XTREME GEAR TESTING IN THE GULF
A long adventure is the best way to work out whether your gear is good, brilliant or rubbish…
WORDS & IMAGES ANTHONY KILNER
Having only bought my Cruiser a couple of years ago, I was yet to take it on a major trip where fuel stations would be few and far between … that is, until our Gulf jaunt arose. On the Gulf there can be some majorly long distances between fuel stops, and when towing, fuel usage of course goes up.
I opted to swap out the Cruiser’s small 45-litre sub tank for a Long Range Automotive 160-litre replacement tank, which gives me 3.5 times more fuel capacity – perfect for getting to some seriously remote locations. This tank also meant I could skip the more expensive fuel stops if I wanted to, which is a big bonus.
Installing the tank does mean moving the spare tyre out from underneath the vehicle, but I was happy to do that if it meant getting more fuel range without the need to carry Jerry cans.
This tank retails for $1185 including GST plus installation (which takes around three hours) and comes with a three-year warranty.
Having bought a drone prior to our Gulf adventure, I quickly worked out that directing drivers while droning was not easy or safe. I needed a portable radio with the option of hands-free operation that could be used both in and out of the car.
Uniden manufactures the UH850S-DLX 5 Watt UHF Waterproof CB Handheld Radio Deluxe Pack, which comes complete with a variety of configurations from a hand-held radio to an in-car base unit with its own portable magnetic aerial.
When our old in-car UHF died on the trip, I unpacked the Uniden car kit and set it up to work with its own aerial on the roof. The unit is waterproof, runs for up to 39 hours and is very sturdy – in fact, the hand-held radio got flung out of the car onto hard ground at one point causing the belt clip to come off, but I put it back together and off we went. What I liked best, although it was a bit fiddly to use initially, was the belt-clip system and ear-piece unit that, in hands-free voice activated mode (or VOX), meant I could direct vehicles without using my hands … it worked a treat.
This unit retails for $329.95 and has with a
Narva – Projecta
When it comes to choosing lights to take away on your trip, save space by opting for camp lighting that can double as a work lamp. We tested two styles of light from NARVA, a See Ezy high-powered, cordless workshop floodlight, and two ‘pocket’ lights.
The floodlight is great as a portable workshop light and when camping it can easily be maneuvered anywhere without the need for long wires. The unit has two light modes, bright and brighter, incorporating a 20W COB LED and lithium battery. It can be adjusted up and down by 180 degrees. It’s waterproof and features an impact-resistant rubber frame.
We also tested the optional tripod stand; this combination worked well for lighting up the whole campsite.
The pocket LEDs are handier than a torch for well-rounded light, although they aren’t as good for long beam work. They came in handy when crawling under the car and camper at night and worked perfectly during campfire cooking or to light the way to the toilet.
Driven by a lithium battery, the pocket light incorporates eight powerful 0.5W SMD LEDs to provide a super bright white light for up to five hours. They can be charged via a 240V base or a USB port.
The pocket LEDs are hardy and have a belt clip as well as a strong magnet, so they can be attached to roof racks and other metal surfaces. In fact, we used them as kitchen lights under the roof awning – perfect.
There are also two other products we tested that are worth mentioning. Firstly, the Projecta IDC25 Intelli-Charge DC/Solar Dual Purpose Battery Charger – a 25-amp, three-stage, dual battery charger that allows batteries to be charged from solar or the alternator automatically and at the same time if needed.
The second is the 120W Projecta solar panel that is wired into the camper electrical system full time and locks to the roof of the camper. We’ve made this portable unit easy to get on and off the roof as needed so we can place it in direct sun when the camper is in shade. It can also be packed in the 4WD and used when travelling without the camper. As long as there’s sun, there’s charge!