The Achievable Dream 5-part series - the definitive guide on DVD for planning your motorcycle adventure. Get Ready! covers planning, paperwork, medical and many other topics! "Inspirational and Awesome!" See the trailer here!
Gear Up! is a 2-DVD set, 6 hours! Which bike is right for me? How do I prepare the bike? What stuff do I need - riding gear, clothing, camping gear, first aid kit, tires, maps and GPS? What don't I need? How do I pack it all in? Lots of opinions from over 150 travellers! "This DVD will save you a fortune!"See the trailer here!
So you've done it - got inspired, planned your trip, packed your stuff and you're on the road! This section is about staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure. And crossing borders, war zones or oceans!
On the Road! is 5.5 hours of the tips and advice you need to cross borders, break down language barriers, overcome culture shock, ship the bike and deal with breakdowns and emergencies."Just makes me want to pack up and go!" See the trailer here!
Tire Changing!Grant demystifies the black art of Tire Changing and Repair to help you STAY on the road! "Very informative and practical." See the trailer here!
Ladies on the Loose! For the first time ever, a motorcycle travel DVD made for women, by women! These intrepid women share their tips to help you plan your own motorcycle adventure. They also answer the women-only questions, and entertain you with amazing tales from the road! Presented by Lois Pryce, veteran solo traveller through South America and Africa and author of 'Lois on the Loose', and 'Red Tape and White Knuckles.'
"It has me all fired up to go out on my own adventure!" See the trailer here!
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I'm looking for a pickup for an upcoming overland trip from CH to at least Mauritania (via Morocco), maybe further south to Senegal and back.
We are a swiss couple without children, that means that we only need two seats and don't have so much things to carry. I'd still want a double cab pickup because of the improved security (key lock in the cabin) for some of our stuff.
Does taking a pickup over a traditionnal 4x4 make sense ? My opinion is, as long as I have a big enough cabin, the big loading space of a pickup really makes sense for overlanding.
I've already started to look for some of the available models and found these three :
Two japanese "classics" : Nissan Navarra (2.5) and Toyota Hilux (2.5 or 3.0)
The european newcomer : VW Amarok (2.0 BiTDI)
I managed to try both the 3.0 Hilux and VW Amarok (both in manual and automatic gearbox) and the VW is definitely well made and the easiest to drive (like a car, just bigger). The fuel consumption of the 2.0 VW engine is very impressive too (less than 9.5 litres/100 km).
The Hilux is simpler (which is both a pro and a con) and probably more reliable. It's other advantage is the availability of the parts if something breaks down...
The japanese are cheaper than the VW, especially used, but I have some kind of personnal affection to VW which makes me love the Amarok.
Do you have some advice or personnal experience to give ?
Thanks guys, take care !
PS: my previous offroad experience was with an old Mercedes GE-230 (automatic) which is now time to replace with something newer.
I spent years overlanding in a Hilux 4x4, single cab, but I was alone.
I made an aluminium deck which can be locked down to the rear tub, meaning the storage space there is more secure than in the cab. It also meant I could cover this with a normal tonneau cover, which made the truck look completely normal, very important for me. A pickup is also a lot lighter than say a Landcruiser, and pretty much as tough. The rear deck is 220+ cm long, meaning I can strike a standard tent on this, and collapse it easily and cover it with the tonneau cover.
The only down side was that it is not possible really to seal water / dirt out of the rear tonneau, and that there was limited space in the cab. An Xtra cab might solve the space issue, but with the same length of rear tub, it makes the vehicle very long indeed.
As for your choices, my gut feeling would be to stay well clear of such a small engine in such a huge truck. The Amarok is almost as big as a F150, but the smallest F150 has a 3.5 litre twin turbo petrol, and 365 BHP. That 2.0 diesel must be very highly stressed, and I guess very sensitive to bad fuel. A Toyota is definitely the machine to take out of Europe.
Thanks. It really makes sense about the engine. Of course a small cc new generation engine will probably be a lot more sensitive to bad fuel and will need to be revved harder (the Amarok is HEAVY !).
And if it breaks, I don't think that I have any chance to find spares out of South Africa, Western EU, some parts of SA and maybe Asia. In the rest of the world, the Toyotas are the kings...
I found your blog a few months ago, that's amazing. I think you are the one that made me think about a pickup for overlanding.
Looking at your pictures, you don't seem to have changed a lot of things on your Hilux. It didn't look like a Dakar rally car or coming directly from Mars, which is a HUGE advantage in these parts of the world...
What are your recommendations ? What are the things to modify or reinforce on an Hilux (in general, not especially on the newer ones) ?
Yes, stealth is the key... I wouldn't feel so comfortable driving across Afghanistan with a typical 'expedition' prepared Landcruiser with snorkels and rooftents and stickers and sagging rear springs
I am not familiar with the latest generation of Hilux, but I would say to keep it as standard as possible. I have upgraded the standard leaf springs and shocks on my truck, but mostly because the originals were finished, and good quality aftermarket springs by Old Man Emu are still cheaper than genuine ones.
I would try to make a luggage / cover system which is as inconspicuous and convenient to use as possible, and save the rest of my money for actually travelling!
Pick up is fine for this type of trip, although they have a higher payload many think they are not as tough as a 'proper' landcruiser. I would advise trying not to load to more than 1/3rd of max payload on a double cab, my mark 6 hilux loaded with a ton of aggregate feels over heavy, compared to my HJ60 landcruiser, theoretically with a rating of half the payload of the lux, massively overloaded across West Africa which felt fine. The payload rating on double cabs is a tax dodge and is, in my opinion, too high, certainly for overlanding.
navara, no, bottom ends fail due to overheating, and that's in Europe, in Africa they have no chance (African spec ones have a different engine). Amarok, no, too many problems to mention. Loads and loads of reliability issues, an over tuned overcomplex engine and no reputation of building vehicles for this type of application, and reputation is worth a lot when your life depends on it. If it drives like a car, it's because it's built like a car!!
Hilux, absolutely, but mark 5 or earlier because euro 5, and maybe even euro 4 presents issues.. My ideal choice (if I didn't have my landcruiser!) would be a mark 4 Hilux, but what about an 80 series landcruiser? they're a fine truck.
The main problem with buying a pickup is that they are almost always work vehicles, often worked hard and poorly maintained, especially the bodywork.... keep looking for a good one and get some expert advice when looking at potential cars!
Toyota is IMHO the benchmark. Having built a Toyota HJ75 series Land Cruiser Tray Back Ute (Pickup) 100mm shorter chassis then the HZJ for better entry and exits, Stating with a chassis and a tub, it turned out to be the most reliable, economical and all round beast I have ever owned. 10 years without an issue and was capable of 1350 K's @100 Kph without filling up.
Fitted was a 61 Series 12HT Factory Turbo Diesel Engine. Aux fuel tank, 75 Lt. Water tank and shower with pump. Thomas PTO winch with 50m of S/S 10m cable. Snorkel for deep water crossings, AC, CD, CB, Work light and Spotties, Super springs, Quality gas shocks, Non flip Shackles and 33 inch tyres.
Build time was about 3 months, cost was around 10K AU at the time and wouldn't be all that much more now if you had the time to swap out or source parts. Bullet proof engines, kicking myself for selling it
Failing that just buy a 61 Series Sahara Wagon with the 12HT motor in it. Or, I now own a Toyota Hilux Extra Cab Ute, a great combination because you can carry 4 passenger's if need be and there's enough room to lock up personal belongings and still have a usable sized ute, reasonably cheap and a very reliable, economical and capable 4X4.
I won't go over the arguments of new vs old as it has been done to death, however:
The Amarok has had loads of problems with reliability and build quality. Check out the forums. It is a new, relatively untested design. VW has no history of building this type of vehicle. It has a highly tuned and complex twin turbo 2.0 engine. It has no low range box, which gives you some indication of it's off road intentions.
Whilst it may be nice to drive around the streets of Berlin, it would be, in my opinion, about the worst choice of vehicle you could make for overlanding! It is simply not up to the job. You would probably be better off taking VW Golf!
If you are looking at new there are only 2 realistic choices of pickup that have the credibility, reputation and reliability, and when your life depends on your vehicle starting in the morning, that counts for a lot. 1st is the Hilux, 2nd is the Isuzu Dmax.
thats an L200 in the piccie above BTW, also a not terribly good vehicle!
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