Appendix A. Vehicles & Equipment.

The reasons for our choice of vehicles have been explained in the Introduction. In the event, the Land Rovers proved quite adequate to the task, despite gross overloading (each vehicle carried nearly twice the makers' recommended payload). Keith and myself, being engineers, indulged our fancies to a considerable degree in specifying Orodruin; fitting many extras which were by no means necessary, besides several which definitely earned their keep. The major items are tabulated at the end of this Appendix, with my comments on their usefulness.

For the Europe/Asia run, a diesel engine is definitely preferable to petrol. Although slower and noisier, the fuel is vastly cheaper than petrol in many countries, and the engine's specific fuel consumption is less. Properly maintained, they are perfectly reliable, as witness the millions of miles covered in commercial use.

We were vastly overstocked with spare parts and equipment in many areas, sometimes (as with the medical crate at Bleriot-Plage) the bulk of material actually reducing its usefulness. Again, when our cold-weather gear would have been specially useful (on Rik's and my run north in Pakistan), all such gear was left behind on account of its weight, defeating the object! We carried sufficient tools and spare parts to carry out major overhauls (which were never required), but of course, omitted just the parts that were needed (Shadowfax' steering swivels). Asian garage mechanics have a marvellous gift for improvisation; they will keep you going, somehow! The Rover Company in England publish an excellent booklet: "A Guide to Land-Rover Expeditions"; whose advice was found very sound, in the event. This booklet includes lists of recommended spares and tools.

Medical kit should be limited to what everyone is competent to use. Much of our kit, only Keith understood! A lightweight first-aid box should be carried in a readily accessible position, and should not be bolted in place. In most large Asian cities, there is a Western-run hospital. The local hospitals should be avoided (judging by that at Kandahar!).

There is no need to carry vast amounts of food; local food is perfectly edible, although it does not keep. It is easier to buy your daily needs in each town as you pass through, than to attempt to stock up. A hard core of, say, a week's supply of tinned or dried food, is a good idea, but only for emergencies.

Tents, clothing, etc., are largely a matter of personal taste. It should be remembered that scanty attire (on both men and women) is definitely frowned on in Moslem countries; they expect you to be "decently covered" at all times.

In Europe, a motor-caravan layout will enable you to park the vehicle at the roadside and sleep in it. This is technically illegal in most countries (but you are unlikely to get into trouble over a one-night stop), but enable you to avoid the commercial campsites. These are frequently the only places where you can pitch a tent, and can be quite expensive. Security is obviously improved by keeping all your gear in the vehicle. Outside Europe, low-grade hotels are usually so cheap that camping is not worth it. In many areas of Asia, the price of an evening meal in a roadside cafe includes the use of the floor to sleep on. Take your own sleeping bag, unless you like bedbugs!

Equipment Carried (Mostly applicable only to Land Rovers)

Second fuel tank. Well worth it; large tanks enable you to fill up where fuel is cheap.
Electric fuel pumps. These eliminate fuel vapour-locks in hot weather, but can be difficult to fit.
Electric radiator fans. To improve engine cooling. An 8-bladed mechanical type would do as good a job, and would be far simpler to fit.
Vacuum servo brakes. Very helpful, if your vehicle is heavier laden than it should be!
Extra instruments. The only essentials are water temperature and oil pressure gauges.
Free-wheeling front hubs. The hoped-for improvement in fuel consumption was very marginal.
Power winch (drum type). A capstan winch would be quite adequate, and far cheaper. Even that is only necessary for really rough off-road work.
Electric types are now readily available, & might be preferable.
Soundproofing in the cab. A definite boost to morale on a long run.
Extra spotlights. Land-Rover headlights do need some assistance; a quartz halogen conversion might well be sufficient, and much simpler to fit.
Extra driving mirrors. Absolutely essential, for driving on the right. We carried four, one on each wing, and one on each door pillar. All were used fully.
Seat belts. Now a legal requirement, but in any case most desirable. Don't use inertia-reel types, and wear them as tight as is comfortable, to hold you in place on rough roads.
Radio, tape cassette, etc. For music lovers only. Don't have them fixed in the vehicle, or declared on your Carnet.
Roofrack. Use one only if you must. Carry less gear if possible. Use it only for light, bulky items, such as tents.
Jerrican holders. It's easier to lift loaded cans off the side of the vehicle than off the roof!
Cab heater. Well worth it in cold European climates.
Security box. (A locked steel box, bolted in place, to carry valuables). Worth it, if only for your peace of mind!
Fire extinguisher.
Burglar alarm system.
Heavy-duty springs. If you need them; you're carrying too much!
[To the above I would add, if you have 2 or more vehicles, CB or similar low-powered 2-way radios.]
Copyright © 1974 - 2004 David R. Brooks

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