Words & Images Eugene Beetge
I have always had a thing for Landys. Since childhood. As they say, it is a Landy thing. Ironically, I also love Cruisers but, for various reasons, including the feel of the Landy, have always stuck with Defenders. Since 2000, I have had 4 Defenders and a Disco. My wife currently drives a Defender 110 Puma, and I have my High-Capacity bakkie, the camper
We have a large family. Apart from my wife, Alida, and I, we have four gorgeous kids (Marnus, Eugenie, Ruben and Carissa). Still smallish. Before the kids came, my wife and I used to camp almost every weekend. Our weekdays were filled with business, and weekends were spent rock climbing and mountain-biking all over the country.
We fell in love with Lesotho after we started participating in an annual event that friends of ours created from Matatiele, called the Thin Air Challenge. It involved mountain bikes tiger-lining over
the mountains in southeastern Lesotho, with the Landys meeting them at the campsites.
I’ve always had a need for efficiency, so I designed my first modification for Lesotho. I built a full fold-up double-bed inside a Defender 90. To make it fit, I had to fold it up during transit, in which I was inspired by origami − the Japanese art of folding paper. My first origami double bed was quite popular and even featured on a US website from where many guys requested the designs and measurements. I was happy to supply these, and get the word out.
Then it happened. Kids arrived. Little busy bodies who have their own requirements. I soon realised our lives had changed, and when it came to camping and adventure sport, we needed to adapt.
My thinking in 2009 then turned to an off-road caravan, but the problem was the expense and how to justify it: although we camp a lot, even then it would take years to get the value back. And, considering that we cover sand, river beds and very rocky terrain, there would be excessive strain on the vehicle and caravan, so my thinking turned to a self-driven caravan.
Using my High-Capacity bakkie as a base, in one night I designed and specced a camper in my head and on paper.
Once the DIY project is done pitching the complete unit takes less than 15min, as does closing it. Check the video out here: