JDO's long-term outback tourer build - Page 14 - Nissan-Navara.net
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post #131 of 135 (permalink) Old 20-05-19, 12:52 PM
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Join Date: May 2007
Location: Coventry and Limoges
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Do you dare to add up the costs of these trips?
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post #132 of 135 (permalink) Old 20-05-19, 01:00 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Newcastle, Australia
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Originally Posted by landmannnn View Post
Do you dare to add up the costs of these trips?

On this one:

Fuel cost $1,512
Accommodation cost $970
National Park permits $36
Insurance excess $695
Anticipated mechanical repairs not covered by insurance $500
Meals all fell within our usual family grocery allowance of $400/wk (times 3.4 weeks is $1,360, but this cost is not included in total as it would have been incurred anyway)

So $3,713 all up, or just a touch over $1,000 per week. Very cheap as far as holidays go. Of course there’s the capital expense of the vehicles and equipment used, as opposed to owning a 2007 VW Golf and driving it to the airport...
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post #133 of 135 (permalink) Old 20-05-19, 01:24 PM Thread Starter
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On water:

We found that without much effort at conservation, including two loads of dishes per day but no bathing/showering/toilet (hello baby wipes!), we were using a touch under 20L per day. Noting that’s mostly sedantry activity - sitting in the car, although I worked up quite a lather rescuing that Isuzu - and daytime temperatures were mild (low 20s maximum). We also had soft drinks and fruit juice in our daily meal plan, which reduced water consumption by an equivalent amount.

That means the trailer’s 85 litre tank lasted us four days. I had to refill in Coober Pedy, where water is (very) scarce and the taps were coin-operated. 20 cents bought 40 litres, and I needed 40 cents worth.

We also carried 25 litres in the ute tub, in a 15 litre plastic jerry and a 10 litre supermarket cask. This is planned as an emergency supply and was not counted in the four days figure above.

The rationale of keeping a supply in the tub was in case we had to abandon the trailer, or the trailer’s tank was lost or contaminated. I am pleased we did as we ran across a couple with a toddler about my son’s age in a Patrol, and their underslung (and only) water tank had had one of its fittings smashed off by a rock, so they had no water at all. Just a few dregs in a flask. That was at the end of Googs Track, and they told us they planned to drive to Tarcoola for more. Tarcoola is a ghost town, abandoned most recently around 2008 - I didn’t expect they’d find water there so we gave away our ten litre supermarket cask and refilled their flasks from our trailer. Good move, since we later ran into them again and they confirmed they didn’t find more water until Glendambo Roadhouse, a day’s drive away. And I doubt Glendambo we’re thrilled with them - it has no water supply at all, everything is either bottled or brought in by tanker truck.

I think I need to work out how to carry more. To do, say, Anne Beadell Highway we’d to nearly double our water endurance to a week. We could add a second tank to the trailer which would do exactly that, but I’m reluctant to add so much weight. And there’s some complexity involved as I’d need a transfer pump between the tanks. And the couple with the smashed tank fitting and no water could just has easily have been us, but for the grace of God... so I need to find some way to disperse 80 litres around the tub. A vertical panel tank might be the solution... or eight of those supermarket casks, which can be burnt in the fire when they’re done?

I also need to investigate filtering and purification options, since the Patrol couple actually had access to several stock dams and waterholes, had they cared to look, but they’re not drinking water. If I one day achieve my dream of driving the Canning Stock Route, it is only possible to complete this track if you draw well water along the way, which inevitably has dead stuff in it. When hiking, I use an osmosis pump and chlorine tablets, but these won’t be up to the job of producing enough water for four people.

We can also look at reducing our consumption by going for tinned meals rather than dehydrated, as tinned meals do not need water to cook and, if eaten out of the tin, don’t produce much washing up either. (For that matter they also don’t require heating, so we could use less gas, but that was not an issue for us.)
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post #134 of 135 (permalink) Old 20-05-19, 01:30 PM Thread Starter
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A bit more on water:

The trailer tank has two taps, an electric one and a manual pump. I’m glad I went for that option as once or twice we had a panic that the electric pump had failed. False alarms each time (it has an easily-knocked isolator switch).

We also need to consider, for true remote area stuff, that water from a known potable supply needs to be kept isolated from more dubious sources, and once a tank has had dubious water in it, it is contaminated until properly cleaned, even if subsequently refilled. Having several tanks or containers is therefore important.

We also need a way to draw water from a standing source into the tanks - currently I rely on a hose pipe and having access to town water with a conventional tap. A hand pump or jiggle siphon, perhaps. Or a bucket and funnel
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post #135 of 135 (permalink) Old 25-05-19, 11:44 AM Thread Starter
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Location: Newcastle, Australia
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On electrics:

Through sheer laziness and inopportune intersections of times I could be bothered and weather that made it impractical, I never fitted my 20A DC-DC charger to the trailer.

For weight saving purposes, I removed my usual 130Ah battery box from the tub. (I use this as a dead-loss system to run my 40L fridge, but as that fridge didn’t come either, there was no point in its attendant battery.)

That meant I had the Navara’s cranking battery, and a 100Ah wet cell lead acid battery in the trailer. These were connected in parallel (with no intervening electronics) via a 50A Anderson plug near the tow hitch, a connection I had to be sure to unplug every night lest the trailer draw the start battery down.

I also had my (nominally) 180W solar panels.

I found that this arrangement was actually OK. If we had access to mains power overnight, all the alternator really had to do during the day was run the fridge, because the trailer battery was fully charged. For free camping, the alternator output wasn’t amazing but as we’d drive for five or six hours each day, it got the job done. I think the DC-DC would be better.

The solar panels worked well to recharge the trailer and run the fridge, but were only deployed twice. At this time of year the sun would set as early as 1645, and we’d often not be set up for camp much before then, limiting their utility. When we did multi-day stops we generally did so in towns with power.

On free camping nights we’d often wake to the battery down to 12.3 volts, suggesting a second night without a charge would be unlikely. That’s running the fridge at 3C with mild ambient temperatures, plus LED lighting at night.

-Despite the smart alternator, a DC-DC charger is probably not strictly necessary for my equipment as it stands, however I need to increase the size of my trailer battery, and this may change that
-The solar panels are a good idea but realistically could be eliminated if space or weight constraints required it
-Relying on memory to disconnect the car and trailer is not a happy recipe for future success

With those things in mind I may look to a lithium battery swap, as I could improve capacity for no or even a negative change in weight. A lithium battery would require a proper charger (for both alternator and solar charging), and this would solve my “don’t forget to unplug the battery” problem as well.
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