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Expedition Vehicles

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Expedition Vehicles

Post by assassin on Wed May 10, 2017 2:44 am

How many people long to get away from it all for a few days, how many people can get away from it all for a few days, actually anyone who can afford a vehicle can and its called buying and converting a 4X4 and many people are beginning to do just this by buying what they term "bug out vehicles" to get away from the rat race for a few days at a time and they get back to nature by driving the nations green lanes and staying away from the rat race, doing what they want when they want, and generally coming back into touch with nature.

What is expeditioning? it is basically buying and converting a 4X4 and we have to identify the two main types of 4X4 conversions here, the off roader builds a vehicle to take a day out off roading on public lanes, or at an off roading centre where they convert their vehicle to drive to a site and conquer any obstacle at any price, then drive home again; expedition vehicles are converted differently as they are converted to cover high mileages on and off road, and to contain all the kit you need to survive for the duration of your trip, and both types of vehicle overlap to some degree. Where can you go expeditioning? well, anywhere really but some countries such as Australia have vast open spaces to explore and many of their roads are on beaches so you can drive on them, but in reality in the UK you can travel on many unmetalled roads for hundreds of miles by simply looking at maps and finding the routes.

How do I convert a 4X4 and what do I buy? it comes down to personal choice and you need a true off roader and not a soft roader as soft roaders can get bogged in some of the terrain a true off roader can travel, any true off roader has 4 wheel drive which is either permanent or switchable, lockable differentials, high and low range transmission, and a low revving and high torque engine which is usually diesel powered. From a choice perspective most people look at Land Rover and if they have one they soon get rid of it through reliability, or a lack of reliability, leaving Toyota Land Cruisers, Mitsubishi Shogun, Nissan Terrnao, Nissan Patrol, Daihatsu Fourtrak, and many others.

What are the key criteria for an expedition vehicle? basically it is an ability to cover long distances on and off road, comfort, reliability, durability, and the ability to repair it easily in the event of a failure.

How should I choose a base vehicle for an expadition vehicle? basically its research and finding out what other people use and why they choose them, then finding out what their common faults are and the running costs, then seeing if you can fit everyone in as well as all your kit.

What modifications do I make? as a minimum you need to swap your tyres from a road biased to an all terrain tyre as this is a better compromise between road and off road use and noise, fit underbody protection to protect all essentials such as engines, gearboxes, tanks for fuel or additional water tanks; and then fit a good set of gas shock absorbers as normal shock absorbers are air filled and foam and froth, then overheat when working off road in difficult terrain, gas shocks reduce this significantly by reducing foaming and transferring heat from the oil more efficiently.

What kit do I carry? basically its vehicle tools, camping kit for a beginner, clothes, and food; many people spend a fortune on a vehicle and considerable time converting it, only to find they dont like expeditioning and sell everything at a loss, but by keeping it basic, simple, and cheap you can reduce a huge loss by being a cheapskate because those who get the bug keep an expedition vehicle and it evolves with more modifications over time as they learn more, and as finances permit.

What are the further modifications people make? usually it is long range single or twin fuel tanks, underbody water tanks to carry large volumes of water low down on the vehicle to keep the centre of gravity low, a split charging system to keep the engine battery solely for the engine and an auxiliary battery/battery pack for all non vehicle related power, a fridge/fridge freezer to carry food for longer trips, an electric winch for self recovery, and any number of specific modifications to suit their individual requirements.

Are there any pitfalls? yes, the biggest are the retailers of outdoor equipment who are in it solely for the profit and are willing to sell you equipment you neither want or need and exploit your naivity, there is the vanity as many people fit large wheels and expensive tyres, lots of lights, and of course they have to have the right branding on them, and there is stupidity such as driving a heavily laden 4X4 around a farmers fiels of crops to show off your driving prowess which alienates the farmers and can force them to oppose us and prevent us coming onto their land.

By having such a vehicle and keeping it simple the world is your oyster if you are having a stressful week at work, you can make a decision to go away for the weekend and prepare your vehicle, most of your kit can remain in your vehicle and you pack your food, drain and fill your water tank with fresh water, and off you go and on your way you can pick up diesel at your local supermarket while the wife goes in and collects the fresh food for your weekend away.

Note - I have never seen an expedition vehicle with a TV so thats a bonus.

You spend family time together, you eat together, you cook and wash up as a family, and as you never travel alone you can do these as a group also, you get to see places and things other people never see, you drive at YOUR pace and not to speed limits, both men and women can learn off road driving skills and share the driving, you see wildlife you never normally see, you can forage and collect and try new wild foods, you are out in the fresh air, and you can light a camp fire at night and spend time sitting round it talking. Its relaxing, its even nice in the rain with the sound of the rain dropping onto your tent, its natural and back to basics, and you get back in tune with yourself, whats not to like.
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