Desert Gear


More a member of the team than a piece of gear. Sam has equipped her for desert running with a roof rack capable of holding up two sand ladders for rescue from soft sand. To power electrical devices, Baz installed a cigarrette lighter adaptor. This was used to power a stereo system and the GPS.

During the trip she did 9517 km, and used 1169 litres of fuel, at a total cost of £560. Check out the fuel consumption table for the details.

Ship's Computer

My Palm Vx PDA served as the ship's computer for the trip. At each petrol stop the amount of diesel, mileage and cost was entered into an application called AutoLog. Unfortunately the program can't cope with differing currency, so the data had to be processed later to work out the cost per km.

The Palm also served as a notebook for odds and ends here and there, and provided me with a few games of Cribbage while waiting for Sam and Abbie to return from shopping trips. The internal batteries lasted well, and were only down to 30% when we returned.


We had a Michelin map of Morocco as well as the Lonely Planet and Rough Guide books. These got us mostly where we wanted to go, but for our trip on the pistes of the Sahara we used my Garmin GPS12, using coordinates from one of Sam's African expedition books.

The unit performed well until it locked up and lost all data towards the end of the first day in the desert. Garmin support were informed of this on our return and haven't heard of a unit doing this before. I can only think it was either the heat (although it was within the tolerances listed on the unit) or the electrical supply from Elsa. Perhaps I should have kept the batteries in the unit while using it off the cigarette lighter as backup.


Sam's volcano kettle served us well. It is basically a double-walled cylindrical chimney. A fire is lit underneath and the flames rise up the centre. Water is placed in the chimney walls and is heated efficiently by the flames rising in the middle. As long as a good air supply is maintained the thing can boil water in a couple of minutes. We had little trouble finding enough twigs and stones to burn, and it also disposed of burnable rubbish for us.

We also had a Trangia Meths stove for cooking on.


I took my Terra Nova Quasar tent and it was useful in keeping off dust and wind in some conditions. We never had to deal with rain so the flysheet wasn't used. I broke a couple of pegs in hard ground. It slept two of us in comfort which left one of us on Elsa's bench bed. Sam had a couple of ex-Army ponchos - basically big square tarpaulins with a hole and hood for your head. Stuck together they made a neat lean-to on the side of Elsa for nights when we didn't need the tent.

When we had to all sleep in Elsa we had two of us on the bench bed and the bunk bed, and then the third person either slept across the front seats or on as much padding as possible on top of all the jerry cans in the back. It was never the most comfortable bed.

Medical Supplies

Essential stuff for when you're in Africa, and could be a day's drive from civilisation. Sam had an ammo box full of medical equipment. I think he had enough gear to have taken an appendix out. I borrowed some sterile needle and suture kit from a friend. We didn't use much of our medikit, although Sam came close to putting a drip line into Mike when he was suffering from the heat. The one thing we didn't have was a thermometer.