Alright fellas, You've inspired me. I've been an ExPo lurker for quite some time. I've harvested countless great ideas and very much enjoyed many of the builds and ingenious engineering found within this community. Recent interest in longer range, more self sufficiency, and overall camping enjoyment have prompted me to base this years modification season (yes, every year about this time, my wheeler gets some love preparing for an annual family offroad camping trip) around adding some of the ExPo-esque features you guys so cleverly contain within your overlanders.
My rig is a bit different from what you guys go after. For the last decade, my interest has been focused around getting there without breaking down. I feel like I pretty much have that handled, my rig is pretty reliable, durable, and capable. The problem is, one time I took my wife and then only one daughter out we flopped.
That didn't go over to well with the Missus. Or my little one that kept saying over and over that 'Daddys twuck fall down.."
So... After two years of refusing to get in the rig again, I've finally got them willing as I've got them convinced that the reason we flopped was due to our high center of gravity and that I have in fact got a solution figured out. Which begins the process of this years mod season. The lowering of my rig CG. As well as increasing the seating capacity from three to four and adding in the creature comforts that my rock crawler past has scoffed at. Heater...pffft. Heaters are for pussies! As well as some of these nifty overlander trends like on board water and cooking abilities. Neat.
Now at first glance, I know your thoughts. Get rid of that cargo carrier on the top. Can't, three girls. Without being substituted with something else, like a rack, it isn't going away. Believe it or not, racks weigh more. We only pack the lightweight sleeping stuff up there. Its dustproof, holds a ton of stuff and handy as a leatherman. So it stays, until I build a trailer.
Everything else, therefore, must go lower. In the above pic, you'll notice two side mounted ice chests. Those are quite heavy and need to be moved to create the space needed for a bench seat back there for the ladies. I've decided to nix them in liew of an ARB fridge unit that will go behind that seat. If you look closely you'll see there is a tire there. My spare, which sits on top of a packrat roll out drawer toolbox, together weigh about 400 pounds. That stuff has to go to make room for the ARB. But I need it all, and more. In the posts to follow I'll show you what I've come up with, and hopefully, some of you overlanding gurus will have some insight to help me conquer some challenges that are sure to arise as I convert this dedicated rock crawler to an over-ANY-lander.
First project, move that spare.