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4WD BUYERS GUIDE UPDATES
4WD BUYERS GUIDE UPDATES
Latest: LandRover Defender

Outback Travel Australia's Comprehensive 4WD BUYERS GUIDE is updated regularly, you'll find shortcuts to our updates here in Recent Articles. New and previous models - 4WD wagons, utes, cab-chassis, heavy duty off-road vehicles, motorhomes, campervans and soft-roaders are covered here.

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FIVE YEARS OF REVOLUTION LITHIUM BATTERY LIFE ... AND STILL GOING
FIVE YEARS OF REVOLUTION LITHIUM BATTERY LIFE ... AND STILL GOING
Our test Revolution lithium battery has performed perfectly in all bush conditions.

The lithium-ion battery has changed our way of life. We're mobile-connected virtually everywhere and the lithium deep-cycle battery allows remote-area camping with ample power for fridge, lights, entertainment and communications. Our Revolution lithium battery has been faithfully pumping out amps for the past five years and is still performing perfectly.

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ZONE Z-UEV CANOPY MODULE
ZONE Z-UEV CANOPY MODULE
A quality canopy camping unit from the makers of Zone caravans.

Zone RV is best known for its high-tech caravans, but the Queensland-based company has branched out into top-shelf canopy and rear skirt modules for utes and converted wagons.

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LPG USED TO BE THE ALTERNATIVE 4WD FUEL
LPG USED TO BE THE ALTERNATIVE 4WD FUEL
LPG'S high price and scarcity, plus a lack of suitable engines, has sidelined it.

Constant hikes in the price of fuel have spurred many petrol-fuelled 4WD owners to look for ways to reduce their bills. LPG used to be the best option.

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SAFE JACKING AND SPARE WHEEL HANDLING
SAFE JACKING AND SPARE WHEEL HANDLING
Changing a wheel shouldn't be hard work.

One day you’ll need to change a wheel and we show you some tricks that make the job less arduous.

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BRS OFF ROAD SHERPA
BRS OFF ROAD SHERPA
A radically different looking 'teardrop' camper trailer.

The BRS Sherpa is a great eye-catcher, but at around sixty grand is at the top end of the ‘teardrop’ camper trailer market. We took one away for a test.

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UFIXIT TYRE RATCHET
UFIXIT TYRE RATCHET
This clever tool takes the hard work out of loosening over-tight wheel nuts

The Ufixit mob is best know for their excellent windscreen repair kit that we wouldn’t leave home without. However, another Ufixit product is a wheel nut spanner that takes the effort and risk out of loosening wheel nuts.

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ULTRA VISION NITRO MAX 180 LED
ULTRA VISION NITRO MAX 180 LED

Ultra Vision has released what it claims is the most powerful, longest-beam LED driving light on the market. It’s aimed at truckies and those who do a lot of outback night driving.

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DOCTOR WEATHER APP
DOCTOR WEATHER APP
This app provides the time and direction of weather changes.

We’re all familiar with weather radar displays, but this new Doctor App product takes weather radar to a new dynamic level and displays it on your Apple Phone or Watch.

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FINKE RIVER GORGE BY ATV
FINKE RIVER GORGE BY ATV
Finke River Gorge by Finke River Adventures' three ATVs

This unique travel experience is a drive-yourself, or passenger trip from Hermannsburg, down the ancient Finke River Gorge to Palm Valley and return. Doing the trip in an ATV is a much more fresh-air excursion than in a 4WD.

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HELLA SAFETY DAYLIGHTS
HELLA SAFETY DAYLIGHTS
The importance of being seen.

While the daytime use of headlights is much better than no lights at all, this is not the ideal solution. Most new vehicles come with daytime LEDs as standard equipment, but there are easy-fit kits from Hella for older vehicles.

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NARVA'S ALS PEN AND UTILITY LIGHT RANGE
NARVA'S ALS PEN AND UTILITY LIGHT RANGE
Formerly a Hella-dominated segment that now has welcome competition.

Narva has launched a range of ALS - Advanced Lighting Systems - pen and utility lights that are multi-functional and 240V or USB rechargeable.

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BALGO TO KIWIRRKURRA TRACK
BALGO TO KIWIRRKURRA TRACK
Extremely remote trip through the Great Sandy and Gibson Deserts

This unnamed track connects two of the most remote Aboriginal communities in Central Australia. Outback Travel Australia drove it in 2019, in the company of Alice Springs Expeditions, who organised permits.

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BILLY GOAT MAPPING
BILLY GOAT MAPPING
Zoom in mapping with precise detail

We’re testing a 2019-release mapping app that promises more free features than any other mapping software.

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SANDOVER AND PLENTY HIGHWAYS
SANDOVER AND PLENTY HIGHWAYS
'Highways' mightn't be the right description but go anyway.

It’s often been said that the journey is half the fun and that’s certainly the case with the gravel road alternative routes to the Red Centre from the East Coast: the Sandover and Plenty Highways.

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SANDY BLIGHT JUNCTION ROAD
SANDY BLIGHT JUNCTION ROAD
This is a beautiful but unmaintained, corrugated, remote track.

If you travel on only one of Len Beadell’s desert tracks the Sandy Blight Junction Road is the one to do. It runs through beautiful, interesting country and was justifiably his favourite.

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GREAT CENTRAL ROAD
GREAT CENTRAL ROAD
An interesting way to travel from the Red Centre to the Goldfields.

The great east-west challenge is the Gunbarrel ‘Highway’, but years of neglect make it a severe 4WD vehicle test. The Great Central Road used to be an easier run from Uluru to The West, but the NT section was in very bad shape in 2019.

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TANAMI ROAD
TANAMI ROAD
Corrugations, stones and wandering stock are ever-present hazards.

The main purpose of the Tanami Road for 4WD travellers is a short cut between Alice Springs and The Kimberley, but there's plenty to see along the way.

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REDARC'S SMARTCHARGE RANGE
REDARC'S SMARTCHARGE RANGE
A range of 240V chargers for all battery types.

Redarc has teamed up with Norwegian innovator Defa to release a co-branded, 240V battery charger range called SmartCharge.

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ATKINSON AND MILLER CYCLE ENGINES
ATKINSON AND MILLER CYCLE ENGINES
Older engine designs resurface to help petrol economy.

Electrification doesn’t mean the end of the internal combustion engine, but tomorrow’s passenger car engines are being designed primarily for hybrid-electric vehicles and as range extenders.

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EFS VIVIDMAX 225mm PAIR
EFS VIVIDMAX 225mm PAIR
Medium priced quality lights with even spread.

EFS' Vividmax 225mm (nine-inch), round VMDL-9180 driving light delivers a combination spread and spot beam that provides clear, bright illumination out to 500-600 metres, our testing has shown.

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HYBRIDS AND RANGE EXTENDED ELECTRIC 4WDS ARE COMING
HYBRIDS AND RANGE EXTENDED ELECTRIC 4WDS ARE COMING
Big design changes are coming faster than most people think.

It seems inevitable that the future of 4WDs is as hybrids and range-extended electric vehicles.

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SAFELY DRIVING CAMPERVANS AND MOTORHOMES
SAFELY DRIVING CAMPERVANS AND MOTORHOMES
Size does matter and needs to be considered on and off road

We take driving for granted, but large 4WD vehicles demand specialised on-road and off-road skills and an appreciation of the effects of weight and a high centre of gravity.

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PROGRESSIVE RATE BUMP STOPS
PROGRESSIVE RATE BUMP STOPS
These hollow rubber springs take the shock out of big bumps.

Supple suspension gives great wheel travel and a comfortable ride, but load and road conditions can sometimes cause ‘bottoming’. There’s a procedure to control this undesirable situation.

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REDARC - EASY PRODUCT SELECTION TOOL
REDARC - EASY PRODUCT SELECTION TOOL
Take the guesswork out of electric equipment choice.

Redarc’s guide to 4WD modifications and accessories

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A-FRAME TOWING
A-FRAME TOWING
Key points for safe and legal A-frame towing.

We’ve had requests to clarify the situation when A-frame towing a car behind a motorhome. In this assembly of seven different countries called the ‘Commonwealth of Australia’ that’s not a simple job.

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NARVA COMBINATION SEVEN-PIN AND ANDERSON PLUG
NARVA COMBINATION SEVEN-PIN AND ANDERSON PLUG
One plug locates trailer lighting and battery charging.

Narva has released a seven-pin flat trailer socket that features a built-in heavy duty battery connector .

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BILLY GOAT BUSH AND TOWN MAPPING
BILLY GOAT BUSH AND TOWN MAPPING
From big picture to fine detail this mapping looks good.

We’re testing a 2019-release mapping app that promises more free features than any other mapping software.

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REDARC TOW-PRO ELITE V3 TRAILER BRAKE CONTROLLER
REDARC TOW-PRO ELITE V3 TRAILER BRAKE CONTROLLER
Easier installation and refined electronics feature in the new model.

Redarc Electronics released the next generation of its award-winning electric trailer brake controller, Tow-Pro Elite, in early 2019.

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 TRAKKA JABIRU REMOTE
TRAKKA JABIRU REMOTE
Remote 4x4 with a most civilised interior

Trakka has expanded its Jabiru range with the introduction of an upgraded 2019 Remote variant that’s based on the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4x4.

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TRACK TRAILER MATE
TRACK TRAILER MATE
A multi-purpose trailer for work and play.

Track Trailer’s Mate is essentially a Track camper, without the teardrop camper bodywork on top. Instead, the Mate has a box-trailer tub, with an optional pull-out storage drawer, customisable flat panels and storage spaces.

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HYBRIDS AND RANGE EXTENDED ELECTRIC 4WDS ARE COMING
HYBRIDS AND RANGE EXTENDED ELECTRIC 4WDS ARE COMING
Big design changes are coming faster than most people think.

It seems inevitable that the future of 4WDs is as hybrids and range-extended electric vehicles.

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HORIZON WARATAH
HORIZON WARATAH
A Sprinter based luxury campervan with proved bush cred'

This Horizon Motorhomes’ Waratah 4x4 is the personal rig of Horizon’s founder, Clayton Kearney, It’s the second Waratah 4x4 Clayton has had custom-built for personal adventures and he doesn’t spare any expense.

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ELECBRAKES - BRAKING WITHOUT A TOW VEHICLE CONTROLLER
ELECBRAKES - BRAKING WITHOUT A TOW VEHICLE CONTROLLER
This trailer-fitted device controls the electric trailer brakes

Need to tow a trailer, but your vehicle doesn’t have an electric brake controller? No problem, thanks to Elecbrakes: the unit that connects to the trailer, not the towing vehicle.

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BACKTRAX HARD-SHELL ROOF TENT
BACKTRAX HARD-SHELL ROOF TENT
A roof tent with a luxury twist.

Roof tents can be a pain to erect and to pack away, but a hard-shell, electrically opening and closing unit eradicates all this hard work. We tested a Backtrax unit and were very impressed with it.

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AIR OPUS - A CAMPER TRAILER BREAKTHROUGH
AIR OPUS - A CAMPER TRAILER BREAKTHROUGH
Two-lid opening and an air-inflatable tent make this unit unique.

Melbourne-based Opus Camper Trailers has released a joint China-UK-Australian product that is said to be the world’s first self-inflating camper. The canvas roof section is fitted with 'air beams' that are electric-pump inflated, to form a camper trailer tent, without the need for booms and poles.

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FALKEN WILDPEAK AT3W TEST
FALKEN WILDPEAK AT3W TEST
The new range of Falken 4WD tyres is testing very well

We’ve been checking out a test set of Falken Wildpeak LT245/70 R17s on the OTA Team’s HiLux. Early impressions are that these tyres are well worth considering.

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MANY ACCIDENTS CAN BE TRACED BACK TO U-BOLTS
MANY ACCIDENTS CAN BE TRACED BACK TO U-BOLTS
These vital suspension components are often ignored, until it's too late.

Like many people, we at OTA have had the broken U-bolt experience. Our trailer U-bolt incident didn’t result in an accident, just temporary axle misalignment, but other people have been less fortunate.

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DUAL BATTERY SYSTEMS
DUAL BATTERY SYSTEMS
Your starting battery needs a mate in the bush

These days very few people travel without a portable fridge and camp lighting, and that dictates some form of auxiliary battery power, Allan Whiting from Outback Travel Australia reports. The best way to ensure your fridge will run overnight, when the engine isn’t operating, is with a deep-cycle battery. If the fridge is connected to the deep-cycle battery all the time, it will keep the power flowing as long as it has sufficient charge.

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AL'S PROJECT 75 SERIES
AL'S PROJECT 75 SERIES
This old warhorse continues to be our bush beast

Our Outback Travel Australia restoration project, rebuilding and modifying a LandCruiser 75 Series tray-back, is progressing well. We're now putting the finishing touches to this ongoing exercise.

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WHEN THINGS GO WRONG WITH A NEW CARAVAN OR CAMPER TRAILER
WHEN THINGS GO WRONG WITH A NEW CARAVAN OR CAMPER TRAILER
Warranty disputes can spoil a new purchase.

Many caravan and camper-trailer owners have major problems and cannot get makers or dealers to rectify them. They face serious time-wasting and frustrating hassles, trying to have their legal rights respected and complied with.

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SWISS ARMY KNIVES WITH A DIFFERENCE
SWISS ARMY KNIVES WITH A DIFFERENCE
New looks for an old Victorinox standard

Everyone is familiar with the long-serving red and silver Swiss Army Knife, and in recent years the Victorinox company has developed new derivatives. The latest are white or black finish Spartan series, fitted with specially-coated blades and tools, wood-finish models, marine 'camo' designs, gold finish and a new Hunter model.

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REDARC TOW-PRO ELITE V3 TRAILER BRAKE CONTROLLER
REDARC TOW-PRO ELITE V3 TRAILER BRAKE CONTROLLER
Easier installation and refined electronics feature in the new model.

Redarc Electronics released the next generation of its award-winning electric trailer brake controller, Tow-Pro Elite, in early 2019.

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BLOOD PRESSURE MONITORING IN THE BUSH
BLOOD PRESSURE MONITORING IN THE BUSH
You hope you don't need it, but it's handy to have.

In the event of illness in a remote area it may be important to relay information to the Flying Doctor. A blood pressure reading is a significant piece of medical information and it’s not difficult to monitor it.

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ALL LEAF SPRINGS ARE NOT THE SAME
ALL LEAF SPRINGS ARE NOT THE SAME
There are several variations on the leaf-spring theme.

The leaf spring has been with us since horse-drawn wagon passengers demanded better ride quality and the long-serving leaf spring is still the principal springing medium for the rear ends of light commercial 4WDs.

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JAYCO CROSSTRAK HYBRID CAMPER TRAILER
JAYCO CROSSTRAK HYBRID CAMPER TRAILER
A pop-top hybrid that won't break the bank or the weighbridge scales.

Jayco’s 2019 CrossTrak hybrid camper is aimed at off-roading couples, with low ball weight and tare weight, yet generous payload.

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KARRATHA
KARRATHA
There's a lot more to this place than just mining heritage.

The City of Karratha has been transformed in recent years, becoming one of Australia’s most liveable regional cities, set in a beautiful natural landscape.

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NARVA EXPLORA DOUBLE ROW LED LIGHT BAR
NARVA EXPLORA DOUBLE ROW LED LIGHT BAR
Bright lighting from 180W thanks to Optic Drive reflector technology.

Narva's Optic Drive reflector shape focusses LED beams more precisely than small 'pocket' reflectors, eliminating much of the wasted, scattered light that conventional LED light bars emit.

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REDARC'S SMARTCHARGE RANGE
REDARC'S SMARTCHARGE RANGE
A range of 240V chargers for all battery types.

Redarc has teamed up with Norwegian innovator Defa to release a co-branded, 240V battery charger range called SmartCharge.

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NARVA ALS HEAD TORCHES
NARVA ALS HEAD TORCHES
Rechargeable, high quality torches with detachable magnetic heads.

Narva has launched its ‘Advanced Lighting Systems’ (ALS) Head Torch range, featuring powerful COB LEDs and rechargeable lithium batteries.

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DIESEL EMISSIONS SYSTEMS
DIESEL EMISSIONS SYSTEMS
Emissions controls are complex and expensive to maintain.

It’s not so long ago that we were all in fear of the imminent arrival of exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) on 4WD diesels. The latest systems have DPFs and SCR as well.

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AL'S PROJECT 75 SERIES
AL'S PROJECT 75 SERIES
This old warhorse continues to be our bush beast

Our Outback Travel Australia restoration project, rebuilding and modifying a LandCruiser 75 Series tray-back, is progressing well. We're now putting the finishing touches to this ongoing exercise.

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BUSH WINCH ON TEST
BUSH WINCH ON TEST
A wheel mounted alternative to the electric winch.

This hub-winch design uses two drums - one for each opposite-side wheel and can be used going forward or rearwards. Each drum attaches to a rear wheel hub, using specially-shaped wheel nuts.

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WIDE-TRACK, HEAVY DUTY LANDCRUISER REAR AXLE
WIDE-TRACK, HEAVY DUTY LANDCRUISER REAR AXLE
Dana has come up with a replacement axle for V8 70 Series Toyotas.

This Dana 60 axle variant is the solution to the Toyota 70 Series' narrow-rear-axle-track problem, as well as a way to increase rear axle load capacity.

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AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION LIGHT 4X4 TRUCKS FOR 2019
AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION LIGHT 4X4 TRUCKS FOR 2019
In mid-2018 there were none and in 2019 there'll be three to choose from.

It’s always amazed us that working-4x4 ute and light truck makers have stuck with manual transmissions, when all earthmoving gear and most heavy all wheel drive trucks have automatic transmissions. Thankfully, that scene is changing and there will be three self-shifting light 4x4 trucks available in 2019.

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NARVA ULTIMA LED 180 AND 215 DRIVING LIGHTS
NARVA ULTIMA LED 180 AND 215 DRIVING LIGHTS
These are Narva's super-bright LED lights

The Ultima LED 180 and 215 were a long time coming, but our testing reveals that the wait has been worth it.

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NAVIGATION MADE EASY
NAVIGATION MADE EASY
A free app converts navigation points into simple three word codes

You may not know it, but the piece of real estate you’re sitting in has a unique three-word code, developed for a free app called ‘what3words’. That code can be input into a navigation device or mobile phone, allowing a delivery to be made, without the driver’s need for a detailed address and access instructions.

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CYLINDER DEACTIVATION EXPLAINED
CYLINDER DEACTIVATION EXPLAINED
Big engines with small engine economy.

Cylinder deactivation - shutting down multiple cylinders during light-load conditions - is becoming increasingly popular as a means of reducing fuel consumption and emissions. We explain how it works.

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NEW FBT GUIDELINES RELEASED
NEW FBT GUIDELINES RELEASED
Utes are no longer automatically FBT-exempt.

The ATO has released draft guidelines, outlining that utes will no longer be Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) exempt and employers will need to have their drivers keep logbooks to ensure private usage stays within new, capped limits.

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TYRE PRESSURE MONITORING
TYRE PRESSURE MONITORING
Pressure monitoring is a bush travel essential

Outback Travel Australia has been evaluating different types of tyre pressure monitoring systems over the past 10 years and we wouldn’t go bush without one.

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FIVE YEARS OF REVOLUTION LITHIUM BATTERY LIFE ... AND STILL GOING
FIVE YEARS OF REVOLUTION LITHIUM BATTERY LIFE ... AND STILL GOING
Our test Revolution lithium battery has performed perfectly in all bush conditions.

The lithium-ion battery has changed our way of life. We're mobile-connected virtually everywhere and the lithium deep-cycle battery allows remote-area camping with ample power for fridge, lights, entertainment and communications. Our Revolution lithium battery has been faithfully pumping out amps for the past five years and is still performing perfectly.

Read guide

NEW FBT GUIDELINES RELEASED
NEW FBT GUIDELINES RELEASED
Utes are no longer automatically FBT-exempt.

The ATO has released draft guidelines, outlining that utes will no longer be Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) exempt and employers will need to have their drivers keep logbooks to ensure private usage stays within new, capped limits.

Read guide

DIESEL FUTURE UNDER A CLOUD
DIESEL FUTURE UNDER A CLOUD
Emissions compliance has spoiled diesel simplicity and reliability

Five years ago we’d have laughed if someone said 4WD diesel engines are higher-maintenance and more likely to break down than petrols, but that’s the situation today. The latest diesels are high-maintenance and fragile.

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HELLA'S UPDATED CAMPING LIGHTS
HELLA'S UPDATED CAMPING LIGHTS
The lighting experts cover all the bases

Hella’s camping and work light range continues to expand. The latest model lineup includes variable-output area lights and slim inspection lights.

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SAFE TRAILER AND CARAVAN JACKING
SAFE TRAILER AND CARAVAN JACKING
This potentially fatal operation needs to be done correctly.

Every year in Australia there are around 160 accidents with the use of vehicle jacks. Deaths and injuries, ranging from amputation and fractures to crush trauma, result from vehicles falling off vehicle jacks.

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EARTHCRUISER EXPRESS SLIDE-ON CAMPER
EARTHCRUISER EXPRESS SLIDE-ON CAMPER
Earthcruiser has moved into the slide-on market.

Earthcruiser Australia has released the US-developed Earthcruiser Express slide-on camper that is said to fit most Australian-market utes.

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SAFE JACKING AND SPARE WHEEL HANDLING
SAFE JACKING AND SPARE WHEEL HANDLING
Changing a wheel shouldn't be hard work.

One day you’ll need to change a wheel and we show you some tricks that make the job less arduous.

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NARVA ENHANCED OPTIC LED DRIVING LIGHTS
NARVA ENHANCED OPTIC LED DRIVING LIGHTS
Good quality LED lighting with small current requirements.

Narva has addressed the LED wattage issue with the return to reflector design in its Ultima LED Enhanced Optic 175 and 225 models. The 175 employs two of the latest 15-watt Cree LEDs arranged centrally in a choice of spot-beam or spread refactor housings. The 225 model has three of these LEDs.

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A PARTICULATE FILTER MAKES MANY MODERN 4WDS UNFIT FOR PURPOSE
A PARTICULATE FILTER MAKES MANY MODERN 4WDS UNFIT FOR PURPOSE
DPFs and GPFs are necessary evils behind today's engines.

Australian consumer law says that goods must be suitable for any particular purpose the buyer makes known to the seller.If you make it clear that you want to drive your intended new 4WD in long grass and do lots of stop-start and low speed work the salesman should tell you that a new turbo-diesel Euro 5 wagon or ute is not for you.

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HIGH PERFORMANCE RESEARCH PETROL ENGINE
HIGH PERFORMANCE RESEARCH PETROL ENGINE
Diesel may not be king for much longer in the hard-working 4WD arena.

It’s accepted wisdom that there’s no alternative to the diesel for heavy duty 4WD tasks. Two highly-qualified US researchers disagree and have come up with a petrol-fuelled alternative. The editor sourced this MIT Energy Initiative report.

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IN LINE WATER FILTER
IN LINE WATER FILTER
Bad water can taste horrible and even make you sick.

There’s nothing worse than getting a load of crook water, so we’re always very fussy about the source of any water that we put into our camper tank - and we always filter as we fill.

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AVOIDING MIS-FUELLING
AVOIDING MIS-FUELLING
Putting petrol into a diesel tank can cost you thousands.

It’s not uncommon for people to put petrol into their diesel fuel tanks and the results vary, from inconvenience to total engine failure. Here’s what to do.

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IVECO DAILY 4X4
IVECO DAILY 4X4
This semi-bonnetted 4WD light truck is more refined in 2018 and a greatly expanded range was released in late 2019.

The Iveco Daily 4WD range was released in 2013. Brilliant off road credentials and more than twice the payload of a ute ensured good business for this capable machine. Refinements were added in mid-2016 and in 2018 and a greatly expanded range was released in late 2019.

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INSTALLING A DIESEL CAMPER HEATER
INSTALLING A DIESEL CAMPER HEATER
Home-grade heating when you're in the bush.

Chinese-made camper heaters are shameless copies of European-designed units and they’re available at a fraction of the price. Our test unit cost $340, rather than around five times that for the genuine article. Performance so far is excellent.

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AL'S PROJECT 75 SERIES
AL'S PROJECT 75 SERIES
This old warhorse continues to be our bush beast

Our Outback Travel Australia restoration project, rebuilding and modifying a LandCruiser 75 Series tray-back, is progressing well. We're now putting the finishing touches to this ongoing exercise.

Read guide

ARNHEM LAND - MOUNT BORRADAILE
ARNHEM LAND - MOUNT BORRADAILE
Extraordinary Aboriginal art sites in spectacular country.

This stunning image of the Rainbow Serpent painted under a rock overhang near Mr Borradaile in Arnhem Land is thought to be the largest ever discovered in northern Australia. For Ros and Tim Bowden it was the precursor to three days of joyous discoveries with Davidsons Arnhemland Safaris in July 2018.

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AMMONIA AS A SOURCE OF HYDROGEN FUEL
AMMONIA AS A SOURCE OF HYDROGEN FUEL
NH3 may be the magic bullet to fire up a global hydrogen fuel industry.

On August 8, 2018, Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) gave a public demonstration of its newly developed ammonia-to-hydrogen fuelling technology. What are the ramifications of this technology, you may well ask.

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NSW MIDCOAST AND MYALL LAKES NP
NSW MIDCOAST AND MYALL LAKES NP
Beach driving and lakeside camping havens.

Beach driving, fishing boating and camping are easily accessed in the south section of Myall Lakes National Park, near the NSW coastal town of Buladelah, just north of Newcastle.

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QUEENSLAND'S INLAND WATERWAY DESTINATIONS
QUEENSLAND'S INLAND WATERWAY DESTINATIONS
Queensland's lakes and dams are more than just water catchments.

In response to requests for info on water-based camping venues we’ve checked out some inland waterways in Queensland. More coming later in 2018 and in 2019.

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BLACK WOLF COMPACT DIRECTORS CHAIR
BLACK WOLF COMPACT DIRECTORS CHAIR
Sturdy, easy fold seating for around the fire.

We prefer upright director-style camping chairs and we’ve finally found replacements for our aged OzTrail chairs. Black Wolf compact chairs are strong, fold up easily and have a lifetime warranty.

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CAPPED PRICE SERVICING COULD MASK A SERIOUS PROBLEM
CAPPED PRICE SERVICING COULD MASK A SERIOUS PROBLEM
Extended oil drains may cost you an engine.

Fuel getting into petrol and diesel engine sumps isn't a new problem, but it's now being seen in brand new, not worn, engines. Manufacturers keep capped price servicing as cheap as possible by extending oil drain periods, but fuel-diluted engine oil can destroy your engine.

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ULTRA VISION NITRO MAXX LIGHT BAR
ULTRA VISION NITRO MAXX LIGHT BAR
This compact 150-Watt unit packed plenty of distance and spread lighting.

Ultra Vision's 155 model measured only 465mm in length, but provided ample light for most bush travellers' needs.

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GOODYEAR DURATRAC
GOODYEAR DURATRAC
These tyres have a blend of mud terrain and all terrain patterns.

After years of trying to get test tyres from Goodyear, we finally managed to track down a set being evaluated by 4WD Off Road Driver Training’s Phil Poulter. He loved them.

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FINKE RIVER ADVENTURES BY ATV
FINKE RIVER ADVENTURES BY ATV
Lightweight, open-air, all-terrain vehicle tours in The Centre.

This company offers a novel way to experience the rugged beauty of Central Australia. Finke River Adventures use lightweight all-terrain vehicles that you can drive or passenger inside.

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ALICE SPRINGS EXPEDITIONS
ALICE SPRINGS EXPEDITIONS
One of the best-credentialled tour operators in Central Australia.

This company is operated by John Stafford, who has lived and worked in the Alice Springs area for the past 20 years, with Tourism NT. He is well qualified to be an expert guide for your Alice Springs Expedition through outback Central Australia.

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PORTABLE GENERATORS
PORTABLE GENERATORS
When the sun won't shine a genny comes into its own

Solar power can be a viable camping power source, but the portable generator/battery charger still has its place, particularly in situations where sunlight is unreliable.

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MOULDED-SOLE BOOTS - WHY WE DON'T BUY THEM ANYMORE
MOULDED-SOLE BOOTS - WHY WE DON'T BUY THEM ANYMORE
We used to be Blundstone fans, but they're no longer our choice.

Over the past year the soles on three pairs of our Blundstone boots fell to pieces. We've since heard that Redbacks and Oliver boots have the same problem.

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WARN CELEBRATES 70 YEARS
WARN CELEBRATES 70 YEARS
This globally-renowned winch maker has a new product in the wings.

Seventy years ago, Arthur Warn started Warn Industries with a set of locking hubs for surplus WWII Jeeps. Over the next seven decades, the company pioneered the electric winch and supplied automakers with OE parts.

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INCREASING 4WD GROSS VEHICLE MASS
INCREASING 4WD GROSS VEHICLE MASS
Staying legal can be difficult and a GVM increase may be needed.

As 4WDs become heavier and the list of 'essential' equipment increases, many 4WD owners find that their vehicles are overweight. There is a way around this situation, but it mightn't be cheap.

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LIGHTFORCE STRIKER LED PAIR
LIGHTFORCE STRIKER LED PAIR
Compact, rectangular lights with middle distance range.

Striker LEDs driving lights were released by LightForce in May 2018. These middle-distance rectangular lights suit small frontal profile vehicles.

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ENDUROCO CONVERSIONS ON HIACE AND COASTER
ENDUROCO CONVERSIONS ON HIACE AND COASTER
Conversions that use coil-sprung live front axles.

This Melbourne-based company has specialised in converting mainly Toyota vehicles from 2WD to 4WD for many years. All conversions are engineered and tested to gain Australian Government Federal IPA or secondary manufacturing approval.

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FUNNELS FOR ALL REASONS
FUNNELS FOR ALL REASONS
Lubemate has released three specific funnel types.

Lubemate has released three different funnel models to suit different 4WD requirements. If you've had to strain crook fuel going into your tank or juggle an oil bottle over an engine or gearbox filler hole you'll appreciate these innovations

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ARB BYPASS TECHNOLOGY SHOCK ABSORBERS
ARB BYPASS TECHNOLOGY SHOCK ABSORBERS
Race-type damping quality for popular 4WDs.

Many of us are familiar with the design of off-road-race shock absorbers, with their external ‘bypass’ tubes. ARB’s BP-51 bypass dampers use the same principle, but with internal bypass technology. They’re vehicle-specific and new models are being added periodically.

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REDARC REDVISION APP CONTROL
REDARC REDVISION APP CONTROL
An app-based system for controlling and monitoring many functions.

Redarc has released RedVision, a vehicle management system that brings multi-function control to the user’s fingertips. RedVision comes with an In-vehicle display and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) iOS or android smartphone app to control and monitor many functions in a camper, caravan, or motorhome.

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DISC BRAKE KITS FOR UTE REAR AXLES FROM PEDDERS
DISC BRAKE KITS FOR UTE REAR AXLES FROM PEDDERS
Greatly improved braking for loaded utes.

Heavily loaded utes are common sights on bush roads and tracks. Braking power could do with an improvement we’ve reckoned for some time and Pedders agrees with us.

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ULTRA VISION NITRO 140 MAXX COMBO
ULTRA VISION NITRO 140 MAXX COMBO
Large but slim round lights with great distance and medium spread.

Our test pair of Ultra Vision 140 Maxx driving lights were the largest round lights in this company’s range, measuring 235mm across and 240mm high, including the mounting brackets and the side-mounted angle-adjustment screws.

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UNDERSTANDING BATTERIES
UNDERSTANDING BATTERIES
Knowing how different batteries work can make selection easier.

Back in the good old days you could have any battery you liked, so long as it was black, heavy and full of easily-spilled acid. Now, there’s a choice of several different types.

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PARADISE INSPIRATION EXPLORE 4X4
PARADISE INSPIRATION EXPLORE 4X4
This is one top-shelf Sprinter motorhome.

Paradise Motor Homes is a well respected brand that hasn’t been well known for off-roading, but the Inspiration Explore 4x4 model changes that situation. Based on the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4x4 platform this vehicle is very well equipped.

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MOBILEYE vs DASH CAM DRIVER ASSISTANCE TECHNOLOGY
MOBILEYE vs DASH CAM DRIVER ASSISTANCE TECHNOLOGY
Camera systems with quite different characteristics.

Cameras can give drivers much needed help in today's heavy traffic conditions, but there's no way to retrofit the latest vehicles' camera-activated autonomous braking into older vehicles. However, some camera-based technology can be fitted to any vehicle

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PROJECTA FOLDING SOLAR PANEL RANGE
PROJECTA FOLDING SOLAR PANEL RANGE
Battery charging from a briefcase-sized panel kit

Projecta has four folding solar panel kits that come complete with canvas carry bags, five-metre cables with battery clamps, inbuilt charge regulators and set-up pegs.

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JACKSONS CARRY ME CAMPER HARD LID
JACKSONS CARRY ME CAMPER HARD LID
A hard roof addition to this soft-roof slide-on camper range.

Carry Me Camper launched the Hard Lid slide-on camper in mid-2018. This additional model was designed for fitment to single-cab and extra-cab tray-back utes, complementing the soft-roof model that can fit all ute sizes - even crew-cab utes.

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STONEY CREEK CAMPERS
STONEY CREEK CAMPERS
A range that includes soft-floor and forward-fold models.

This brand has been around for a few years now and seems to have a loyal following. The model range covers the whole camper trailer spectrum, from soft-floor shorty to forward-fold models.

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HEADLIGHT RESTORATION MADE EASY
HEADLIGHT RESTORATION MADE EASY
Bright headlight beams can be easily restored.

Many older 4WDs have plastic-faced headlight housings that have oxidised, giving them a distinctive hazy and yellow appearance. That ‘fogging’ and discolouration greatly reduces brightness and beam size, which is a dangerous situation for the driver and others on the road.

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VICTORIAN HIGH COUNTRY
VICTORIAN HIGH COUNTRY
Tracks vary from easy to very difficult - something for everyone!

There are literally hundreds of tracks through Australia’s tallest mountain ranges, but we’ve selected just a few of our favourites.

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STEDI ST3303 LIGHT BAR
STEDI ST3303 LIGHT BAR
This light bar has 320W output in a compact housing.

Stedi has packed 32 10-watt Cree LEDs into a 545mm (21.5-inch) light bar that can fit onto most nudge and 'roo bars. It has brilliant distance and spread characteristics, as our test video shows only too clearly.

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HYBRIDS AND RANGE EXTENDED ELECTRIC 4WDS ARE COMING
HYBRIDS AND RANGE EXTENDED ELECTRIC 4WDS ARE COMING
Big design changes are coming faster than most people think.

It seems inevitable that the future of 4WDs is as hybrids and range-extended electric vehicles.

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FLAT ENGINES COULD BE THE FUTURE
FLAT ENGINES COULD BE THE FUTURE
Opposed piston engines have been around for years and could be making a comeback.

The dual goals of meeting tight emissions standards and improving fuel consumption have seen some engine development companies look to designs of the past for inspiration. One OPOC engine is at the production evaluation stage.

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GEOSURVEYS HILL
GEOSURVEYS HILL
Here are two separate Geosurveys Hill travel stories.

The first trek was two years in the planning. The aim was to escort two senior archaeologists into this remote region, to search for evidence of ancient Aboriginal occupation in what is today an arid, desert region, with no surface water. The second trek is a round-trip journey from Birdsville, recounted by an OTA Supporter.

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CLEARVIEW'S FRIDGE-SLIDE ENHANCEMENTS
CLEARVIEW'S FRIDGE-SLIDE ENHANCEMENTS
These three products maximise fridge-slide versatility

These three fridge-slide enhancements from Clearview can make bush camping easier.There's a cable tidy, an extension tray and a full slide-out Pantry.

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KEEPING THE DUST OUT OF YOUR CAMPER OR CARAVAN WITH RESPA
KEEPING THE DUST OUT OF YOUR CAMPER OR CARAVAN WITH RESPA
This rugged device pressurises your camper or van interior - February 2018

We’ve all done it: opened the camper or caravan and discovered a fine coating of dust throughout the interior. No matter how tightly you close doors, vents and windows, some dust always seems to get inside.

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ORARA ESCARPMENT TO YURAYGIR NATIONAL PARK
ORARA ESCARPMENT TO YURAYGIR NATIONAL PARK
This adventurous drive ends on the ocean front.

Just half an hour from Coffs Harbour on the NSW North Coast, this challenging track is perfect for the 4WD explorer, as it climbs along the ridges of rocky plateaus and winds through lush rainforest. This journey can take one day or one week depending on how much you’d like to explore the diversity around the National Parks.

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KONI SHOCK ABSORBER EVALUATION
KONI SHOCK ABSORBER EVALUATION
Not our normal test procedure and with mixed results

We asked the Australian Koni distributors, Toperformance Products, for a set of dampers to test on our LandCruiser 75 Series, but they refused, so we’ve used OTA Team vehicles for the purpose.

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SATELLITE TELEPHONE COMMUNICATION
SATELLITE TELEPHONE COMMUNICATION
A reliable form of communication for remote areas

We bought our satellite telephones years ago and wouldn't leave home without one of them; a couple of vehicle breakdowns and medical emergencies during our travels in Australia's Outback and our best satellite telephone has more than paid for itself.

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RIDE ON TYRE SEALANT TEST
RIDE ON TYRE SEALANT TEST
This water-based sealant passed our puncture test easily.

We checked out Ride On tyre sealant in the most practical way possible: we tried to flatten a tyre deliberately.

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A BUSH COOK WITHOUT PEER - RANGER NICK
A BUSH COOK WITHOUT PEER - RANGER NICK
Learn the art of camp oven cooking and have heaps of fun as you do.

If you haven’t come across one of Ranger Nick’s demo camp cooking sessions at a 4WD or camping show or watched his DVD you’re definitely missing out. He’s a very entertaining presenter and he knows exactly what he’s doing.

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POD CAMPER RANGE
POD CAMPER RANGE
These pint-sized campers pack in a lot of tent space and gear

The Pod Camper range is one of the few offerings in the Australian camper tailer marketplace that is designed specifically for lightweight camping. Many camper trailers are too heavy and have far too much ball weight for towing by SUVs and small 4WD wagons.

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SAFE AND LEGAL LOAD RESTRAINT
SAFE AND LEGAL LOAD RESTRAINT
Ignorance of the law is no excuse, so you need to know what's right and wrong

The 2018 Load Restraint Guide for Light Vehicles spells out clearly how you should load your vehicle and the correct method for restraining that load.

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COLEMAN INSTANT UP TENT
COLEMAN INSTANT UP TENT
This tent offers two-minute erection

Coleman reckons its Instant Up range can be set up in under two minutes from a small carry bag and each tent has a 100km/h wind rating.

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IF YOU DON'T HAVE A WINCH
IF YOU DON'T HAVE A WINCH
Some vehicles can't mount a winch, but they can still self-recover.

OTA checks out three different ways of getting your 4WD unstuck: sand ladders, Bog Outs and Trac Grabbers.

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WHAT HAPPENED TO GALILEO
WHAT HAPPENED TO GALILEO
No, not that Galileo, the renowned astronomer and father of modern science.

The Galileo we’re referring to and about which we haven’t heard much since 2007 is Europe’s challenge to the US-owned Global Positioning System (GPS).

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HELPING PEOPLE IN THE BUSH
HELPING PEOPLE IN THE BUSH
You can turn your skills into help for needy famers and bush dwellers

Many bush travellers get great satisfaction from helping bush people as part of an extended holiday or the retirement trip. Involvement with the 'locals' enhances any bush trip and many helpers make lifelong friends from the experience, Allan Whiting from Outback Travel Australia reports.

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A SIX WHEELER CAN SOLVE THE UTE GVM ISSUE
A SIX WHEELER CAN SOLVE THE UTE GVM ISSUE
An extra axle makes all the difference

Adding a third axle to a 4WD ute can increase its gross vehicle mass to 4495kg - car driver's licence limit - or higher in some cases. The additional axle carries some of the additional weight and, being braked, increases stopping power.

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BOATS AND BOAT CARRYING OPTIONS
BOATS AND BOAT CARRYING OPTIONS
Your choice of boat can depend on how you carry it

We all love it when the boat slides into the water and we clamber on board for a day’s fun. Trouble is, you have to get the boat to that idyllic spot first…

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SWISS ARMY KNIVES WITH A DIFFERENCE
SWISS ARMY KNIVES WITH A DIFFERENCE
New looks for an old Victorinox standard

Everyone is familiar with the long-serving red and silver Swiss Army Knife, and in recent years the Victorinox company has developed new derivatives. The latest are white or black finish Spartan series, fitted with specially-coated blades and tools, wood-finish models, marine 'camo' designs, gold finish and a new Hunter model.

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TRAYMATE SLIDE-ON CAMPER
TRAYMATE SLIDE-ON CAMPER
From the makers of the market-leading Trayon comes a budget slide-on - December 2017

Slide-on camper manufacturer Trayon has produced a budget-priced, lightweight, slide-on camper. Traymate can double as a tradie’s body during the working week.

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DIESEL FUTURE UNDER A CLOUD
DIESEL FUTURE UNDER A CLOUD
Emissions compliance has spoiled diesel simplicity and reliability

Five years ago we’d have laughed if someone said 4WD diesel engines are higher-maintenance and more likely to break down than petrols, but that’s the situation today. The latest diesels are high-maintenance and fragile.

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SLRV IVECO EUROCARGO
SLRV IVECO EUROCARGO
The Iveco Eurocargo makes an excellent heavy duty motorhome base

Gold Coast based top-shelf motorhome builder SLRV Expedition Vehicles has completed a Eurocargo ML150 4x4 outback tourer for a Western Australian owner.

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