“A few years ago, if anyone had told us we were going to build an expedition truck, we would have said they were mad”
A few years ago, if anyone had told us we were going to build an expedition truck, we would have said they were mad. We were completely uninterested in cars, motorcycles or motor homes. Let alone a huge truck. We are outdoor sports enthusiasts who have spent years cycling, climbing, sailing and camping around the world. In short, have done everything to do with the outdoors and exercise. A huge truck was not part of the picture.
At least that’s what we thought. But fortunately people can change and we are now chasing our new dream, an ‘outdoor expedition truck base camp’. A long name, but what it boils down to is that we want to have a platform, a base camp from which to go on our cycling, hiking, climbing and canoeing trips. So that also means the truck will be packed with outdoor sports equipment.
During our search for the right platform, we looked at all sorts of things. From vans to motor homes and from pick-ups to trucks. After a lot of research, a number of requirements kept emerging: we want all our equipment with us in the vehicle. So no bikes outside on a rack or canoes on the roof. We also quickly realised that the vehicle must be suitable for driving through rough terrain. A standard motor home already struggles to drive up a sloping grass field, so that wasn’t an option. And we also wanted to have as small and as light vehicle as possible. Oh, and the vehicle also had to be self-sufficient and affordable. Of course, we didn’t manage to meet all these requirements. But in the end, we found a very good compromise.
A real off-road monster: the MAN HX60 as a platform and a Twiga 5-metre living unit behind it. This makes the combination 7.80 metres long and it weighs around 12 tonnes. Not very small or light, but not too long or heavy either. It seems to be the ideal combination for us.
It took an awful lot to get there though. It’s a long way to go from no knowledge at all to a great deal of knowledge about expedition trucks and Twiga has played a very important role in that. We have very fond memories of a nice long talk with the Twiga team during the Abenteuer & Allrad Messe in Germany. We soaked up everything they told us.
And frankly, it made us dizzy. We realized that we knew nothing and we decided right away that with our limited background knowledge, it was necessary to have a good Dutch partner who could save us from making stupid and expensive mistakes. That was the start of many discussions with the people at Twiga, which eventually resulted in the truck we have today.
Of course, we also looked at other suppliers, but Twiga stood out head and shoulders above them. They’re just an honest bunch of people, straightforward, who know what they’re talking about and make a very good product. We really like the short lines of communication. As Dutch people, we found it very nice to have a specialized company ‘around the corner’ with which to realize our dream.
What’s more, Twiga makes exactly the living unit we had in mind. We are very impressed with the ultimate sub-frame suspension system. That’s exactly what you need on a good off-road truck. And, of course, the precision with which the living unit was assembled. Oh yes, before we forget, because the sub-frame is incorporated into the floor, the truck’s total height ended up being 3.58 metres. For a truck that stands so high on the tyres, that’s really very good. Twiga did a fantastic job! During the construction process, we were kept fully up to date by Twiga. They also regularly sent photos. And to be honest, the construction went much faster than we expected. Most of the work was in the preparation and drawing up the plans. We also really appreciated the fact that payment could be made in stages. So, a stage would first be delivered by Twiga and only then would the partial invoice arrive. That may not seem important, but it gave us a lot of confidence. Well organised.
We have cycled through almost 90 countries. So we have a lot of catching up to do to match that with the truck. And we have yet to complete further construction. In a year’s time, the truck will probably look different again. But we are confident it will work out fine.
In the meantime, we get quite a few people visiting who are interested in a MAN HX60 truck with a Twiga living unit. We live in Twente and have a hectare of land there where we have a lot of space, which is also on iOverlander. (GPS: 52.39111, 6.88844) So feel free to drop by if you’d like to take a look.
To reach us or to follow us, you can visit our website, www.lismarq.com.
Of course, you can also e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.