With each day that passes it really seems like the world is becoming more and more interconnected; starting May 10th, Panama and Colombia will also be making that step as Aventuras 2000 will be starting a ferry service between the ports of Colon, Panama and Cartagena, Colombia. Yes, that ferry service includes vehicles. For the longest time the biggest hurdle for overlanders wishing to drive the PanAmerican highway has been the Darien Gap. Some have tried to penetrate the jungle between Panama and Colombia, and with the exception of explorers such as John Blashford Snell, many have failed. It's natural that this ferry will quickly become the transport of choice for Overlanders, replacing the container or RO-RO (Roll-On, Roll-Off) methods of shipping.
Without a doubt the most common question we get at Expedition Portal is: “What do I need to buy to go overlanding, fourwheeling, car camping, etc?” With the assumption that the goal is exploration and not recreational 'off-roading' in a group, this is our top ten purchase list, in order of importance.
If you've never checked out XPCamper - you don't know what you're missing. Based in California, the company brings 'european-style' overland conversions to American platforms. They're known for their high-tech, lightweight carbon-fiber construction camper conversions to full-sized trucks. The problem, if you could call it that, is they never offered anything for smaller trucks such as the Toyota Tacoma. Luckily the XPCamper V2 is on it's way and the mid-sized Tacoma won't be left out anymore. You're looking at the just released prototype photos of the V2. We're assured that over the coming weeks, Expedition Portal will be the first to get all the new developments on the XPCamper V2
I distinctly remember receiving my first pocket knife at the age of 13 from my uncle as a Christmas present. It was a pretty big moment, as I had never really played with a pocket knife prior to that. I wore the small little Schrade nearly every day and thought I was the coolest kid in town – despite nearly cutting my thumb off (which I appropriately blamed on a piece of faulty machinery – sorry Dad.) It lasted a year or so until the tip broke clean off while my Dad was attempting to shuck oysters with it. The Schrade was a nice knife – and taught me an interesting fact; knives have a high attrition rate, you're either going to lose them, break them, or wear them out. While at the age of 13 I couldn't exactly afford this nearly two-hundred dollar ($185 to be exact) Benchmade knife – it does represent nearly everything that I would have wanted at that age.
The Mercedes-Benz Gelandewagen is a staple in the realm of overland travelers. It's known for it's excellent fuel economy when equipped with the reliable 4-cylinder engine, it's stout construction, and of course, for it's front, rear, and center locking differentials. The mere mention that the G-Wagen has become the vehicle of choice for desert explorer Tom Shepard helps to describe it's credentials. The model listed here has under 40,000 miles - and appears to be in great shape, just think of the travels you could have in this low mileage machine.
Fortunate for the Expeditions 7 team, Toyota had already completed the hard work before the vehicles left the factory in Japan. Years of cumulative engineering and refinements have produced one of the most out-of-the-box capable, global-class overland vehicles on the planet: the VDJ78. In comparison to the more standard (yet still capable and respected) Rest of the World or 'RTW' vehicles - the New Zealand specification vehicles have several improvements, such as dual airbags and side impact protection and the venerable 4.5L V8 turbocharged engine. In addition, we specified that the vehicles were fitted straight from the factory with front and rear cross-axle locking differentials, auxiliary fuel tanks, an air intake snorkel, and even a high idle button for demanding situations. For vehicles that will be spending two years circumnavigating the globe in environments ranging from Antartica to Africa, what other modifications can be made?
The iPad has continued to evolve as an essential piece of travel kit, mastering everything from navigation to photo editing, but cases for carrying the mighty 'Pad are often devoid of style, functionality, durability, and protective ability.
Enter the SleeveCase from WaterField Designs—a thick neoprene-cushioned pocket wrapped up in rugged ballistic nylon. The SleeveCase features a soft Ultrasuede® interior which doubles as an automatic screen cleaner, impact-resistant inserts in the walls to protect the screen, and checkpoint-friendly construction. There's also a slim pocket on the back for papers, a camera connection kit, or a slim charger. Options include natural leather trim and convenient detachable shoulder straps for hands-free carry. The case is durable and well made, with beautiful styling and excellent attention to detail.
Upon completion of Indian Pass and before hitting any pavement whatsoever, we made a hard right and headed North on an old power line road. See, In the desert when you can't find your way you can many times look to powerlines to guide you. They usually contain access roads that will let you cross huge scale portions of the desert in a timely manor. We'd continue this northernly pattern near highway 78 till we passed a Border Patrol check point out of site of the agents and finally head North West through Milpitas Canyon. It was a long few hours of winding slow pace moving because the towers ran between many rolling sand hills. In some sections the service road disappeared to where we had to find the road again. The good thing about the slow pace was that we had time to make a call to our families on Christmas day as for some reason we had cell reception on one of the carriers. The families at home were happy to hear from us, as this was the first time we spoke to home since we left days before.
When I first saw our friends over at BringATrailer.com post up this Volkswagen Golf Country Syncro I didn't really know what it was. At first I thought it was some sort of modern Lada Niva that I didn't know about– which upset me, I'm a bit fan of the little Russian 4wd. I soon found out it's one of a handfull of Golf Syncro's in the United States and a pretty rare sight to see. It's outfitted with a suspension lift and BFG KM2 mud-terrain tires; we think it's pretty cool and worth checking out.