Travelling with 4 kids - what vehicle?

Submitted: Tuesday, Jun 21, 2005 at 01:42
ThreadID: 24039 Views:2591 Replies:12 FollowUps:1
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We are preparing for our big trip and have four kids (aged 3yrs to 9yrs). We are taking a Camprite trailer and need to decide what vehicle to get......Hubby wants a troopy and we looked into modifying the back to put the extra seats in - but this may not leave any 'storage' space at all in the back. Now we are thinking a Patrol.

I have considered some more unusual options like an extended troopie I saw advertised in the paper, but I think we are best sticking with a fairly regular vehicle and not something too out of the ordinary.

Two kids will still need car seats to be fitted in.

We can do some stroage in the camper trailer, and some on-roof strorage. But for a 6-12-24 month trip, how much space do we need? EG Maybe we should not bother with a fridge?

any ideas or thoughts?

(this is a fabulous forum!)

Liz and David
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Reply By: Bob of KAOS - Tuesday, Jun 21, 2005 at 06:35

Tuesday, Jun 21, 2005 at 06:35
your ordinary 4WD like a Pajero will seat 7. Three across the middle seat and two on seats that fold away or can be removed in the very back. One of the very back seats could be removed for the trip to make space for the fridge. Mind you, three across the middle is asking a fair bit of the kids, but I'd rather spend 6-12-24 in a Pajero than a troopy.
AnswerID: 116644

Reply By: Member - John - Tuesday, Jun 21, 2005 at 07:10

Tuesday, Jun 21, 2005 at 07:10
Fith Wheeler, with them in the back, LOL
John and Jan

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AnswerID: 116648

Reply By: Al & Mrs Al (Vic) - Tuesday, Jun 21, 2005 at 07:49

Tuesday, Jun 21, 2005 at 07:49

We have a Landcruiser that can seat 8, that's 2 in the front, 3 in back and 3 in the back back as my kids say, however, 3 across the back back is a bit squishy. We have had 3 kids across the the back seat, which is quite roomy for kids, and an adult in the "back back" and a 70LT fridge - I was the adult, and at 5ft 9" was reasonably comfortable but not for an extended trip, but for a child I'd say it'd be ok, not sure how things go with seat harness' etc, I guess the best way is to have a look at the vehicles, and to ascertain what sort of travel you're wanting to do, ie offroad/on road etc....

whatever you decide on, your trip away with the family will be a fantastic adventure, goodluck and have fun....


AnswerID: 116650

Reply By: traveller2 - Tuesday, Jun 21, 2005 at 08:44

Tuesday, Jun 21, 2005 at 08:44
Having travelled in troopies with three kids for years it is survivable but a wagon would be better for access. Just can't fit as much in a wagon.
Being able to seat them all next to window would be ideal and keeps them away from each other to stop them hassling each other on long stints.
I'd suggest that you go for a cruiser or patrol wagon, diesel, personal prefernce the six in the patrol, under stressed and less to go wrong.
While a smaller vehicle may do it the bigger ones will do it easier especially towing, will handle the wear and tear better and will be worth more in resale (% wise) when you have finished, never mind that parts are more readily avilable for cruisers in outback areas.
AnswerID: 116653

Reply By: 3.0turbob - Tuesday, Jun 21, 2005 at 09:33

Tuesday, Jun 21, 2005 at 09:33
Liz & David
Whatever vehicle you choose, do not go without a fridge. You will find it invaluable for keeping all your perishables, with very little hassle. I'm sure you're planning well and deciding on what you need & what can be left behind, but IMHO take the fridge.

AnswerID: 116658

Reply By: flappa - Tuesday, Jun 21, 2005 at 09:40

Tuesday, Jun 21, 2005 at 09:40
DONT buy a troopie. 2 Doors , with 2 Adults and 4 kids . . . will drive you NUTS.

First up . . . ongoing requirements ?

What happens when the kids get a little bigger ? How long you hanging onto the vehicle for ?

We looked at this about 18 months ago. We bought a GU Patrol 4.5 Ti.

Why ?

We have 4 kids , teenagers , we need plenty of room for them. The Ti fitted our needs because it has Dual Air Con for the very back , and middle sliding seats , so there is more leg room in the very back.

The other Patrols (ST's etc) , dont have dual air con , nor sliding middle seats. The newer ST-L's now have Dual Aircon. IMO , thats ALMOST a requirement when using the very back row of seats for distance travelling.

The downside of mine is the Fuel Consumption , being a large 4.5 Petrol , but, for our use (and the fact the ST-L's weren't around) , suited us nicely.

Not a huge amount of storage space , so we use a full length Roof rack , and roof sack. You can put plenty of things on the racks (normally all our bags).

Together with towing your CT (as we do) , provides plenty of space. (our fridge goes in the trailer).

Other options. We locked at the TX/VX Prado's (90 Series). Certainly worth looking at , but , IMO , not as good (space wise) as the Patrol. I also didn't like the Dual Aircon as much.

The 100 Series cruiser is also good, especially with 8 seats , but unless you get top of the line (read $$$$$) , no dual aircon.

A Pajero would work , but , the seats would be grown out of quite quickly (if being held onto for a while).

Something completely left field.

Have you considered buying a late model Mitsubishi Delica ?

PLENTY of room, all the mod cons, Captains chairs, dual aircon, moon roofs, everything that opens and shuts ?

Get the Long wheel base version , and you could pack ANYTHING into it.

Is a diesel , 2.8 Tdi from the Pajero. Runs on earlier Pajero running gear. Very capable machines. Will tow your CT , wont set any speed records doing it , but it WILL tow it.

Should have bought one myself actually.
AnswerID: 116660

Follow Up By: Brian - Wednesday, Jun 22, 2005 at 01:13

Wednesday, Jun 22, 2005 at 01:13
This is even further left field!!
If I were Traveling for 6mths to 2 years I would go a dual cab Truck!!
Isuzu Dual cab , Fits 6 people carry all the gear on the back and may not even need the camper trailer!
The fuel economy would be much the same as Patrol/100Series under tow.
An around OZ trip for 1-2 years is not a race so speed not a problem (Sit on 80-100kph)
Well if I get to 4 (at three now) I will be seriously looking at this path

my 2¢ worth
FollowupID: 372291

Reply By: Wombat - Tuesday, Jun 21, 2005 at 09:40

Tuesday, Jun 21, 2005 at 09:40
Liz and David,

A mate of mine and his much better half headed off for 16 weeks yesterday towing their camper with three kids in tow. Their choice of vehicle was a Ford F250 dual cab.
AnswerID: 116661

Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Tuesday, Jun 21, 2005 at 21:54

Tuesday, Jun 21, 2005 at 21:54
We had 4 kids as well. Owned a Troopie for 5 years when they were smaller - had the sideways seats in the back, which they liked, but looking back it's not very safe. Access wasn't a problem as they could still get in thru the back door.

But as they grew up, we needed forward facing seats - bought an 8 seater Sahara 60series LandCruiser - it was luxury, and so much safer for seat belts etc. But the kids liked their elbow room - we often allowed them to travel with 2 in middle, two in the back - helps stop the fights. But if we needed the Engel, we'd have to put one in the far back, with 3 in the middle.

Trailer is a good idea, and if possible get an 8 seater like a Prado, or 100series or Patrol.

Now they've grown up, we've got a traytop :-))))

AnswerID: 116807

Reply By: bob - Tuesday, Jun 21, 2005 at 22:12

Tuesday, Jun 21, 2005 at 22:12
Hi Liz & Dave

Just saw your post & thought I'd add my 2 cents worth. We have 4 kids with 2 still in booster seats (4 & 5 yo) one in 4 point harness (7yo) and one 15 yo. Vehicle is a gu patrol 3.0TD.
We use the following configuration. Two little ones on outside of middle seat, 7 yo in centre of middle and 15 yo (she's veticlely challanged!!!) in the back right seat. Back left seat is removed (frees up heaps of room) and custom rear shelf is secured to seat mounting points. Engle 40 ltr and 20 ltr water jerry with extended tap is tied down on top of this and underneath houses food for the day and 2 burner gas stove. Plastic bin with lid (500 x 350 approx from kmart I think) fits behind rear right seat and holds jumpers and bits needed during the day.
We tow a cub drifter 6 which is where we store all the rest of the stuff needed.
The only other things in the car are first aid kit, fire ext, camera and kids activities.
This works for us and keeps clutter in the car to a minimum.
As for which vehicle to use, whilst I think troopies are great, I would suggest that something like patrol/100 series would be a lot more comfortable on the road then the a troopy.
Hope you have an excellant trip
Bob A
AnswerID: 116811

Reply By: Tbreak - Tuesday, Jun 21, 2005 at 22:50

Tuesday, Jun 21, 2005 at 22:50
Liz and David,

we also have 4 kids, 9->16 crammed into 90 series Prado. We put 3 in the middle row & 4th in the baaack. We remove one of the back row seats, and that's where the fridge travels.

Apart from a C/T which contains camping gear & most food, we have a coffin (Roof Pod) for clothes, sleeping bags & other light stuff.

This works okay for a few weeks - however months? I dunno.

As someone else mentioned - you will be glad you have a fridge.

Good luck


AnswerID: 116816

Reply By: BruSav - Wednesday, Jun 22, 2005 at 02:44

Wednesday, Jun 22, 2005 at 02:44
Start with the basics. Where are you going and how much stuff are you going to need? What time of year and through what country? What are you going to do with the vehicle when you get back? How much $RU prepared to spend? ETC, ETC...

A grey import Mitsubishi Delica 4x4 2.8 lt turbo diesel may do the job just fine, as they also have low klms on the odo. Check the papers as they are fairly well priced and run on a proven mechanical platform. If it is space you want, this has it and is fairly competent off-road with trailer. Mechanical spares are not hard to get hold of. Unless you can justify the cost of a bum busting 4x4 guzzler, the wagon is a smart option.
AnswerID: 116829

Reply By: motherchook - Monday, Jul 04, 2005 at 13:13

Monday, Jul 04, 2005 at 13:13
We are planning to travel at the end of year with four kids - 3, 11, 12, 14 and we will be tackling it with out Pajero. It has the two seats in the BACK BACK allowing seven seats all up. With the shorter trips it has worked well and if the kids want to they can circulate around the different seats for a 'different view' . It has proved itself in the past.

Hope your trip is as enjoyable as we hope ours will be.


AnswerID: 118757

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