Buying a product is easy but often getting quality after sales service can be as easy as bone surgery. In order to get our truck (Earl II) ready for a year long overland journey required the purchase of many products. These products would have to prove themselves through different weather conditions and very bad road conditions, but before that they would need to be tested to see if they fit our requirements as envisaged.
There were some companies in South Africa that showed stellar commitment to us as their customers to ensure that their product would not be the one that trips us up (excuse the pun) during our journey.
These companies and individuals deserve a shout out for going the extra mile and making sure that we were ready for our journey. We hope that this would allow you to make you purchasing decisions easier whether you are planning a long round the world trip or buying equipment to make your fancy camping set-up even fancier.
Eezi-Awn became our choice of brand for rooftop accessories after our friend and consultant Paul Marsh told us about the quality, reliability and most importantly after-sales service provided by Jess Stuhler and his team. We had heard about Jess sending spare parts to his customers in different parts of the world if they needed them.
We got to experience this after-sales service when we were not entirely happy with our rooftop tent after our test trips in Cape Town. The tent had to shipped to Cape Town as our car was going there for fitment. When we returned to Johannesburg, Jess went through our list of queries and issues in detail and replaced the entire tent, no questions asked. He also ensured that our awning was in good condition and also replaced roof rack legs that were not looking too good due to over tightening by one of the fitment companies.
We spent a few days with Jess going through everything and he kept confirming with us if were 100% happy before leaving on our “huge trip”.
Almost a year into the journey, we have had no problems with any of the equipment we purchased from Eezi-Awn. Even if we do we know that they are just a phone call or email away.
National Luna (www.nationalluna.com)
A very popular and reliable camping fridge in both South Africa and Australia, National Luna is manufactured in Johannesburg and sold both locally and internationally.
We ordered the fridge we wanted through one of our friends who is a reseller. But unfortunately when the fridge was removed from its packaging for fitment in Cape Town, it was the wrong model. We had to run the fridge as it was installed and testing had to be done.
When we returned to Johannesburg, we went to the National Luna factory and spoke to owner Peter who is also a friend of Paul’s. They would not usually replace a fridge that was used, but given our circumstances Peter made a plan for a replacement fridge. He told me that if he knew we were going on such a long trip would have run the fridge on an extended test cycle to ensure it is okay. He asked me to run the fridge for a few days and if there were any issues, bring it back to him.
The fridge has been working perfectly for our entire journey.
Life Saver System (www.lifesaversystems.com)
Our choice of drinking water filter was the Life Saver Systems water filtering Jerry Can. It is a simple filtering system that works with a hand pump system pushing water through a powerful filter providing safe drinking water no matter the source.
Before leaving we felt that the flow-rate of the filtered water was not fast enough. To add to our stresses the local reseller that we bought the product from was no longer in business.
We got in touch with the UK support team through the global website and told them our story. The product was still under warranty. They asked a few questions and put our case forward to the tech team.
After a couple of days we were told that a new filter will be sent to us and two day later we received a DHL package with the new filter all the way from the UK. Now that is service!
We bought our flexible solar panel – the Namib-79, from Flexopower before leaving. Somewhere during the journey we found that it stopped working, but did not get a chance to report it to Flexopower.
The panel was still under warranty, so while in Iran we made contact with Flexopower and told them about our issue. They informed us that they had never had any comebacks on their product and since we were so far away from home immediately started looking at options to assist us. They had resellers on an expedition in Iran but they were on the other side of the country so that did not work.
When we got to Pakistan, Werner got in touch with us and dispatched a new panel via DHL that we received only a few days later! The new panel was the new folding panel design and hence was much more compact, saving us some packing space in the car. Needless to say it worked perfectly.
When travelling so far away from home, having dependable suppliers back home goes a long in overland travellers like us having a great experience on our journey.
We thank them for their support both before we left home and while we are on the road.