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Rad rigs: Defending Adventure


Overlanders are a special bunch; they’ll spend exorbitant amounts of time and money on escaping what most recognise as an entirely satisfactory way of life − just to go sleep in the bush and drive their 4x4s. Of course, if you’re an overlander, a normal vehicle simply won’t do. In fact, a normal 4×4 won’t do, either. Longdistance off-road travellers require not only a capable steed but one that can function as a home, as well. This is something that Bryan Fenn has learnt first-hand.

Bryan, and his wife, Lesley, have always enjoyed travel; but their offroading adventures began only in 2002, when a trip to Kenya in their Range Rover gave them a taste for this entirely new form of getting away. A few years later, things would become more serious.

2011 was to be a special year for Bryan and Lesley, as it marked both their fortieth wedding anniversary and Bryan’s retirement from the business empire they’d built together. Lesley was overjoyed to learn that, for their anniversary, the duo would travel to London and visit their son for the holidays. Then she found out that they wouldn’t be flying first class − no, indeed. This time they’d be driving up!

At first Lesley thought the idea was pure insanity, given their limited overlanding experience, but she soon came round to the idea and took a key role in the planning. When they’d made this journey to London in a newlyacquired 4.0 V6 Prado, Bryan still hadn’t had enough, although he had decided on some changes before the next trip.

Firstly, the Prado would have to go. It had proved a reliable and comfortable companion, but space had become an issue. Also, he’d fallen out of love with the conventional rooftop tent: the effort of pitching the tent in rain, and the security worries of having the driver’s compartment inaccessible from the roof, meant that other plans had to be made. A call was made to Alu-Cab, who recommended a Defender.