Caravan advice.

Submitted: Sunday, Feb 01, 2015 at 18:30
ThreadID: 110942 Views:2513 Replies:17 FollowUps:7
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Hi all.
So we are heading to the Melbourne Caravan show again. We are a couple, who want to upgrade from our oztent to a caravan. We want a quality off road van and have been tossing up between a Bushtracker and a Trakmaster. We understand/know about the cost and frame quality. Finally we want to hold on to it for a long time.
So what advice can you give us on which one is better?
Thank you.
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Reply By: Member - Andrew W14 - Sunday, Feb 01, 2015 at 21:22

Sunday, Feb 01, 2015 at 21:22
Between those two vans there is no appreciable difference in quality or performance or durability. Some like one, others like the other - its a personal choice as both are good vans.
However the Bushtracker in most cases comes in substantially heavier (apart from the light weight model which is on a par), so if you go for them make sure your vehicle is up to the job (i.e. Land cruiser minimum)
AnswerID: 545189

Reply By: Gone Bush (WA) - Sunday, Feb 01, 2015 at 22:20

Sunday, Feb 01, 2015 at 22:20
jojo,

I had a Trakmaster, I now have a Bushtracker.

I'm glad I ain't too scared to be lazy
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Reply By: Grant Tas - Sunday, Feb 01, 2015 at 23:15

Sunday, Feb 01, 2015 at 23:15
Hi jojo
Check out Royal Flair too . We have the Van Royce off road 21' custom made.
features 6'' chassis rails, DO 35 hitch, simplicity suspension , 265/75/16 wheels, 3x 120 amp. battery bank ,tool box ,3 water tanks , solar panels, 12 volt fridge, twin spare wheels, etc.
We went to Trakmaster and found the salesperson not really helpful

Cheers
Grant
AnswerID: 545193

Follow Up By: Jim* - Monday, Feb 02, 2015 at 01:56

Monday, Feb 02, 2015 at 01:56
Consider also - Evernew Caravans.

Over 50 years in business has taught them a thing or two about quality build at a reasonable price.

Jim
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Follow Up By: Racey - Monday, Feb 02, 2015 at 09:00

Monday, Feb 02, 2015 at 09:00
2nd the Evernew
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Follow Up By: Racey - Monday, Feb 02, 2015 at 09:02

Monday, Feb 02, 2015 at 09:02
Sorry, forgot to add you won't see them at the caravan show(s). Must visit their premises in Heidelberg.
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Reply By: Member - Tony (ACT) - Monday, Feb 02, 2015 at 06:59

Monday, Feb 02, 2015 at 06:59
Have a look at the Lotus Trooper. A well appointed van from standard, with the option to add extras.

AnswerID: 545202

Reply By: Athol W1 - Monday, Feb 02, 2015 at 09:04

Monday, Feb 02, 2015 at 09:04
jojo
Without getting into the my brand is better than your brand, and especially as you desire to keep this van for some time, it is more important to have a floor plan and layout that you will find comfortable in the long term.

For example,
Can you access the toilet without having to climb over the bed, if an east west bed is fitted?
Can you both sit comfortably and watch or participate in whatever entertainment you desire (TV, cards, hobbies) (L lounge dinette or cafe style)
Are you comfortable with a combined shower/toilet with all its drawbacks or would you prefer a full ensuite.
You may also add to this list, and I would suggest that you have a written check list ready before you look at any vans.

It may be a case of finding a layout that suits and then asking your preferred manufacturer if he will build to suit.

Happy caravanning.
AnswerID: 545212

Reply By: Member - Wildmax - Monday, Feb 02, 2015 at 09:04

Monday, Feb 02, 2015 at 09:04
Have a look at the range of options available from Australian Off-Road in Caloundra, who will be at the Melbourne show - they have everything in their range from small pop-tops to their larger Aurora and Matrix full height caravans. Very good off-road units.
And then there is the Track Trailer Topaz, if you really want to be able to go anywhere!
Happy hunting
Wildmax
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Reply By: Member - John and Lynne - Monday, Feb 02, 2015 at 09:40

Monday, Feb 02, 2015 at 09:40
Don't be in too much of a hurry! Whatever you choose it will cost a lot! How 'off road' do you want to go? If you really want to drive the narrow bush tracks and rough creek crossings you will be limited to quite a small van. If you really want to just feel secure on corrugated dirt roads you will have more choices. Weight is an issue and affects your choice of tug. It is no use having three huge water tanks if your tug can't handle the weight or you can barely pack a toothbrush if you fill the tanks. Check Tare and AGM and work out the weight allowance carefully - a van for distance touring and outback camping needs a generous weight allowance. If you plan really long trips you have to be able to live in it comfortably in all weather without being driven mad by irritating design features like uncomfortable seating or no bench space if these things worry you. Enjoy your search. Lynne
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Reply By: Grumblebum and the Dragon - Monday, Feb 02, 2015 at 09:58

Monday, Feb 02, 2015 at 09:58
We have been 'on the road' (or off it) for 9.5 years in our 19' Bushtracker. Been all over the Kimberley up to Mitchell Plateau and out to the north Kimberly coast McGowans Island etc.Gunbarrel Highway and the Little Sandy Desert and have just come down from an extended trip to the top of Cape York. Never misses a beat and no dust issues at all.

Magic bit of gear, no issues other than routine maintenance. Cannot comment on other vans as we have never owned one.

John and Jean. AKA Grumblebum and the Dragon
AnswerID: 545217

Reply By: Member - Alan H (QLD) - Monday, Feb 02, 2015 at 10:32

Monday, Feb 02, 2015 at 10:32
http://www.bushtrackerforum.com/viewforum.php?f=43

Try here to see secondhand vans which may provide value for money for lower entry price and then after some years you will better understand your individual needs in a van.

Alan
AnswerID: 545220

Reply By: 671 - Monday, Feb 02, 2015 at 10:44

Monday, Feb 02, 2015 at 10:44
Jojo

A tent to a serious off road van is a big step. Here is a couple of links that are always worth reading if you are new to caravans.

I can’t comment on any of the vans that you are looking at or the others that have been mentioned here. I have though in recent years driven into a few bush camping areas two or three times and found about half a dozen members of the Kedron club staying there overnight. All had very large vans and all were being towed by big American pickups.

The last thing you want is a van that is capable of overpowering the car if something goes wrong.

http://caravanandmotorhomebooks.com/caravan-dynamics/
http://caravanbuyersguide.com.au/tow-vehicle-caravan-weight/
AnswerID: 545221

Reply By: Grant L - Monday, Feb 02, 2015 at 11:14

Monday, Feb 02, 2015 at 11:14
Hi jojo,
Have you looked at "rhino caravans" made in brisbane, have just recently seen one, only about twenty or so on road looks initially much superior to other top offroaders you might check out web site.
I have nothing to do with builders, I am house sitting on acreage south of Townsville and owners of property have just taken possession of there new one, same as another locals who has had his for some time and raves over it.
They do a lot of prospecting in the gold field areas of the north and with these vans stay out for extended periods

Grant
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Reply By: pmacks - Monday, Feb 02, 2015 at 11:23

Monday, Feb 02, 2015 at 11:23
I think the first thing you should do is work out what off road means to you and then get a van to suit your off road travel.
It is a very different beast if you want to do the Victorian high country or the tanami track, also if you plan to tow on sandy beaches then a bush tracker is next to useless,
the reality is 95% of peoples off road travel with a caravan is on formed gravel roads and most van will handle these conditions if driven with due care

peter
AnswerID: 545223

Reply By: RobandFlip - Monday, Feb 02, 2015 at 15:44

Monday, Feb 02, 2015 at 15:44
Hi JoJo, If you look at the Bushtracker general forum there is a post on a Bushtracker recently involved in a serious accident. Owners were not hurt. The van is on it's way back to Bushtracker for repairs. The owners were impressed that internal fixtures were still intact and working. As a Bushtracker owner, we too were involved with more minor "accidents" and the company repaired the damage. We would never know it had been damaged at all. A very professional company with excellent after sales service.
AnswerID: 545233

Reply By: jojo - Monday, Feb 02, 2015 at 17:16

Monday, Feb 02, 2015 at 17:16
Thank you very much for the advice. Great suggestions and please keep them coming.
AnswerID: 545245

Reply By: hoffy - Monday, Feb 02, 2015 at 18:23

Monday, Feb 02, 2015 at 18:23
You might also like to look over the Sunland Patriot. I believe they will be on display.
Graeme
AnswerID: 545248

Reply By: Member - bbuzz (NSW) - Monday, Feb 02, 2015 at 20:43

Monday, Feb 02, 2015 at 20:43
A new van on the market, that I saw at our local Van Show is the Dirty Harry from Elite.

Dirty Harry et al

The model I liked was the one with the cafe table setup and ensuite. The video tells it all as far as driving on tracks etc.

Bit exxy, but 'bells and whistles' are not cheap in any van.

bill
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Follow Up By: Member - bbuzz (NSW) - Monday, Feb 02, 2015 at 20:45

Monday, Feb 02, 2015 at 20:45
This is the better version....

Bigger Dirty Harry

bill
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Follow Up By: Member - John and Lynne - Tuesday, Feb 03, 2015 at 10:04

Tuesday, Feb 03, 2015 at 10:04
The Dirty Harry looks a very neat unit but the load allowance published in the magazine article is very small! Is it correct? Two 60L water tanks would use up most of the amount given! You wouldn't be able to fill the fridge! Lynne
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Follow Up By: Member - bbuzz (NSW) - Tuesday, Feb 03, 2015 at 15:46

Tuesday, Feb 03, 2015 at 15:46
Hi,
I would like to believe that the ATM includes the tanks full.
A quick email to the address on the site will clarify that.
I liked the 16ft version better as it looks less squeezy inside.

There is another suspension setup that can be fitted that makes it a bit lower. Only on initial build though.

Would be worth asking if they are going to the Melbourne Show. They are an impressive bit of gear in the flesh that a photo doesn't do justice. Course the price is a bit of a fright!

Cheers

bill
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Follow Up By: Member - John and Lynne - Tuesday, Feb 03, 2015 at 16:01

Tuesday, Feb 03, 2015 at 16:01
I have never heard of a van that includes water and gas in the Tare. This one could be different! (Some, of course, don't even include solar panels and mattresses!) It is always something to check. Lynne
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Reply By: Gone Bush (WA) - Monday, Feb 02, 2015 at 21:20

Monday, Feb 02, 2015 at 21:20
jojo,

If you became a Member of Exploroz, instead of what is colloquially, and affectionately, known as a Lurker, people could send you Personal Messages with more "enhanced" details.

For the sake of the small cost of Membership, you are depriving yourself of a lot of information.

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

Lifetime Member
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