Bushlore CruCam and modifications





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  1. #1
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    Smile Bushlore CruCam and modifications

    In planning stage for a 20 month +/- trip throughout southern and east Africa. The vehicle will be our home and hence need to get this part right. (note: We currently use a 2003 Toyota 4 runner to get where going in North America and love it, but it only gets us to the start of the trip). Also we love the road less traveled so intend to spend most of the time in the African bush and need a capable vehicle and one that is easily maintained and repaired. Given the difficulties for a foreigner to resister a vehicle in RSA with a tourist visa, it looks like buying it through Bushlore is one of the routes to achieve this. Of the Toyota Bushlore vehicles, the 2 person CruCAM with RRT and kitted out looks like it would be the best of their options for us (pdf of the vehicle specs attached). We would down payment in March 2021 and pickup in early August. During that time would arrange for any further changes or addons that are identified. Likely to get the used vehicle at the lower end of mileage spectrum, say 100,000 km, and would not be surprised if we add another 100,000 km by the time we (my wife and I) are done. To that end I have so many questions but am working from the following assumptions based on research to date (note that I will not be able to see it in person until arrival in RSA) . The Toyota Landcruiser 70 is up to the task of the intended travel. The Bushlore stated excellent vehicle support through the Toyota dealer representatives is true. The added overland kit is using high quality components that are in good condition to withstand the rigors of continuous 20 month use. so looking or input on this choice and kitting out further.

    (1) Any concerns about obtaining/purchasing the vehicle from Bushlore. There are ew accounts on the internet re this or in the forum. They apparently sell many vehicles this way. Most information on Bushlore kitted vehicles are how wonderful they are. However in most cases this is likely for only a for a few weeks up to a few months of use so any shortcoming are not that impactful.

    (2) Of the Bushlore choices, we have gravitated to the CruCam as it is optimally kitted for 2 people so more storage space. The RTT is hard shell so it is quicker to setup-take down which we will do many 100's of times being on the road for 500-600 days. The RTT is also accessed from inside and we see that as a good layout in some camp situations from a privacy standpoint. It has external shower kit when a facility is not available and a inside chemicals toilet for the Ms. in the night when bad weather or camped out in some wild environments (i.e wildlife roaming about the camp is one scenario). Has 2 Engel refrigeration units and the 270 degree awning which we like. Concern is mainly about space, is there enough and how can it be increased. Need sufficient shelving/work counters on the outside that are easy to setup/takedown and I don't think any are include in this kit. Any comments welcome on this choice.

    I have many questions but for the time being here are a few.

    (3) More environmental protection while in camp. There is the 270 degree awning. Probably enough in many situations but if in a rain day(s) in camp, windy, or both is that enough. Also wondering about those occasions of heavy mossies or Tsetse fly, etc where screening is useful. In North America out in mountains on horse pack trips or running rivers for weeks at a time we bring either large tarps or self standing screen houses. Wondering if we need to have something in this regard. It is not clear yet whether there is a attachment to some portion of the 270 degree awning from Alu-cab, and if there is, how easy to set up, how effective and how bulky to store. It does have advantages when attached to the vehicle as access to everything that entails. Another option is a free standing screen house that provides rain/wind/insect protection when needed, and which we have use extensively ourselves. Would obtain this in RSA. Probably weighs in the area of 15-20 kilos. Concern for for either options is storage and not likely to be used all that often ( but don't know...). Also the freestanding can be left up when on a day drive from a multi day camp were as anything that attaches to the 270 awning must be disassembled to do that. hard choice.

    (4) Roof top storage. There is none on this kit but assume that this is readily available. I see many photos of the RRT having a storage rack at the front end on top. I think this space would be helpful such as for the item discussed in question 3, jerry cans..will I need any, and other items not frequently needed. Is there a drawback to using this on a RRT? Does it effect the use of the RRT, put a lot of stress on it, ( the struts) Any feel for how much weight in the cargo rack is ok?

    Going to cut it off at this point so as not to discourage anyone form reading it.
    Many many thanks for any input in advance, very much appreciated. I did post a further bit in the new members forum.
    Bud
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    Default Re: Bushlore CruCam and modifications

    Bud3, this will be the experience of a lifetime and I hope it will be everything you dreamed of.

    The choice of vehicle is good, the Bushlore units are thoughtfully designed and should meet all your needs. Be aware though that the 6 cylinder diesel is naturally aspirated and is a slow vehicle.
    Marais Viljoen

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Bushlore CruCam and modifications

    Bud3, to answer question 4, you should not plan on loading heavy items on the roof of the camper. Iirc, the load limit is 40 kg or somewhere in that range. The vehicle does have 2 90 litre tanks which should be sufficient and availability of diesel is generally not a problem. But, if you do need to carry jerry cans, it should not be on the roof.
    Marais Viljoen

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  5. #4
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    Default Re: Bushlore CruCam and modifications

    Thank you SAJeep. I have read that about the land cruiser though not a vehicle guy so not aware of when the engine limits would be come evident (the types of situations). Glad to hear that the tanks hold enough fuel. Don't have a route thought through so don't know if there are some potential route's where more gas could be needed. See many photos with jerry cans on the roof! Figure bulky but lightweight items coudl be on the roof rack if I add add one.

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    Default Re: Bushlore CruCam and modifications

    [QUOTE=Bud3;4528889]Thank you SAJeep. I have read that about the land cruiser though not a vehicle guy so not aware of when the engine limits would be come evident (the types of situations). ]

    It will be mostly highway travel and going uphill where you will feel that you can not maintain highway speed. Other than that you will be ok.
    Marais Viljoen

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    Default Re: Bushlore CruCam and modifications

    Quote Originally Posted by SAJeep View Post
    Bud3, this will be the experience of a lifetime and I hope it will be everything you dreamed of.

    The choice of vehicle is good, the Bushlore units are thoughtfully designed and should meet all your needs. Be aware though that the 6 cylinder diesel is naturally aspirated and is a slow vehicle.
    It might be slow and weak wrt highway applications but that engine is really bullet proof and you can probably put any type of oil resembling diesel in it.
    Plus your parts availability should not be an issue at all as well as mechanics with vehicle knowledge.
    Current - 2009 Mazda BT50 3.0CRDi 4x4 d/c
    Previous - 2005 Ranger 2.5 tdi 4x2 d/c (277 422km)

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    Default Re: Bushlore CruCam and modifications

    Hi Bud,
    Bushlore vehicles are good - well looked after, serviced after every hire and pretty well equipped. They'd be my first choice if I was in the market for a replacement vehicle. The kit provided is well researched, and tried and tested, and you shouldn't need to buy anything else.
    The 4.2l diesel engine is the workhorse of Africa, relatively slow (but slow is relative anyway, once you're off the highways), but with plenty of lowdown torque for offroad, and utterly reliable. In the unlikely event of something going wrong, they are one of the only engines you will be able to have repaired just about anywhere - every bush mechanic knows his or her way around the 4.2.
    You won't need extra fuel tanks unless you are planning a seriously remote trip - 180l is one helluva lot of fuel, the max I have ever carried on a seriously remote trip was 200l total and my vehicle is heavier on gas than the 4.2. I've never come close to running dry. If you really need extra fuel, use steel jerry cans inside the vehicle and lash them securely - diesel stinks, but it's not an instantly flammable fire hazard like petrol.
    The awning provided is perfectly adequate, anthing more would be overkill. If you are in strong winds, make sure you add some tie down straps or guy ropes to the extremities to prevent frame damage.
    Last edited by Tony Weaver; 2020/11/29 at 11:50 PM.
    Tony Weaver

    1991 Land Rover 110 Hi-Line S/W 3.5l V8 carburettor
    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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    Default Re: Bushlore CruCam and modifications

    Tony, thank you much for that detail, much appreciated! I see your name mentioned on the forums so I can see you get about quite a bit.
    Your comments re the awning and other aspects are helpful. In North America the mossies and common back fly can drive a person crasy, so I take it you don't have the problem much in the African bush.

    Bud

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    Default Re: Bushlore CruCam and modifications

    Quote Originally Posted by Bud3 View Post
    In North America the mossies and common back fly can drive a person crasy, so I take it you don't have the problem much in the African bush.
    Nothing like black flies - having spent time flyfishing some of the lakes in Canada, I never want to experience black flies again. Tsetse flies are bad in miombo woodland areas, if you are mainly in southern Africa, you will mainly encounter them in Zambia and Zimbabwe in parks like Kafue. They have a very nasty bite and in rare cases, can cause sleeping sickness (trypanosomiasis). They are attracted to dark colours and moving vehicles (especially ones that look buffalo or elephant!) so khaki is the best colour clothing, both as a non-attractant, and for blending into the bush when walking.
    Mosquitoes can be very bad if you camp near standing water, but not the kind of swarms you get in North America - the real danger is malaria, and whatever you may have heard or read to the contrary, it is absolutely essential that you take prophylaxis for malarial areas (in South Africa, only the very far north eastern coast of KwaZulu-Natal and the Kruger Park in summer). But just about everywhere else in Africa is malarial all year round and it is a killer.
    Mozitec is the generic that we use and it is freely available over the counter at pharmacies without prescription. It is close to 100% effective if taken correctly (ie daily at the same time each day or night). Tabard or Peaceful Sleep are the two brands of aerosol repellent that work really well, high proportion of Deet in them.
    I'm assuming you won't be brining too much gear with you, so if you want to check out what's available locally, look at the websites of Outdoor Warehouse, Cape Union Mart, and Camp & Climb, which are three of the bigger outfitters. Outdoor Warehouse is a chain that has stores in just about every major centre, Cape Union Mart has really good clothing and limited hiking and camping gear, but Camp & Climb (who only have a few stores) have the best gear by far. There are also plenty of smaller specialist shops around, especially in Cape Town and Johannesburg. In Namibia, Cymot is good, and both Windhoek and Gaborone in Botswana have reasonable gear available. Don't count on getting any specialist gear outside of South Africa.
    Last edited by Tony Weaver; 2020/12/01 at 12:29 AM.
    Tony Weaver

    1991 Land Rover 110 Hi-Line S/W 3.5l V8 carburettor
    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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  14. #10
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    Default Re: Bushlore CruCam and modifications

    Quote Originally Posted by Bud3 View Post
    In planning stage for a 20 month +/- trip throughout southern and east Africa. The vehicle will be our home and hence need to get this part right. (note: We currently use a 2003 Toyota 4 runner to get where going in North America and love it, but it only gets us to the start of the trip). Also we love the road less traveled so intend to spend most of the time in the African bush and need a capable vehicle and one that is easily maintained and repaired. Given the difficulties for a foreigner to resister a vehicle in RSA with a tourist visa, it looks like buying it through Bushlore is one of the routes to achieve this. Of the Toyota Bushlore vehicles, the 2 person CruCAM with RRT and kitted out looks like it would be the best of their options for us (pdf of the vehicle specs attached). We would down payment in March 2021 and pickup in early August. During that time would arrange for any further changes or addons that are identified. Likely to get the used vehicle at the lower end of mileage spectrum, say 100,000 km, and would not be surprised if we add another 100,000 km by the time we (my wife and I) are done. To that end I have so many questions but am working from the following assumptions based on research to date (note that I will not be able to see it in person until arrival in RSA) . The Toyota Landcruiser 70 is up to the task of the intended travel. The Bushlore stated excellent vehicle support through the Toyota dealer representatives is true. The added overland kit is using high quality components that are in good condition to withstand the rigors of continuous 20 month use. so looking or input on this choice and kitting out further.

    (1) Any concerns about obtaining/purchasing the vehicle from Bushlore. There are ew accounts on the internet re this or in the forum. They apparently sell many vehicles this way. Most information on Bushlore kitted vehicles are how wonderful they are. However in most cases this is likely for only a for a few weeks up to a few months of use so any shortcoming are not that impactful.

    (2) Of the Bushlore choices, we have gravitated to the CruCam as it is optimally kitted for 2 people so more storage space. The RTT is hard shell so it is quicker to setup-take down which we will do many 100's of times being on the road for 500-600 days. The RTT is also accessed from inside and we see that as a good layout in some camp situations from a privacy standpoint. It has external shower kit when a facility is not available and a inside chemicals toilet for the Ms. in the night when bad weather or camped out in some wild environments (i.e wildlife roaming about the camp is one scenario). Has 2 Engel refrigeration units and the 270 degree awning which we like. Concern is mainly about space, is there enough and how can it be increased. Need sufficient shelving/work counters on the outside that are easy to setup/takedown and I don't think any are include in this kit. Any comments welcome on this choice.

    I have many questions but for the time being here are a few.

    (3) More environmental protection while in camp. There is the 270 degree awning. Probably enough in many situations but if in a rain day(s) in camp, windy, or both is that enough. Also wondering about those occasions of heavy mossies or Tsetse fly, etc where screening is useful. In North America out in mountains on horse pack trips or running rivers for weeks at a time we bring either large tarps or self standing screen houses. Wondering if we need to have something in this regard. It is not clear yet whether there is a attachment to some portion of the 270 degree awning from Alu-cab, and if there is, how easy to set up, how effective and how bulky to store. It does have advantages when attached to the vehicle as access to everything that entails. Another option is a free standing screen house that provides rain/wind/insect protection when needed, and which we have use extensively ourselves. Would obtain this in RSA. Probably weighs in the area of 15-20 kilos. Concern for for either options is storage and not likely to be used all that often ( but don't know...). Also the freestanding can be left up when on a day drive from a multi day camp were as anything that attaches to the 270 awning must be disassembled to do that. hard choice.

    (4) Roof top storage. There is none on this kit but assume that this is readily available. I see many photos of the RRT having a storage rack at the front end on top. I think this space would be helpful such as for the item discussed in question 3, jerry cans..will I need any, and other items not frequently needed. Is there a drawback to using this on a RRT? Does it effect the use of the RRT, put a lot of stress on it, ( the struts) Any feel for how much weight in the cargo rack is ok?

    Going to cut it off at this point so as not to discourage anyone form reading it.
    Many many thanks for any input in advance, very much appreciated. I did post a further bit in the new members forum.
    Bud
    My wife and I are American and purchased a Land Cruiser from Bushlore in 2017, so I hope I can offer a few helpful comments. Our experience with them was painless and smooth. Good communication, questions answered via email before arrival. Buying a car sight unseen is unnerving, but I think by buying through them you get as good an assurance as you can get that you won't be sold a lemon, and it comes (or ours did anyway) with a 30 day warranty if you miss something on the inspection along with unofficial support after that.

    We purchased ours with 165,000km. We now have ~215,000 and have had to do some work on the vehicle, but I don't hold this against Bushlore. There is a reason after all why they are selling around this milage, that is around the time some things start to wear.

    Our leaf springs were pretty tired and needed replacing. After making it up as far as Tanzania we needed to replace two shocks, an oil seal and re-bush the radius arms. Also we had a teeny fire (sounds bad when you type that) due to electrical chafing of the fridge on the dreaded Serengeti road. I have a blog post about that if you're interested, follow the link in my signature.

    The various repairs do add up, but that is just life on the road in Africa in a heavy vehicle getting heavy use. Make sure you budget a bit for this. Maybe read Stan Weakley's Slow Donkey trip reports, he will also mention the need to budget for repairs, no matter how robust your vehicle is.

    The 4.2 1hz engine is perfect for Africa I think, but I am biased. It is true that it's slow, but outside South Africa and Namibia there are few places you can go fast anyway, and the low down grunt of the 4.2 along with it's simplicity and reliability offset the lack of speed for us. As Tony and others have said, the 4.2 is ubiquitous in Africa, so that is of course an advantage. When we stopped at the gate to the Serengeti and looked around I counted something like 25 4.2 land cruisers and 2 Defenders (one of which was broken) and thought to myself, "I think we picked the right vehicle." Not because it will necessarily be trouble free, but you'll have an easier time of managing those troubles that do arise.

    As for storage on top of the tent, I believe that is an AluCab product and you should be able to email them and ask what the RTT is rated for. On top of this you need to beware of overloading the roof for vehicle stability. We do carry 2x jerries on the roof, but only when we absolutely need the range, which is not that often. Note that Bushlore operates and sells vehicles with stock suspension. This is a hotly debated topic and you can read a lot about it. If you stick with the stock suspension you'll be driving near the vehicles GVM and that affects handling and what you can reasonably put on the roof. If you get aftermarket suspension you'll get better road feel, handling, and maybe a bit more confidence if you do put something on the RTT or a small roof rack, but at the cost of straying from stock, where if you have issues with your suspension you will have lost one of the key advantages of having a 70 series cruiser, the ubiquitous parts availability.

    After much agonizing and about 30,000km, we went with aftermarket suspension (sorry Tony!).

    AluCab makes a zip on "room" for that 270 awning. Rolled up it is quite large, heavy and expensive. Up to you to decide if you need it or not. We do not have one, but on occasion it'd be nice.

    I second Tony's thoughts on fuel. With 180 liters in tanks, unless you are going to tackle something really remote, that seems like you should have plenty of range. You can get jerry cans many places, so you can always just buy them if you need them for a particular section. We have been up to the Marienfluss twice with 170liters in essentially the same vehicle and had enough fuel, though not by a lot.
    Blog of our African travels: stuckinlowgear.com

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  16. #11
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    Default Re: Bushlore CruCam and modifications

    Also, if you join the Land Cruiser Club, there was a thread about buying from Bushlore not too long ago: https://www.landcruiserclub.co.za/fo...?f=104&t=83673
    Blog of our African travels: stuckinlowgear.com

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    Default Re: Bushlore CruCam and modifications

    CalDriver, Tony; Thanks to both for the additional information, you have brought up topics that Bushlore has raised or others.

    Bushlore mentioned they could add an additional leaf spring or two when I was asking about suspension mods, but not to replace with a non oem brand for the reasons that have been mentioned. At this point probably would take them up on that option though don't know if there is a downside to additional leafs..maybe too stiff?

    Re a screen house type structure as a take along seems like not a common item or needed in Africa. I think it could be that we will be living outside for such a long time (20 months) that I wanted some comfort from winds, blowing sand, rain, sun . If there was one item in the category of a nice to have in Africa for such a long trip, what would that be I wonder. In North America for me..its a screen house. weights maybe 22 lbs, set up in 10 mins and the horses carry it !

    Thanks Tony for mentioning all of the gear stores,, been on my list to search them out. Hope they have a online presence. Its true that we will be bring very little with us. Even most of our outdoor clothing is not suitable or needs to be replaced so hope to purchase in RSA.

    CalDriver, re your Bushlore vehicle, do you mind listing which one you have? Did you do any mods or add anything? I have some questions depending on which one you have. Could PM you or list them here. I will also check out your trip Report. Reading trip reports seems like a daily task for me, so many, so much. Hats off to those that do that. It is at least one thing I will contribute when I am there.

    Thanks again, the members here are great.

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    Default Re: Bushlore CruCam and modifications

    Not sure what RTT is on there - but if it were me, Id seriously look at switching it out for a bundutop. For that long, that many nights... 30 seconds to set up and take down, and the ability to leave all bedding inside, would be a very nice addition. We have a conqueror companion off-road caravan - fantastic product - but we do some trips where we move each day. The companion takes about an hour start to finish if the awnings and rain flies get deployed. So we got a bundutop and I built a drawer system for the d4. That caravan sits a lot now.

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    Default Re: Bushlore CruCam and modifications

    Thanks for confirming the choice! The CruCAM has the hardshell RRT ( the initial post has a Bushlore document as a attachment the details the kit). Though I would like the space of a full tent on the roof, as you say, it's a lot more work!

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    Default Re: Bushlore CruCam and modifications

    Quote Originally Posted by Bud3 View Post
    CalDriver, Tony; Thanks to both for the additional information, you have brought up topics that Bushlore has raised or others.

    Bushlore mentioned they could add an additional leaf spring or two when I was asking about suspension mods, but not to replace with a non oem brand for the reasons that have been mentioned. At this point probably would take them up on that option though don't know if there is a downside to additional leafs..maybe too stiff?

    Re a screen house type structure as a take along seems like not a common item or needed in Africa. I think it could be that we will be living outside for such a long time (20 months) that I wanted some comfort from winds, blowing sand, rain, sun . If there was one item in the category of a nice to have in Africa for such a long trip, what would that be I wonder. In North America for me..its a screen house. weights maybe 22 lbs, set up in 10 mins and the horses carry it !

    Thanks Tony for mentioning all of the gear stores,, been on my list to search them out. Hope they have a online presence. Its true that we will be bring very little with us. Even most of our outdoor clothing is not suitable or needs to be replaced so hope to purchase in RSA.

    CalDriver, re your Bushlore vehicle, do you mind listing which one you have? Did you do any mods or add anything? I have some questions depending on which one you have. Could PM you or list them here. I will also check out your trip Report. Reading trip reports seems like a daily task for me, so many, so much. Hats off to those that do that. It is at least one thing I will contribute when I am there.

    Thanks again, the members here are great.
    The additional leaf seems like a good compromise to me. You get a bit more load capacity, but are not modifying the original suspension in a way that will be difficult to repair when you are further north. There are cruisers modified for safari vehicles with extra suspension all over Africa, and therefore extra suspension/leafs is not as bit a deal as some other after market mods. Leaf springs are forgiving to bush repairs as well, as they can be welded or jerry rigged until you get to a bigger center if need be. Doubtful it'll be too stiff as your vehicle will be pretty heavily loaded. It's one thing if it's a farm bakkie that someone goes for a trip to Botswana once a year, then yes, the extra suspension can be too much when the vehicle is empty, but for a dedicated overland vehicle this is not an issue.

    Some may have fierce loyalty to a particular aftermarket suspension company (OME, Ironman, Dobinsons, etc), but don't forget that Land Cruiser 70 series are used unmodified all over Africa in the harshest conditions by NGOs, police, military and terrorists and non of them are complaining about how supple the ride is or whatever, and they are all getting a lot more done (for better or for worse!) than we are.

    Re: gear stores, no doubt as you go along you'll start to figure out what you wished you had got when you had access to RSA stores. Last stop, I think, for 4x4 accessories is Mudpackers/LA Sport in Lusaka. So if you really need some widget, you might luck out there. They are not as well stocked as many stores in South Africa, but they have quite a bit.

    Our vehicle is what Bushlore calls the CruC2, a double cab 79 series with one soft RTT. We picked it up and immediately headed off from Midrand to Namaqua, Cape Town, Lesotho, and finished at friends in the Free State, 4000kms later. The vehicle and kit were totally up to the task.

    Modifications have come in phases and have been mostly unnecessary luxuries. First round, after our just mentioned shakedown and before our trip to Kenya:
    -Alu Cab side prep table - this thing is stupid expensive for what it is, but is also awesome and crucial for us. I suspect your bushcamper will have something like this already built in. To not have to get the big table out for a quick coffee stop or whatever is critical.
    -Modified our kitchen box. There is a picture of how Bushlore equips their kitchen box, and we shuffled some stuff around. Namely hanging the silverware roll against the back so we didn't have to unroll and re roll it all the time (and where do you lie it down not in the dirt?). Much easier access our way.
    -Got a different stove. Ours came with the ones that screw right into the top of the cadac bottles, and in the wind it takes for ever to boil water, no heat retention whatsoever. The bushcamper also I belive doesn't have this problem.
    -Bought some maxtrax, ditched bushlore's rubber sand mats. We don't have a winch and wanted the better recovery boards, and maxtrax are also light and stow well. Expensive. Great for leveling the cruiser in camp too.
    -Bring a multimeter and some other tools. Bushlore provides a crappy but surprisingly useful tool kit, but we gave away about half of it and replaced it with more/better tools of our own. brought from USA, from Africa.
    -Bought new start and aux batteries before setting off on our big trip. The batteries it came with were in so-so condition, and we didn't want to deal with it further north.
    -We put in a 15liter fridge between the driver and passenger seats. I feel ridiculous about this, but cold drinks on the road are a super luxury and saves some space in our modest fridge in the back. Totally not necessary, but it is super nice. The mounting bracket for this also came with a "safe", a small lockable compartment underneath the fridge where we keep some cash and passports.
    -Installed the big country door pockets and visor shelf. The door pockets are awesome and always full of maps or guide books. The visor shelf has our binoculars and more books, but also could obscure vision slightly if you are tall. Also it is made of metal, and I have a suspicion that in a serious accident it is too close to forehead hight and could...lets say not contribute to your safety. To each their own on that front.

    Subsequent trips:
    -Got a $10 dollar folding heat shield for the stove off amazon. No idea how we made it to Kenya and back without this, cooking in the wind is now 1000% better. Again, fairly sure that the bushcamper stove has some sort of wind shield built in.
    -Got a folding plastic stool for cheap. They are about a foot high and collapse flat. This thing is amazing, and everyone in Africa owns one already. It is coffee table, side table, ottoman, step stool, side board...
    -Replaced the rear bumper. I see now that Bushlore is installing good dual wheel carriers, but our vehicle's came with one that was okay, but not nearly as nice as they can be and ours was failing a bit.
    -We replaced our RTT with a hardshell tent. The old tent was functional, the new tent is luxurious. You won't need to worry about this with the Bushcamper.
    -Hardwired our GPS, freeing up the cigaret plug in the cab for charging other things. Not critical, but super easy and a nice to have.
    -Fixed incessantly rattling table. I wish we had done this in the beginning, but our camp table rattled like a mo'fo' on bad roads (most of them) and I was constantly shoving rags here and there to try to shut it up. Should have done that like 30,000km ago.

    As you can see, not a lot of major mods, and what we did was our own elective and not required. But it's the little things that make extended time on the road enjoyable. On a five day camping trip you can put up with anything. On an extended trip, those little annoyances drive me crazy and need to be addressed. We now find the Cruiser so well kitted that we find it much more comfortable to wild camp in Africa than to go car camping near where we live in California.
    Blog of our African travels: stuckinlowgear.com

  23. #16
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    Default Re: Bushlore CruCam and modifications

    Quote Originally Posted by Bud3 View Post
    Thanks for confirming the choice! The CruCAM has the hardshell RRT ( the initial post has a Bushlore document as a attachment the details the kit). Though I would like the space of a full tent on the roof, as you say, it's a lot more work!

    Ha! Sorry - I missed that. I promise, I can actually read :-). Yeah, that looks very easy.

  24. #17
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    Default Re: Bushlore CruCam and modifications

    Quote Originally Posted by CalDriver View Post
    The additional leaf seems like a good compromise to me. You get a bit more load capacity, but are not modifying the original suspension in a way that will be difficult to repair when you are further north. There are cruisers modified for safari vehicles with extra suspension all over Africa, and therefore extra suspension/leafs is not as bit a deal as some other after market mods. Leaf springs are forgiving to bush repairs as well, as they can be welded or jerry rigged until you get to a bigger center if need be. Doubtful it'll be too stiff as your vehicle will be pretty heavily loaded. It's one thing if it's a farm bakkie that someone goes for a trip to Botswana once a year, then yes, the extra suspension can be too much when the vehicle is empty, but for a dedicated overland vehicle this is not an issue.

    Some may have fierce loyalty to a particular aftermarket suspension company (OME, Ironman, Dobinsons, etc), but don't forget that Land Cruiser 70 series are used unmodified all over Africa in the harshest conditions by NGOs, police, military and terrorists and non of them are complaining about how supple the ride is or whatever, and they are all getting a lot more done (for better or for worse!) than we are.

    Re: gear stores, no doubt as you go along you'll start to figure out what you wished you had got when you had access to RSA stores. Last stop, I think, for 4x4 accessories is Mudpackers/LA Sport in Lusaka. So if you really need some widget, you might luck out there. They are not as well stocked as many stores in South Africa, but they have quite a bit.

    Our vehicle is what Bushlore calls the CruC2, a double cab 79 series with one soft RTT. We picked it up and immediately headed off from Midrand to Namaqua, Cape Town, Lesotho, and finished at friends in the Free State, 4000kms later. The vehicle and kit were totally up to the task.

    Modifications have come in phases and have been mostly unnecessary luxuries. First round, after our just mentioned shakedown and before our trip to Kenya:
    -Alu Cab side prep table - this thing is stupid expensive for what it is, but is also awesome and crucial for us. I suspect your bushcamper will have something like this already built in. To not have to get the big table out for a quick coffee stop or whatever is critical.
    -Modified our kitchen box. There is a picture of how Bushlore equips their kitchen box, and we shuffled some stuff around. Namely hanging the silverware roll against the back so we didn't have to unroll and re roll it all the time (and where do you lie it down not in the dirt?). Much easier access our way.
    -Got a different stove. Ours came with the ones that screw right into the top of the cadac bottles, and in the wind it takes for ever to boil water, no heat retention whatsoever. The bushcamper also I belive doesn't have this problem.
    -Bought some maxtrax, ditched bushlore's rubber sand mats. We don't have a winch and wanted the better recovery boards, and maxtrax are also light and stow well. Expensive. Great for leveling the cruiser in camp too.
    -Bring a multimeter and some other tools. Bushlore provides a crappy but surprisingly useful tool kit, but we gave away about half of it and replaced it with more/better tools of our own. brought from USA, from Africa.
    -Bought new start and aux batteries before setting off on our big trip. The batteries it came with were in so-so condition, and we didn't want to deal with it further north.
    -We put in a 15liter fridge between the driver and passenger seats. I feel ridiculous about this, but cold drinks on the road are a super luxury and saves some space in our modest fridge in the back. Totally not necessary, but it is super nice. The mounting bracket for this also came with a "safe", a small lockable compartment underneath the fridge where we keep some cash and passports.
    -Installed the big country door pockets and visor shelf. The door pockets are awesome and always full of maps or guide books. The visor shelf has our binoculars and more books, but also could obscure vision slightly if you are tall. Also it is made of metal, and I have a suspicion that in a serious accident it is too close to forehead hight and could...lets say not contribute to your safety. To each their own on that front.

    Subsequent trips:
    -Got a $10 dollar folding heat shield for the stove off amazon. No idea how we made it to Kenya and back without this, cooking in the wind is now 1000% better. Again, fairly sure that the bushcamper stove has some sort of wind shield built in.
    -Got a folding plastic stool for cheap. They are about a foot high and collapse flat. This thing is amazing, and everyone in Africa owns one already. It is coffee table, side table, ottoman, step stool, side board...
    -Replaced the rear bumper. I see now that Bushlore is installing good dual wheel carriers, but our vehicle's came with one that was okay, but not nearly as nice as they can be and ours was failing a bit.
    -We replaced our RTT with a hardshell tent. The old tent was functional, the new tent is luxurious. You won't need to worry about this with the Bushcamper.
    -Hardwired our GPS, freeing up the cigaret plug in the cab for charging other things. Not critical, but super easy and a nice to have.
    -Fixed incessantly rattling table. I wish we had done this in the beginning, but our camp table rattled like a mo'fo' on bad roads (most of them) and I was constantly shoving rags here and there to try to shut it up. Should have done that like 30,000km ago.

    As you can see, not a lot of major mods, and what we did was our own elective and not required. But it's the little things that make extended time on the road enjoyable. On a five day camping trip you can put up with anything. On an extended trip, those little annoyances drive me crazy and need to be addressed. We now find the Cruiser so well kitted that we find it much more comfortable to wild camp in Africa than to go car camping near where we live in California.

    Wow Caldriver, really appreciate the time to summarize this information. As it looks like you were as new to Africa and 4x4 tripping when you started in 2017 as I am now, you know where I'm "at". I had a look at your blog and the first couple posts and I'll be back there for more. There are some significant differences between the CruC2 and the CrumCam, did you consider both?

    Getting to some specifics, in the cab, I am also trying to decide what to do with the space between the seats, whether to have a small fridge or secure/lockable storage. The CruCam has 2 x 40L refrigerators in the back, so probably don't "need" even more refrigerator space, but there is the convenience factor of having cold water at hand. I would like to consider the unit you have which has some lockable space and refrigeration, so a product name or link would be help me think about that further. Dieter has described that there is a visor shelf installed in the CruCam, though I have not had a picture yet. I like the detail you provided on the door pockets, that will be a definite add on. Not sure about anything for storage on the dashboard, I see some photos with vehicles with some type of vehicle length ( width of cab) cover with pockets, etc on the dash. That does seem like it would get in the way of view. (We ae both about 5'8" tall) so that is probably a wait and see. For the ever present camera and lenses, plan to use the small storage area up between the seats. We would like to bring a spotting scope with window mount and 2 pairs of bino's ( need to purchase one bino and the scope yet) . Perhaps the scope will be in the back storage unless we are doing game drives. But I can see where storing the camera/bion's/scope in the cab could be a problem, so need more details on the visor shelf. Did you keep a largish camera in the cab?..where? for electric power in the cab the CruCab has the 12V and 2xUSB. Like to hardwire the GPS. in the cab figure always having 2 cell phones and a GMP/nav unit powered. Also a portable speaker for playing music stored on the phones ( A roadtrip must have music!) unless the car stereo has bluetooth/wired connectivity to the phone. I need to check that further.

    Re the cooking/stoves, so the CruCam comes with a built in stove on the back, single burner. OK for a quirk use or single pot meal. We will be bring a jetboil for quickly making coffee, and would probably get a 2 burner coleman type stove for more elaborate meals. That stove would use the propane canisters that are mounted on the unit. Probably have to dismount the a propane cylinder to be able to connect to stove and deal with fittings etc. The jetboils are awesome and deal with the wind no problem. check em out if your not familiar. There is a version that comes with a coffee press for the container also.

    Re the maxtrax, thanks for the heads up. Will do that too. What model did you get? Where do you store them? there is not a cargo rack on the CruCam but am thinking of a small one on the top/front of the RRT for lightweight items. The maxtrax are a good example of why the rack may be needed, unless there is another place. ( mounted on side wall of the Alu_cab, where the shower unit is used perhaps?. )

    Electrical and lights outside of the cab also on my mind. there is a inverter on the side of the unit ( 220V). so assuming I can get a coffee bean grinder to use with that. There is some outside lighting outside and in rear compartment, but will need to evaluate all of that. I think lots of hrs spend outside in the dark (evenings) and want to have sufficient light. Wondering about amber light as well for insects. What is your experience with this topic?


    Thanks for the details on the tools, was thinking of bringing my multimeter along, will have to think about tools further though likely get all of that in RSA. Also your decision on replacing batteries. The CruCAM has a solar roof panel. Was wondering if the one that comes is sufficient in surface area. Also the side mounted table...there isn't one on the CruCam, so that is a must have add on, perhaps at least one on each side of the Alu-Cab.

    I don't see an awning on the Bushlore promo/video for the CruC2. Perhaps I'll see a pic of that on your blog.

    So you leave the CruC2 in storage and come back and forth. I am also wondering about this. My wife and I leaving the US indefinitely. Plan is to pretty much travel for many years around the world. Africa is first and a dream come true to overland it. After that I am wondering if I can ship the vehicle to another continent, Asia or SA. Whether that is doable..US citizen owning a SA registered vehicle and going outside of Africa with it. Seems complicated. Any thoughts on that?

    When we arrive RSA, Aug 2021, figure to spend a few weeks getting settled and wrapping up the vehicle mods/addon's. Maybe take a 4x4 driving/recovery course and then head over towards Kruger to start about a 4 month tour within RSA before heading North. Should be plenty of time to get through any issues with the vehicle, obtain any more extra's, learn to drive on the "wrong" side of the road with a left hand stick shift haha. So stoked to get there. but so much to do to wrap up our domestic life in the meantime..
    thanks again!
    Bud

  25. #18
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    Default Re: Bushlore CruCam and modifications

    Answers below in red
    Quote Originally Posted by Bud3 View Post
    Wow Caldriver, really appreciate the time to summarize this information. As it looks like you were as new to Africa and 4x4 tripping when you started in 2017 as I am now, you know where I'm "at".
    Perhaps. My wife had traveled in Africa with family on three or four previous trips, and I had spent six months in fairly remote East Africa working for an NGO, as well as working a few months in South Africa. So not a true veteran, but every one of those experiences helped us feel more comfortable about taking on the trip.

    I had a look at your blog and the first couple posts and I'll be back there for more. There are some significant differences between the CruC2 and the CrumCam, did you consider both?
    I don't recall the Crucamper being available at the time. Bushlore I think was transitioning from offering Troopys (all sold when we were shopping) and had started renting the CruCamper but none were old enough to be sold, or something like that. I forget the exact details. We do like the double cab, as we've had friends join us for short segments, and it solves some of your storage issues. The single cab doesn't have much space for things like you mention, telephoto lens cameras, etc. We also often have some luggage sitting on the back seat as it is a dust free space, compared to in the canopy that isn't too bad, but can get dusty. Also I think the CruC2 is a bit cheaper.

    Getting to some specifics, in the cab, I am also trying to decide what to do with the space between the seats, whether to have a small fridge or secure/lockable storage. The CruCam has 2 x 40L refrigerators in the back, so probably don't "need" even more refrigerator space, but there is the convenience factor of having cold water at hand. I would like to consider the unit you have which has some lockable space and refrigeration, so a product name or link would be help me think about that further.
    We have an indel B 15 liter fridge. There is an 18 liter too, I think it's too tall. Snowmaster also makes one that we actually wanted, but at the time it wasn't available. This is because the Snowmaster has cup holders built into the lid, solving the single greatest design flaw of a 70 series cruiser, that there is only one cup holder. What was Toyota thinking!? So, you'll need another cup holder, whatever way you go. There are some aftermarket options if you google around. The bracket to mount the indelB fridge (and maybe a Snowmaster?) is sold by BigCountry, a SA based outfitter, they have a decent website and their products are available at numerous SA 4x4 outfitters. BigCountry also sells the door pockets that we like. Beware that the indelB, and I suspect the snowmaster, compressors pull 2.4 amps, just as much as our 40 liter engel fridge. If you already have two fridges a 3rd may be a lot to ask of your electrical system. Be very careful about adding significant electrical load like that to your system before understanding the implications. We turn our small fridge off at night usually to reduce load on the battery.

    Dieter has described that there is a visor shelf installed in the CruCam, though I have not had a picture yet. I like the detail you provided on the door pockets, that will be a definite add on. Not sure about anything for storage on the dashboard, I see some photos with vehicles with some type of vehicle length ( width of cab) cover with pockets, etc on the dash. That does seem like it would get in the way of view. (We ae both about 5'8" tall) so that is probably a wait and see. For the ever present camera and lenses, plan to use the small storage area up between the seats. We would like to bring a spotting scope with window mount and 2 pairs of bino's ( need to purchase one bino and the scope yet) . Perhaps the scope will be in the back storage unless we are doing game drives. But I can see where storing the camera/bion's/scope in the cab could be a problem, so need more details on the visor shelf. Did you keep a largish camera in the cab?..where?

    The big country visor shelf (I imagine that is what is in there, but I don't know) is not big enough for a telephoto lens/camera, not even a bit. We keep guide books, 2x binos and a small point and shoot camera in our visor shelf. I keep a full frame camera with telephoto lens and kit on the back seat in a camera bag, not a very elegant solution, but it does the job and is easy. Not an option for you. You may have to decide what to prioritize, camera between the seats or cold drinks.

    for electric power in the cab the CruCab has the 12V and 2xUSB. Like to hardwire the GPS. in the cab figure always having 2 cell phones and a GMP/nav unit powered. Also a portable speaker for playing music stored on the phones ( A roadtrip must have music!) unless the car stereo has bluetooth/wired connectivity to the phone. I need to check that further.
    Hardwiring the GPS is easy. We cut cut off the plug from the GPS wire and pulled the power from the back of the cigarette lighter plug. The only hard part is deciding where to run the wire inconspicuously. We actually drilled (!) a tiny hole in the dash and the wire is now nearly invisible. When we plug our phones into the bushlore provided usb plug you can play music/podcasts on the stereo. The 70 series stereo is terrible, so if that is important to you you'll want to upgrade the speakers, lots of people do this. The 4.2 engine and 70 series cab are not the quietest, and the cab is not the most insulated, so if you are at highway speeds it can be noisy. 100kph or below it's not an issue. Some people go really crazy and pay big bucks to have the whole cab sound insulated, but we never found it an issue really.

    Re the cooking/stoves, so the CruCam comes with a built in stove on the back, single burner. OK for a quirk use or single pot meal. We will be bring a jetboil for quickly making coffee, and would probably get a 2 burner coleman type stove for more elaborate meals. That stove would use the propane canisters that are mounted on the unit. Probably have to dismount the a propane cylinder to be able to connect to stove and deal with fittings etc. The jetboils are awesome and deal with the wind no problem. check em out if your not familiar. There is a version that comes with a coffee press for the container also.
    We thought about a two burner stove, but surprisingly we've been happy with the single burner. Looking at the specs you provided for the camper, I think we have that same stove.

    Re the maxtrax, thanks for the heads up. Will do that too. What model did you get? Where do you store them? there is not a cargo rack on the CruCam but am thinking of a small one on the top/front of the RRT for lightweight items. The maxtrax are a good example of why the rack may be needed, unless there is another place. ( mounted on side wall of the Alu_cab, where the shower unit is used perhaps?. )
    I think when we got the max trax there was only one model, so not the new fancy ones. We used to store them on the roof rack, but moved them to the top of the RTT. Since maxtrax weigh almost nothing you don't need a full roof rack to mount them, just a couple studs and wingnuts and you're good to go. If you are worried about them getting stolen some sort of locking arrangement. We always say we're going to do this and haven't yet, and haven't had them pinched yet.

    Electrical and lights outside of the cab also on my mind. there is a inverter on the side of the unit ( 220V). so assuming I can get a coffee bean grinder to use with that. There is some outside lighting outside and in rear compartment, but will need to evaluate all of that. I think lots of hrs spend outside in the dark (evenings) and want to have sufficient light. Wondering about amber light as well for insects. What is your experience with this topic?
    Our canopy came with some great little 12v LEDs already installed by Bushlore. I expect yours will have this too. They are red or white light. Red is better for bugs. We also have a UST 30 day battery powered lantern we love ( https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ABUSWR2...ing=UTF8&psc=1). Frequently we set it up a little bit away as a bug 'decoy' light. That has been the issue we've found with lights on a lot, is then you get a lot of bugs. They're usually harmless, but can be sizable and annoying. We also have headlamps that are both red and white light, which helps a lot with bugs.

    Thanks for the details on the tools, was thinking of bringing my multimeter along, will have to think about tools further though likely get all of that in RSA. Also your decision on replacing batteries. The CruCAM has a solar roof panel. Was wondering if the one that comes is sufficient in surface area. Also the side mounted table...there isn't one on the CruCam, so that is a must have add on, perhaps at least one on each side of the Alu-Cab.can
    Electrical can be a real can of worms, do what you can to keep it simple unless you are really into that sort of thing. A multimeter is great for troubleshooting continuity if nothing else. Connections shake loose, that sort of thing. Search for a thread on the forum called 'electrickery for camping'. Educational, but a lot of strong opinions on this front. The side table we have is this: https://www.alu-cab.com/product/side-slide-prep-table/. There are others on the market, but not many. Alucab I'm pretty sure makes a bigger one that fits maxtrax on the bottom, and folded down it makes a table. Might kill 2 birds with one stone for you, though we prefer the max trax on top, out of sight (ish) out of mind. I didn't see that larger one on their website, you might email them about it if it interests you.
    I don't see an awning on the Bushlore promo/video for the CruC2. Perhaps I'll see a pic of that on your blog
    Ours came with an Easi-awn 2000, which I do not reccomend. We used it for a while, by which I mean drove it around Africa and barely used it because it makes 2 square inches of shade and is a pain to set up and break down and rattles a lot when not in use, and then replaced with a 270 awning.

    Each time we do a trip we experiment with moving things around or upgrades, so if you look at my photo site you can see some different configurations of the same vehicle:
    First trip: https://andrewmckee.smugmug.com/100-days-in-Africa
    Second trip: https://andrewmckee.smugmug.com/Namibia-2019
    Third trip:https://andrewmckee.smugmug.com/Africa-Nov-2019
    Fourth trip: https://andrewmckee.smugmug.com/Namibia-2020/


    So you leave the CruC2 in storage and come back and forth. I am also wondering about this. My wife and I leaving the US indefinitely. Plan is to pretty much travel for many years around the world. Africa is first and a dream come true to overland it. After that I am wondering if I can ship the vehicle to another continent, Asia or SA. Whether that is doable..US citizen owning a SA registered vehicle and going outside of Africa with it. Seems complicated. Any thoughts on that?
    I think it's doable, but you are correct that owning a vehicle registered in another country complicates things. We have managed so far, but it is an extra hassle. We are fortunate to have friends in South Africa, and that has helped.

    When we arrive RSA, Aug 2021, figure to spend a few weeks getting settled and wrapping up the vehicle mods/addon's. Maybe take a 4x4 driving/recovery course Definitely do this. and then head over towards Kruger to start about a 4 month tour within RSA before heading North. Should be plenty of time to get through any issues with the vehicle, obtain any more extra's, learn to drive on the "wrong" side of the road with a left hand stick shift haha.Not as hard as some think, and it takes both my wife and I a week to quit turning on the wipers instead of the turn signal when we get back to the states. So stoked to get there. but so much to do to wrap up our domestic life in the meantime..
    thanks again!
    Bud
    Blog of our African travels: stuckinlowgear.com

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  27. #19
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    Default Re: Bushlore CruCam and modifications

    Quote Originally Posted by Bud3 View Post
    We will be bring a jetboil for quickly making coffee, and would probably get a 2 burner coleman type stove for more elaborate meals. That stove would use the propane canisters that are mounted on the unit. Probably have to dismount the a propane cylinder to be able to connect to stove and deal with fittings etc. The jetboils are awesome and deal with the wind no problem. check em out if your not familiar. There is a version that comes with a coffee press for the container also.
    Jetboils are fantastic, I have one for hiking and short camping trips, BUT you will battle to find the gas canisters outside of major centres in South Africa and Namibia, and virtually unobtainable in the rest of Africa other than in big cities.
    Cadac and Alva (both local SA brands) make very good two plate gas stoves that fold away into a suitcase type container, and the lid and two side flaps act as a windshield. The Alva is quite heavy, at about 6kg, whereas the Cadac is less than 2kg. You can buy a light fold up windshield at Outdoor Warehouse (check in the backpacking section) for about R100. The Cadac gas bottles that come standard with the Bushlore trucks can be refilled throughout southern Africa, but you will need adaptors (or buy new cylinders, they're not that expensive) for East Africa.
    You can also get the Primus two plate camp stoves at specialist stores like Just Like Papa (JL Papa) in Harrington St in Cape Town www.justlikepapa.com but they are twice the price of the local brands - but superb build quality.

    Tony Weaver

    1991 Land Rover 110 Hi-Line S/W 3.5l V8 carburettor
    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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  29. #20
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    Default Re: Bushlore CruCam and modifications

    Thanks Caldriver- Andrew, thanks for for all that. Homework do to, links to check and than discussions with Bushlore. Whew.
    Tony, thanks for the stove detail. Looks like I will need to keep sufficient canisters for the jetboil on hand. As you know, they use very little fuel to boil a liter of water, so at 32 ounce a day for example it might actually last 3 weeks or a month. I'll check both those stove makes out, see which one. Pretty sure that we would often use two burners, as Mary loves cooking outdoors....lucky me.

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