Category Archives: Sankey

Ready for canvas

IMG_3374We were supposed to be having the canvas fitted for the trailer “soft top” tomorrow, unfortunately they’ve had to postpone due to “production issues” but the frame is ready to go at least.

For the first time today, we had the chance to open the tent out and check that everything works as expected regarding the drop of the living area to the floor etc… It’s a lot bigger than I’d thought, the living area is bigger than I expected and with the addition of the multi room it’s going to be very spacious. Obviously, on the tarmac, we couldn’t extend the two porches out which give a very large covered area.

The batteries have arrived and parts of the mains hookup so plenty to get on with while we wait for the canvas to be ready.

Bars and tent first fit

IMG_2534Dom at Maddison 4×4 managed to convert my CAD drawings into reality and now the Howling Moon trailer tent has finally arrived from South Africa the “first fit” can be started.

It all seems to work and the height measurement matches the recommended height on the HM web site.

We’re booked into the canvas designer/manufacturer for a measure and design session towards the end of February with a fitting date toward the end of March/beginning of April.

The reversing solenoid arrived from the US this week and I need to source some adaptors to allow it to be plumbed into the brake circuit between the master cylinder and T block.

The weather has been bloody awful this winter and, as a result, progress has been slow with what seems like 3-4 months of constant rain. We’ve not opened the tent out, even on the drive, because it will get wet and we’ll have no chance of drying it out afterwards.

Sankey, the big plan !

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CAD design of the support structure and tent on top of the Sankey.

The Sankey should make a really good basis for our overland/camping trailer. The intention is that, after using it last year for extra storage space on a number of UK camping trips, for next year we will turn it into a standalone camping unit.

Rather than mounting our roof tent on top of the Sankey we decided to go for the trailer tent offering from the same manufacturer, Howling Moon. After living in the Roof Top Tent for 5 months without any issues we know it’s a quality product and, unlike RTTs there aren’t anywhere near as many manufacturers making dedicated trailer mounting tents.

The design of the tent means that the sleeping area (our bed) has to be a specific distance above the floor to give a clean drop to the floor. This is significantly higher than the top if the Sankey tub so the first task was to figure out a way of supporting the tent at the correct height. To help figure out how it would go together and help visualise it I started off with a CAD package to come up with a design. The tent needs to be offset to the Offside of the trailer as it drops down vertically to the ground at that side when opened.

The supporting bars will be covered with a custom made canvas to give a large covered area in the trailer with access panels through both sides and the back.

The fridge that used to live in the back of the 90 will now live in the trailer and the trailer will have it’s own 12v batteries. The trailer will also have electric hookup, allowing the batteries to be charged from the mains as well as providing mains sockets for other items when mains is available.

An automatic changeover on the 12v electrics will allow the fridge to be powered from the 90 auxiliary battery when it’s connected and has a suitable voltage level. This will allow us to extend the life of the trailer batteries as the 90 will charge up it’s auxiliary battery during day trips away form the camp site.

Our trips last year showed one failing of the Sankey – the lack of auto reverse brakes. The brakes themselves are so good that when reversing up the slightest incline the trailer stops the 90 in it’s tracks as the overrun brakes engage. The manual override for this works OK as long as you remember to put it in before you start reversing ! To resolve this I’ll be using a solenoid in the brake line, connected to the reversing lights. That should give a really effective auto reverse.

If we can get this completed for the camping season next year we’ll try it out on a few “local” UK trips before starting to make plans for any trips further afield.

The next steps…

Collecting the Sankey trailer October 2014

Collecting the Sankey trailer October 2014

It’s been a while since we’ve updated the blog. Since returning to the UK we’ve been trying to recuperate our finances somewhat and started planning and preparation for some future trips.

The addition to our household of, not one, but two Border Collies has pretty much destroyed the practical aspects of our overland camping setup. The rear of the 90 is now pretty much filled entirely by 2 dogs and their crates and so we’ve had to have a rethink.

To help carry all the “stuff” that we carried in the rear of the 90 on our trip around Australia we ended up purchasing a Sankey trailer. These were designed by the UK armed forces to tow behind Land Rover Defender 90s and, as a result, are designed to go anywhere a Defender can both on road and off. The geometry of the trailer and hitch is such that the trailer wheels follow precisely in the tracks of the two vehicle’s rear wheels, making it a pleasure to tow.

We’ve had a few trips out now with the Sankey, the roof tent and the dogs and all in all it’s been a success but for extended stays especially, the lack of mobility when the roof tent is deployed led us to embark on a new project… turn the Sankey into a self contained camping trailer.