VDEG Sale

A revised edition of the overland bible, the Vehicle-dependent Expedition Guide, is in the pipeline. We don’t know when it will arrive; we do know it will be slightly larger in format, lightly updated, and for the first time in half a decade will have a higher cover price. In the meantime, we’ve reduced the price of the current edition to just $60. Among the dozens of emails I’ve received from previous buyers of VDEG, not one has said, “Not worth the price.” The universal reaction is exactly the opposite—this 600-plus page book includes everything you need to know for a three-day weekend exploration of a nearby park, or a three-month scientific expedition in the Sahara. If you’ve been looking for a perfect holiday gift for an overlander you know, this is it.

Overlanding for a Better World – Meet Alveto Expedition

You overland around the word for a number of years, you observe and learn, and then decide something to do good, that’s what Try to Give Back is about – a better world. This, in short is what Aldo and Vera’s overland journey is about. As many of us they set out with a simple idea: to get out there and see something of the world in the most independent way possible, by car. The world is a wondrous, marvelous place in many ways, but has some serious issues, pollution and poverty among them. Aldo and Vera decided to do their share in making our planet a little bit better and started Try to Give Back. No need to repeat here what they’ll be telling you themselves in this extensive, inspiring interview. Check them out, get caught by their enthusiasm and join the cause. Tell us a bit about yourselves and how you got to live a life on the road It all started with a simple question:  “What’s your dream?” I asked Vera on one of our first dates. She replied, “I love to travel and I would like to go one day to explore Asia, backpacking for about 6 months but in a very simple way and on budget, not as tourist but as traveller, going off-the-beaten path, learning about new cultures and traditions, trying the local cuisine and meeting with the locals. Would you like to do it with me?”  My answer was straight forward, “Off course, no problem”. Vera thought I was joking but the following week I took her to the bank where we opened a joint bank account. We agreed to put money aside directly from our salaries on a monthly basis and started saving for our future adventure trip. Few years passed, we got married and life went on but the small account continued to grow and we started to seriously think of leaving everything behind and to chase our dreams. From a backpacking trip to Asia it became an overland journey around the world. At first we thought of a camper, spacious and comfortable, but we quickly gave up on this idea, as we wanted to get to remote places, which would mean a lot of off-road. After reading about a famous German Overlander, Gunther Holtorf, we got inspired with the idea to buy a 4×4 vehicle and to transform it into a mini home on wheels.  We choose a Toyota Land Cruiser  for its legendary durability and its off-road capabilities. Also we thought that at some point we would have to ship our car to a next country or continent and the safest way to do this is via cargo container and our Land Cruise Prado would fit perfectly in a standard 20 ft container. In addition, we travel on a budget with minimal expenses so we needed a low-consumption engine, preferably diesel, strong and reliable. And beyond that, when you are many years on the road around the world, you will inevitably need some repairs and a Toyota Land Cruiser has the advantage of being a global model, with spare parts that can be found almost everywhere in the world. We used to live in England and in 2016, in part due to Brexit, we decided it was time to make the big change and embark on the craziest adventure of our life. We sold out everything we had, from our beloved motorbike a Suzuki Bandit 1250 down to all our household items, and off we went without looking back but only forward, one mile at the time.  Did you plan from the beginning to make it a full time existence, or did it start e.g. as a 1 or 2-year plan? What has your route been so far? And what’s next? Initially we thought that we would  travel around the world for up to 2 years. Later we understood that we didn’t take into consideration many important factors like: the best time and season to be in each country, container shipping times and the complications it may involve, the visa process, documents for the car and the requirements to enter in each country and so on. So we knew that if we really want to visit each country at its best we would have need much longer than 2 years. During the past  5 years we drove across 5 continents and visited  55 countries, totaling around 200,000 km. We are planning to cross all 6 drivable continents and visit between 80 to 100 countries. We started our trip in England making our way through Europe and eventually we crossed the whole of Russia from West to East as we always wanted to drive the Trans-Siberian Highway.   In 2016, more Asian countries followed: South Korea, China with the famous Great Wall, India visiting the Golden triangle route and Taj Mahal, Nepal – trekking to the Everest Base Camp – Thailand with beautiful islands, old Buddhist temples and exquisite tropical fruits, Malaysia with the orang-utans, Cambodia with Angkor Wat, Indonesia with the Komodo Dragon, Bali and the volcanic Java Island. Interviews In 2017 we reached Australia, which we explored for a few months. The trip was followed by the longest shipment for Toto: 60 days in a container from Australia to South America. While our Toto’ was inside a container we took the opportunity to visit New Zealand. Upon arriving in Uruguay we drove south to Ushuaia, the most southernmost driveable point on earth, made a U-turn and drove all the Way up to the Arctic Ocean in North America, passing through Argentina and Chile exploring Patagonia and visiting some of the most incredible landscapes in the Andes: Torres del Paine, El Chalten and Perito Moreno.  Many countries further, Canada marked the end of the Pan-American adventure when we reached the Canadian northernmost drivable point at the end of the Dempster Higway in Tuktoyaktuk. Here we soaked our feet in the icy cold waters of the Arctic Ocean. Recommended Books on Overlanding (click on the images to look inside) Products from Amazon By the end of 2019 we were back to the USA and crossed 28 of its states, which was a huge achievement for all three of us. 2020 Brought a sudden change in the whole world for all the travellers. The global pandemic instantly imposed major restrictions, which got us caught us in Miami, Florida. In March 2020 we the plan was to ship our vehicle to South Africa and finish our journey driving back to Europe crossing the African continent and passing through Middle East but due to the coronavirus we found ourselves stuck in Florida for 3 months. When the borders re-opened we shipped our Toto back to Europe and spent about a year in Italy, doing some repairs and a total maintenance of our vehicle. A few months ago we entered Greece, passed through Bulgaria and entered Turkey a couple of days ago, which we are planning to see for the next month and a half.  Our future plans are visiting Iran, Middle East and eventually enter Africa, driving it from North East to South and West. What makes you home on wheels Toto special for you? During all those years of traveling Toto proved to be the best choice of the vehicle we made for this trip. It has been our little home on wheels for the past 5 years and together we travelled in snow and ice in temperatures as low as -27 °C (-17F) in Canada to as high as + 50 °C (+ 122 ° F) in Australia. We drove through deserts, mud, rain, across sand and gravel, and crossed rivers. This included driving from -86 meters below sea level in the Death Valley in California and over 4900 meters above sea level in the Andes in South America. It is not just a vehicle for us, but a loyal companion that took us all around the world and to some very remote places. Car Specifics – Toto, a RHD Toyota Land cruiser KDJ120 Prado from 2004 mileage: 200.000 milesfuel consumption: 25miles x gallon avg.preference of tires: Coopertires, 3 set of tires to date: 1)  Mud terrain Discoverer STT Pro  2) All terrain-snow Discoverer AT3 4s  3) currently All terrain ST Maxx Modifications Interior: Self made bed frame 6ft x 4ftLeisure Battery 120amp50 lt Fresh water tank with 12V hot water systemBluetti Poweroak AC50s Powerbank + SP120W solar panel100W dokio Solar Panel26 lt Dometic FridgeColeman Dual fuel StoveJetboil minimo Exterior 1.5 in lift kit Ironman 4×4SnorkelCustom-built Roof rack with 420W led light30lt Jerry CanCustom-built 8mm Aluminium Skid Plates13.500lb Rhino Winch on hidden mountRacor fuel prefilter 10micron with water separatorAPS Transmission coolerCustom-built Breathers Extension kit What’s the best thing you packed and what’s the stupidest thing you brought (and ditched)? The best thing we brought with us is our Jet Boil, Coleman Cooker,  and a warm sleeping bag.  The stupidest, I guess, were lots of unnecessary and useless clothes that we donated or sent home. Our home is not just the walls that surround us, the whole planet Earth is our home” is the quote on your homepage. How did this conviction come to existence? Did you ‘always’ feel this was the case, or was it something your learned during your journey? This is what we understood to be true since we started traveling around the world. Everything in the natural world is interconnected and every action has a consequence. Before our journey we were living in our small world and didn’t know what was happening outside of it, caring only for ourselves.  Traveling around the world opened our eyes to so many things we didn’t think about or knew. We started appreciating even the little things that before we had taken for granted. We have seen so many miracles of nature and realize how fortunate ‘we’ (all human beings) are to call this marvelous planet our home. There is no other planet similar to Earth for thousands of light years away.  The saddest thing we witnessed, is how people are intentionally destroying the most precious thing we have: our life and future on this planet. If mankind does not realize very soon what we are doing and where we are heading to, the human race doesn’t have hope to survive on this planet.  Overland Vehicle Choice – the Discussions: @ALVETO Expedition We will eventually contaminate all the potable water, the breathable air, our land, will end up having more plastic in the oceans than fish, wild animals will be extinct and exterminated, our ecosystems destroyed and all of these will trigger the severe consequences of a climate change on us. It’s already in front of everyone’s eyes: natural disasters happening more often and always worse than the previous year. That’s why we decided to open our own charity organization and do anything possible to make a change.   Through our videos on YouTube we show how beautiful but at the same time how fragile our world is, trying to raise awareness about environmental concerns. With the revenue generated from our videos we do charitable actions like: plant treeshelp animal sanctuaries and marine conservation projectsbring aid to poor communities in need.   We are still a small community and charity, but we are hoping to grow in the next few years during our trip to Africa and participate in bigger projects.  Let’s talk about your initiative Try to Give Back. How did it start? What is it about? What are your goals and how to achieve them? Some of the highlights of our time in Mexico was swimming with whale sharks while wild camping on a beach in Baja California.  Here, we got extremely sensible of the waste and pollution problems when seeing people throwing their garbage bags out the windows of the car while driving (which we also found to be common throughout the whole of South-America). We were so devastated and angry, but soon we realized that feeling this way wouldn’t help in sorting out this problem.  That’s when we decided to found our Charity Association and  contribute in giving something back to our planet. This is how we came up with the name TRY TO GIVE BACK.  We decided not to use/buy plastic bottles, plastic bags, straws, coffee stirrers, etc anymore, and to be careful with the consumption of water and energy. We adopted a flexitarian diet, which consists in drastically reducing our consumption of meat and fish while mainly eating fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains. Alternative Water Filter Systems (click on the images to look inside) Products from Amazon We calculated the amount of carbon emissions that we produced during all those years of traveling and started to plant trees regularly. Additionally we decided to make videos on YouTube about our journey to show how beautiful our world is, but also how fragile it is. We send messages of sustainability and show the other side of the coin, and the true reality of what’s going on around the world. Our main goals are to raise awareness about the environmental concerns, sustainability, pollution and animal welfare. We aim to inspire people to take action and care of the only house we have –our planet.  The entire world has to change, lead a more sustainable life style. Our governments need to adopt severe laws and regulation in protecting our ecosystems and environment. A lot of people are ignorant and many don’t care at all even though they are well aware about climate change and the natural catastrophes.  It will be very hard and difficult to achieve our goals. We know that we won’t save the world, but at least we will do our part and will try to leave this world a bit better than we found it.  We will not give up and continue making videos on YouTube to raise funds to implement our charitable actions. How do you find or select your charities and how do you go about having those trees planted? We are not supporting big charity organizations unless we really know what goes on behind closed doors. Unfortunately, many big name organizations spend most of the donated money on wages, accountants and marketing. Furthermore we discovered that there is a lot of corruption and falsity, especially when we started to do deeper research about the charity organization when trying to found ourselves.  When we look for an organization we look at their accounts, how the money is distributed and what is the percentage of money donated that is actually used and invested to do charitable actions. We look into their past achievements, successfully completed projects, as well as scandals and the reason why they happened. We are trying to work with small organizations that we can visit personally. Us being a new small organization, we know very well the struggles and difficulties they are facing. Other than monetary donations we prefer to act in person. Recently we brought dog food to a dog shelter in Greece, we bought the food and carried it there ourselves (rather than giving money to the shelter). Regarding trees, we are working with Trillion tree campaign which is backed by the UN. It is the most ambitious project of reforestation in the world. They have many and different types of projects all around the world. Anyone can choose the organization he/she is willing to work with, the type of tree planted, the number of trees, and where to plant them.  Thanks to the donations and our YouTube revenue we planted 2175 trees in Africa in the past 6 months. We supported a couple of reforestation projects that are GPS tracked and that we are planning to visit in person upon reaching the African continent. In addition, Vera owns several hectares of land and when back from our trip, we are planning to grow trees to cover all the surface of that land. On our website: https://www.trytogiveback.org anyone can find detailed information about our projects and achievements. How do you receive donations? Do you work with companies, sponsorship, or it is about individual donations? We mainly rely on the revenue generated from our videos on YouTube, which is 100% for our charity.  Our community on YouTube is small and and doesn’t generate a lot of funds, but we are hoping to grow and reach a larger audience. As a consequence we will receive more visualizations and generate more funds to do charitable actions.   We also rely on direct donations through Patreon, Paypal, Liberapay and the donation page on our website. We are very grateful to all the people who have already donated money, the positive feedback and trust we have been receiving on a daily basis. This is encouraging to keep working hard.  Accountability is always a big issue with charities. How can supporters see what you did with their donations? We are very transparent with our followers and audience. Try to Give Back exists to Give Back – not to take from. We don’t pay ourselves any wage or salary. On our website we have a page dedicated to our work and achievements  and each time we are doing a new action, we make sure to update our website and share it through our videos on YouTube documenting it. We have registered our charity in UK with HMRC, we have a Charity Bank account, a Charity Constitution and are in the process of registering our organization with the UK Charity Commission.  Furthermore we make our yearly accounts public for anyone to see.  Apart from contributing to your charity, what can Overlanders do on their travels to Give Back to the Planet? Ghandi once said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”  The change needs to start with you. On our website you will find information regarding each environmental problem as well as the solution to solve it. No one is too small to take action and everyone’s action can influence others to change. Some tips: – Eat a diet with little or no meat or fish at all – Don’t use single-use plastic – Avoid buying unnecessary things – Repair something when broken  We wish for the people to acknowledge the environmental problems in order to become part of the solution. Live the kind of life you want to live just avoid unnecessary waste in every aspect of life: water, food, electricity, things and so on.  We dedicated a full video about our change since we started traveling overland and on how we became more sustainable. Check it out here. Where can people follow Alveto Expedition and Try to Give Back projects? ALVETO Expedition: Try to Give Back : WebsiteInstagram All images @Alveto Expedition Check it out: The Landcruising Adventure Zipped Hoodie Collection Get the News Would you like to stay in the loop on all things Landcruising Adventure? Sign up for our newsletter and get the latest news No spam, rare enough so as not to annoy, and easy to unsubscribe from. More on Overlanding

Bad Ass Converted Military Communication Vehicle! The JaYoe Nation Video

I had the pleasure to meet Matt from the the JaYoe Nation YouTube channel at Overland Expo East. If you are into adventure, overlanding, cycling or just about any other travel related activity be sure to follow this guy! Matt is incredible! He has climbed Mount Everest, run marathons, ridden a recumbent human powered trike half way across the world, and is now building an Overland Van to drive across the globe on a very similar route to me. Truly inspiring and a blast to watch his videos.

Think your 25-year-old import is safe? Think again . . .

There is a well-written, if disturbing, article by Andy Lilienthal over on Gear Junkie, here, about two states that are pulling registration from legally imported Mitsubishi Delica vans, for no logical stated reason. Their owners are being told to take the vehicles off the road—no loopholes, no grandfathering, just bang: The vehicle on which you spent thousands of dollars to purchase and import under valid U.S. law is now illegal to drive on the road in Maine and Rhode Island. Please mail in your license plates.As the owner of a legally imported Land Cruiser Troopy worth several tens of thousands of dollars, this is a horrifying possibility to contemplate. Since states can set their own rules as to what is legal to drive, or not, on the state’s roads, an inimical legislature could render such vehicles illegal on any one of dozens of flimsy excuses. Steering wheel on the wrong side? Boom. Non-USA-spec engine? Boom. The percentage of owner-imported vehicles within the entire U.S. market has to be risibly low for any legislature to waste time with such a thing. As Andy points out, a Model T is perfectly legal to drive anywhere in the country, despite being less safe, slower, and more polluting than any Land Rover or Land Cruiser—or Mitsubishi.Here’s hoping some attorney will do a pro bono and fight this capricious movement.

The new military-spec G-Wagen

The Mecedes G-Class—or Gelandewagen or G-Wagen, if you prefer—arrived late to the expedition scene: It was only introduced in 1979 as a military vehicle, designed at the urging of the Shah of Iran, at the time an important stockholder in Mercedes-Benz. (The Shah put in a pre-order for 20,000 of them, subsequently canceled when he rather abruptly became the ex-Shah.) Once civilian versions became available, a small contingent of explorers appreciated the Holy Grail configuration of  the G-Wagen (and could afford its premium price)—a massive, fully boxed chassis with up to six tubular crossmembers, equally overspecced solid axles riding on an all-coil suspension, and cross-axle differential locks front and rear. No other mid-sized expedition machine combined all those features. Fast-forward to today. The vast majority of G-Wagens are now sold bloated with luxury options (64-color ambient lighting, anyone?), and the most challenging expedition they’ll face is a gallery-hopping run up Canyon Road in Santa Fe.And yet, the basic bones remain—despite a move to (gasp) independent front suspension in 2018. Over the years the company has offered various “Professional” models with overland-friendly bling-delete spec-lists. Now it has announced a new, military-only (for now) model referred to as the W464 (succeeding the W461).  The company hasn’t released detailed specifications; however, it is known the new version will benefit from significantly more power, thanks to a 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder turbodiesel, producing 245 horsepower and 445 pound-feet of torque, run through an 8-speed auto transmission. The W464 also has a heavy-duty 24-volt electrical system. Finally, photos indicate it retains a solid front axle.In contrast to these business-like features is the civilian-spec (with IFS) W463’s new “Professional Line Exterior Trim” package, which includes mesh stone guards for the headlamps, 18-inch wheels with mild-looking tires, and . . . mudflaps. A nice-looking roof rack is an option, as is a swing-away spare tire holder, and some truly alarming body colors. Not sufficient for your professional overlanding needs? You can also order the “Night Package,” which includes black mirrors and—ready?—a black three-pointed star in the grille. See above.Dear Mercedes: Can we please have the W464 instead?

The Pro Eagle Off Road Jack Review

A floor jack with off-road tires—why didn’t someone think of this before? A floor jack is the easiest way ever to lift a vehicle on a concrete driveway. But most will be stopped in their tracks by a quarter-inch-diameter pebble. Pro Eagle took a two-ton floor jack, beefed up the chassis and added fat tires, and invented the all-terrain floor jack. The Pro Eagle rolled over my gravel driveway effortlessly, and lifted the entire front end of my FJ40 in a sandy wash without digging in more than a couple inches. Given the fat tires plus a full-length underbody “skid plate,” it shouldn’t sink in any substrate that doesn’t have a current. The Pro Eagle barely sank lifting the front of the FJ40 in sand. An adjustable extension post (stored near the base of the handle) pops on for a full 26 inches of lift height. I certainly wouldn’t carry this bulky, 52-pound jack for field duty in the FJ40 (although a convenient carrying handle helps moving it around), but if you’ve got a full-size truck or Sprinter (there’s also a 3-ton version) or are traveling with a group, it will make any recovery a breeze. And, of course, at home it’s an excellent shop jack. I’ve abandoned my standard floor jack because the Pro Eagle is so much easier to move around—even in urban settings—and because of its greater lifting capability.One operational note—like all such jacks, the lifting pad moves through an arc as it rises. A floor jack on concrete will roll slightly to compensate for this. If you employ the extension on the Pro Eagle, and the jack is immobilized in sand or rock, the extension can wind up tilted significantly at full extension. Plan ahead.Pro Eagle is here. The two-ton model retails for $430.

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