Which Off Road Van?

Submitted: Tuesday, May 03, 2016 at 11:38
ThreadID: 132300 Views:2852 Replies:12 FollowUps:19
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We are a family of 5 and are looking for an off road van, we need bunks. It must be comfortable too as we live in our van. We have been looking at heaps of vans but I like to hear first hand from people that have off road vans and what they think of them. Some of the brands we are looking at are a Kedron TE3 (my husband really likes this one and there is a display one ready to go), Elite (pricey and not as much kit as the Kedron), Bushtracker (I think this one may be out of our price range), Lotus Trooper or Freelander, On The Move and Zone (husband is not too sure about this one as they are so new).
Does anyone have any of these vans and can tell me the good and/or the bad? Does anyone have any other suggestions?
Cheers!
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Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Tuesday, May 03, 2016 at 12:04

Tuesday, May 03, 2016 at 12:04
Other suggestions?

4WD motorhome.
Will go places no caravan will ever go.

Cheers,
Peter
OKA196 Motorhome
AnswerID: 599462

Follow Up By: tribe-of-5 - Tuesday, May 03, 2016 at 12:43

Tuesday, May 03, 2016 at 12:43
We did consider that option but decided that we wanted a caravan. We have a big tug that carries heaps of stuff and we need that space.
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Reply By: Member - Alan H (QLD) - Tuesday, May 03, 2016 at 12:10

Tuesday, May 03, 2016 at 12:10
Have you looked at used Bushtrackers.

http://www.bushtrackerownersforum.com/viewforum.php?f=43&sid=823ea60f35451c88dbf7284698f7dff1

Some buy new and do one trip or very few trips and then dispose of them. These are as good as new without the time delay while being built.

Alan
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Follow Up By: tribe-of-5 - Tuesday, May 03, 2016 at 12:36

Tuesday, May 03, 2016 at 12:36
I have looked at nearly every brand for 2nd hand but triple bunks are very hard to come by and call me picky, but I hate the timber look and almost all the used ones are timber.
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Reply By: Gone Bush (WA) - Tuesday, May 03, 2016 at 12:36

Tuesday, May 03, 2016 at 12:36
Following on with Alan's link, here is a family BT:

Family BT
I'm glad I ain't too scared to be lazy
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Follow Up By: tribe-of-5 - Tuesday, May 03, 2016 at 12:42

Tuesday, May 03, 2016 at 12:42
Thanks Gone Bush. Even though I am not keen on the timber look I will keep your van in mind.
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Follow Up By: Gone Bush (WA) - Tuesday, May 03, 2016 at 13:15

Tuesday, May 03, 2016 at 13:15
It's not mine, just a family BT with bunks.

I'm glad I ain't too scared to be lazy
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Follow Up By: tribe-of-5 - Tuesday, May 03, 2016 at 14:00

Tuesday, May 03, 2016 at 14:00
Ah, no worries. Cheers
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Follow Up By: Member - Roachie - Tuesday, May 03, 2016 at 17:33

Tuesday, May 03, 2016 at 17:33
We've just purchased a 2013 Bushtracker after having had an Ultimate Offroad camper trailer for the past 17 years.

I can sort of understand your reluctance towards the Tasmanian Oak timber inside the BT, but the build quality is second to none and they are built to last.

We considered various brands before settling on the BT and I'm very happy with our purchase.

Roachie
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Follow Up By: tribe-of-5 - Tuesday, May 03, 2016 at 17:39

Tuesday, May 03, 2016 at 17:39
The van we have now is timber and I just don't like it. If it was just for camping once in a while I could handle it but as we live in our van full time I want to LOVE it!
I just crunched some numbers to see how much a new BT would cost us......we'll be scratching that one off the list!
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Reply By: Member - Witi Repartee - Tuesday, May 03, 2016 at 13:37

Tuesday, May 03, 2016 at 13:37
We looked at all the major off road vans. Weight became a critical issue for us, as you will have realized they are heavy beasts. We ended up going for a new Lotus Freelander with upgrades such as a lithium battery system and recliners, with the deletion of the club/cafe seating all of which saved weight. We agree with your decor wishes, so many older vans look like over embellished wooden tunnels. (With due apologies to those who happily own such vans)
AnswerID: 599466

Reply By: tribe-of-5 - Tuesday, May 03, 2016 at 17:35

Tuesday, May 03, 2016 at 17:35
I forgot to add Spinifex to our list although I am still waiting for a quote to see how much one will cost.
AnswerID: 599483

Reply By: Member - Peter&Lynore - Tuesday, May 03, 2016 at 19:54

Tuesday, May 03, 2016 at 19:54
Hi tribe- of -5 we bought a Kedron not as big as you want , but we cannot fault the after service, nothing is to much a problem , the work man ship we cannot fault, it is steel framed, which we feel is better than timber, something to consider , also people we know are in the same family size as you , have a Kedron with bunks , have a power plug at each bunk for the kids to plug and play just some thing to ask about they all do it,
Peter
AnswerID: 599485

Follow Up By: tribe-of-5 - Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 07:16

Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 07:16
Thanks Peter. In our current van we added 5 extra 12v/ USB plugs in the van, there was only 1 before. I don't know why manufacturers don't throw a couple more in as standard. Anyhow, we would do the same in any new van along with sirocco fans.
You hadn't had any problems with your chassis? I've read a few things about the chassis cracking but this was back in 2003-04 so that sort of thing could be resolved now.
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Reply By: Member - John F (VIC) - Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 08:32

Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 08:32
Hi tribe of 5
We own a 19'6" all terrain Kedron and friends of ours who travel with us have a Lotus Trooper. Both are very capable off road vans however I prefer the Kedron due to the Aluminium frame construction. After sales service from Kedron has been fantastic not that I have had any issues. Can highly recommend the Kedron brand even though it is a little more expensive than Lotus.
Warm Regards
John
AnswerID: 599498

Reply By: McLaren3030 - Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 12:19

Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 12:19
Hi Guys, We did a lot of research before buying our Elite Goulburn 18' Razor cut off road van. Yes they are not cheap, but they have the strongest chassis being made from 4 mm thick steel, while the majority are only 3 mm or 3.5 mm. Elite will custom build pretty much anything that you want.

Macca.
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Follow Up By: tribe-of-5 - Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 12:45

Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 12:45
We looked at getting an Elite Hume built and it's a nice van but we can get a Kedron for about the same price and it comes at a dark with way more stuff so it actually worked out cheaper. Kedron use 4mm as well. There is so much to compare, it's getting to be a bit much now!
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Follow Up By: Member - John F (VIC) - Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 15:59

Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 15:59
Spent a lot of time at Elite with my Lotus Trooper mate. They have a good high pressure sales team.
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Reply By: Motherhen - Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 12:27

Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 12:27
Hi Tribe

What is your tow vehicle?

If you are looking at second hand (which is a wise move), family vans are keenly sought, so find one that suits you, then check out how tough it is built for rough roads.

Good ones do come onto the market after a family has taken a year off work to do a lap, then re-sell.

Motherhen

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Follow Up By: tribe-of-5 - Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 12:50

Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 12:50
Our tug is a Mitsubishi canter 4x4.
2nd hand is not out of the question but they are hard to come by, trust me, I've looked! I have found a couple but like I said in a reply before, they all have dark dreary timber interiors and I really don't like them. If it was just for weekends away and not our full time home I wouldn't worry about it. I want to LOVE our home!
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 12:58

Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 12:58
Hello Mrs Tribe,

Travelled into Hervey Bay yesterday, via Maryborough and Biggenden. At Oakhurst, just across the highway/railway line from Maryborough, there was a biggish Bushtracker 'van, hooked up to a small truck, both for sale.

Have no details of the van whatsoever, but if you were interested, I'll drive back there tomorrow and check it out? We're in the 'Bay till Friday morning......

Bob

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Follow Up By: tribe-of-5 - Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 13:13

Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 13:13
That's kind of you Bob. Did you notice if it was a bunk van?
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 13:16

Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 13:16
While personally I love the warmth of timber, you could always re-decorate with a can of paint in your chosen colour. Currently there is a trend for white interiors and even Bushtracker are offering this option. To me they look like a hospital surgical operating theatre, and would be impractical in the Australian inland.

There are several family vans here and one at a very reasonable price Bushtrackers for sale
even though they have timber fittings.
Motherhen

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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 18:31

Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 18:31
No, didn't stop to look at it, and nearly jinked my neck getting a second look, over the shoulder. From what I've seen, most bunk vans appear to have 2 or 3 small windows adjacent to the bunks, and I don't recall this feature.

We will head home that way on Friday morning, so will call in and get some details for you, if they're at home. Imagine they would split the tug and van.

As much we'd like to, we won't be buying it. :-). Just bought another canopy for our desert trips so we're skint!

Bob

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Follow Up By: tribe-of-5 - Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 19:15

Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 19:15
Thanks Bob!
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Saturday, May 07, 2016 at 17:31

Saturday, May 07, 2016 at 17:31
Hello Mrs Tribe,

As promised, we stopped to check out the Bushtracker 'van, on our way home yesterday. Bit concerned on arrival as the For Sale sign seemed to be missing? Just then a silvery haired gent came around the rear of the van, and appeared to study the writing on one rear tyre, so much so, he either didn't hear, or ignored my "how ya going?" greeting.

When we did finally converse, he informed me me I was too late, he had bought the van. Inquired if it had bunks, to which he somewhat dismissively replied no, it didn't.

So hope I haven't built your hopes too much,

Bob

Seen it all, Done it all.
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Follow Up By: tribe-of-5 - Sunday, May 08, 2016 at 16:45

Sunday, May 08, 2016 at 16:45
No worries. Thanks for doing that!
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Reply By: Member - Warren H - Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 16:12

Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 16:12
Only seen them at shows and CPs but the Jayco Basestations seem cavernous and fitted with bunks. Don't know how they travel on poor condition corrugated roads though?
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Follow Up By: tribe-of-5 - Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 19:17

Wednesday, May 04, 2016 at 19:17
I think Jaycos are mostly for the bitumen.
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Reply By: Member - BUSH CAMPER - Thursday, May 05, 2016 at 21:44

Thursday, May 05, 2016 at 21:44
We have a New Age off roader. 17' 10", they do make a bigger van with bunks. did Cape York and Birdsville last year, no problems.
AnswerID: 599583

Reply By: tribe-of-5 - Thursday, May 19, 2016 at 10:14

Thursday, May 19, 2016 at 10:14
Thanks for all the replies we put a deposit on a Kedron TE3. Now to sell our van ??
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