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20.04.2011 - Mali – Home

Our time in Africa was short now; in a few months we would be back in Europe, back in the UK, back home. Read more..

Tantalisingly close

December 10th, 2009

First off, apologies for our tardy typing, we have fallen behind with the blog updates.

Second, we have come in for a bit of criticism recently as our past blogs have tended to focus on the mechanical, at times comprising “we did this to the car, then we did that to the car”.

Certainly we have focused our efforts on the car, in order that we can put most major mechanical machinations to bed before we set off and, whilst this can at times seem tedious, when we set out to provide this blog we did so in part to convey the amount of time and energy that preparing for a trip of this nature takes.

However, for us, the charge which keeps us motoring on is the idea of reaching Africa. Of course, we tire of doing simple tasks, but the realisation that all this work will allow us to drive off in a few short weeks keeps us going.

So please, bear with us, keep following the updates and get in touch if you have any advice or just to say hi if you enjoy our tumultual text.


Having buttered the bread, we now turn to the filling of our Land Rover sandwich. That is, we have moved on to kitting out the interior. We had started to kit out the back of the Hard-top by installing a purpose made metal shelf, however upon revisiting the plan we found that the rigid metal structure prevented us from slotting the fridge, water container, toolboxes and assorted spares in whilst also allowing for our everyday food supplies and clothes.


The problem stems from a lack of a blueprint; overlanding trips are a specific market which isn’t fully catered for, as preparation owes a lot to personal preference. So, we screwed up our original plans and ripped out the metal skeleton, replacing it with sheets of plywood and lengths of softwood from Wickes. What was to follow was nothing short of a massacre of our Draper drill bits as wood was screwed at all angles in the back.


Using wood not only saved us weight, but allowed us to build a much more compact unit. We relocated the fridge to the front of the vehicle, allowing for access throughout the day from the passenger seat. We secured the additional Antares batteries in a protective compartment and built up the sides of the storage containers to make best use of the space, whilst leaving at least some visibility through the rear window.

A second bulkhead has been fashioned with the help of more plywood and a donated doguard, which should deter anyone braking into the rear of the car from the cab. Whilst this means that we have to be prepared to loose anything we leave unattended in the cab, it should ensure that the main kit and equipment is safe from all but the most determined thieves.


To further deter unwanted visitors, we resolved to obscure access to the back from the rear windows. A quick trip down to one of the biggest boys in the business, Pentagon Tinting in Reading, ensured that we now have blackened rear windows, Limo black to be precise. The guys at Pentagon also treated the side windows, this time with a UV film which should help to reduce a bit of heat in the cab. Big thanks to everyone at Pentagon, not only are we now more secure, the car also looks pretty cool.

So the back of the Landy is now an assortment of shelves and cupboards, lovingly fashioned late into the night over the last two weeks much to the pleasure of fellow Hill Farm Road residents. It was agreed that whilst we could quite easily just ‘chuck it all in’, we would undoubtedly be fed up of hauling everything out each time we just wanted one tool or item from the back so everything must have its place. To complement the organised layout we needed some good containers to secure everything in, whilst maximising space. Following a chat with Ricky ‘I do love a good box’ Packham, we headed over to Plastor in Maidenhead and picked up an unhealthy quantity of plastic. We now have ourselves a self contained cupboard in the back corner as well as sturdy boxes for all food and spare parts. Result.

 More will follow later this week as we seek a solution to the problem of where to fix the spare wheels, which is proving more of a job than we thought!


PS: Whilst out and about this week the council asked us to help the community by emptying a large road water hazard puddle thing, which we duly did.


  • Riders Retreat - mountain bike holidays in Morzine
  • Land Rover Experience
  • Watling Tyres
  • Draper Tools
  • Brit Part
  • hel
  • Koni
  • aalx designs
  • Bradt Travel Guids
  • Map Vivo
  • Antares - engineering with answers
  • EBC Brakes
  • Sentry Safes
  • Twisted Performance
  • X Eng
  • challenger 4x4
  • Goodwinch
  • K and N
  • Kenlowe
  • Waeco
  • Polybush
  • MM 4x4 Land Rover
  • Keith Gott
  • comma
  • Stigs stainless fastners
  • Tracmat
  • Alli Sport
  • BOSCH - invendted for life
  • Allparts - number 1 in car parts
  • Proppa
  • Goodyear 4x4
  • Aaron Radiator
  • Sign a rama
  • better Prepared
  • Devon 4x4
  • foley specialist vehicles
  • Labcraft LED lighting
  • Mammouth Premium
  • Plastor
  • Exmoor Trim
  • Terrafirma
  • sound reduction systems
  • aquarius
  • Master Lock
  • P and O Ferries
  • Dixon Bate
  • hibiscus
  • Ring Automotive
  • Roverland