More May Not Be Better?
Preparation is about taking a standard vehicle and turning into something that is fully equipped for the journey ahead.
Turning through the pages of any LR magazine you will find vehicle with every conceivable accessory bolted on, and given an unlimited budget the temptation (for many) is to take a scatter-gun approach to preparation and fit all manner of accessories which will never be needed.
Fortunately for the rest of us the constrains of our budget force us to choose what we need carefully.
Your choice should take into account the terrain you are travelling across – desert conditions dictate that your vehicle should be a light as possible – and soft sand, assuming that it’s rock-free, means you have less reason to bolt on heavy under-body protection plates and guards.
Auxiliary fuel and water tanks are a necessity for many routes, but if you aren’t venturing outside of Europe these become expensive luxuries.
The key to successfully preparing your vehicle is to objectively assess the case for each piece of equipment in terms of cost, frequency of use, and weight. Only then should you draw up your shopping list.
Legally Required Equipment
- 2 x warning Triangles (Spain)
- fluorescent waistcoat (Spain)
- Spare Bulb Set (Various)
- First Aid Kit (Various)
- 2x Fire Extinguishers (Various)
- Reflective Tape (Mozambique, available locally)
General Vehicle Preparation
The sections in this expedition planning guide cover many aspects of preparation, but this section looks specifically at what you need to do to equip your vehicle before you set out.
An essential addition to your load capacity, as well as a place to sleep assuming you opt for a Brownchurch roof tent.
Not necessarily a must, but this addition can save your radiator, and maybe windscreen too in the the event of running into an animal. The are also the ideal mounting point for:
Winches are quick easy to use once you’ve mastered the important safety rules. To counter that they are expensive and heavy, and they rely upon a suitable anchor point, which means that in a desert they are far less useful than on a green lane. We supply and install Warn winches, and can offer you valuable advice if you need it.
Roof mounted lights are far superior to bush-bar mounted lights when it comes to night driving. An ideal system will include two spots for the road, and two wide-angle lights which allow you to anticipate dangers approaching from the sides, such as startled wildlife). A rear facing lights also very useful for reversing, as well as for recovery, loading, or simply setting up camp.
While important for wading, these are essential for keeping your air filter intake out of the dust that dominates driving in arid conditions along tracks.
Fuel range and consideration are discussed in detail in the Fuel & Oil section. Whatever your needs, we are able to supply and fit a range of third party products – call us for more details.
Various guards are available to protect you underside, including diffs, steering rods, your sump, as well as fuel tanks, lights, and sills. In dense foliage bush lines can deflect branches away from your windscreen, and chequer plate panels can be applied to turn wings into stepping points. While window grilles are less popular with overlanders, they are considered obligatory if the vehicle is being shipped with equipment inside.
Don’t just think about what you can bolt on to your vehicle – think about what’s already there, and ensure you get the most out of it by ensuring your seals, bushes and all other components are up to the journey you are planning.