These days it seems that as soon as many Aussies hit a certain age, they want to go AWOL! Leave the house and kids behind and hit the road! And why wouldn’t you, Australia has the perfect climate for camping, and so many places to explore... but the big question is what sort of a rig to get? And as more and more campers are opting to free camp, how to power it for off-grid camping?
On the road with Fishing Downunder
John and Peta Haenke from Fishing DownUnder have spent a lot of time travelling around Australia whilst filming for a variety of fishing series including Wildfish. Escape with ET, and their own long-running series of DVDs – Fishing DownUnder.
John has also been a fishing guide for the past few years, in the Queensland Central Coast area, sharing his exceptional knowledge of fishing with passionate anglers from Australia and around the world!
John will be continuing to do some guiding, and will also be back behind the camera, bringing some of their adventures to the small screens.
John and Peta have opted for a slide on camper, loaded onto an Isuzu NPS 75/45-155 4x4 AMT Crewcab. As they will be towing their boat with them, that cuts out caravans as an option.
Motorhomes are not practical for them, as they will be setting up camp for stretches of time, and don’t want to break camp every time they needed to use the truck.
So a slide on was the best option, and they have ordered an Aussie Road Runner built to their specs. It is fully self-contained, with shower, toilet, washing machine, oven and all the mod cons!
This type of camper is heavy, and having been down the small slide on option, loaded on the back of a ute, they did not want the weight restrictions associated with this style of the camper – living in it full time does require a bit more gear after all...
So a big truck with good carrying capacity was needed, and the Isuzu was chosen. It has had long-range fuel tanks added, and an extra water tank so they can re-fill the camper from the truck.
The truck also needed to have good off-road capabilities which is why the 4x4 version was chosen. This model is also an automatic, so that makes driving long stretches less tiring.
One of the biggest considerations for this whole set up was how they would power it to be completely self-sufficient...
Choosing an onboard boat battery charger
John has recently upgraded his Sportsman Island Bays battery system with a REDARC Manager30 battery management system, and lithium batteries installed by Revolution Power Solutions. This was a game-changer for John... No more charging the batteries nightly to power the electric motor for the next day on the water. Now the outboard was charging the lithium batteries throughout the day. This is a huge asset for those travelling – running power cords out of the accommodation each night is fraught with problems. This was no longer a concern.
Some of the other advantages that John enjoyed with the new power setup are:
o Lithium batteries are smaller and lighter, a big advantage in boats and campers
o Longer running time
o They hold a high voltage longer
o Faster charging time – up to 5 times faster
o You can cycle them down longer.
Having had great success with powering the boat, John has since contacted REDARC and Revolution Power Solutions to help power the camper. And the two companies, working together, have offered a great system to keep John and Peta powered wherever they are, even with the capacity to charge the boat if needed!
To follow the progress of the build and installation of the power system and camper, visit their YouTube Channel.