Cavalier Campers

Submitted: Saturday, Feb 28, 2004 at 10:31
ThreadID: 10866 Views:5401 Replies:8 FollowUps:15
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I'm thinking about buying a new offroad Cavalier Camper and would appreciate any feedback from forumites. How good are they?

Diesel1
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Reply By: Brett - Saturday, Feb 28, 2004 at 12:11

Saturday, Feb 28, 2004 at 12:11
We have a cavalier camper. 1995 model(I think). As a strong and durable no frills camper I believe that it is the best value for money around.

Small things such as the 13oz canvas allround. Clears for the windows, all widow openings well off the ground which stops dirt splatterduring rain from getting inside if the window is open.

What else....I think you will find the steel forming the drawbar extends all the way to the rear of the trailer. Checkerplate floor makes sliding bims and boxes more easy.

Once you have mastered the foldup procedure(due to the heavy and stiff canvas) packing up is a dream and is extremely quick.

The zip on cover keeps 99.9% of the dust out.

In fact we stored quite a bit gear ontop of the bed base and under the mattress;
2 fold up directors chairs
2 fold up tables
the cavalier ladder
a clothes airer
a banana lounge
1 inflated single air matress

then the foam matress goes on top of that and the tent is packed up. On top of the tent goes ;
the annex
1 very large poly tarp
An industrial poly/canvas groundsheet which is layed out before the tent is deployed
the bundled up tent poles for the annex and tarps etc
4 crab traps.

Then the cover goes on

I feel tired just typing all of that!!!

The whole thing is extremly tough and heavy duty as indicated by the weight of it. Our trailer weighed just over 500kg totally stripped. Only trailer and tent. Zero accessories. I fitted 10.5 R15 tyre to match the car . They did fit but I had to slightly bent the lip on the mudguards out fractionally to avoid a rub. Unless you knew about it you would never notice.

Another thing I noticed is that they is very little on it to fail. No slide out bbq's or a multitude of doors etc. The only thing that can realy break is the suspension(and that is for any trailer not just the Cavalier) and if you carry a hub and couple of spare u-bolts and fish plates to get you out of trouble you will be set. HAving said that I have never done a hub and I have only had 2 U-bolts break since we have owned the trailer and our last trip was 55000km throught the entire top end Kimberly Pilbara etc etc driving on as many dirt roads as we could find.

I cannot complain one bit about the CAvalier, I do feel a little jealous when I see other travellers get into their swisho pop up etc but all is forgotten when they tell us that half the places we go would destroy their vans.

There are a couple of pics here of the camper.

AnswerID: 48511

Follow Up By: Rojac - Saturday, Feb 28, 2004 at 17:13

Saturday, Feb 28, 2004 at 17:13
Beaut boat, what size motor??
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Follow Up By: Brett - Saturday, Feb 28, 2004 at 17:16

Saturday, Feb 28, 2004 at 17:16
15 Hp 2 stroke Johnson. Wanted a 4 stroke but the weight was just too much.
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Follow Up By: Brett - Saturday, Feb 28, 2004 at 17:22

Saturday, Feb 28, 2004 at 17:22
Sorry. Just realised the big boat is amongst thase pics too. If you were referring to that one it has a slightly modified chev 292 cu straight six, running through a V8 Mercruiser sterndrive. Top speed with 1 person is 78km /per hour. Cruises easily at 40kph. Economical........yes..
48 nautical miles at varying speeds = 64 lts petrol.

Wish I could use the thing.it is in storage at my parents place neary 2500km away. I have to be content with the tinny for the time being..
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Follow Up By: Rojac - Saturday, Feb 28, 2004 at 17:26

Saturday, Feb 28, 2004 at 17:26
Bertrams are a beautiful boat, good handling thru a great hull. At least you've good a sterndrive. One day will buy one either a bertram or caribbean.

Cheers

Rob

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Follow Up By: Diesel 1 - Saturday, Feb 28, 2004 at 20:12

Saturday, Feb 28, 2004 at 20:12
G'day Brett,

Thanks for the info - you've answered a lot of the questions I needed to ask. I had a look at a new Cavalier at a dealer here in Darwin a couple of days ago and from the way you have described your unit (plus the photos), I don't think the design has changed in any way over the years.

I've got an old home made jobbie that needs to be pensioned off and I think that value for money definitely points me towards the Cavalier.

Thanks mate.

Diesel1
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Reply By: marklynn - Saturday, Feb 28, 2004 at 20:06

Saturday, Feb 28, 2004 at 20:06
Diesel 1,
Bought a Cavalier off roader with the 14' tent option. Had a 60 litre water tank fitted & a 12 volt deep cycle battery charged with a solenoid system from the Narvara. Am just in the process of fitting 240 v . Have also fitted a swing away 3 bike push bike rack, of my own design, to the rear. Did the rounds before we bought ours & these were definitely the best quality camper, of this type & price range, by a long shot
AnswerID: 48560

Follow Up By: Diesel 1 - Saturday, Feb 28, 2004 at 20:17

Saturday, Feb 28, 2004 at 20:17
I had a look at one the other day with the 9' tent option and have not yet decided whether to go with the 14' if we do buy the Cavalier. As you say, they seem to be the best value for money in the price range and they have been around for quite a few years which says a lot.

Thanks for the info.

Diesel1
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FollowupID: 310384

Reply By: Brett - Saturday, Feb 28, 2004 at 21:26

Saturday, Feb 28, 2004 at 21:26
Diesel,
the only changes I have seen is the improvement to the tailgate locking system and I think they may have slightly lengthened the drawbar to enable a toolbox at the front..not sure.

Here is another tip to help you decide between the 14ft and the 9 ft.

I found that when we pulled into caravan parks and rain was on the way I actually parked the trailer so that the last 100 mm of tent floor would just overhang the concrete. My cut to size poly/canvas groundsheet is exactly the right size and is layed out before the trailer is positioned. Basically the trailer is parked on the grass and the tent pulled over the concrete, This ensured that there was almost zero risk of getting water into the tent (got flodded in Cairns after 12 inches in 6 hrs a couple of years ago) and reduced the pack up time considerably as there was no mud on anything. I have also set the whole thing up on the concrete but you must always make sure that you overhang the end of the tent so that you can peg the 2 corners down.
This may not be possible with a 14 ft long floor.

Make sure you order exactly what you want when you buy the camper. The factory are apparently very busy and are reluctant to make additional annex pieces within a reasonable time. 4 to 6 weeks.

Be careful looking at the Cavaliers at that place in Darwin...Winellie Rd isn't it? you may end up coming home with a boat or even a motorbike from a few doors down the road on the other side of REPCO>>>>>>>

REmember to pack them up leave the windows ove the bed halfway down . The doors can be zipped but do not press the velcro together at the bottom. Air will build up and billow the floor out a bit but this actually helps in the folding. YOu will get the hang of it after a few times. More hurry less haste.
AnswerID: 48567

Follow Up By: Diesel 1 - Sunday, Feb 29, 2004 at 09:16

Sunday, Feb 29, 2004 at 09:16
Thanks for those extra tips Brett - I have decided to buy one and I'm fairly certain that I will be going with the 9' tent option seeing as how it will only be me and the wife using it.

You were right about the dealer being in Winnellie Rd (Sunshine Trailers). Their price isn't much more than the recommended price as per the Cavalier website which shows that they not trying to capitalise on freight from down south as most Darwin businesses do.

Have you any idea what wheel bearings Cavalier use? - I've seen a few campers in my travels that use Holden or Falcon bearings with the 6 stud hub setup and although this might be okay for highway use, I'd prefer Cruiser bearings for the tough stuff.

Diesel1
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Reply By: big john - Sunday, Feb 29, 2004 at 00:22

Sunday, Feb 29, 2004 at 00:22
Ive got a cavalier with a 14ft tent and attached annexe
we reckon they are sensational and after looking at heaps we thought they were the best value around.
we have recently ,last winter , been to the kimberley for six weeks without a problem, we got the water tank and slide out kitchen .

we can set up in 10 minutes , on over night stop i would regulary not even peg down .
we have three kids who sleep in swags , these are stored on top of the queen bed(the bed is one of the biggest around) and as you can imagine when unpacking we just slide the swags onto the floor and they can hop straight into bed .

we love it as i'm sure you will

big john
AnswerID: 48606

Follow Up By: Diesel 1 - Sunday, Feb 29, 2004 at 09:21

Sunday, Feb 29, 2004 at 09:21
Thanks for the response Big John - just out of curiosity, what size water tank did you have fitted and where is it located in the trailer? - front or midway?

How did the camper handle the vibrations of the Gibb River Rd?

Diesel 1
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Follow Up By: big john - Friday, Mar 05, 2004 at 01:56

Friday, Mar 05, 2004 at 01:56
i think the tank is eighty litres and it is at the front of the trailer

vibrations were no problem on the Gbr and i usually move a long a bit faster than alot of people. we went to mitchell plateau which is pretty rough . we even saw a kimberley kamper thats suspension fell out !

we have the water tank plumbed into a tap which sits on the front of the kitchen ,and we then have running water pretty quick.

sorry i took a while to reply ,ive been away

regards

big john
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Reply By: Bundy - Sunday, Feb 29, 2004 at 08:39

Sunday, Feb 29, 2004 at 08:39
Diesel1

Not sure where you are based. We had narrowed our shortlist down to one including Cavalier and then found Lifestyle Camper. Many similar features but less $.

Bundy
AnswerID: 48615

Follow Up By: Diesel 1 - Sunday, Feb 29, 2004 at 09:26

Sunday, Feb 29, 2004 at 09:26
G'day Bundy,

I,m a Top Ender mate and Darwin has a big shortage of caravan & camper dealers. I hadn't heard of the Lifestyle - I thought that was a brand of condom.

Thanks for the tip.

Diesel 1
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Reply By: mick hunter - Sunday, Feb 29, 2004 at 09:15

Sunday, Feb 29, 2004 at 09:15
I bought a new Off road Cavalier last year for just over $8000 and love it. For the same money there is nothing else on the market like it. It's the little things that did it for me. New tyres, all steel, good jerry holders etc. I would recommend the 9' tent with annex and the wind break around the kitchen gives it that little bit more protection from the elements. I've towed mine from Victoria to Brisbane and lived in it for about a month. I love it.
AnswerID: 48621

Follow Up By: Diesel 1 - Sunday, Feb 29, 2004 at 09:32

Sunday, Feb 29, 2004 at 09:32
Giday Mick,

It would appear from the responses that owners are happy with the Cavalier and nobody is saying anything negative.

I thought about the windbreak for the kitchen area but figured it was a bit hexy at $900 - I could rig up a poly tarp for $20.

Thanks for the response.

Diesel 1
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Follow Up By: Brett - Sunday, Feb 29, 2004 at 10:01

Sunday, Feb 29, 2004 at 10:01
We use thos $2.00 blue tarps from the junk shops as ends for the awning. They seem to be the righ size.

The bearings on our cavalier are Slimline trailer bearings. $28.00 per set from the boat joint in Broome. Readily available everywhere.

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Follow Up By: Diesel 1 - Sunday, Feb 29, 2004 at 10:17

Sunday, Feb 29, 2004 at 10:17
Way to go Brett - I like those el cheapo $2 blue tarps - value for money.

Thanks for the info on the wheel bearings.

Diesel 1
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Reply By: Dean - Monday, Mar 01, 2004 at 13:49

Monday, Mar 01, 2004 at 13:49
They've been around 20 odd years, so they must be ok. At this weekends Adelaide camping fest they were throwing in a free awning with every trailer sold during show week.

Dean

AnswerID: 48745

Reply By: Member - Brett H (QLD) - Saturday, Mar 06, 2004 at 09:37

Saturday, Mar 06, 2004 at 09:37
Diesel ,

I have uploaded a couple of pics of the camper into Yahoo photos. Copy and paste the line below to your address bar.

http://au.f1.pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/brett_and_julie/my_photos

pics are a little poor as I took digital photos of normal photos . In fact I didn,t even take them out of the album.

cheers

Brett

ps . Have you done any culvert fishing up there for Barra. I have heard that te Hopewells rd spot has been very productive.
AnswerID: 49354

Follow Up By: Diesel 1 - Saturday, Mar 06, 2004 at 10:30

Saturday, Mar 06, 2004 at 10:30
G'day Brett,
I haven't fished any of the drains this year - I stuffed my casting arm in a workplace accident last year and it is taking a while to come good. I've heard that most of the culverts are producing fish and some absolute monster barra are being hooked in the rivers with the good runoff. Big jewies are being landed at Leaders Creek and I wish that I was able to get amongst them.
Thanks for the pics - I spent more time looking and drooling over the fish photos than the camper - some nice fish there Brett.

Diesel 1
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Follow Up By: Member - Brett H (QLD) - Saturday, Mar 06, 2004 at 10:45

Saturday, Mar 06, 2004 at 10:45
Bugger about the casting arm.

Here is a thought. I went down Elizabeth river rd? , to the left just past Noonamah? I think, down to the causeway. Caught a few barra there on the downstream side . Anyway I jumped in the car and headed back towards the highway and saw a fish in the flooded spoondrain beside the road. U turn time, I put a small weedless popper on the rod and drove down the wrong side of the road with the rod at arms length trolling this popper in the draim beside the road. I ended up geting more barra in half an hour than the guys on the causeway were getting.

Who needs to cast!!!!
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