Land Rover Defender 130
The Defender Pickup is one of the last of its kind. It has characteristics that are almost impossible to find in modern vehicles. The payload of around 1250 kg for a 3.5t class all-wheel drive vehicle is unique and a good basis for a traveling vehicle. The Defender is actually an agricultural vehicle that can also be used to drive on the freeway. It’s an honest car without complex technology. The robust and simple construction is proven worldwide. The countless adaptation and individualization possibilities are ingenious.
As travellers, we spend quite a lot of time in the car. Comfortable seats from Schellmann and a leather steering wheel offer good comfort. Fortunately, our car has air conditioning. Apple’s infotainment system (iPad per 10.5″) is ideal for us. We use the iPad for navigation, research tool and detailed planning during the journey. Connected to the radio, we listen to music via the original system, but with slightly better speakers. In case of emergencies, we have installed a Garmin inreach (satellite communication). Oh, and of course various sockets for more gadgets. A small library, various storage compartments and drinking system are also available.
We removed the rear seats and installed a drawer system instead. In the small drawer on the right are the kitchen utensils of our outdoor kitchen. On the driver’s side is the big drawer with tools and other things that we need regularly. On top, we have a lot of storage space for camping equipment and everything else we carry with us.
Since we drive around well loaded, it is worth tuning the suspension accordingly. The stronger stabilizer and the springs on the rear axle counteract the lateral inclination when cornering. Thanks to Radflo’s adjustable shock absorbers, the suspension can be ideally adjusted. Like that, it is also fun to drive winding roads “sporty”. On gravel, it feels good and safe even at higher speeds.
Thanks to the Bowler rims (7.5×16 ET10), the track is wider, with the adjustment of the steering angle the turning circle has been greatly improved. The BF Goodrich All Terrain (285/65R16) are slightly wider than the originals and have proven themselves so far.
Modern security systems such as airbags are not available in the Defender. That’s why we decided to install a roll cage over the passenger compartment to protect ourselves from the worst. The rock sliders and skid plates protect the body and steering, should we get too close to stones. As a roof rack, a checker plate was glued to the roof. The spare wheel and roof box can be easily attached with the airline system. It is also quite practical that we can get in quite comfortably thanks to the rock sliders and the roll cage.
With the two additional tanks we can store 220l diesel, which is enough for about 1800 km. Especially in remote areas we are appreciate to have this great autonomy.
We purchased the demountable cabin fully equipped with a pop-up roof and a bed in the alcove area at Exkab. The owner Christian Loh advised us well and his concept convinced us. When it comes to travel vehicles, it is important to have the right thing with you. Basically everything you would like to have to live and yet no unnecessary ballast. We carry the things important to us: a large bed, a table with benches, a kitchen and enough space for our equipment.
We wanted a living room separated from the vehicle. The advantages are safety and cleanliness. The cabin has relatively small windows, making it difficult to break into. We often enjoy driving with open windows. Thanks to the separate cabin, no driving dust comes into our living room.
We had also considered mounting the cabin on an auxiliary frame. This would have given us a little more storage space. We did without this additional investment. And in general, our Defender looks much cooler like it is anyway.
Due to the pop-up roof we have a large living area with a small silhouette when it is folded down. This is reflected in good driving dynamics and favourable consumption. Our car fits in a high cube container and is therefore shipable worldwide. The tent fabric of the pop-up roof can be opened almost completely for good cross ventilation. At colder temperatures, we add an additional tent wall for better insulation. Only in strong winds it is sometimes unpleasantly noisy, which is good to endure with earplugs.
The alcove bed is pull-out and with 170x200cm almost as big as at home. For eating and working, the table and bench offer comfortable space for the two of us. In case of bad weather, it is easy to be comfortable indoors. We can convert the table area into a bed. Be this as a reclining sofa or as an emergency bed with the roof closed. Sometimes, we wish to be able to use bed and table area at the same time.
The Rako system is a good and flexible solution for us to store our equipment. Often we also take individual boxes outside. Unfortunately, the locking is not good, the boxes have loosened several times during the ride and have fallen out. With additional rubber bands we have solved this. We also have additional storage space under the benches.
We enjoy most of the multi-course menus from the outdoor kitchen. With a two-burner cooker in the living area we make our breakfast and simpler dishes. It’s all about keeping moisture and smells out. The compressor refrigerator (Waeco CFX-40 Coolfreeze) keeps our supplies cool.
Depending on where we park, we have a pretty large balcony. Whenever possible, we enjoy living outside. The awnings at the back and on the side protect us from sunlight or light rain. Our porch is set up quite quickly, as everything is stored at hand.
The main water supply with two canisters lasts for several days. If more water is needed, we have water bags that are attached to the bonnet while driving. We also use the water bags as a solar outdoor shower. In the cabin we have a small sink and a water connection outside for a shower hose. We could also shower inside, but we don’t do that because of the humidity and apart from that we don’t have a hot water boiler installed. Since good water quality is not always guaranteed when travelling, we usually use bottled water from the supermarket for drinking.
The Cactus dry toilet has proven itself very well. The bags from the manufacturer are very expensive and not available when travelling. Instead, we use small waste bags and attach them with a ring of an original bag.
The Webasto Airtop (2kW) heats up our living room quickly and is ideal for the compact cabin together with the additional insulation even at temperatures below freezing. The fans help to better circulate the air in the heat.
The power is supplied while driving and in addition by a solar module (85W) on the roof. This energy is stored in an AGM battery (120Ah). With good sunlight, this is permanently sufficient for basic equipment such as heating and the refrigerator. With an additional foldable external solar module (120W), we can also work longer in a shady place with the laptops.
Our Defender is a compact and light travel vehicle. We can keep up with road traffic and are low in consumption. We are quite off-road capable and get (almost) everywhere. We live comfortably and are independent, because everything we need we have with us.