The one we didn’t cross…

We bought a 4×4 enabled camper for this trip. One big question was how well our chosen ride would fare in real world 4×4 conditions. Which brings me to the first picture.

We stood in front of this river for a while. This was on our third more serious dirt/gravel trip, so we had some experience by then. At this stage we could classify river crossings into three types:

  • It’s a puddle: Just drive through
  • Not a total gimmy: Engage diff locks and carefully pick a route
  • Could be real trouble: Look at three cars go through and then follow with everything enabled.

The above was at least option 3, but even with careful study no even semi-obvious route was obvious and things looked very deep. Our realistic wading depth is 60cm, in an ideal case we can probably do a little more, but generally 40cm or less is desirable. This looked like more.

After a few minutes a fully kitted out Land Rover with four guys in it stopped next to us and asked if we were ok and considering to cross. We explained the assessment. The driver went: “You would be the first camper in years to even try. Don’t. They use this place as an example in safety videos on what can go wrong. Try the less dangerous route up the other valley.” Upon which he then proceeded to drive 100m upriver, drop into the current with the water lapping gently over the hood and driving 150m through the water downriver. We watched, turned and took another route. Lesson learned, capability assessed correctly.

Apart from this experience, our little camper has taken everything we’ve thrown at it so far in style. Dirt, gravel, water, rass, mud… As a result, we’ve gotten more than one surprised look in harder to reach places. Icelandic people take their offroading seriously and we don’t quite make the cut. See the following example (this was actually “up the other valley”). For reference, Liam is about 1.1m at this stage. 

That said, there are some things that could use improvents. Things rattle quite a bit when it gets rough – the wheels are not big enough to level out the washboard parts especially. I’m quite afraid the mirrors will fall off eventually. The water tank is too low and the exit angle sucks. We don’t have a snorkel, so water above a certain level is potentially catastrophic for the engine. My list could go on… Luckily, we get a lot of inspiration for other designs, such as here in Landmannalaugur (note our camper in the middle of the picture).

For those of you who made it until here, I assume you have some interest in the offroad topic. So here is an album with pictures of the roads/rivers we did do: https://goo.gl/photos/6NPJhbnKSZ5YyoCv8.

2 thoughts on “The one we didn’t cross…

  1. What a great story. Seems so far away from here where offroading often means driving your cayenne up the mountains to ski 😉
    What a great time, also Liam must be thrilled. Take care 😚

    Liked by 1 person

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