Friday, November 30, 2012

Anatomy of a Land Rover Defender 110 200Tdi

Anatomy of a Land Rover Defender
Choosing your vehicle for your overland adventure is probably the hardest decision you will make... If you opt for a Land Rover Defender, you will be choosing a vehicle that has completed the majority of Trans-Africa journeys and has every accessory you could possible need (and want).

The 'Anatomy of a overland vehicle' series was started by Nick Bradshaw and detailed the various modifications he did to his Defender 300Tdi before and after his epic Trans-Africa adventure.
Be sure to read his post via the Langebaan Sunset blog. My previous blog entry detailed the anatomy of a 1968 Land Rover Series II 109" which I purchased in 1999 and spent a few months driving around Southern Africa.

In 2005 I departed the cold UK winter and headed South in a 1991 Land Rover Defender 200Tdi.
This is the anatomy of the vehicle I spent a year in...

I opted not to fit a bullbar and winch.  My decision was based on a number of trip reports where the overlanders stated that they hardly used a winch, and when they did, it was to recover another vehicle.  Backing up my decision was the financial cost.  The amount of money spent on a bullbar and winch in 2005 would have allowed me to travel 5000km.
The exterior of the vehicle included an Eezi-awn rooftop tent and a Hannibal side awning. The gas bottle was fitted to a bracket on the rear of the vehicle whilst the hi-lift jack was mounted horizontally on the roofrack. The sides of the Land Rover had been decorated with Tinga Tinga art (which is now a children's TV program).
I fitted two side lockers, one of which kept two jerry cans filled with diesel.  The diesel capacity was 160l, of which the most I used at one time was 140l (exploring Mauritania).  The second side locker was filled with vehicle spares including oils and lubricants.  Best to keep the messy containers separate from other equipment.
Although the Defender had already completed a few overland journeys, the interior was kept very original. I hunted for a solution that would use the vertical sides of the vehicle and keep the floor space as neat as possible.  My solution was to use ex-Navy blanket boxes (very heavy duty) fitted with shelves and positioned vertically. The boxes were bolted to the wheel tubs and had a bracket to the side wall.  I used a total of three of these boxes.  One for food (visible in the picture, the second for clothing (behind drivers seat) and the third for miscellaneous items like the medical kit, camera equipment and even a small portable photo printer.
On the floor of the vehicle, I stacked a few South African made Wolf boxes. These have four clips attached to the lids and stack very neatly.  Two plastic water jerry cans slotted into jerry can holders between the rear wolf boxes and the Engel 40L fridge.
Overall I was happy with the layout of the interior however I did have a few gripes about not being able to retreat to the back of the vehicle in bad weather along with having to kneel on the front seats to be able to get to our clothing.  The positive was the very easy access to our food cupboard, crockery and cutlery.

You can view the full equipment list (XLS spreadsheet) via the BigSky Adventures website or download a copy.

Additional Reading:
One Land Rover - Six Trans-Africa trips
Anatomy of a Land Rover Series II
Anatomy of a Defender 300Tdi