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Submitted: Friday, May 20, 2005 at 21:57
ThreadID: 23165 Views:1836 Replies:6 FollowUps:8
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Hi I am researching in to purchasing a pop top caravan, I have been to caravan shows and come away more confussed than when I went. As I am anovice in this area I would greately appreciated any comments or views of people how have been caravaning for a number of years eg what caravan to consider what to look for ect.

Ta Maria
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Reply By: Croozer - Friday, May 20, 2005 at 22:08

Friday, May 20, 2005 at 22:08
Maria,
*How many people will be going away in it (just a couple, or mum, dad & kids)
*Long trips or weekends
*Where do you want to go, off road trips or not
*What is your tow vehicle
*How much room do you have for storage

If you can answer some of these it would be a good start

If you have never been away in a caravan before perhaps hire one for a short trip first, or at least purchase a cheaper 2nd hand unit as your first van just in case you decide caravanning is not for you or the van you select does not suit you and you want to change it.

Cheers,
Stu
AnswerID: 112140

Follow Up By: trendy - Saturday, May 21, 2005 at 10:24

Saturday, May 21, 2005 at 10:24
Stu,
Great idea about hiring or buying cheap 2nd hand, I started with a 10ft nipper for a couple of grand and found I loved caravanning and the freedom associated with that and after a couple of years and many big and small trips moved into the newer vans then. Now have 16ft offroad supreme getaway, would suggest this is too big to really get to serious offroad spots for most newcommers to caravanning. Any way Maria answer some of the questions Stu has put forward and you will probably find not too many options re what van just what brand?
Happy hunting Maria.
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Follow Up By: Maria Patrick - Saturday, May 28, 2005 at 08:53

Saturday, May 28, 2005 at 08:53
HI guys, thanks for your reply, good to have you answer.
There will be 2 people, look at doing short and long trips, not sure at this time whether on road or off. We have recently purchased a Prado 4wd 4 litre V6 need to consider the height at this time.

Cheers, Maria
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Reply By: Member - JohnR (Vic) - Saturday, May 21, 2005 at 12:40

Saturday, May 21, 2005 at 12:40
Don't think you could get any better advice Maria, it is best learn the important things as you go, the cheapest you can go that way. Hire one and find out the shortcomings. Look at other vans or trailers as you go as there is no one solution, and then ask more specific information. It will really overcome the confusion gained at the shows. Lets face it, you will be probably better informed than some of the sales folks then too.

Go for it.
Cheers,
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John

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AnswerID: 112190

Follow Up By: Maria Patrick - Monday, May 23, 2005 at 19:07

Monday, May 23, 2005 at 19:07
Thank you all very much for responding. We are planning in a fe years to retire and want to go around Australia, doing short and long trips. We have started with purchasing a 4wd Toyota Prado so it should tow a caravan.

There will be myself and hubbie, but we want something that will not make us sit on top of each other.

Again I have to say I was delighted that you all took the time to respond.

Cheers, Maria
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Reply By: macka2 - Friday, May 27, 2005 at 17:47

Friday, May 27, 2005 at 17:47
Maria I have been researching for years the prado will tow but only a smaller van if you want a large van I am beginning to think F250's are the go mind you the large 4wds will do it. Horses for courses.
AnswerID: 113207

Follow Up By: Maria Patrick - Saturday, May 28, 2005 at 08:48

Saturday, May 28, 2005 at 08:48
Hi Macka2, Our Prado is a 4 litre V6 Petrol, wehope to have a caravan about 17 footer for the two of us. Do you think we still will be okay?

Cheers, Maria
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Reply By: Steve - Friday, May 27, 2005 at 18:00

Friday, May 27, 2005 at 18:00
pop-tops tend to be heavier than full vans, Marie. Less cupboard space but less wind resistant and easier storage (height). I have a family of 4 and we have a smallish 15 ft van but an enormous annexe. We take bikes, kayaks and the wife's wardrobe but no probs for a Cruiser. Still, I think a Prado should be big enuff for a van for two. Then again, I've seen couples with no kids towing palaces on wheels. Consider fuel prices towing a big van, no trifling matter these days. No simple answer. Keep digging.
AnswerID: 113214

Follow Up By: Maria Patrick - Saturday, May 28, 2005 at 08:50

Saturday, May 28, 2005 at 08:50
Hi Steve, so are you saying the pop up are heavier to two? Canyou tell me how I would perhhaps calculate the fuel consumption, Prado is a 4 litre V6 motor and to tow a 17 footer.

Cheers,Maria
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Reply By: Steve - Saturday, May 28, 2005 at 09:46

Saturday, May 28, 2005 at 09:46
Hi Maria. Seems to be the common consent that pops are heavier. Ask at the caravan sales yards. I've only ever had a pop-top, but am open-minded. It fits nicely in my carport whereas a full van wouldn't, but that's not necessarily an issue for others. Regarding your question whether the Prado would pull a 17ft van, I'm sure it would. Keep your eyes open and you'll see Falcons pulling them. Similar engine? The question is how hard (how slow) would it have to work up hills or for overtaking? And how tolerant would you be of a less than effortless performance. My feeling is it would be acceptable but it's no good asking a salesman. They'll tell you what suits them. If you're around a caravan park, have a walk around, I'm sure you'll see a Prado or three. Give the owner an ear-bashing. People are usually happy to talk about their rigs. Like most issues, keep asking questions until you get the answer, then you need to ask more questions and eventually get there. As someody before suggested, it's not a bad idea to buy an older one for your first, establish what you need and then buy what you need. Vans hold their price well. Alternatively, go straight in for the van of your dreams but make sure it's right. Shower, toilet? Personally, I don't see the need for a huge van as we really only sleep in it. We eat outdoors. Yep, it sometimes rains but we eat in the annexe anyway. More room in a good size one. Also handy to keep bikes etc in when you go out. Lots to take in and think about.
AnswerID: 113295

Follow Up By: Steve - Saturday, May 28, 2005 at 10:04

Saturday, May 28, 2005 at 10:04
of course pop-tops are excellent for ventilation. I remember our first trip in the van up to Southwest Rocks. 34 deg for 3/4 days on end and we thought we'd bake. Came of the beach and the van was cool as, with the sea breezes. Try www.caravanandcampingsa.com.au/ click around (hints & tips) until you come to choosing a van. Some good pointers. ie: Will you need a battery pack for off-site camping? Do you want off road? = $$$$$$$$
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Follow Up By: Maria Patrick - Sunday, May 29, 2005 at 10:21

Sunday, May 29, 2005 at 10:21
Hi Steve, thanks for all the information, it certainaly has given me more to think about, I will stit and make a list of things I am looking for and then go the web site you have suggested and start to make some decisions. Again thanks for all the good information.

Cheers, Maria
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FollowupID: 369550

Reply By: macka2 - Saturday, May 28, 2005 at 12:41

Saturday, May 28, 2005 at 12:41
Yes Maria it will do it. Weight and safety are the issues. Check the all up weights for the prado and the van. You are at the limits of capacity so keep weight down and get the prado serviced often. Pop top versus full van is moot the qustion there is storage.
AnswerID: 113310

Follow Up By: Maria Patrick - Sunday, May 29, 2005 at 10:19

Sunday, May 29, 2005 at 10:19
Hi macka2 thanks for your information.
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FollowupID: 369549

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