We’re on a big lap of Australia, and after a tour of our caravan we thought we should introduce you to our tow vehicle. We have a Toyota Land Cruiser 200 series, a 2011 Sahara to tow our Jayco Journey 22.68-1 caravan. We did a lot of research before we headed off, and below and in the video above, you can learn how we have kitted our tow car out for the big lap.
If you watch our Series 1 videos, you will see how we found this tow vehicle just 5 minutes down the road from us when we were looking for the perfect tow vehicle. We were very excited when we picked the car up, but then had a bit of work to do to get it right for what we believed we needed for a big lap of Australia. Here’s what we have added to the vehicle, being very careful not to overload it and ensure we are inside our GVM and GCM weights when towing our caravan.
GVM & GCM Upgrades
This is not something we did to the car, but wanted to highlight this first up. Getting the right towing vehicle isn’t as simple as seeing an advertisement that says the car can tow 3.5 tonnes. Sure they can, but with no one in the car and certainly without any accessories added. Weights add up fast. We chose this vehicle as it’s GVM was upgraded from 3.3T to 3.8T and the overall GCM was upgraded to 7.3T. If looking to buy second hand, look for one with this work done, or doe your research to see if you can do it when buying new or after market legally.
We added the Milenco Grand Aero 3 towing mirrors. Ideally we would have had the Clearview mirrors, but by going cheap on the $99 Vs $999 option we were able to put that money into other critical accessories like our Redarc Setup to keep us powered on the road.
Australia is a really big country, and there certainly isn’t phone coverage everywhere. In fact, even some fringe areas have little or spotty coverage. We’re not going too crazy this trip, hence we will at most be venturing out into the fringes most of the time. The Cel-fi Go Mobile device picks up and boosts the signal, ensuring we have coverage when we need it. We also carry a Satellite communication device as a backup.
Oztrail RV Awning
This comes off of the side of the car to provide us some shelter on the beach, whilst driving up a 4WD track or basically anywhere we might need it. We plan to use this as some living space when we leave the caravan behind and head up further into more remote areas. Check out our Oztrail setup here.
Rhino Rack X Platform Large
This was second hand from Gumtree, and we picked it up for just $200. Added to our Vortex Roof Racks, we now have some space to add some camp gear and furniture when we leave the caravan behind. We keep it empty most of the time, except for our Maxtrax, so as not to go over our GVM weights. When we drop off the van we pick up the best part of 300 odd KG in GVM (no tow ball weight) hence we can add weight to the roof racks.
Bazooka Storage Pipe
In the pipe we keep our fishing rods. Each of the boys have a small kids rod, and JD has a surf rod and a smaller jetty/estuary rod. We keep the reels and tackles in one of the drawers in the car, meaning that we can fish anywhere the opportunity presents. All up this was about $150 from a specialty roof rack supply company. There are cheaper ways to do this, but we wanted it secure and the manufactured aluminum brackets and lock ensure this.
Redarc 150W Solar Panel
We added this recently when we wanted to ensure the lithium battery running the fridge had sufficient power, always. This panel provides a trickle charge to the battery, via our BCDC charger from Redarc. Check out the full detail on our Redarc setup, here. Since installation the battery hasn’t missed a beat!
Lights, Nudge Bar & UHF Radio
These were already installed on the vehicle, and a must have if starting from scratch. Ideally you would like to have a bull bar if you can, but note the GVM/GCM concerns above. If we added the bull bar we would’ve had to ditch the Roof Rack & Drawers just to break even on weights.
We added a small rechargeable UHF radio to the car so that Steph can talk to JD when positioning the caravan onsite at a caravan park or camp ground. Very convenient as opposed to yelling into and out of the drivers or passenger side windows!
Check out our video on how we use the Ezylevel to level our caravan. It makes life a lot easier in combination with the UHF radio and some leveling ramps.
These things we picked up on eBay for just $375. They are great for storage, making excellent use of space in the rear of the car. The downside, the weight! They weight around 60-70kg and that’s a lot of your payload before you actually add anything. Aim for light weight, and even consider using tubs instead to save on ‘dead weight’. We do love them, but really could use that extra 60-70kg elsewhere!
Engel Combi Fridge Freezer
As a family of 5 travelling Australia, we wanted to be able to buy in bulk and not have to run to the shops every week. With the large fridge in our caravan, plus the combi fridge in our car, we are currently getting 2-3 weeks groceries in comfortably. In the car we tend to keep beer and meat. Two of life’s necessities.
EDITORS NOTE: JD wrote this as Steph doesn’t drink much and is a vegetarian. 😊
Our Tools, Ryobi Charger & Lights
We have a 12V lithium Ryobi Charger, a spot light and a lantern in the car for when needed. Already we have used for night hikes, but they are also there for a bit of camping away from the caravan. The charger also charges our drills and other Ryobi tools on board. Check out what we have taken with us in this video. You don’t need everything, already since that video we have cut our tools almost in half. Take what you can use. If you’re not a mechanic, don’t take mechanics tools! That’s what roadside assist is for.
Swimming, Snorkelling & Fishing Gear
As mentioned above we have our fishing gear in the car, but we also have life jackets, some quick dry towels and some snorkeling gear. When the opportunity presents we are good to swim. Plus these things are pretty light so we were able to keep them in the car, and heavier things in the van.
These are generally empty, but filled when we need to top up the caravan or perhaps go out for a long day trip. Having the ability to take water with you is critical as you move around Australia.
We already spoke about our Oztrail awning, but we also have Oztrail RV Travel Mates with us to provide us seating at the beach, on a picnic or whenever. Already on our trip to Adelaide they provided us seating at a Veronicas open air concert, we used them at the beach and when fishing. Very handy to have on board for those random stops when away from the caravan.
That’s it! That’s the vehicle we’re towing our caravan around Australia with. If you have any questions please hit us up in the comments, or get in touch via social media.