Camping

Johnsons-Mechanic-Rockhampton

How I went off the grid for 14 days with a basic setup in my 4WD

By Nathan Johnson | 13 September 2022

We’re often asked what mechanical preparations and performance improvement accessories were in place in the Johnson’s 4WD Repair Shop Nissan Y62 to prepare for an off-grid adventure in June and July of 2021. 

Nathan and Alan Johnson trekked off to the Northern Territory for an epic adventure. 

A convoy of vehicles filled with friends saw them journey to Lorella Springs Wilderness Park. 

Six months of preparation led to transforming a soccer-Mum-4WD into an off-road weapon. 

Some items considered include communication, vehicle protection, camping shade, 12v battery system, water storage, fuel storage and food.

To achieve an ideal set-up while being cost-conscious, careful consideration meant the balance between needs and wants was carefully measured. 

From a stock standard Nissan Y62, below is a list of the items fitted to the vehicle: 
  • Dirty Life Theory 18×9 Wheels LT275/70R18 Dick Cepek Fun Country Tyres
  • Ironman 4×4 steel bulbar winch compatible 
  • GME XRS-330C Uhf and AE4705B Antenna
  • Cel-Fi and Hi gain antenna for mobile phone reception
  • Hired satellite phone
  • Hulk 4×4 powerpack with 120ah AGM battery
  • Fold up 160w solar panel
  • Oztrail 80lt Dual-Zone fridge freezer
  • Rhino-Rack backbone and Pioneer Platform
  • 23 Zero Falcon 270-degree awning with sidewalls
  • Oztent RS-1 Swags
  • Coleman twin burner gas stove
  • Hulk 4×4 basic recovery kit
  • Hulk 4×4 20l water jerry cans x 3

Facilities were used, and hot showers were had along the way, thanks to the itinerary factoring in stays at holiday parks throughout the journey. 

Upon arrival at Lorella Springs, a seven-day stay completely off-grid was experienced, with no power backup. The 120 ah battery was used for night-time lighting, and the 80 ltr fridge was topped up at all times thanks to driving and solar power. 

The fridge was initially packed and set to fridge/freezer mode. This was set up on purpose to enable food longevity. Meal planning meant that items could move from the freezer to the fridge each day and be thawed in time for dinner. 

After seven days, the freezer settings were changed, and a fridge/fridge mode was set. Allowing an additional seven days of safe food to consume. 

The 270-degree awning with the sidewalls attached made for a perfect area to retreat to and set up the swags under. Most mornings, a pack-up occurred so the next campsite could be explored. The awning and side walls also prevented dew, allowing for an easy swag pack-up. 

With only two passengers in the Nissan Y62, the available room in the back of the vehicle was used to store the fridge, battery pack, water, swags and camping gear. 

On the two-week adventure, roughly 6,400kms were travelled. An experience that made memories, explored Australia, and reignited a thirst for adventure in remote areas. 

You don’t need all the best and latest gear to enable adventure. Sometimes it is the simplest setups that offer less stress and happier memories.