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13 adventure and overland gizmos

19 July 2016

A hundred years ago ‘overlanding’ was a right tough old business, and there were no modern amenities like fridges, GPS systems and the like on which you could rely. These days, we have it a lot better in the overland gadget and tools department. Deon van der Walt compiled a list of some cool stuff…


1. Feel the heat
The BioLite CampStove is a multi-purpose unit that is quite ingenious. Using normal pieces of firewood, it does what a campstove does best, while also charging electronic devices. It converts the heat from the fire into electrical power to serve as a USB charger for electronic devices.

Pros: Charges most electronic devices, from smartphones to tablets.
Overlanding: If there is no usable firewood it’s back to the good-old 12V socket.
Price: R2 100
Where to buy: Due South (


2. Packing everything… and the kitchen sink
With the Sea to Summit portable kitchen sink, you can take your kitcheny duties with you. Rinse the cutlery to use another day or just collect water for daily use.

Pros: Holds 10 litres of hot water for pesky camping chores. Folds up to a size that is easily stowed away.
Overlanding: This provides an overlanding trip with that ‘home away from home’ vibe.
Price: R450
Where to buy: Cape Union Mart (


3. A campsite on wheels
The Jurgens Safari XTC is a trailer-based caravan kitted to the brim with overlanding niceties. It features a rooftop tent, a bathroom shower unit, a full electrical system and a payload of 400kg.

Pros: The 15″ wheels are off-road biased so it can go just about anywhere. Independent coil springs make for easier going on bumpy surfaces.
Overlanding: Vehicle’s manoeuvrability can be slightly compromised on tight tracks. Although it is competitively priced, it’s still a big investment compared to a two-man tent.
Price: R179 550
Where to buy: Campworld (

4. A Jack of all trades emergency kit

The Lifeline Emergency Roadside Kit contains the basic emergency items you might need when left stranded next to the road between Cape Town and Cairo. From jumper cables and PVC tape, to Band-Aids for treating small cuts and scrapes.

Pros: It can come in handy in the gramadoelas for fixing basic electrical problems.
Overlanding: The kit is not multi-purpose enough to treat any extensive problems, health or mechanical. It merely supplements a proper first aid kit and a well-kitted toolbox, but does not replace them.
Price: R450
Where to buy: Cape Union Mart (


5. Keep it in the lane, mate!
Ford’s nifty Lane Keeping System is no longer so unique, but what does make it cool is that the company is offering this technology in most of its models, big and small. So it’s not only reserved for the high-end, R1-million vehicles.

It works like this: A camera mounted behind the rear-view mirror faces forward, and constantly monitors prevalent road markings ahead.

If the vehicle starts drifting towards a line without the indicator activated (when you would intentionally change lanes), the system alerts the driver by means of a passive alert (alarm sounds and warning light is activated on the dashboard) or active intervention (slight vibration or limited corrective steering action in steering wheel). The driver can select the level of intervention desired.

The system is only operational at speeds of over 64km/h and it automatically disengages under the following conditions: When the vehicle’s indicators are in use, during emergency braking, rapid acceleration, when the lines are not clearly detected or when the vehicle is engaged in an evasive steering manoeuvre.

Pros: Helps you to remember to use indicators when changing lanes. And obviously a huge safety asset too.
Overlanding: Since the road between Cape Town and Cairo is nowadays tarred, this system will keep you in check on long-distance travels.
More information:


6. Getting the basic (water) things right
The Sawyer mini water filtration system offers a good solution to overlanding hydration needs. The straw can be used to filter water directly from the water source, or the bag can be filled, squeezed and out pours relatively clean, filtered water.
Pros: It eliminates micro-organisms and bacteria for relatively safe drinking water on the go. Good replacement for bulky water bottles, translating into significant weight and space saving.
Overlanding: It is still a good idea to have a few bottles of backup water as the little Sawyer can’t filter everything like heavy metals or chlorine.
Price: R499
Where to buy: Filter Shop (

7. Follow in your Trax

Simple yet effective, the Sand Lizard Rescue Trax might just rescue your 4×4 from a really sticky situation. It provides additional traction under the wheels for a safe recovery in both sand and mud.

Pros: Versatile, as it can double as an outdoor shower floor or even a vehicle bridge over small ruts.
Overlanding: At only 5.2kg apiece, it’s perfect for the long haul.
Price: R1 295
Where to buy: Front Runner (


8. Need some direction?
Be it on the road, on the water, or on foot, the Garmin Montana 650 can take you there. Compatibility with Tracks4Africa makes it even more versatile.

Pros: It features an eight-Megapixel camera with a geotag option. Has a glove friendly touchscreen. Able to withstand the elements.
Overlanding: Loaded with Tracks4Africa, the Montana 650 can take you on nearly every dusty road and track on our vast continent. Durability makes it a good choice for overlanding through Africa.
Price: R10 599
Where to buy: Garmin SA (

9. Flim it

Overlanding is all about the adventure. Why not capture the special moments on camera then…. modern technology gives everyone the chance to be the star of the show, from an epic powerslide in the sand to a daring mountain descent. Enter the GoPro Hero4 Black.

Pros: HD video recording, 12 megapixel camera, and 30 frames per second burst mode. The GoPro offers state-of-the-art action videography to the masses.
Overlanding: An excellent accessory to capture weird and wonderful moments on the journey.
Price: R9 500
Where to buy: Outdoor Photo (


10. Calling a spade a shovel
Thanks to the spatial constraints associated with overlanding trips, the motto ‘space is more precious than gold’ is one to live by. And a compact Front Runner Fold-Up Shovel/Spade is one of the most important tools for the off-road job.

Pros: Folds up to a compact size. Weighs less than one kilogram.
Overlanding: This multipurpose shovel/spade combo is not only handy off the beaten track, but also at the campsite.
Price: R210
Where to buy: Front Runner (


11. A thermal revelation
Ever sat around a campfire in the middle of the Kgalagadi, and hear strange noises in the dark? Like a leopard debating whether he should have you with Aromat or Robertson spices?
Then you need a Flir One thermal imaging device for your smartphone. The device uses your phone’s existing jack and voila, you have a thermal imaging phone to check out that hungry predator in the dark.

Pros: The applications for this device are legion. From personal security to finding leaks in your vehicle’s radiator to becoming the hide and seek champion of the world.
Overlanding: In the gramadoelas you can check out those man-eating lions in the dead of night, only to find out it’s just a rabbit that’s upset because you pitched your tent on his den.
Price: R5 000
Where to buy: FlirAfrica (

12. Cassette player, anyone?

So you finally bought that 1980 Land Rover to go touring through Africa. But ag shame, it still has a sound system with a cassette player. Don’t fear, because Radioshack has the answer: The company’s Bluetooth cassette adapter simply hooks up to your Bluetooth-enabled device, you pop the cassette into the player, and Bob’s your uncle.

Pros: You can listen to both your old and modern music through your vehicles’ antique cassette player. And, imagine the commotion if you camped next to a overland truck full of 18 year old students… they’ll be amazed at your cassette contraption.
Overlanding: No overlanding trip is an overlanding trip without some lekker choons…
Price: About R530 (excludes shipping)
Where to buy: Radioshack (



13. Just chill
Ever wished your cooler box would keep that just-caught cob chilled a little longer? Then a Chill-Pak cooler box may be just the ticket for you. These boxes feature two layers of fibreglass and a twin-seal polystyrene cooling system. The Chill-Pak products are primarily designed for anglers.

Pros: Cool if you don’t want to lug a big fridge/freezer along on that overnight camping trip. Also doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.
Overlanding: Cool for short excursions, but less effective than a fridge/freezer on a three-week long odyssey.
Price: R1 150
Where to buy: Chill-Pak (Tel: 044 333 0122)
Facebook: Chill-Pack