Monday, February 22, 2010

Toyota Land Cruiser - Gaining traction as an overlander's vehicle

The Toyota Land Cruiser - reliable, comfortable, sound proof and above all, available on the 2nd hand market at an attractive price point to modify into an expedition vehicle.

Land Rover might have truly opened Africa, but currently Toyota are the preferred vehicle of choice.

Here's a quick overview of the various Toyota model's that have crossed Africa, Asia and South America).  Similiar to the Land Rover article, the criteria is an overland expedition and website detailing the trip.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

An alternative overlander... the Demountable Camper

In my quest to find an alternative overland vehicle, I have looked at the standard Mazda Bongo campervan, alternative overland vehicles and now the Demountable Camper.

I don't want to talk about the requirements for an overland vehicle, as our needs vary considerably.  However, I do want to consider alternative options rather than your standard Land Rover Defender or Toyota Land Cruiser for an overland vehicle that offers interior living space.

The Demountable Camper 
Wikipedia describes the Truck Camper as follows:
Truck campers are usually considered the most versatile form of recreational vehicle. They are capable of going virtually anywhere a pickup truck can go. The truck camper has been around since the early 1950s, and has gone through an evolution in development that places it on par with many larger and more expensive RV types in terms of amenities.
The benefit of this type of camper is clearly the ability to de-mount the camper and utilise your vehicle on a daily basis.  Normal holiday breaks would also allow you to claim your camping spot whilst doing a day drive.
The big question is whether a demountable would stand up to the rigours of a year long overland trip.  I have more questions than I have answers for - here are a few that I have thought of:

  1. Flexing - would rough roads flex the camper and cause damage?
  2. Wind resistance - in strong winds (like Patagonia & Mauritania), what effects does this have on the vehicle
  3. Space - how much living space does this give you over and above a camper?

Please feel free to post comments on your thoughts.

Photos & Video:
I did a quick search different images of demountable campers.  The following images were taken from the Ebay UK website:

The interior of an Apollo demountable.  This unit support 3 person configuration and includes a shower.

A very neat Land Rover Defender 130 which came up for sale on the UK Ebay website:

A few more photos from Northstar:

The following video was taken at the Overland Expo 2009 conference and demoed the XP Camper:

Forum resources:
Expedition Portal

Additional Sources:
Popup Demountable - Nene Overland
Northstar Campers

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Nomad Adventure Update - Ivory Coast to Ghana

Noel (Nomad Adventure) reported on the following:

I wanted to inform you of a tricky situation that travellers will expeirence from the Ivory Coast to get to Ghana.
The Ghana embassy in Abidjan, Ivory Coast were adamant a few weeks ago that I should have abtained my visa in the country that I am resident in and not the country I am coming from as of the 1st Jan 2010.
I explained that I was unaware of this as I left the UK in Nov and there was no way of me knowing of this change in the Ghana embassy requirements. No matter what I said, I could not proceed and I got very angry and virtually abused many of the staff in the embassy for their lack of thinking outside their own administrative box, then a light turned on above me and I asked who can get into Ghana then and a guy told me only residents of the Ivory Coast. The next day I paid a local £5, and after visiting a local police station I was then given a residents permit (had been living here for 4 months). Took this to the embassy, not one hint of suspicion by the same person that I was calling an idiot the other day and I got my visa.
This is quite serious and luckily I got through, I would urge you to let people know of this situation to avoid any further bust ups in the Abidjan Ghana embassy.