Trip Start Apr 08, 2013
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Australia  , Victoria,
Thursday, April 18, 2013

We have finally decided to stop for more than one night in one place, its finally a time to sit back and draw breath as we look out to the Grampians from our picture perfect camp site overlooking the Black Range lake.

I thought this may make a good post to mention the kit we carry to travel like we do, we've finally had time to sit down and fully test our toys over the last few days so its been a good chance to see if we made the right decisions. We have had time to refine what we need or think we need from past experiences traveling and short holidays down under, other people planning to do a similar trip may find it helpful.

The van: 1989 Toyota Landcruiser, aka as a Troopy or Troop-Carrier
300,000 kms on the clock when we brought it, 350,000 kms now, current market value $8000

The model can hold 11 people with all its seats, hence the name Troop-Carrier, (we actually found out from its log book it was from new owned by the army!) In ours all the back chairs have been removed and a bed-deck has been built with underneath draws for storage, (this was already fitted when we found it for sale). On the draws we have our double bed or as most people here would call it a double swag, this has a canvas like cover over a light mattress and can be used outside as a low, quick to use tent. Single swags are popular here and many people use them for short trips and overnight stays at your mates. It made sense for us as we as the option to use it outside it also means we can leave the bed made up and pull the canvas cover over for daytime use without messing up the sheets.

Down one side next to our bed we have our 40lt 12v fridge, a 20lt coolbox, (We went for a fridge as the cool-box was just to messy and a pain in the arse to use all the time, we now use it for veg and bread, un-cooled, I have to say the fridge is our best camping toy ever, it gives you Ice cold beer on a stinking hot day what more could you ask for!) next to that we have a narrow table I made from scrap wood as a shelf, above the bed on the ceiling we have hanging nets for more storage.

The Troopie is a slightly taller 4WD than many you find over here such as the Nissan Hilux but we preferred the extra head room for sitting up when we use the back area as our living room! We were tempted to get a normal small camper which many backpackers use, perfectly good for the job and probably much cheaper to run but we thought this would suit us better in more remote situations. I was also advised to get diesel as petrol can sometime be hard to obtain out-back, we are pretty familiar with diesels after our VW, some people don't like them but I find the engines are usually reliable and the milage is better.

The van has duel petrol tanks giving it a range of about 900km on a full set of tanks, we have a good roof rack, awning and recently brought solar panels. I also brought my bike which lives on the roof with the solar panels, this can be a pain to pack up but as the van is pretty full now we don't have much choice.

Two spare tyres, and a emergency tyrer repair foam canister, I didn't mention we have already had one puncher since we drove through the Grampian on the rocky roads, luckily I got chance to test my kit in Tasmania so I know we have all we need to get back on the road.

The rest of the kit is pretty standard, we have power investors for the laptop, mobile internet with virgin (which is't the most reliable for coverage but its good value and suits us), camping stoves one for outdoor use, and a small portable one which we can use inside if the weather isn't to great. Basic tools (a must on these roads, bits do fall off!), room in the draw for a pantry and pots and pans, and finally our clothes which we keep in our rucksacks that live on the front seats when we are parked for the night.

So thats us really, I know our friends sometimes wonder how we manage to live on the road with everything in a little-ish van, I know we did when we first thought about ditching the tent years ago, so I hope this post wasn't to boring for others (If your still reading).

It also helps to get along with your travel partner, there isn't much room for arguments on the road, don't forget to bring a sense off humour and someone you get on with.
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