Very nice article

Αγαπητοί φίλοι σας παραθέτω ένα πολύ ωραίο άρθρο δυστυχώς μόνο στα Αγγλικά. Αφορά την προετοιμασία για αποστολή με 4χ4 και παρουσιάζεται στο site “”

Ed’s Theory

Vehicle choice

In most cases cost will be the deciding factor when choosing a vehicle suitable for overland driving. It is important not to cut corners when preparing your chosen vehicle. Remedial repairs and servicing are far more important than the addition of some of the vast range of equipment and accessories that are on offer.
It goes without saying that Land Rover have contributed more to overland travel than most other manufacturers. For many years they have provided a strong reliable base from which to carry the equipment necessary for a long distance expedition. What they lack in luxury they make up for in ruggedness. Sometimes tainted with poor reliability Land Rover vehicles have always been repairable in the bush.
The Toyota Land Cruiser is by far the most widely used four-wheel drive around the World. Land Cruisers have been sold in large numbers in countries such as Africa, Australia and the Middle East. There have been numerous models over the years, many will have stood the test of time having covered hundreds of thousands of kilometres. In some countries parts are widely available but likely to be expensive.

The Nissan Patrol is rapidly gaining in popularity due to its rugged reliability combined with an element of comfort.
Most modern 4×4 vehicles can be prepared for overland travel, depending on the type of journey and the distance to be travelled. Land Rover, Toyota and Nissan are favourites.

Vehicle preparation

Before considering how to prepare your 4×4 for an expedition it must be said that preparations and the addition of equipment should be done well in advance to enable you to become fully acquainted with how it works and to shake down any potential problems.
Ensure the vehicle is fully serviced. Check brakes and steering, make sure there are no oil leaks and that all joints etc are sound. Familiarise yourself with your vehicle to be sure you recognise when something is going to fail or needs someattention. If the engine is fitted with a timing belt this must have been done recently, likewise if there is any doubt over the life expectancy of the clutch then it must be replaced before you leave – failure of these items could leave you stranded.
It is important that you or someone in your party has a good mechanical knowledge to help in the event of breakdowns.
The biggest vehicle killers are vibration from rough tracks and road surfaces, dust and water. Constant vibration from the corrugations of dirt roads will destroy even the strongest 4×4. A certain driving technique can be used to skim over the surface and so give a smoother ride but invariably the vehicle will take some punishment from poor roads. Ensure items such as the roof rack, spare wheel, fuel cans and spares are securely fastened. Brackets will fracture with fatigue so ensure the best quality products are used when equipping your 4×4.
The spare wheel on a Land Rover is fitted to the rear door – this will last no time on dirt roads and soon the hinges or the door itself will break. Mount the wheel on the roof or on a special wheel carrier that relieves the rear door of the load.
Dust will get everywhere. It is important that a raised air intake is used to help clean air into the engine and to prolong the life of the vehicle’s air filter. Dust can clog breathers so make sure these are kept clear – a blocked fuel tank breather can lead to fuel starvation causing the engine to stop which can often be misleading. Avoid water if at all possible for similar reasons. Water can be terminal if it gets into your engine. It also has a detrimental effect on vehicle electrics. It may be fun to drive through but not if it ruins your entire trip.
Always ensure your suspension is up to the task, it may require upgrading to carry the extra weight and to deal with the bumps and potholes certain to be encountered.
Make sure the electrical system is well installed and that there are no stray wires or sharp edges to chaff through wire as they pass through or by metalwork. Again the vibrations on dirt roads will expose any potential problems. If battery power is required when the engine is switched off or if a i freezer fridge is to be used then an auxiliary battery with a split charge relay is important to ensure the vehicle starter battery doesn’t go flat overnight.
It is recommended that you start with 20% more fuel than is calculated. This should give you the safety factor that may be required if conditions get difficult or in the case of a breakdown or you simply get lost. This can be achieved by the addition of extra fitted fuel tanks, jerry cans or both. It is not enough to assume you have enough fuel even if every space on the vehicle is filled with fuel – you must calculate your requirements before you leave. Modern 4x4s have excellent fuel filtration systems but depending on your trip it may be important to fit an additional filter/sedimenter. Either way it is crucial to filter the fuel into the tank in all third world countries especially if the fuel is from cans. Specialist filter funnels are available for this purpose.
Tyres need to be in perfect condition. These days tube type tyres are hard to find and there are arguments in favour of tubeless tyres. Depending on the type of puncture, tubeless tyres are easier to repair, they do not suffer sand or debris chaffing the inner tube but are hard to re-seat on the rim once they have
run flat. On the other hand, tubes can be repaired and even huge holes patched on the tyre in emergency. Debris between the tyre and the tube can cause continuous punctures though. Ideally the toughest tyre that provides a degree of comfort and flexibility over obstacles is best.
Water can be carried in plastic containers that don’t taint the water. Fitted water tanks should always be made of stainless steel. There are mixed thoughts on fitted water tanks – they make life easy to carry water but are hard to clean out when contaminated and if your only source of water is a lake or river then they are difficult to fill. Water should always be purified before being used for cooking or drinking.
Security can be a problem in some countries. You must have at least one secure place for storing valuables such as passports and money. Additional security can be achieved by fitting a load space drawer that takes up the entire rear load space but allows goods to be stored on top; the drawer can be opened without disturbing other gear to give access to equipment inside. Custom-built compartments in the load space are useful for keeping things organised.
Once underway, regular maintenance checks must be carried out; if you cut corners your vehicle will surely let you down.

Regular checklist

?Check all oil and fluid levels
?Check for any oil, water or fluid leaks
?Rectify rattles and loose nuts and bolts
?Grease prop shafts
?Check air filter
?Lubricate hinges and pivots
?Check underneath for anything untoward
?Check tyres
?Adjust brakes as required
?Check and adjust belts
?Check all breather pipes
?Check lights and electrics
?Tyre pressures


Whatever happens you need the best quality you can afford. Many travellers like the modern approach – a fold up roof top tent mounted on the roof rack, available from a variety of manufacturers. Examine and test before you buy to make sure you are happy with your investment. These roof tents can be erected and put away quickly and have the mattress stowed inside them. Most have built in mosquito nets and are good in all weather conditions.
Ground tents can offer more room but are more time consuming to erect and offer little protection from ground insects or snakes.
Be sure to take bedding that suits you and the environment you will be travelling in; standard European camping gear is often not good enough.Awnings can be mounted to roof racks to provide shade and with side fitted can offer additional sleeping quarters.


Always be prepared for adverse weather conditions. Wear several thin layers of comfortable fabric as these can be removed one by one as the temperature rises. Pack a water proof coat even in the desert as it can get very cold at night. Ensure you take precautions against extreme conditions e.g. a hat to protect you from the sun and lightweight clothing that dries quickly either cotton or from one of the modern fabrics that are no very good. Take light comfortable boots for climbing or cooler temperatures and sandals for the heat. Remember that quality counts if you want it to last.


Storage boxes in different sizes, clearly marked with their contents are useful.
Water proof means dust proof and paperwork, food, perishables and first aid
equipment should always be kept in a sealed container.
Load space drawers offer easy access to kit without unloading the entire
Make sure objects don’t rattle and rub together, including cutlery. Take plenty of pots and pans, better if they fit one inside the other, plastic or aluminium mugs and plates. The Army surplus is often a good source.
Make sure your chairs are good quality canvas over metal frames; cheaper cotton or man made ones will not last. A good folding table will keep dirt from your food and save you working on the ground.
A freezer/fridge is fantastic if your budget will extend to it, depending on the duration of your trip or journey you have the option of freezing the entire contents and removing items to thaw as and when you need them. Be sure your vehicle electrics will cope.

Kit list.

?Good compass, GPS if required, maps and guide books
?Plastic bags for storage and waste
?Cling film and aluminium foil
?Large Washing up bowl
?Black plastic water jerry cans
?Fire extinguisher
?Lots of paper towel, toilet paper, cleaning cloths and tea towels
?Lots of matches/disposable lighters
?Salt, pepper, tea, coffee, sugar and powdered milk
?Tinned meats (with minimal water content)
?Washing up liquid
?Vegetable cooking oil
?Frying pan, pots and pans
?Kettle with a lid
?Can opener
?Stainless steel cutlery
?Tough plastic jars for sugar etc
?Cooking and carving knives
?Cooking utensils
?Plastic plates, bowls and cups
?Folding chairs and table
?Battery powered fluorescent lamps
?Anti mosquito and insect repellents
?Sleeping bag/bedding relative to climate
?Washing powder, line and pegs
?Plastic tube for siphoning one for water one for fuel
?Water purification tablets/filters and/or iodine
?Universal adhesive such as Evo-stick
?Silicon sealer
?Fibre-glass repair kit
?Chamois leather/washing sponge
?Phrase book and dictionary as required
?Torches and spare batteries
?Scissors, pens and paper.
?Hand brush
?Sewing kit and safety pins
?Toiletries and towel
?Personal clothing
?Mosquito net
?Medical/first aid kit, Multi vitamins, anti-histamine, high factor sunscreen,
anti-malarial and salt tablets, re-hydration salts, MASTA type AIDS kit.
Securely stowed away, money, passport, visas, travellers cheques, vaccination
certificates, vehicle documents, insurance paperwork, driving licence, spare
passport photos and copies of travel and medical insurance.
?Tool kit
?Spares and repairs kit
?Recovery equipment
?Shovel and possibly a pick-axe
?Tyre removal and puncture repair kit.

Little things
?Avoid shiny equipment in your line of vision when driving, the reflections can
be blinding.
?Head torches are very useful
?Remember to keep camera film cool and in a dark place
?’Steradent’ tablets are good for removing stains from cups and pots etc.
?Take a spare set of sunglasses
?Mosquito nets can be fastened around windows using Velcro

?Select the most suitable vehicle to suit your budget and possible terrain.
?Prepare the vehicle thoroughly and well in advance.
?Learn as much about your vehicle as possible before you begin your trip.
?Use the best quality equipment available
?Carry everything you could possibly need.

Check your vehicle regularly during your journey.
Carry 20% more fuel than required
Carry plenty of food and water
Ensure you have the most suitable clothing for the climate
Securely stow goods away
Drive within the conditions

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