Off rd verses Dirt rd

Hi All,need info by people who have upgraded a dirt van to go a little more off rd.Name,length and model of van and extras,weight ect.Have 3.5t tow vehicle.Prefer around 2ton empty,18ft or smaller,must have inside toilet shower.Not interested(cost a issue) in heavy off rd vans.
Will use tent to go out off way places.Hope to buy second hand and spend a little. Plan WA nth coast.NT,Gulf,After that mainly dirt and black top.

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Reply By: Member - Tony (ACT) - Thursday, Jan 15, 2015 at 06:54

Thursday, Jan 15, 2015 at 06:54
We ended up with the same thoughts when changing to a van from the Off Road Camper and still wanted to travel outback roads. We ended up going for a new van, just to have it the way we wanted it fitted out.

Lotus Trooper ticked all our boxes, 20.6 (to get the door in the back), 4 water tanks, 3 solar panels and 3 AGM Battries, two spares and all with a ball weight of 180 kg.

GVM of van 3450 kg on 3500 kg control rider suspension. We still swag it on remote tracks, but then I wound not take the camper on them.

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Reply By: Kris and Kev - Thursday, Jan 15, 2015 at 08:52

Thursday, Jan 15, 2015 at 08:52
‘Prefer around 2ton empty, 18ft or smaller, must have inside toilet shower. Not interested (cost a issue) in heavy off rd vans.’
That may be a bit difficult if you want a true off road van. There are off road vans and true off road vans. So what do you mean by off road? Would one of the smaller vans like the below suit you? Kevin

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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Thursday, Jan 15, 2015 at 10:13

Thursday, Jan 15, 2015 at 10:13
Please supply link to the manufacturer.




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Follow Up By: Member - wicket - Thursday, Jan 15, 2015 at 15:07

Thursday, Jan 15, 2015 at 15:07
http://www.australianoffroad.com.au/models/Matrix/highlights_Matrix
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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Thursday, Jan 15, 2015 at 15:41

Thursday, Jan 15, 2015 at 15:41
Thanks Wicket, I see it comes from Caloundra. There are a few off road camper trailer manufacturers in that area. Some of them are moving into the larger size fully enclosed units including shower/dunny cubicle. I'm quite impressed with the work of some of them.
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Follow Up By: Member - Grundle (WA) - Thursday, Jan 15, 2015 at 19:31

Thursday, Jan 15, 2015 at 19:31
Thanks Kevin,nice rig,What was the price.Dont want a true off rd.

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Reply By: Member - Alan H (QLD) - Thursday, Jan 15, 2015 at 09:44

Thursday, Jan 15, 2015 at 09:44
http://www.bushtrackerforum.com/viewforum.php?f=43

Have you checked these out?

Alan
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Follow Up By: Member - Grundle (WA) - Thursday, Jan 15, 2015 at 19:33

Thursday, Jan 15, 2015 at 19:33
Hi Alan H,Yes spent quiet a bit off time(12 mths)reserching full off rd.

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Reply By: Nomadic Navara - Thursday, Jan 15, 2015 at 10:28

Thursday, Jan 15, 2015 at 10:28
The smaller dirt road vans will go anywhere those great big shipping containers on wheels will go. Getting into some national parks involves threading through trees and a single axle van is the ideal size for that. Remember also that all vans have the same PC items in them so your stove microwave and fridge are the same weakness in every van.

There are plenty of smaller vans available This one is available for $66K in off-road shower/dunny format.
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Follow Up By: Member - Rod N (QLD) - Thursday, Jan 15, 2015 at 12:54

Thursday, Jan 15, 2015 at 12:54
Yep, I have one of those. Mine, 5 years old, was termed as an Off Highway, Shower/Toilet. They are now termed as an Off Road and have a couple of different suspensions available.
Mine has standard heavy duty leaf spring, no shockies, suspension. I have had it over outback tracks following Bushtrackers and the like. I had no troubles where the bigger ones lost their microwaves, widows opened, screws fell out and dust got in.
It depends on what your terms mean and how you drive.
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Follow Up By: Kris and Kev - Thursday, Jan 15, 2015 at 16:17

Thursday, Jan 15, 2015 at 16:17
Rod N. Not sure if you meant to say that the Bushtrackers lost their microwaves, widows opened, screws fell out and dust got in. Whattttttttttttttt.
I think you will find that would be a rarity with a Bushtracker. I would say the driver would be more to blame then the quality of the van. I have seen smaller full off road vans and camper trailers damaged from drivers not driving to the conditions. Naturally you would not take large vans places where you would take smaller ones. Some places you are not allowed to take them, restricted to single axel. Same you would not take smaller vans where a camper trailer could go. (Be careful damaging Bushtrackers reputation.) Kevin

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Follow Up By: Member - Rod N (QLD) - Thursday, Jan 15, 2015 at 16:33

Thursday, Jan 15, 2015 at 16:33
No not specifically Bushtracker brand but as I said "and the like". Maybe I should have said so called off road vans. I can't remember the brands but it was around the Innaminka area. One in particular was a van that the owner asked the dealer if it could handle the Gibb River Road, the answer was yes. However on the Old Strzelecki he had all the problems I mentioned, he was not a happy camper.
The main thing is when looking at 'off road' vans is to not believe every thing the dealer says.
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Follow Up By: Kris and Kev - Thursday, Jan 15, 2015 at 16:41

Thursday, Jan 15, 2015 at 16:41
Rod so true. We have been researching off road vans for a while now and boy is the term ‘off road’ used flippantly by some manufacturers. Our final decision is that there is really only one true off road maker who has the service to back up their claims. Mind you they are dam expensive, but I guess you get what you pay for. We know we still will not be able to take it where we currently take our camper, but we will be on the road full time for a couple of years, so we want some comforts and will have to comprise. Kevin
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Follow Up By: braggy - Friday, Jan 16, 2015 at 06:38

Friday, Jan 16, 2015 at 06:38
"only one true offroad maker" is that SLR or Explorex.?
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Reply By: Dazmit - Thursday, Jan 15, 2015 at 10:57

Thursday, Jan 15, 2015 at 10:57
Have a look at the Kedron caravans Cross country Compact.
They have a facebook page as well as a website which shows internal & external pics of various vans including the compact.
Cheers

Darryl
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Reply By: Motherhen - Friday, Jan 16, 2015 at 01:08

Friday, Jan 16, 2015 at 01:08
Hi Grundle

It depends on the roads. Any caravan should be well built enough to handle unsealed maintained rural roads, even if they do corrugate a bit. After all, we have been driving our sedans on roads like that all our lives, and anyone who comes to visit us has to drive on one as I do daily in my small sedan. A corrugated short road into a campground taken at crawl speed can be handled by any rig.

If you are planning on taking routes such as the Tanami, Savannah Way, Plenty and Great Central Roads, you would be wise to consider only the dedicated heavy duty off roader brands. Routes with hundreds of kilometres of corrugations are the most damaging. Every corrugation is doing damage, and it is cumulative.

Read the fine print for the branded 'off road' model it may well read; suitable for sealed road, and short distances on unsealed roads such as to campgrounds. Or off road but excluding - - - and proceed to describe roads through much of the central areas of Australia. A corrugated short road into a campground taken at crawl speed can be handled by any rig unless clearance is an issue on the track. A few got wiped off our 'to look at' list in our early research due to these ridiculous disclaimers for a model claiming to be off road. Generally you get what you pay for.

It is practical to use a tent for the Gibb River Road and return via the Highway, but for long distances like the Savannah Way or the Outback Way (Plenty and Great Central Roads) it does not work. As someone once said to me "You'd need to go back 3,000 kilometres for the caravan".

I support purchasing pre-loved rather than new.



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Follow Up By: Member - Grundle (WA) - Friday, Jan 16, 2015 at 14:13

Friday, Jan 16, 2015 at 14:13
Hi Motherhen,What i was chasing was if any one had upgraded a dirt rd caravan to be able to travel on some of the rds you mentioned,Savannah way and the gulf mainly.Don't know if this is justifiable,ie the cost or look at a older truly off rd.There dos'nt seem to be that many other than bushtrackers second hand.I know they are a great van though rather heavy.

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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Friday, Jan 16, 2015 at 14:24

Friday, Jan 16, 2015 at 14:24
Hi Grundle

While others with lighter weight brands have been through the Savannah Way with mixed results, when we were looking and the market was smaller. We saw a Bushtracker in a National Park and they camped near us in the campground. We didn't even look inside. After my husband saw how solidly it was built from underneath, he flat refused to consider anything else. We did have to change our tow vehicle from the auto Patrol (2.5 tonne limit) to load up and be legal for long and outback trips, although the F250 may be overkill for an eighteen footer.

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Follow Up By: Member - Grundle (WA) - Friday, Jan 16, 2015 at 17:54

Friday, Jan 16, 2015 at 17:54
Thanks motherhen,I have a nisson patrol,manual with a tow rate of 3.5 though i still may find the bushtracker close to my limit.I have plenty of time to deside what way i will go.

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