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HomeAfricaFully-Equipped Land Rover Defender Is the Ultimate Overland Camper, It'll Make You...

Fully-Equipped Land Rover Defender Is the Ultimate Overland Camper, It’ll Make You Drool

If you want a mobile home ready to take you deep off the beaten path, consider an overlander. There are countless options regarding the base vehicles you can use and so many designs you can go for. Today, I’m presenting one of the best overlanders I’ve ever seen, based on a Land Rover Defender.
Fully-Equipped Land Rover Defender Is the Ultimate Overlanding Rig, It'll Make You Drool 29 photos

Photo: YouTube Screenshot / True Blue Travellers
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You’ll find plenty of information about overlanding on autoevolution. Late last year, I wrote an article about what it takes to start overlanding. I also talked about the 10 best vehicles to transform into overlanders. One of the options I included was the 2023 Land Rover Defender.

The rig I’m checking out today is based on an older version of the Defender. Before we look at this beast of a vehicle, let me tell you more about its owners, Jess and Jon. Like many adventurers living in mobile homes, Jess and Jon had enough of the 9 to 5 lifestyle and decided to explore by camper van.

They transformed a supermarket delivery van into a luxurious camper van. However, they also wanted a more hardcore exploration rig, so before they built their camper van, they converted this 2011 Land Rover Defender into a fantastic overlander.

As usual, I’ll start with the exterior mods – as soon as you lay eyes on this rig, you can tell it’s outfitted with many accessories. One of the most important upgrades to an overlander is the tires – this vehicle rides on sturdy Wolf alloy wheels wrapped in Toyo Open Country M/T tires.

Fully-Equipped Land Rover Defender Is the Ultimate Overland Camper, It'll Make You Drool

Photo: YouTube Screenshot / True Blue Travellers

At the front, you’ll discover a bull bar integrating two spotlights and a front bumper complete with a winch. Underneath, the couple installed a steering guard. What’s more, on the sides, they fitted heavy-duty rock sliders and mud flaps.

The vehicle’s passenger side integrates two double-glazed opening windows and a massive 270-degree awning. On the opposite side, you’ll notice two storage containers and two 20-liter (5-gallon) water canisters attached to two L-Traks. What’s more, Jon fitted a 50-liter (13-gallon) freshwater tank, a 45-liter (12-gallon) fuel tank extension, and an 18-liter (4.5-liter) wastewater tank.

When it comes to overlanders, it’s critical to fully use the space on the roof. That’s what Jess and Jon did with their Defender – they mounted a Flatdog roof rack that holds a surfboard rack, traction boards, a propane bottle, two 100-liter (26-gallon) storage boxes, and an additional frame to which Jon attached 350 W solar panels.

Finally, at the rear, the couple installed the main propane bottle connected inside the rig, a reversing camera, a spare wheel holding a trash bag, and a hi-lift jack underneath the vehicle.

Fully-Equipped Land Rover Defender Is the Ultimate Overland Camper, It'll Make You Drool

Photo: YouTube Screenshot / True Blue Travellers

It’s time to step inside through the rear of the vehicle. Open the door, and you might think, “Wow, this interior is a bit cramped.” I saved the most significant modification to this Defender for last: the Alucab pop-top roof.

Just undo a few latches, and the roof will be ready to be raised. You won’t need a lot of muscle power, as it’s supported by gas struts. Here’s what makes this pop-top roof so cool – yes, it serves as a traditional rooftop tent, as it’s also where the duo sleeps. However, the bottom panels can be lifted from inside the vehicle, allowing you to stand up straight inside.

The bedroom boasts a nearly full-size mattress, lights, USB outlets, and three large windows with zippable bug nets and waterproof black-out shades. What’s more, the tent is fully waterproof and insulated.

Let me tell you about the rest of the interior. The left side is occupied by an L-shaped couch with storage space, a heater, and 260 Ah batteries underneath. Furthermore, you can lift the top panel of one part of the couch to reveal a urine-separating toilet.

Fully-Equipped Land Rover Defender Is the Ultimate Overland Camper, It'll Make You Drool

Photo: YouTube Screenshot / True Blue Travellers

The couch can be transformed into an extra bedroom by extending a wooden frame, which occupies all the walking space inside, and rearranging the cushions.

The kitchen takes up the entire right side of the living space. It features two sizeable countertops, a 65-liter fridge, a deep stainless steel sink connected to a water filtration system, three spacious cupboards, and multiple drawers, one of which houses a two-burner stove. There’s also an outdoor shower mounted into the side panel of the sink cabinet.

Jess and Jon also fitted an “outdoor kitchen” on the rear door. It consists of a fold-down table and a storage spot for cutlery and utensils made from canvas fabric. One clever modification the couple did was install a gas strut for the door, which holds it steady even in heavier wind conditions.

When the couple wants more privacy, they can use the window’s built-in black-out shades to block prying eyes, as well as a curtain that separates the driver’s cabin from the living space.

Fully-Equipped Land Rover Defender Is the Ultimate Overland Camper, It'll Make You Drool

Photo: YouTube Screenshot / True Blue Travellers

Lastly, we have the driver’s cabin. Jess and Jon installed a removable table in between the two seats, directly above a sizeable safe. You’ll also notice a switch panel controlling lights, the reversing camera, and the waste tank’s dumping valve. There’s also one switch that controls a compressor, enabling the couple to adjust the tire pressure – this is especially useful when going off-road.

Behind the passenger seat and the safe, you’ll discover the rig’s electrical system. It comprises a 30-amp MPPT/DC-DC charger, a fuse panel, and an inverter.

All in all, this is a seriously engineered overlander build that can go to the remotest of places while still keeping you comfortable. It’s impressive how many high-end features the couple managed to pack into a vehicle this compact. Of course, this Defender will feel most “at home” in rough environments, so that’s why the duo plans on adventuring in Morocco.

If you’re like me, you probably want to know how much this all cost – I was expecting quite a high price. It turns out that my expectations weren’t that right – let me break down the costs for you.

Fully-Equipped Land Rover Defender Is the Ultimate Overland Camper, It'll Make You Drool

Photo: YouTube Screenshot / True Blue Travellers

They bought the bone-stock 2011 Defender second-hand when it had 132,000 miles (212,433 km) for a hefty £16,500 ($20,833). The Alucamp rooftop tent set them back a staggering £9,000 ($11,363) – that’s how much some people invest in a camper project – take this build as an example.

All the exterior accessories amounted to almost £6,500 ($8,207). And finally, all the interior fittings cost a surprisingly low £2,800 ($3,535), including the water tanks. We’ll have to add an extra £1,300 ($1,641) for the electrical system, £300 ($379) for the consumables and £200 ($253) for the linings.

I rounded up the costs, so I missed a few hundred pounds, but the conversion set them back a total of £20,400 ($25,757). That means that the entire project cost £36,900 ($46,590) – that’s an excellent deal considering this rig’s capabilities and creature comforts.