Ultimate 4WD Touring - Living on the Road

Posted on: 22/10/2013

Aussie Overlanders

Aussie Overlanders Gareth and Kirsty are true explorers, with their journey taking them through Australia, Africa and all the way to London in their faithful Troopy.

The couple gutted the vehicle upon purchase with the motivation to make a completely self-contained expedition vehicle that delivered all their accommodation and living needs.

Aussie Overlanders Kirsty and Gareth are true explorers embarking on a trans-continental 4WD expedition.

Accommodation

Gareth and Kirsty customised their vehicle to have a pop-top roof, with a platform that can either be pushed up with the roof for extra internal space or left level to act as their bed. They did this to ensure their vehicle is their entire base for every facet of their journey, which has been a goal for the years they have planned their trans-continental overland experiditon.

“We have also custom designed an emergency sleeping quarters. We have a flip up bed that covers the aisle, where we can then pull across the lounge and sleep inside the vehicle with the roof down. We have this in place in case of disastrous weather or for the potentially unsafe situations we may encounter throughout Africa.” Says Gareth.

Living

Gareth and Kirsty have a custom DRIFTA kitchen fit-out that is housed in the back of the roomy Troopy. The kitchen houses all of their cooking gear and pantry, with that and the kitchen table sliding out the rear of the vehicle so a permanently mounted gas cooker can connect to the gas bottle on the rear arm carrier. 

Interior LED strip lights make indoor living more pleasant, with the custom fit-out doubling as a lounge that leaves room for an aisle, a 57L fridge-freezer and a host of organisational accessories on the opposite side.

A side awning with mosquito netting allows the couple to live outside even in insect-infested areas, with their beloved PICO chairs maximising space in their Troopy by folding down to one sixteenth of their folded out size. A heat exchanger mounted in the engine bay with a custom mounted shower head allows Gareth and Kirsty to have hot showers on demand, though they have often defaulted to a swim in the local dam while in the bush.

Lap of Australia

Lap of Australia couple Brendan and Elly Ingram are taking two years to do the full lap of Australia in their 80 Series LandCruiser.

Lap of Australia's Brendan and Elly Ingram are going around Australia to experience the best 4WD destinations on offer.

Accommodation

Brendan and Elly started off with a camper trailer, but along the way changed over to an OzTent JetTent F25X to allow them to tackle Australia’s gritty off-road destinations without worrying about what was behind them.

“The tent is just as easy to setup, and only slightly more time consuming to tear down (than the camper trailer). An even quicker setup could be afforded by using an OzTent ‘30 second’ tent, however the JetTent provides a bit more room internally.” says Brendan.

Reflecting on their decision to swap a camper trailer for a tent, Brendan has some simple advice from months of constant off-road experience. 

“Buy once, buy right. The same concept applies to everything. Don’t buy a cheap version of a more fancy style of accommodation. Buy the simpler option, and buy the best you can afford.”

Living

Brendan and Elly prefer to keep their setup simple, using a Coleman gas stovetop for cooking, while a set of Outback Solutions drawers act as their pantry.

“When we stop for a longer period of time we set a more permanent kitchen up under the front awning of the JetTent along with our OzTent camp chairs. For ‘adventure camping’ where we are only staying one or two nights, we use the tailgate on the LandCruiser for cutting and cooking.” says Brendan. 

Always looking to simplify their life off the beaten track, Brendan and Elly use a BOAB water tank for the occasional ‘bath’ but usually rely on cold showers in national parks or natural watering holes that can be found among so many of Australia’s off-road regions. 

Highway Dreams - Travelling Australia

The Hayden’s are a young family of five who have been on the road for the last four years, covering 70,000km in the process.

Highway Dreams Around Oz have been living on the road for most of the past 4 years.

Accommodation

Anthony and Jane, as parents to three children in Cooper, Leo and Isabella, decided to upgrade to a 2012 Jayco Eagle Outback camper trailer after the birth of their second child.

“We were after some more comfort but didn’t want to compromise our off-road experience or have a heavy caravan to tow. The Jayco ticked all our boxes and after lots of research it was the perfect choice for us- we are enjoying adding accessories to it as we go such as solar power, water tank gauges and LED lighting.” says Anthony.

The Jayco has 2x9kg gas bottles, twin water tanks, deep cycle battery and solar panels, with Anthony stressing that “Simple is great, luxury is nice and affordability is important.”

Living

The Hayden’s camper has the all the basics needed for a family: lounge, TV and room to sit and read, or for Cooper (age 5) to do schoolwork; with their living space able to be taken outside with some camp chairs and a folding table. The Jayco also contains a basic kitchen with a small fridge, stovetop, sink and some cupboard space, making it enough to create family meals with simplicity.

The family uses a two-sided OZTrail pop-up ensuite, with a 12v shower pump and a bucket of heated water for showers on one side and an OZTrail portaloo on the other. To handle the turnover of dirty laundry equating to nearly a load of washing a day, the Hayden’s purchased a portable washing machine that can be run off an inverter.

No Boundaries

Kym Leech and Lyn Hutton form No Boundaries, a couple of grey nomads who have been living and working on the road with their Nissan Patrol and caravan continuously for the last two years.

Accommodation

Kym and Lyn rely on their 22-foot Roma Elegance caravan for accommodation, finding it to be an ideal upgrade from their previous caravan.

“We were looking for more in a van the second time around because of the length of time we spend on the road – the ‘more’ that we sought was in terms of space, facilities and latest innovations,” says Lyn.

However, to get off-road for longer periods Kym and Lyn leave their caravan behind and instead use their three-man tent as refuge; until they legally and safely raise the height of their Roma, the extra space and weight for camping accessories remains a necessity in their eyes.

Living

The Roma Elegance contains a gas oven and microwave for cooking, though Kym and Lyn get outdoors to cook as often as possible with their Weber BabyQ, Eco-Pot, camp oven and more. The space and functionality of their caravan means that Kym and Lyn are rarely left wanting, with plenty of workspace, an excellent living area and a 180L fridge making the Roma a true ‘home-away-from-home’ for No Boundaries.

The caravan also sports a full width ensuite with separate shower and toilet, meaning that there is no excuse for bad hygiene on the road. Both Kym and Lyn agree that while owning and using a caravan is fantastic, they make conscious attempts to be outside and enjoy the space they’re in as often as possible. This has led to a more self-aware lifestyle, with the No Boundaries couple convinced that enjoying but not abusing the relative luxuries of a caravan has improved their health.

“In our two years on the road we have managed to stay healthier than during our previous city living and work-a-day life.” says Lyn.

Read the rest of the Ultimate 4WD Touring Series: