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: How do you guys carry water with you on your big trips? Georgie, Carringbah, NSW
A: Our 4X4 is designed to go anywhere and sustain us for days in remote areas. It’s an old rig, but when we did the internal build we designed it to have a best-in-class water system (and everything else).
We wanted to carry a lot of water and be able to filter it on demand. We decided on a 54-litre Long Ranger water tank fitted under the body. It is crafted from stainless steel in Australia and has a filling point in our engine bay. Gareth installed a water pump to pull the water from the tank out through the taps mounted on our back door. We can choose if we pump straight out or divert it through a filter system. A word of advice: when it comes to carrying water it’s important to keep your centre of gravity in mind – keep it low – our Long Ranger sits around our chassis.
We also carry an emergency 20-litre Life Saver jerry can that has an insanely robust filter built in; it can turn sewage into drinkable water. I like it for when we draw water from a questionable source and really don’t want to put it in our main tank.
I’ve heard that other people drop water purification tablets into their tanks. Personally, I’m not interested in digesting unknown chemicals over long-periods of time if it’s avoidable.
Q: What do you and Gareth eat while travelling in the Troopy? I’m not a fan of basic camp food and it would be great to get some inspiration from you.
Sam, Batemans Bay, NSW
A: Since we began writing and blogging about our 4X4 travels my inbox has received a steady flow of questions from people interested to hear what food we are eating. At first I thought it was a little bit strange, but as time went by I realised how important a good feed is when you are living simply and outside the comforts of home.
There aren’t enough words on this page to cover every meal. So, let me cover off the most important meal on the road in our world – LUNCH! When we are covering some serious kilometres lunch always sneaks up on us. Then it’s like, BAM! I have to eat then and there or I will implode and it will not be pretty!
After a few less than stellar moments, and spending far too much on café food, we ended up gravitating towards actually being prepared. In Australia, lunch is usually a wrap, puffed corn bread topped with yummo stuff or a straight up salad. We like to keep a couple of packets of smoked salmon in the fridge and five or so tins of tuna in the cupboard at any one time. Once it’s coupled with rocket, avocado, tomatoes, cucumber, alfalfa, too much aioli and goat cheese, we’re extremely happy. It’s all about making sure we are stocked up with something that makes both our mouths water. A few of our favourite ingredients are expensive. But smoked salmon with goat cheese with some green stuff is better than going to a café! And that’s how we twist our own arms that it’s better to ‘eat in’.
Q: I have seen your photos on Aussie Overlanders and I love them. What camera do you use?
Sarah, Gladstone, QLD
Thanks Sarah. Very kind of you to say. I have two cams with me while travelling – a DSLR and a small point and shoot.
The DSLR I have is the Canon 6D. I have always been a Canon man and the 6D was an obvious upgrade for me from my Canon 40D. It is a perfect mid-weight camera for travelling but obviously the weight will increase with the size of the lens you have attached. I have taken three different lenses with me but only really use two of them. The 6D can handle the L series lenses well. I bought it a while a go now so the price has dropped significantly, which in my mind makes it a great camera to start with if you’re in the market for one.
The point and shoot I have is a Sony RX100 Mark II. This is not the first Sony camera I have used but it is the best. Superb low light capabilities and very versatile – which is what you need when travelling. I never use it in manual (that’s what the DSLR is for) but you can. I highly recommend them both.
Q: I am thinking of getting a DRIFTA kitchen for my camper trailer. Do you think it’s worth it and how is yours holding up?
Martin, Northern Beaches, NSW
A: Apart from our rig being a Toyota LandCruiser, I think our DRIFTA kitchen and drawers are one of the best things about our car. It is the main component of our rear cabin space and after nearly two years of living in our Troopy I can’t fault it.
One of my main reasons for wanting DRIFTA kitchen and cupboards was the fact that they don’t use any moving parts, other than the little push buttons to open the short drawers.
Our kitchen drawer and bottom storage drawers – which hold most of the heavy items we carry – slide in and out with ease. No rollers or ball bearings are required. Our kitchen and drawers are still like new, bar a couple of small cosmetic dents in the drawers from everyday use.
As for your question about whether I think it is worth it – hell yeah! I didn’t research or compare costs with others because I knew that this was the system I wanted. We also did a factory tour in their northern NSW headquarters and we were able to see the quality of work that these guys produced. After the way these have proved themselves I would not even consider any other drawers or kitchens to use.