Fitting and fettling the Camel Discovery

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With a big trip to the deserts of Oman coming up, there is now an imperative to get the Camel Trophy Discovery ready for work. Mechanical issues (she needs new wheelbearings, a full service, new engine hoses and a few other bits and bobs, plus some wiring needs finishing) need parts, and getting these is an exercise in logistics, but for the nonce I can at least sort out her accommodation-related issues.

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With a fridge (a Waeco, on a slide) and a rear drawer system in place, she is already well equipped. I added a caged area above the drawers to enclose and manage more loadspace – always at a premium in a Discovery 1 – using a wire mesh cage so that I still have visibility in the rear view mirror when the space isn’t full of gear. A cutout at the lower end of the cage allows stowage of camping chairs and a small door in the cage in the ‘passenger end’ allows access to a first aid kit.

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Thanks to the excellent Kevin Mackman of Front Runner UK (@FrontRunnerEuro @FrontRunnerZA) I have sourced their well-designed dropdown table that mounts inside the rear door of the Discovery. It has a large working area, with a slide-out wooden shelf that effectively doubles the workspace. When not in use it folds against the door unobtrusively viz;

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Accommodation is dealt with using an ARB awning (with detachable side walls)…..

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….and this can be linked to an ‘Epic’ ground tent, which seems essentially to be a copy of the Oztent design;

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Unlike a roof tent it is spacious enough to stand up in, but it’s very heavy and ungainly when loading onto the roof rack and unloading, even if it is fast to pitch and strike. I may swap it for a roof tent.

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Some exploration of local wadis once again showed the innate ability of the truck, though she is very heavy and the road-biased All Terrain tyres (Michelin LTX pattern) don’t give much grip in arduous terrain. She is very thirsty – averaging 10mpg, as I found on a test trip where I drove her to Dubai and back, at moderate motorway speed and using air conditioning (which in itself uses 20% more fuel). This is rather hair-raising when I’m getting 25-30mpg from my fully laden Defender, albeit a diesel. Of course she is a v8 automatic so this will never be a great, but the roof rack adds to the fuel consumption – another reason to lose it.

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All in all, I’m pleased with her – though there is still much that needs doing before she can head south to the deserts of Oman solo. Watch this space 🙂

 

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