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The Gearzette
Front Runner On The Move​ Featuring Craig Rhodes-Harrison

Front Runner On The Move​ Featuring Craig Rhodes-Harrison

- March 04, 2022

Craig Rhodes-Harrison is a KwaZulu-Natal transplant currently based in South Africa's creative capital, Cape Town. Craig directs, films and edits visual imagery and has a long list of prominent brands on his client roster that he produces content which usually requires travel to wild places. Then, whenever he gets some precious time off, he heads even further off the map.​

© Craig Rhodes-Harrison

Despite lockdowns and restrictions, you managed to have some good travels in 2021, correct? Roughly how many kilometers have you done in 2021?

Twenty-two thousand kilometers and some change.​ While the world was still in its state of uncertainty, us South African adventurers cracked on. With my Defender RAW LTD Edition arriving stock standard in late 2020, 2021 was always going to be a year of testing, tinkering and dialing in my dream rig.​

​As the build evolved, so too did the overland missions. We started close to home with weekend strike missions in areas such as the Cederberg and the Koue Bokkeveld. These were followed by multi-day trips into the Northern Cape, our neighboring Province. The proverbial icing on the cake was our cross-border, two-week trip through the southern sands of Namibia. ‘Out of this world’ still doesn’t quite describe how incredible that adventure was.​

© Craig Rhodes-Harrison

Obviously a good mix of weekend trips and longer expeditions (such as Namibia etc). How important are those quick weekender missions?

While part of me yearns to live on the road, the reality is that I still have my own production company to run which means I have to be organized and strategic about how and when the missions unfold.​

​Fortunately, fate has allowed me to combine work and play which means the film and photo shoots I embark on are often outdoor based in remote locations. Small squads with big outcomes is the name of our game.​

​On the strength of that, weekend strike missions provide that much needed city escape. A chance to shoot the stars, tan some meat and explore the incredibly diverse terrain of the Western Cape.​

​Roughly twice a year I aim to stretch the old overland legs. Namibia was our summit for 2021 and we’ve set our sights on Botswana for 2022.​

© Craig Rhodes-Harrison

What are your top five camping spots of all time?

1. Namibrand, Namibia​

Golden hour seems to bend time in this place which means the red dirt and savanna-style grasslands provide a visual contrast worthy of the perfect frame.​

​2. Gamkab Rivier, Namibia​

An ancient river bed hidden behind steep and jagged rock faces just north of the South African border. Eerie in nature, this wild camping location truly feels like it’s from the face of another planet.​

​3. Nababeep bend, Orange River, Northern Cape, South Africa​

With New Year’s Eve upon us and not a soul in sight, this place was the ideal location to welcome in 2022. As isolated as they come, the scorching days are spent submerged in the Orange River while the night-sky is so bright you won’t need those solar lights.​

​4. Kagga Kamma Nature Reserve, Western Cape, South Africa​

The mountainscapes are next level but so was our engagement out there. This place will always remain close to our hearts.​

​5. Suiker Bossie Guest Farm, Western Cape​

Local is ‘lekker’ with this site just three hours from home. With secluded camp sites, rock pools and a decent 4x4 trail on site, this spot is where we open the eyes of our first-time camping friends.​

© Craig Rhodes-Harrison

What is the biggest challenge you’ve ever had to deal with on an overland trip?

​Rewinding the clocks to October 2020, I was working on a passion project in the Northern Cape. It was day two and we had some ground to make up after filming that morning’s golden light.​

​With low tire pressures from the soft sand sections, a blind rise led us onto an unexpected tight right which sliced our front left tire. Within meters the dreaded thud of rim to rock was a reality.​

​We were prepared, well at least we thought we were. We sprang into action, I jacked up the vehicle whilst my mate grabbed the spare from beneath the load bin. With only one spare on hand, I figured I may as well attempt the hail mary of puncture repairs even though it was a total long shot given the size of the gash.

Minutes went by as I joked with my mate about ‘what’s taking so long.’ Expecting a witty comeback, a moment’s silence was followed by a surprise retort. ‘Bro, this spare’s stud pattern is off.’ I raced over to confirm the fact that we had a 6-stud spare and a 5-stud axle.​

​In five years of owning that vehicle, not once had I used the spare. Or checked it for that matter. Rookie error I know but have faith, I learnt my lesson. Needless to say, the hail Mary puncture repair became our only option. Cue the beads of sweat.​

​Seven plugs later, some filler material and two tubes of glue, we rolled out on a fully inflated front left tire. The same one we sliced earlier and the same one that subsequently completed our 2400km trip without a single blip in pressure. Unreal.​

© Craig Rhodes-Harrison

Can you give us a brief rundown of the Front Runner products you have on your Landy?

​When my Defender arrived, I went full ham with Front Runner. That said, it was a phased approach, and all calculated to provide the perfect balance between an overland adventurer and a production support vehicle for my daily shoots. With an eye for frames, both form and function were key.​

​Up top we have the low profile Slimline II roof rack. The platform of all platforms for any outdoor adventure. It also doubles up as an elevated spot to film from when ground level doesn’t quite cut it.​

​Aboard the rack we have three Wolf Pack Pros, two 20l Jerry Cans and one 42l water tank with an extended hose tap system. With the Defender having a longer roof than most, the rack also holds the roof top tent and a sizeable 2.5m awning. A game changer in both summer and winter.​

​When things get dark, we have two 4” work lights near the rear of the vehicle as well as the powerhouse 40” LED Light Bar by Front Runner with OSRAM technology upfront which is basically like having the sun strapped to your roof.​

​Moving downstairs via the Front Runner rear ladder, we have glass gullwings on either side of the vehicle with a Front Runner gull wing box inside the left wing. You’ll find this kitted out with portable power solutions, dry food and kitchen apparatus. The one wall of the box also holds a 50W solar panel for those extended stays.​

​The Front Runner drawer system rounds things out providing plenty of segmented storage space for camera and recovery gear and atop that is the Dometic CFX3 45 fridge, powered by a nifty dual battery system.​

​All in all, a setup I’m super stoked with and one that’s sufficient for both work and play.

© Craig Kolesky

Where to next with the Defender? 

January rolled around with some quality time in the Tankwa Karoo. From there we’re lining up a few weekend strike missions with mates. We’re always on the hunt for wild camping gems that haven’t been uncovered by the cheek-by-jowl campers.​

​Fingers crossed we can align schedules and budgets and turn reams of Botswana research into reality. I spent three days there in 2019 and I can’t wait to make a two-week return.​

© Craig Rhodes-Harrison

If you could give the everyday/amateur videographer one adventure videography tip, what would that be?

Rise early and you’ll reap the rewards. Not only is golden hour the most visually appealing, but it’s also when the most action occurs, especially out in nature. Furthermore, the African sun is no joke during the day so my advice would be to film early morning or late afternoon. Conserve energy in between by maximizing your shade or travelling between locations.​