The man, the myth, the legend…. Stuart Peddle. Those who follow REDARC or have dealt with us over the years have likely encountered Stuart in one way or another. He is well known within the Australian Caravan and Camping industry and was recently a finalist in the CaravanCampingSales Future Leaders Award.
During the week he is REDARC’s Technical and Training Manager, that’s if you're lucky enough to catch the elusive Stuart. More often than not you can find him on the road visiting OEM customers, working at tradeshows and even on the screens or in magazines such as 4WD Touring Australia in which he writes a monthly column. On the weekend Stuart usually bee-lines out of the city and heads for the road less travelled.
We had to wait a while to catch Stuart in the office, but when we did we sat down with the great man to ask all the tough questions to get to know him better.
Stuart was recently a finalist in the CaravanCampingSales Future Leaders Award
What is your working background/ what were you doing before you joined REDARC?
Having a dual trade in mechanical and auto electrical I worked on Toyota and Hino products in South Australia. I’ve always loved fixing things, breaking them can be fun too, and I used to do plenty of that when out 4WDing and racing so my work and recreation crossed over well.
Talk us through what an average day at REDARC consists of?
Working with the Technical Team and Engineering Team means something new and interesting every day. We provide solutions to Auto Electricians, end users, and OEMs. So, there is a lot of delving into the details of the application to really find the best solution for a specific need. Plus, there are diagnostics, most of the time faults occur outside of the products, simply due to harsh operating conditions affecting things over time. Methodically thinking a problem through and doing some tests to find the root cause is a great challenge, and it's very rewarding when the problem is fixed, and the customer is on the road again.
What is the best thing about working at REDARC?
Opportunity in Australia. I’ve been at REDARC for a bit over 8 years and have worked in production building our products, provided technical support, travelled Australia representing our brand, lived interstate managing direct customer accounts, travelled overseas doing all the above, influenced our products design, and helped shape our brand and business for the future. All for a company that creates jobs and develops people here in Australia – it doesn’t get any better than that!
Stuart, Wayne and the RedVision equipped camper trailer at Ultimate Campers
What is your favourite REDARC product and why?
RedVision. I’ve worked on this project since it began and seen it through from concept to now implementing it in the field. It’s most exciting for me because it is one of those products that adds value to both the installer and the user. Our products always consider the installer as a key stakeholder in the process, we need to make things in a way that ensures they can be installed without significant cost or difficulty – but RedVision takes it to the next level because it optimises the installation process of the electrical system. Then from the user perspective it's simple, informative, and feature rich – all whilst being affordable because the installation process has been made so much more efficient.
What is your dream rig? And what gadgets would you put in it?
I’m lucky enough to have my dream rig. I’ve been a Landcruiser man all my life, and have had everything from an FJ40, through FJ60, to HZJ80, and now my dream rig, an FZJ105. An incredible machine off-road or on the highway. It’s pretty much a rolling REDARC and ARB catalogue, only thing it is yet to receive is diff locks. It is our touring rig, comfortably towing our Goldstream Off-road camper wherever we want to go.
All of Stuart's loves in the one image
When you’re out meeting people on the road and they ask what REDARC product do I need, what do you tell them?
It's all about the application. We have entry-level products for the weekend warrior through to high-end solutions for living and/or working on the road full time, and everything in between. What do you want to achieve, where do you want to go, and what things will you be looking for from the experience? At the end of the day, it's about providing a solution that achieves quality, reliability, and value for money, with the peace of mind that you have the right gear for the job.
What is your favourite travel destination in Australia?
Tough one – my regular go-to in the summer is the Yorke Peninsula. Great beaches, plenty of tracks, top pubs, and only a couple of hours from Adelaide. In the winter it’s the Riverland and particularly Loveday 4x4 Park. Heaps of tracks with a good mix of terrain, and some excellent riverside camping spots.
Tell us about your REDARC Hilux or vehicle, what products do you have in them and why are they important?
I spend a lot of time in our oldest Hilux in the fleet, a trusty 2009 SR5. It has been around the block and I’ve steered it over some tough terrain in its time, most of which it has had the REDARC Camper in tow. That means the most important bit of gear it has is the Tow-Pro Elite electric brake controller. I’ve driven the same setup with our original Tow-Pro many years ago, which was reliable and predictable.
The user control was particularly great off-road when I needed to be able to set the braking force to some extremes. For example, for steep rocking descents, I would have it dialled up to pretty much lockup, to let the engine do most of the braking work and just jab the trailer brakes every now and then to keep it straight behind the car or step around a rock or ledge.
On soft sand, I would back it right off to only just brake, so if I braked hard with the car the trailer would still roll fairly well on top of the sand and not dig in, making it an anchor and stopping me from getting going again.
Nowadays with the Tow-Pro Elite, I still have the user control functionality for traversing the rough stuff, but I also have the proportional mode for the blacktop in-between. This takes the same reliability and predictability and adds greater comfort and confidence in the fact that if I brake hard and fast to avoid an animal strike – so does the Tow-Pro Elite. Or if I brake soft and slow to round a corner – so does the Tow-Pro Elite, and the car and trailer brake together in a nice smooth action.
Stuart and the REDARC Hilux at the 2018 Variety Bash
Aside from the basics (passport, ATM card, backpack), what three items are must-bring things for you on your road trips?
Coffee machine – the Nespresso style machines now make it so easy to make a good coffee on the road
Heated jacket – particularly when travelling around South Australia it can be very cold at night, and during fire ban season you may not have the luxury of a fire.
Pure Sine Wave Inverter – for both of the above and much more, an inverter is a must!
What is your favourite way to see Australia? Caravan, Camper Trailer, RV or 4X4?
When travelling with my wife and our dogs, you can’t beat the Landcruiser and our Goldstream. When travelling solo on boys' trips I love the simplicity of the 4x4 and my swag.
What are your hobbies?
Obviously camping and 4wding, but my wife and I have two cocker spaniels and we all love going bushwalking together.
If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Anyone that has been to the pub with me knows this – Chicken Parmi!!