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.
Tuktoyaktuk Summer 2017

Tuktoyaktuk Summer 2017

The Journey

We decided a little while ago to plan and undertake a big journey in classic old Land Rover’s and we wanted to do something unique, challenging and never done before. After some research we realized that we wanted to go to the Canadian Arctic and explore some of the least explored terrain in the world.

We found that there is a new section of dirt road being created across the Mackenzie Delta in the northern North West Territories and this road was yet to be travelled upon by anyone other than construction crews.

The iconic Dempster Highway currently runs from Dawson in the Yukon to Inuvik in the Northwest Territories. This road is about 750km’s long and is part of the famous winter ice-road. In the summer it is a maintained dirt road that passes through true wilderness with very very little human habitation or settlement. During the winter months an ice road is made across the Mackenzie River Delta from Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk on the very edge of the Beaufort Sea, part of the Arctic Ocean. During the summer months there has been no way to drive to Tuktoyaktuk from Inuvik until now. The Northwest Territories provincial government has been constructing an extension of the Dempster Highway to allow resource supplying and tourism within Tuktoyaktuk and area. The new section of road officially opens later this year or early next year.

Our trip is hugely unique in that we will be the very first public to be allowed to travel this new section of road before it is open to the general public. We managed to secure a permit to be able to travel this new section of road, escorted by the Northwest Territories Department Of Transport – a huge privilege.


Our journey starts at the US / Canada border on August 22nd 2017 and we hope to be in Tuktoyaktuk by August 29th 2017.


Our journey consists to two vehicles as that is all our permit allows. Ray Hyland in his 1988 Land Rover – Range Rover Classic and myself in my diesel 1996 Land Rover – Defender 90.

The Route

The “first” journey itself is about 4000km in one direction from the Peace Arch Border Crossing just south of Vancouver, all the way to Tuktoyaktuk. Our route is planned as follows. Our aim was to take two separate routes there and back where we could to be able to enjoy the most of Canada’s amazing scenery and to visit a couple of Ray’s families historic sites.

View route on Google Maps here


The journey there, the world’s first section

  1. Peace Arch Border Crossing, BC / WA

  2. Liard Hotsprings Provincial Park, BC

  3. Watson Lake, YK

  4. Tungsten, YK

  5. Ross River, YK

  6. Dawson, YK

  7. Inuvik, NWT

  8. Tuktoyaktuk, NWT

The journey home


  1. Tuktoyaktuk, NWT

  2. Inuvik, NWT

  3. Dawson, YK

  4. Whitehorse, YK

  5. Hyder, AK

  6. New Aiyansh, BC,

  7. Prince Rupert, BC

  8. Haida Gwaii / Gwaii Hannas, BC

  9. Prince Rupert, BC

  10. Port Hardy, BC – via the True Inside Passage

  11. Vancouver, BC

  12. Whistler, BC