22 March 2023

Remote Adventures in Comfort

 It's been a long time coming, but the COVID years presented me with an opportunity to complete and build a unique 4WD canopy for the Toyota Landcrusier 79.

The objectives, a go anywhere, anytime 4WD that had the comforts of home.  

You know! Like a queen-sized bed, hot / cold running water, heating for those cold mornings, cool during the heat of the day, built in flush toilet, shower, sink, fridge and cooker.  

On top of that, room for two spare tyres, tools, recovery gear and camping chairs, tables etc.

The design challenges, to keep it light, minimal welding, strong and tuff, totally self-contained, flat pack assembly and to squeeze everything into one small touring canopy unit.

Luckily, in more recent years, new products including compact diesel heaters and cook tops provided an option to avoid carrying gas bottles and the potential leaking dangers.  So the canopy is power by the sun and diesel.

The canopy was built on a trolley style jig that took around 3 weeks in total to complete. Once built, a purposed build left frame and jacks lifted the canopy on the vehicle.  Then it was just a simple task to attach the wheel guards and under deck storage lockers.

Below are a few photos that show the build progress.

Jig and sub structure

Water tanks in sub structure
Deck on sub structure and internal panels

Shell panels being fitted

Outfitting with Fibreglass pop top fitted
Plumbing to pump and heating unit

The maiden voyage

No rooftop ladder. Only 3 steps to access inside shower, toilet and queen bed

It is too good to keep to ourselves, so we have established a business called Kappa Kanopies to supply the design for other to build and market this all-in-one unit.

If you want to know more, email Be keen to hear from you. :)

Gordon Kay

18 November 2013

Where is Dr Leichhardt? a new publication on Australia's Greatest Mystery

Where is Dr Leichhardt? A new publication by Darrell Lewis

When much of Australia's inland was still unknown, a young Friedrich Wilhelm Ludwig Leichhardt, (Ludwig Leichhardt) set out with six other men westward from Queensland, heading for Swan River settlement in Western Australia in 1848. They never arrived.

Darrell Lewis addresses the greatest mystery in Australian history the disappearance of the Leichhardt expedition somewhere in the vastness of the inland. While some clues of the Leichhardt expedition have been found the resting places for seven men and all their equipment remains lost.

His new book draws together and summarises all the search expeditions and the claimed 'Leichhardt' relics, and assesses the validity of the claimed relics and the various theories proposed – all of the attempts to answer the perplexing question: Where is Dr Leichhardt?

You can listen to Lewis being interviewed by ABC Local, Richard Fidler in June 2013.  An interesting insight to Leichhards story and the type of man he was.

19 August 2012

The Greater Works of Sir Charles Todd

Sir Charles Todd
This year the National Science Week included a Sir Charles Todd symposium.
Now you may be thinking, what has Charles Todd got to do with science, particular science of today.  Wasn't he that bloke that put up those telegraph poles between Adelaide and Darwin 100 plus years ago?  And Yes, you are correct.

It's unfortunate that while the Overland Telegraph Line was a technological feat of its time (1872), it over shadowed Sir Charles Todd's other achievement which in their own right are each significant.  More so, his legacy which is continuing to assist scientist answer many of todays questions around global climate change.  In terms of current technology, as one speaker at the symposium put it, "Sir Charles should be credited with the first mobile communication device and SMS messaging as he carried around a pocket Morse code key to connected to any telegraph-line to communicate around the globe".  That last one is stretching it a bit!

The symposium grew from an idea of the Todd family descendants to celebrating the 140th anniversary of the Overland Telegraph Line completion.  It appears that the Wether Bureau was asked to brief the family on the meteorological works of Sir Charles Todd.  On reflection, Mac Benoy a volunteer for the Bureau of Meteorology claimed that "Sir Charles meteorological contribution was a result of his breadth of involvement in other fields including surveying, electrical, engineering, telegraphy, post and astronomy".   To provide completeness it would require others to showcase Sir Charles works.  So the symposium was formed.

11 March 2012

Sparks go flying with long range fuel tank.

The shocking truth of a leading 4WD after market supplier that put our life's at risk.

For anyone that has done any serious off-road traveling, it's easy to justify a few new gadgets for your 4WD.  And yes, I promptly had new springs and shockers fitted, a snorkel and a long range fuel tank installed to my new Toyota 100 series Landcruiser in 2001.

Before I give you the full story on a potential time bomb of a fuel tank, here's a brief background. 

A date was set with ample time for the selected 4WD specialist TJM to obtain all the parts to fit out my new 4WD vehicle.

That day came and on picking up my vehicle it was clear that the 4WD specialist TJM was eager to finish the day's trading so on paying I was whisked out to my car with their workshop roller door closed behind me.  My thoughts turned to "did they give me my keys" as the last of the employees drove away.  Scrambling through my pockets, I laid my hands on my keys.

With car unlocked, seats and mirrors adjusted, car started, I am back in control .... or ....was I?