Vehicle Prep, Mods and Things To Take
Toyota Land Cruiser VX 80 Series 1997
4.2 Automatic Diesel
Intercooler (this vehicle came with this as standard – apparently quite a handy thing to have for warmer climes)
Built in Winch (came with vehicle as standard)
Side Runners (came with the vehicle – super useful for that little bit of a step up)
BF Goodrich All Terrain Tyres (came with the vehicle)
Front and Rear Axle Rebuild
New Brake Discs and Pads
Power Steering Pump Rebuild
Oil, Air and Fuel Filters Replaced
Diff & Gearbox Breather / Cooler Kit
Air Con Fixed and Re-Gassed
Old Man Emu Shocks
T-Max Split Charge System
Leisure Battery in Rear
Rear Frame Build for Useful Boxes and additional Shelves
Aluminium Bull Bar (useless…) replaced with an ARB Bumper in Nairobi
Replaced Headlights with HIDs (and have been blinding drivers ever since)
Covered the Tailgate with a Stainless Steel Panel (my boot opens up and down so this made for an excellent shelf at the back!)
Modifications by my superbly practical father, Barney Dillon
Wiring of Leisure Battery
An Additional 12v Socket next to Gear Lever
Three Additional 12v Sockets in Rear
Custom Built Clamps for Roof Top Tent to fit onto Patriot Roof Rack
Crash Course in Engine Maintenance
Taught me how to change a tyre when I was about 10 years old…
Recovery Gear and Spares
T-Max Air Compressor
Winch Kit complete with Kinetic and Static Ropes
Booster Cables (the thickest ones I could find)
Air Jack – never got to use this as didn’t get one puncture
Spare Belts, Oil Filters, Air Filters, Fuel Filters
Things I Added:
Garmin GPS with Tracks for Africa – undoubtedly the best piece of kit for planning (use BaseCamp on your PC to plot routes etc and transfer information to the GPS). Without the help of a second person in the vehicle to help me check maps etc, this was an absolute life saver. The roads are all graded so you also get a fair idea of how long journeys will take on various roads – super useful!
Howling Moon Roof Top Tent – the most comfy night’s sleep you’ll ever get! Holds out well in rain but I found out the fly starts to gather water a little in a 3 hour downpour… You can pack the tent away with your bedding inside which is handy! My mum custom made two fitted sheets for the mattress and I took a silk liner, spare sheet and sleeping bag to sleep under.
Extension Room for RTT – this four sided room hangs down from the extended portion of the tent, creating an additional room in the ladder section below. I only used this once when I was stopped for a few days in Malawi.
Howling Moon Awning – an excellent piece of kit, but I barely used it. As with many other things, if I’d been stopped for longer periods, I would have used it for sure.
Patriot Roof Rack – spent a lot of money on this and it was worth every penny but could probably have gotten away with something a little cheaper.
ARB Fridge / Freezer 40l – this is pure luxury and you can do without it, but it’s so nice to be able to carry milk, cheese, beers and have cold water on demand.
Two Plate Coleman Burner – far more useful than a smaller camping type burner
Gas Bottle and Regulator – bought in Kenya
2x 20l Jerry Cans for Diesel – used the spare diesel once in Botswana
2x 20l Plastic Cans for Water (also had a 12v water pump and a syphon) – used for showering and washing
1x 20l Lifesaver System Water Jerry Can with Carbon Filter – started using this but found it easier to buy large 5l bottles of water and decant instead.
Pots & Pans – I only needed one of each
Cast Iron Dutch Oven – never used, didn’t stay anywhere long enough to make a nice stew…
BBQ Grill (a double one that you can close over the meat and secure) – useful for cooking over open fires
Kelly Kettle – a clever little aluminium kettle that boils water from the inside out, using dry leaves and twigs. I used this quite a lot when I could find enough dry stuff to burn.
Camping Chairs – the normal camping style chairs are great, if you’re pushed for space, get the little tripod chairs.
Fold Away Table – the ones where the legs come off and fold underneath the table top.
Useful Things to Take Along:
Bungee Cords – great for washing lines, holding things back or in place in the vehicle
Pegs – 10 will do, for hanging washing and other bits and pieces up
Carabiners – you can’t get enough use out of these, get a range of sizes for hanging, securing etc
Head Torch – essential for light when you’re moving about, cooking etc – and need both your hands!
LED 12v Rechargeable Lights – the long, hanging kind – amazingly useful for getting light into the back of the vehicle and for hanging in the tent
Range of 12v chargers – for the laptop. the camera batteries
Radio with a USB Dock – make sure the USB will play your iphone/ipod and not just charge it, I found this out before I left and changed the radio for one that actually played music from the iphone – charges the phone when plugged in, as well as the GoPro or anything else with a USB charger.
Leatherman – or any other multi-tool.
Collapsible Bucket – I can’t rate this highly enough! Used for washing mostly and due to space, it had to be collapsible.
Cable Ties – range of lengths for fixing any item to any thing! Also used quite a bit to make loops on the ends of tools for hanging them up.
A Few Helpful People Chipped in Along the Way…
My organised and super attentive mom, Margi Dillon – what would I have done without her? Coordinating banking issues, insurance claims, and a range of other issues back in the UK – in exchange for as many location and news updates as I could manage!
My practical and mechanically minded pops, Barney Dillon – who I have been handing spanners and pliers to since an early age. He helped me prepare the Beast before leaving, getting the wiring sorted, adding additional 12v sockets for charging and custom building the clamps to secure the RT Tent to the roof rack – clever huh? Amazingly we also got the roof rack and tent on just the two of us! Barney was also the first person I would call whenever the Beast showed the smallest sign that something was up. We spent quite some time in Harare together over Christmas getting the Beast ship-shape for the final part of the trip.
Matt & Helen, thanks so much for taking deliveries when I didn’t have a home prior to the trip. Matt also helped with last minute drilling to get the awning secured the day before the Beast was due to be shipped…
Mike Sewell, Lizzy Franklin, Mark Fitzgerald and Michael Green – thanks for having me to stay in your homes in the months prior to leaving, and for taking a million deliveries of small and large parcels for me!
Ready to go… let’s do this!