GEAR

PRODUCT TESTS & NEW STUFF

AFN 4X4 BULLBAR: D-MAX (2017-ONWARDS)

The team at AFN have been busy, and the result is this new bullbar for Isuzu’s D-Max (2017-onwards). One of AFN’s newgen bar designs, this unit fits the vehicle with fully moulded rubber joining panels (older-gen bars used pinch-mould rubbers that needed to be cut to fit). The new mouldings fit the front fender and headlight areas. The bar mount system has been tweaked to offer better adjustment plus, there’s a new bash plate design, as well as integrated fog lights and indicators. There is also provision for fitment of driving lights and radio aerial. The fit and finish indicates the AFN team is looking to improve them all the time – a win-win for D-Max. Website: www.afn4x4.com.au

EAGLE CREEK CARGO HAULER DUFFEL

Duffel bags are tough and easy to pack with heaps of gear, making them a permanent item on our packing list for big trips. Eagle Creek has tweaked what we expect in a duffel, using lightweight robust materials in the construction of its new Cargo Hauler range. These duffels are made with water-repellent-coated Bi-Tech Armor Lite fabric, and include bar-tack reinforcement to all high-stress points and six heavy-duty tie-down points to ensure they’re able to be taken – and loaded – anywhere, inside or outside your rig. They also include numerous carry options via the removable backpack straps, loop handles and side handles. The zips are lockable, and it can be packed into its own compartment when not in use. It is partially reflective for easy location at night. The Cargo Hauler is available in four sizes: 45L, 60L, 90L and 120L.

RRP: $140 (45L); $150 (60L); $170 (90L); $180 (120L)

ZENITH 155W LED DRIVING LIGHT

Two years’ worth of testing and development has resulted in this schmick new LED driving light from Zenith. The light uses four 20-Watt extra deep dish, long-distance centre Cree LED chips, as well as 15 5-Watt spread Cree LED chips to punch out 6000K of ‘cool daylight’ per light. The result is the ideal combo of beam length and width for optimum visibility when touring at night. The lenses are ‘Total Internal Reflection’ jobbies, which help boost the total LED efficiency to 12,700 raw Lumens per light. The tough 8.25-inch multi-fin alloy housing keeps heat under control to ensure consistent temps, whether operating in hot or cold conditions. Add in a polycarbonate lens cover and a IP68 water- and dust-proof rating and you have a tough set of lights. The lights are also super-versatile, owing to their ability to implement a multi-voltage power input range of nine to 32V DC to ensure compatibility with 12 and 24V batteries.

Website: www.dobinsonsprings.com

BRIDGESTONE SUPERCAT ALL TERRAIN

Bridgestone has developed its new Supercat All Terrain (AT) for the Aus/NZ market, with the aim of supplying a value-for-money 4x4/SUV tyre for vehicles five or more years old. The thinking behind this decision is that owners of older vehicles may not want to fit premium rubber to their older rigs, but will still want a tyre that offers top safety, durability and versatility. The Supercat AT comes in 13 sizes – from 16- to 18-inch – with models available for most of the popular 4x4 wagons and utes. The Supercat is of Light Truck construction across the entire range, with load ratings from 1030kg (109 index), so they’re more than up to the task of towing or coping with fully laden off-road vehicles.

Website: www.bridgestonetyres.com.au

IRONMAN 4X4 SUSPENSION UPGRADES: LDV T60

Ironman 4x4 has released a suspension upgrade for LDV’s T60 ute that features four variants. The Performance Load kit offers a 45mm lift and is rated for loads 0-200kg, so for vehicles with a few accessories fitted and that may carry an occasional load. The Constant Load kit (45mm lift, 200-400kg) is ideal for a rig with permanent heavy accessories and promotes a firmer, more controlled ride. The Extra Constant Load kit (45mm, 400-800kg) is for heavily kittedout vehicles, while the Extra Heavy Constant Load kit (45mm, 800kg-GVM) offers maximum support and is perfect for commercial vehicles. Each kit offers a choice of Nitro Gas, Foam Cell or Foam Cell Pro shock absorbers, and includes the shocks, leaf springs, U-bolts, coil springs and polyurethane spring bushes. (Greasable shackles and pins are optional.)

Website: www.ironman4x4.com

MSA 4X4 EXPLORER DRAWER SYSTEM: LC 100

The just released Explorer Aluminium storage drawer system for Toyota’ (still) popular 100 Series Cruiser is fully ADR crash-tested and compliant to all relevant ADRs. Cargo barrier mount points – and the child seat restraint points – are incorporated into the rear of the drawer frame. Patented features include the stay-open block that stops a heavy, loaded drawer from accidentally shutting and it also acts as twin electrical contact when the drawer is open, thus creating a circuit that powers the unit’ LED strip lighting. The Pro Glide’ system ensures the sides of the drawers aren’ wasted space – they are part of the actual slide unit, so no need for side-mount slide runners. Custom-sealed bearings are utilised in the over-extension, eliminating the need for extra slide components, and it’ all backed by a lifetime warranty. Website: www.msa4x4.com.au

COOPER TIRES AT3

The US tyre giant has released a new version – or should we say, three separate versions – of its super-popular AT3. The AT3’ three variants include one aimed at soft-roaders, with the other two – AT3 LT and AT3 XLT – for 4x4 vehicles. The tyre will come in a wide range of sizes, with the LT and XLT covering all popular off-roaders sold here in Oz. The new tread design includes stone ledges to eject stones from within the tread void, Whisper Groove Shields (claimed to reduce on-road noise by 20 per cent) and Scalloped Shoulders for additional soft-surface traction. The carcass is tough, with high-tensile body plys for robustness and super-tensile steel belts (LT and XLT) across the full tread area (edge to edge), while the new compound uses high-content coupled silica for enhanced cut-and-chip resistance. No wonder Cooper Tires is confident it can offer an 80,000km warranty.

Website: www.coopertires.com.au

POWER OF THE PEDAL

The humble pushy’ has been a part of Aussie history for 200 years now. As well as being a popular outdoor activity and sport, the bicycle in Australia was the go-to for early overlanders in this country, with a number of first traverses on two wheels undertaken in the late 19th and early 20th century. It was also key for the military, especially during the Boer War and World War I. All this forms part of this book written by highly regarded Aussie cycle journo, Rupert Guinness. The sections on the overlanders in particular are entertaining. There’ the story of Aussie George Burston who, with Harry Stokes, rode pennyfarthings around the world. An entertaining read.

RRP: $40 Website: bookshop.nla.gov.au

THUNDER ESPRESSO MACHINE AND COFFEE GROUNDS ADAPTOR

Yep, coffee is great, which makes this new portable espresso machine from Thunder even greater, allowing you to brew your morning cuppas with minimal fuss. The Thunder portable espresso machine is compatible with podstyle coffee and can produce up to 50 cups when the unit is fully charged (it is USB-chargeable and takes three hours to attain full charge). As well as being pod compatible, there is a grounds adaptor available that allows you to use your favourite pre-ground coffee. The espresso machine is compact – 310mm tall, 95mm wide and weighs 720g – making it easy to pack for that camping adventure, with the coffee grounds adaptor only 70mm wide and 100mm tall (and only 100g in weight).

RRP: $128 (espresso machine); $15.50 (grounds adaptor) Website: www.quantumpro.com.au

SCHUMACHER ELECTRIC SPI10 BATTERY CHARGER

This fully automatic 12V 10amp battery charger ensures stored batteries stay charged, whether AGM, standard, gel, calcium or start-stop variants. The charger is microprocessor-controlled and offers multi-stage charging for additional precision, battery life and safety. The charge includes an easy-to-read display that offers step-by-step instruction to ensure proper charging of the battery, and there is even a hook attachment for hanging the unit in your garage, on your motorcycle’ handlebars or via the bonnet of your 4x4 (there’ a set of protective bumpers on it as well). The unit is compact, measuring 190mm long, 140mm wide and 65mm high, and it weighs in at 1.2kg.

RRP: $199 Website: www.batterychargers.com

TJM SIGNATURE BAR PRADO 150

TJM has followed on from the release of its Outback bar for the 150 Series Prado with this new alloy Signature Bar for the same vehicle. The 76mm polished centre loop offers plenty of frontal protection, with the 63mm polished outer loops ensuring the big Prado’ lights are protected from potential animal strikes. The bar is winch and airbag compatible and also includes 8000kg-rated recovery points as standard. You can fit two aerials to the bar, and it can also be fitted with driving lights. The integrated LED fog lights and flush-mounted LED indicator and park lights are protected by polycarbonate outers. There is provision for relocation of the vehicle’ parking sensor, and the nicely styled bumperettes finish off the protective package.

Website: www.tjm.com.au

SHIMANO TACKLE LUGGAGE

Shimano has released a new tackle luggage range, with five products that cover all your fishing-gear storage needs. The Travel Wrap includes a 10-compartment tackle tray and a mesh pocket for storage of tools. The Game Lure Wrap is designed to eliminate the potential for tangled lures. It includes six large Velcro-sealed sleeves and the ability to store XL lures. Soft plastic lures are a pain to keep organised, but the Soft Plastic Wallet, with its 10 Velcro removable sleeve and eight internal mesh pockets, takes care of them perfectly. The XL Hardtop Tackle Bag is water-resistant with a reinforced base and tiedown point. Three large pockets are also included. The Soft Tackle Back Pack includes a hard sunglass case, four tackle tracks and more.

RRP: $149.95 (XL Hardtop); $99.95 (Soft Tackle BP); $39.95 (Soft Plastic Wallet); $39.95 (Game Lure Wrap); $29.95 (Travel Wrap)

Website: www.shimanofish.com.au