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your Nomadic Adventure


    Camping is a constant gamble with the elements. On some essential items it’s better to pay a bit extra for the better quality. That said, a lot of people think you need all the bits, bobs and mods to do a lap of Australia. We didn’t have the budget to do that much shopping! To get a uni grads perspective on what you REALLY need, have a read of our below equipment info…


    Finding the right vehicle

    Think of your vehicle as your aeroplane- flying you to incredible destinations. Would you rather fly Qantas or Tiger? Reliability and safety must be priorities when purchasing a vehicle to adventure, this is something you just can’t cheat on! But you don’t have to spend a fortune. It is affordable, even for uni grads. All you need to do is research, and we’ve done half of that for you!


    Good starting point to test drive and pick your top 3 favorite brands and models. The below 3 car yards in Victoria have good 4X4 ranges:

    1. Car Megamart, Packenham
    2. Melbourne’s cheapest cars, Moorabbin
    3. Oz car, Seaford


    To narrow down our search through thousands of vehicles available on and in car yards we used the below parameters:

    1. Budget = $15,000 approx
    2. Vehicle no older than 10 years
    3. Not over 200,000 KMs on the clock
    4. Good service history & no towing experience
    Brand comparisons


    Ford Ranger 

    +space cab option with opening back doors

    +reasonable price

    -space cab models made in Thailand

    -3 star ANCAP safety rating 2007-11 models


    Mitsubishi Triton 

    +great price

    +5 star ANCAP safety rating

    -rough to drive

    -private seller we visited had engine replaced due to over-heating issue 2011 model


    Toyota Hilux 

    +space cab option

    +spare parts available across rural Australia

    +reputation for handling rough terrain

    +hold resale value

    +smooth to drive

    -high cost

    -back doors of space cab do not open

    Buying a Toyota Hilux

    Luxi was purchased through with 15% knocked off the advertised price. She met our priorities for safety, reliability and comfort, and we haven’t had any issues thus far.


    • 2006 Toyota Hilux
    • 192,000 KMs
    • 4 star ANCAP safety rating
    • 5 speed manual transmission, diesel 4×4
    • Space Cab
    • 2m aluminium tray
    • BF Goodrich tyres – $300 each when purchased in 2015 @Bob Jane Tyres (highly recommend these as they have never failed us in very trying conditions!)
    • Bull bar – Iron Man bull bar for $800, saved $400 by choosing to fit it ourselves (WARNING: DIY installation took a painstaking 3 full days, recommend paying the extra to get it done professionally)
    • Aluminium Flexi glass tray (without tray sides) – purchased 3 aluminium sides for $500 @Top Deck
    • Dual battery system – $500 DIY job, Narva voltage sensitive relay system to prevent flattening main car battery

    Luxi hits the dirt


    We have a custom made canvas canopy for our Ute tray and a 4man tent. Having the option to sleep in either the tray when it’s raining or the tent when it’s hot is great. At times we wished we had more shade so consider investing in an awning.


    A canvas canopy was our cheapest option to keep our gear dry and secured in the Ute tray. We purchased the $2000 canvas including steel frame, 2 flywire windows and 1 plastic rear window from Outback Campers.

    Consider the following points when shopping for a canopy:

    • Ensure the canvas quote includes GST
    • Stress to the manufacturers to NOT scratch your car when installing
    • 3 zips each side of the canopy makes it easier for 1 person to roll up the doors
    • Zips and bungies need thorough rinsing after salt exposure (tooth brush is useful for this)
    • Nothing is lockable – a tradies tool box is a good addition to lock away valuables and keep items cool
    • Ensure the weight is evenly distributed in the tray eg. Put tool box on opposite side to fuel tank
    • Canvas is completely water proof BUT gets very hot
    • If sleeping in the tray consider a flap on the rear plastic window to keep it darker and cooler for sleeping