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  • Writer's picturePolaris Overland

Wilson Our Land Rover Defender TD5 90 Tomb Raider Edition.

Russian Altai 2018

Throughout our Big Trip 2017 the setup with Lara the trailer worked pretty well but we wanted to make changes that would consolidate our living without making things more difficult.

Towing a trailer made great sense in Europe as it allowed us to setup a base camp for a week at a time and explore out from that location without the need to continually set up and break down our camp.

Additionally towing a trailer added to our costs. Fuel economy dropped marginally, ferry costs increased and insurances at borders was more expensive. All this coupled with extra checks and time at some borders, but it also restricted where we could take the trailer.

As the trip progressed we also found we were carrying way too much and as time passed we streamlined what we carried off loading items to friends and locals.

By the time we arrived in the UK we were carrying almost half of what we started out with and still with room to reduce more.

When we finally hit the UK our minds had been made up that we would not take Lara the trailer with us on the next trip. We had also discussed what we wanted to achieve with Wilson. We briefly considered buying a 110 but swiftly moved on from that, deciding to stay with Wilson.

Morocco Desert 2017 - Wilson and Lara our home build trailer


We chose Errol at Coastline Campers to bring our requirements to fruition based on utilising as much space as possible with Wilson but also having an option to stealth camp when the need arrises. No mean feat in a short wheel base Defender 90.

So the internal set up of Wilson is mostly down to Errol's expertise and it gives us 3 options of day to day, stealth camping and poor weather escape.

An Ebersparcher diesel heater was included and a 240W solar system and to increase storage we fitted 2 x external steel side lockers.

Secondly as we would need to move the roof tent to Wilson. But we didn't want to be spending 20 to 30 minutes each day setting up and taking down the tent.

We looked at a number of hard shell roof tents and finally settled on the Tuff Trek Aluminium light weight low profile Overland Series Tent. We added the optional cold weather set up of carpeting, internal storage and uprated gas struts as we fitted 2 x 120W solar panels on top and Maxtrax Sand Ladders.

This tent sets up in seconds, 2 clips and it rises on the gas struts. It includes a poor weather apron to protect the entrance and we ordered the option annexe but added an extra side on it to allow 4 sided protection.

Take down is marginally longer.

So our summary of changes are as follows:-

Internal fitting out and storage options.

Fitted Webasto Fridge.

240W Solar System.

Ebersparcher Diesel Heater.

Tuff Trek Overland Series Roof Tent and Annexe

Lockable Steel Side Lockers

From now on we must be more ruthless in what we take.

Spare parts and oils take priority followed by food stuff and then our clothing.

Finally "nice to haves" are reduced to almost zero.

Internal layout from passenger seat

Emergency internal sleeping set up

Side lockers double as a shelving platform for cooking etc

Loaded ready to set off.

In Conclusion

The world we live in right now is very unstable and if you hold back too long many of the most beautiful countries, wondrous sites and animals may no longer be around to visit such as Palmyra in Syria where the ancient sites have been vandalised and destroyed taking something from all of us. Or the critically endangered Rhino that unless we change will only be able to be seen in zoos and books.

So please bear with us as we climb this steep learning curve and progress with our trips and planning. Take a look at the photos from our previous trips and I challenge you not to want to add the likes of Namibia or Jordan to your bucket lists.


Hopefully we will meet some of you on the road and look forward to hearing your stories / experiences whilst taking the opportunity to share a coffee over an open fire or a cold beer.

Scotland shakedown trip new improved Wilson

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