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It’s taken me a long time to turn my “soccer mum” Prado into a bloody impressive touring vehicle, but with a lot of research, I have been able to do it in a way that makes my travel and camp set up as quick and straightforward as possible. We are fortunate that these days there is a lot of high-quality gear available to us, including the overseas markets like the US and South Africa where the overland markets have exploded over the past few years. I have fitted some of this gear, as well as a lot of excellent Aussie products, to make touring more relaxed, check it out below.

GUIDE

A lot of work goes into developing a touring vehicle, so here are some things I recommend and one I don't.

MY TOP 5 TOURING MODS

(AND ONE THAT
FRUSTRATES)

WORDS & IMAGES BY GLENN MARSHALL

Offline: This content can only be displayed when online.

I have set my Prado up to be a tourer that will take me anywhere and make it home every time

zenith
inspire

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1
2

I call it “The Marriage Saver” as it’s so easy to set up and pack down and provides maximum privacy

The Quick Pitch Ensuite is exceptionally compact and easy to mount using two L brackets

What I love the most is no leg needed (in most cases)

The Shadowawn provides excellent coverage

Quick Pitch Ensuite
It’s unbelievable the number of times I’ve been caught in my birthday suit trying to have a shower in the bush. I wouldn't have seen anyone for days, and as soon as I strip off, someone would turn up. My solution was a brilliant bit of kit from Quick Pitch in Western Australia where Jakkie has created the best shower tent I’ve ever seen.

Light and compact, the ensuite can easily be mounted to any roof rack. Set up is quick and easy, and you’ll be enjoying a shower in complete privacy within seconds. The height can be altered to suit with adjustable straps, and internal zips provide access to your vehicle. There are two types of ensuite; one is in an aluminium powder coated box, the other a bag made from 1.5mm black ripstop material. The bag that I have weighs a mere 6.4kg.

Alu-Cab Shadowawn
Awnings come in all shapes and sizes, but most are challenging to erect by yourself. While talking to Quick Pitch about their ensuite, they suggested the Alu-Cab Shadowawn. I was impressed with the design and ease with which the 270-degree awning can be set up and packed up. Designed and manufactured in South Africa, the awnings are tested in the strong winds that batter Cape Town. Alu-Cab suggests that the only time the leg needs to be used, is when you pee in the wind and you get wet; not a bad way to measure wind speed after all.   

The shaded area provides 10m² of cover, more than enough to keep my swag dry. The material has heat reflective on the top side, making this awning one of the coolest around as well as being impregnated with acrylic. This makes it extremely waterproof, but I have yet to test this in heavy rain. The awning is undoubtedly long, especially on a Prado, at 2.6m packed in its bag.

3
4

Adding the stretcher has taken my set up into the next dimension

My swag has been to hell and back and is still the most comfortable one I have ever owned

These folding panels like to stretch out so they can pump massive amps back into my batteries

Darche Ridgedome Swag and XL100 Stretcher
Needing a swag that was easy to set up and roll up with my bedding still inside, I purchased the Darche Ridgedome king single swag and haven’t looked back. When it comes to quality and durability, this swag is unbelievable. Considering that I was travelling for four months last year and the swag was used almost every night. In fact, it was rolled out and packed up practically every day. How many issues or breakages have I had? Zero. 

The swag is freestanding with three collapsible poles as the ribs and a solid centre ridgepole running its length and keeping it taught. The 70mm mattress is a delight to sleep on and being able to open it right up in the hot climates to let the night breeze flow through is perfect. I recently paired the swag with the Darche XL100 stretcher, and it has elevated my sleep (pun intended!) to another level. 

Projecta 180W Folding Solar Panels
My three batteries need to be healthy. On long trips I run with a fridge and a freezer plus need to keep the batteries of my laptop, cameras, torches, Bluetooth speaker charged. My foldable solar panel from Projecta does the job with ease. The monocrystalline panels are rated at 180W that can pump up to 10.3amps into my batteries. In fact, at most times with the solar panel connected to my starter battery, it can pump power into all three of my batteries and keep them topped up.

The inbuilt solar controller has 4 stage charging that prevents damage to my batteries, and the LCD is easy to read and informative. Once the batteries are fully charged, the panels switch to a float charge, limiting the voltage in. When folded up, the unit is easy to store and while a little on the heavy side at 8.3kg when expanded at its full width of 2580mm, the panels suck in that solar power.

“I have reduced the weight on my roof by at least 12kgs, and my fuel economy has improved by around 1-litre per 100km, so I am thrilled.”

5

I love the low profile and weight saving of the Tracklander

A place for everything and everything in its place

I would have to add straps to stop it vibrating on the roof rack

6

This nozzle was great for washing things down but useless for showers

Tracklander Roof Rack
The most recent addition in my effort to reduce the vehicle weight is the Tracklander roof rack. I went with the flat low-profile model weighing a mere 17kg, as it provided an open canvas for mounting all the gear that sits on my roof. The great thing about Tracklander, is they have a vast range of accessories to make installing your equipment so much simpler and more manageable.

Being so low meant I needed to mount all the brackets before installation; otherwise, I wouldn't have been able to access underneath the rack. I have reduced the weight on my roof by at least 12kgs, and my fuel economy has improved by around 1-litre per 100km, so I am thrilled.

(The ONE THAT FRUSTRATES)

Roadshower 4
As much as I use this product, it has been the only piece of added equipment that has frustrated me. The Roadshower 4 is a solar heated pressurised hot water unit constructed of powder-coated aluminium. It holds 26.5 litres of water and can be pressurised up to 65PSI, and there's an inbuilt pressure relief valve. The unit can be filled using a hose, watering can, bucket, or just about anything that’ll hold water.

WHY DOES IT FRUSTRATE ME?

  • The stem on the air valve jams a lot; it seems that water seeps up into the stem, rusting it. I’ve replaced two already. I wonder if the bore water may be too strong for the valves.
  • The noise of sloshing water is annoying and very loud at times. The spray nozzle is useless for showers, but I’ve just replaced the nozzle with an Australian one, so hopefully, this will improve things.
  • I use the Roadshower more for washing dishes than showering.
  • There is only one distributor in Australia, and for a long time, there wasn't one at all as the business I bought it from decided they didn't want to distribute them anymore.
  • The 40mm spanner that comes with the Roadshower strips the filler cap too easily.
  • They are expensive with my model coming in at $599 plus freight.

GUIDE

MY TOP 5 TOURING MODS

It’s taken me a long time to turn my “soccer mum” Prado into a bloody impressive touring vehicle, but with a lot of research, I have been able to do it in a way that makes my travel and camp set up as quick and straightforward as possible. We are fortunate that these days there is a lot of high-quality gear available to us, including the overseas markets like the US and South Africa where the overland markets have exploded over the past few years. I have fitted some of this gear, as well as a lot of excellent Aussie products, to make touring more relaxed, check it out below.

(AND ONE THAT FRUSTRATES)

A lot of work goes into developing a touring vehicle, so here are some things I recommend and one I don't.

Offline: This content can only be displayed when online.

WORDS & IMAGES BY GLENN MARSHALL

I have set my Prado up to be a tourer that will take me anywhere and make it home every time

SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT

ADVERTISEMENT

1
2

Alu-Cab Shadowawn
Awnings come in all shapes and sizes, but most are challenging to erect by yourself. While talking to Quick Pitch about their ensuite, they suggested the Alu-Cab Shadowawn. I was impressed with the design and ease with which the 270-degree awning can be set up and packed up. Designed and manufactured in South Africa, the awnings are tested in the strong winds that batter Cape Town. Alu-Cab suggests that the only time the leg needs to be used, is when you pee in the wind and you get wet; not a bad way to measure wind speed after all.   

The shaded area provides 10m² of cover, more than enough to keep my swag dry. The material has heat reflective on the top side, making this awning one of the coolest around as well as being impregnated with acrylic. This makes it extremely waterproof, but I have yet to test this in heavy rain. The awning is undoubtedly long, especially on a Prado, at 2.6m packed in its bag.

The Quick Pitch Ensuite is exceptionally compact and easy to mount using two L brackets

I call it “The Marriage Saver” as it’s so easy to set up and pack down and provides maximum privacy

Quick Pitch Ensuite
It’s unbelievable the number of times I’ve been caught in my birthday suit trying to have a shower in the bush. I wouldn't have seen anyone for days, and as soon as I strip off, someone would turn up. My solution was a brilliant bit of kit from Quick Pitch in Western Australia where Jakkie has created the best shower tent I’ve ever seen.

Light and compact, the ensuite can easily be mounted to any roof rack. Set up is quick and easy, and you’ll be enjoying a shower in complete privacy within seconds. The height can be altered to suit with adjustable straps, and internal zips provide access to your vehicle. There are two types of ensuite; one is in an aluminium powder coated box, the other a bag made from 1.5mm black ripstop material. The bag that I have weighs a mere 6.4kg.

What I love the most is no leg needed (in most cases)

The Shadowawn provides excellent coverage

3
4

Projecta 180W Folding Solar Panels
My three batteries need to be healthy. On long trips I run with a fridge and a freezer plus need to keep the batteries of my laptop, cameras, torches, Bluetooth speaker charged. My foldable solar panel from Projecta does the job with ease. The monocrystalline panels are rated at 180W that can pump up to 10.3amps into my batteries. In fact, at most times with the solar panel connected to my starter battery, it can pump power into all three of my batteries and keep them topped up.

The inbuilt solar controller has 4 stage charging that prevents damage to my batteries, and the LCD is easy to read and informative. Once the batteries are fully charged, the panels switch to a float charge, limiting the voltage in. When folded up, the unit is easy to store and while a little on the heavy side at 8.3kg when expanded at its full width of 2580mm, the panels suck in that solar power.

My swag has been to hell and back and is still the most comfortable one I have ever owned

Darche Ridgedome Swag and XL100 Stretcher
Needing a swag that was easy to set up and roll up with my bedding still inside, I purchased the Darche Ridgedome king single swag and haven’t looked back. When it comes to quality and durability, this swag is unbelievable. Considering that I was travelling for four months last year and the swag was used almost every night. In fact, it was rolled out and packed up practically every day. How many issues or breakages have I had? Zero. 

The swag is freestanding with three collapsible poles as the ribs and a solid centre ridgepole running its length and keeping it taught. The 70mm mattress is a delight to sleep on and being able to open it right up in the hot climates to let the night breeze flow through is perfect. I recently paired the swag with the Darche XL100 stretcher, and it has elevated my sleep (pun intended!) to another level. 

These folding panels like to stretch out so they can pump massive amps back into my batteries

Adding the stretcher has taken my set up into the next dimension

“I have reduced the weight on my roof by at least 12kgs, and my fuel economy has improved by around 1-litre per 100km, so I am thrilled.”

5
6

Roadshower 4
As much as I use this product, it has been the only piece of added equipment that has frustrated me. The Roadshower 4 is a solar heated pressurised hot water unit constructed of powder-coated aluminium. It holds 26.5 litres of water and can be pressurised up to 65PSI, and there's an inbuilt pressure relief valve. The unit can be filled using a hose, watering can, bucket, or just about anything that’ll hold water.

WHY DOES IT FRUSTRATE ME?

  • The stem on the air valve jams a lot; it seems that water seeps up into the stem, rusting it. I’ve replaced two already. I wonder if the bore water may be too strong for the valves.
  • The noise of sloshing water is annoying and very loud at times. The spray nozzle is useless for showers, but I’ve just replaced the nozzle with an Australian one, so hopefully, this will improve things.
  • I use the Roadshower more for washing dishes than showering.
  • There is only one distributor in Australia, and for a long time, there wasn't one at all as the business I bought it from decided they didn't want to distribute them anymore.
  • The 40mm spanner that comes with the Roadshower strips the filler cap too easily.
  • They are expensive with my model coming in at $599 plus freight.

A place for everything and everything in its place

I love the low profile and weight saving of the Tracklander

Tracklander Roof Rack
The most recent addition in my effort to reduce the vehicle weight is the Tracklander roof rack. I went with the flat low-profile model weighing a mere 17kg, as it provided an open canvas for mounting all the gear that sits on my roof. The great thing about Tracklander, is they have a vast range of accessories to make installing your equipment so much simpler and more manageable.

Being so low meant I needed to mount all the brackets before installation; otherwise, I wouldn't have been able to access underneath the rack. I have reduced the weight on my roof by at least 12kgs, and my fuel economy has improved by around 1-litre per 100km, so I am thrilled.

I would have to add straps to stop it vibrating on the roof rack

This nozzle was great for washing things down but useless for showers

(The ONE THAT FRUSTRATES)