Monday, October 15, 2012

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...


The Sydney 4wd & Adventure show offered visitors a good selection of products from independent and retail brands, along with the usual 4wd test track and showground for those interested in testing their vehicles and watching the pros tackle huge rock obstacles to become 'king of the show'.

The products ranged from suspension modifications, recovery, lights, camper trailers along with the mix of independent stands selling cables, tools, bbq grids and tyres.
A few photos from the day (via my mobile phone as my battery went flat on the digital camera!):
A very impressive rooftop tent mounted on a vehicle.
Camper Trailers are extremely popular in Australia.  Not many have ever made a full Trans-Africa trip however for families exploring Australia, these make sense.  This tiny Venter trailer was fitted with a rooftop tent!
This awesome looking Camper Trailer from Kimberley Kampers had the longest tow bar to wheels that I have seen.  It was very sturdy looking so I presume it would handle the rough conditions unsealed roads would deliver.
Kimberley Kampers
  Need extra horsepower?  How about fitting an outboard motor to your Defender?  This vehicle, owned by Opposite Lock, had a small boat mounted in front of the rooftop tent.
Land Rover Defender with Yamaha outboard engine
Back to my observation around locally made vs Chinese Made imports...  An example I encounted:
An imported South African brand awning had a retail price of $850.  A locally designed, sourced and made awning (sold by an independent expedition company) retailed around the $550 price point.
Three companies, all major Australian brands, offered an identical ''Made in China' awning.  All the companies had their brand stitched to the side of the cover.  The most expensive of these items retailed for $270 whilst the cheapest, retailed for a show price of $120!

Guess which company had queues of people waiting to pay for an awning?  Yip, the $120 priced one.  I felt really disturbed that the local owner of the expedition awning company (Polaris Innovations) offered awesome quality, personable service and a warranty that you knew you could trust was being outsold by products because of price.    More on my thoughts and what I decided in the next blog post...

What's your thoughts?  Do you opt for good quality or simply choose a product on price?