The Set-Up

Cave Lion a 2005 Toyota Land Cruiser Turbo Diesel and she’s a beast.  The most powerful vehicle either of us have ever owned, although knowing our previous ancient used cars and that we were car-less in New York City for 15 years, this isn’t as dramatic a statement as it could be.  That said, driving this vehicle in low range on steep terrain is exhilarating!

Siberian Tiger is a hard floor camper trailer.  We selected the 2014 Cup Camper Supamatic Regal with the off-road package.  We were focused on heavy duty off-road camper trailers because we were looking for one that would be able to travel wherever Cave Lion could take us.  We also needed a trailer that would have enough sleeping space for the 4 of us without requiring the set-up of a separate tent.  The Cub met these requirements and we have been quite pleased with the purchase.

Cave Lion was standard factory issue when we bought her and we made several upgrades to her since then. We added:

– ARB Steel Bull Bar
This is the bar over the front grill of car.  It is sometimes called a Roo Bar, but in the Outback, the big (read: dangerous) reason to have one is in case of hitting a cow.  Much of the country is unfenced grazing area and in the grand scheme of things, a cow is going to do a lot more damage than a kangaroo if Cave Lion encounters either head-on.

– Bilstein Shocks
Makes the corrugations that much more tolerable.

Lightforce high performance lights
Dubbed the “super lights” by our crew, they throw so much more light then our factory high beams and add much better peripheral vision for any critters that may want to leap out from the sides of the road unannounced.

Southern Cross Rooftop Bag
Filled with everything that we aren’t using on a daily basis – primarily clothes that are for the wrong season, toys that are out of season and a few camping supplies that we rarely use.

– 3 drawer system with fridge slide and table from Offroad Systems
I don’t know how I will ever survive without a drawer system in the car again.  It makes organizing our life – one is for tools and emergency supplies, 2 are for food and household goods – somewhat possible on the road.  My favorite feature is the slide out table.  It means it is never too much effort to get the table out for a quick lunch.

– Cooper ST Maxx Tyres
I have never thought anything about my tyres in the past, but having done several 4WD trips with other vehicles, I am confident that these provide superior performance on a variety of surfaces.

– 45L Engel Fridge
We use this fridge primarily for snacks and our lunch.  This provides convenience when we are away from the camper during the day, but also reduces the number of times that we need to open the camper fridge.  This one is constantly charging as we drive, so we almost never have to worry about battery power for it.

– 60L Stainless Steel Water Tank
This tank provides peace of mind for us.  It is recommended to carry 5L of water per day per person when traveling in remote areas.  We keep this full and available for emergencies.  We use the water in our camper for our day-to-day water usage

– Snorkel for water crossings and dusty roads
Not a required item, but as the mechanic said to us when we got it installed – it’s cheap insurance.  Water in the engine is not something that you ever want to have happen and this makes it that much less likely.

– UHF Radio
Great for communicating with other vehicles in a convoy and also for communicating with road trains when we need to figure out if it all clear to get around a 53 meter road train at highway speeds.  Much easier with a heads up from the truckie!

– Half Cargo Barrier
Sit atop the water tank, which is behind the second row seats.  This makes sure that none of the heavy gear makes it into the passenger area if we ever get into an accident.  Not something I like to think about but a necessity… And conveniently makes it easier to more fully stuff the back without fear of dropping things onto the boys heads!

– Upgraded electrics throughout
We added several additional 12V sockets in the vehicle.  Three in front are dedicated to the tyre monitor system, the electronic brakes for the trailer and the GPS. In the second row, we added 2 USB ports to charge devices, they are constantly in use and I sometimes wish we had another one. The ones in back, unfortunately, get very little use because the car is generally too full to make access to them in the back easy.

– Auxiliary Battery System
Cave Lion came standard with 2 starter batteries.  We added a third battery that runs the fridge, auxiliary lights and most conveniently, the two USB ports that we are always using to charge our devices.  It allows us to charge our phones while the car is off.

– Awning with side lighting
We haven’t used the awning as often as I expected, but when we have used it, it has been a necessity.  On very hot days, when we need to stop for a break, the awning is figuratively and literally a lifesaver.  The lights under the awning (that can be used with or without the awning) are great when we are bush camping.  We can park Cave Lion parallel to our tent and light up our whole camp area.

– Rear lighting
We also installed a basic LED light strip in the rear of the vehicle, which is immensely helpful when searching for a key item required by the kids to go to sleep after the sun has set.  It saves ages of pawing around aimlessly in the back of the car.

– Roof Rack
This is mostly covered by our roof bag, but there is space in the back for carrying extra gear or loading on some firewood.  Additionally, the side has mounts for our shovel, which can be used it Cave Lion ever gets stuck, but much more frequently used for digging fire pits.

Siberian Tiger also has the following upgrades:

– 85L Evacool Fridge / Freezer combo
This size (plus the 45L one in Cave Lion) allows us to stock up for 7-10 days for the 4 of us.   We have never run it as a freezer ad we cryovac all of our meat which saves space and significantly extends its life in the fridge.

– 120W solar panels to recharge a dual battery system in the camper
With reasonably sunny days and cool evenings, we can run indefinitely with this power set-up.  Granted, we have almost no power draw in the camper other than the fridge a LED lights briefly in the evening.

– 200L water storage
This amount of water allows us to camper for 7-10 days without needing additional fresh water if we are careful about our usage.  The hand pump that we have at the front of the camper is fantastically useful for refilling water bottles during teh day when we don’t want to set-up the kitchen and hook-up the water to the electric pump.

– Extended awning and tropical roof
We don’t always set them up, but they do provide shade and added heat / cold weather protection

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2 Comments on “The Set-Up

  1. Pingback: How We Roll: Setting Up for Long Term Family Travel | Miles from Brooklyn

  2. Thanks for sharing details of your set up. We are gearing up to do ‘the big lap’ next year starting from Perth with our 2 boys (currently 4 and 6) so it’s really helpful to see how someone else is doing it. There are a whole lot of mods I hadn’t even thought of, I think I might need to up our budget for equipment! I came across your blog a little while ago and have been really enjoying it so thank you for sharing your experiences. It’s making me even more impatient to hit the road!

    Like

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