Blaine and Shenaid are CamperAustralis, a young couple who are doing a big lap of Australia. Their home is their trusty Nissan Patrol kitted out with a rooftop tent. Before their departure, we hooked them up with some gadgets which would help power their journey, allowing them to stay off the beaten track and most importantly keep their beers nice and frosty.
After travelling around Australia in our Nissan Patrol for over 2 years, we have definitely seen our fair share of flat batteries and electrical issues; both our own issues and that of other travellers. It wasn’t until we were camping in the beautiful, remote Northern Kimberley region, that we realised that we needed to do something about our 12v setup. The days were scorching hot and our setup just wasn’t coping. We had a 250-watt portable solar panel with a 120ah AGM battery running a 65L fridge/freezer, an array of LED lighting, a water pump and a 1000W Pure Sine Wave Inverter (which powered several other devices). There’s nothing worse than camping in the outback with hot beers!
Proven to survive the harshest conditions
We have used REDARC in the past, in previous vehicles, and knew that it was a quality product that was built for the harshest conditions. We did plenty of research on the products that we would need to create the ultimate setup that was guaranteed to be fully self-sufficient and would allow us to be ‘off-grid’ for as long as possible. We also came across lots of lower quality products that we didn’t look twice at, for a number of reasons.
We ended up getting a BCDC1250D 12v 50A In-vehicle DC to DC battery charger which was necessary as we were planning to upgrade our batteries to lithium (LiFeP04). This charger is one of the most powerful battery chargers on the market and the MOST powerful for its size. It has an in-built MPPT solar regulator for maximising solar output which ultimately, can be the difference between hot and cold beer! It’s also reassuring to know that your batteries are getting charged at a healthy current of up to 50 amps.
Spot-on for our needs
Our original panel with 250 watts wasn’t quite cutting it, so we also added a 115-watt solar blanket. We had been looking at blankets for quite some time and once again, decided to go with the Aussie-designed and tested REDARC gear. This blanket is very versatile and light. It packs up nice and compact, which is perfect for us as we really lack spare room in the 4WD. The blanket is capable of 5.8 amps, which is spot-on for our needs.
Once again, REDARC has used nothing but the highest quality products, incorporating ‘SunPower’ cells, genuine Anderson connectors and a scratch resistant ETFE coating. Another awesome feature of this panel is that it also comes with a well-designed carry bag. This bag provides a bit of protection to the panel when it is folded up so it can handle a few dings inside our setup. These panels are definitely made tough to handle some tough conditions.
Once we received the new products, we were able to install it ourselves with the use of the many wiring diagrams/setup examples found via REDARC’s website which is backed up through REDARC’s exceptional customer support. We decided to install it inside the canopy so when disconnected from the car, it is still fully self-sufficient. This also helps keep the temperature down, which increases the potential of the charge.
Becoming fully self-sufficient
Although we haven’t yet tested the whole setup in the harsh conditions of the North yet, we can confirm that we are fully self-sufficient as we have been running everything for the last 3.5 months without the need to plug in. For us, this is the ultimate camping goal – to be able to go as long as you like, without relying on plugging into power. It is great peace of mind to know that we can trust these products no matter where we are in Australia or what we are doing.
Looking to start your 4x4, camper trailer or caravan upgrade but not sure what products will allow you to travel the way you want? Take the REDARC Hilux product tour to find out what products are best for your power management and towing needs.