Camper Trailer or Caravan?

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Camper Trailer or Caravan?

Post  Nebuchadnezzar on Mon Nov 29, 2010 4:24 pm

OK, so I spent the last 18 months carefully looking over all the available options to see what is the most suitable trailer for prospecting. The result was rather surprising, but before I reveal what it was, let me first explain how I came to the conclusion.

The following are a list of my primary considerations:

Comfort: I needed something for long term camping, so it needed to be comfortable with all the mod cons.
Agility: I prefer to visit localities that are remote where there may not be a track to follow. So I may need to travel cross country or follow some very rough tracks.
Long Term Camping: Because it takes ages to get there, I don't want to have to come out after a week. I prefer to camp uninterrupted for at least a month and not waste time driving to and fro for fresh supplies, so I will need to carry a lot of fuel, food and water.
Reliability: Strong and durable without being overly complex in design. Gadgets, pulleys, switches and dials, although needed, should be kept to a minimum to reduce the possibility of things going wrong.
Weight: Something light and easy to tow, obviously, since I'm visiting out-of-the-way places, but I also wanted to carry a quad, a motorbike and plenty of extra fuel.

The choices available were

  1. Offroad caravan - very expensive (in excess of 100k) and still they are limited to where they can go because of their weight and size.
  2. Crossover - also very expensive, but they are lighter and more agile.
  3. Camper Trailer - prices range considerably. Although some units are ridiculously over-priced, others are much more reasonable.
  4. Motor home - somewhat expensive and very limited in where they can go.
  5. Slide On - initially, I never liked these because of the packing and unpacking every time you used the car.


I was very tempted to buy an off road van. Bushtracker and Kedron were the only two I considered and found that they provided excellent comfort with some true offroad ability. Where they couldn't reach I would rely on the bike or quad. Unfortunately the cost was a turn off. I didn't have a spare hundred grand. The Kedron Top Ender 17.5' sold for 98k, the Bushtracker for 100k+

  • Kedron http://www.kedroncaravans.com
  • Bushtracker http://www.bushtracker.com


I saw many crossovers and for a long time one of them was my preferred choice of accommodation. Unfortunately, I was eventually turned off by the exaggerated stainless steel kitchens that all the makers seemed compelled to load into their trailers, adding unnecessary weight and reducing valuable storage space. Pull-out four-burners with sink and x number of draws big enough to slaughter a sheep on. Struth! I'm a bloody prospector and I don't have the bloody time for cook feasts. Anyway, I guess mostly it was the cost. I didn't want to fork out so much dough for something that's essentially a canvas-roofed camper. The models I considered were:

  • Vista (55k) http://www.vistarv.com.au
  • Exodus (68k) http://www.campertrailers.org
  • Topaz (67k) http://www.tracktailer.com.au. Although the Topaz is a caravan, I included it here because it was a pop top.
  • I also looked at the Kimberley Karavan (80k) http://www.kimberleykaravans.com but was turned off by its complexities and price.


I had no intention of staying in a camper trailer. Been there, done that! I lived in a camper trailer for almost three years straight - summer and winter. Canvas is freezing in winter and boiling in summer. When it rains long enough, everything gets wet. It's been 15 years since I visited Duketon, but the memory is still very fresh in my mind. It rained solid for four days and three nights (sounds biblical) - in an area which records hardly any rain ever! On the forth day I was playing scrabble (far to wet for prospecting) when I felt water at my feet. What the ...! When I did look down I could literally see the water rising over my toes. No big deal, just go outside and dig a few channels. Except when I did get outside, all that I could see was a lake. Not that I was camped in a lake, but the entire region turned into one! As far as the eye could see. What the ...!

Motorhomes ... well, what to say. Bitumen and ungraded roads is about their limit. In my opinion, they are the very worst choice for prospectors.

Anyway, if you haven't guessed by now, I eventually went with a slide on. Slides off in less than 5 minutes or you can leave it on for over-night stops. 700kg unloaded, so it will go anywhere the Landcruiser can. Has all the mods, including DVD player, diesel heater, LED lights, 2x 100A/hr batteries and 250 watt solar panel, 70 litre water tank, 110 litre fridge/freezer with extra add-on fridge to carry more food, fully enclosed annexe (for the mutt and so I can cook outside without flies), outside hotwater shower, CD stereo, electric jacks (for easy vehicle offloading and loading. All for under 40k, which also includes 115 litre water tank, spare wheel carrier, and tool box for the Landcruiser. Behind, I'll tow a dual axle trailer for the quad, bike and extra fuel. Slide ons looked at include, Trailblazer, Wombat Conversions (35k), and Northstar (28k)

  • Trailblazer http://www.trailblazersrv.com
  • Glide on by Wombat Conversions http://www.wombatco.com.au
  • Northstar http://www.freedomoffroad.com.au


The prices listed above are for the models that I looked at (before options), which may not necessarily be the base model the manufacturer has available. I only looked at vans which suited my purposes and this may not appeal to everyone. At the end of the day, I went with the manufacturer who was prepared to offer the best deal. If Kedron had offered this, I would have happily gone along with them. Another thing, I didn't look at any canvas options, either camper trailer or slide on. A little biased, perhaps.

My advice for anyone is considering buying a new mobile home is to first determine how much you are willing too spend and then make a comprehensive list of your requirements. You will soon see that your options are not all that overwhelming afterall.


Last edited by Nebuchadnezzar on Tue Nov 30, 2010 11:39 am; edited 6 times in total

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Re: Camper Trailer or Caravan?

Post  madtuna on Mon Nov 29, 2010 4:48 pm

I can't name the brand because I am not advertising
huh??

forgive me..but isn't that like saying..I use this detector that I find the best, runs rings around Fisher, Whites, QED (lol) but I can't name the brand because I'm not advertising?

Sorry, but I don't understand...if you found something that you think is worthy of reccomending, it's pointless if you can't share the brand etc so people know what the hell one you're talking about.


Last edited by madtuna on Mon Nov 29, 2010 4:51 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Camper Trailer or Caravan?

Post  Guest on Mon Nov 29, 2010 4:49 pm

How much water all up?

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Re: Camper Trailer or Caravan?

Post  Guest on Mon Nov 29, 2010 4:50 pm

madtuna wrote:I can't name the brand because I am not advertising
huh??

forgive me..but isn't that like saying..I use this detector that I find the best, runs rings around Fisher, Whites, QED (lol) but I can't name the brand because I'm not advertising

Is it a gold snoop? Very Happy

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Re: Camper Trailer or Caravan?

Post  madtuna on Mon Nov 29, 2010 4:52 pm

Rusty_ wrote:
madtuna wrote:I can't name the brand because I am not advertising
huh??

forgive me..but isn't that like saying..I use this detector that I find the best, runs rings around Fisher, Whites, QED (lol) but I can't name the brand because I'm not advertising

Is it a gold snoop? Very Happy
sorry dude...can't tell ya...I'm not advertising Very Happy

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Re: Camper Trailer or Caravan?

Post  Nebuchadnezzar on Mon Nov 29, 2010 4:56 pm

madtuna wrote:I can't name the brand because I am not advertising
huh??

forgive me..but isn't that like saying..I use this detector that I find the best, runs rings around Fisher, Whites, QED (lol) but I can't name the brand because I'm not advertising?

Sorry, but I don't understand...if you found something that you think is worthy of reccomending, it's pointless if you can't share the brand etc so people know what the hell one you're talking about.

The idea is to demonstrate a concept and not a particular brand. It's more like VLF vs PI and not Minelab vs Fisher as you have pictured it. You're forgiven though. There were quite a few slide-ons I looked at and I think many of them had shown to be as good as the other.

Total water about 185 litres, but I intend to take bottled water as well, Rusty.

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Re: Camper Trailer or Caravan?

Post  madtuna on Mon Nov 29, 2010 5:09 pm

Sorry Neb I still don't understand.

We have a camping section here which I know myself and many others follow with interest and I'm sure there's more than one person going through what you've just done who'd be curious.
Any ideas or reccomendations would be welcomed..that's what forums are all about.
Here people reccomend brands of generators, lights, fridges etc...

It's like me posting on the "we love apples" forum...hey I found the best apple and it's better and cheaper than your apple perfectly suited for the purpose of being an apple and I reccomend it but I'm not telling you which apple it is.

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Re: Camper Trailer or Caravan?

Post  Narrawa on Mon Nov 29, 2010 6:23 pm

Is the apple green? Razz I like green apples. Very Happy


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Re: Camper Trailer or Caravan?

Post  mulgadansa on Mon Nov 29, 2010 6:25 pm

Gday Nebu and MF
My mate has a "Trayon" slide on camper and it's probably one of the best units I've seen. Really well made and goes wherever his 4x4 goes. I've got an Avan Aliner with an off road option that lifts it another 100mm and strengthens the suspension. Goes pretty well anywhere. When we prospect together my 4x4 tends to get used rather than dismantling his camp, as it's just a matter of unhitching my unit. I prefer it that way too. When I prospect alone I can leave my camp and go wandering without any great hassles.
I'd have no hesitation in recommending either unit.
cheers
Brett

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Re: Camper Trailer or Caravan?

Post  Scrubhen on Mon Nov 29, 2010 7:00 pm

Thanks Brett,
At least you have given us a couple of names to throw in the pot.
We have wasted considerable time at van shows etc trying to get information on slideon's and manufacturers

Ron

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Re: Camper Trailer or Caravan?

Post  everhopeful on Mon Nov 29, 2010 8:53 pm

Is the glass half empty or half full

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My Camper,

Post  Guest on Mon Nov 29, 2010 9:09 pm

Hey all.this is my slide-on,i'm very happy with it.these pic's were on the north palmer river.








we all look for different camps,it what make YOU happy.
Garry
PS mine from 3dog camping at Bryon Bay,but don't tell any1.LOL
I designed the inside & door's myself and ray was happy to build it.cost me under $20k,2 x 100 amp batteries,120w fold out solar panels,electric boat winch to help roll it out, very good quality canvas,queen size mattress & stove were included in price.




Last edited by thrombac on Tue Nov 30, 2010 10:36 am; edited 5 times in total

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Re: Camper Trailer or Caravan?

Post  Beer Beeper on Tue Nov 30, 2010 7:29 am

mulgadansa wrote:Gday Nebu and MF
My mate has a "Trayon" slide on camper and it's probably one of the best units I've seen. Really well made and goes wherever his 4x4 goes. I've got an Avan Aliner with an off road option that lifts it another 100mm and strengthens the suspension. Goes pretty well anywhere. When we prospect together my 4x4 tends to get used rather than dismantling his camp, as it's just a matter of unhitching my unit. I prefer it that way too. When I prospect alone I can leave my camp and go wandering without any great hassles.
I'd have no hesitation in recommending either unit.
cheers
Brett

A very nice camp and beaut unit Garry, but I myself want solid(no canvas) side walls(but a canvas pop up top is OK) for security(while both sleeping in and left unattended) in case I camp in/near the city, and also to have my kitchen inside away from mainly black flies and mozzies as well.

Good points Brett: http://www.trayon.com/ or http://www.avan.com.au/products_campers.html

http://www.trakka.com.au/bushman.html
http://www.gocamper.com.au/toyota-landcruiser.html
http://www.dovecampers.com.au/p15/new-toyota-landcruiser-pc/

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Re: Camper Trailer or Caravan?

Post  Nebuchadnezzar on Tue Nov 30, 2010 9:48 am

Scrubhen wrote:Thanks Brett,
At least you have given us a couple of names to throw in the pot.
We have wasted considerable time at van shows etc trying to get information on slideon's and manufacturers

Ron

Good point. I did intend to include a short list with the review, but it seems to have slipped my mind.

I've edited the first post and added a short list and cost.

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Re: Camper Trailer or Caravan?

Post  harryopal on Tue Nov 30, 2010 12:04 pm

Good morning Nebuchadnezzar,
(With a name like that one feels the term `venerable' should be added)

I agree with you about canvas and the cautionary notes posted elsewhere about the appalling workmanship with many contemporary caravans confrim my prejudices against towing a caravan. I don't doubt there are at this minute many thousands of caravans negotiating difficult terrain around the bush but I've seen enough disabled caravans to turn me off. And that post with the Chinese metal supports snapped in two would make one look for a good earlier model second hand one.
Never having the money for a really handsome and expensive arrangement I built a pop up, fold out camper on the back of my Land Cruiser using ply wood that has the virtue of being light and offers reasonable insulation against heat or cold. (If I could figure out how to post pics I would post them) The whole thing cost about $2500 and I can put it up in less than ten minutes. One side has a fold out box into which I push all the bits and pieces to use the tray for a swag which, while travelling, is accomodated above the cabin. The other side pushes out and lifts up and then, with a tarpaulin, serves as a cooking area. Drop the tarp at night and all is cosy and comfortable.
But then while I carry a small 3 way fridge and gas cooker it doesn't have the full array of comfort that you are looking for. As someone else observed... to each his own camper. Mine I call `The Half Star Hotel'.
Yours tropically, Harry

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Re: Camper Trailer or Caravan?

Post  Alan WA on Tue Nov 30, 2010 12:19 pm

activecampers.com.au


Been in one of these for most of last year.
Light weight, low center of gravity,go anywhere. Spacious inside.
Instant set up.No wet canvas on your bed if you pack up in the wet.
Wife loves the fridge. Camp where you work. I could go on.

Alan

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Re: Camper Trailer or Caravan?

Post  lkyphl on Tue Nov 30, 2010 2:28 pm

Alan WA wrote:activecampers.com.au


Been in one of these for most of last year.
Light weight, low center of gravity,go anywhere. Spacious inside.
Instant set up.No wet canvas on your bed if you pack up in the wet.
Wife loves the fridge. Camp where you work. I could go on.

Alan

I ordered one of those last week !

Phil

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Re: Camper Trailer or Caravan?

Post  Beer Beeper on Wed Dec 01, 2010 7:17 am

You should be happy with it and they look good but Active Campers have an angled pop-up, I would much prefer a straight up pop-up instead like this style.

http://www.palominorv.com/site/default.asp?page=product&model=bronco

I do not know where a person could buy this type of style in Australia?

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Re: Camper Trailer or Caravan?

Post  Nebuchadnezzar on Wed Dec 01, 2010 9:14 am

Same here. Straight up pop up design. Google the Bronco before commiting. I did check them out and it seemed a few posters from various other forums weren't too happy with them.

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Re: Camper Trailer or Caravan?

Post  Alan WA on Wed Dec 01, 2010 10:28 am

The angled roof is good for the solar panels.
As I said, we have been living in it for most of the last year and very happy.
Used for prospecting mainly, tho good on the beach.
Our duel cab is a lot smaller than the Ford in the picture.

Ikyphl

Think you will like it.
One thing we did was get gray canvas, Thought the
orange would stand out too much in the bush.

Alan

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Re: Camper Trailer or Caravan?

Post  lkyphl on Thu Dec 02, 2010 10:30 am

G'day Alan,
I have only seen the AC's with yellow canvas, and hadn't considered other colours, as I reckoned yellow to be a cheery and positive colour ; there's a particular four-letter word in the description of yellow here http://iit.bloomu.edu/vthc/design/psychology.htm that interests me !
You don't find the grey to be too drab ?

Do you find the solar panels/single deep cycle battery sufficient for charging a detector battery as well as powering the fridge & lights ? I was planning on getting a twin-battery setup.

Phil

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Re: Camper Trailer or Caravan?

Post  Alan WA on Thu Dec 02, 2010 11:31 am

There's a few other words in the 'yellow' description that can
go with prospecting too...

Grey is close to blue and reads well.
My wife used to go to a 'colour man' when she was a child, her parents being believers.

The grey canvas cost more, about $160 from memory.Lars wasn't too keen on doing it either but
we think there is too much fluro in the goldfields these days.Also like to blend in as much as possible.

We supplied our own panels (had them for years) 2x 75w.Also got an extra battery and have heaps
of power for everything.The Isotherm fridge that comes with it uses no power.We also run an Autofridge off it.

Alan

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Re: Camper Trailer or Caravan?

Post  Inhere on Thu Dec 02, 2010 12:17 pm

G'day Alan, did you get the roof painted with that thermal paint, from Australian paints?
Great stuff.

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Re: Camper Trailer or Caravan?

Post  Alan WA on Fri Dec 03, 2010 1:15 pm

Didnt do that Inhere. Its comfortable enough as it is.

Just been looking at the above links again.
Some slide ons have legs hanging down. Can you take them off so as not
to get tangled up in the scrub?
Also you dont want much height above the cab, trees.Low center of gravity is important too.

All depends on how off-road you want to take it.

Alan

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Re: Camper Trailer or Caravan?

Post  Nebuchadnezzar on Fri Dec 03, 2010 2:15 pm

Unfortunately, they do have legs, but you can't take them off. Some models even have legs that stick out a little wider than the truck/car just to make sure you do end up snagged in the scrub. A compromise for easy loading/unloading, I guess.

Regarding height, yes you don't want too much. That's where the pop top model should come in handy. The full size hard wall models are probably too top heavy for true off-road use.

Never realised so many prospectors were using slide-ons. Hardly see any out there, but then, I hardly ever see anybody.

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Re: Camper Trailer or Caravan?

Post  Alan WA on Fri Dec 03, 2010 3:34 pm

I've seen quite a few in Kalgoorlie. Now that I
have one I seem to notice. Some should be outright illegal!

Think people are trying to get away from towing. I see alot
of roof-top tents too.
Nearly went that way, glad I didnt.

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Re: Camper Trailer or Caravan?

Post  Guest on Sat Dec 04, 2010 7:27 am


Gday


Sometimes I am amazed at the the rigs I have seen out in the bush, some are luxurious and have all the comforts of home but you are of course limited as to where you can and cant go with them, even the off roader ones can have their limits, not to mention the wear and tear on your towing vehicle through tough terrain.

The other thing I have found with caravans and even some campers is that its easy to do a lot of damage to them, having worked in the caravan repair industry for a short time I know that the cladding on a lot of these vans is so thin that we used to have to re clad vans due to hail stone damage, and many had dents, tears and scratches along the sides from tree branches.

I guess you just have to decide what level of comfort you need and how keen you are to venture into hard country and then decide what is best for you, I have found that it is better to be more mobile these days so that you can cover more ground, camping up and staying in one spots ok if you have a bike/quad or whatever to go further afield, if you just continue to wander out from camp on foot then you soon exhaust likely spots.

Another thing is that I enjoy the simplicity, in my case I just pull up and open the door and I am ready to get the gear on and have a swing, no messing about with setting up, even with my camper trailer its about 15 mins to put it up and away I go, I like to sit around the fire and out in the open rather than inside, I can do that at home, the only time I will be inside is to sleep or if its raining, and sometimes (depending on how much port I have had) only to sleep.

I think that there is also a factor that people like the security of being inside a van, having a lockable door and all the comforts at your figertips, also when you are older and have health problems you need to keep yourself out of the elements so a camper trailer will not do for you, if you are uncomfortable or feeling the elements then the whole outdoor experience can be a bad one for you and you can get sick.

It would also depend how much time you are in the bush, if you were wanting to go away for months at a time then you would need a more complicated and comfortable set up, if you are a weekender or a day here and there then a roof top tent or easily set up camper trailer would be the go for you, for a few weeks at a time a slide on would be the go with the benefit of being able to wander about the place and having a set up camp to return to at night or if the weather changes.

After years of wandering the bush and sleeping under a hootchie ( piece of plastic) while in the army a tent is a luxury to me, but these days with arthritis and all the other issues that come with middle age I have become soft and like a few comforts, but still like to keep it rather basic and simple.

cheers

stayyerAU








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First time poster

Post  Bull Ant on Fri Dec 31, 2010 12:51 pm

Hi all. New to the forum have been reading lots of posts and learning all the way.
At the moment i am preparing for a tag a long trip to WA come winter time.
(sorry Bird man another one from the east)
I am building a tandem trailer to accommodate my slide on camper thus freeing
up my vehicle to get about the scrub.It's a real pain loading and unloading on
your own with only hand operated jacks.(I guess some people are just lazy.)
HAPPY NEW YEAR to you all hope to meet you out there one day.
Bull Ant.

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