THE $10,000 BUILD
NEW tyres, a suspension kit, bar work, driving lights and a UHF have started to transform your vehicle into an impressive touring rig, but there’s still a long way to go to maximise its load-carrying versatility, extend its touring range and improve its off-road capability.
With a $10K budget you’ll be able to afford everything we’ve mentioned above and have enough leftover for a heap of other gear, but you’ll still need to get your priorities sorted before you start spending more cash. If you’re going to be travelling long distances with the family then you’ll need to carry a fair bit of gear, so depending on what vehicle you drive you might need to fit a roof rack, a canopy and a cargo drawer system, perhaps consider fitting a longrange fuel tank and some water storage.
A decent set of roof bars will cost $300-$400, and on top of that add $200$300 for a roof basket. Alternatively, a complete roof rack system will cost around $1000. Don’t forget to factor in accessories such as jerry can, a hi-lift jack, and shovel holders and an awning. This will still leave plenty in the bank for a set of storage drawers, which range in price from as little as $600 to more than $2000, depending on quality and features. A drop-down fridge slide is a very handy feature (adds another $800 or so) and a fridge barrier (around $450) will allow you to maximise the useable space around the fridge.
A canopy is the most obvious way of transforming a ute into a useful touring vehicle and these can range in price from $2500 to $4000. Accessories and options include air vents (to pressurise the canopy and keep dust out), pop-up or sliding windows, window screens, roof racks systems and more. So if you’re on a tight budget, you might have to be a bit picky.
If you haven’t already blown the budget, the safest way to carry extra fuel and to extend the touring range of your vehicle is by fitting a long-range fuel tank. Set aside $1000-$1500 for a quality tank depending on vehicle application or, if you’re just about out of cash, you can always carry a couple of jerry cans ($30-$60 each), which can be safely carried on your roof rack with jerry can holders ($40-$70 each).
Weekend warriors who don’t need the load-carrying capacity or touring range of outback tourers won’t need to spend their cash on racks, canopies, fuel tanks and the like, so their money could be better spent on fitting a couple of diff locks if they aren’t included by the factory. There are plenty of options on the market, including air lockers and electronic lockers, and you can expect to spend up to $1500 per locker once fitted. Once it’s all locked up, your fourwheel drive will be able to tackle some seriously tricky terrain, so you’ll want to set aside some money to spend on under-vehicle protection ($300-$500).
No matter what four-wheel driving you’re in to, you’re going to want a portable fridge/freezer to keep drinks cold and food fresh, and you’ll be looking at around $700-$1400 for a decent 40-litre unit and up to $1700 for a 60-litre unit.
You’ll need a dual-battery system to power the fridge and other accessories, and basic set-ups (including isolator, wiring loom, battery tray and deep-cycle battery) will cost at least $1000 but will ensure your starting battery always has plenty of cranking power to get going in the morning. Portable dual-battery systems are another option, and these will also cost around $1000+ once you’ve sourced a quality deep-cycle battery and relevant wiring loom/isolator. Strictly speaking, altering or adding to the electrical system of a vehicle is a job for professionals.