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  1. #1
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    Default Kitted out Defender vs towing a kitted trailer

    Hi Guys.

    I am not new to the forum but I am not very active except for browsing and doing research here. Sometimes too much research to the point where I get very confused..haha.

    I need help in making a decision about our camping setup and would love to get some experienced opinions. Let me start by explaining my current setup and our specific camping habits and needs.


    • We are a family of 5 (Mom, Dad and 3 children 8,6 and 3).
    • We currently own a Defender Puma which is kitted with a long range tank, Water tank, Dual battery system and roofrack.
    • When camping I tow our Metalian Maxi trailer which is fully kitted with water filtration system, Howling moon deluxe tent setup, microwave etc etc.
    • We are very happy with the setup although towing with the Defender isn't great and at the moment I could use the money which i spent on the trailer better elsewhere.
    • We mostly camp in well equipped camp spots but we definitely have plans to go off the beaten track sometime in the future and do some wild camping.


    I am considering selling the Maxi but then I need to add some kit to the Landy to still make it comfortable for SWAMBO.

    I don't want to add the drawer systems in the vehicle as my 8 year old sits in the 3rd row seats. This is the only way we have peace in the car..

    I was thinking of buying a smaller towing trailer that has the basics, gas stove, fridge slide etc. so that we could still have a fairly well kitted trailer albeit much lighter and smaller.

    I would then add a rooftop tent to the Landy and pitch a canvas dome tent for the kids.

    My concern is that am I just going to create a different setup with more issues or does anybody have the ultimate setup which they would like to share with me. Budget is a factor here

    Any advice welcome here.
    Last edited by callameyer; 2021/03/04 at 10:56 AM.

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    Default Re: Kitted out Defender vs towing a kitted trailer

    I had an Echo 3 trailer for many years and eventually sold it as I more and more left it at home and rather used the rofftop tent. But I dont have a big family (initially only 2 sons but later only me and wife) so which makes your situation totally different. In my case I prefer not having to pull a trailer around, which is more costly and a schlepp and it limits me from going into certain places or taking more challenging routes, etc.
    I have seen many Defender 110 people however with quick-pitch type tents and other camping stuff on the roof rack and they are quite happy to manage like that (without towing anything).

    Dont know if this helps at all but my 2 cents.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Kitted out Defender vs towing a kitted trailer

    Quote Originally Posted by Cobus Gouws View Post
    I had an Echo 3 trailer for many years and eventually sold it as I more and more left it at home and rather used the rofftop tent. But I dont have a big family (initially only 2 sons but later only me and wife) so which makes your situation totally different. In my case I prefer not having to pull a trailer around, which is more costly and a schlepp and it limits me from going into certain places or taking more challenging routes, etc.
    I have seen many Defender 110 people however with quick-pitch type tents and other camping stuff on the roof rack and they are quite happy to manage like that (without towing anything).

    Dont know if this helps at all but my 2 cents.
    Thanks Cobus. Yes I think if the Landy is rigged well enough the normal dome tents would be good. We are just a bit spoilt at the moment with the luxuries of the trailer so will have to try and get all those either fitted to the Land Rover or maybe get a very lightweight trailer that has the basics like power unit,water tanks,gas stove etc. A lot to consider..

    All the best and thanks for the advice.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Kitted out Defender vs towing a kitted trailer

    ... one idea might be to buy an OzTent
    to set up and attach to the side of the canopy... Can make up a narrow intermediate
    section that beads onto an Al extrusion (along your roofrack side or under your gutter ) and
    velcros to the Oztent roof extension.

    This would be quite versatile ... maintain access to canopy windows from OzTent shelter..._and latter could be readily and
    quickly detached to leave OzTent freestanding when needing to use vehicle
    for game drives etc


    ... just an idea ...

    eg look at caravan set up and you can buy/make side-panels for say an RV3 oztent to make an intermediate enclosed room.
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    Last edited by BushNomad; 2021/03/04 at 06:39 PM.
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Kitted out Defender vs towing a kitted trailer

    Quote Originally Posted by BushNomad View Post
    ... one idea might be to buy an OzTent
    to set up and attach to the side of the canopy... Can make up a narrow intermediate
    section that beads into the extrusion and
    velcros onto the Oztent roof extension.

    This would be quite versatile ... maintain access to canopy windows from OzTent shelter..._and latter could be readily and
    quickly detached to leave OzTent freestanding when needing to use vehicle
    for game drives etc


    ... just an idea ...

    eg look at caravan set up and you can buy/make side-panels for say an RV3 oztent to make an intermediate enclosed room.
    Very cool. Will check it out thanks.

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    Default Re: Kitted out Defender vs towing a kitted trailer

    My opinion

    Swapping the Maxi for something smaller will not achieve much in terms of towing difference, yes the Landy may tow it a bit easier, but is not like all of a sudden you are towing at all.

    Also, you my end up with a few Grand in the pocket selling the Maxi, but it is at the cost of a great compromise to your current camping experience. I have many times considered selling the big Ratel and kit the Hilux to the hilt and only use this, but it will be a serious mind shift and downscale.

    In 2014 we had a couple joining us for our Kgalagadi trip, in a fairly new 130, with I believe the Puma engine. He was towing a hefty Explorer and I a Companion with a 105 Cruiser, the 4.5 EFI petrol. I could hardly keep up and thought at the time the Puma is really strong.

    That said, should you not rather look at the Landy and perhaps for not too much mooly get it to perform and tow a little better?

    Make a list with as many options as you can think off, then write down all the advantages and disadvantages. It may just give you some insight into a final decision.

    Good luck.
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    Default Re: Kitted out Defender vs towing a kitted trailer

    Quote Originally Posted by callameyer View Post
    Very cool. Will check it out thanks.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Mobile setup.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Non-mobile setup with Howling moon awn and side panels.

    The Oztent is 20kgs and 2m long when packed, but I have a technique to lower it from the roof rack.
    '07 Land Rover Defender 110 TDI 300 Kalahari (Meisiekind˛)
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    Default Re: Kitted out Defender vs towing a kitted trailer

    Quote Originally Posted by DCTheron View Post
    My opinion

    Swapping the Maxi for something smaller will not achieve much in terms of towing difference, yes the Landy may tow it a bit easier, but is not like all of a sudden you are towing at all.

    Also, you my end up with a few Grand in the pocket selling the Maxi, but it is at the cost of a great compromise to your current camping experience. I have many times considered selling the big Ratel and kit the Hilux to the hilt and only use this, but it will be a serious mind shift and downscale.

    In 2014 we had a couple joining us for our Kgalagadi trip, in a fairly new 130, with I believe the Puma engine. He was towing a hefty Explorer and I a Companion with a 105 Cruiser, the 4.5 EFI petrol. I could hardly keep up and thought at the time the Puma is really strong.

    That said, should you not rather look at the Landy and perhaps for not too much mooly get it to perform and tow a little better?

    Make a list with as many options as you can think off, then write down all the advantages and disadvantages. It may just give you some insight into a final decision.

    Good luck.
    Thanks Dirk. Wise words. Will make that list.

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  11. #9
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    Default Re: Kitted out Defender vs towing a kitted trailer

    Quote Originally Posted by jfh View Post
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	untitled-3752.jpg 
Views:	285 
Size:	197.0 KB 
ID:	608239
    Mobile setup.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	2007_0603Hickley0056.JPG 
Views:	266 
Size:	91.1 KB 
ID:	608240
    Non-mobile setup with Howling moon awn and side panels.

    The Oztent is 20kgs and 2m long when packed, but I have a technique to lower it from the roof rack.
    Awesome setup!

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    jfh

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    Default Re: Kitted out Defender vs towing a kitted trailer

    Just completed the move to the contained route with my Metalian Maxi rolling away this afternoon.

    Have a AluCab Gen 3 with Shadow Awn on my Ranger Double Cab with a OzTent with stretchers for the kids (14/10) which go in a front runner basket on my tent, no issues getting on and off with my ladder. The OZ Tent is amazing tough and super quick!! Have 90l fridge slide in the back. Works really well and sets up in literally minutes.

    For longer trips when wood, water etc needed ... concerned about packing space, so thinking of a small trailer to tow. Have done hectic trips with standard little trailers (Botswana, Richtersveld etc) and they do really well as long as you don’t overload them. Thinking of an AluStar.

    The Maxi was amazing, but it took time between pulling up and beer and I really like the quick set up!

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    Default Re: Kitted out Defender vs towing a kitted trailer

    Not an expert but a dad. Kids sleeping in tent and mom and dad in the RTT is a big NO NO to me, especially in areas with wild life. Selling a trailer that is set up to a smaller trailer with half the stuff... You will soon spend the saved money and more trying to get the basic trailer up to scratch as the one you just sold. Old saying, don't fix something that ain't broke.
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    Default Re: Kitted out Defender vs towing a kitted trailer

    Quote Originally Posted by hunter26 View Post
    Not an expert but a dad. Kids sleeping in tent and mom and dad in the RTT is a big NO NO to me, especially in areas with wild life. Selling a trailer that is set up to a smaller trailer with half the stuff... You will soon spend the saved money and more trying to get the basic trailer up to scratch as the one you just sold. Old saying, don't fix something that ain't broke.
    give this man a Bells!

    You wont save much RRRR , I have many years experience in camping and believe in " dont fix if it aint broke!" you have a family that are growing and when they bigger u will require more space and luxury, Stick to what you have as it will not make much difference to tow a lighter trailer, your setup will last 15 years or until the kids are out of the house then you will look at a setup to suit 2 not five... roof top tents vary in price ands over the years me as well as others, have had more than one RTT progressing to what we perceive to be better suited to our needs as the older we get .I have had 3 roof top tents, 1 off-road van ( BL Miskruier) and now have progressed to a BL Bosluis ( for better or worse). my family has always been 2 or four kids ( depends on which friends come along) and initially 2 dome tents were the answer , but what a schlep to pack up! hence migration to RTT and and pop up tent/s for the kids ( but I worried about the wild life). In hindsight I wished that I moved to van earlier - ( I probably wud have slept better)....you are here now....

    bottom line... camping is a very affordable way for a family to have a holiday and fun and certainly in the COVID world..........stick to the Maxi( assume its paid for) and look else where to save bucks... speak to any older person and ask what their holiday memories ae about .....camping!

    RTT are not cheap anymore ..Range from R2Ok to R 40K without the luxuries a trailer offers.. and then No kitchen, shower, fridge space.....no no keep the trailer!
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  19. #13
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    Default Re: Kitted out Defender vs towing a kitted trailer

    Quote Originally Posted by callameyer View Post
    Hi Guys.

    I am not new to the forum but I am not very active except for browsing and doing research here. Sometimes too much research to the point where I get very confused..haha. ........................

    ..................g of buying a smaller towing trailer that has the basics, gas stove, fridge slide etc. so that we could still have a fairly well kitted trailer albeit much lighter and smaller.

    I would then add a rooftop tent to the Landy and pitch a canvas dome tent for the kids.

    My concern is that am I just going to create a different setup with more issues or does anybody have the ultimate setup which they would like to share with me. Budget is a factor here

    Any advice welcome here.
    Hope this is the start of becoming active

    The ultimate setup like the mythical pot of gold under the rainbow does not exist, my ultimate setup has changed over the years and like yours is doing now so has most camper's ultimate changed.

    My take on your situation is: your youngsters are still pretty young, one being able to help out and the other two needing to be helped out. so you might find they have more clothing and kit to be taken along than either you or the weef. you need space to take all along.

    Your idea of taking a rooftop tent......in my experience a huge PITA. setup is fairly quick but striking and tying down in the morning is a schlepp the height makes it very unpleasant and the additional frontal area increases drag and fuel consumption and entry in to parking areas can be a problem. I doubt that weef is going to be at ease being way up with two youngsters at leopard level.

    You have given the answer to your question. Get a smaller trailer, you will not get much lighter than the Metalian. With stainless 3cr12 and no real chassis it comes in at of the lighter ones around. The Maxi is big and even though it sits below your roof and in theory in the wind shadow the rear does fall in to the turbulence and causing some drag.
    You can however get a much cheaper and equally handy trailer ( https://www.4x4community.co.za/class...ndition/cat/16 ) that s just a quick search on this forum.
    Granted it's not a metalian but with a few bucks thrown at it it can be as effective and handy. It has a side entry that can accept a fridge slide and it is fairly easy to fit a water system as well as electrical. The addition of a kitchen box on the side and a clothing box on the other side makes for more packing space and the addition of a rear drawer and back board completes this. Being a lower profile this does tow much easier, I know because I have the identical set up only in white. I rent this baby out and I have had folks with some strange towing rigs renting it

    With a trailer you can have all the comforts of home and be able to do day trips without the hassle of setting up camp every time unless you are touring where the tent should not take more than at most 10 min to pitch and 15 to strike, you will pitch a rooftop in that time but strike....no,no. A trailer will make the world of difference for weef and smurfs, she might enjoy the camping and allow you to do it more often Fit a rear and side awning for when, not if, the weather turns bad and you have some protection and space for the kids other than the ear seat of the car
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    Default Re: Kitted out Defender vs towing a kitted trailer

    Hi,

    Personally I think what you have now is the ideal setup although there are other factors at play.

    I would stick with the Maxi (its hard to find a nicer trailer than that). I say this because after years of travelling with my folks who always towed a trailer or a caravan I started travelling by myself about 10 years back without a trailer. The car carry's all the gear and its honestly a bit of a nightmare.

    1) Typically 3-4 adults and gear means my car is always near or at the limit wrt to carrying capacity. This is hard on the car and suspension components. I wish I could shift 400kg to a trailer.
    2) Limited space means packing is something that has to be done carefully so it always falls to me (you need good jenga skills for this). This means I work twice as hard as even if I need a cold one from the fridge I have to remove stuff and carefully put it back.
    3) I carry all my extra fuel on the roof-rack (4 jerry's at times, always empty unless needed). This adds to fuel consumption and affects the cog.
    4) I can't come back from an early morning game drive and have a nap because I have to open the RTT again (easy to do but not nice to do 4 times a day).
    5) early morning drives and late evening drives always needs a major pack up, especially in wild areas where you cant leave anything in camp. The vehicle must be free to jump in and go on a whim.

    I think the ideal solution is a bare basics overland vehicle with a kitted trailer (for your application and mine because we travel with lots of people). Towing is a non-event for me, I am very accustomed to it and actually quite enjoy it. I would love to be able to pull up at a site, open up the trailer, make some lekker food, have a cold one and then head off on a game drive on a whim.

    To give you an idea, my dad recently travelled with me in my setup (its got everything bar a drawer system). He was adamant that after years of towing he was over it and he wants to kit out his car and do it that way (its only him and sometimes the wife). After one trip with me he was cured forever. We went quite simply so I can only imagine how frustrated he would've been had it been a tough trip with more people and things needed. So maybe go away for a weekend and pack as though for a big trip, but leave the trailer behind. That will give you a good idea.

    Good-luck with the decision.

  21. #15
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    Default Re: Kitted out Defender vs towing a kitted trailer

    Quote Originally Posted by ChasingSunsets View Post
    Hi,

    Personally I think what you have now is the ideal setup although there are other factors at play.

    I would stick with the Maxi (its hard to find a nicer trailer than that). I say this because after years of travelling with my folks who always towed a trailer or a caravan I started travelling by myself about 10 years back without a trailer. The car carry's all the gear and its honestly a bit of a nightmare.

    1) Typically 3-4 adults and gear means my car is always near or at the limit wrt to carrying capacity. This is hard on the car and suspension components. I wish I could shift 400kg to a trailer.
    2) Limited space means packing is something that has to be done carefully so it always falls to me (you need good jenga skills for this). This means I work twice as hard as even if I need a cold one from the fridge I have to remove stuff and carefully put it back.
    3) I carry all my extra fuel on the roof-rack (4 jerry's at times, always empty unless needed). This adds to fuel consumption and affects the cog.
    4) I can't come back from an early morning game drive and have a nap because I have to open the RTT again (easy to do but not nice to do 4 times a day).
    5) early morning drives and late evening drives always needs a major pack up, especially in wild areas where you cant leave anything in camp. The vehicle must be free to jump in and go on a whim.

    I think the ideal solution is a bare basics overland vehicle with a kitted trailer (for your application and mine because we travel with lots of people). Towing is a non-event for me, I am very accustomed to it and actually quite enjoy it. I would love to be able to pull up at a site, open up the trailer, make some lekker food, have a cold one and then head off on a game drive on a whim.

    To give you an idea, my dad recently travelled with me in my setup (its got everything bar a drawer system). He was adamant that after years of towing he was over it and he wants to kit out his car and do it that way (its only him and sometimes the wife). After one trip with me he was cured forever. We went quite simply so I can only imagine how frustrated he would've been had it been a tough trip with more people and things needed. So maybe go away for a weekend and pack as though for a big trip, but leave the trailer behind. That will give you a good idea.

    Good-luck with the decision.
    Well this is encouraging and an eye opener. After reading everyones comments I should probably think long and hard before making a decision to sell the Maxi.

    Thanks so much for your time in writing.

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  23. #16
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    Default Re: Kitted out Defender vs towing a kitted trailer

    Quote Originally Posted by hbannink View Post
    Hope this is the start of becoming active

    The ultimate setup like the mythical pot of gold under the rainbow does not exist, my ultimate setup has changed over the years and like yours is doing now so has most camper's ultimate changed.

    My take on your situation is: your youngsters are still pretty young, one being able to help out and the other two needing to be helped out. so you might find they have more clothing and kit to be taken along than either you or the weef. you need space to take all along.

    Your idea of taking a rooftop tent......in my experience a huge PITA. setup is fairly quick but striking and tying down in the morning is a schlepp the height makes it very unpleasant and the additional frontal area increases drag and fuel consumption and entry in to parking areas can be a problem. I doubt that weef is going to be at ease being way up with two youngsters at leopard level.

    You have given the answer to your question. Get a smaller trailer, you will not get much lighter than the Metalian. With stainless 3cr12 and no real chassis it comes in at of the lighter ones around. The Maxi is big and even though it sits below your roof and in theory in the wind shadow the rear does fall in to the turbulence and causing some drag.
    You can however get a much cheaper and equally handy trailer ( https://www.4x4community.co.za/class...ndition/cat/16 ) that s just a quick search on this forum.
    Granted it's not a metalian but with a few bucks thrown at it it can be as effective and handy. It has a side entry that can accept a fridge slide and it is fairly easy to fit a water system as well as electrical. The addition of a kitchen box on the side and a clothing box on the other side makes for more packing space and the addition of a rear drawer and back board completes this. Being a lower profile this does tow much easier, I know because I have the identical set up only in white. I rent this baby out and I have had folks with some strange towing rigs renting it

    With a trailer you can have all the comforts of home and be able to do day trips without the hassle of setting up camp every time unless you are touring where the tent should not take more than at most 10 min to pitch and 15 to strike, you will pitch a rooftop in that time but strike....no,no. A trailer will make the world of difference for weef and smurfs, she might enjoy the camping and allow you to do it more often Fit a rear and side awning for when, not if, the weather turns bad and you have some protection and space for the kids other than the ear seat of the car
    Thanks for your advice Henk. Much appreciated. Seems like I won't find that pot of gold after all..haha

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    Default Re: Kitted out Defender vs towing a kitted trailer

    Keep the Maxi,it is much more rugged(stronger)than the lighter trailers and will take the offroad beating much better.You have young kids,they grow and will need more space not less.Soon your smaller trailer will be to small.
    Do something about the Landy's power,much cheaper!!A mapped Puma is not bad at towing.
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  26. #18
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    Default Re: Kitted out Defender vs towing a kitted trailer

    Quote Originally Posted by callameyer View Post
    Thanks for your advice Henk. Much appreciated. Seems like I won't find that pot of gold after all..haha
    Keep on looking and cherish all the wonderful camping experiences while exploring and searching, one day you will look back and see the real treasure
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    Default Re: Kitted out Defender vs towing a kitted trailer

    I tow a Venter Savuti fully loaded with a 45l water tank & my Puma (2.4) doesn't even feel it. Battle to keep below the speed limit on the freeways.
    Maybe your Landy needs a good "tune up".

    Cheers
    Graeme
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    Default Re: Kitted out Defender vs towing a kitted trailer

    Quote Originally Posted by Graeme McConnachie View Post
    I tow a Venter Savuti fully loaded with a 45l water tank & my Puma (2.4) doesn't even feel it. Battle to keep below the speed limit on the freeways.
    Maybe your Landy needs a good "tune up".

    Cheers
    Graeme
    With a trailer you can have all the comforts of home and be able to do day trips without the hassle of setting up camp every time unless you are touring where the tent should not take more than at most 10 min to pitch and 15 to strike, you will pitch a rooftop in that time but strike....no,no. A trailer will make the world of difference for weef and smurfs, she might enjoy the camping and allow you to do it more often Fit a rear and side awning for when, not if, the weather turns bad and you have some protection and space for the kids other than the ear seat of the car

    As Henk says above, it becomes a schlep when your RTT is pitched and you want (need) to use your vehicle, for game trip, shopping, emergency, whatever). Hang on to your trailer imho
    Henk Pretorius D4 3,0 SDV6 HSE

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