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Overlanding and Tiny, Portable Coffee Makers – Brewers That Fuel Your Travel, and Your Builds

Travel writer and adventurer Breanna Wilson takes us inside her garage – and her overlanding truck build, where you’ll find her fueling her days with her Nanopresso and Cuppamoka by her side.

The idea of building the life you want has always had special meaning to me. I quit my 9 to 5 to pursue a career in travel writing after working towards transitioning into a life of adventure full-time four years ago. It was something I did actively and with a clear goal in mind – I wanted to be able to travel anywhere, anytime, and I didn’t want anyone, or anything, to stop me.

Fast forward to today, and building the life I want has taken on a new meaning. This time, its meaning is physical. It means building out my dream car – a 2010 Land Cruiser 78 – with my own two hands into an overlanding adventure machine that can take me anywhere in the world and this crazy life I’ve created.

Which is exactly what Wacaco stands for – brewing anywhere without limits. Having a tiny, portable espresso maker in the Nanopresso, and a pour-over brewer in the Cuppamoka, have not only become two of my most essential pieces of equipment in my garage, but they’ve also become two things I absolutely can no longer travel without. Because long days run on caffeine, whether they are spent building or driving.

Follow along as I share more about my transition into full-time overlanding below and on my Instagram at @breannajwilson.

Inside Breanna’s Garage (and Build Brain)

Taking on a build like this is no joke. Especially when you’re doing it for the first time like I am.

Once I found the car, a 2010 Land Cruiser 78, the rest started falling into place. I started small, with easy fixes, all while the YouTubing and asking questions to anyone who would listen began. From there, a plan began to formulate as I collected tools from friends and set up shop in a friend’s garage here in Tbilisi, where I call home.

I started with easy fixes I could do on my own. Painting the front bull bar and rear bumper bar. Adding soundproofing and insulation. Deciding on wheels and tires thanks to help and expert guidance from the guys at Wheel Pros. Purchasing fender flares. Having tinting added to the windows. Buying Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) to cut out a floor. Purchasing new Recaro seats.

All of this leads into the next phase of the build – and transforming the back of the Land Cruiser into a place for sleeping, eating, working, and lounging.

Having recently enlisted the help of an architect to create a rendering that will give me precise measurements for this part of the build, where I must get things right so that everything fits into place seamlessly, I’m still making decisions. Decisions such as does the Snomaster 56 liter fridge go behind the passenger seat or in front of the rear door? Is a 100-liter water tank sufficient enough? And, how do I account for voltage drops with my secondary batteries (and what is the magic number of batteries and amperage – and what is overkill?)?

These long days of brainstorming, planning, researching, and having conversations have only been possible with the aid of caffeine, and my Nanopresso and Cuppamoka have come to the rescue on several occasions.

Waking Up Around the World

But it isn’t just the build – and the caffeine – that’s fueling me these days. The thing I’m most looking forward to with this project is finishing it. Because that’s when the real fun can begin, that’s when I’ll start waking up in somewhere new regularly. When I can get back to my life of travel, this time at a much slower, more self-sufficient pace.

Living and building the car in Tbilisi, Georgia (the country), my goal is to eventually drive to Mongolia and explore the vastness of the world’s least densely populated country that way. Until then, though, I have plenty to explore in Georgia.

From car camping through Vashlovani National Park, one of my favorite national parks in the country, to exploring my backyard here in Tbilisi with my Octaroma or Cuppamoka in hand, there’s no limit to where – and how – I can explore anymore.

How I’ll Brew Along the Way + Overlanding Coffee Hacks

It’s easy to understand why I’m obsessed with Wacaco – these tiny, portable brewers don’t require power, they travel well and don’t take up much space, and they brew dang good shots of espresso and coffee. With these brewers, I’m set. And, for a person who drinks A LOT of coffee, that’s saying something.

The build will have a water tank from which I’ll get my water supply. Using a built-in filtration device, I’ll have a ready water supply on hand. All I need then is a stove (or Jet Boil) to heat it to the correct temperature quickly and easily each morning. My overland kitchen will undoubtedly be a work in progress, where I’ll learn more about it simply by using it. Tweaking where things go and which items are – and aren’t – necessary along the way.

So far, based on previous overlanding trips, here are a few tips and tricks I’ve learned that I plan to carry with me into this new adventure:

- When stopping at a gas station, always put hot water into your Octaroma Lungo, so you don’t have to heat water if you plan to brew in the next few hours.

- Choose a brewer that uses grounds, not coffee pods, so you don’t risk running out of pods in the middle of a trip.

- Hand grinders are great when you don’t have a source of power – or want to save on energy.

- Always store your coffee beans out of the sun and away from heat sources.

- Bumps in the road are inevitable. That’s where the Octaroma’s spill-proof pop tab comes in.

- Coffee grounds are natural deodorizers. Stick your puck or used grounds in your fridge, cooler, or another compartment that needs a smell neutralized.

I’m sure this list of lessons learned will grow quickly, and that’s part of the fun of this build as well.

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