March 22, 2022 6 min read
Your name: Josh Ashcroft
Location: Portland, Oregon
Rig nickname: Since I have three Land Rovers it probably needs a name, but I usually just refer to it as "The 110" as it's the only 110 I have. Mzungu seems appropriate though.
Vehicle Make & Model: Land Rover 110
HEST product: Sleep System Wide and Standard. I have two trucks and an OZ Tent, and depending on how the back of the 110 is loaded out I have three different width options.
If I'm traveling solo: I'll generally leave the wide sleep system setup in the back all the time. If my girlfriend is along I'll use both the Wide and Standard side by side, or if we're base camping we'll use the OZ Tent and both Sleep Systems. I use the Sleep System over the Foamy as it's nice to have the added support when using the ground tent and in the back of the 110 I have airline track tie downs that have some sharp edges on them that will tear at foam and puncture lesser inflatable mattresses. So the Sleep Systems accommodate the variety of ways I sleep while maintaining the same level of comfort - I need a good night's sleep and I appreciate having a single solution that accommodates the variety of ways in which I sleep.
Critical dimensions for your bed platform:
Width (at narrowest point): 36", 48" or 60" depending on the configuration - if the trip requires additional gear I can place it on one or both of the fenders narrowing the bed, so I like having a pad that is split in two vs. one fixed width.
What do you like most about your rig?
Probably the simplicity. It makes it easy to modify to an individual's needs, and easy to maintain or field repair should something go wrong. The classic styling doesn't hurt. Another thing I like about it - that is in part a byproduct of the simplicity - is the wide range of aftermarket parts available for it makes it much easier to outfit. My last vehicle required everything to be custom made, which can be fun but isn't always very affordable or practical and I just don't have the time these days to design and fabricate everything the truck needs.
On your average weekend adventure, what is the gear set up you bring with you? How did you navigate gear storage needs into your set up?
On a typical weekend the gear I'd throw in would be:
Beyond that I try to keep the tools, spare parts, recovery gear, and cooking equipment in the truck so it's ready to go, and they are packed away in drawers so they aren't immediately obvious if you look in the truck.
As far as navigating storage needs, that's an ever evolving process of learning what I want and like, and limited by time and finances to actually implement. The truck is very much a work in progress… still navigating my storage needs. But here's my current through process and where the truck is at: Storage is super important with long distance remote travel so after sorting any reliability issues, upgrades to storage were the first thing I addressed. One of my goals with storage is to have a place for everything, and everything is ideally accessible in one action - meaning I try to not nest items on top of each other or stack them so I don't have to constantly unstrap and unload everything to get to the item on bottom that I keep needing.
The overall exterior dimensions of the Land Rover is actually quite small, a 4Runner is 15in longer and a solid 6in wider than the Land Rover. But the body is quite a bit taller, and being square the Land Rover is probably one of the most volumetrically efficient form factors you'll find. So I started by trying to take advantage of all the unused but accessible space that's built into the truck. Under the driver seat is the factory battery and I added a national Luna split charge system. Under the passenger seat I placed the second battery and managed to stuff an ARB twin air compressor in there with it. The right rear fender contains a pass-through aux fuel tank and the left rear fender contains a water tank. By taking advantage of all these spaces it frees up a lot of room inside the cab.
In outfitting the cab, one of the benefits of this vehicle is the wide range of products available to it which made my storage upgrades a lot easier than on past vehicles: I selected a Front Runner rear load area drawer for tools and recovery gear with airline track on top to secure loads should the space on top be needed. The top of the drawer box is the same height as the square inner fenders creating a flat surface the full width of the back of the truck great for loading gear, or serving as the sleeping platform. For the camp kitchen and cookware I installed a Front Runner rear window gull wing with storage box allowing for exterior access. And to finish off the storage I have a Front Runner platform rack for items I don't want in the truck like dirty Maxxtrax and fuel cans as well as flex space for the items that I may not take on every trip like a SUP or portable propane fire pit. I swear I'm not a total Front Runner brand fanboy but they do have a lot of great items specifically for the Defender.
Any cool custom details you’re proud of?
I recently put a new custom built Rover 4.6 in and that's been a game changer but there were a few details to that install that weren't as straightforward as one might imagine. The center console is a combination of a MUD UK sliding lockbox that contains the auxiliary fuse panel, bolted to the top of the lockbox is a Gamber and Johnson Modular Center Console that contains all the electronic accessories - USB and 12V power, switches for the house accessories, a dual band HAM / GMRS Radio, a storage cubby, map pocket, cup holders, and a slot for future expansion which will likely be for a media player. The center console was quite a bit of work to get everything lined up and working together and it was a lot more electrical work than I've done on anything before, but it's so nice to have everything in a compact tidy package and have everything you want and room for future expansion.
Coolest place you’ve taken your rig to?
I bought it in Holland and flew over to check it out and test drive it so that was a bit of an experience but the coolest place I've taken it is probably Owyhee which you can actually read about in the current issue of Overland Journal (Gear 2022)
How long did this build take from start to finish?
I've had the rig for five years and it will probably be another five before it's really done. I use it a lot so It's hard to have a lot of down time to work on it so some of these projects get rather drawn out.
What fun activities do you do from your rig?
Following some injuries I haven't done much cycling or snowboarding lately, so my activities have become a lot more tame and risk averse - SUP (basically sunbathing on the water...), hiking, camping, exploring. We do a fair amount of trips to OHV parks to do a little wheeling and push the truck a little bit. In Oregon we still have some beaches you can drive on so I do a lot of weekend trips to hang out on the beach and play in the dunes with the truck. And in the winter we have an annual Christmas Tree hunt / search for snow deep enough to get stuck in.