Thursday, October 18, 2012

Quad Bikes Overland

There have been a few unusual overland vehicles over the decades of trans-Africa travel.  Added to that, not many have claimed Guinness World Records for the Longest Journey on Quad Bikes... until 2008 and 2011!

I have always thought that a quad bike would make a good choice for an overland adventure.  Slightly safer than a motorcycle (a very debatable point), and very unique looking, quad bikes certainly allow for easier travel.

Introducing two trans-Africa quad bike adventures that are worth reading.  Both trips have claimed Guinness World Records for the longest quad bike journey.

Quads Across Africa - Josh and Anna Hogan
Quads Across Africa

Expedition Quad Squad - Valerio, Jamie & Kristopher
The blog entries, written individually throughout the trip verberate with adventure, the passion for overland travel and the hardships that occur. A fatal accident and the turmoil of continued emotion run high in the final months of the adventure.  A worthwhile read...
Expedition Quad Squad

Interestingly I found out about Expedition Quad Squad via BlackWolf camping catalog.  The team had used 3 BlackWolf Mantis tents during the trip.  A poor quality photo of the two page advert:

Whilst reading Expedition Quad Squad blog, I was reminded again that accidents, caused by vehicles, contribute to the highest overland injuries and fatalities whilst traveling through Africa.  Take time to renew your first aid training, and be sure to carry medical kit with you... 
Read more: Expedition Medicine and Accidents Happen.

Quad Rides Africa - Jörg Schnorr
A quad bike adventure in 2009 - this time with a small trailer.

Additional Reading:
Unusual Overland Vehicles

Monday, October 15, 2012

Vehicle Awnings...

Awning mounted on a LR90
Overland travel is all about living out of your vehicle and being outside... This works very well in a warm climate but not really recommended for an Asia Overland adventure where the cold weather penetrates tents.  Keeping out of the elements is also critical, hence the need for a side awning mounted on your vehicle.

My 1991 Defender was fitted with a free standing Hannibal awning (as per the photo on the right). This awning was fantastic as it allowed me to open and close it in a matter of minutes. It kept us sheltered in the heat of the Mali summer although it did have a major tendency to fill with water in tropical rain conditions as experienced in Nigeria.
Collecting water from the awning
Living in Australia has similar conditions to Africa - hot summer weather with the East coast suffering from huge tropical rainfalls.  The need for a side awning on a vehicle is important - protection from the elements.

In my previous post, I mentioned the dilemma I was in... good quality, made locally, was being outsold by 'Made in China' expedition equipment.  I liked the equipment Hannibal and  Polaris Innovations made, however, my need for a side awning did not justify the price tag.  I don't have a year long expedition planned - I have the need for an awning for a few days a year.  This fact pushed me to the very disposable $120 awning.  The quality mimics the price, as you will see below, but the price means that I can buy four awnings for a single locally made one.  However, if I was equipping for an extended overland expedition, I would not hesitate in buying an awning that would stand up to daily use in extreme weather conditions.

Sydney 4wd & adventure Show

Martin, Kirsty & Gareth
The annual Sydney 4wd & adventure show took place this past weekend.  My main reason for visiting was to meet Gareth & Kirsty, who are in the busy phase of planning their overland adventure across Australia before shipping to Cape Town.  They will then continue North from CT following the East Coast to Europe. Be sure to visit their website and follow their Twitter feed.

My second plan was to buy a few bits 'n bobs for my 1996 Discovery -these included a side awning, and fridge.

Expedition equipment - designed and tested in country but 'Made in China' - would you buy it?

Expedition equipment and the challenge of buying locally made vs Chinese-made imports...
That was what the Syney 4wd & adventure show was all about... Quality vs price!  More on this very sensitive topics later in this post...

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Surfboards & Motorbikes

Fancy a trans-Africa trip on a motorbike?  Fancy taking your surfboard and strapping it to your bike as part of the adventure?

GaryUnguided recently posted on The Hubb asking for company for his adventure across Africa with his surfboard.  His posting reminded me of David Visagie's trip back in 2009 when a German, called Martin, headed South from Germany to Cape Town with his surfboard.

David Visagie was driving his modified Land Rover when he met Martin in Cameroon.  The mud was proving pretty difficult, as you can see from the various YouTube screen shots.  Watch the video for more footage.

Good luck to Gary (bugsonmyboard) with his upcoming adventure...
Bugs on my Board
Hopefully he won't be in a position like Martin was:

More surfing overland trips:
Film Review: Thirty Thousand

Thursday, October 4, 2012

aCross Africa

aCross Africa
Just a quick shout out to the team from aCross Africa who are driving a Land Rover 90 and Series II 88" vehicle to the four corners of Africa.

It has been years since overlanders have chosen to use a short-wheel base 4x4 for a trans-Africa trip.  Not only have aCross Africa chosen a Land Rover 90, they have also opted for an old Series II.

Check out their website at