We’re Back On The Road + Giving Away A BBQ!
In celebration of our new setup and the adventures that are set to ensue, we figured it only fitting to have a giveaway!
After months of patience, we are thrilled to have our new van and vehicle up and running so we can get back to business (not that exploring this great country feels at all like work). We have heaps of fancy new products to play with, so figured it was only fitting we launched this exciting new chapter by giving one of them away.
Before we jump into what the last few months have entailed for us, and all the fab new gadgets and products we have onboard in the setup, let’s tell you a little about this giveaway.
Among the many fab new products we have onboard the updated Wallace Tribe setup, is the Weber Pulse 1000 Barbecue with electronic temperature control and integrated iGrill® technology.
There are so many reasons why we love the Weber Pulse BBQ. Put simply it’s lightweight, very space savvy, does everything we need it do, and being an electric BBQ means it’s more environmentally friendly (our new set up runs on solar power not gas) and offers better convenience.
TO ENTER: To be in the running to win this Weber Pulse 1000 (valued at $599), simply share the code word (found within this blog) in the comments section at the bottom of this page.
Our family of five spent 18 months travelling full-time around this great country, and the following six months pouring our acquired knowledge into the creation of our epic new setup.
It’s been a process of patience, especially with the current world pandemic that’s meant forced factory closures, lengthy delays, and a little craftiness needed on our part to connect the dots between many moving pieces which lay on opposing sides of closed state borders.
Enduring months with no car, no caravan and no house was challenging to say the least, which may be why we got swept up in a sudden and spontaneous moment (unlike us I know, ha!) where we decided to invest in a property. This little piece of paradise has been our base for a bit, and now that we are getting set to live life on the road again, we will be renting this out to another travelling family who wants a break, but without their home on four wheels.
The last six months has been frustrating to say the least. Initially the time between vehicles and caravans was not intended to be more than a few weeks to a month for us, but getting products in the for a van build in this current climate was much harder than usual. Nobody had a clear roadmap forward, as border restrictions, imports and commercial lockdowns were popping up all over the place, seemingly unannounced.
The teams that we had working on our setups were fantastic, and navigated the unpredictable and ever-changing waters as best as they could. At the end of the day, a custom made build and a brand new build will always be prone to more hiccups than an off-the-shelf purchase, and when you’re operating in a world where certain products simply aren’t available, it is obviously going to contribute to this delay.
Frustration, anticipation, and well-worn patience aside, it’s suffice to say that we now have the intoxicated sense of feverish joy that a child may have on Christmas Eve. SO with no further adieu, let us show you our new shiny toys!
All the drama and deliberation of the last 6 months aside, we are now pleased to report that our family, our vehicle and our new van have been united and are ready and raring to tackle the new adventures that await.
Our new caravan is the 2021 Royal Flair Eco Mate Family, which is part of the Aussie Mate series.
This new baby is a labour of love. When contemplating our new design we wrote a list of the things we wanted to keep the same; this included the bed, the airbag suspension, the aluminium chassis, as well as the general look and feel. However there were a lot of things we knew we could do better too.
To pull off this goal we had to think big, so with the help of the legends at Royal Flair, this is exactly what we did.
The van has a lighter body, and a battery system four times greater than our previous one alongside a 5000 watt inverter.
We lowered the ceilings, reduced the length to a 21’6’’ family van, changed the external panelling to fibreglass, and switched from gas to solar power to create the lighter body.
Although we limited space in some spots, we increased it in the places that mattered to us more. We removed the hallway to create additional space for the kids’ bedrooms which allowed for bigger beds and spacious cupboards at the end of their beds instead of the drawers they previously had. We were also more savvy with storage allocation and even taps this time round, all due to things we’d learnt from travelling 18 months on the road in our old van.
In addition to solar power, we upped our onboard water capacity by 100 litres (taking it to a total of 290 litres) which will mean we can now stay in most locations for up to 10 days.
We were able to create a lighter van that allowed us to go off the grid for much longer than before, with the help of our new DCX Power Platform caravan battery… which we are pretty excited about!
The battery is a partnership between NCE and OzXCorp, who came together to create a chassis mounted battery. This means it sits under our caravan inside the chassis and between the wheel base, which doesn’t eat up any room inside the van and makes for a more stable ride. It’s always preferable to keep the weight down low in caravans for added safety and stability.
The battery itself is 14.3kWh which is humongous! It’s about four times bigger than our previous battery, meaning we no longer need to worry about power. We can go off the grid longer, use air conditioning longer, and we could even power other people’s vans if we needed to when off the grid. We have been able to ditch gas (which used to add heaps to the weight of our setup and was more fiddly to manage) and still use hot water (electric) and do all our cooking via electrics.
The battery system has a 5000W inverter which means we can power a number of devices at the one time without any concerns or issues. It is 48 volts in comparison to most vans which are 12 volts. Basically it’s a new and different type of system, which was a big part of the appeal for us and Royal Flair, who were both excited to push it to the limits and test out our theory of using solar power to exclusively power the van.
We combined this battery with commercial grade solar panels, meaning we have better efficiency in our ability to utilise the sun’s energy. We have teamed it with four 400 watt panels (1600 watts in total) and have designed the roof around the solar panels, rather than the other way around. Most people tend to have rooftop fans that pop up on the roof, along with TV aerials, and then they try to fit their solar panels around that. What we’ve done is make use of the space firstly for solar, and then arranged the other things on the roof around that.
We don’t have any TV aerials or vents up the top, which has meant we can really maximise the space for our solar panels.
Our new vehicle is a 2021 Toyota 200 Series GXL with a 4.5-litre turbo-diesel, a 750mm chassis extension and full-time canopy. We enlisted the help of the awesome team at Pro Touring Concepts on the Gold Coast in Queensland to handle our vehicle build.
These guys looked after the whole build process for us, project managing everything from the purchase of the vehicle right through to completion. This made it an incredibly easy process, especially whilst we were on the road and didn’t need to worry about getting the vehicle from one step to the next step or organising different people to fit different things.
The upgrades made to the car have meant we can potentially leave the caravan in a location and head out without it. The vehicle has its own battery system, can carry sufficient water for the five of us, and has enough area to store the clothes and things we need. Although Lucy the Landcruiser served us well, we found there wasn’t enough storage to comfortably travel with five people full-time.
There were a lot of benefits to having Pro Concept Touring handle this build for us, and they were an awesome bunch of people to deal with. If you’re someone who likes to take control over projects like this, whether that be work to your own completion dates or approach each part of the build in your own unique way, then you may want to manage the process yourself.
Ultimately, there are pros and cons to both options, it’s just about finding what work best for you and your situation.
Our new setup wasn’t quite complete without ‘Barry the Boat’. We opted for Barry our 3.7m EzyTopper Ultimate Boat by Enlightened Boating in Brisbane Queensland, because he brought so much flexibility to our travels. He sits snuggly on our roof, is super lightweight, and means we can easily go fishing now, island hopping or even potentially stay for a couple of nights on an island.
The thing that pushed us over the line with this boat compared to a traditional “tinnie”, was the weight of the fibreglass compared to the aluminium of the more common small boats. We are carrying a lot of bells and whistles in our new set up, so an additional 10 or 15 kilograms here and there makes a huge difference. Barry our rooftop boat aligned well with our extremely savvy approach to weight restrictions in our new setup.
Whilst we have a lot of fancy, new, fun products to play with in our setup, we could only pick one to giveaway in celebration of us hitting the road again. With summer certainly here, and the season of social gatherings and barbecuing upon us, it seemed fitting that our giveaway was a BBQ!
We love our Weber Pulse 1000 BBQ – Royal Flair even built it into our caravan for us! There’s a few reasons we are so keen on this little baby, but a big one is because it allows us to sizzle sausages, fry up a fierce feed, and even bake, without needing to have any gas onboard.
We wanted something that works as a BBQ, but that we could also cook on as we don’t have an oven onboard. Apart from this BBQ, we only have our induction cooktops, so suffice to say our Weber gets quite the work out.
The simplicity of electric barbecues is great. The temperature gage provides a really accurate reading, and heats up to quite a high temperature (great for pizzas!). It’s big enough for the whole family, but also small and compact enough for our travels.
Thanks to Royal Flair this BBQ is easily accessible for us! We have it on an external slide out which means we simply plug it in when we’re ready to use it, turn it on and it’s good to go. For us, this is way more convenient than having to reconnect to the gas from the caravan. You’re not allowed to keep barbecues plugged into gas fittings in caravans, so electric is much more simple.
With gas, you also have to have it compliance checked, and there are a lot of regulations around fittings etc. With an electric barbecue we needn’t worry about filling up gas bottles, which can be very annoying in outback remote locations. It’s also a lot lighter than gas, and we are able to use it by harnessing the energy of the sun (solar power).
The compact and versatile design of this barbecue means it’s a perfect addition for a backyard sausage sizzle, camping trip, or even to pop onboard your caravan like we did.
Make sure you keep scrolling to the bottom for your chance to win a Weber Pulse 1000 barbecue for yourself!
The new year will see us kick-start our new adventure, with the following 24 months set to be spent exploring everything this great country has to offer.
Although our route has not yet been mapped out (we love the spontaneity of going with the wind takes us), our new set-up will mean we can go off grid longer, and spend more time chasing sunsets whilst we venture to the remote corners of this charming country.
Until next time, safe travels!
The Wallace Family x
HOW TO ENTER:
GIVEAWAY TERMS AND CONDITIONS – This giveaway runs in accordance with my disclosure policy, please read the terms and conditions below:
1. Entries must be made on Free To Explore blog, comments on social media are invalid. 2. Entries close 11.59am AEST Friday 24th December, 2021. 3. One entry per household and open to Australian residents only. 4. This giveaway is a game of skill. The judge’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered. 5. The total prize pool is valued at $599. 1 winner will receive this pack, not redeemable for cash. 6. Winner will be contacted by email, please ensure you leave your email address. 7. If we have not received a reply from the winner within 3 days the prize will be forfeited and awarded to the entry judged to be the next best. 8. Free To Explore takes no responsibility for any delay, loss or damage to prizes after they are posted to the winner.