Whether it’s a family day at the beach, working as a tradie, or long-term touring, kitting out your 4WD with a few key features can make all the difference. Having an ultimate touring rig will allow you to live the good life, explore off grid and get the most out of your investment long term. The best part about having an epic setup (like ours), is that once you have it, it’s with you for life – you can simply wind it off (or ‘Jack-off’ as they say) and plonk it onto your next car! How epic is that!
Having toured Australia for many years, we’ve come to know exactly what features we need to get the most out of our days exploring in our adventure rig. So without further adieu, here’s our Top 8 Must Have 4WD Features –
1. Canopy and Tray
This is a no-brainer for us and what makes all our adventures possible. Adding a canopy to the back of your ute is by far our number 1 must have. Our Canopy is by Mits Alloy and this thing is schmick! We worked with them on our own configuration of the drawers and pull out tables. Side under-tray boxes allow for extra storage and holds our onboard air compressor for quick and easy access. A trundle drawer under the tray makes use of otherwise wasted space and comes with a removable lid that makes a great table. Our roof rack holds our fixed solar panel, awning and also all our water toys like surfboards and kayaks etc. We literally have water on tap thanks to a 30L water tank built into the headboard and the whole canopy has central locking (so it all locks with one click from your car key!).
The best feature however, is that you can also remove the canopy, whack on the tray sides and BAM – you have an instant ute! Now we can go and collect firewood, strap in a motorbike or move some furniture – there’s no point owning a ute and not being able to use it as one. All these features are top notch as well as quality of the build.
▷ Interested in one of these for yourself? You can click here for a MITS quote (and tell them us Blondies sent you).
2. Power system – 12v & 240v
We love the freedom that comes with having your own power on board your rig. It allows us to keep our car fridge on, run some awesome camp lights and use a variety of appliances like our induction cooker, coffee machine, hot water system, toaster, blender and even a Thermomix!
We have installed the RedVision System from Redarc and boy is it impressive. With a 2000 Watt inverter + a 150 Watt solar panel and 2 x 100AH lithium batteries by Revolution Power Australia, we have all the power we could ever need. The display panel (that we chose to mount on our fridge door) allows you to control all our ‘power toys’ eg. lights, compressor, inverter, fridge, hot water system etc. It also displays your battery percentage, how long until charged/empty, the amount of solar power coming in and the power being used, plus much more.
The fun doesn’t stop there – you can also control the RedVision System via bluetooth with an app on your phone, so if your mate’s sneaking in to steal a beer from your fridge, you can turn the lights off on him haha! We had Dan from DMF Auto Electrics install this system and he did a stellar job.
3. Car Fridge
Whether it’s touring, enjoying beach days with the fam or out on the job site – having a car fridge is a must-have. After years of having a 40L Engel chest fridge, this time we have gone with an 85L upright fridge from Bushman (with a 6L freezer inside), and so far we can’t fault it. We’ve had no food fall out after our driving adventures like most people think may happen, (it’s all in how you pack it), but the accessibility is awesome, not to mention the stunning wood veneer job Rob did on the front door.
4. Hot Water System
‘Back in the day’ before we had our mini Blondies, we lived in a camper van travelling Aus, and in the van we had an amazing little hot water shower! Ahh, those were the good old days.
We are super pumped to be installing a 12v hot water system into the rig from AusJ. This will allow us to wash all those dishes, hose the kids off after a surf and lets not forget enjoy a toasty shower after a mid-winter spearfishing adventure! We can’t wait to get this in action and are just doing the finishing touches for the install – watch this space!
5. Suspension Upgrade
Most 4WDs these days require a suspension upgrade if you want to have any fun offroad. We highly recommend you take the time to do your research and get the necessary upgrade to suit your adventure plans and rig set-up, especially to make sure you are travelling legal. We’ve gone with a Lovells kit on the Ranger which has given us a GVM of 3500kg and a GCM of 7.1 tonnes. This means that whether we want to tow a caravan or boat in the future, we can handle it. You can get the Lovells suspension kit from TJM and we had the team at TJM Hunter Valley handle all of our install.
6. 270° Awning
Being able to pull up anywhere you like and make your own shade is super important for us, especially with the kids in summer. We love the shade coverage a 270 degree awning provides and wanted one again for this rig, and this time it HAD to be freestanding. After a bit of research we chose the Extreme Wing Awning from Bushwakka. This bad boy is so quick and easy to set up and has no poles. One person can literally set it up in 40 seconds and pack it away in under 60! Click here to watch us set it up in a blink of an eye!
7. Pimp your ride – 4WD Toys and Accessories
There’s no denying it, you gotta add in a few accessories to make sure your rig can head out and explore at optimum level! This is where you can ‘pimp your ride’ and spunk it up by adding improvements and accessories. We have added a colour coded Outback Bar, an onboard compressor, as well as a snorkel – these are all by TJM.
Our UHF radio and antenna is from GME – we call him the ‘little stubby guy’ as it’s nice and short and we have also installed some epic Ultima spotlights and also some rear floodlights on the back canopy, both by Narva. Having these little extra lights have come in super handy for setting up camp in the dark.
Rob didn’t stop there in the lights department, he’s even added in some fun ‘party lights’ to the inside of the canopy, these crazy things can flash different colours in time with the music, haha – the kids of course LOVE IT!
For the tyres, we have upsized from the standard road tyres to all an all-terrain set and have also downsized to 16 inch rims (from the standard 17 inch). This gives us a bigger side wall when we let down our tyres for beach driving etc.
8. Interior Protection
Parents, Tradies and Pet owners – we are the worst when it comes to keeping our car interior clean right?! It’s not like we set out with the intention to have a messy car, but in the blink of an eye, our spotless seats and footwells can become covered in banana smears, chip crumbs, sand and dirty footprints (human or animal)!! We definitely reccomend protecting your car interior, not only for longevity of your seat upholstery & resale, but it looks schmick too! One of the first things we did was install some seat covers. We had a set of custom fitted 4 Elements Black Duck seat covers in our last rig and had to have them in this set-up too …along with a new mint looking centre console cover.
For the foot wells we have gone with some floor mats from Bedrock Liners. What we like about these mats is that they reach all the way over the door sill, stopping any sand from getting under the mat and working its way into the carpet. To clean you simply sweep it out or lift and shake.
Time for some fun!
Well that’s our list of must-have features. The great thing about creating the perfect adventure rig is that you can slowly add and build onto it as you like ( and as the funds allow). Please hit us up in the comments below if you have any questions, we’d be happy to answer them for you, and if you want to see more, check out our tour video below:
Huge thanks to the team who helped this dream become a reality:
Mits Alloy, Redarc, TJM and TJM Hunter Valley, Revolution Power Solution, Bushwakka, DMF Auto Electrics, Black Duck Seat Covers, GME Australia and Narva Australia.
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