GEAR

PRODUCT TESTS & NEW STUFF

IRONMAN 4X4 AWNING QUICK-RELEASE BRACKET

The team at Ironman 4x4 has come up with yet another innovative piece of touring kit. The awning quick-release bracket allows you to leave your awning freestanding at camp if you decide to head off on a quick drive. The Aussie -designed and manufactured bracket allows you to easily reposition the awning from one side of your rig to the other and can also be quickly affixed to another vehicle. It also means you can store the awning off your vehicle once you’ve returned home. The bracket can be used to mount other accessories as well. In addition, there is an extra hook kit available, which makes it easy to set-up your awning at home for the barbie or as a backyard shade area.

Website: www.ironman4x4.com

REDARC BCDC1250D IN-VEHICLE BATTERY CHARGER

Redarc has upped the grunt for this new, more powerful 12V dual-input 50amp battery charger. The 50amp charging output means this latest unit is Redarc’s most powerful BCDC charger. It is designed to charge lead-acid batteries and also includes a lithium charging profile. As it has been developed to provide a higher current output, the BCDC1250D includes an additional charging stage (Soft Start) for more demanding charge applications. The unit also includes separate vehicle DC and solar inputs and can charge from the vehicle alternator and a solar panel at the same time. The BCDC1250D is compatible with variable voltage (smart) alternators and standard ones, plus it can be used in 24V and 12V systems.

Website: www.redarc.com.au

THE NORTH FACE ULTRA FASTPACK III MID GTX

With the warmer seasons upon us, it’s time to get out on weekends (or longer) for some camping and bushwalking. The North Face (TNF) Ultra Fastpack III Mid GTX (available in mens and womens) is a lightweight, robust hiking shoe that can easily double as your ‘regular’ camping footwear. The upper TPU-coated woven mesh is claimed to be tougher than regular nylon mesh, while the waterproof breathable Gore-Tex membrane ensures creek crossings aren’t a drama. The OrthoLite footbed aids comfort, while the TNF FastFoam dual-density midsole ensures stability while assisting with comfort. The Vibram Megagrip outsole does as its name suggests, providing traction and durability.

RRP: $300 Website: www.thenorthface.com.au

HEMA’S GREAT DESERT TRACKS ATLAS & GUIDE (ED. 5)

Hema Maps has totally redesigned its revered Great Desert Tracks (GDT) Atlas & Guide for its fifth edition. The new edition includes 25 4x4 trips and contains the seventh edition GDT maps, as well as detailed inset maps. Track profiles (which include elevation as well as distance) are included, along with info on campsites and fuel and provision resupply points. The tracks in the book are coded to reflect the type of vehicle needed as well as whether they are towing-friendly. All the text has been revised and updated and new track info has been included for the Madigan Line and Nyangumarta Highway. Along with all the track info, there’s plenty of expert advice on how to get ready for your ‘big adventure’, along with tips on desert driving.

RRP: $69.95 Website: shop.hemamaps.com

GARMIN INSTINCT

This new GPS watch from Garmin includes a 3-axis compass, barometric altimeter plus three global navigation systems – GPS, GLONASS and Galileo – as well as smart connectivity and a wristbased heart rate monitor. The Instinct is constructed to military standards for thermal, water and shock resistance (it’s 100m waterresistant) and can take plenty of rough treatment thanks to its fibre-reinforced polymer case. The scratch-resistant display is also easy to read, even in direct sunlight. The battery life is 14 days in smartwatch mode, 16 hours in GPS mode and up to 40 hours in UltraTrac battery saver mode. It comes in three colours: Tundra, Flame Red and Graphite. You can download a trip in advance using the Garmin Explore app and use the TracBac feature to return to your start point after a day out and about.

RRP: $399 Website: www.garmin.com.au

MSA 4X4 EXPLORER POWER PANELS

MSA continues to refine what is possible with a cargo drawer storage system, with the release of these anodised aluminium power panels for use with the company’ excellent drawer systems. The power panels are prewired for easy fitment and feature angled sockets to make installation to the front of drawers straightforward, plus this also means when accessories are plugged in, the plug won’ hit the tailgate. The backing cover is injection-moulded to protect the rear of the switches and the wiring. The kit includes three labelled, illuminated rocker switches, two spare switch covers, two (combined) USB outlets and two cigarette-lighter sockets. Plus there’ an illuminated voltage gauge display.

RRP: $225 Website: www.msa4x4.com.au

DOBINSONS INTERNAL RESERVOIR SHOCK ABSORBER (IMS)

The team at Dobinsons Spring & Suspension have spent four years developing and extensively testing this new monotube internal reservoir shock absorber (IMS). That length of time is reflected in the top-notch design and features necessary to ensure optimum durability and performance. The 50mm and 60mm extra-large bores mean there’ huge oil capacity, surface area and air flow to resist fade no matter how trying the terrain. The shock is of a direct bolt-on design and includes a triple-lip oil seal, vehicle-specific valving, natural rubber bushings, internal floating piston and a robust 3mm-thick wall on the outer body. Nice!

RRP: From $250 Website: www.dobinsonsprings.com

LEDLENSER ML6

You can never have too much camp lighting, but you can also do with said lighting being versatile, and thus eliminating the need to pack three different lights in your vehicle. The Ledlenser ML6 lantern provides a versatile light source, with ample output (max of 750 lumens and battery life of four to 70 hours), and in a compact size (length 178mm; weight 280g). The light output is via 18 Power LEDs, powered by a 115.2W/h battery, and there’ even an inbuilt power bank, perfect for recharging mobile phones. The ML6 is built for rugged use, including sealed USB ports and silicon sealing throughout, while gold-plated power contacts ensure reliable light delivery.

RRP: $149.95 Website: www.ledlenser.com.au

STEAM AUSTRALIA: LOCOMOTIVES THAT GALVANISED THE NATION

Former Deputy PM and steam-train tragic, Tim Fischer, recounts the history of steam-powered locomotives Down Under. The book is full of interesting facts, including that Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle, Rudyard Kipling and Mark Twain all travelled on Aussie steam trains during their visits here. Fischer details how steam trains helped deliver exceptional economic growth in Australia and he also details the stories behind famous trains such as Victoria’s Puffing Billy and the mighty Ghan. Supporting these cracking yarns, you will find more than 300 photographs (some exclusive to this book from the National Library of Australia). For train nuts, this book is a definite no-brainer.

RRP: $40 Web: https://bookshop.nla.gov.au

SEA TO SUMMIT BASECAMP BT3

The Basecamp BT3 offers a roomy yet warm sleep thanks to its contoured rectangular design. The BT3 (and its BT4 sibling) uses Thermolite synthetic fill to provide plenty of warmth. The bag is versatile, too; the dual zips (one down each side) allow you to open up one or both sides to create a quilt for warmer nights. You can unzip the foot box for ventilation if need be. The Basecamp is designed to work with STS’s sleeping mats, with a sleeve at the base of the bag where you slide the mat in, and then you can further secure it using the loops on the bag’s upper section so there’s no chance of sliding off the mat during the night. There’s a separate strap for the pillow, too. STS is an Australian company that is globally renowned for making tough gear, so rest assured that this bag will last years. Website: www.seatosummit.com.au

LIGHTFORCE ROK20 ULTRA FLOOD

The Lightforce ROK20 Ultra Flood light features a cast aluminium body, a hard-coated, impact- and scratch-resistant polycarbonate lens and a moulded strain relief connector, fitted with military-spec cable. It offers an IP69K waterproof rating, thanks to its waterproof membrane and mechanical seal. The unit includes under, over and reverse voltage protection, as well as width modulation thermal management circuitry. The mount system is included in the kit, as is a waterproof Deutsch plug fly lead connector. The ROK20 weighs a paltry 275g, making it the ideal versatile camping light – or you can use it as a reversing light on your 4x4. It also comes with a three-year warranty.

RRP: $77 Website: www.lightforce.com

TEVA ARROWOOD RIVA WATERPROOF

When camping you need tough, reliable footwear that can be used for numerous activities. Teva is a brand renowned for rugged shoes and sandals, and its Arrowood Riva Waterproof jobbies are a great example of that do-it-all footwear ideal for when you’re on that big adventure. The shoe includes waterproof leather uppers, an eVent waterproof breathable membrane and a rubber-covered toe cap. The Float-Lite EVAfoam midsole offers plenty of support and cushioning, while the Vibram outsole can cop plenty of abuse. The nylon shank gives plenty of stability and support, making the Arrowood Riva WP the ideal one-shoe solution for the outdoors.

RRP: $279.95 Website: au.teva.com