NESSIE

We found nessie with relative ease after spending months debating between landcruiser or landrover.

You can imagine that debate!

The final decision was based on some key points; simple mechanics, security and load space.

So here we are- the proud owners of a 110 hardtop on a 2000 plate with a 300tdi engine and a starting  mileage of 73,000. Yes you did read correctly and yes Nessie did come out of the factory like that.

The budget is scary, no matter what you decide to spend add at least 30% to that sum. If you have good mechanical skills or a friend who is a mechanic then you have the potential to save a lot, visiting shows, searching ebay and  magazines for sales can save you even more. We were not lucky in any of these areas and as a result scared ourselves with the final cost!

We had a 3 month trial run to Turkey through France ,Germany , Austria , Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia and Bulgaria, then returned via Greece and Italy.

We learnt a lot during the trip, mainly that we love travelling but more importantly that our system was all wrong for us. The excellent storage boxes that we had used proved to be well worth the money but physically too difficult for us. So they had to go. We spent 2 weeks fitting cupboards down either side of our load area and placed our water tank and fridge up by the cargo barrier. So, fully loaded we set off up the west coast of Scotland for a 4 day trial run  and came back satisfied that we now have a workable system.

We are in no rush to complete our trip and if need be we will stop and rent a place to “rest up”. We detest being tied to set routes and timetables, enjoy spur of the moment decisions and aim to see as much as possible.

FINAL WEIGHT OF NESSIE INCLUDING FULL TANKS AND US:

2,700 KGS

OUCH!

BEST SPACE SAVER BUY:

ORTLIEB FOLDING PLASTIC BASIN.

BOUGHT AT DAERR, MUNICH.

VEHICLE MAINTENANCE

We change our oil + filter every 3,000 miles and clean out our air filter.

Every 6,000 miles we change our fuel filter and air filter.

Every 10,000 miles we get a diagonal wheel change done.

We do the usual daily checks and weekly we cast a general eye over the under body checking for leaks or loose bits. None found as yet!

If conditions have been particularly dusty or bumpy, we check more frequently and clean or change air filter as often as needed.

So far we have only had one puncture. This was in Nepal where we picked up 3 nails within 2 days, luckily only one resulted in a puncture. See Dec. 20th +31st entries.

Whenever we get to a Land rover garage we get them to check all the oil levels and brakes plus give her a really good check for any potential problems.

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EQUIPMENT

HANNIBAL 1.4 metre TENT + 110 ROOF RACK

We had the big debate as to which tent to buy and the final decision came down to comfort.

PLUS POINTS

Comfort: the mattress was by far the most comfortable of all the tents we tried.

Mossie netting: has been a big success with no nibbles so far -even from the fierce Scottish midge!

Heat regulating: hottest so far at night was 35c -we were very comfortable with all the vents open. Coolest was –15c and again with all the vents closed we were nice and snug.

Inside conditions: really dark with vents closed, as a result you can enjoy a long lie ‘til 8 or 9am.

Pockets are well placed for all your bits and bobs.

NEGATIVES

Cover zip: flipping nightmare. We had only used it on 10 occasions and the stitching at the corner had burst! Shocking, especially as we are really careful when pulling the zip round the corners.

A phone call to TJ at www.neneoverland.co.uk  and we were issued with a new tent on our return.

Guess what? within 3 openings we can see the thread work going already. Will update you as we travel but suspect we will be getting a new cover made up elsewhere. Unbelievably, the new tents mattress is too wide for the base frame and as a result the tent is now difficult to fold, so we ended  up in Nenes again with TJ having to trim the mattress himself to get the job done. Do Hannibal have quality control?? NO.

Fly sheet: only a problem in high winds, we always pitch up near trees to get some shelter. Do not make the same mistake as us and leave one of your main openings for your fly sheet closed,  if it rains the water comes straight down the fly sheet and lands on the zip of your  tent. The result, of course, is a soggy mattress.

Only a couple of little things: watch out for the metal “holes” that your tent poles go into, they may be loose and slip out when you remove the poles.

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BUDGET & SHIPPING

Roof rack: works a treat, easy to cut to size, no obvious wind noise and no big change to fuel consumption. Should be good considering the price.

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SIDE BINS :Fantastic use of dead space and very easy to fit. We use for storing all our oils and jerry cans. Took 3 hours each to fit and that was with no previous experience. Purchased  from www.foleysv.com

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BULL BAR :Good protection and very solid. Well worth the price. www.paddockspares.com

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SWINGAWAY WHEEL CARRIER: Good buy. Takes weight off rear door. www.paddockspares.com

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WINDOW GUARD: Stops any break-ins and another good buy.  www.lixtoll.com

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DRIVING LIGHTS: Fitted warn spot lights 600. Paid a lot for these as they are stainless steel so won’t rust. We are not convinced we need them as we have not used them so far and have no intentions of driving at night. We may change our minds once on the big trip.

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REAR DOOR WORKING LIGHT: Suspect it’s a waste of money. Sounded like a good idea at the time but we hide when we bush camp so why on earth would we want to switch on a big spot light?!  Head torch and internal light more than enough to get the job done.

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HIGHLIFT JACK: Came highly  recommended, but not used as yet. Hope we never need to.

www.frogsisland4x4.com

COMPRESSOR UNIT: Truckair unit. Cheapest on the market with the best performance.

www.scorpionracing.co.uk

TYRES: We chose Cooper discoverer ATR tyres, standard landrover size. We spoke to lots of 4x4 owners in OZ who swore by them, particularly on the rough outback tracks, rather than the usual BFG’s that everyone else seems to buy. We compared the stat’s and came to our decision.  www.tyrespec.co.uk

Tubeless had to be the choice for us as we are not up to changing tubed tyres, so we purchased an  Eagle plug kit whilst in Oz, (easy to use and highly effective) and although it is now illegal to use in Europe it will work a treat for us elsewhere. (bmw sells the kit for motorbikes)

So far our tyres have been superb.  

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SANDLADDERS: Purchased in Munich at the outdoor shop Daerr  www.daerr.de  A brilliant shop with the most helpful staff we have met, we purchased a few items here and it was well worth a visit. The sand ladders were cheaper than British models we had looked at and of a better quality than similarly priced uk variations. Fitted onto the vehicle sides by ladder holders bought at Wickes.

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SHOWER CURTAIN: We had ours made in Turkey. The shower curtain zips on and off.

Works a treat. We are going to get a rear door awning made on our way through by the same man.

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LOAD BARRIER: Again, we had this made to measure in turkey. This effectively turns the rear area into a big safe, we can screw and lock the central section into place when parking the landy but can leave the central part off whilst driving so we can reach into the fridge for cold drinks etc.

Central part straps onto rear window guard with Velcro straps and doesn’t rattle. Well worth £16.

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TOILET: Our final bespoke piece from turkey. You can’t beat a comfy seat, it saves the old hips from squatting and doubles as a foot stool but expect odd looks.

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COOKER: Coleman gas 2 ring. Difficult to simmer. Replaced in Malaysia-see update page.

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 CHAIRS: Standard camping chairs. Comfy so far.

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GPS: Garmin 60CSX    www.gps.w.co.uk   Split opinion on this, other half loves it and I could drop kick it. Total cost for unit, holder, world map and Europe map was almost £600 and you still have to buy maps. That being said, a lot of people use GPS waypoints for bush camp sites and desert driving so it may prove it’s worth later on. See equipment update page.

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WATER TANK: Fiamma 70 lt . Bought from local caravan shop. Easy to clean, works well and no leaks so far. Fitted external filler for ease and security. Superb buy.

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FRIDGE: Engel 40 lt . Takes a bit of getting used to-- condensation is a problem you need to check the temp. every day and keep opening of the fridge to a minimum. Better to buy one that has a stainless steel inside rather than plastic as the condensation turns to water and your fridge can really start to stink if you don’t dry it out every few days. Plastic holds the smell. We bought the fridge cover and base plate in OZ at a quarter of the price. www.tbruk.com

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SHOWER: Twine. We bought this in OZ, again at a huge saving but you can purchase it in the uk.

     Brilliant of kit although you do waste precious water. The secret is to have a basin ready to catch the initial blast of really hot water– then you have hot water to wash your clothes or dishes in. Very civilised. We try to bush camp 90% of the time so the shower pays for itself, it was really easy to install and is our little luxury.

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CLEAN WATER: We bought the nature pure system  www.footloose4x4.com  we also purchased a spare filter. The system is easy to fit and there seems to be no plastic taste. Crucial for India’s water. We use a sure flow pump that operates the shower and our clean water.

INVERTER: We got the cheapest with a max. of 250 watts. Handy for charging laptop, camera and our rechargeable batteries, no problems with this system and wattage is plenty for our needs.

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BATTERY SYSTEM: We chose a system of a 072 starter battery, standard landrover issue and a larger 643 battery to keep our fridge and extras going ,we also had extra power points and a rear internal light fitted. We considered the optima batteries and management system and now realise that it would have been a waste of cash as our system is more than adequate having spent 4 days with no external power and the fridge still worked. All of our electrical work was done by  Paul Edwards  www.svp.gb.com  Paul really knows his way around a land rover and showed us ways of avoiding future problems with electrics. We would highly recommend him.

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 SEATS: We have dodgy backs, so were worried that our seats were going to be a problem, amazingly we both find them very comfortable especially after having new foam and covers fitted by  www.exmoortrim.com We also purchased a cubby box, fantastic as a glory hole!

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SUSPENSION: We settled for old man emu springs and shocks. Again we were a bit unlucky with these, one of the shocks started to leak within 2 weeks and had to be replaced. Then one of our springs went very rusty, yet the other 3 still looked as new, so again we had to get it replaced and finally, the company that we had purchased our landy from had put the incorrect  rear springs on, as a result we were wallowing around corners. However, all is well now and we are very happy with the comfort and cornering. www.tbruk.c om                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

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OTHER BITS AND BOBS:

AIR CON  from www.coolair.co.uk : Not used much until Pakistan and used almost every day in Asia.

 You get superb after sales service from this company.

AUXILIARY FUEL TANK 45 lt: a must for this type of trip.

2 x 10lt JERRY CANS: as the 20lt version is too heavy for us to lift.

CLARION STEREO: you need music.

BOTTLE JACK 2 ton standard.

AIR HORN from Halfords : nice and loud.

DIFF GUARD / STEERING GUARD: essential for driving in high grass and mountain tracks.

CHEQUER PLATING: strengthening and protection for bonnet.

SNORKEL: essential for dusty roads as proven in Turkey.

REAR STEP ( for stumpies!)

LOCKING WHEEL NUTS and multiple master padlocks( all weather type)

WEDGES: sad we know, but have you any idea how hard it is to find a flat bush camp site?

ALIBERT BOXES: various sizes www.plastor.co.uk  Fantastic, but had to go- see home page.

TORQUE WRENCH: essential to prevent over tightening of bolts etc.

Set of spares, tool kit, first aid kit and medicines.

MILTON TABLETS: to clean fruit and vegetables.

Plus countless books and maps from www.stanfords.co.uk

2 fire extinguishers, tow rope, high visibility jackets and warnings triangles x2 as req. by some countries.

Plus huge amounts of favourite food stuffs.

BEST “BLUE PETER” BUYS

Para cord : multiple uses  

Velcro strips

Plastic clips

Left over square of wood from cupboards: used as high lift jack base, table top for the loo seat and wind breaker for cooker.

And of course, duck tape.

WORST BUYS

Plastic mugs from camping shop: they lasted 1 week before they started to leak.

Picnic kettle: again lasted one week and started to leak from base. We have used our pan as a kettle with great success.  

TIPS PICKED UP ENROUTE

Cut your pillows down to 3/4 length and get a bag to pack them in– you won’t believe how filthy they get in the back of the vehicle.

Buy a pouring sealable bottle for milk– once you leave Europe it only comes in plastic bags or non re- sealable cartons.

Tesco re sealable small plastic bags– superb multi uses.

Ortlieb basins are fab but the 10litre size is not big enough to wash your sheets in. Best to get a 10 + 20 litre.

It’s guaranteed that you will drop your soap at least twice every time you bush shower- you end up with something that resembles a granola/exfoliation bar. YUK. Take the small bags that are given with your laundry tablets, to place in the machine. It’s a campers equivalent to soap on a rope, saves you picking grit off your bar and you can hang it off the sand ladder.

Plastic toothbrush holders. Your toothbrushes get filthy if left uncovered in your toilet bag.

We bought a square of lino that is too big for the floor space so the edges fold up by 2 inches each side. This means that any spills just stay within the lino and pour straight out of the rear door, saving the wood from getting wet and smelly. We also use it as a sun bed and mechanics floor mat.

SECURITY MEASURES:  

We bought pepper spray and a Swiss army knife in Turkey. We had to use the spray in India– see diary entry 12th DEC.

We had our sandladders sprayed black as we found that silver on a blue background stood out like the proverbial sore thumb and made ‘hiding’ difficult.

The front doors are fitted with dead locks and the rear door has an extra padlock on it.

Our load barrier– read above.

Tinted front windows: great for making it more difficult to see inside and good for sun protection.

Finally– other measures we would love to share but would be silly to publish on a web page!

© www.nessiesadventures.com, 2006-11, All rights reserved.


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