Best option: comfort versus off road

Submitted: Saturday, Sep 21, 2013 at 17:12
ThreadID: 104420 Views:5127 Replies:18 FollowUps:9
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Hi everyone!

We, a German couple, are planning a one year trip around Australia. First of all I have to say, that my English could be better, but I will do my very best. We have some twenty years of experience in camping in CAN, USA, NZ and OZ with rental Motorhomes, Campervans, Truck Campers and Bushcampers / 4WD on Fraser Island and Red Centre. Now we want to buy second hand for that long period.

Because we want to run also 4WD Areas/Tracks, e.g. Fraser Island, GRR incl. Mitchell Falls, Cape York, Oodnadatta Track, the Pilbaras and the Kimberleys, we are looking for the best compromise between comfort and off road ability.

I think we have 3 options!

1. Toyota Prado or Jeep Wrangler + off road trailer e.g. Cub or Aussie Swag
2. Toyota Prado or Jeep Wrangler + outback pop top caravan e.g. Jayco
3. Toyota Hilux or Ford Ranger + slide on pop top camper e.g. Northstar or Palomino

Our budget is around 50$K for both.

I am curious about your regards and suggestions because it is hard going just to google.

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Reply By: Ozhumvee - Saturday, Sep 21, 2013 at 17:34

Saturday, Sep 21, 2013 at 17:34
We have an F250 and Palomino Real Lite poptop slideon which weighs 800 kgs in Canada and there is no way I would put that much weight on either a Hilux or in fact any of the mid size utes.
Even a Landcruiser ute would be a bit on the small side especially if intending to do any 4wd tracks.
I'd go for the tow vehicle and small van as you have got the best of both worlds, a hard sided "go inside and shut the door" when the weather is poor, and a vehicle that can be used to do rougher small side trips if you want. Plus you have transport if staying somewhere for a few days without the hassle of taking a slideon off.
1996 Oka Motorhome

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Reply By: Rick (S.A.) - Saturday, Sep 21, 2013 at 17:42

Saturday, Sep 21, 2013 at 17:42
Hi Herby,
Congratulations on your English - it is way better than many of us locals can do!

Toyotas have a strong resale value here in Aus, so in terms of value you will get a better $ proposition with a Jeep or a Ford. Have a look on this website's classified advertisements to see if a package or either one is suitable for you.
Here's one

Any of the combinations you have suggested will work - but the slide on pop top may have more wind resistance, and have a higher centre of gravity, which could be offset against having to tow a trailer. It's all a compromise........

If you get a trailer, you could leave that behind in a base camp while you go on small trips in the 4WD - not so in the slide on camper. The height of a slide-on unit has the potential to be an issue if you are on tracks through timbered or seldom traveled tracks, where an overhang of vegetation may exist.

Me?? I'd go with a Ford PK Ranger 3 L diesel dual cab for $21,612 drive away. Visit

Coupled to either a Cub or Aussie Swag off road trailer, like this for $27,000.

With a package total of $ 49,000, a 5 minute search has easily come in under your limit of $50,000. Remember these advertised prices are negotiable and are just a starting point. No reason why you could not get similar for $ 40,000.

Best wishes
AnswerID: 518543

Reply By: mikehzz - Saturday, Sep 21, 2013 at 18:20

Saturday, Sep 21, 2013 at 18:20
I have a Jeep and I like it a lot but I wouldn't recommend using one as a visitor out there. Not enough parts or expertise to cope with the possibilities. My first choice would be a Ranger followed by one of those other "T" word brand. :-) Pack up the back of the Ranger with your gear and pull a camper. Excuse me while I duck for cover...
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Reply By: Brian S10 - Saturday, Sep 21, 2013 at 18:31

Saturday, Sep 21, 2013 at 18:31
Hi! Herby. If you want to travel around australia in comfort and safety and see it all! Check out the Isuzu 4wd camper van in the classifieds section under motorhomes! Regards Brian.
AnswerID: 518546

Follow Up By: kev.h - Sunday, Sep 22, 2013 at 18:41

Sunday, Sep 22, 2013 at 18:41
Its only $125,000.00 over their budget
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Reply By: Gronk - Saturday, Sep 21, 2013 at 20:30

Saturday, Sep 21, 2013 at 20:30
If you want to see every where.....option 1....
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Follow Up By: GeeVee - Sunday, Sep 22, 2013 at 13:11

Sunday, Sep 22, 2013 at 13:11
I concur with Gronk. There are numerous 4 cylinder diesel tow options and campertrailer options well within your budget. This should optimise your accessability to areas and provide reasonable fuel costs. Downside is wet weather with campertrailer, but not insurmounatable with an awning. Reliable secondhand vehicle options would include Prado / Hilux, Pajero / Triton, Ranger / Mazda BT50 to name a few. The 3 litre Duramax diesel in the Ranger / BT50 was a gem.

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Reply By: Herby56 - Saturday, Sep 21, 2013 at 20:57

Saturday, Sep 21, 2013 at 20:57
Hi everyone!

Wow, more than 250 views. Thank you all for your response.
I understood that option 3 is too heavy and I will skip it. Nobody voted for option 2. And I follow the argument, that there are not enough parts or expertise to cope with the jeep; but it looks great.
I’m not familiar with towing a rig. So what’s with this option?

Ford Ranger Extra Cab tray + slide on like the trayon campers, travelander or wedgetail

Not so heavy, low centre of gravity and easy to set up free-standing in camp.
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Reply By: exmouth1 - Saturday, Sep 21, 2013 at 22:47

Saturday, Sep 21, 2013 at 22:47
G, day herby56
Why not look at an ex rental bush camper, no towing hassles, room to get out of the rain, already set up with fridges and cooking etc.
I HAVE a 2008 V8 troopy and have done 100, 000 ks in 2 years.
The main problem is the original suspension, but I HAVE a ARB 50mm lift and 800kg rated springs which has solved the rear end droop and gives a very comfortable and supple ride. The vehicle is very capable off road and better on fuel than my Prado was towing small camper trailer.
IT ALSO COMES WITH INBUILT WATER TANKS.My brother in law has a Kia conversion and mine is a Maui, there are also Brizt campers available.
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Follow Up By: Herby56 - Sunday, Sep 22, 2013 at 00:09

Sunday, Sep 22, 2013 at 00:09
Hi exmouth1
2 years ago we have had a KEA bush camper for 3 weeks around Alice Springs and a Britz bush camper for 1 week on Fraser Island. Both layouts are different and the KEA is ok up to a month (in our opinion). So we decided to have more comfort for a 12 month travel.
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Reply By: Member - Johann Jakob S (Int) - Sunday, Sep 22, 2013 at 03:18

Sunday, Sep 22, 2013 at 03:18
Hallo Herby
Ich bin aus der Schweiz und kann euch vielleicht helfen. Ich habe selber einen Landcruiser und Camprite Offroad-Trailer. Im Moment in der Schweiz, aber hoffentlich bald wieder Downunder. Kannst mir direkt mailen:
AnswerID: 518555

Reply By: Life Member-Doug T NSW - Sunday, Sep 22, 2013 at 05:32

Sunday, Sep 22, 2013 at 05:32
Wow, ich wünschte ich könnte verbrachte 1 Jahr in Ihrem Land haben, hatte ich nur vor 3 Wochen, ging an Andrea Berg Konzert in Aspach zu sehen, dann verbrachten 6 Tage mit Freund in Nürnberg, ging nach Augsburg und Schloss Neuschwanstein, und 5 Tage in Ingelheim , Oppenheim und Rüdesheim. Sie haben eine sichere und angenehme Tour durch Australien.

Ich denke, vielleicht Toyota Truppentransporter wäre eine weitere Option sein, würde ich nicht mit Folie auf Camper belästigt werden.

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Follow Up By: Member -Hilton Hillbillies - Sunday, Sep 22, 2013 at 12:35

Sunday, Sep 22, 2013 at 12:35
I'm not having a go at you guys.
But could you please post in English, which I'm sure Herby can follow.
I learn a lot from your replies and I can only read English.
Have a great day.

I have a Ranger 2.2 Lt diesel, it's only problem seems to be a bit of turbo lag. If you are looking at a Ranger, look at the 3.2 Lt diesel it is a 5 cylinder and doesn't suffer from the same problems as the 2.2.
Hope your trip is better than you could ever imagine.

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Follow Up By: Herby56 - Sunday, Sep 22, 2013 at 17:06

Sunday, Sep 22, 2013 at 17:06
Doug T,
I hope you have had a wonderful time in germany. I´m born in Rüdesheim. I´m sorry but I can´t understand your last sentence. Perhaps can you repeat in english?
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Follow Up By: Life Member-Doug T NSW - Sunday, Sep 22, 2013 at 18:26

Sunday, Sep 22, 2013 at 18:26
Ja Herby I enjoy Germany and Andrea so much I go again next year for Open Air Heimspiel at Aspach or the smaller show in October at the Sonnenhof Hotel at Kleinaspach where she lives .

Here is what I say about 4X4
I think maybe Toyota troop carrier would be another option, I would not be bothered with slide on camper. But I will add Troop Carriers might be to expensive for good used vehicles, Shop around at Ex Government sales yards.
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Reply By: Kanga1 - Sunday, Sep 22, 2013 at 07:35

Sunday, Sep 22, 2013 at 07:35
Hi Herby, you haven't mentioned your ages or state of health and fitness, I'm going to assume your birth year was 1956 and that you and your partner are physically fit with no massive medical issues ( dodgy joints, heart etc, ).
If this is the case, get a Prado and an Aussie Swag type hard floored Camper that has an awning, the Prado is a pretty capable off road unit, the diesels are good with a great fuel range, parts availability is very good.
Aussie Swag, Kimberley Campers, Camprite TL8, Pioneer etc, each has their own good and bad points/features, find out as much as you can about each of the many types and pick one that suits your particular needs the best, they will all do the job adequately.
If you are older, or have physical/medical issues, Still go for the Prado, good towing unit for medium sized towing, but maybe consider realistically what your abilities are, and maybe a Pop top caravan may be a better option for your trip. Have a great trip and don't forget Tasmania!!! Kanga.
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Follow Up By: Herby56 - Sunday, Sep 22, 2013 at 17:12

Sunday, Sep 22, 2013 at 17:12
Hi Kanga1,
you are right; we are born in 1956 and in excellent condition. We do a lot of day-hiking up to 25km with 1.000 Meter uphill.
I agree with Tasmania. Last time we have had only 3 weeks with a 2wd 2 berth motorhome but we loved it. This time we will stay longer using the 4wd tracks.
Why not the Ford Ranger tray with a travelander or wedgetail slid on?
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Reply By: Member - John and Lynne - Sunday, Sep 22, 2013 at 12:13

Sunday, Sep 22, 2013 at 12:13
If you have a year to travel and want a little comfort a Toyota with a smallish sturdy caravan would work very well for you. You would have time to set up camp for a few days and have a comfortable (heatable and insect proof) base while you do 4x4 day trips without dragging a trailer along the tracks. You would have convenient storage and could also have some solar power, a decent sized 3 way fridge and perhaps a toilet! This type of arrangement works very well for us now we feel we have grown out of tents!
We know a couple towing such a van with an Isuzu twin cab 4x4 ute and they have done some very Outback travelling with no issues. Another couple are currently doing well with a Pajero and a van. Neither paid huge money for a top of the range Off Road van, just reasonably sturdy suspension with good clearance. For a long trip you could get very tired of putting up a camper trailer and lifting gear in and out, to say nothing of the comparative discomfort of being under canvas in heavy rain or cold. In a year travelling all over the continent you are sure to strike some uncomfortable weather!
Have a great time whatever you decide! Lynne
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Reply By: Danna - Sunday, Sep 22, 2013 at 17:16

Sunday, Sep 22, 2013 at 17:16
Just a quick comment. Toyota is still without prejudice "the king of the Outback", a specially any kind of Troopy.
Cheers Dana
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Reply By: Member - Johann Jakob S (Int) - Sunday, Sep 22, 2013 at 20:01

Sunday, Sep 22, 2013 at 20:01

Hi Herby
One of our camps with the Camprite Trailer (Camprite 4-2). 120lt. water, 85lt. fridge/freezer, 150W solarpanel and all this close to the Gold ! ! !
Cheers J.J.
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Reply By: graham B9 - Sunday, Sep 22, 2013 at 20:10

Sunday, Sep 22, 2013 at 20:10
Send me a email direct and I will give you the email address of my German friend from Austria. He has lived here for 20 years and just moved back there a year ago. He and his wife know the outback very well and explain things much better. They live in Pertisau.
AnswerID: 518612

Reply By: allein m - Monday, Sep 23, 2013 at 13:50

Monday, Sep 23, 2013 at 13:50
a small bit information and often people who do not live in remote area often forget is if some one thing goes wrong where do you get parts from and my pet subject tire sizes

parts for some cars toyota prado hilux you can get most places jeep parts may not be so easy to buy

tire sizes are some thing people do not think of till there have to buy a new tire in the middle of no where

again toyota hilux would be easier to get

AnswerID: 518637

Follow Up By: allein m - Monday, Sep 23, 2013 at 15:13

Monday, Sep 23, 2013 at 15:13
another tip is may join RAA road service or one other serives

now is this is not cheap you have to pay a joining few and a yearly fee

they have several options basic medium and premium coverage

each gives a certain level of service for you going to remote areas premium is the choice.

but concider this few months back I bought 4 new tires and the tire valves were not replaced I left Broken Hill to go to Adelaide Sunday afternoon and got two flat tires

they were not fitted correctly RAA paid for the tow home as it was in my ks limit that was free tow if I had no road service it would have cost $600 or $700

another way to reduce the stress and make it a good holiday.

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Follow Up By: allein m - Monday, Sep 23, 2013 at 16:00

Monday, Sep 23, 2013 at 16:00
HI I just rang the RAA here in Broken Hill and asked about tourists from over seas joining.

ok you need a mailing address in the sate that they cover but you can get service any state

po box or home

if you are a member of a road service in Germany they may have a agreement with them so you are already covered

worth checking out

she is each case is decided on its own merit but a mailing address is important in the area they cover

i live in Broken hill and can join either RAA or NRMA as i live in a border town of NSW SA

i hope that helps

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Reply By: chisel - Monday, Sep 23, 2013 at 14:44

Monday, Sep 23, 2013 at 14:44
Have you considered either:
(a) Tenting it. Probably staying in motels/cabins a fair bit of the time but tenting when it suits.
(b) A troopcarrier (or similar) converted so that it can be slept in.

Just thoughts - it might not suit you.
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Reply By: Ron N - Monday, Sep 23, 2013 at 21:53

Monday, Sep 23, 2013 at 21:53
Herby - When you find that the standard towing capacity of a Jeep Wrangler is 500kg, you get the impression very rapidly, that the Jeep is an American highway cruiser, not a proper off-roader, like the original WW2 Jeep.

The Prados are overpriced both new and used, making them poor value, IMO.

Try an auto auction house such as Pickles or Manheim - they often sell good low-km Hiluxes from Govt Depts that are often never worked hard, and which will suit you nicely.

A Hilux and an off-road camper trailer or poptop caravan would be amongst the best choices.
AnswerID: 518664

Reply By: Member - Johann Jakob S (Int) - Tuesday, Sep 24, 2013 at 21:26

Tuesday, Sep 24, 2013 at 21:26
Hi Herby, Hi all
We are happy with this configuration ..... 4wd and offroad Trailer, 4wd and trailer with the same type weel. Our next step is more comfort ....... we will replace the Camprite by a AOR ECLIPSE .......... of corse the ECLIPSE is over a 50k Budget.
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