Part 3 – Outfitting our Land Rover Defender 90

Part 3 – Outfitting our Land Rover Defender 90

Already our Defender 90 had been through a lot. A full service career with the Italian Carabinieri, re-imported to the United Kingdom, exported to British Columba Canada and then a major engine over haul and upgrade. This little Defender had seen it all on both sides of the world so far.

Our intention was always to be respectful to the brand, to the heritage and to the vehicle by not doing too much in the way of cutting, chopping and going over the top.

Part of our self brief was to do work on our vehicle that:

  • Respected the original vehicle.
  • Preserved what we had.
  • Cut & drilled as little as possible.
  • Not created a vehicle that was far from original specifications.
  • Adapted it for our needs.
  • Helped preserve the longevity and retain value.

What we wanted was a vehicle that had the following characteristics:

  • Simple.
  • Reliable.
  • Functional.
  • Has forms of protection.
  • Awesome tires.
  • Good suspension.
  • Good storage.
  • Practical.
  • Capable of long overland journeys.
  • Highly capable off road.
  • Made us smile every time we drive it.

What we have ended up with is a long list of very cool but well thought out additions or upgrades that enhance the vehicle in terms of practicality, form and function but retains it’s original looks.

The very last thing we wanted was a huge lift, massive tires, great strain and stress on an older vehicle.

The true reality is that an old Defender 90 is an exceptionally capable vehicle stock and straight from the factory. There is something about driving a vehicle using pure technique with amazing old mechanical technology and not relying on electronic traction aids (not that there is anything wrong with them..)

A huge thanks must go to friends, colleagues, mentors that helped advise, helped build and give feed back to make it possible. Fred Monsees, Sean Gorman, Tim Scully, David Rees, Jim West, Ray Hyland, Paul Cooper, Matt Kerr & Don Macdonald.

  • WARN Zeon 8S Winch & Fairlead.
  • Terrafirma Pro Taper HD Winch Bumper.
  • Factor 55 Flatlink Expert.
  • ARB Awning.
  • Trasheroo.
  • Flat Dog Ladder.
  • Flat Dog Rear Swing Tire & Hi-Lift Carrier.
  • Hi-Lift Jack.
  • Terrafirma Bumperettes.
  • Transport Canada / ICBC mandated 3rd Break Light.
  • Terrafirma HD Sliders (tree kick outs).
  • Treeline Tamarack Constellation Roof Top Tent.
  • FrontRunner Slimline 2 Roof Rack.
  • Sceptre Fuel & Water Jerry Cans.
  • The Perfect Co-Pilot / Navigator / Moral Builder / Activity Co-ordinator.
  • Devon 4×4 Twin Battery Tray.
  • 2 x PC1500 Odyessy Batteries.
  • Dual Battery Solenoid & Wiring.
  • ARB 24 Spline Banjo Rear Air Locking Differential.
  • 300tdi Pyrometer.
  • Terrafirma 300tdi HD Hoses.
  • VDO Pyrometer Gauge.
  • VDO Water Temperature Gauge.
  • Icom VHF.
  • Series Defender Carling Switch Holder.
  • Carling Wiper Washer & Spotlight Switch.
  • ARB Rear Air Locker & Compressor Switches.
  • Bluesea USB.
  • Land Rover Factory HD Floor Mats.
  • Factory Original Carabinieri Safety Sticker (shame to remove history…).
  • ARB 50 Quart Fridge.
  • ARB Fridge Slide.
  • Custom Made Drawer & Storage.
  • ARB / WARN / Red Winches / Factor 55 Recovery Gear.
  • Custom Amsteel Blue Recovery Gear.
  • On Board Air Outlet.
  • ARB CKMA12 Compressor.
  • ARB Air Tank.
  • ARB Braided Air Hoses.
  • Blue Sea Auxillary Fuse Panel.
  • ARB Safari Snorkel.
  • FrontRunner Snow Cover (on cabin air intake).
  • FrontRunner Aluminium HD Steering Guard.
  • ARB OME Steering Damper.
  • General Tire Grabber X3 33″ Tires.
  • ARB OME 2″ HD Springs & Shocks.
Whipsaw 2016 Recreational Trip

Whipsaw 2016 Recreational Trip

There is something about the British Columbia classic trail that is known as the Whipsaw Trail. Located in mid southern BC near the small town of Princeton, it draws hundreds of would be fanatics, challengers and new comers each year.

The trail is usually a two day affair that on relatively dry conditions and is fairly straight forwards. Of course it can be done longer or even quicker, but for us time wasn’t the point. As soon as it becomes wet or snowed upon, things change somewhat. Still fairly navigable but the lower traction, often tighter confines of the BC woods and clay like mud add to the challenges!

Paul and I were lucky enough to find some spare mid week time and we able to cruise over to the trail and enjoy what it has to offer. We were lucky to have amazing weather, the trail was dry essentially so pretty straight forwards. Even luckier, we were the only ones out there, amazing and peaceful. We therefore set ourselves a small challenge, to enjoy the wheeling but to run it as simply and as quickly as possible without using diff locks, without touching, without spinning tyres, without using winches, spotting and other modern off road aids. Instead using, skill, knowledge, experience, good driving technique and standard vehicles. The challenge really was to build on trail driving experience using finesse and mechanical sympathy.

We managed to complete the trail in I think a healthy 9 hours including one stunning evening camp, with no drama. I think we got out twice to look, one spotted section, one failed climb very briefly by me but with a small direction change had no problems in the end. Sometimes it’s not about taking the biggest or hardest routes, sometimes it’s not about challenging the many mud holes, it’s about enjoying the scenery, enjoying the personal challenges you set, enjoying the flow of good off roading, enjoying continual technical movement, picking good lines and so on.

Such a great couple of days in the beautiful British Columbia woods on an iconic Canadian off road trail.

Escaping the Ordinary — Embracing the Adventure

Escaping the Ordinary — Embracing the Adventure

By Glenna Barron

For those who know even a little about it, overlanding conjures up visions of traversing rugged terrain, of meeting new cultures, of camping in remote locations and of embracing “the journey.” That is the heart of overlanding. What makes overlanding different from off-roading is that it is not just about overcoming obstacles in the terrain. While off-roading is greatly enjoyable, and many overlanders do it, they have cultivated a different ethos for their pursuit of adventure. Overlanding is about adventure between a starting and finishing point, of wanderlust and traversing remote regions often underexplored and underdocumented. It can be over difficult-to-manoeuvre terrain — a good example was the Camel Trophy event — but it can also be on easier to drive secondary roads and trails in remote locations, respectfully using them in the Tread Lightly! ® spirit. Always the vehicles are self-sufficient, ready for much of what they might encounter over trips of many days to many years, and at the close of each day, camp is set up.

And so the story goes for five stalwart friends who ventured into a remote region of British Columbia, Canada, their journey spanning hundreds of breathtaking and inspiring kilometres.

The journey was what it was about: exploring, each day bringing unique challenges, exhilarating terrain, seeing and doing things that would be woven into stories to be told again and again. Trail lore. Overlanding lore.

The friends navigated a desert area where glaciers had deeply incised mountains; today, velvety sagebrush, cacti and other plant life adorn them, fragile in their existence. It was an area where First Nations once fished for abundant salmon from the Fraser River and hunted herds of wildlife. Later, white settlers moved in to farm; their now decaying cabins dotting the hillsides, thousands of metres above the Fraser River. The roads and trails, some graded and some exquisitely rugged, perched on avalanche-prone hillsides, open to big sky, offering thrilling views. From there, the friends followed a once-wide logging road that became narrower with each passing kilometre, rarely used, nature reclaiming it. Small landslides roughened the trail, providing some off-camber thrills on the way down. Fallen trees blocked the trail, necessitating pruning and removal. The team worked efficiently to make the trail passable, always with safety in mind. This was where trust borne of many trips taken together, the camaraderie, bonded them further.

Around the campfire every night, the five recalled events of the day, each person adding their flavour to a hearty story soup, pausing once in awhile to savour the peace and joy that comes of being in locations that not many of us get to enjoy. Locations that leave a mark on your soul, calling to you again and again. It is a feeling, a melody, that settles in your mind, making itself comfortable: “The adventure is calling, and I must go; must go and live the life about which people write novels.”