1 person set up recommendations needed

Submitted: Thursday, Feb 13, 2014 at 02:57
ThreadID: 106211 Views:2320 Replies:8 FollowUps:1
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Hi Everyone,

We live in Western Australia.

My husband has Ankylosing Spondylitis that restricts the movement of his spine as well as other joints, shoulders, hips, knees etc. His entire spine is fused and locked. Climbing up and down and lifting heavy objects are a little difficult for him though he usually adapts something to get things done. Thankfully his sense of humour and love of life are fully intact.

We have been considering caravan v camper trailers. Given our needs we thought a caravan may be easier to set up physically for us. But, as we've been researching, we think maybe a camper trailer would be best as he cannot get into and out of a four wheel drive easily that would be needed to tow a caravan.

We are only in the idea gathering stage but would love to hear recommendations from anyone in a similar position that can offer tips and advice. I think in the end, we will need to have a custom made trailer so any recommendations on a person that could work with us on that would be appreciated.

Which ever way we go, it must be towable by a family sedan / ute.

Thank you for any assistance you can provide.


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Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Thursday, Feb 13, 2014 at 07:40

Thursday, Feb 13, 2014 at 07:40
Hi Robyn,

Good on you and your husband for keeping on keeping on.

Based on your description, a hard top camper trailer would probably be best.
No real modifications should be required, except for perhaps a hand winch to assist in the closing of the camper by one person.

I own a Campomatic but added a winch which clamps to the drawbar, to make lifting the hard top (or is it the bottom) back up to close it.

You haven't given a budgetary figure, so if you happen to win lotto, the Kimberley Karavan will give you a great solution for caravan style accommodation in a camper trailer size. Just a mere $70,000:-)

Or you may like to consider something like an Ultimate camper trailer which makes opening and closing fairly easy. These can sometimes be bought pre-owned.

There a a myriad of options around so it is a matter of perusing the internet, perhaps attending a caravan & camping show and see what you like.

Good luck with your search and enjoy the great outdoors!

I'm diagonally parked in a parallel Universe!

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AnswerID: 526326

Reply By: Rangiephil - Thursday, Feb 13, 2014 at 08:47

Thursday, Feb 13, 2014 at 08:47
The Cub range of hard floor camper trailers generally have a strap winch to help close them. They make on road campers which are light. To open you just undo a coupleof clips and gas struts do most of the work.
This involves winding a handle with not much resistance but you have to stuff teh canvas in the sides when closing.
However , with any camper trailer , there is still a need to fit at least 3 poles and drive pegs in with a hammer , if the awning is used and the kitchen is outside so the awning must used in less than perfect weather.
I would think a small caravan may be best, or you could consider an Avan, which is quick and I understand easy to erect and dismantle, and I know of single women who own them. However a 70 plus friend who had one slipped and fractured his hip while trying to hitch it to the car.
Of course the easiest of all would be a motorhome, where the only exertion needed is to erect a caravan type awning.
I own a Camp'o'matic offroad hard floor camper like the earlier poster and at 64 with my 67 year old SWMBO have no problem closing when there are two people. However we are both fit. I recently bought some seat belt strap for when I close it myself, as it has to be held in various states of closing to stuff the canvas inside the trailer. The winch is a great solution and I may get one if/when I deteriorate but adds weight and I am a stickler for light.
Regards Philip A
AnswerID: 526334

Reply By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Thursday, Feb 13, 2014 at 08:50

Thursday, Feb 13, 2014 at 08:50
I can only echo what was just mentioned.

Regarding accessing the car. We own a 100 series landcruiser. My wife had "issues" getting in and out. That was until we got some good steel side steps made to "our" specidication. The foot must be able to rest on the step "comfortably". Not just the toes as is the case with the standard steps and most of the "accessory" types. I also like them becaus I can actually "comfortably" stand on them with good full foot coverage. No ballerinas here.

She, hey and me also, can both so easily just step into the car.

I also can't lift the spare which is on the back of the car so we got a pulley system made so that it can be done by one person.

Thus with Bills suggestions above and a good set of side steps you may be set with a 4WD and thus not restricted to a family sedan.

Best of luck. I do have some experience in "not being as supple and flexible" as when we were young.

AnswerID: 526335

Reply By: Member - Chris_K - Thursday, Feb 13, 2014 at 08:53

Thursday, Feb 13, 2014 at 08:53
Hi Robyn

I would have thought that a lot of caravans could be towed by a standard family car (Eg Commodore, Falcon, Territory etc). So (provided you want to stay on the blacktop) you should have no trouble matching a caravan to the vehicle. From memory Coromal Caravans are based in WA - so maybe have a chat to them about what sort of thing you could tow with your vehicle?

AnswerID: 526337

Reply By: Hoyks - Thursday, Feb 13, 2014 at 11:41

Thursday, Feb 13, 2014 at 11:41
I ruptured a disk and found my 4x4 was the easiest to get in and out of. To get out I was basically standing up already, getting in it was bum on the seat and swing the legs in.
Has he tried on something like and xtrail as they are shorter than the traditional 4x4?

A car will pull both, but 4WD gives you more options, but then again bumping off road will probably be less than comfortable.

Cub Campers have an easy set up system where you use a hand winch (like a winch on a boat trailer) to set the tent up and a full sized bed.

As for Ankylosing Spondylitis, good luck with that. My brother in law has it and my wife has the female manifestations of the disease, I hope my son dodges the bullet.
AnswerID: 526345

Reply By: Krooznalong - Thursday, Feb 13, 2014 at 14:17

Thursday, Feb 13, 2014 at 14:17
Hello Robyn
You haven't stated what sort of travelling you wish to pursue.

If sticking to the easily accessible places perhaps you're better off without any van and just staying in motels, cabins, B&Bs etc.

Guy just up the road from us has something like your husband (may be the same based on your description of the symptoms) and that's how they travel.
AnswerID: 526357

Reply By: robyn c3 - Thursday, Feb 13, 2014 at 23:19

Thursday, Feb 13, 2014 at 23:19
Thanks for all the suggestions and links everyone. We will work our way through them.

We will be sticking to mostly black top travelling at this stage until we get the feel of things. Budget up to $20k.

We saw that Jurgens have some light weight caravans that can be towed by our ute, so we will look into some second hand ones (hopefully within the budget!). Does anyone know what they are like for long term quality? We will only buy from a dealer to ensure after sale service.

If we go the camper trailer route, we definitely want an Australian manufacturer. I dont want a flat pack shipped in and just put together here. Any reliable company recommendations with good after sales service.

Thank god for this forum :)
AnswerID: 526396

Follow Up By: Member - Matt (Perth-WA) - Friday, Feb 14, 2014 at 11:46

Friday, Feb 14, 2014 at 11:46
Robin from owning a Jayco Swan campertrailer and leaving from a soft floor campertrailer can I recommend the Jayco Penguin?

With all the campertrailers the most tiresome or laboursome task is setting up the awnings and they require poles zips guy ropes and folding and packing etc to store.

Now my Swan doesnt get away from that and additionally the slide out ends require rigging up and lifting to place supports etc in. But the big advantage of the popup campertrailers is the hard roof.....
This allows you to fit a Fiamma awning that doesnt require lifting etc to errect and can be made into an annex if required. You require a hard roof to mount them to, so basically this eliminates all the soft and hard floor campers and really only leaves you with caravan or poptop.

So back to the Penguin, it has no outside ends, the entire floorpan is under the hard roof. So setup it simply...wind a handle, roll out awning and you are camping.

They are light to tow and store very easily in most garages and carports etc.
Have a look at the Jayco website and even drop into Caravanland in Cannington and they will show you the setup and operation etc of the awning. No affillitation just a very happy customer...but there are also great second hand deals to be found ;)
Goodluck and I hope you enjoy every minute of your travels.
FollowupID: 808635

Reply By: The Bantam - Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 10:53

Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 10:53
The asumption that you need a 4wd to tow a caravan is simply false.

There are and have always been caravans that can easily be towed by small, medium and large pasenger cars.

It all comes down to size and weight.

I look at many of these "camper trailers" and wonder at the point......some of them there is so much set up, that, it would have to be quicker to set up a tent.

There are some very good light weight caravans and pop tops out there now, that offer a "walk up and open the door" option.....many of these can be towed with a medium to large family sedan..no problem at all.

If ya not expecting a rolling gin pallace, a caravan for two can be small, light, fast and easy to tow...and behind a pasenger car fairly cheap on fuel.

AnswerID: 526558

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