Sunday, January 26, 2014

4x4 Recovery Goes Seriously Wrong - Part II

The first Part of the Video got much international attention and got above 1 million views. The Video ends with one car stucking deep in the mud, the other one lay on its side. Are both cars are lost? Just one?

4x4 recovery goes wrong

Here is part I of the Video: Part 1

I`m shure i`m not the only one who want to see the second part of the video. Since some days it is online:

Here is the link to other Videos:

This Video is a good reminder, that we do dangerous things outside there! What we do can go wrong and often we dont just risk our cars. So take care...

Monday, January 20, 2014

Sleeping inside of the car, Overlanding with comfort

In this article I want to highlight only the possibility to sleep in the SUV, because a bigger focus is beyond the scope of a single article.  There are so many options that it is just to much to write about: there are still the other vehicle formats, vans, pickups, trucks, sleeping in a roof tent, folding roofs, pop-up roofs, caravan fittings, Trailer, simple tents, which vehicle choice as such, and much more...

Even with the off-road-vehicle choice you will define a lot about the available space.

In most makes of the internal height is not sufficient to be able to sit comfortably at a table inside, but there is always a way to at least plenty of storage space and a nice deck area to create a kind of minimal expansion sleeping area. Maybe these samples and links helps you to find a good solution for yourself.

4x4 Camper with sleeping area.  Interior construction SUV, sleeping platform, drawer system

Always try to see the advantages and disadvantages of any setup. You have to sort out some of these solutions because there are just too many.

4x4 travel vehicle, remote motorhomes for overlanding  Expedition vehicles, four-wheel RVs, world exploring motorhomes

Depending on the vehicle length and the square of the front seats must be taken in fitting, ie, the seats must be folded to the front / rear to get a decent sleep platform.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Overlanding on Budget

What options one has, if the budget is very tight? Of course you can put in a tent and a small stove in any vehicle - and start traveling. If you feel comfortable with that - start like that! Nothing is better than a setup where you can change the car without to thinking about!

But there are also vehicles arround who have a good mgp rate, have four-wheel - and are more capable than most would suspect. Who offer a good ride comfort also on bad tracks.

One of the biggest cost of traveling with the vehicle is the fuel consumption. Here, of course  a diesel would be able to change some of the consumption statistics, right?

In the Blog of  Kristian Saile i found wonderful pictures, let me search deeper for people who did overlanding with that kind of cars.. At the Subaru Outback community i found more expo builds and people who travel this way.

Station Wagon with 4x4 and roof tentSubaru 4x4 station wagon

For shure here are also guys who start to mod their cars. Some armor, Frontbar, Winch, gear reduction and so on. But i think you leave the idea of using a small budget behind pretty fast this way.
4x4 station wagon with winch, Armor, winch, roof rack4x4, 4wd Kombi im Schlamm

Sunday, January 5, 2014

The top 7 overland equipment and gear

What are the 7 most important equipment or gear for an extended overland travel? The answer is not that easy, you have to ask yourself what equipment stuff had been a show-stopper. Or which gear you had really miss if it stop working, because of the comfort it brings with.

These list is extremely individual. It depends on the Area you plan to travel, the weather you will meet, the way how your camp looks like (Ground tent, Rooftop-Tent, Popup Roof, or sleeping inside).

However your overland setup looks like, i guess it may be helpful to see what was important for us, if you don't had that much overland experience. Here is our list in descending order:

Mattress with rust in 4x4

Comfortable Sleep

During extended traveling it is important to sleep comfortable, to wake up without any pain in the back. A good mattress, a good bed is important.
You have to test your setup before, or you will end more often in Hotels than calculated.

top kit objects in a 4x4 SUVCamping Gear

You use it daily, you setup and pack you camp often - because of this it is an very important gear.
It had much to do with the amount of comfort you had on the way. It is important that it is lightweight and that it don't use much space when packaged.
The handling has to be easy too, watch space and weight before the brand..

Windows Sox, top important gear and equipmentWindows Sox - Mosquito Protection for the Car

If you sleep inside of the car this is very important. It let you open your windows wide, without that it is viewable from outside.

The air can circulate and the Mosquito and other animals will stay outside. Additional it dim`s the outside light a bit more, let others not view inside.

Toyota Diagnostic Software & ODB2 Dongle

For all Toyota Drivers i detect something who might interest you. In Ebay and other platforms, a dongle is available, which provides you the access to the ODB2 interface with USB.

I know today are many dongles available who allows you to connect with wifi or bluetooht, alows to read and reset errors.

The trick is that the MINI VCI dongle is compatible with the Techstream software from Toyota, which is kindly also included.

Now I do not know if this is requested by Toyota so, but for us travelers, it is good if we are able to adjust the settings of the vehicles when we are away on a world trip or abroad.

minivci toyota diagnose software with odb2 Dongle ODB2 USB Dongle with Toyota Techstream Software

The Dongle-Driver is compatible to WindowsXP (32 and 64 bit). I had test it with a virtual WindowsXP on my Macbook, running with Paralells.

It works quite well. Here is a Video who shows you the handling of the Software and Dongle:

You can buy the Dongle at sample at Ebay, if you search for "MiniVci" you will find many other sellers on Amazon and so on. I have ordered on Ebay with the link above. The Package had used 8 Days from China.

Like always when you purchase in Ebay you should use Paypal because you get your money back there, if something goes wrong.

Be careful with using this Software, you can also kill something when you set stuff you dont know about.. The use of the Software is pretty easy, but there are many settings we "normal users" have no idea about. But disable the seat belt reminders on the passenger side and other stuff - easy to do.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Bing vs Google vs OVI - satellite view comparison

Since there are Apps like MotionX on the iPad who allows us to add Custom Tile Server for Downloading, it is time to compare the quality of the different Providers like Google, Bing and

On the iPad it is MotionX GPS and several and other Apps who are able to download satellite images for offline usage, under Android there are Locus Pro and AlpineQuest GPS.

Want to say that we are able now to use offline Satellite Images. But wich provider has the best quality of images? This kind of Navigation is helpful abroad, where you don't have any road gps coverage. Because of this i had select an area in Cameroon in africa as comparison spot.

At first i start with Bing Satellite-Hybrid view, what means with road overlay. Here i could zoom more tham showed here, it allows me to detect Villages and too single Houses.

satellite view compare between Bing, Google, Ovi Navtec
Bing Maps

As next i try Google. The resolutions is maxed out here - no chance to see single houses.

download satellite images for offline use, quality comparison
Google Maps

Friday, January 3, 2014

Business in Africa - the last wild west?

A very exciting video about the delivery of anti-mine clearing equipment from South Africa in the Southern Sudan. A lot can happen on these 5,000 kilometers, also happens a lot - and it is well documented ...

Apart bush repairs, accidents and the everyday struggle is illustrated with the bureaucracy and of course the handling of countless police checkpoints with the associated corruption. It's worth the 37 minutes to invest:

The titled here as a cowboy capitalists operate a business in South Sudan which deals with the trade of vehicles and transportation of goods.

Business in Afrika, the last wild west - cowboy capitalism

This site is too exciting for us travelers: Because there are great vehicles in the Africa version, at very competitive prices ... While Toyota Gibraltar does not deliver to private individuals - I guess the Lorryboys would be interested...

If you like do learn more about the sitation in Juba, South Sudan - here is a
Wer mehr über die aktuelle Situation in Juba, Süd Sudan erfahren möchte - here is a very impressive contribution in the Boston Globe.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Comparison of 12v Air compressors: ViAir, T-Max, ARB, Bearcomp

There are several comparisons and reviews around, who may be helpful for you, when you have to decide which one you should buy.

Vergleichstest Review - Luftkompressoren: ViAir, T-Max, ARB, Bearcomp mit 12v

The australian 4x4Action Magazine did a test about 24 different brands and models. The test is available online from their page for us, for a free download. Also there drawing who explains how they work.

4wdaction Australia-Aircompressor Comparison

Also the german 4x4action did a own test at 2012. This comparison results in an empty purchased sales stand on the overland expo "Abenteuer Allrad" in Germany.

You can find the Testresult on several compressor manufacturer Websites:


At the end i think you should look too about the size and weight of the device and not just about the brand. During travel you mostly not in hurry and are able to let the device cool down between the tires. A Duty Cycle of 100% is nice to have, if you have the space and your Setup can handle the weight - but not necessary for the most of us.
The right air pressure don't helps just at sand or during wheeling when the traction is bad, it helps too for a more comfortable ride above gravel or washboard tracks.
Normally you can also ride back to civilization, also with lower pressure - but often are the use of a tire repair kit easier than changing the tire... And then you need the compressor.

Buy a decent air compressor and not an all-in one wonder from wall-mart!