GARETH WRIGHT AND KIRSTY HOBBS, THE AUSSIE OVERLANDERS,
ARE YOUNG ADVENTURERS TRAVELLING THE WORLD IN THEIR 4X4.
Over the past few years they have built their knowledge from the ground up.
They don’t pretend to know everything but are happy to share what they have found
to work best. Around here that’s what we call an UNSEALED 4X4 expert.
Q: My hubby and I have decided to do a big lap around Australia next year. How do you guys go with your internet and managing to stay connected?
Barb, Burleigh Heads, QLD
A: Barb, you are asking the right person – I love some 3G! What works best for us is a pre-paid SIM card in an iPhone loaded with a data bundle. The iPhone has a function that allows you to broadcast a ‘Personal Hotspot’ – just like your WIFI at home. You can connect multiple devices (for example, an iPad and a computer) and set a password so other campers don’t leech your data. A mobile internet dongle would do the same thing, but I find ours stays in the drawer as the iPhone is always ready to use. However a dongle will be a good idea if you find yourself locked into a provider with lousy reception, because you can insert a pre-paid SIM from a different provider. On our journey around Oz we found Telstra was best – but to be honest we ended up with them out of desperation. We were in a fairly remote West Australian town and Telstra was the only data provider available. Fortunately we found they were much, much better than the guys we had been struggling around Australia with. The downside? The data was also a lot more expensive. But if getting online is important to you, then I recommend setting aside a budget for feeding your internet addiction and get on with it. All the best for your trip! Cheers, Kirsty
Q: Kirsty, I want to know how the hell you survive camping for an entire year! But more importantly, I want to know what’s in your toiletries bag?
Claire, Palm Beach, NSW
A: Ha! Oh Claire, I get asked this all the time. But mostly from friends who can’t quite believe that we are able to fit everything we need inside a car! They also can’t believe that I have a 20cm x 80cm space to store all my clothes for two years. But I digress. Before I share a few of my favourite lotions and potions, I think it’s worth saying this: Never have I seen more beautiful women than when out camping! Don’t you agree? Hair runs wild and rosy cheeks break out from behind the plaster of foundation. Women just seem more vibrant and chilled. Somehow less mirrors equals less inhibitions and us dames become more naturally gorgeous. With that said, when I’m outside all the time my skin needs some extra love. Here’s a few rapid-fire recommendations for you, all of which I use regularly. To get rid of a face full of sweat and grime I recommend exfoliating with Dermalogica Skin Resurfacing Cleanser and a Clarisonic (Google it, girl). To inject some serious moisture and minimise pigmentation, pat on some serum from Kiehl’s before you go to bed – their Midnight Recovery Concentrate is a seriously well spent $70. Whenever we park up for a few days and I get time for some lady-maintenance I indulge in a facemask in the hope of soothing the affects of the sun and wind. I choose Sodashi’s Brightening Marine Mineral Mask, and quite frankly it is The Bomb! Gareth also sneaks some out after he has had a shave. Cheers, Kirsty
Q: Why did you guys choose a LandCruiser Troop Carrier as your expedition vehicle?
Steve, Adelaide, SA
A: When we first looked at cars for the expedition it was a choice between two: a LandCruiser Troop Carrier or a Land Rover Defender. We eventually weighed up the positives and negatives and decided on a Troopy. The Troopy has a huge space inside which leaves you with plenty of room to design your own interior layout. It also has the bonus of being able open both rear doors. This provides excellent access to the space of your rig and in particular made it easy for us to install a slide-out kitchen. After converting it into a pop-top we are very happy with our set up, and enjoy the ‘luxury’ of being able to sit inside the car in bad weather. We chose an older model LandCruiser, which has little to no electrics. This helps a person, even with limited mechanical knowledge (like me), figure out faults if they arise. Having a Toyota also makes it easy to arrange for spare parts if needed. They are everywhere in Africa and Australia. So Steve, it’s for all these reasons we think it is the perfect vehicle to do a trans-Continental overland expedition. Cheers, Gareth
Q: I am new to four-wheel driving and I have been looking for a new set of tyres for my 4X4. There seems to be so many options. Can you recommend a brand that might be suitable for my Patrol?
Rod, Bankstown, NSW
A: Hi Rod, We are also relatively new to four-wheel driving and the Troopy is the first fourbie we have owned. When it comes to tyres there are many respected companies to choose from. Cooper Tyres, BFGoodrich and Michellin to name a few. I can only comment on the rubber we have used on our rig. We run a set of BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain KM2’s. They have been fantastic in all conditions we have faced so far. We have just clicked over 50,000km and all this with not one puncture. This is a testament to the tyre because we have covered some pretty rough ground. We have driven through sand, over rock, gravel, shale, tarmac and almost anything else you could think of. When we reach Europe later in the year we will probably also cross some snow, too. You will have to decide on your tread pattern. All-Terrains will be your most universal tread but if you like mud, then go for a set of Mud-Terrains. Some people comment on the noise of the tread pattern with muddies but we don’t notice as our rig is loud anyway. I don’t want this answer to sound like a plug for BFGoodrich, but we have been so impressed with their rubber that I would tell anyone who listened to get a set. Spend some time making your decision. A good set of rubber is worth its weight in gold – so we have always treated ours well. We are pretty particular with inflating and deflating when required and believe this has rewarded us with an even longer-lasting set of tyres. Hope that helps, mate. Cheers, Gareth