In his previous blog, Stuart Queripel shared his Hilux rebuild project, looking at the major build components from the ground up. But it’s not all about functionality – in this blog, he shares information about the accessories he chose to make his adventure more enjoyable.
Starting with the very first accessory I installed onto the Hilux myself shortly after taking delivery – the EZDown Reloaded tailgate assist. In my opinion, this is an absolute must for every bakkie. What a practical, inexpensive and easy-to-install accessory that makes the arduous task of opening and closing the tailgate so much easier.
Also, there is that one issue you will always have to overcome when you install any drawer system and that is: where do you install your fridge, and how do you get access to it?
Ice, ice baby
A fridge slider of some sort now becomes a vital additional accessory. But before we get onto the fridge slider solution, let me give you my thoughts on camping fridges and why I ultimately chose the 40-litre Engel from 4×4 Mega World. I have to admit that over the years, I have become somewhat of a camping snob. I can’t see the point of camping without an ice-cold beer and a decent piece of rump that you know hasn’t gone off because it was left swimming in the cool box filled with yesterday’s melted ice.
Having done the usual online research and after I chatted to a few mates in the 4×4 industry, the same two questions came up repeatedly. Firstly, how many people are you usually camping with and how long are your trips. This made the choice very easy as the bulk of my travels are with three to five people (two adults and three kids) for no longer than three nights at a time. Based on this, I didn’t need a huge fridge – just enough space to keep the basics like butter, milk, beers and some steaks cold. From the hundreds of reviews I read, the Engel 40-litre seemed to have legendary status based on its price to reliability ratio.
The only remaining challenge was to install the fridge on top of my drawer system and still have access to it. This was no problem for Geoff and his team at 4×4 Mega World Hillcrest.
A Desert Product Drop-it gas strut assisted dropdown fridge slider was the best solution. Because I’m not a fan of my food and drinks inside the fridge sliding around, I opted for the level drop-down slider as opposed to the ones that drop down at a 45-degree angle.
Now that the bakkie bin was secure, set up, powered up, and fully equipped with all the creature comforts any overlander would need, I shifted focus to getting some much-needed protection from the elements. An awning was definitely the answer for shade or projection from rain, whether on a camping trip or just out and about for the day.
Once again, I sought advice from 4×4 Mega World. We discussed the various awning options that would work with my unconventional bakkie bin setup. It didn’t take long for us to settle on arguably one of the best awnings available in the world, another proudly South African product – the Alu-Cab 270° Shadow Awning. Warwick and Jeremy from Alu-Cab were very keen to get involved with the build and, within a few days, I found myself back at the 4×4 Mega World workshop in Hillcrest to have it installed.
Over the years, I had seen and heard a lot about these Alu-Cab Shadow awnings, but it was only when I got to set it up and test it out on a recent camping trip that I got to appreciate its sheer brilliance. I can honestly see why it is in such high demand all over the world. It is compact, sturdy, easy to set up and super practical.
With my Hilux now built and kitted out to my exact needs, we are planning some amazing adventures. In the coming months, we have a few trips planned with the one I’m most looking forward to being a few nights of wild camping at Somkanda Game Reserve in Northern KwaZulu-Natal.
Credit: Adventure Afrika