Based in New Zealand, Overland NZ have become experts at finding the country’s hidden gems and most remote camp spots. They’re passionate about showcasing the most amazing 4WD tracks, overlanding routes and road trips New Zealand has to offer. We caught up with Daniel to talk about the rig that lets him explore it all.
Tell us about Overland NZ
Overland NZ is me, Daniel, my wife Chloe, our one-year-old Theo and our small fluffy dog Pepper. We’re based in the capital of New Zealand, Wellington. During the first part of the week Chloe’s hard at work at an IT company managing a team of people while I’m on dad duty hanging out with Theo. We then do a swap in the later part of the week and I mix up my days working on Overland NZ and contracting out my software development, social media, photography and video skills where needed. It’s slightly hectic, but it’s good fun!
Tell us about your rig…
We recently purchased a 2022 Toyota Fortuner after 4 years of exploring with a Toyota Hilux. The recent addition of a kid to our family and my realisation that a ute just wasn’t working for us led us to start looking for a new vehicle. Being based on a Hilux, the Fortuner was an easy choice - it retained the off-road ability but added some much-needed comfort and, importantly with a kid, a boot.
Like the Hilux was, it’s set up more for touring the back country of New Zealand and less for tackling the tough tracks - I learnt very quickly I enjoy the touring side far more. So far we have fitted a good set of all-terrain tyres, roof rack and of course a REDARC 12v setup to keep the cameras rolling. There’s a few more things to go, but that hasn’t stopped us getting out there and seeing what the new rig can do.
How do you like to travel and how does your rig let you do this?
Our perfect trip is one where we’re traveling solo through some of the more remote places New Zealand has to offer - the ultimate goal is to have remote campsites to ourselves. We tend to spend long days on the road filming and covering ground - travelling solo makes this easier as we’re not holding up others who may be less happy to rock into camp in the dark.
We started off with an older 4WD, but it let us down one too many times and since then we’ve picked modern vehicles to explore in. The Fortuner offers us the best of all worlds (to us anyway) - more than capable off-road for the places we go, comfortable for those long days behind the wheel and reliable. I know that when I turn the key in the morning it’ll start and we’ll be on our way.
What’s the first modification you make to any new vehicle?
A good set of tyres. And maybe some wheels that aren’t silver (I know the black wheel thing is overdone, but I still love them). Tyres are hard to beat though - nothing will give you more confidence in getting further off the beaten track without having to worry about having issues on something so important.
What accessory or mod would you never leave home without?
Air compressor and tyre deflator - it’s amazing how much further you can get off-road by just dropping your tyre pressures. I can be a little lazy sometimes and not air down and I always pay the price for it. MAXTRAX are also pretty useful for those times your talent bucket gets a bit low and your one-year-old is in the car…
What accessory or mod would you recommend to a beginner 4WDer or adventurer?
Keep it simple. Good AT tyres, tyre deflator, a spade and a sense of adventure. It’s easy to get caught up on thinking you need all the gear or three weeks off work to get out there and explore – but keeping it simple and figuring out the type of 4WDing and travelling you’re into will save you a lot of money and time - ask me how I know!
And if you find yourself into touring as much as we are, invest in a good 12v fridge. Of all the things I’ve bought over the years, a fridge exceeded my expectations. Being able to eat properly when you’re on the road for weeks makes a huge difference.
How does your setup make off-grid travel more comfortable?
We’re still refining the setup in our new Fortuner, but we’ve always prioritised comfort, especially when it comes to camping. Getting a good night sleep is super important to me and running a roof top tent allows us to do that almost anywhere. We’re pretty setup to travel fully solo and self-sufficient into remote areas though, camp lights everywhere, water tank and pump, reliable REDARC off-grid power system and fridge. Lots of little “home luxuries” that make life way more comfortable.
How does REDARC allow you to spend more time off-grid?
We film our adventures for Youtube and do some production work on the road which places slightly unusual demands on our 12v power system - we have a lot of batteries to charge up, laptops running at night. Having a dual battery system that is 100% reliable is worth its weight in gold, knowing that everything is ticking along behind the scenes means we can focus on capturing the adventure and telling the story.
What modifications or upgrades do you have planned next?
Hopefully a suspension upgrade - the factory gear is feeling the extra weight of a vehicle setup for overland travel. A bull bar will be added at some point too. I’m not the biggest winch fan but traveling with a kid on board means we need to be ready for anything.