What a great way to spend our Sunday. After the pouring rain from the last couple af weeks, we took our favourite 4×4’s and headed over to the Northern part of our province to find us some mud. And mud did we find! Enjoying every piece of track and mud in combination with good company what more can you wish for…. ah yes, hot coffee stops!
“Expect the unexpected” they say! I suppose it wasn’t meant to happen just on your driveway! Just a small scratch but it made it to the inner structure of the Tyre. Riding like this on soft sand and slow speeds is no issue. But with these extreme high temperatures and high speed on the motorway, thats a recipe for a blowout. So changed it out of precaution. Better safe than sorry.
Last couple of weeks things really went fast. Thanks to Empe Overland I got introduced to the Ministry of Autonomous Travel. A European network that is a build around the shared interest of Overlanding. It escalated quickly in getting involved and setting up an international Radio Network. So now we have on a regular basis contact with Overlanding enthousiast all over Europe, Spain, France, Germany, Portugal, France, Belgium, …, by just a click of a button! The network is growing fast! It’s really an honour to be part of this and even to help the network’s expansion. It’s also a blessing to meet so many new people in Europe with the same passion for Overlanding and share knowledge and experience with each other.
One of the key elements in our way of travelling, “Overlanding”, is the ability to discover remote locations, find adventurous small roads, camp on isolated places and be far away from everybody else. In theory the only thing you need is a good detailed map like a topographic map. This will tell you everything you need to know about a the terrain you are roaming. What kind of surface height, is it a dead end road, … I’m a big fan of using plain old maps, we use them on all our hikes. I’m quite skilled reading and interpreting topographic maps. Even if you are using digital apps or specialised GPS devices, knowing how to read and interpret a map is key. Most advanced GPS devices also use topographic maps so that’s a skill you won’t waste your time on. If you want to know more on reading and understanding maps head over to the Navigation reading list.
The downside of paper maps is that they become outdated at a certain moment. In Belgium for example some regions haven’t been updated since 1995, a lot has changed since then. Another issue is bringing a whole library if you are travelling wide areas. And last but not least, if you are wandering around the continent and just go where the wind blows, it’s kind of heard to prepare a set of maps if you have no destination set out. Luckily we moved over to the digital era and tons of apps with updated digital topographic maps are available. I have some of them on my phone: GAIA GPS, Topo GPS, etc… But i’m not a big fan of using those apps as main source of navigation. I like to use my phone for music, calling, looking up information of the area we are in, messaging in the car, … and you need constant cellular connection to navigate. Now I know you can download pieces of maps to your device but as mentioned before, if you don’t know where you are heading, that’s no use.
One of my most anticipated buys from the last few years was definitely the Garmin Overlander. I’ve seen similar devices on youtube channels in Australia and the United states but could get anything near that functionality here in Europe.
So there you are: all geared up and ready to go out and explore. That might be a full Overlanding trip for several weeks or just be the first steps into camping and wild camping. Maybe you’re just up for a quick weekend getaway. Expectations are high. For me a good trip is directly linked to the quality of the spots we camp on. I get a lot of questions on how we find those perfect spots. They don’t come served up on a silver plate, good places are hard to find and I’d like to keep it like that. I’d like to give you an insight on how we find them. I’m not going to tell you my hotspots, you will have to find your own. 😉 The definition of a perfect camp spot is also very different from one person to the other.
Since everybody is looking for alternative ways to spend their holidays and I received a ton of mails and phone calls asking for advice on rooftop tents. #corona I decided to write it all down. One of the biggest and most important decisions in building your overlanding rig is the choice of your rooftop tent. There are a wide variety of models and options available, i’m not going to dig in that pile. I’ve done it once when I was out looking for my exact match and it took me quite a while. To write out a guide for every situation and everybody’s needs would take me forever. But what I do want to point out is what the pro’s and con’s are related to traveling with a rooftop tent. << read the full article >>
Last week I was out in the field finally working again. One of the first jobs after the Corona mayhem! And I was really happy with my solar powered mobile office! Charging camera’s, drone batteries, laptops on nature’s abundant power source!
Thanks to the guys at Gitrax for the advice and installation.
I’m running: – Wattstunde daylight sun power solar Module 120W – Victron 75/15 controller 15A (MPPT) & Bluetooth dongle (smartphone connection)