Thursday, 23 May 2013

Our Rig

Our tow vehicle is a 2003 100 series diesel Toyota Landcruiser, towing a 2005 24ft Regal van.  The van was purchased through the online Trading Post, while the Landcruiser was purchased privately after a great deal of searching.

The Cruiser has an after-market snorkel, cargo barrier, bull bar, rear air bags, long range fuel tank, dual heavy-duty batteries and heavy-duty roof rack.

The van includes 3 bunks (the bottom bunk is used for storage), a combined shower/toilet and, its greatest asset in my view - a front loader washing machine! 

Washing machine bottom left hand corner,
shower/toiler behind glass door on left,
triple bunks on right.

The washing machine alone would have saved us conservatively over $2500 ($4 load x 4 loads per week x 52 weeks x 3 years) and doesn't include extra loads of linen, sleeping bags when we've been camping, van curtains etc.  $4 is also pretty average for a laundromat these days, with many now up to $5 per load and some caravan parks charging $6 per load. 

The van has three separate living areas, the kitchen/lounge/dining is in the centre, the bunks/shower/toilet/wash machine is at the front of the van and our bedroom is at the back of the van.  The three areas are separated by concertina screens.

Looking towards the bunks/bathroom, van entrance door is on the left with green curtains. 
Noticeboard was added before we began the trip.

All the internal hanging clothing cupboards have been converted to shelves which quadrupled our storage capacity.

Main bedroom at rear of van.  Plenty of storage and storage
under bed.

One thing many so-called 'family' vans with bunks don't have is a decent sized fridge.  We have a 160 litre fridge (we had a 520 litre in our house!).  We have become used to it and purchase differently  with just enough fruit/veg to last a few days and meat for a week only.  The fridge is 3-way, running off gas when we are stationary, the car battery when we are on the move and AC when we have electricity.  We do have an archaic Engel which we can use, but it seems to have morphed into a bar fridge only.

Half size oven with grill. 4 gas burners on top,
under bench top. 160ltre fridge under the microwave.

Another limitation with vans that are designed for four or more people, is they tend to have quite limited water tank capacity.  We have 2 x 70lt tanks attached to the van and carry an additional 70 litres in a variety of containers.  I suspect the reason for the smaller water tanks is about the overall weight of a large van, but many vans designed for a couple seem to have better water carrying capacity than large family vans.

Lounge/dining/schoolroom, opposite the kitchen work area.

We have a full annexe, which we have never erected. On the other hand, we regularly use the pull out awning, ground mat and side shade awning.

We have two laptops, an iPad, a Bluetooth (used for amplification when we phone school), a touch phone and 3 iPods.  We have a small inverter so we can charge everything except the main laptop from the van power supply.

The van has a CD/radio player with 3 internal and one external speaker.  It has a TV (mounted above the sink), however we decided to leave the TV in storage. 

We have recently purchased 2 freestanding 120kw solar panels and we have a 2 kva Honda generator.

The van has a reverse cycle airconditioner.

We carry two bikes, 2 boggie boards, scateboards, scooters and roller blades.  Most of which get fairly regular use.  We are carrying a large plastic box of board games which we never use, mainly because they are too difficult to get access to.  We do play alot of UNO though.  The toys I wish we had brought more of - Lego.

We named our van after 3 weeks camping in Cape York in
July 2011.  We used to talk about returning to the comfort of the van
after being in the tent and someone began calling it 'The Mothership'
 and the name stuck.
The van and cruiser have been perfect for our family and our journey.  Both were purchased specifically for this trip and will be available for another family's adventure in January 2014.  As a reliable and comfortable rig, not to mention home for three years, it will be hard to see them go.

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