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Looking for expedition rig ideas, post up your Pathfinder long distance travel mods!


Nefarious
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Hey everyone, I'm slowly converting my pathfinder to a long distance travel expedition rig. Just looking for ideas, pictures and descriptions of mods on fellow members Pathfinders, would be nice to see how you did your setup and get it all in one place (on-board air/water, truck tents, cabinets, etc)

 

I've built most of the suspension and power plant up quite a bit on my truck and and now its time for the fun and creative stuff! Post up your mods and how you did them!

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all ready posted in my members rides thread, but rear DIY shelf /storage. EDC, truck stuff stays under the shelf, tools, lawn chairs, table, tarps, rubber boots, fishing kit, tarp poles, metal jerry can, fire extinguisher, all that stuff rides under the shelf. up top goes camping gear separated into 4 bins..shelter, kitchen, dry food, comfort. Cooler goes behind passenger seat, dog goes behind drivers seat, 25L water container is beside cooler, as well coleman white gas stove. I've also got a shelf that hangs by hooks and para-cord off the roof rack rails that allows me extra table space while I'm parked. Need to photograph that soon. Other than the tent, my camp set up looks just like my signature pick. set up will vary according to campsite. what I'd really like to add is an extended range fuel tank in place of the under truck spare.

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This is my goal too, or rather, I am aiming to have a medium range expedition vehicle.

 

To be honest we picked a bad vehicle for long range expeditions as the Pathfinder is so small.

 

However, expedition pathfinders would be unique.

 

I have picked up a lot of info from www.expeditionportal.com, and Overland Tech and Travel. I wish I had found that site long before I started modifying the truck, I could have saved money.

 

Here are three good articles to get you started: Importance of Gross Vehicle Weight, Top 10 Overland Kit Items You Need, Designing an Overland Vehicle

 

Now while I agree with a lot of the main points, and understand that its nice to have things that make a long vehicle based trip comfortable, I also realize that the pathfinder has limited space. Therefore, I think it is ridiculous to NEED a fridge, rooftop tent, full kitchen etc. Not only are these things expensive, but they are very heavy. I am more than happy to use basic cookware, and can manage with with dried foods, or use a small cooler for longer trips (if you freeze all the food before hand it removes the necessity of using ice), and I can sleep on the ground (i hardly ever use a tent anyway).

Now maybe I would change my mind if I were going through Africa - but I somehow doubt that will ever happen in the Pathfinder.

 

I am in the process of thinning out the gear I have in the truck to keep weight down, and make space for essentials (and my 120lb Mastiff who likes to get comfy).

 

So far this is what I have decided to keep in the truck at all times:

 

1. Comprehensive 1st Aid Kit

2. Several Flashlights - preferably Surefire LEDs

3. Comprehensive but minimal tool kit (no duplicates)

4. On board air (I have the ARB high output which is not installed yet..)

5. Tire repair kit - This is what I picked: Ultimate Puncture Repair Kit

6. Fire Extinguisher

7. Survival kit - emergency blanket, waterproof matches, compass, pocket knife etc. (I want to expand this to a small bug out bag)

8. CB and Ham Radio (haven't picked up the Ham yet - Steevo from Rugged Rocks had one installed where the ash tray is - I want to copy that)

9. At least 3 self recovery options - shovel/axe, recovery strap, highlift, sand tracks, winch and associated shackles etc.

10. Camping gear - what do you REALLy need? 2 man tent, compact sleeping bags, toiletries, warm weather clothes, cold weather clothes, cooking gear, solar shower.

 

I would say for most trips in the US you don't need extra fuel, but I would go for the rotopax or a Nato fuel can (Nato Cans are heavy when full - especially if they are on a roof rack - plus you can't distribute the weight like you can with a couple of rotopax).

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Thanks for all the good info, great stuff so far. I'm actually in southwestern Canada and will be making trips to many of the islands as well as all over the interior of canada so extra fuel will be a must.

 

I think I am going to modify my tire carrier to be similar to the terrano with the tire off to the side and then I can mount extra fuel cans on there.

I figure water is the most important thing to have ample supply of so I plan to install a 7-10 gallon water bladder under my truck with a 12v pump run to a tap when u open the back hatch. With the 3" body lift there is tons of room under the truck to store most of the fluids and air so I can keep my truck clutter free. I am also planning to build an aluminum roof basket for extra storage, yet still keeping weight down.

I am also working on converting my a/c pump into an air compressor to run onboard air.

 

I love the pathfinders size as many of the trails up in Canada are narrow, tight, and winding and bigger trucks have a much harder time getting through much of them. I have always thought it would be a cool overland vehicle, we just have to be more creative with the use of space.

 

Keep em coming!

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Ah, yeah you have more space between gas stations for lots of your stuff.

 

I would be careful of how much weight you put on the rear swing out though - another option is to get a steel bumper/swingout that has fuel can mounts - spendy though.

 

Check these out for water options - I'd love to get the front runner one personally (keeps the center of grav low, and takes up less space)

 

Frontrunner 40L Footwell Tank

 

Flexitank

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I do actually have a steel plate bumper already, it wouldn't be a bad idea to move my carrier down to the bumper, I guess ill convert it over first and then see how it handles the weight, if its too much I can weld a post to my bumper and put the swing.arm on there ...hmmm ideas....

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I'm thinking a flexible bladder mounted under the truck just in front of the rear axle..its wide open there and I built a custom side exit exhaust that exits before the rear tire instead of after so all that space underneath is wide open. Should be able to cram a 7 gallon air tank and a 10 gallon water bladder under there I think..

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Under the rear seats, after the body lift, there is a ton of room to build a water tank or maybe even a storage box of some kind that you could access from the inside.

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Under the rear seats, after the body lift, there is a ton of room to build a water tank or maybe even a storage box of some kind that you could access from the inside.

IMO its a bad idea to do a body lift on an expedition rig. Raises the center of gravity needlessly.

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It really depends what type of expeditioning you will be doing and how much you are packing up top. COG isn't that critical that a few inches is make it or break it, especially if it gives you need clearances or places to tuck things away. It does make it a lot easier to work on some items as well, which could make a big difference out in the middle on nowhere...

 

 

This is my goal too, or rather, I am aiming to have a medium range expedition vehicle.

 

To be honest we picked a bad vehicle for long range expeditions as the Pathfinder is so small.

 

However, expedition pathfinders would be unique.

 

I have picked up a lot of info from www.expeditionportal.com, and Overland Tech and Travel. I wish I had found that site long before I started modifying the truck, I could have saved money.

 

Here are three good articles to get you started: Importance of Gross Vehicle Weight, Top 10 Overland Kit Items You Need, Designing an Overland Vehicle

 

Now while I agree with a lot of the main points, and understand that its nice to have things that make a long vehicle based trip comfortable, I also realize that the pathfinder has limited space. Therefore, I think it is ridiculous to NEED a fridge, rooftop tent, full kitchen etc. Not only are these things expensive, but they are very heavy. I am more than happy to use basic cookware, and can manage with with dried foods, or use a small cooler for longer trips (if you freeze all the food before hand it removes the necessity of using ice), and I can sleep on the ground (i hardly ever use a tent anyway).

Now maybe I would change my mind if I were going through Africa - but I somehow doubt that will ever happen in the Pathfinder.

 

I am in the process of thinning out the gear I have in the truck to keep weight down, and make space for essentials (and my 120lb Mastiff who likes to get comfy).

 

So far this is what I have decided to keep in the truck at all times:

 

1. Comprehensive 1st Aid Kit

2. Several Flashlights - preferably Surefire LEDs

3. Comprehensive but minimal tool kit (no duplicates)

4. On board air (I have the ARB high output which is not installed yet..)

5. Tire repair kit - This is what I picked: Ultimate Puncture Repair Kit

6. Fire Extinguisher

7. Survival kit - emergency blanket, waterproof matches, compass, pocket knife etc. (I want to expand this to a small bug out bag)

8. CB and Ham Radio (haven't picked up the Ham yet - Steevo from Rugged Rocks had one installed where the ash tray is - I want to copy that)

9. At least 3 self recovery options - shovel/axe, recovery strap, highlift, sand tracks, winch and associated shackles etc.

10. Camping gear - what do you REALLy need? 2 man tent, compact sleeping bags, toiletries, warm weather clothes, cold weather clothes, cooking gear, solar shower.

 

I would say for most trips in the US you don't need extra fuel, but I would go for the rotopax or a Nato fuel can (Nato Cans are heavy when full - especially if they are on a roof rack - plus you can't distribute the weight like you can with a couple of rotopax).

Not trying to be arguementative, but I think the Pathfinder is a good size, at least for 2 people; I have done long treks in smaller vehicles. Its size gives it better mileage than some of the fill sized options and makes it more manuverable as well. About the only thing that it doesn't allow for is sleeping inside, but a roof tent takes care of that nicely and saves a lot of room inside.

 

That is a great site, I brouse it often.

 

Damn, that's why you think the Pathy is small, you have a friggin Mastiff! :rolleyes:

 

B

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I'll give you a basic list of what I think are important, and it isn't all inclusive, just what comes to mind right now.

 

Winch or Highlift jack (with recovery gear, shovel, axe)

Power inverter (I have a 1000watt mounted to the back of the center console so it is accessable from anywhere)
Dual batteries with an isolator switch

Solar panel, 45watt min

Communication (cb, ham, cell, etc) Hand held in nice in case you have to leave the vehicle.

Water storage (1 gallon per person per day minimum)

Water filtration and purification

Water (it deserves another mention as it is so important)

First Aid, a good set up, more than you know how to use without reading the book

Roof Tent system

Emergency provisions (ponchos, blankets, rope, rain gear, compass, signal mirror, etc)

Extra Fuel (10 gallons easily goes on the tire carrier)

Battery charger (AAA-D cell is nice) for all your electronics

Proper 'survival' food that does not require water (unless you know this is not an issue), ie peanut butter, candy bars, granola bars, jerky, dried fish and fruit, etc)

Proper packs, so if you have to walk out you can gather all you need and carry it safely and easily. Packs also double as storage and personal kits.

Weapons. In my area, I could have to defend myself from bears, mountail lions or 2 legged rats. Anything from firearms (may be illegal in areas) to axes and survival knives that are designed as spear tips.

Booze, you never know when having a stiff drink is appropriate, or necessary.

Stove, some kind is necessary, even if it is just a screw on 1 burner.

 

I won't mention things like sun shades, proper clothing, fishing kits, mess kits, flashlights, foot wear and the like as that is specific to the individual and the terrain they will be traversing.

 

One more about water, IMO it is better to keep it in the vehicle, not under (think about it) and in several smaller containers so it is easier to stash, distribute and 1 leak won't equal a disaster.

I've traversed the length of Baja California twice in 3 and 4 week trips, so I'm sensitive about water...:D

 

Oh, here is all you need for showers.

http://www.amazon.com/Stearns-SunShower-showers-Capacity-gallons/dp/B000NVC1JY

 

B

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It really depends what type of expeditioning you will be doing and how much you are packing up top. COG isn't that critical that a few inches is make it or break it, especially if it gives you need clearances or places to tuck things away. It does make it a lot easier to work on some items as well, which could make a big difference out in the middle on nowhere...

 

 

Not trying to be arguementative, but I think the Pathfinder is a good size, at least for 2 people; I have done long treks in smaller vehicles. Its size gives it better mileage than some of the fill sized options and makes it more manuverable as well. About the only thing that it doesn't allow for is sleeping inside, but a roof tent takes care of that nicely and saves a lot of room inside.

 

That is a great site, I brouse it often.

 

Damn, that's why you think the Pathy is small, you have a friggin Mastiff! :rolleyes:

 

B

 

Its not argumentative at all, like you said, it depends on the kind of expedition.

 

I personally think for the amount of "equipment" that most expedition vehicles carry, the Pathfinder is too small for long range. It doesn't mean it can't be done, but there will have to be trade offs. For example, many long range expedition vehicles (Defender 110 etc) stick a rooftop tent at the back of the roof rack, then have 4-6 jerry cans at the front. I just don't see that as possible on a Pathfinder, but think you could probably get away with having a few cans on the roof, OR a roof top tent. Having had heavy stuff on the roof with only a 3" suspension lift, I can tell you COG can be important. If you are smart about it you can get away with it though - but there are so many examples of people putting too much on the roof.

 

You are right about the mileage, and maneuverability. And the tank is a little larger than other vehicles that I have driven too.

 

One idea I have seen which I LOVE and want to implement is using a water cooler as a roof top washing machine. Stick all your dirty clothes in, some water and soap, then strap it on the roof rack while you drive. The movement cleans the clothes. Brilliant idea.

 

Yeah, my dog just loves to take up the whole back - even when the seats are down - its like he inflates or something. lol

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I have actually modified the rear section of my truck so it converts from seats to a bed in about 2 minutes flat, it ends up being around 7 ft of head to toe space which fits me perfect at 6'4" tall. Doing this saves me a huge amount of space as I just need to move some things from the back to the front to get the required space to sleep inside.

 

The idea about under the rear seats from adamzan is definitely a good one....I actually still have to fix some rust holes down there still anyways and that would be a perfect place to fab up a storage bin with the empty space under there....add an access door from the top then I could keep my water in there and it would be protected fully...

 

I prefer to keep the 3" body lift just for the reasons listed prior. Much easier to work on and repair things, and more space for custom storage. I have about 7" of total lift and my truck isn't top heavy at all, its actually quite startling at times how much tilt I can get in it without flipping lol. I do have quite a wide stance though due to my wheel offset which definitely helps to keep all 4 down. The roof basket will be made of aluminum too to keep weight down and that's another reason I want to store the water down low in the truck

 

About the comm and protection, I am actually in the process of getting my ham radio license and my fire arms certificate so I can run both as yes, there are mountain lions, black bears, grizzly bears, etc all over where I live.

 

Thanks for all the links by the way, awesome reading!

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I've always wanted to drive through the desert, it seems like it would be almost surreal, especially considering where I live is covered in thick forests and hundreds of monstrous mountains

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I've always wanted to drive through the desert, it seems like it would be almost surreal, especially considering where I live is covered in thick forests and hundreds of monstrous mountains

 

 

Yeah, except its hot, dusty, and sucks when you break down.

 

No, the desert is fun. Ha, I keep dreaming of an adventure through the mountains! Maybe we should swap places for a couple of weeks, lol.

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The grass is greener, hey? Haha. Don't get me wrong, i love British columbia and the terrain is really fun to traverse but being able to see forever until the horizon seems like it would be cool. Here you couldn't dream of seeing the horizon, just more mountains! Only way to see the horizon here is to look west out to the pacific ocean

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Something very important there: GVWR

First, I would go weigh your truck empty. No cargo. Just a full tank of gas. See how much you have to play with.

 

Example: My truck, max GVWR is 5150. With my work tools and two of us in the truck. Its at 5000lbs. Doesnt leave room for much else!

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I personally think for the amount of "equipment" that most expedition vehicles carry, the Pathfinder is too small for long range. It doesn't mean it can't be done, but there will have to be trade offs. For example, many long range expedition vehicles (Defender 110 etc) stick a rooftop tent at the back of the roof rack, then have 4-6 jerry cans at the front. I just don't see that as possible on a Pathfinder, but think you could probably get away with having a few cans on the roof, OR a roof top tent. Having had heavy stuff on the roof with only a 3" suspension lift, I can tell you COG can be important. If you are smart about it you can get away with it though - but there are so many examples of people putting too much on the roof.

 

You are right about the mileage, and maneuverability. And the tank is a little larger than other vehicles that I have driven too.

 

One idea I have seen which I LOVE and want to implement is using a water cooler as a roof top washing machine. Stick all your dirty clothes in, some water and soap, then strap it on the roof rack while you drive. The movement cleans the clothes. Brilliant idea.

 

Yeah, my dog just loves to take up the whole back - even when the seats are down - its like he inflates or something. lol

Well, lets define range (between gas as any where with gas should have water and (crappy) food. In the lower 48 states you are never more than 115 miles from a MickyD, and where there are fries, there is gas... :shrug:

http://www.datapointed.net/2010/09/distance-to-nearest-mcdonalds-sept-2010/

 

There, in the high desert of northwestern Nevada, you’ll find antelope, wild horses, and the Lower-48′s new-and-improved McFarthest Spot: a patch of sage and soil that is 115 miles away, as the crow flies, from the nearest McDonald’s!

 

distance_to_mcdonalds_l.jpg

 

Defender 110! Awesome, but I don't see it in the budget any time soon. My pathy will be set up the way I want it for under $10k and I'm moer than 1/2 way there. I'll play the hand I have... ;)

 

land-rover-defender-110-02.jpg

 

 

I fully agree with the 'stuff on the roof' concern, I don't have a roof basket and think putting a spare up there is a bad idea as well. I will install my Xterra roof rack, and I would love a roof tent, but barring that I would only use it for tools (shovel, axe, etc) and a aerodynamic, lockable roof storage pod. No pernanent weight on the roof other than a few gas cans in an emergency that get drained asap.

 

I haven't heard of that cooler trick, but will try it. Grungy clothes suck, especially when you are sweating a lot!

 

B

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I've always wanted to drive through the desert, it seems like it would be almost surreal, especially considering where I live is covered in thick forests and hundreds of monstrous mountains

Here are some Baja views. Not that I have traveled the world, but it is the first place that I've been where the desert runs into the sea. I have walked out of the surf after spearfishing in the Sea of Cortez, gone 20 feet past the water line and sat down next to a cactus.

 

5700230027_5facbe65d1_o.jpg

Don't think that desert is flat...

 

john-elk-iii-anchored-yacht-and-coastal-

 

 

 

 

Yeah, except its hot, dusty, and sucks when you break down.

 

No, the desert is fun. Ha, I keep dreaming of an adventure through the mountains! Maybe we should swap places for a couple of weeks, lol.

My favorite wheeling is in the desert, unless you get hit by a monsoon/hurricane and then it can suck!

Got flash flooded off the road in Death Valley on a motorcycle trip once...

 

Something very important there: GVWR

First, I would go weigh your truck empty. No cargo. Just a full tank of gas. See how much you have to play with.

 

Example: My truck, max GVWR is 5150. With my work tools and two of us in the truck. Its at 5000lbs. Doesnt leave room for much else!

A WD21 is listed at 5150 and generally weigh in at 4000-4200 empty. If you have invested in suspension (like all good expeditioners should) that number will increase by a few hundred pounds, and you can safely exceed it by a few hundred pounds as long as the wieght is low and distributed. I will ask though, other than fuel and water, who the hell needs more than 500-800 lbs of gear? That isn't treking, that is called moving! :D

 

B

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My ghetto rig is a poor mans expedition vehicle, I don't have an unlimited bank roll like some of the guys I go with but my Pathy handles everything I've thrown at it. I do expedition trips out to the So Cal desert & mountains all the time, going on a 3 day Mojave Road trip in November. Check out some of my posts for mods that I've done (just finished a dual battery set up).

 

Here's the group that I go with, check it out for some of the trips we've done & for more pics of trucks that are set up as expedition rigs, might give you some more ideas as well..........

 

http://www.meetup.com/score-explore/

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Yes, that rig was really well set up. If it was closer, I'd have bought it to use/transfer to a fresh frame. Never did get a good reason why he was selling it...

 

 

A lot of this depends on what you consider to be an "expedition". Need a lot of gear to do a proper expedition for 2+ weeks with limited contact with civilization. Less so for a back-country adventure.

What do you consider an expedition? Is it a caravan as well or just a single vehicle? Where are you going and what sort of terrain? What distance do you plan on crossing without contact, and where?

My honest experience is that other than gas and cold beer, you can live in the hills quite easily if you wish.

I rode a 6 week, 6k mile solo motorcycle ride living out of a tent and the gear packed on back (120 lbs) and had everything I needed to be comfortable, but had gas/store contact every 3-5 days. :shrug:

 

B

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One cool idea I saw on Youtube the other day involved on board water. A guy with a Jeep realized that he could drill a hole in the plastic bumper, hook a pump to it, and run a hose. The pump came on automatically when you started using water. These don't have enclosed plastic bumpers but a custom bumper could include a PVC tank.

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