Auckland based artist Blake Gordon has the second Feldon Shelter rooftop tent ever sold. And some 5 years on it’s still going strong. Blake’s onto his second camperised landcruiser now, Spud 1 was a short wheel base brown two tone that was pretty mint. Late last year he bought a long wheel base Prado.
Spud 1 was your first foray into having a camp set up huh, what was the reason for getting Spud and fitting him/her out?
Growing up my parents always had a truck/4WD so guess subconsciously I always liked them. The pivotal moment I think was spending a fair bit of coin on my old Mazda Axela fixing the suspension after a few too many missions on gravel roads. A camp setup wasn’t really on the cards initially. I was lucky enough to get first dibs on an OG Feldon tent through a mutual friend which definitely sparked the love for camping out of Spud. (Cheers Chris and Nic)
Fun fact one of the first times I ever drove was down Ninety Mile Beach in my parent’s single cab Toyota Townace.
How was Spud 1 fitted out?
Spud was very stock mechanically aside from the wheels that I eventually got.
- Plywood shelf in back, creating 2 levels of storage
- 3x Rhino rack roof racks
- Feldon Rooftop Tent
- 2m x 3m awning
- DIY Surfboard U Rack, mounted on side of the racks. Highly recommend this for surfers wanting to get a board out of the car.
- I would take out the back seats out for big missions giving us much needed space.
- Butane cooker
- Chilly bin
- Got some hand me down 32” Mickey T ATs which were an a great addition
- Had manual hubs installed as the auto ones died one day one the beach
Where did you go in Spud and what so far has been your longest trip?
We did a bunch of weekend/long weekend trips north of Auckland. Mostly chasing a wave and an escape from the city. The longest trip would have been a 10 day mission around the East Cape. It’s such a beautiful part of New Zealand, my Dad is from Gisborne so was cool to check out spots he’s talked about. Definitely stop at the Motu river, Anaura Bay and you a joker if you don’t make the trip to the East Cape Lighthouse.
Now you have the new bigger Landy, Spud 2.0, and you’ve largely just transferred the kit over right? What mods have you done and are planning?
I’ve basically learnt what works/doesn’t for our setup and improved.
- Making a better platform in the back
- Purchased a Front Runner Platform w/ a water tank and jerry can holders
- Same trusty Feldon Rooftop tent
- Same awning
- During the lockdown have fixed up an old winch, hopefully will be installed soon
- 2 burner gas cooker was a nice upgrade
Things in the wish list
- Some better ATs/wheels
- A bigger exhaust would be nice, the 1KZ-TE engines are prone to heating up
- A secondary battery and fridge would be luxury but not on the radar
I’m a fan of a simple setup, less weight, less admin etc
What’s your plan moving forward, like would you like to make art living on the road, or is the Spud [series] a great ongoing escape from the 9-5 grind?
The absolute dream would be to working freelance full time for sure! I’m lucky that I can work from anywhere really. But will be just a weekend warrior for now.