Equipment can make one’s life a lot more comfortable. In some cases equipment could even be crucial for survival. But, equipment comes at a price. The price for equipment is paid in extra weight, more space taken up, adding to the bulk of your vehicle if fitted outside and, of course, money.
Extra weight increases your vehicle’s fuel consumption and stopping distance, and especially when carried on the roof-rack can make your vehicle significantly more unstable. Extra weight can also take your vehicle or trailer closer to – or over – its legal weight limit.
Additional equipment taking up more space inside could make your vehicle cramped, or could force you to leave behind other equipment you actually want to take with you.
Equipment mounted outside your vehicle – especially bulky equipment – increases its aerodynamic drag and therefore fuel consumption. This means more of your trip budget will go towards fuel, and less towards the activities you have in mind. With increased fuel consumption, you’ll also need to watch the distances between refuelling points more carefully than before.
If you don’t want to waste money on equipment, don’t buy anything you’re not 100% sure you will use again. You can consider borrowing or renting equipment until you’re sure that you really can’t do another trip without it. You will learn what works for you as you become more experienced.
If you decide on fitting any accessories to your vehicle, remember to check your vehicle’s warranty terms and conditions. Also consider that any after-market products do not go through the same quality checks as your vehicle which means that they often become the weakest link in your system.
In this section we shall discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the following equipment:
- Packing systems
- Rooftop vs ground tents
- Off-road trailers and off-road caravans
- Camp showers
- Mobile fridges/freezers
- Dual battery systems
- Solar panels
- Long-range fuel tanks
- Water tanks
- Customised suspension
- Differential locks
- Sand/mud tracks
- Communication: Two-way radios, Cell phones, Satellite phones