Comment: Pop-Top Caravans


we are a young family that is hoping to buy our first caravan/poptop soon and are looking for some advice on what models may be suitable for us. We'd be most appreciative of any experience, guidance, advice that could be offered.

Our main criteria are as follows...
- budget $12,000
- must be able to sleep two small children (3 and 5 years old) and two adults.
- fridge, cooker, sink, (no toilet/shower necessary)
- should be able to fit under our carport popped up (for visitors, etc) (unfortunately carport is the only place we can store it - it measures only 2.45 metres high).
- under 1600kg gross weight (car can only tow up to 1600kg)
I think the main issue is with the carport?? I am finding that not many people put the van height with the ad.
Any assistance would be much appreciated.
Thanks from Olivia
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Reply By: graham B9 - Wednesday, Jan 30, 2013 at 22:24

Wednesday, Jan 30, 2013 at 22:24
Not certain where you are but one idea is to visit places that sell caravans on consignment. They usually will have their pop tops up for display. You can just take a tape measure and check out different vans.

Shower and toilet in a pop top are quite rare anyway. Have a look at a Windsor Rapid as they have excellent sleeping arrangments and they expand front and back. This makes their travel weight less.

You might like to google them before hand. Fingers do the walking as they used to say. Talk about a motto that was more applicable to their competing business. (internet)
AnswerID: 503678

Follow Up By: Olivia B - Saturday, Feb 02, 2013 at 14:29

Saturday, Feb 02, 2013 at 14:29
Hi Graham, sorry about delay in response. Thanks for the info. The windsor rapid looks really nice. Yes, as you say I will have to do a wander around with my tape measure to really make sure what we get will fit in the silly carport!
FollowupID: 780630

Reply By: Member - Chris D (Newcastle) - Wednesday, Jan 30, 2013 at 22:26

Wednesday, Jan 30, 2013 at 22:26
Hi Olivia,
Everyone's choices are personal, however experience helps with making new decisions.
In the late 1980's my wife and I decided we would have a long period off travelling with our two daughters who were still in late primary school.
For a few years we put our spare dollars away rather rather that spending them all. Eventually we had enough to have a year off work, we needed to buy a mobile place to eat and sleep, we chose a folding caravan, much like the modern Jayco, but the one we liked was a Viscount, not sold these days though. The Viscount is still with us and we spent last week on Port Stephens with our two grand Daughters!!
Back in 1991 there was enough room for the four of us, we travelled for a full 12 months and travelled all through Oz. Our daughters enrolled in distance education and it was the best time for the four of us.
In a similar position today I would have a folding caravan, look for saving dollars so you can take time off and enjoy life as it should be. Our Viscount was near new but second hand, a great saving in cost.
I believe the experience we all had all those years ago is still with us today, even extending to our granddaughters.
Cheers Chris
AnswerID: 503679

Follow Up By: Olivia B - Saturday, Feb 02, 2013 at 14:34

Saturday, Feb 02, 2013 at 14:34
Hi Chris, we would one day love to have a similar experience with our kids! Life goes too quickly. We'll keep hunting and hopefully we will find our 'escape pod' (as my husband is now referring to our future caravan as)!! lol Thanks for your help. Olivia :)
FollowupID: 780631

Reply By: Batt's - Thursday, Jan 31, 2013 at 03:47

Thursday, Jan 31, 2013 at 03:47
We had a 1986 Jayco 16.6 foot pop top a few yrs ago cost $9,000 excellent set up for a family you can also get them around 18 foot. As you walk in the door queen bed on left at front of van converts to lounge I made mine a permanent bed with some sheets of marine ply which gave more storage underneath, then to the right a dining table with L-shaped seating, storage under seat, on opposite side is stove, oven, sink, fridge . To the rear r/hand side double bunks on opposite side a walldrobe at the rear of the van is a storage cupboards with 1 bunk on top. Also head height storage cupboards above table,sink & main bed . You might have trouble opening something at the height you require though. 960kg tare weight 1300kg max. ..If you buy an older van privately the owners will probably tell you it dosn't leak like we were told "it did" we took it to a van repair and sales shop they replaced all of the window rubbers and the rubber seal in the pop top section and no more leaks also we had new wheel bearings fitted at my request and brakes checked out last thing you want is a breakdown Had 2 spare rims with tyres which I put under the main bed out of the way .Make sure you car jack will fit under the axel. I fitted a new towing hitch and a drop down jocky wheel. I also replaced the old 12volt wire that went to the fridge which looked a bit dodgy with heavier wire. I'm not paranoid but our first trip was from perth to darwin to mackay nearly 3 months travelling and with good preparation we had no trouble at all. So be prepared to fix some things it will help you learn a bit more about your van. Sorry about the big story and good luck.
AnswerID: 503683

Follow Up By: Olivia B - Saturday, Feb 02, 2013 at 14:37

Saturday, Feb 02, 2013 at 14:37
Hi Batt, we have just looked at a 1988 Jayco pop top which seems like the one you desciribed. It's a perfect setup for us but unfortunately a bit too high for our carport. I'm starting to think I might take a chainsaw to the carport!! Thanks for all of your advice.
FollowupID: 780632

Reply By: Yanktigers - Friday, Feb 01, 2013 at 23:01

Friday, Feb 01, 2013 at 23:01
I had a Jayco Swan which folds out on the rear & front and that gives you 2 double beds back & front but also you can sleep 3 children in the middle & if you pick up one with an annex you would have even more room. It had a fridge, sink and gas cook top but not a oven although you could carry a microwave oven. These had a weight of around 800kg and towed beautiful.
It took about 10 minutes to erect but my wife did not not like it made me sell it ,but it was very economical to tow. Also it had 45 litre water tank.
I hope this helps
AnswerID: 503830

Follow Up By: Olivia B - Saturday, Feb 02, 2013 at 14:43

Saturday, Feb 02, 2013 at 14:43
Hi Yanktigers, the Jayco swans seem very popular. Even though I like the vans with the bunks the Jayco swan keeps coming up as it solves nearly every problem nicely. I was just a little concerned about the size of the beds as my husband and I are quite tall and if I made the kids share they would probably kill each other! However, we may need to go this way as the area to keep the van will be tight and they seem to pack up to such a small size. Thanks for the advice. Olivia :)
FollowupID: 780634

Reply By: ozjohn0 - Saturday, Feb 02, 2013 at 10:28

Saturday, Feb 02, 2013 at 10:28
I very much doubt you'll find a Pop Top Van that will be low enough for your carport when the roof is up.
AnswerID: 503849

Follow Up By: Olivia B - Saturday, Feb 02, 2013 at 14:46

Saturday, Feb 02, 2013 at 14:46
Hi Ozjohn, alas I think you are right. I will keep hoping but may go and measure a campertrailer like a Jayco swan and see if they are any shorter??? Thanks so much. Olivia :)
FollowupID: 780635

Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Sunday, Feb 03, 2013 at 00:08

Sunday, Feb 03, 2013 at 00:08
In fact there are some that will not fit with the top down. Particularly those with raised suspension.
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