TVan or Ultimate for trip to Kimberleys

Submitted: Thursday, Feb 28, 2013 at 13:44
ThreadID: 100809 Views:5270 Replies:7 FollowUps:4
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Thinking of hiring either a Tvan or Ultimate to cross the Tanami, into Cape Leveque, then Gibb River to Kunnanara and then home to Melbourne over a 6 week period.

I know their both good units but does anyone have a view on the which one is better because we will doing some overnite stays as well as a few longer stays.

Tvan appeals beacuse of ease of set up and Ulimate appeals beacuse of the room.

Any thoughts
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Reply By: Member - John and Val - Thursday, Feb 28, 2013 at 13:53

Thursday, Feb 28, 2013 at 13:53
One point of difference is that you cook inside the Ultimate, outside for a TVan. For some that seems to be the deciding feature.


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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Monday, Mar 04, 2013 at 21:12

Monday, Mar 04, 2013 at 21:12
An excellent point Val.

When we were looking for a roof top tent we wanted one that had an annex that fully enclosed the rear of our 100 series with it's drop down rear tailgate. Giving us a "protected" inside kitchen and heaps of privacy.

I was never a fan of cooking under the 2 meter long awning at the side of the car. No matter which way the car was pointed, the wind, rain or dust always found it's way into the "kitchen" area under. Just like bbq smoke.

Give my regards to John will you.

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Reply By: olcoolone - Thursday, Feb 28, 2013 at 14:19

Thursday, Feb 28, 2013 at 14:19
Both very good campers and both very different.....

The Ultimate can be set up anywhere in mud, water up to 500mm and uneven ground whereby the Tvan is a hard floor camper where you need semi flat ground and semi dry ground.

We can set up our Ultimate in about 15 minutes and pack it up in about the same time using 2 people..... add about another 5-10 minutes for one person if in a rush.

We usually set up and pack up with two people..... it's just that bit easier.

For overnight quick stops it's about 10 minutes.

Packing up all we have to do is remove the awning poles, put the mattress on the lounge, remove the four inside support poles, flip the top and latch it and remove the stabiliser legs and we are set to go.

The Ultimate has more accessible and larger storage area..... plus you have the advantage of a full kitchen with sink, draws and fridge and lounge area with a small center table.

Being off the ground the Ultimate is safer from animals and snakes.

I'm sure there are many good points with the Tvan as there is with the Ultimate, we have had two Ultimate's and find them fantastic for what we do.

Off road ability is about the same as is on road dynamics.

The only thing we didn't like with the Tvan is the room above your head when in bed..... felt a bit claustrophobic but it's something you would get use to.

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Reply By: Member - batsy - Thursday, Feb 28, 2013 at 17:21

Thursday, Feb 28, 2013 at 17:21
Hi stephen R5,we have a TVan which has travelled well over 100,000km behind our Landcruiser with no problems.It tracks well .The Cruiser has no issues towing it & we hardly know it is there.It has been set up in VERY uneven terrain quite easily with the deck being between 100 to 400mm off the ground.I set up & pack up the TVan on my own & it takes 6 to 7 minutes either way.If the weather is inclement we can stop,lift the lid , hop in even boiling the billy inside if needs be.There is no wet canvas near the bed (which is left fully nade up) as the tent is stored in the lid.There is a huge amount of room in the unit.We carried our daughters queen bed ensemble & side tables out to her place no problems.It has done most of the "iconic" tracks such as the CSR,Gunbarrel etc easily.The Ultimate is a fine & proper off road unit unlike many .There are two other campers which fall into this category as well,those being the AROC Oddessy & the Kimberly Kamper.All will do the job easily.
Every day vertical above ground is a bonus.

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Reply By: Member - Warrie (NSW) - Thursday, Feb 28, 2013 at 19:02

Thursday, Feb 28, 2013 at 19:02
Hi Stephen, the "roads " you mentioned are quite doable in a Jayco outback Dove/ Swan etc for about half the price..... W

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Follow Up By: CSeaJay - Thursday, Feb 28, 2013 at 22:07

Thursday, Feb 28, 2013 at 22:07
Once or twice on these "roads" yes but twice the worry and twice the depreciation. The likes of TVan and Ultimate will do it forever.
Horses for courses, Jayco good but these other two comes into their own on bad roads
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Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Thursday, Feb 28, 2013 at 22:58

Thursday, Feb 28, 2013 at 22:58
I will only speak for the Tvan, but for single night stops we don't use the canvas - just open the back door and climb in - thats pretty close to no setup time. If we're in a caravan park, its a 5 minute setup to deploy the canvas section and about 10 minutes to pack it all up the next morning.
The Tvan has a huge amount of storage room - on occasions we take the complete camping setup (tents, mattresses, chairs, tables etc) for an extra family - all the space above and under the bed is for storage as well as the side storage space. Extra engel and portapottie can go on the floor behind the bed. We put 6 plastic boxes under the bed and all our linen goes in the roof storage.
When its blowing a gale or pouring rain its nice to be inside a fibreglass shell and not under canvas.
And the MC2 suspension is pretty good.
And it has standard space for 5 jerry cans, a battery, and 2 gas cylinders.
We don't understand why people say they are claustrophobic - we sleep with our head towards the front which is confined and cosy but other Tvan owners sleep the other way around where its all open space around you.

Downsides are that the towball weight is between 120 and 160kgs - might be too much for a softroader. Tvan can get warm in the hot climates - a tarp draped as a tropical roof is used by some owners, but many owners fit a caframo fan to keep the air moving. The adjustable legs can sometimes slip but there are new locking legs out now.
The large side awning takes about 40 minutes to setup and is a pain first time round, but its great to have when camped for more than 1 night.

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Follow Up By: Member - Graham N (SA) - Friday, Mar 01, 2013 at 07:57

Friday, Mar 01, 2013 at 07:57
Ditto the above also the bed is always made up and there is no cooking smells inside.
Both the Ultimate and T-Van make excellent campers.


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Follow Up By: Member - Andrew & Jen - Friday, Mar 01, 2013 at 09:52

Friday, Mar 01, 2013 at 09:52
As per Phil G
The mutliple options re setup is very useful, from hop into the shell and pull the lid down right through to the full set up with awning, which I might add, we have never used as we use a fly awning over the kitchen when needed.
We also use a fly screen insert that fits around the opening. It has a zip "door". So on hot nights in the bush, the back lid is opened, the fly screen fitted - takes less that minute - and that's it. Morning pack up is equally quick.
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Reply By: TTD1 - Friday, Mar 01, 2013 at 10:19

Friday, Mar 01, 2013 at 10:19
stephen R5

We purchased an Ultimate Xtrak in July 2011 and went to Cape York that year and last year completed the trip you are planning in approx 7 weeks. Previously we had owned 2 hard floored campers and after a few practise runs the Ultimate is every bit as quick to pack and un pack. As for the internal kitchen I think it is a bonus particularly on cold mornings to warm the camper up boiling the kettle.We usually cook outside when the weather is good which is most of the time with either a 2 burner stove or the cobb.
A big plus over the hard floor campers was the weight and also the ball weight max 40kgs and it sits behind the Prado and fully loaded returns better than 13ltrs per 100klms.
This last week we spent at The Prom and to say it was wet and wild would be an under statement with winds of 40 plus knots and the Ultimate kept both the wind and rain out.
AnswerID: 505809

Reply By: stephen R5 - Monday, Mar 04, 2013 at 16:04

Monday, Mar 04, 2013 at 16:04
Hi All

Thanks for those responses. As mentioned by all, both are good units so can't go wrong with either.

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