off road caravans

We their have enjoyed the Kimberley Kampers we have had over the years. In particular to the places they have followed us to with ease . We still love getting off the beaten track , but health making it a little difficult, plus midnight visits. So trying to come up with an off road caravan with hopefully the following features. Not too heavy,but still capable of some tracks (underfloor protection). Able to track well behind 200 series. Ensuite.Firewood stotage. Solar panels (std) approx 160litres water. Please only owners reply who have the van they are going to talk about , plus how long owned and treks with the van.
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Reply By: Gone Bush (WA) - Sunday, Nov 30, 2014 at 12:00

Sunday, Nov 30, 2014 at 12:00
Phil,

You will find some detail on our van here: Our Van.

And if you trawl through the Post menu on the side of my blog, there are plenty of stories. I must emphasise though, our days of pitching ourselves against the elements are long gone. Now a nice secluded riverbank, or similar outback location, is our preference.

I'm glad I ain't too scared to be lazy
- Augustus McCrae (Lonesome Dove)

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Follow Up By: Member - Phil H (NSW) - Sunday, Nov 30, 2014 at 20:07

Sunday, Nov 30, 2014 at 20:07
Gone Bush Augustus,
Guess with your van you could set up for weeks at a time in the same hidey hole and watch the world go by.
Cheers and don't let it get you down .
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Reply By: Member - DW Lennox Head(NSW) - Sunday, Nov 30, 2014 at 12:02

Sunday, Nov 30, 2014 at 12:02
Have you considered the Kimberley Karavan.

We have had ours since 2008 and it is for sale. See here http://www.gumtree.com.au/s-ad/lennox-head/caravan/kimberley-karavan-2008-limited-edition/1057517060

Cheers
Duncan
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Follow Up By: Gone Bush (WA) - Sunday, Nov 30, 2014 at 12:06

Sunday, Nov 30, 2014 at 12:06
tick....tick....tick.........

I'm glad I ain't too scared to be lazy
- Augustus McCrae (Lonesome Dove)

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Follow Up By: Member - Phil H (NSW) - Sunday, Nov 30, 2014 at 20:17

Sunday, Nov 30, 2014 at 20:17
Duncan,
My ever patient wife Susie came to my rescue, (again) and found your van. Yes naturally over the years we have looked at the Kimberley Karavan having such a good run with our Kamper. Have you had any suspension issues, other than normal wear and tear? How do you get on around Broome / in the summer for shade?? We do not recall the Karavan having much shade shelter.(correct me if I'm wrong )
Also have you a figure in mind? Or is that taboo?
Thanks
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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Sunday, Nov 30, 2014 at 20:55

Sunday, Nov 30, 2014 at 20:55
Try this link instead of the incomplete one above.


PeterD
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Reply By: Frank P (NSW) - Sunday, Nov 30, 2014 at 12:38

Sunday, Nov 30, 2014 at 12:38
G'day Phil H

We have had our Kimberley Karavan for 6 years and love it. We regularly take it into Vic High Country, the Snowies, bush tracks and firetrails, wherever the Prado can pull it. Your 200 Series will be more able, I would think.Dingo Dell in the Blue Mts, Abercrombie NP, Bendethera, all very steep, rutted, washaways and drainage roll-overs.

Long tours: Pilbara, The Kimberley, Gibb River Rd, Mitchell Falls, Kulumburu, One Arm Point, Halls Creek, Tanami Rd, Great Central Rd, Gulf Country, Adels Grove, Savannah Way, Palmer River Gold Country before the road to Maytown was fixed, and an east-west crossing of the continent from Byron Bay to Steep Point via the most direct route we could get permits for, including old Gunbarrel Hwy from Tjukurla to Carnegie Stn, etc

Plus many easy trips to NSW east coast, NPs in the Great Dividing Range from Qld to Vic.

Tows great on the highway, steady as a rock.

We have had no trouble with ours other than normal wear and tear. Done a few mods which no doubt helped. There is a very active owners club.

PM me for further info if you wish.

Cheers
FrankP

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Follow Up By: Member - Phil H (NSW) - Sunday, Nov 30, 2014 at 20:31

Sunday, Nov 30, 2014 at 20:31
Frank P,
Wow that's interesting because we have been to all but Gunbarrel Hwy . In fact some of the places you spoke of we need to carry out roadside repairs on our Kimberley Kamper. So from our perspective that's a great rap.Susie (that's my boss) asked do you run out of storage when your at say one arm point for a week or so? Also any battery issues??The owners club sounds interesting. We did not have that when we bought our first KK .
Looking forward to any further info you may be relevant to our research.
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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Sunday, Nov 30, 2014 at 21:45

Sunday, Nov 30, 2014 at 21:45
Phil,

Just to fill out the list a bit, a couple I forgot.Oodnadatta, Birdsville and Strzelecki tracks, Inamincka, SW Qld, NW NSW, Broken Hill-Mutawintjee-WhiteCliffs, Darling River Run. So much more to see and only one lifetime.

Storage:
Our Prado has the third row seats permanently out and a fridge/drawer unit installed. On tour we remove the second row as well and have a system of storage boxes for a fair bit of gear. Most of that is hardware and heavy stuff - spares, toolkits, the cellar, recovery gear. On the roof, just a second spare for the car. We use a 55 litre car fridge as a freezer.

So in the van it's just stuff you need for day to day living - clothes, a substantial pantry (navigator is a keen cook), kitchen stuff, dirty campfire cookware in its own box, BBQ. It looks small, but there is a deceptive amount of storage space if used wisely.

In the rear boot we carry a full awning and walls, ground mat, campfire grill and hotplate, 4 x 60watt solar panels, axe, entrenching tool, ramps and chocks, .

We have no problems staying in remote campsites for as long as we want - 2 to 3 weeks. Only limitations are food and water. Food is easy to manage. Water - we can carry 200L in standard tanks, all of it potable. We may carry an extra 40L in jerries if needed. There are 2 separate water systems, one drinking (70L), the other non-drinking (130L) but we keep all ours to drinking standard. Water management is the same as for any self-sufficient camping - use what's available with appropriate precautions and conserve drinking water.

In the front box, apart from its standard contents, the batteries and the poo box, is a 2 kVA generator.

Battery issues? None other than the factory AGM pack must be well cared for to get a decent calendar life out of it. Same as any other. For 5 years we got on fine with a bit of care with 240 watts of solar and the generator. Since I added 200 watts of solar to the roof and upgraded to lithium batteries we simply do not worry about it. Ever. See my blog.

Dust: None, or in severe conditions, minor dust entry.

Hope this helps

Frank


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Follow Up By: Member - Phil H (NSW) - Monday, Dec 01, 2014 at 11:56

Monday, Dec 01, 2014 at 11:56
Frank,
Sounds like you live most of your life outdoors.Lucky man!!!!! The big problem here is there just doesn't seem to be any off road caravans for hire. At best part of $100k you need to be 100% sure. (Or I do)
Guess will keep researching at this stage.
Thank you for your positive unbiased opinion Phil
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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Monday, Dec 01, 2014 at 13:02

Monday, Dec 01, 2014 at 13:02
Phil,
Agreed, you need to be sure.

There will be bugs ex factory so I would do a couple of shorter runs to identify them and get them sorted before disappearing into the never-never.

Dunno where you are in NSW, but the Wollongong dealer, Express Tools, is excellent.

Cheers
FrankP

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Follow Up By: Member - fawkesp - Monday, Dec 01, 2014 at 18:59

Monday, Dec 01, 2014 at 18:59
Frank P,

I apologise for being a little 'off topic', but my wife and I are looking at upgrading from an on-road van to an off-road model.

We would like it to be small enough to be able to go off-road but still be large enough to have all the creature, meaning an internal kitchen, double bed and shower/toilet.

We have looked at the Karavan but were put off by (what appears to us) having the bed slide over the dinette in road ready mode.

We enjoy often having our lunch, and other roadside snacks, in the comfort of the van (due to climate, bugs, flies etc) and do not want to extend the bed each time we feel like a cuppa.

Do you find this an issue or have I missed something?

Thanks,

Peter F.
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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Monday, Dec 01, 2014 at 20:29

Monday, Dec 01, 2014 at 20:29
Hi Peter,

No, you haven't missed anything. To get to the inside kitchen you have to lift the top anyway. From there it's 10 seconds or less to slide the bed out. If you're happy to open it up the bed is not an issue.

However, it is a bit of a pain having to open it right up for a cuppa.

Ours is an early model without the full outside kitchen. However we can lift the top partway to access a couple of hatches and one of the hatch doors acts as a small table. We use a butane canister stove on that to boil the water. On all models you can access the fridge and pantry with a lowered or partly raised top, so you can make do.

If bugs are a problem and you want to dodge them, you have to open it right up.

A little inconvenient, but it takes just a few minutes - I mean that, just a few minutes - to open it fully.

While not as convenient as just opening a door and walking in, we find it to be just a minor inconvenience, willingly traded for its compact size, go-anywhere capability and self-sufficiency.

Cheers
FrankP

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Follow Up By: Member - fawkesp - Monday, Dec 01, 2014 at 20:32

Monday, Dec 01, 2014 at 20:32
Thanks Frank, maybe we are just a little bit 'spoilt'.

I will certainly think about the Karavan in a new light.

Peter.
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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Monday, Dec 01, 2014 at 21:55

Monday, Dec 01, 2014 at 21:55
Peter and others wondering about the Kimberley Karavan.

It is very much a hybrid.

People leaning toward conventional caravan comforts will see it as more camper.

Die-hard CT and tent people will see it as a caravan.

It's in the middle somewhere, with compromises in either direction. Where "the middle" is depends on your preferences.

If it hits your sweet spot it is a fantastic product. Ours did.

Cheers
FrankP

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Reply By: MEMBER - Darian, SA - Sunday, Nov 30, 2014 at 14:02

Sunday, Nov 30, 2014 at 14:02
From your described needs, it would seem the Kimberely Karavan would indeed fit your requirements, as others have pointed out. To gain access to your favourite out of the way places, I think you are restricted to a single axle, pop top van. We went straight past that segment from a camper to an 18' twin axle van, because we wanted a double bed with walk round access both sides (plus another 'home comfort' or two :-). Being a Trakmaster owner, I'm aware of their offerings in your segment.....but check out the other 'offroad' makers too, because they are all looking to make a $ there and prices vary greatly I'm told. Keep in mind also that some owners swear by the 'offroad' performance and durability of vans that don't have an 'offroad' reputation as such. Homework could save you heaps.
AnswerID: 542389

Reply By: Julebern - Sunday, Nov 30, 2014 at 18:51

Sunday, Nov 30, 2014 at 18:51
We have owned a Kimberley Karavan liited edition from new since mid 2010 and have managed a three month trip north (from Perth) each year. It suits us with enough creature comforts and goes anywhere the 200 series goes. They are a perfect match. Very good towing on bitumen, very stable, easily sit on 90 - 95kph. We average about 15.5 l/100k on our trips.
Last trip this year was Perth to Ruddall River (Karlamilyi) national park, Telfer, Marble Bar, Halls Creek, Wolf Creek crater, Buchanan highway to Top Springs then to Gregory National Park, Katherine, Kakadu, Cobourg Peninsula (Garig Gunak Barlu NP), Darwin, Litchfield NP, Keep River NP and then back to Perth on the blacktop. All in about 10 weeks.

Absolutely no problems with the equipment. A bit of dust ingress but considering the roads not too bad.

Only concern is the after sales service from Kimberley, had to fight a bit to get some as built glitches fixed on the delivered van, otherwise no problems. One of our best buys for off road flexibility with good comfort.

Bernie Renwick
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Follow Up By: Member - Phil H (NSW) - Sunday, Nov 30, 2014 at 20:42

Sunday, Nov 30, 2014 at 20:42
Hi Bernie,
Just love the fuel consumption figures. They trump my 100series with the Kimberley Kamper following close behind. The 200 series is only a few weeks old so not too sure about fuel consumption yet.Have had issues with Kimberley but eventually sorted them out.
Many thanks sharing your Kimberley experience.
Phil Hincks
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Reply By: Kyle H - Sunday, Nov 30, 2014 at 20:56

Sunday, Nov 30, 2014 at 20:56
The Kimberley Kruiser may be worth a look but these are about the best off road vans made at the minute.

http://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&frm=1&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CB0QFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.australianoffroad.com.au%2Faurora&ei=uuh6VPO4EMTUmgWbpIGwCA&usg=AFQjCNF4EdRpK1MMIangwryoyFPWu_pZKw
AnswerID: 542412

Reply By: LJME & LMG - Sunday, Nov 30, 2014 at 23:19

Sunday, Nov 30, 2014 at 23:19
We too enjoyed our Kimberley Kamper, but found ourselves in exactly the same position as you. Check out the Quantum or the Matrix from Australian Off Road. They have plenty of solar and water storage and a roll out awning that can be extended for more shade. We have had our Quantum for three years and have travelled many dirt roads without hassle including the Gibb, Cape Leveque and Riversleigh/Lawn Hill. AOR are a great company to deal with and we are very happy with our choice.

Cheers and good luck with your search!
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Follow Up By: LJME & LMG - Sunday, Nov 30, 2014 at 23:23

Sunday, Nov 30, 2014 at 23:23
Or indeed AOR's newest offering - the Aurora as above - LOL!
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Reply By: Member - Captain (WA) - Monday, Dec 01, 2014 at 01:06

Monday, Dec 01, 2014 at 01:06
Hi Phil,

I have had my Quantum for 4 years now and am still happy it was the best choice for me.

I nearly bought a KK but the clincher for me was:

1. I wanted an outside kitchen and the KK at the time didn't have one. Even now, the Q outside kitchen is far superior IMHO.

2. The awning had to be a rollout type, one without poles and that only takes seconds to put up.

3. The toilet had be assessable without popping the roof. Having a toilet that is easily assessable has made touring so much more pleasant for my wife and means we can stop where we want, not between roadhouses!

4. It could sleep 4 people (an option in the Q) and carry 4 bikes. Not critical for many, but was for me.

After many years of use and on some very rough and rugged tracks, it is still as good as new. but the best bit is the aftersales service by AOR, is second to none in the industry.

Cheers
AnswerID: 542418

Reply By: Grumblebum and the Dragon - Monday, Dec 01, 2014 at 09:00

Monday, Dec 01, 2014 at 09:00
For 100% comfort plus rugged off-road ability go Bushtracker. We have had 9.5 years of full time magic with no dramas.
John
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Reply By: Grumblebum and the Dragon - Monday, Dec 01, 2014 at 12:55

Monday, Dec 01, 2014 at 12:55
I meant to add to my above post that our Bushtracker has done most of the outback routes - Gunbarrel Highway, all through the Kimberley up to the north Kimberley coast and to Mitchell plateau and we have just come down from a couple of month up in Cape York. On my second set of pivot blocks, replaced the shower hose twice, one 12 volt pump and the ECU in the fridge. Other wise just standards services on wheels and tyres etc. Not bad in nine years on the road. They are superbly put together with back-up second to none.

John
AnswerID: 542428

Reply By: Member - Kiwi_In_Aussie(Wagga) - Monday, Dec 01, 2014 at 13:16

Monday, Dec 01, 2014 at 13:16
gidday Phil

I have owned a Conqueror for the last 5 years and have been travelling, fulltime, around Oz for the full five years.

I cannot fault the Conqueror (I have the UEV490) having 'done' all the iconic trips/tracks that a truly 'off - road' camper should be able to do

http://conqueroraustralia.com.au/



Cheers


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Follow Up By: Bosun Broome - Friday, Dec 05, 2014 at 23:50

Friday, Dec 05, 2014 at 23:50
As a long time charter boat operator I researched a camper for my Kimberley travels upon retirement and being very particular in my choice of remote camping re solar power, toilet,shower,A/C, etc., I was taken by the Kimberley Karavan that I saw frequently travelling through my home town and was set to buy one when I was advised by a member on this site to have a look at the AOR Quantum.I flew over to the Brisbane Caravan Show in July to compare the two side by side and it was a no brainer the Quantum was streets ahead mainly to the ease of use of the toilet and bed for a nanny nap without popping the top. I picked up my new Quantum 5 weeks ago and all I can say is that it has exceeded my all my expectations. It has a diesel heater as standard which is lucky because I would not have ticked it as an option however since travelling thru Mansfield, Vic and other areas I have found it to be extremely efficient as I now sit here on Phillip Island with it ticking over. I recently attended an AOR Rally with over twenty Quantums and many were ex Kimberley Karavan owners. I have no affiliation with AOR just a fussy person who appreciates quality. Cheers hope this is of some help.
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Reply By: Grumblebum and the Dragon - Saturday, Dec 06, 2014 at 11:46

Saturday, Dec 06, 2014 at 11:46
Whatever you buy - another thumbs-up for the diesel heater. In a word magic! ours has a separate hot air line into the en-suite - when its minus 2 degs outside and 5 degrees or what you set in the bathroom - Bliss!!!! Plus the en-suite doubles as a good drying cabinet in really inclement weather.

John
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Follow Up By: Grumblebum and the Dragon - Sunday, Dec 07, 2014 at 11:00

Sunday, Dec 07, 2014 at 11:00
Sorry, that should have 25 degrees or whatever you set - not 5 degrees.
John
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