Our Hilux Surf, affectionately named Bee-Bee is now in Guernsey, Emma dropped it over last week and we christened it with a lovely bottle of Champagne, the cork of which is now lovingly hanging from the rear view mirror.
The long and expensive process of prepping the car for the trip can now begin. The first job is to strip out pretty much everything in the interior from behind the front seats to the tailgate, including the roof-lining. One problem with the 2nd Generation Surf’s is the lack of roof gutters or roof rails which makes fitting a full length roof rack a bit of a mission. Having access to the internal roof and supports will allow Turx’s Custom Workshop to fabricate a full length safari roof rack which will be directly attached to the roof. Having something custom made will mean that we can design it to our exact specification with the rack as close to the roof as possible to keep the centre of gravity down (and it'll look cooler).
Once this is complete we can start work on planning the internal storage space in the back of the car, this is going to take some serious planning to maximise the space to the fullest. Before we can do this we need to purchase some of the necessary equipment for the trip. Once we have this we can begin the game of ‘Car Tetris’ to suss out the best way to fit everything in.
The 4x4 Storage Components website has been a very useful resource in researching various setups and checking out how other people deal with the same problems. I recommend everybody who is planning a trip like this should also read the 'Vehicle-dependent Expedition Guide' by Tom Sheppard this book is basically my bible for the next 3 years. It's available here. This book will tell you everything you need to know and then some.
Everyday items like travel books, maps and day food supplies will need to be accessible from the passenger area whilst camping, recovery and spares will be stored in the rear of the vehicle. Heavier items like auxiliary batteries, water tanks and the Hilift Jack need to be stowed as low as possible and preferably central between the two axles.
The internal storage space will need to be enclosed and offer maximum security, for this reason it will be separate from the passenger area.Having a bulkhead or cargo barrier not only offers extra security but in the event of a roll over will help protect us from being hit by any heavy objects from the back of the vehicle.
More updates to follow soon, so please check back.