On my summer vacation I spend most of the time above the arctic circle and didn’t get much warm weather and after a fall with terrible weather I desperately needed some sun. After some research we decided to go to Oman in the Middle East. Flight tickets was available at a reasonable price and it seemed to offer great outdoor possibilities. I’ve never been in a muslim country before or the Middle east for that matter so that alone was a reason as good as anything. It turned out Oman was everything we could wish for and more. The most striking thing is the people. It is by far the most friendly, generous, honest and kind people I’ve ever got in contact with. Basically everyday we had people inviting us to their home, we had people driving one hour in the opposite direction of their route just to show us “the perfect beach for you to camp”, we got a flat tyre and asked a random guy at the petrol station for a wrench end ended up having him and some other bystanders changing the tyre for us… I could go on forever because it happened all the time. Oman is quite a traditional country and people dress in traditional way and it was really a reminder about not judging people by how they look. Unfortunately the picture in the west has been filled with the horrible things happening in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan not showing the other side of the Middle East. For a number of practical reasons our trusted 2001 Land Cruiser had to stay at home for this trip resting under a layer of snow. Instead we flew down and picked up a two generations newer Land Cruiser. A 2013 Land Cruiser 150.
First challenge with leaving our own truck at home is to prioritize and select the right gear to bring. 20kg per person isn’t much when it comes to camping gear.
Self standing Fjällräven tent. 3kg
Primus OmniLite Ti stove, titanium multi-fuel stove that can run on either gas or liquid fuel.
1 liter pot
Garmin handheld GPS Map 64
First aid kit
12 volt battery charger
From Muscat we travelled along the east coast. We stayed at amazing beaches and made detours up in the mountains and in to the wadis. Wadis are canyons where fresh water streams down. In many places this creates fresh water pools you can swim in.
Since I drive a precursor to Land Cruiser 150 back home I was really curious to see how it performed. First impression was that the 150 is much more car like than the 90. The interior feels more like a car as well as the driveline. The 150 had a 2.7 Liter n/a four cylinder gas engine with an automatic trans whereas our truck has a 3 liter turbo diesel with manual transmission. On the interstate it rode very well and quite but as soon as some power was required it was hopeless. Overtaking was almost dangerous and on high altitude it was slow as..
The 2.7 L is rated 161 hp and 181lb/ft. Our diesel is 163 hp 252 lb/ft. I believe the biggest problem with the 150 was the slush box that seemed to be the old school type that steal a lot of power. On the full trip the 150 returned exactly 15 mpg compared to our diesel that gets 23-24 mpg fully loaded. Thankfully petrol is really cheap in Oman so it that sense it didn’t matter much.
Interior space felt slightly smaller in the 150 compared to a 90 due to more sleek A-pillars and leaning D-pillars.
Our rental was a base model with only the basic equipment and except cruise control and bigger engine i prefer it this way. No leather seats, no navigation or other gizmos.
In the end of the day I think I prefer my old truck. It feels more rugged. Still if I had the opportunity and wanted a more modern truck I think the 150 is a really nice truck with a diesel or perhaps the 4 liter v6 if fuel economy isn’t an issue.
The desert is called Wahiba and stretches 180 km north to south and 80 km east to west. Since we didn’t have proper recovery equipment nor a companion car we took it easy and stayed in the tracks and just enjoyed the scenery. We stayed one night in the desert. A magic experience. I got a bit windy during the night and super fine sand or dust stucked to the tent that seem impossible to get off.
Next stop was Jabal Shams, a mountain with a 2997 meter peak and really spectacular canyon. You drive up to 2000 meter on small dirt roads. As we made our way up the dirt road temperature was dropping rapidly. On sea level it was 27 °C and up on 2000 meter it was 15 °C. During the night it drop to under 10 °C… Our sleeping bags weren’t suited for such cold so it was a long and cold night.
- : It turned out Oman was everything we could wish for and more. The most striking thing is the people. It is by far the most friendly, generous, honest and kind people I've ever got in contact with. Basically everyday we had people inviting us to their home, we had people driving one hour in the opposite direction of their route just to show us "the perfect beach for you to camp", we got a flat tyre and asked a random guy at the petrol station for a wrench end ended up having him and some other bystanders changing the tyre for us…
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