Shocking

The Shocking Truth

Shocking Truth!
Captured in a rare moment with their guard down, the shock absorber fraternity have been found to be lying to us 4WDers the whole time – they don’t absorb shocks at all – Shocking!

That’s right, its been a sneaky game they have been playing with us, suggesting they are doing all the toil of hard working springs when really they’ve just been riding the waves and soaking up all the glory – Shocking!

So here’s the real (Shocking) story from an insider who has spent many years among these bits and pieces and is ready to tell all on how it really works. Continue reading

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4WD / Communications

G’Day, Chris here again.

I’m under pressure here folks. Here I am writing about communications and radios and broadcast range, just as we’re about to launch our very own live Radio chat show on everything 4WD, Caravan and Camping. I better polish up the vocal chords.

Fortunately for the everyday person wandering about this great land, you don’t need to be too concerned about voices and volume and the like, digital technology is taking care of all that.

But before we get too deep into technology, let’s look at some basic on-land communication options and what may suit you best. Continue reading

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STOP … use your caravan brakes … if you can!

I hope you can stop and read this if you can, it’s a quick blog (and reminder) about caravan brakes.

Now I’m not a mechanical expert, I’m just an average caravanner that like most of you, just loves getting out and about in this awesome country. However, I usually make regular checks on my van and gear and get my vehicles serviced regularly. So, after 5,000km since my last caravan service, I thought it odd that on my last trip I applied the brake controller (about 7 years old) as I departed the caravan park and it didn’t work.

I have to admit I can’t remember the last time I did this, my big mistake.

Next … I get home and as I tend to do, gave the van a quick wash before storing in the garage. Continue reading

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How to back a caravan.

Backing a caravan get’s easier after time, so practice makes perfect and remember to keep calm and take your time.
Don’t make any fast moves or over correct, take it easy. If you are by yourself and need a hand, just ask another camper or the caravan park staff, we’ve all been through this and understand.
Continue reading

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Happy Snapper – The Best Camera

What is the best camera to use when on holidays?

My day job involves video production for commercials and corporate videos, something I’ve been doing for over forty years. From the dim dark ages of huge black and white studio cameras shooting Romper Room, to today using the latest DSLR camera equipment for commercial and corporate production.

About twenty seven years ago, I made the big mistake of taking a huge stills kit (film) on our first family overseas holiday to Fiji, with lot’s of lenses and filters I took some great shots, but spent more time concentrating on scenery, sunsets and settings than I did on loving the serenity … never again! I usually don’t take a video camera on holidays, for the same reason.

Lesson learnt and from then on we’ve had a variety of little point and shoot style cameras that easily fit into a pocket.
There’s heaps of brands out there that take good quality pictures with not a lot of photographic expertise. Canon, Sony and Fuji have good options at reasonable prices.

Continue reading

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TOW VEHICLE POLL

Interested to see the most popular tow vehicle around so I conducted a poll.
With the help of Facebook group ‘Everything Caravan & Camping’, we had had 3,037 votes submitted over 2 days. This wasn’t to have a competition between new v old or 4WD v non-4WD, more to gauge the most used manufacturer. A surprise or not, Toyota Land Cruiser was the winner, however everyone is different and has different budgets and towing needs.

Here’s the results and thanks to all that submitted.  Continue reading

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Pedal Power

My Best Advice – Don’t Buy This!!

G’Day, Chris here again.

It’s not often I’ll tell some-one to not buy an accessory for their 4WD, hey its what we do and it’s fun setting up your tourer with some of the latest gadgets. But there are some product offers that will just leave an empty feeling in your wallet and senses, consider ‘Pedal Power’.

Throttle position upgrades are one, either via ECU re-mapping and/or plug-in devices.

They’re a waste of money and a sham if I may say so. With many years of experience and qualifications in electrical and electronic fields to support my argument, please allow me to explain. Continue reading

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Licence or not?

There’s been a bit of social media chatter about licencing drivers that pull caravans, probably due to a few accidents & rolls lately. As usual the press usually jumps on board with a sensational headline, then the ball starts rolling (a lot more that caravan rolls). Pictures are shown on social media and the arguments start, those in favour and those against, those that blame the government for revenue raising and the old timers (maybe the not so old) that say “I’ve been driving for years and never had a problem so why do we need a change?”

Well, I’m probably going to lose a few friends, but here’s my opinion. Continue reading

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Is your heart in it?

This might be strange for a caravan and camping based blog but … I recently had a heart attack.
Bear with me I’ll get to the RV bit in a minute, won’t be long, so please keep reading!
In brief … Easter Saturday, my wife’s birthday, heart attack, not good timing, ambulance, hospital, stent placed in block artery, out, pills, recovery, a new me, feel great.

Here’s the RV bit …
I started thinking about the what ifs? … what if we were caravanning as we normally do at this time of year, what if we couldn’t get to a hospital, what if I’d ignored the warning signs, what do I do now?
Well let’s go through them …
Continue reading

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Camping in Winter

I remember when we took our first tent trailer to Katarapko Creek just off the River Murray in South Australia.
It was a June long weekend and it was ffffreeeeezing!

Unintentionally we left a cup of water out overnight, it was frozen when we got up in the morning.

Why did we bother going at that time of year and why do we still bother?

Continue reading

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Aching Joints?

Tired of Aching Joints?

No I’m not here to espouse the benefits of Fish Oil, Kelp Oil or any other snake oil, but to offer the good oil on checking out your crucial joints around your vehicle.

Why? Because they are a consumable wear item like any other moving mechanical part.

But so often they get forgotten or dismissed unseen, because we’ve seen 20 year plus vehicles with original bushes still, however many people are surprised how effective a change or upgrade can be. Continue reading

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The Future – Petrol v Diesel

G’day, Chris here again.

Thought I’d throw a little fuel on the fire in the petrol versus diesel debate.

It’s an old campfire argument that’s been going on for years and will probably never let up. Everyone has their own opinions and reasons for choosing what they buy. Well for now they do.

That is unless the influential parties with reasons to gain from limited choice have their way.

One of the things we’ve notice over the last few years is the increasing demand for modern diesel engine rebuild kits. For a while one would wonder if the engine rebuilding industry would even be around, but now there has been a resurgence in demand as modern engines start to fail with less kilometres travelled than my pushbike. Continue reading

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Recovery – Safety – Common Sense

G’day, Chris here again.

Recovery ‘experts’ need not read further.

But for those interested in recovery of your vehicle from a bad situation, I figured I’d run a few ideas past you. It probably should be regarded as a topic on safety because that is what its really all about.
Recovery of your 4WD or any other vehicle, camper, van etc, is about how to safely rescue such from a sticky situation, be it lack of forward mobility or otherwise.


I hammer this issue of safety home until people’s ears start to bleed.

There is no excuse for increasing the danger to people or unwarranted damage to vehicles. Continue reading

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Buying a new van at a caravan show?

Buying a new van or trailer at a caravan show? Have you got your list ready?

How many times have you gone to caravan shows and become totally confused by the great selection available?

Don’t get me wrong, I love caravan and lifestyle shows and have been to heaps.
There are so many great rigs out there, from slide-ons to 5th Wheelers.
I admit to being a bit of a tyre kicker (sorry sales guys), I’m happy with my rig, but I do like to see what is out there, keep up with the latest styles, technology, brake systems and all those terrific gadgets.

So, no need to get confused, if you are a serious buyer here’s a friendly tip make a list! Continue reading

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Get the maximum life out of your tyres.

G’day, Chris here again.

Getting tired of getting tyred? If you want to get the maximum life out of your tyres, here’s a few tips to consider.

Firstly, this isn’t about choice of tyre brand, size, construction or tread pattern. Just about longevity.

People choose tyres for all sorts of reasons, and it is ultimately a personal choice. There are ‘low-cost’ tyres for the budget conscious, highway terrain for the long distance tourers looking for less noise, the all-terrains for the occasional off-road work, and more aggressive patterns for that trip to the Cape and back. Each brand will look to impress you why theirs is the best option. Continue reading

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Caravan & Camping 2015 – Be Prepared

Happy New Year to everyone and hopefully some top caravan and camping trips planned for 2015.

But are you prepared for an emergency?

Unfortunately the start of the new year hasn’t been that happy for some people with horrible fires in South Australia and Victoria.
Our thoughts are with everyone that has been affected by these fires and of-course the men and women that risk their own lives as they fight fires.
This disaster has made me think about caravan and camping set-ups and preparation or evacuation plan in an emergency. Continue reading

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Experiencing weight problems?

Who’s experiencing weight problems?

Your back end sways uncontrollably, your front end is on the heavy side and you have a few extra kilo’s that don’t need to be there.
Yes your caravan is overweight and probably needs to go on a diet. Continue reading

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Vehicle Servicing

G’day, Chris here again.

I get asked often about vehicle maintenance and servicing, a lot in fact. It is obviously an important topic, and has even been in the news of late regarding information dissemination. So I thought I’d just touch on a few elements without getting too deep.

First up, well of course servicing and maintain your vehicle is important. It keeps it in ideal condition, especially when travelling our vast outback. I think we can all agree with that.

New vehicles have a set service program attached to the warranty, but is it enough? Continue reading

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Towing in Overdrive – ON or OFF ?

I’ve noticed a lot of people on social media ask whether it’s better to keep in overdrive when towing or drop back a gear.  I drive an automatic and drive to conditions.
 I usually keep overdrive on when on the flat however I drop back on hills and turns and always when going down hill, letting the gears slow me down.

I raised this subject with Chris Blakemore … here’s his reply. Continue reading

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Compressors

Air Compressors
How much do you know about air compressors, do you own one?
Well, I’m a camper, caravanner and do a bit of 4WDing.
I’ve never respected correct tyre pressure as much as I did than when I went across the Simpson.
I was with a convoy of very well qualified, experienced drivers all doing the right thing, dropping pressure when necessary.
Not one puncture, and only one bog, but that was an inexperienced, over zealous driver towing a camper and taking a dune a bit fast on the wrong line (not me, yay … insert smiley face).
The condition of tyres and correct pressure shouldn’t be underestimated, they are the only contact between you and the road. Continue reading