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Gear and Equipment (Vehicle)

We are often being asked, which particular sleeping bag, jerrycan or roofrack we would recommend. Although we are not getting involved directly in the supply of gear and equipment, we have compiled some commentaries on equipment we have tried and tested ourselves. You also find direct links to suppliers

Recovery Gear
For ropes and shackles, use only rated material! Inferior quality can be highly dangerous and cause serious injurie! Rated shackles have a blue or green painted pin and should have a strength of at least 6 tons which also goes for ropes. A recovery rope for the desert should be around 30 feet long. You might prefer the more fancy Kinetic ropes but bear in mind that you only get about 30 to 40 kinetic pulls out of it before it degrades to an ordinary rope. Good quality items at reasonable prices can be found with CLT, chains and lifting tackle. Tel. 01782-747400

Use a heavy duty shovel with a wide, ideally pointed blade. Army surplus stores have "pioneer" shovels which are strong and durable. A lightweight option comes from Fiskars of Scandinavia. This "sand shovel" has an aluminium blade and is only suited for sand and snow. Fiskars is available with 4x4-TouringGear. Much has been written about winches and if you have looked into it, we are sure you are familiar with the advantages of the different systems: Hydraulic, Electric and PTO. Definitely unsuitable are "cheapies" in the price region of 200-300 Pound. If you decide to fit a winch, the straight line pull should be around double the weight of your vehicle. A good source for quality electrical and hydraulic winches is Superwinch. Click Here

Sandladders
So called "Waffles" are practical but heavy, Alloy sandplates are light but bend easily, Military sandplates made of steel are cheap but heavy, Kevlar sandplates are light, durable but very expensive. Saharatravel's preference lies with Sandladders as shown on the picture. They are made from an Alloy-Steel compound, weigh about 7 pound each are solid and can also double up as a ladder for your roofrack. Sandladders are made by 4Technique and distributed in Europe by Taubenreuther: Click Here
Water and Fuel Containers
Military type "Jerrycans" are most suitable for fuel. Make sure the rubber seal is in perfect shape and take a spare if in doubt. When you purchase jerrycans watch out for the manufacturers stamp and batch number on the jerrycan - cheap imports are around that only last a couple of days under severe conditions. For pouring the fuel you will need a nozzle - always take one with a ventilation pipe otherwise it takes as long as ten minutes to empty a 20 litre can. Do not purchase water containers in a camping store - they fall apart or start leaking after just one day offroading. The black army type containers are strong but lack a tap for convenient operation - you should be able to improvise something. Second hand ones are not recommendable as you do not know what has been transported in them before. New ones can be found with 4x4 Touring Gear. Click Here

A manufacturer of proven heavy duty water containers with taps is Huenersdorf. Click Here

Another good alternative are black rubber sacks as used by the Swiss army (picture) They can be strapped to the roof or the bonnet of your vehicle and provide a warm shower in the evening. Unfortunately they are not available in the UK and can only be purchased in Switzerland. Maybe we can convince Mark from 4x4 Touring Gear to stock them in future.

Apart from containers and sacks we are also using built in watertanks in our vehicles. We would only recommend this option if you are planning regular trips to remote locations.
Fridge
A fridge is handy to keep your drinks cool whilst travelling in hot weather. There are only two options: The cheapest or the best. Cheap fridges work by means of a so called Peltier Element and plug straight into your cigar lighter socket. They manage to keep the temperature in the fridge around 25 degrees below the ambient temperature so you have to keep them away from the sun Those fridges retail at around 30 to 70 and can be found in DIY stores as well as camping outlets. Fridges that work on Gas, 220 and 12 V are unsuitable for offroading as they only cool properly when they stand level - which they hardly do under offroad conditions. The professional choice is a compressor fridge. Expensive but efficient they are able to keep the inside at 4 degrees even when the outside temperature reaches 45 degrees. Only a handful of manufacturers are out there making heavy duty versions. Namely they are Engel from Japan and TM from Germany, available through 4x4 Touring Gear. Click Here

Minus 40 from South Africa available through Footloose 4x4. Click Here

Different models are available and our experience shows, that a capacity of 40-50 litres is usually sufficient. Those fridges need to be properly installed in your vehicle.
Batteries
Many people favour a split battery system when operating winches or fridges or other auxiliary items. Split systems always involve additional electrical installation tapped into the manufacturers original setup. Opinions differ on how to wire such a system and none of the options can be described as 100% perfect. We have a different approach for our vehicles as simplicity is the name of the sniper game.

Saharatravel fits NATO-block-batteries to it's vehicles: dual purpose heavy duty gel batteries that can cope with deep cycles as well as instant high currents. Those batteries are rated between 125 and 200 Ah and they have always worked well for us. When your fridge is fitted with a low-voltage cut out (which the good ones are) you will never be stranded without enough power to start the vehicle. Unfortunately most suppliers retailing batteries are hopeless when it comes to special applications so you need to know what you want. Sonnenschein dryfit batteries are a good choice and available in the UK through Exide. Click Here
Roofracks
Roofracks are popular with travellers as they can free up valuable space inside the vehicle. Ideally choose a model that supports the weight over the full length of the gutter such as a Hannibal from South Africa. Also think about easy access to the roofrack, you can either fit chequer plates to the wing and the bonnet to climb on or a ladder to the rear of your vehicle. Hannibal in the UK is available through Nene Overland. Click Here
Tyres
Your tyres are your best friend and you should not economise on them. Tyres are a source of endless discussions amongst 4x4 folk - we can only tell you what works well for us in the desert:. Saharatravel uses Michelin XS or XZL for the sturdiness of their sidewalls and their ability to run at very low pressures for extended periods. You will want to use your tyres back home as well so you need to compromise. A BFG AT or MT, depending on your preferences is probably a good choice. Make sure you don't choose an overly aggressive tire with tread patterns like the G 90 and if you can, go for tubeless tyres as they cope better with low pressures then the tubed ones. The right size depends on your vehicle and engine power. Good guidelines for the desert are the largest tyres that fit your vehicle without major modifications.

We at Saharatravel are always happy to discuss your personal requirements with you or listen to your comments. Send us an email or give us a call!