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4WD Addiction https://www.4wdaddiction.com.au The Ultimate 4x4 Blog Wed, 17 Jul 2019 10:50:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.7.2 124860026 Five Tips to Master Camping in Winter https://www.4wdaddiction.com.au/five-tips-to-master-camping-in-cold-winter-snow/ https://www.4wdaddiction.com.au/five-tips-to-master-camping-in-cold-winter-snow/#comments Tue, 28 May 2019 09:33:01 +0000 http://www.4wdaddiction.com.au/?p=2036 The post Five Tips to Master Camping in Winter appeared first on 4WD Addiction.

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Winter is here…But don’t chuck all of your camping gear to the back of the garage just yet! This is one of the best seasons to go camping.

After a fair few conversations around the campfire, it’s clear that “the cold” is usually what puts people off camping in winter. Well, that’s easily fixed, so toughen up princess, it’s about time you experienced a snow trip!

Here are my five top tips to get you out camping in the snow and having an absolute blast.

1- Appropriate Winter Clothing

This may sound glaringly obvious but it’s something that’s often overlooked. Look at Canada or Russia as examples, they both have winters far colder than ours (I’m taking -40 decrees Celsius in some areas), but they still get out in winter and enjoy the outdoor lifestyle.

Buy a good quality set of merino wool thermals. They make such a difference to your ability to retain body heat. Complement these with some warm hiking socks and a solid pair of boots to keep your feet warm and dry.

Invest in a quality winter coat; snowboarding gear is ideal as it’s warm and waterproof.

Layer up those clothes; wear a good beanie to keep your head warm and even a pair of gloves to keep the chill off your hands.

In short, dress appropriately for the conditions, save the singlets for summer!

2- Winter Sleeping Bag

Don’t try to get away with taking your summer sleeping bag on a snow trip; you will have a very cold and uncomfortable night.

For a good nights sleep, invest in a decent quality winter sleeping bag. Look for something rated to at least -5 degrees. If you really feel the cold, maybe a -10 degrees bag would be a good choice.

My winter bag is a -5 degrees bag lined with flanno, making it much nicer to climb into on those cold winter nights.

I’ve camped in the Victorian High Country at over 1500m with that sleeping bag, surrounded by snow and slept like a baby.

Winter camping big fire

3- A Cranking Campfire (and dry kindling to get it started)

This should go without saying but you need a decent campfire. We all love a campfire as a focal point to share a few stories and crack a couple beers but when winter camping, having a fire at night is priority number one.

Getting a fire started in the snow isn’t always the easiest task. Give yourself an advantage by packing some pre-cut, dry kindling and a box of firelighters.

I always carry my chainsaw when camping so firewood is never an issue, but if you don’t own a chainsaw, buy a couple bags of wood from the servo when you fuel up before the trip.

Just remember you will burn through a lot more timber in the snow, this isn’t something to skimp on.

4- Hot Water Bottles are Your New Best Mate

One of the best things you can chuck into the 4WD when heading bush for some winter camping, is the humble hot water bottle.

It’s an incredibly effective (and cheap), way to preheat your sleeping bag before bed. Simply boil the Billy on the fire, fill the bottle up and tuck it into your sleeping bag 10 minutes before bed. Simple!

I’ve heard of people trying to run electric blankets from inverters, even elaborate diesel heater systems for their swag… but why over complicate matters? Going bush is about keeping it simple; it doesn’t get much simpler than a rubber bottle filled with hot water.

Camp oven roast is great when winter camping

5- Camp Oven Cooking

After a day driving in the snow, it doesn’t get any better than a good old ‘winter warmer’ cooked in the camp oven. Think beautiful roast lamb and veggies or a delicious hearty beef and onion stew.

It’s so easy to cook amazing meals in a camp oven. Take a beef stew for example. Simply chuck your chosen ingredients into the camp oven, give it a couple hours on the coals and your ready to tuck into a delicious meal with hardly any effort. Mint!

Have you got any top snow camping tips of your own? I’d love to hear from you. Drop it in the comments section or shoot me an email at 4wdaddiction@gmail.com

Stay warm out there this winter and don’t let the cold weather stop you from enjoying the bush.

Cheers,

Elliot

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Redarc 350W Pure Sine Wave Inverter Review https://www.4wdaddiction.com.au/redarc-350w-pure-sine-wave-inverter-product-review-2/ https://www.4wdaddiction.com.au/redarc-350w-pure-sine-wave-inverter-product-review-2/#respond Thu, 09 May 2019 14:00:13 +0000 http://www.4wdaddiction.com.au/?p=1946 The post Redarc 350W Pure Sine Wave Inverter Review appeared first on 4WD Addiction.

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To the modern day adventurer, inverters have become an essential travel companion. They allow us to use our 240 Volt devices without ever having to plug into mains power.

We four-wheel drivers are taking more creature comforts on our trips, from fridges & freezers, LED camp lighting and even coffee machines (for the record, I don’t carry a coffee machine).

Luckily, most of the equipment we carry runs on 12-volt power but the higher draw items like coffee machines, laptop chargers, or basically anything with a heating element will require 240-Volt power.

What is an Inverter?

For those new to the touring game, we use a device called an inverter to transform the 12-volt power stored in our batteries into 240-Volt power.

This magic box of unicorns does get more complicated but we will cover that in more detail in a separate article.

What you need to consider when buying an inverter is, “how much power do I require?”

I’ve got the Redarc 350 Watt inverter installed in my camper trailer. This is the smallest of the Redarc inverter range but it easily powers everything that I require.

As the name suggests, it will produce 350 Watts of 240-Volt power. This is more than enough to charge my laptop, camera batteries, drone batteries and power tool batteries.

If you want to power some higher draw items, such as coffee machines or microwaves you will require a much larger inverter. Possibly up to 3000 Watt, depending on your devices requirements.

Ease of Use

It couldn’t really get much easier. You simply plug-in the device you wish to use and hit the switch, much like a wall socket at home.

The Redarc inverter will then beep to alert you it has been activated and show a green LED while it is operating.

As inverters usually draw quite a few amps from your batteries (depending on the load), remember to turn it off when you have finished using your 240 Volt device.

If you prefer to mount your inverter out of sight in your caravan for example, there is a remote activation switch. This can be installed to allow you to activate the inverter remotely without accessing it.

Build Quality

Typical of any Redarc product, the build quality is very good. After all, they are manufactured in South Australia for our tough conditions.

I’ve had the inverter mounted in my camper trailer for over nine months on the road and it hasn’t missed a beat.

It’s survived countless kilometres of violent corrugations, extreme heat, (it’s currently 42C here in the Pilbara) and cold (sub-zero in the Blue Mountains), not to mention daily use keeping all my devices charged.

Features

All of Redarc’s inverters are Pure Sine Wave inverters. This means that the power they output is essentially the same as the power in your house. It is perfectly safe for sensitive electronics and devices with lithium batteries (which includes laptops, phones, power tools etc).

Cheaper inverters are often Modified Sine Wave inverters. Without going into too much detail, these inverters do not produce the same “quality” of power as their pure sine wave cousins. They are not safe for sensitive electronics and may damage your devices. You have been warned.

Long story short, when you’re shopping for an inverter for your touring setup, you want a pure sine wave inverter.

All Redarc inverters also include protection against overload, short-circuit, over temperature and include a load-controlled cooling fan which automatically activates when the inverter produces a certain amount of power.

These protections are great news and will help protect not only the inverter but also the devices you connect to it.

Conclusion

The Redarc 350W inverter is an excellent choice for installing into your 4WD or camper trailer. It’s compact, light and provides more than enough power to keep laptops, cameras and drones charged up.

The 350W output is very efficient and keeps the strain on my batteries to a minimum. Remember, the more power your inverter outputs, the more Amps will be consumed from your batteries.

For my needs, this inverter is ideal, but if you wanted to run products with a higher wattage requirement or charge a lot of equipment at the same time, you may require an inverter with a larger output capacity. Luckily, Redarc has a range of inverters which span from 350 Watt all the way up to a 3000 Watt monster.

As always, get in touch if you have any specific questions regarding this review.

Take it easy,

Elliot

Disclaimer – This is not a paid or sponsored review. The opinions expressed in this article are my own.

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Featured Fourby #2- 79 Series LandCruiser Dual Cab Ute https://www.4wdaddiction.com.au/featured-fourby-2-79-series-landcruiser-dual-cab-ute/ https://www.4wdaddiction.com.au/featured-fourby-2-79-series-landcruiser-dual-cab-ute/#respond Tue, 07 May 2019 13:25:00 +0000 http://www.4wdaddiction.com.au/?p=1318 The post Featured Fourby #2- 79 Series LandCruiser Dual Cab Ute appeared first on 4WD Addiction.

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The 79 Series Dual Cab LandCruiser has cemented itself as one of Australia’s favourite 4WDs. Live axels front and rear, the big V8 turbo diesel motor and a seemingly limitless supply of aftermarket options make this the dream 4×4 for many Aussies.

But let’s be honest, the LandCruiser is far from the perfect tourer when fresh off the factory floor.

There’s the well documented issue of the front and rear wheel tracks being different lengths, the very agricultural leaf sprung rear-end and the infamous lack of flex from all four corners.

Not to mention the ridiculously under-tuned V8 turbo diesel motor which puts out a surprisingly low 151Kw and 430Nm at the flywheel in factory form.

So why is the 79 Series ute so popular? Well, it’s the big Cruiser’s potential of-course! It’s the perfect canvas to build your dream touring 4×4, which is exactly what Victoria based couple Dave and Em have done.

We have a chat and check out their absolute weapon of a 79 Series, this one is certainly something special!

The vehicle in question is a 2017 LandCruiser Dual Cab 79 Series GXL. Dave has owned it since the 22nd of April 2017 and wasted no time building his dream 4WD.

Engine & Transmission

Under the bonnet is a (mostly) stock 4.5L 1VD-FTV V8 Turbo Diesel engine. To address the lack of power from factory Dave has treated the 79 Series to a custom ECU Dyno tune paired with a custom twin 4 inch exhaust and custom 4 inch stainless steel snorkel to improve airflow at both ends of the big V8.

With the new 4 inch exhaust fitted the big V8 put out 92.9 kW’s at the wheels but after the custom remap it jumped up to a huge 154.2 kW and 622.2 Nm of torque.

Dave also threw a new HD clutch at the Cruiser to help get all that new power to the ground.

Suspension & Tyres

No corners (or cost) have been cut when turning this LandCruiser into a comfortable and highly capable off-road beast. This is one hell of an awesome build.

Dave and Em have thrown out the old leaf sprung rear end and welded in a 300mm chassis extension and 4 inch rear coil conversion kit. To accommodate the 300mm chassis extension there is an upgraded two piece tail shaft.

This gives the 79 Series far superior weight distribution and handling characteristics. Not to mention a huge upgrade in driver comfort.

At the same time Dave added a Marks Adapters transfer case hand brake, because everyone knows a new-born baby has a tighter grip than a stock Toyota hand brake.

Just for good measure Dave also pulled the trigger on a chromoly rear axle upgrade and a Superior Engineering welded and braced diff kit, complete with rear wheel track correction (how hard was that Toyota…?).

To complete the suspension upgrades and give the front end of the big 79 Series some much-needed flex, Dave added a set of Superior Engineering Super Flex radius arms. The Cruiser now sits on 4 inch’s of lift paired with a set of Kings remote res shocks to complete the high-end package and add unrivalled suspension performance to the 79 Series.

Providing all the traction needed for off-roading in muddy Victoria, are a set of 35 inch Mickey Thompson MTZ P3 mud terrain tires.

External Modifications

Up top we have the Front Runner roof rack, complete with shovel and Maxtrax mounts. ARB take care of the bar work on this weapon supplying the bull bar, scrub bars and side steps.

Gone are the useless factory mirrors and in their place sit a set of ClearView towing mirrors.

Mounted to the ARB bull bar are a set of 9 inch driving lights and a Warn winch, for when the big 79 ventures into Patrol country 😉

There are also diff breathers for those deep river crossings, and no less than 4 LED reverse lights (so Dave can actually see when reversing at night).

Canopy & Tray

To house all the touring essentials there is a removable custom-made canopy. The canopy houses two draw systems for storage, two MSA drop down fridge slides paired with two Engel fridge/freezers and a full 12 volt power system.

Providing shelter from the elements, is a Darchie 270 Degree Awning which wraps perfectly around the whole passenger side and rear of the canopy.

There is also a slide out kitchen complete with sink and bench space. Water is provided by a 60L under tray water tank and fed with a 12V pressure pump. For recovery gear and tool storage theres a handy full length under tray draw.

Internal Modifications

In keeping with the rest of the build there is no shortage of top quality gear inside the cab.
The iDrive throttle controller (check out my review here) sits in easy reach of the driver for on the fly throttle sensitivity adjustments.
Communications are taken care of by a GME UHF radio for short-range comms and a hands free sat phone for when the UHF just won’t cut it.
12V power monitoring is taken care of by a Humming Bird wireless battery monitor. Theres also a Waeco CFX11 centre console fridge for easy access to cold drinks on the road.
To add a bit of much-needed storage space to the cabin of the 79 Series, Dave has fitted a T Shape roof console.

Upgrading the very dated factory stereo is an Alpine car play head unit with reverse camera.

Navigation is taken care of by Hema Maps and there is a ARB Twin Air Compressor mounted under the seat to quickly air up the big 35’s after a day on the tracks.

What’s next on the modification to-do list?

Dave wants to squeeze even more power of the big V8 with a G Turbo upgrade, a front mount intercooler and an injector upgrade.
As you read this there is a new custom tray being built to help reduce the weight of the big LandCruiser.
Dave is also already well into the design of their new custom canopy. Don’t worry, I know you will want to see this so I’ll update this article when it’s finished.

Destinations

Dave said, “We haven’t been to too many places in our new bus but we have been to the Victorian High Country, Cameron’s Corner, Innamincka, out the back of Bourke and flinders ranges. Cape York which included the Old Telegraph Track, the Frenchman’s Track, Nolan’s Brooke crossing and many more.”

Do you have any future trips planned?

“We try to get out and about as much as we can but our next big trip is in July. We are taking the month off to do the Simpson desert and attend the big red bash.”
Sounds to us like Dave and Em have got it sorted!  They have built their dream 4WD to allow them to tour the country in style and explore some of the more remote and beautiful areas Australia has to offer.
Thanks for sharing your build with us guys, she’s a real beauty!
If you have built an awesome 4WD you would love to show off to the 4WD Addiction readers, get in touch at 4wdaddiction@gmail.com
Cheers,
Elliot

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Ezy Anchor – Screw in Tent Peg Product Test and Review https://www.4wdaddiction.com.au/ezy-anchor-screw-in-tent-peg-product-test-and-review/ https://www.4wdaddiction.com.au/ezy-anchor-screw-in-tent-peg-product-test-and-review/#respond Sat, 30 Mar 2019 02:44:45 +0000 http://www.4wdaddiction.com.au/?p=1919 The post Ezy Anchor – Screw in Tent Peg Product Test and Review appeared first on 4WD Addiction.

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Introducing the new Aussie made alternative to traditional tent pegs; Ezy Anchor. We put them to the ultimate real world test to see what all the fuss is about.

Does anybody actually enjoy hammering in tent pegs or pulling them back out when its time to pack up?…. Nah, I didn’t think so!

(P.S for a limited time we are giving away 10% off discount codes for 4WD Addiction readers, valid until 30th April. Click here for details)

While the humble tent-peg performs well on a nice, soft grassy surface. Most real world camp sites don’t have this luxury and traditional tent pegs are a nightmare to use when camping on harder ground.

After bending more than a few good quality tent pegs and spending way too much time hammering in pegs each time I setup camp. I was on the hunt for an alternative.

Enter the “Ezy Anchor” screw in tent pegs. The Ezy Anchor pegs are designed for use with your battery powered drill or impact driver. You simply lock the included “security driver bit” into your drill and your ready to set up camp. No more hammering! (Yahoo!)

The Ezy Anchor starter kit, which I purchased, includes the following:

4 x 200mm long pegs designed for use in harder “inland” conditions.

4 x 280mm long pegs designed for use in softer “coastal” conditions.

8 x Ezy Anchors – These are the hooks used to connect your guy rope to the pegs.

1 x “Security” style driver bit.

1 x Storage bag

There are several kits available with the two different length screw pegs depending on your requirements.

Build Quality

Ezy Anchors are Aussie owned and manufactured in Brisbane. After using the product extensively, it’s obvious they were specifically developed for our tough Australian conditions.

During my six months using the Ezy Anchors, I’ve faced three nights with fierce gale force winds (plus countless nights with strong winds). Nights like this aren’t much fun in a camper trailer, but I’m happy to report that our Trackabout camper took it like a champ and all five guy ropes remained firmly connected to the ground thanks to my Ezy Anchors.

After months of solid use, the Ezy Anchor pegs are holding up great. There is no noticeable damage and each screw peg remains sharp, straight and holds in the ground very well.

The orange hooks are UV safe and show no sign of hardening or colour fade after countless hours in the harsh Aussie sun.

However, the included storage bag is looking a bit worse for ware. The material is a bit too thin and has several holes cause by the screw pegs sharp points. Perhaps a higher quality material would fare better, but this hardly a big issue.

Ease of Use

The Ezy Anchors are just that, easy (or should I say Ezy?). You simply loop your guy rope over the orange hook, position the screw peg where you want to place it, grab your drill and let it do all the hard work. Job done.

I regularly use five Ezy Anchors when pitching our camper trailer and they have definitely sped up my setup time. Not to mention made it a lot easier to set up on difficult surfaces. Such as highly compacted ground found in many National Park camp sites.

You can also utilise the screw pegs without the Ezy Anchor hooks to secure items like ground sheets.

When it comes time to pack up, removal is just as easy. Simply select reverse on your drill and unscrew the pegs in seconds. No more breaking your back trying to pull large traditional pegs out of the hard ground.

Of course, there are some conditions, extremely rocky ground, or bedrock, for example where you will still struggle to get any peg into the ground.

In these situations you may find yourself trying a few different peg placements but with a little trial and error, I’ve always managed to get the ropes anchored. Just don’t expect to drill into solid rock.

Conclusion

I’ve said goodbye to hammered fingers, sweaty setups and bent tent pegs. After you’ve tried Ezy Anchors, you will wonder how you ever camped without them.

Seriously though, they are a smart little product, which can make setting up camp a lot easier and less frustrating.

If you go camping regularly or perhaps live on the road full-time, Ezy Anchors are a fantastic investment.

However, if you only go camping a couple of times a year, you can probably put up with bending a few traditional tent pegs now and again but if a fast setup is important to you, it’s hard to go past the speed and ease of use that Ezy Anchor’s provide.

As a special deal for our 4WD Addiction subscribers, we are offering a 10% off discount code for our Ezy Anchor products (Offer valid until 30th April). To get your code simply subscribe to our news letter here.

View Product

Already a subscriber? Check your mailbox for our April newsletter, your 10% discount code is already in your mail box.

Take it easy,

Elliot

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4WD Trip Planning and Preparation: Big Lap Budgeting Part 1 https://www.4wdaddiction.com.au/4wd-trip-planning-budgeting-part-one/ https://www.4wdaddiction.com.au/4wd-trip-planning-budgeting-part-one/#respond Sat, 30 Mar 2019 02:43:18 +0000 http://www.4wdaddiction.com.au/?p=1849 The post 4WD Trip Planning and Preparation: Big Lap Budgeting Part 1 appeared first on 4WD Addiction.

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We walk you through some of our key budgeting considerations for your 4WD trip of a lifetime

Great White GU Patrol

Budgeting for your big lap

By far the biggest concern that most people have when contemplating “The Big Lap” is, “How much money do I need before I leave?”

It’s not an easy question to answer, simply because everyone’s circumstances are so different. Do you intend to travel for your entire trip without working? If so, you will obviously require a larger nest egg than those who plan to work their way around.

There are a number of basic budgeting formulas that can be found online. By far the most common is, “$1 per Kilometre” and “$100 per day”.

As I said, very basic but following the “$1 per Kilometre” formula, a 35,000km trip would cost you… yea, you guessed it, $35,000.

The “$100 per day” formula is equally as simple. Let’s say you plan a one-year 4WD trip. Using this method, ($100 x 365 days) you would end up with a budget of $36,500.

These formulas are OK for a very general idea of budgeting but something so simple is rarely correct. Especially when you consider how different everyones lives can be.

In this article we address some of the key questions that should be considered in order to better budget both your time and money for your off-road lap of the map.

How much time are you planning to devote to your trip of a lifetime?

This is possibly the most important question, as an accurate budget cannot be conceived without a timeline.

Identify your trips timeline, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year or longer? The usual timeframe for a “big lap” of Australia is one year.

The general consensus being, a year should give you enough time to see most of the tourist hotspots and not feel too rushed along the way. Of course, this all depends on your traveling style, and if you want to stop and work in one place for a while.

Personally, I don’t think a year is long enough but it’s a good starting point for budget planning.

The majority of people traveling Australia for longer than a year will have some kind of income to fund their trip. Very few will do it from savings alone.

How many people are you traveling with?

The number of mouths to feed and camping fee’s to fork out for has a huge bearing on your overall travel budget.

Are you a lone wolf planning your solo adventure of a lifetime? Have you talked your partner into sharing this life changing experience? Maybe you’re herding the whole family into the 4WD and leaving the big smoke in your dust.

Whatever your circumstance, ensure you account for additional food, fuel and camping fee’s in your budget.

What is your fuel consumption?

There’s no getting away from it, the biggest cost by a country mile, when traveling Australia by 4WD is fuel.

What ever your chosen poison, petrol or diesel, it’s going to be expense number one. If your 4WD is gas or duel fuel, strongly consider a change in vehicle, as gas isn’t readily available anywhere away from the cities or larger towns.

The more people (and their luggage) who are traveling in the vehicle will increase the fuel consumption. Also consider that the vehicle will likely be fully loaded with all the usual camping gear plus water and food.

When working out your possible fuel costs, use realistic real world figures, not the optimistic unladed figures touted by vehicle manufactures.

Will you be towing a camper trailer or caravan? Towing increases fuel consumption heaps, especially in low range or when driving long corrugated roads (like the PDR) with aired down tires.

Make calculations based on a mixture of highway and low-range driving. This method will give you a more accurate estimate.

In part two of this article we look at how your choice of campsites and style of camping can save you serious coin.

Read it now :Off The Beaten Lap: Budgeting Part Two

As always if you have any specific questions, shoot them through in the comments or email me directly at 4wdaddiction@gmail.com

Take it easy,

Elliot

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4WD Trip Planning and Preparation: How to Save Money on The Road https://www.4wdaddiction.com.au/how-to-save-money-on-the-road/ https://www.4wdaddiction.com.au/how-to-save-money-on-the-road/#respond Tue, 08 Jan 2019 11:34:15 +0000 http://www.4wdaddiction.com.au/?p=1866 The post 4WD Trip Planning and Preparation: How to Save Money on The Road appeared first on 4WD Addiction.

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Making little changes to your habits can save you a packet when travelling Australia by 4WD

Great White on the Beach

Four top tips to help you save money on the road

Living on the road doesn’t have to be expensive. I’ve learned heaps of little money-saving tips that when used collectively, can add up to big savings when living on the road.

We have turned the whole process into a game. The aim, try to come in under budget (by as much as possible) every week. It’s all about saving money where you can, this allows you to travel for longer without having to stop and work.

Beer O’clock

I reckon, I’m not the only person who enjoys a cold beer around the campfire after a long days drive.

Now bear with me here, I know a lot of people are pretty loyal to their beverage of choice, but alcohol costs can easily add up if you aren’t willing to try new things. We now only buy beer that’s on special, this week it’s Great Northern in my fridge, last week it was XXXX Gold (can you guess I’m writing this article in Far North Queensland?).

At the bottle-o there was a $14 difference between a slab of the above beers. What I’m saying is, don’t be fussy, save money where you can and try some new things in the process.

As an extra tip, avoid glass bottles at all costs; tinnies are far better for camping. Crush them when empty and they won’t take up as much space (or weigh as much) in the bin.

Fuel up on the cheap

As I’m sure you all notice, fuel prices fluctuate hugely between servo’s, they also vary depending on the day of the week.

I’ve seen fuel at $1.44 on one side of a town and $1.59 on the other. When your filling the tanks it pays to save every cent you can. A 15 cents saving per litre adds up quickly when you’re filling a couple of long-range tanks (220L, Ouch!).

Whenever possible we fill up at a servo that offers discounted fuel with a shopping receipt from a partnered supermarket. Most offer a 4 Cents saving (per litre) just for presenting your grocery receipt. You can usually double the saving to 8 Cents if you spend around $5 in store.

We take this opportunity to purchase something we would need regardless, usually windscreen cleaner additive. (The windscreen cops a lot of bugs traveling the open road full-time).

Rewards cards

Coles Flybys, Woolies Rewards, credit cards that earn Velocity points or RAC (or similar) membership cards are a great way to save money and even get something for nothing.

From extra discounts off your grocery bill, to cheap gift cards or free flights you can score some pretty cool rewards using these programs. And the best thing about it, you’re spending the money already!

I use my velocity credit card to purchase everything. I earn points on every dollar spent, which can later be redeemed for anything from Coles shopping vouchers to free flights. Great if we ever need to fly home in a hurry for any unforeseen reason.

It’s also worth collecting club cards for retailers you may visit frequently. Such as Anaconda, BCF, Super Cheap Auto etc. These membership programs entitle you to the companies best deals and sometimes offer extra discounts on sale prices.

Make your own luxury

Buying treats from a bakery or supermarket gets expensive. We used to spend a fair chunk of cash on baked goods, muffins, cakes, wraps etc. But quickly realised that we could make our own for a fraction of the cost.

For example, buying a couple of muffins from a café usually costs around $8-$10.

For just $9 we bought ingredients to make 18 “camp made” raspberry and white chocolate muffins that kept us snacking for a fraction of the price and tasted a hell of a lot better! All you need is a camp over or a Weber to bake your muffins and your sorted.

Another example is wraps. These usually set you back $5 for eight wraps if they aren’t on special. We now make our own for a fraction of the price. Five bucks can buy enough ingredients (mostly flour) to make around 50 wraps.

The added bonus is your homemade wraps will taste heaps better and contain no unnecessary chemicals or preservatives.

Sure, it takes slightly longer to make your own rather than throwing money at a supermarket, but remember your living the touring dream, you have the time. Why not use it wisely, save some coin and cook up a storm at your favourite camp site.

Get out there and Live Drive Explore.

Cheers,

Elliot

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Redarc Tow-Pro Elite Electric Brake Controller: Install & Review https://www.4wdaddiction.com.au/redarc-tow-pro-elite-electric-brake-controller-review/ https://www.4wdaddiction.com.au/redarc-tow-pro-elite-electric-brake-controller-review/#comments Sun, 08 Jul 2018 05:03:08 +0000 http://www.4wdaddiction.com.au/?p=1798 The post Redarc Tow-Pro Elite Electric Brake Controller: Install & Review appeared first on 4WD Addiction.

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Any trailer that weighs over 750kg requires trailer brakes by law. The Tow-Pro Elite Brake Controller by Redarc seemed a good fit. But was it right for the job? 

Tow and Throwing: Redarc Tow-Pro Elite Install & Review

Those of you who regularly follow my Instagram page (@4wd_addiction) will know that I have recently received my new Trackabout Off-road Camper trailer.  

Any trailer that weighs over 750kg requires trailer brakes by law. In this case the camper is fitted with 12” electric brakes and the tow vehicle must be fitted with a trailer brake control system.

My GU Patrol had an older brake controller fitted but after a short time towing the camper it became very apparent that this existing controller wasn’t going to cut it! Especially during the extensive amount of off-road work I plan on doing.

After doing my usual pre purchase research, I concluded that the only way to go was the Redarc Tow-Pro Elite system.

Redarc Tow-Pro Elite Features

The Redarc Tow-Pro Elite Electric Brake Controller offers two types of operation; proportional mode, for highway use and user controlled mode, for off-road use.

What does this all mean? Put simply in proportional mode the unit senses how hard the tow vehicle is braking and applies the trailer brakes at the same level. Perfect for highway situations.

User controlled mode allows the driver to set the desired amount of trailer braking depending on the situation. Whenever the tow vehicle brakes, theElectric Brake Controller will brake the trailer to the preset level straight away.

For example, descending a steep rocky hill you may want the trailer to brake strongly to stop it pushing the tow vehicle down the hill. While on a sandy beach you would select only very light braking (if any), so that the trailer will not dig down and cause you to become bogged.

It’s also worth noting that Redarc are an Aussie company who manufacture their products in South Australia. You just can’t beat Aussie build quality, and that definitely applies for this Electric Brake Controller!

Installation

You can definitely DIY this install if you are confident in your abilities but brakes are an incredibly important system, if you are unsure, it’s worth getting the experts to take care of this one.

I installed the Redarc Tow Pro Elite Electric Brake Controller myself because I’m confident with 12V systems; if you’re new to vehicle mods, leave this one to the pros!

My installation utilised the existing wires from the old Electric Brake Controller, I did not have to run wire to the trailer plug or tap into a brake signal source. If you are installing an electric brake controller for the first time, take into account you will need to perform these extra steps.

Step One

Identify the location where you want to mount the remote control knob and the main unit.

I selected the unused double switch spot on the GU’s dash as it’s easily reached for quick access to brake level adjustment and manual override (activating trailer brakes without braking the vehicle).

Dismantle the dash to gain access to the switch blanking plate. Remember to check that there is enough space behind the dash to accommodate the remote knob assembly.

Using the drill guide provided with the Tow-Pro Elite Elite Electric Brake Controller, drill out the blanking panel and mount the remote knob in position.

Refit the blanking panel to the dash and run the RJ45 cable to the location you selected to mount the main unit. Remember it must be firmly mounted to a surface that cannot move.

Step Two

Securely mount the main unit in a suitable location.

In my case, I opted to mount the main unit behind the driver’s side kick panel.

Remove the trim required to gain entry to your desired mounting location.

Check that the RJ45 cable to the remote control knob will reach your chosen mounting location.

Securely mount the main unit in position and ensure that it cannot move. Any movement will affect braking performance.

Step Three

Solder the Redarc wiring harness as per the provided wiring diagram.

As I am reusing the existing trailer brake wiring, it’s simply a case of soldering the Redarc Tow-Pro Elite Electric Brake Controller harness into the existing wires.

Ensure that any existing wiring is the correct gauge for the Tow-Pro Elite. Also check that the circuit breaker or fuse you intend to use is correctly rated for the Electric Brake Controller. If its not, you will need to replace this too.

After all wires are soldered and sealed with heat shrink, connect the main unit to the wiring loom.

Test the operation of the unit as described in the instruction manual.

If all tests are successful, reassemble the vehicle trim and go for a drive. The Tow-Pro Elite Electric Brake Controller will begin to “learn” its orientation and perform its “Active Calibration”. After calibration is complete the Tow-Pro Elite is ready for use.

Conclusion

Fast-forward a couple of months; I’ve now been using the Redarc Tow-Pro Elite Electric Brake Controller for a couple months. It’s seen a fair amount of highway work and a lot of off-road action.

I’ve dragged the trailer up and down the low range tracks of the Snowy Mountain NP in Victoria and up through the winding roads of the Sapphire Coast in NSW.

You know what? It hasn’t missed a beat. The Tow-Pro Elite just quietly goes about its work, half the time you forget it’s there.

Most of the time, I’ve had it set to proportional braking. Even on windy dirt roads proportional mode does the trick.

I’ve switched to “user controlled” mode a few times for the harder low range tracks. It really is a great feature that allows you a lot more control over your braking.

For example, on steep downhill descents it’s really helpful to be able to turn up the trailer brakes to avoid picking up too much speed. The trailer naturally tries to push the 4×4 down the hill, but with light vehicle breaking and harder trailer braking, you are able to keep everything in check.

The elegance of the design really sets the Tow-Pro Elite apart from its competitors. The single knob control works beautifully and can be easily installed into any vehicle without being too obtrusive.

Final Thoughts

It just works. And it works very well. In fact, I wouldn’t want to tow in a vehicle fitted with anything else.

Full Disclosure: I purchased the Tow-Pro Elite electric brake controller with my own money; this review isn’t paid for or sponsored in any way. If it sucked, I’d tell you!

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4WD Trip Planning: Starting the Journey https://www.4wdaddiction.com.au/4wd-trip-planning-1-starting-journey-2/ https://www.4wdaddiction.com.au/4wd-trip-planning-1-starting-journey-2/#respond Sun, 08 Jul 2018 04:17:36 +0000 http://www.4wdaddiction.com.au/?p=1788 The post 4WD Trip Planning: Starting the Journey appeared first on 4WD Addiction.

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We walk you through the first steps of 4WD trip planning and preparation for your journey around Australia

Victorian High Country Air down

4WD trip planning: Starting the Journey

Ok, you’ve made the decision to sell up and hit the road on an adventure of a lifetime. The feeling is liberating and exciting but then reality hits you like a smack in the mouth. Time for some 4WD trip planning!

There’s a hell of a lot of work and planning to get done before you can depart on your dream trip. You need to get the 4×4 ready, sell/rent out the house or break your lease, quit your job, the list goes on and on. But don’t let this reality stress you out.

The key to 4WD trip planning is keeping it simple! With some simple organization and prioritization, you will be ticking off jobs in no time.

First things first, set a departure date! Give yourself a realistic target, and plan to leave at a time when the weather will be optimal for your chosen route.

We wanted to head north from Melbourne in March, so the weather would be getting progressively warmer as we made our way up the country. We would also be maximizing our time in Far North Queensland (FNQ) during the dry season.

4WD Trip Planning: Lists, and More Lists

Now that you have your departure date set, you also have your timeframe for preparation. Take it from me, there’s a lot more to do than you first think, give yourself enough time!

The best way to organize your prep is to make lists, lots of lists.  Here’s an example of a few of mine:

  • 4WD prep list
  • Camper trailer prep list
  • House prep list
  • Items to sell list
  • Items/accessories to buy list

After you have taken the time to list everything that comes to mind you will have a good idea of the prep work involved.

4WD Trip Planning: Prioritise Everything

Don’t for a second think that you are done though, you will be adding to these lists as you go. I reckon that every time I ticked off a job, I added three more to my 4wd trip plan!

Next you will want to prioritize jobs in terms of importance and time consumption. For example, a full major service of your vehicle is high priority and may take you a day or a whole weekend depending on how good you are on the tools.

I ended up getting delayed for several weeks on my 4WD prep list as the Melbourne weather decided to great me with constant rain on the weekends (to be expected, Melbourne). I didn’t have the luxury of a shed; so all work was done in the drive way or on the street.


It’s also worth trying to leave the easy stuff like fluid changes as late as possible, that way you give yourself longer on your lap before the oil is due for another change.

While we are on the topic of vehicle prep, it’s wise to replace every consumable or serviceable part that you can. Think front wheel bearings, brake pads, all belts, fluids and filters etc etc.

Even if they look in good condition, swap them out and keep the old parts as spares. It’s much easier to do this work at home than half way up a steep track when something lets go.

Thats it for part one of 4wd trip planning. Next time we will be looking at big lap budgets, how much do you really need in the piggy bank?

Take it easy,

Elliot

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iDrive 4WD Throttle Controller: Install & Review https://www.4wdaddiction.com.au/4wd-throttle-controller-install-review/ https://www.4wdaddiction.com.au/4wd-throttle-controller-install-review/#comments Sat, 16 Jun 2018 02:37:20 +0000 http://www.4wdaddiction.com.au/?p=1767 The post iDrive 4WD Throttle Controller: Install & Review appeared first on 4WD Addiction.

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The iDrive 4WD Throttle Controller claims to “unlock the power of your 4WD” and “reduce throttle lag, to increase the drivability of your truck”. Does it live up to its word?

If you’re anything like me, you’re probably thinking, “Nah mate, I’ll forget the 4WD Throttle Controller, keep my $300 bucks and just press the accelerator pedal harder to get the same result”.

Can you tell I was skeptical about this type of product? Well, I was but I decided to give the iDrive 4WD Throttle Controller a crack and see for myself. After all, I prefer to make my own conclusions, rather than just jump on board with someone else’s opinions.

iDrive Throttle Controller - box set

Installing the 4WD Throttle Controller

Before you grab a cold beverage and settle in for a good old technical run through…Spoiler alert! This will (probably) be the quickest install guide I ever write for 4WD Addiction!

The whole install literally took less than 5 minutes. I spent more time trying to photograph the process of installing the 4WD Throttle Controller, due to some challenging lighting conditions at my campsite.

Step 1: Unplug the factory harness cable from your accelerator cable.

Step 2: Plug the iDrive cable into the accelerator pedal

iDrive Throttle Controller

Step 3: Plug the factory cable into the socket on the iDrive 4WD Throttle Controller piggyback adaptor.

iDrive Throttle Controller

Step 4: Using the M3 mounting tape (already on the back of the iDrive display) mount the display to your dash in your desired location.

iDrive Throttle Controller

Step 5: Done! No seriously, that’s it. It doesn’t get any easier than that. In fact, if you know how to plug something in, you have all the skills required for this job.

Find more of our Install guides here:

Read More Install Guides

iDrive 4WD Throttle Controller Review

I would love to write that I was correct to be skeptical, that these devices are just a substitute for actually using your right boot. But that wouldn’t be strictly (or at all) true.

The truth is, I bloody love this little thing; the difference it has made to my Patrol is outrageous.

iDrive Throttle Controller

iDrive 4WD Throttle Controller Settings

For those who don’t know, the iDrive 4WD Throttle Controller gives you 19 settings of throttle customisation.

Nine “Ultimate Modes” (faster throttle response), nine “Economy Modes” (reduced throttle responses) and the unique “Auto Mode”, which automatically chooses a setting depending on how fast and hard the throttle is applied

I’ve been using the iDrive 4WD Throttle Controller for about 4 weeks now. I’ve had the chance to test it in various driving conditions. Towing the camper, highway driving, around town, dirt roads and off-road.

For bitumen driving, I’ve settled on “Ultimate level 3”.

snowy-river-bridge

How does it feel to drive?

It makes the car feel so much more responsive. I’ve tried to replicate this effect by simply pressing harder on the accelerator but it just doesn’t perform in the same fashion.

The increased throttle response is awesome when driving on sealed roads but for me the ability to “detune” the accelerator for off-road situations is the real unsung ability of the iDrive 4WD Throttle Controller.

I’ve always found my Patrol’s accelerator to be very touchy in low range. It’s very easy to apply too much power during rocky hill climbs and cause unwanted wheel spin.

Patrol Rocky Hill Climb

Accelerator Sensitivity

The iDrive 4WD Throttle Controller allows me to reduce the sensitivity of the loud pedal to make it more suited to off-road use (how hard was that Nissan?).

It gives me nine levels of control over the vehicle acceleration, allowing me to customise my pedal feel for different terrains. Think low sensitivity on sand to avoid the tyres digging down and causing the 4×4 to get bogged.

iDrive Throttle Controller Box

iDrive 4WD Throttle Controller: Final Thoughts

In the 4WD world, $300 doesn’t usually get you much, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the iDrive. My Patrol is better (and more fun) to drive, on and off-road. I’m actually annoyed that I didn’t give it ago earlier!

I’ve said it before, but I love a company who back their products. iDrive offer a lifetime warranty on the iDrive and also provide a 30 day money back guarantee.  Now that’s seriously backing their product.

iDrive Throttle Controller

If you want more information on the iDrive, check out the website: www.idriveaustralia.com.au

Full Disclosure:  This review isn’t paid for or sponsored in any way but I was sent a demo unit for the purpose of reviewing. As always, if it sucked, I’d tell you.

Cheers,
Elliot

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The Big Lap: Why I quit my job to Live Drive & Explore https://www.4wdaddiction.com.au/the-big-lap-why-quit-my-job/ https://www.4wdaddiction.com.au/the-big-lap-why-quit-my-job/#respond Sat, 16 Jun 2018 02:05:50 +0000 http://www.4wdaddiction.com.au/?p=1760 The post The Big Lap: Why I quit my job to Live Drive & Explore appeared first on 4WD Addiction.

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Doing the Big Lap is a dream that many (if not all), 4WD and camping enthusiasts share. Why aren’t enough of us getting it done?

We want to escape the cities, the working week and live the dream of traveling Australia on the Big Lap, without worrying about being back to the grind on Monday morning.

It’s freedom that we yearn for. But what’s really stopping us from doing the Big Lap?

Making the decision to sell up and hit the road isn’t an easy one; there will be hundreds of reasons not to do it, work, the house, friends and family. But you quickly discover that these “reasons not to go” are simply excuses that you make for yourself.

Stop making excuses and just do it! If you want this, then make it happen. If you think your excuses out weigh your dream, it might not mean as much to you as you think.

I recently made this very decision. To quit my job, sell everything I own (that can’t fit into the Patrol) and hit the road on the big lap to live my dream and travel Australia without restraint.

I’m actually writing this blog as I kick back beside a campfire. Do I regret the decision? Hell no! Furthermore, I’ve never spoken to a single person who regrets the decision to live their dream.

I’m not saying it’s easy, nothing worth doing is easy, but if you want it, you can make it happen. I’ve dreamt of getting back on the road since my last big trip. About five years go, I drove from Perth to Melbourne over three months; it was an amazing trip and something I will never forget.  This was not even a half of the big lap, but since then I’ve wanted to travel without time constraints and I’ve finally made that dream a reality.

It’s an old saying, “life’s too short”, but its right on the money. Don’t wait to live your dreams. You don’t know what’s around the corner, so why take the risk. Live while your young, I promise you will not regret it.

If you need any more inspiration or help getting your affairs in order, don’t worry; I’ll be sharing heaps of info from my own experience. Ideas like, how to maximize your savings, smart ways to save money on the road, and why you don’t need a huge bank account to get started on the big lap!

Subscribe to my newsletter to make sure you don’t miss any of this!

If you have any specific questions or would like to hear more about something in particular, let me know! Shoot an email to 4wdaddiction@gmail.com

Take it easy,

Elliot

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