Skip links

Itchyfeet Overland Expedition Vehicle

Home > Case Studies > Itchyfeet Overland Expedition Vehicle

Dreaming of Adventure

The BETTS family are living a VERY different life… A life that many dream of, but seldom few attempt. In 2019, Nigel, Linda and their 17 year old son Oliver, met and broke bread with the legendary Overlander Graeme Bell of A2A Expedition; A pivotal meeting, that after much searching, would result with the ownership of a 23 year old, near-derelict German Land Rover Defender 130. They vowed to move heaven and earth to prepare themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Their audacious plan to drive the whole Pan American Highway from Alaska to Argentina, as a family of permanent, and vehicle dependent Overlanders. No fall back, no renting accommodation, just pure independent world travellers.  

 The vehicle was to be a truly ‘off grid home on wheels’. A vehicle that would be able to support their family for long periods in the wilderness, with an array of on board systems that would allow independent and unsupported safe travel in often harsh and remote environments. Critical to the ability to achieve such freedom, would be an onboard power system that could cope with the rigors and trials from many years of punishing off-road trails. 

 For Nigel, a now retired Purchasing Team Leader for Mercedes and Formula One veteran of over 25 years, building high performance vehicles was far from intimidating. However, as he freely admits, the vehicles electrical system was nowhere near his area of expertise, and he knew immediately that specialist help and advice would be needed to correctly and safely specify this critical area of the vehicle conversion.  

The System

The bewildering array of options reinforced the need to find an expert one-stop shop to specify a complete system that would manage their ‘off grid’ power needs. After extensive research, Nigel contacted us at Portable Power Technology with ambition and desire for us to be the sole designer and provider of the entire auxiliary power system – a system catered to power a 12v/240v refrigerator, LED camp lighting and manage the daily recharging of a host of other necessities such as vital communication and photographic equipment. 

The system was designed and focused around heavy venturing, to capitalized this to the fullest, we opted for a large battery to battery charger to run from the upgraded alternator. We then incorporated solar for maximum charging and eco efficiency while to take advantage of the sunny environments Nigel would voyage through. Finally an inverter charger was a necessity to provide shore-line recharging of the onboard auxiliary battery, along with the 12v to 240v power inversion to run his appliances. 

When Nigel approached us we knew immediately the kind of system that would work perfectly for this task and we swiftly set to work designing a robust and bespoke system that met the power needs of the ancillary equipment on the vehicle. Firstly we at PPT correctly identified that Nigel’s current traditional auxiliary battery was not up to the job of delivering the power that was required, and as such specified our far more powerful PowerBlock 1500 as the heart of this completely independent power system.  

Pulling together a host of top quality products from Redarc, Victron and TBB Power, we devised a comprehensive, robust and powerful system that would meet and exceed the highest demands placed upon it by this overlanding family.  

For Nigel, challenges were neither new nor intimidating, but in all his detailed calculations, a global pandemic was never factored into the equation. The impact was immediate, and devastating for the project – the preparation of the vehicle in the UK was significantly delayed, along with vital equipment from partner organizations. Also, significant travel funds are continuing to be expended during a full year of delay, as it remains impossible for them to gain the vital US visa’s for that vital portion of the expedition. 

Today, the family wait impatiently back in Italy, their home for the last 6 years, ready for when visas can be gained, and sea freight can be booked. Alaska beckons but for now they’ll explore as much of Europe that they can – with every single kilometer powered by their ultra-reliable Portable Power Technology auxiliary power system. 

You can find out much more about the Betts family, and their ongoing travels, at their website or search Facebook and Instagram for ItchyFeetOverland. 


Contact Our Team

Case studies like this