect along the road.

    A good air pump with heavy duty wiring and 30 Amp fuse. Comprehensive toolkit with spanners and sockets and various screw drivers for vehicle and for cameras (tripods as well) A working blanket to lay on when you do roadside repairs not only for you but to keep tools clean and to stop nuts and bolts disappearing in soft sand!

    A bushbar in front is a must for Africa with additional driving lights what we call spots but no solid long LED bar in the middle as these are illegal in all African countries! Yes two shorter ones on the far sides of the bushbar but I will rather go for proper designed spotlights which can be LED.

    A comprehensive First Aid kit with input from your doctor and knowledge how to use it! I pack a few bottles of off the shelf coughing mixtures for colds which came very handy. Also pack stuff to treat yourself from insect bites and especially ticks. Once sat underneath a tree on the sand and that night discovered I was covered with many ticks! Whiskey helped to remove the ticks and fortunately did not have tick bite fever! So, visit your doctor and get advice what to pack and also consult the pharmacist.

    At least one oil change fresh oil and clean containers to drain oil into. Here I use old plastic oil containers, first I clean it out with petrol then wash it with Sunlight soap and keep the mix in the container for a week, rinse it with clean water and then add a teaspoon of Milton with 5 liters of clean water and let it stand for a week. Then a rinse again then fill it with drinking water for the road. If I have to do an oil change in the bush, I have a funnel and a container for the old oil!

    A very handy item is a solid groundsheet 4m x 6m. Many uses but very handy to providing shade if you staying longer at a site. Get 2 tent poles and plenty of road and pegs. For short stay shade or rain cover tie one side to the roof rack and place two tent poles on the other side and anchor it to the ground. For longer stay shade make a A-frame shade and you will be a happy camper!

    Lastly, make bags for all the loose end stuff and don’t trust plastic bags! So much easier to store and pack not only do they keep the stuff clean and together but you are much more organized! I recently bought a industrial sewing machine as I got tired sewing thick canvas by hand!

    You are welcome to pay me a visit if you need more advice or just a chat, I am in Roodepoort.

    I know this is a fairly long reply but as I am also getting ready for another 3-4 months trip and also helping another guy kitting his vehicle (ex-film camera man) I thought I would give some advice.

    Plan plan plan, not only on the vehicle but also the routes you want to travel!

    Stephan

  25. The Following 6 Users Say Thank You to opsafari For This Useful Post:


  26. #116
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    Default Re: 2 year solo 4x4 africa exploration

    Paraffin lamps - brings back memories!
    Nothing like the ambience. LED's are no match.
    Real bush camping!

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

  27. #117
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    Default Re: 2 year solo 4x4 africa exploration

    Quote Originally Posted by opsafari View Post
    A great number of people gave their inputs and by the end of the day SMCS has to buy a Unimog for his trips! Let’s go back to SMCS first entry to this forum:

    Plan plan plan, not only on the vehicle but also the routes you want to travel!

    Stephan
    This is the most practical advice so far. There is very little that I can add from my experience. (I got some good tips for myself) This is all good stuff.

    Thanks Stephan, I am sure there are a lot of people that can get great value from this post.

  28. #118
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    Default Re: 2 year solo 4x4 africa exploration

    Thanks Stephan. Very valuable input and clearly, we think quite similarly!

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  30. #119
    Join Date
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    Default Re: 2 year solo 4x4 africa exploration

    Well, finally I have made a decision!

    Here is my new vehicle of choice.

    Now, the transformation begins...

    My deep gratitude to all forum members that have input in helping me reach this decision. Thank you!
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Last edited by smcs; 2019/05/14 at 06:54 PM.

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  32. #120
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    Default Re: 2 year solo 4x4 africa exploration

    Congrats! Excellent choice! I would have picked the same vehicle.
    Toyota RAV4
    Chevrolet Utility

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