Ultimate 4WD Touring Vehicles
1989 HJ75RV Toyota LandCruiser Troop Carrier
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.
“We have always tried to keep our rig as straight as possible. No fancy control panels and electrics in it other than a few LED lights. This makes for fewer complications on the road,” says Kirsty.
Gareth and Kirsty’s focus on sparseness for functionality means the inside of their 4WD is efficient without being limited. On the dash is a Hema Navigator HN6, while behind the driver’s seat are their basic electrics, including the outlets for their Redarc 1225BCDC dual battery system (accompanied by a 120W Redarc solar blanket) as well as an air compressor and more. Speaking of seats, the couple replaced their original 22 year-old with Scheel-Mann Traveller seats for on-road comfort over long days of driving.
To prepare them for the rigours of the outdoors across three continents, the Aussie Overlanders have set up their Troopy with a whole host of 4x4 accessories. Two 90L diesel tanks ensure the couple never get caught in remote areas, with an ECB bullbar framing a VRS 12,500lb winch on the front with FRYLYT driving lights mounted on either side. On the rear are a set of telescopic LED worklights, a Kaymar rear step, a True Blue Outdoors rear wheel bag and a rear arm carrier (with gas bottle, Lifesaver jerry can and Snow Peak fire pit), which they note as being particularly useful for on-road functionality.
Attached to the roof of the Troopy is a Pelican rooftop storage box, two sets of MAXTRAX and a Redarc 80W Monochrystalline solar panel. Underneath the vehicle is a Long Ranger 60L stainless steel water tank leading to both filtered and unfiltered outlets, a Polyair Bellows system, and putting the Troopy in contact with the tracks are a set of BFGoodrich Mud Terrain T/A KM2s.
1993 Toyota LandCruiser HDJ80 GXL (4L Factory Turbo Diesel)
Lap of Australia couple Brendan and Elly Ingram are taking two years to do the full lap of Australia in their 80 Series LandCruiser. Setup as an off-road tourer, their 4WD has been geared towards toughness to handle both technical rock crawls and high-speed dirt highways.
The couple consider their Projecta dual battery system (with solar panel) and Engel MT60FCP fridge-freezer to be two of the most important accessories for anyone considering a long off-road adventure. Meanwhile, an Outback Solutions roof console makes room on the dash for the Hema Navigator HN6 that guides their journey, with an integrated GME TX3500 UHF CB radio for communications on-board. To make their vehicle as functional as possible during their epic adventure, Brendan and Elly have fitted custom rear storage shelves to match their custom dash console.
Lap of Australia and their 80 Series have been well looked-after by ARB 4x4 Accessories, with steps, a rear bar with twin tyre carriers, roof rack, air lockers and a long range fuel tank, with particular praise for the bullbar which has saved them on numerous occasions. To deal with the tough terrain their trip will throw at them, the 80 Series sports ROH Black Trak wheels with Hankook Dynapro MT Tyres, and a glut of OME suspension to give their fully laden LandCruiser stability. The couple also love their Narva HID Extreme spotlights, LED light bars and LED rear work lights that make driving, cooking and c taramping setup at night a breeze.
2003 RA Holden Rodeo Dual Cab (3.0L Turbo Diesel)
The Hayden’s are a young family of five who have been on the road for the better part of the last four years, covering 70,000km in the process. Taking them all over Australia has been their simple Holden Rodeo, chosen for its reliability, fuel economy and space to accommodate their three kids.
“We needed to setup our vehicle as a touring rig which meant the hard-core 4x4 equipment was put to the side and instead we chose accessories for necessity and of course comfort,” says Anthony, husband to Jane and father to Cooper, Leo and Isabella.
Gracing the dash of the Rodeo is a Hema Navigator HN6, with a Uniden 80ch CB UHF for communications. An Ecoboxx 1500 solar generator and power management system support the appliances that a young family needs, including the Ironman fridge in the back. Other than that, the Hayden’s keep their 4WD basic, as the rest of their living is done in their camper trailer.
On the front of the Rodeo is a bullbar and IPF driving lights, while a custom aluminium canopy provides convenient access to their gear in the back. The Hayden’s have kept their expenditure on accessories to a minimum for use in other areas, going to show that for the vast majority of family destinations off the beaten track, a reliable and capable 4WD is all that’s needed.
2011 Nissan Patrol (3.0L Turbo Diesel)
Kym Leech and Lyn Hutton form No Boundaries, a couple of grey nomads who have been living and working on the road continuously for the last two years.
Towing a caravan meant that the No Boundaries team changed from an automatic to a manual transmission Patrol, finding it more versatile, economic and efficient for pulling the extra weight of their caravan and dealing with the diverse road conditions found off the beaten track.
Inside the vehicle Kym and Lyn have a dual battery system and Redarc solenoid system for a quality-assured product in remote areas, a rearview camera and mirror mounted monitor to make manoeuvring their caravan more simple, a barrier, divider, shelf and drawer system for organisation and efficient storage, while an essential must-have for the couple has been their Waeco CF 110 fridge-freezer on slider for adequate space and easy access to their foodstuffs. One thing that is often forgotten or overlooked is seat comfort, something Lyn highlights as a huge difference for their long-term touring.
“We use Wild Ram Sheepskin car seat covers, and we didn’t realise how much comfort these provide for long and rough distance driving until we test-drove the new Patrol without them – and that was just the drive around a few blocks. We couldn’t wait to swap them over.” Says Lyn.
The No Boundaries vehicle is decked out with a bullbar, snorkel, driving lights and a 6DB RFI Telecommunications Antenna on the front to increase mobile phone range in limited contact zones, along with 6.5 DB RFI UHF Antenna. Airbag Man rear suspension is crucial to stabilising the load of their caravan, while a performance chip and 3-inch exhaust (with 15% increased economy recorded) has improved the Patrol’s performance markedly. A one person boat loader for operation to the water is a welcome addition for their recreation time, while a side awning means that the couple can get some shade when they leave the caravan behind on off-road adventures.
Read the rest of the Ultimate 4WD Touring series: