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Between a rock and a VERY hard place….


So, you’ve bought your off-road vehicle. It has everything that ‘those in the know’ told you was important, including low range, some clearance and plenty of packing space. You’re sorted, right? You’ve got loads of gear, and you’re ready to hit the road and visit some remote spot. Preferably where all the wild things are…

BUT. Yes, there’s always that ‘but’ in life. See, here’s the thing… You don’t know what you don’t know until it bites you on the butt. Until you’re between a rock and a VERY hard place… There are things that “those in the know” haven’t told you, perhaps because they are themselves unaware, or they don’t want to discourage you. Not everyone that dishes advice so freely necessarily knows all about reality, contrary to popular misrepresentation. They won’t tell you how dangerous it is to carry fuel inside your vehicle, or that when it leaks on your carpet, the smell is almost impossible to eradicate. They won’t tell you about trying to find the can opener somewhere in the load bin of a single cab bakkie. Or about the night in Third Bridge when the hyaena legged it out of the campsite carrying their free-standing fridge – with the gas bottle bouncing along behind. And yes, these are all true stories.

But never fear… there is always a solution. There are practical fitments that change off-road travel and camping from a hellish misadventure to an absolute pleasure. That said, you need to ensure that the solution doesn’t become part of the problem. Again, there are tales of great sorrow and gnashing of teeth wherever you’re prepared to listen. Roof racks that came off at high speed, awnings that rattled. Every. Single. Kilometre. For the entire 1000+ km backroad journey around Namibia. Putting up some tents requires all the fortitude you can muster – a daily job on safari. Issues and incidents of this nature eventually suck every ounce of joy out of a trip and can be the cause of endless conflict. If this is the state of play, you’d be better off staying at home – which would be a great pity.

The bottom line is that you need products that have been tested for local conditions, by people who understand your lifestyle. You need strong, durable, practical and easy to use solutions, and you need them fitted by a reputable company that has extensive overlanding knowledge that you can benefit from. Ideally, a company that understands the challenges thrown at adventurers by the African wilderness. In the current pandemic, it is also important to support South African companies that manufacture locally, thereby ensuring that your hard-earned money is ploughed back into your own country’s economy. If, on top of all the already mentioned criteria, you are able to find a privately owned entity, thereby supporting an SME – well, that’s a real win!! Which is where Big Country 4×4 comes in…

Big Country 4×4 is a privately owned company that designs and manufactures a wide range of products for the off-road vehicle industry. Their range of canopies, storage systems, rooftop tents, roof racks and awnings have been designed to suit most of the popular 4×4 vehicles in the market. Rather than relying on a one-size-fits-all solution, each product is highly specialised. They are always prepared to look at tailoring a custom solution to your problem. They manufacture for, and distribute to, numerous independent and franchised stores countrywide and internationally. And here’s the best news of all: you, as the end user, are also able to buy directly from them, and get the gear correctly fitted in their professional fitment centre. Which is really important – simply purchasing good equipment is not enough. It needs to be properly fitted, so that you don’t become another campfire story…

At the core of the Big Country 4×4 philosophy is their dedication to quality. Small things you may not notice result in a superior product. For example, their roof racks are welded together, not bolted. Whilst this makes their distribution more of a challenge, the reality is that you’re getting the best product possible. You won’t need to spend hours assembling the roof rack as there are no bolts, and nor are there places between aluminium and steel for corrosion to take place. The result? A roof rack of superior strength, perfect for hardcore overlanding expeditions (or that last minute weekend away). One that is able to withstand the harsh conditions of life on the road in Africa. It is not without reason that their slogan is “Not Fragile”!

The company operates out of their own 3000sqm manufacturing facility in Waltloo, Pretoria. Cutting edge 3D modelling and CAD design software is a crucial component in the design and manufacture of all their products. They utilise the latest techniques in their manufacturing facilities, including:

  • A state-of-the-art laser cutting machine.
  • Complete aluminium fabrication and TIG welding department.
  • A production assembly line for drawer systems, fridge sliders and other accessories.
  • Steel and stainless steel TIG and MIG welding equipment.
  • A spray booth with a colour mixing station.
  • Their own canvas and nylon fabrication machinery.
  • Sheet metal bending machinery.
  • They have a comprehensive showroom for all their products.

Why should you care? Well, simply because it is ALL manufactured by Big Country 4×4. They are responsible and accountable for the entire product, which results in a superb quality level that you may not be able to achieve yourself. The awnings, fridge sliders and various other smaller accessories are manufactured in their Randburg sales facility, located in a secure business park in Northriding – which also serves as the national distribution centre for their products, as well as a fitment centre. They have a comprehensively stocked warehouses and distribution centre, which means that you don’t need to wait forever whilst goods are shipped in from overseas.

Both Richard Ransome and Greg Mervitz actually “live the life”. When not exploring new options / products / opportunities at Big Country 4×4, they’re happiest exploring the great outdoors. Big Country… Get it?

John Hemingway wrote “If I have ever seen magic, it has been in Africa.” Let Big Country 4×4 help you to experience the joys of safari travel by equipping your vehicle to minimise the “blood, sweat and tears” approach with their equipment which is definitely “Not Fragile”!

As experienced overlanders see issues you may miss (and it’s always better to learn from other people’s school fees!).

Be sure to contact Big Country 4×4 for expert recommendations on upgrades you require before setting off into the wilderness by using the contact form below.

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