Going round oz this summer

Submitted: Tuesday, Aug 05, 2014 at 08:56
ThreadID: 109025 Views:1517 Replies:5 FollowUps:4
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Hey guys, my girl and I are intending to go round oz this summer, starting around Nov/Dec heading south from Sydney.
We've just purchased a mid 90s troopie camper to be our home for what we think will take us at least 12 months and while its semi prepped I'd like to add a few things as we would really like to camp freely anywhere possible (and not stick to caravan/camping parks etc)
So can anyone provide opinion/suggestion on our questions namely:
1. Solar power...I'm thinking of installing a 120w solar panel on the roof...we will have a laptop and potentially a small screen to watch movies on, car fridge on 12v (waeco) and maybe an led light or two running....would that wattage panel be sufficient?
2. Maps...is the hema as good as they come? I've got an ipad 2 and was thinking to use that as a main nav with a hand held backup
3. Comms...besides the typical uhf was thinking of installing hf, but then i found things like spot tracker and we've got an old but fully functional sat phone...is hf still a good idea?
4. Water...we've got a 60l f/w tank installed...I'm also adding 2 20l solar shower bags for showers etc....its going to be mostly just the two of us so wandering how much water should we calculate on using daily
5. Free camping...I heard that you cannot camp in a lot of places these days...is it still possible to get off the beaten track and gypsy it overnight? Idea of our truck is that if need be we will confine ourselves to the truck alone without setting up a massive homestead around us...so who's to say that the truck is simply just parked there and the owners are elsewhere ;)
6. Spares...what kind of spares should I bring along...I'm thinking the usual like belts, air filter, fuses etc for sure, but wondering what else to bring as the troopie is fairly popular so I would think that parts would be reasonably accessible out there?

Well thats the initial q's...we've still got 3 or so months so will be doing some weekends away to see what works and what doesnt but would appreciate any feedback on the above :)
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Reply By: Member - John and Val - Tuesday, Aug 05, 2014 at 09:58

Tuesday, Aug 05, 2014 at 09:58
Hi,

Regarding electricity, suggest you'll find Electricity for Camping a useful read. First thoughts are that a bit more than 120W of solar would be better, but it depends on your travel patterns, time away from 240V, number of consecutive days without running the engine, how much battery storage..... lots of variables. We use 150W of solar, a dc-dc charger running from the vehicle, 200 Ah of storage and are comfortable though reasonably frugal with electricity.

Maps - paper is good (Westprint, Hema), but electronic maps are too - suggest consider a gps and Oziexplorer running the Exploroz maps on your laptop.

Solar showers - not recommended in Canberra this morning at -7 degrees! A 12V pump and a few litres of water heated over the fire or gas is good for a shower, or simply use the warmed water in the solar shower, or more water efficient - just a sponge in a dish.

Hf radio - depends where your are going but we carry one and would not go remote without one. Others prefer to carry a sat phone, and if you already have one of those, that's probably as much as you need. For routine comms, Telstra's 3G network has by far the best overall coverage.

Free camping - we too sleep in a Troopy and often simply get out of sight of the road for the night. Even if you can't find a spot to get off and get lost behind trees, gravel pits aren't usually pretty but are everywhere. They usually provide a firm base, plus shelter from wind and eyes.

Spares - depends very much on where you are travelling - unless going very remote such as the deserts, Canning Stock Route and the like, you will usually have access to spares without too much drama. If we are going remote, we will usually renew any aging belts and hoses before leaving home and carry the old ones as spares. We also carry an extra spare wheel/tyre, plus enough tools to make use of the spares.

Important if you are new to your Troopy - learn to use the beast. A 4WD training course such as provided by the better clubs is very valuable and will make you aware of capabilities which the 2WD folk can't even guess at! Tyre pressures especially are something to know about if going seriously offroad.

Just a few thoughts. Keep the questions coming and you'll find ExplorOz a great place to meet helpful like-minded people. Oh and don't be put off if the one negative type who may contribute a caustic or snide remark!

Cheers

John
J and V
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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Tuesday, Aug 05, 2014 at 10:06

Tuesday, Aug 05, 2014 at 10:06
Water - unless going into really water challenged areas we carry 30 litres day to day water in 10x3 litre bottles, plus a 25 litre bottle buried deep. The advantage of the small bottles is that you can fill up with whatever's available and discard if a better offer comes along - better than risking polluting a single bulk supply. The 25 litres usually goes home unopened at the end of a month or two's trip.

Cheers

John
J and V
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Follow Up By: AlbyNSW - Wednesday, Aug 06, 2014 at 05:32

Wednesday, Aug 06, 2014 at 05:32
This is very good advice regarding water carrying containers
Better to have a few smaller ones as you will soon work out which water supplies you want to drink from and which will become washing up water
Plus carrying unnecessary weight adds to fuel consumption and the prospect of breaking suspension etc
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Reply By: Member - sdr00y (Beecroft,NSW) - Tuesday, Aug 05, 2014 at 10:10

Tuesday, Aug 05, 2014 at 10:10
I'll start with spares... I am thinking you have just purchased the troopie (good choice I have a 95 rv troopie) and you probably have little history about it apart from the seller telling you it's a good truck? I would take it to nrma moto-care who offer a vehicle inspection. Get them to check it over telling them what you want to do ie a twelve moth loop of Aus. Get them to use toyota genuine parts and change the following: alternator belt x 2, air con belt, radiator top & bottom hoses, thermostat, heater hoses, air filter, oil filter, both fuel filters, possibly the timing belt & idler assembly (this is normally done every 100000 km, so depends on when yours was last done) and if you get the timing belt done do the water pump at the same time. Ask them to keep the bits they take off and use them as spares. So at the end of that service you have new gear + a spare set if alt belts, air con belt, full set of radiator & heater hoses, idler pulley & water pump +thermostat. Apart from the water pump most of the others can be changed using instructions from a manual. Oh and buy a gregories manual or get a cd manual from eBay too.

You could do tbe same for wheel bearings if you wanted, cause if you're stuck somewhrre remote more travellers will be able to help if you have spares with you.

Enjoy your trip!

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Reply By: pop2jocem - Tuesday, Aug 05, 2014 at 14:54

Tuesday, Aug 05, 2014 at 14:54
As part of your free camping, and maybe you have already catered for this, with yourselves as well as the Troopy, what goes in eventually has to come out.
Maybe a Porta Potty or as part of the learning curve the finer art of using a shovel.

Enjoy the trip

Cheers
Pop
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Reply By: cooeetravels - Wednesday, Aug 06, 2014 at 10:14

Wednesday, Aug 06, 2014 at 10:14
Thank you all that fantastic info...I'm not new to 4wd but always open to any suggestions/thoughts...I'm comfortable with the troopie as I had a couple of older cruisers in the past..I spent a fair few times in the bush but none were setup to be a dedicated camper and I think the most I slept in one is probably an overnight as we normally tented somewhere...so this will be a new experience lol but as said always keen to hear what one should take for longer than a weekend trip...we intend to follow the sun so first few months of the summer in the south then head across and up...
I'm glad to hear that you can still hide behind the bushes so to speak to camp, that's our idea for most of the places we go to as I don't really fancy spending time in a caravan park unless we have to (and then I'd probably hit up the local for some space before hitting a caravan park lol)...
Thank you for the electrical power article link that was great info too...I'm figuring that a 120 should do us as worst case we'll run the engine, and I want to keep some space on the roof to put up a couple of extra hatches to view those stars at nite :)
Was thinking about the toilet question...and considering now either a thunderbox or a porta potti...we'll have an external shower tent thingy (from oztrail) which can be doubled up as a toilet too if its a porta potti (nothing like your own lil outhouse lol) but the idea of the thunderbox appeals too...food for thought...
Service will be a defo and the idea of keeping the old as spares works for me too, I didnt think I would change the hoses but it makes sense given our scorching temps will do that before we set off...
Right onwards and upwards, I get these things sorted and start thinking about storage, space organisers and creature comforts like telly/screens for movies :)
AnswerID: 537238

Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Thursday, Aug 07, 2014 at 09:45

Thursday, Aug 07, 2014 at 09:45
Hi again,

You might get some useful ideas from Our Troopy Setup. Bit different from yours, but worth a look.

Cheers

John
J and V
"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."
- Albert Einstein

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Reply By: Janos K - Wednesday, Aug 06, 2014 at 17:30

Wednesday, Aug 06, 2014 at 17:30
My partner and i have done it previously.
1- Water, What ever your calculations are : Double it
2- Plan the trip. Google "everything" , Such as fuel stops, hospitals, Drive through bottle shops.
3- Check all the spares and the jacks, get it all oiled up ( dust is the killer)
4 - Take extra $2.00 sponges. Good for filling holes and cleaning.
5 - When camping at night in "dodgy" area's make sure you have enough lighting , We bough night owls
http://www.wallcann.com.au/titan-night-owl-10w-led-flood-light-cool-white-5m-lead.html
Or the whole emergency kit http://www.wallcann.com.au/titan-533-power-and-light-bush-kit.html
6- Being a man , Extra First aid bits like bandaids, alcohol, ( and a snake bite kit)
Plan plan plan , Plan your trip . If only the two of you and Free camping , then have a a"call in " plan as well so the rellies know you are ok.
We are gadget guru's but never planned for a drive shaft breaking in woop woop.
AnswerID: 537253

Follow Up By: cooeetravels - Thursday, Aug 07, 2014 at 00:23

Thursday, Aug 07, 2014 at 00:23
Hey Janos thanks for the info mate, good ideas there :) Wondering about the dodgy areas and planning bit...did you encounter any issues with safety? Our intention is not to plan too much as thats part of the adventure we figure...we'll always make sure we have enough spare water and provisions to last us a good week to be used in case of emergency, we'll take the spot tracker with us too for the extra comfort of safety in case we get stuck somewhere far away from any civ and we'll have the sat phone ...plus i'm taking my rifle for the just in case or maybe some game for dinner lol

Those night owls are amazing too thanks for that, will defo buy one or two as seems a great idea at not a lot of wattage
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