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The leaves are turning and we must go …

The leaves on our trees have started to change colour so we’ve decided to leave Canberra and head north before the cold weather sets in – as a result we’ve had quite a bit of preparation to do …

First and foremost has been the tasks of making sure both the Toyota FJ Cruiser and the Ultimate Xplor GT are setup the way we want.


Toyota FJ Cruiser
We’ve had the FJ Cruiser for a couple of years now and even before deciding to do this trip it was mostly setup the way we wanted:
– Some Toyota accessories (rock rails, headlight/bonnet protectors, weathershields, tow pack, floor mats)
– Some TJM accessories (bullbar, under vehicle protection, suspension, recovery points)
– A roof rack, ladder and roof box
– An 80 channel UHF
– An after-market in-dash navigation system with reversing camera mounted on roof rack
– Paint protection film and window tinting
– Drawers and a cargo barrier
– Cooper S/T Maxx tyres with internal TPMS
– Dual battery setup
– Bushman refrigerator/freezer
– Assorted safety/recovery gear
– Remote control lock/unlock beep disabled (so as not to annoy our neighbours when camping)
– Transmission cooler *
– Electric brake controller *
– Smart Battery Isolator *

* These were the only additions we made for towing the Ultimate Camper.

 


Ultimate Xplor GT
When we ordered the Xplor GT we had the following options included:
– Extended drawbar (so that we can fully open back door of the FJ when the camper is hitched)
– Spare room
– Wrap around awning
– External galley bench
– Jerry can holder
– PVC galley windows
– Solar upgrade kit
– Wheels matched exactly to FJ Cruiser (ie, OEM rims, Cooper tyres and internal TPMS)

Since then we’ve made a few minor changes/improvements to it – the ideas for all of the following came from other Ultimate Camper owners:
– Ark XO Extreme Offroad jockey wheel
– QEP Gold Laminate Floating Floor Underlay under EMP matting and carpet
– StorEase Medium 2 Pocket Organiser
– Caframo Sirocco fan (I decided to use mini quickfists for mounting them on the spars)
– Standard 9kg gas bottle with Campmaster 4kg gas bottle upgrade (from two x 3.8kg bottles)
– Frame and shelf in nose-cone for Weber Baby Q with high lid
– Storing items in nose cone vertically instead of horizontally
– Using largest drawer as pantry drawer and corner benchtop storage for cookware, spices, sauces/oils
– Shock cord assisted fold-up
– Custom made bracket for Weber (Ron designed this and had it made locally – it installs in the unused front sub-frame channel using the same type of locking pin that is used for the supports)

We also installed a couple of other upgrades we considered essential:
– Fiamma floor socket plug (for when table is not in use)
– ‘Winter kit’ for Waeco 110 refrigerator

Plus one we thought was a really good idea …
– Velcro ‘loop’ strip for LED light in spare room (great to have light there at night)

 


Setting it up inside …
We purchased the following:
– Ikea King size Mysa Vete ‘All Seasons’ down quilt (has two quilts – one for warm weather and one for cool weather – that can be clipped together for cold weather)
– King size quilt cover set and sheets (I made two custom fitted sheets out of flat sheets for the bed)
– EcoSouLife bamboo dinner set (we didn’t want glass/china/enamel/melamine/plastic dinnerware)
– Tupperware compact cookware SS frypans with removable handles (very easy to store and use) plus lid for deeper frypan
– SnowPeak SS medium cookset (bonus find – the removable handle for the Tupperware frypans also fits this cookset!)
– Bodum two-in-one salt/pepper grinder (it fits perfectly in any of the small drawers)
– Companion pop-up kettle (retired our old stainless kettle that was a bit drippy)
– Inline water filter for use when filling the tank

 


Reduce, re-use, recycle …
In order to carry most foodstuffs in sealed plastic containers (I want to avoid having open packets that may attract insects or mice) I’ve re-used a lot of the plastic containers I’d collected over the years for use with motorcycle based camping (we don’t like carrying glass on them either!) plus some of the Tupperware I had (since the photo was taken all the containers have been labelled).

Also, and in my quest to eliminate as much glass as possible (for increased safety and reduced weight) and to use the available storage space as efficiently as possible, I re-packaged the spices, herbs and most sauces.
– I used food grade zip-lock plastic pouches for spices/herbs (from a great idea by Kit_e_Kat9 on MySwag forum – no spices/herbs in self-destructing glass jars!!) – the pouches I’m using will hold a small jar of spices/herbs which means no wastage when refilling
– I bought tall, 250ml squeezable plastic bottles for sauces (they take up a lot less space and act as separators for the oils/vinegars that I want to leave in glass bottles)

We’ve also managed to re-use lots of the camping gear we already owned – this has been great because we always tried to buy small, lightweight gear which has made it easier to find space for in the FJ Cruiser and the Ultimate Xplor GT.

 

Photos