Updated: Nov 25, 2020
Our LandyCampers have all the gear you need for an easy getaway. We've taken our personal experiences and talked to manufacturers, scoured the internet, trade shows and stores to find the most appropriate gear for our fleet. Why? Because we've spent months living and working from tents on campsites, and know that good gear can make a huge difference to quality of life. A dodgy burner makes every meal time a chore, cheap chairs mean sore backs (and bums!), and a good tent means everything!
When choosing equipment, our three most important criteria are:
Re-usable: Absolutely no one-time use or disposable products (unless compostable)
Longevity, sturdiness and usability: using gear that doesn’t hold up to the abuse you’ll give it or material that gives in on the second use would just not be fair - to the environment and to our clients.
Light-weighting and space-saving: Yes, there is quite a bit of space in the Defender – but poorly designed bulky gear will easily fill up even the most cavernous vehicle. With our gear, we are trying to keep weight low to keep fuel efficiency when driving up.
Check out our current gear list below, we hope it might give you some inspiration on what to pack on your next adventure.
Rooftent: ARB Simpson III
I think we can all agree, roof-tents are awesome! The high vantage point gives you a different perspective on camping than a ground tent (but no peeking into neighbouring pitches!). Being off the ground comes with a whole bunch of advantages. Even high-end ground tents can become mud-baths when it rains, as the ground around you becomes a swamp. No such problems with a roof-tent, it’d take a serious flood to reach you up there (and by that point you’d have bigger worries than a wet tent, and might consider building an ark!).
When you get off the beaten track a little comfort (and water resistance) can make all the difference. That’s why we chose our well engineered, high-quality ARB Simpson III roof-tents. The origins of the company go back to the 1970s, when founder Tony road-tripped through Australia in his Series 1 Land Rover, battling endless corrugated roads, extreme temperatures and heavy loads. Tony’s expertise and sense for innovation was soon regularly called upon and ARB, now Australia’s largest manufacturer and distributor of 4x4 accessories, was born. Our English roads and climate (although wetter) might be a bit easier to tackle, but that does not mean we are less discerning.
The Simpson III unfolds easily, just unzip the cover, extend the ladder, and pull! From there it’s just a case of securing a few poles, unzipping the windows, and taking in the view!
Made from high-quality poly/cotton fabric, Oxford polyester flysheet and aluminium, the tent will keep you warm, safe and dry, and a high-density 2.5 inch foam mattress that ensures you’ll sleep soundly - no blowing up of an airbed needed! Conveniently sleeping bags and pillows can remain inside the tent during the journey, freeing up vital storage space in the vehicle and allowing the tent to be quickly packed away, and making sure it’s ready for bed time in seconds.
We also added a removable zip on Annexe room, which provides added space for privacy and protection from the elements. Combined with the awning this provides 270 degree coverage around the vehicle, for the inevitable rainy days. The smartly designed tent comes with insect screened windows and doors as well as elevated shoe pockets for footwear storage within reach (it’s designed in Australia, where leaving your shoes on the ground overnight is less than ideal!) Bear in mind, with a Defender you'll want the additional Ladder Extension!
We ordered our tent through Andy at 4x4Works, let him know we sent you and he'll take good care of you (and give you all the roof-tent advice you could possibly need on!)
Awning: Rhino Rack 270° Compact Batwing Awning
The heavy-duty self-standing retractable awning is conveniently attached to the side of the vehicle for immediate use and shelter wherever you set up camp – braving hot summer days or rainy hours. As you can see below, it's a breeze to set up - unzip the bag, and pull! The 'wings' are secured in place when stored by some seriously strong magnets, so there's no worry about them rattling around on a bumpy trail. The Batwing is made from a heavy-duty, water and mould resistant material that has been tested and rated to UPF 50 +, offering maximum sun protection.
Not only does it provide a convenient instant shelter when you arrive at your destination to unpack under, it looks amazing, what’s not to like?
We chose Direct4x4’s Expedition Rack as it has the perfect flat base for mounting our roof-tent to, but also has a luggage basket area up front, with plenty of tie-down points for any extra gear that doesn’t fit in an already spacious Defender (for when you want to bring the kitchen sink with you!). It’s also built like a tank, with a 200kg load capacity, a seriously chunky (32mm dia) tubular steel frame, and four mounting brackets on each side, so there’s no concern at all about loading, even if you need to clamber up to haul your luggage onboard!
Battery pack & solar cells: EcoFlow R600 & 60W solar panel kit
A battery pack is always useful on any trip (phone batteries don’t last forever!), but when camping it’s even more important to have a reliable source of power with you. We chose the EcoFlow R600, “The World's Fastest Charging Power Station”, for exactly that reason. Its 288Wh capacity and 600W output (with up to 1200W surge capacity) in a compact body make it perfect for your camping trip. It will happily power your cool box, charge your phone and laptop, and even has enough oomph to jump-start your car when you leave the lights on over night (we’ve all done it!).
We paired the R600 with EcoFlow’s own 60W solar panel. As we strive to be as green as possible, this was a no-brainer. Solar cells have come a long way in the last few years, and this set up, in decent sun, is enough to significantly charge up the battery pack in a few hours. Left out all day, you’ll not need to pay for an electrical hook-up at a campsite again!
Fridge: Dometic Tropicool TCX
We found the Dometic Tropicool thermo-electric cool box to be the best balance between price and performance, after a lot (I mean, a LOT) of comparisons. While not technically a fridge, it can cool to 26 degrees below ambient temperatures, which is more than enough to store food and drinks, because let's be honest, how often is it even 26 degrees above freezing in the UK? It's packed with smart but probably dull features, like intelligent power-save circuitry, wear resistant fans, and highly efficient electronics which all add up to a more than capable package for most people's camping needs. We found the 21 litre model to be the sweet spot for two people, and the 35 litre plenty for four. The box is very well insulated, meaning once you've bought your food, or beers, down to temperature, you can safely store them for hours without keeping the box plugged in, perfect for changing campsite, or a lovely picnic!
Cooker: Vango Combi IR Grill Cooker
Two burners and a grill. What more do you need? The Combi IR Grill comes folded into a neat package, with it’s own carry handle, and unfolds into a spacious multipurpose stove. It’s sturdy, lightweight, doesn’t need matches or a lighter, is easy to clean, and the Infrared Grill saves 10% on fuel and 90% reduction on emissions for a cleaner cooking experience. A burner unit like the Combi Grill has plenty of advantages over a gas bottle-top burner. All too often we’ve had them blown out by the wind, or knocked over our pot of pasta. Trying to balance a pan on a gas canister is just a pain. You know what we mean!
Chairs: Vango Titan
For our chairs we had one main criteria. Comfort. We've all sat in rubbish camping chairs (and plenty of us have fallen straight through our fair share!). The Vango Titan hit the spot. With it's soft cushions and deep base it certainly fits the bill. it also boasts a far greater load capacity than most alternatives, making it safe for slumping into, beer in hand, after setting up your tent! While it's not the most space-efficient chair when folded up, we think the comfort is worth it!
Crockery: Vango Bamboo Tableware
We looked at all sorts of options when looking for sustainable crockery. The options are seemingly endless, recycled plastics, ceramics, materials we’d never heard of and struggled to pronounce, and even edible tableware (great, if you only want one meal…). We settled on Vango’s Bamboo tableware sets. They’re sturdy, highly-sustainable, dishwasher safe, a decent size, and well priced. Not all the patterns on offer were quite to our taste, but there’s enough options, and the set has a really nice texture (squeaky knives on dishes can be like nails on a chalkboard).
Water container: Colapz Collapsible 2-in-1 Water Carrier & Bucket
Water containers can be a pain. Too big to store. Taste like a chemical factory. Leaky. Colapz solves these, and does exactly what it says on the tin (or, well, bucket!). It folds completely flat when not in use, and expands up to an 8 litre container with tap. It’s BPA free and made from food grade recyclable plastic, so there’s no disgusting taste, and no unhealthy chemicals leaching into your water. The container can also be converted into a shower with optional extras, and even into a watering can… for some reason!
In Car Display: Sony XAV-AX8050D
Ok, so it's not technically camping equipment, but we've kitted our vehicles out with them, and find them a great addition to any journey. The awkwardly named (in classic Sony style) XAV-AX8050D is a single-din 8.95in touchscreen display, with Android Auto and Apple Carplay when a compatible phone is plugged in by USB. This display becomes your sat-nav, your radio, your virtual assistant (it's included microphone allows Google Assistant/Siri to hear you even over the loudest engines). Voice control adds a level of safety, not requiring the driver to physically interact with the display at all, and the massive screen means your directions are just a quick glance away - no more squinting at your phone sitting in a wobbly dashboard mount. The single-din design means its easy to install in most older vehicles, which dont have double height radios out of the factory, in fact our landys were upgraded easily from cassette decks (if you can remember those). The display has a bunch of different mounting positions, thanks to a bit of smart engineering from Sony, making it suitable for a wide range of vehicles. You can even watch a movie on it, as long as you're parked!
We are convinced: one of the best ways to ensure a good time on your camping trip is to choose the right equipment. But, as you can see, never have there been more options and choice of necessary (and absolutely unnecessary or badly copied) gear out there. Also, it’s not always easy to keep up: innovation moves fast and long gone are the days when setting up a tent was as complicated as building an IKEA Pax wardrobe and unfolding a chair without pinching your fingers required an Engineering degree. Let us know in the comments how you choose your gear and what your camping essentials are!
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