Departure angle on offroad caravans

I am in the market to upgrade to a good off road caravan. Whilst a Bushtracker might be the best it is beyond my budget. So I have narrowed it down to a Trakmaster or a Kedron. However, I notice that except for the Cross-Country chassis on the Trakmaster the other Trakmasters and the Kedron do not have the sharper departure angle of the Bushtracker. I was of the opinion that I would need one with this sharper angle. But having just watched the Gall boys Cape York DVD where the rear of their caravan never seemed to be a problem I am not so sure now.
All comments appreciated.
I would be especially interested in hearing from Trakmaster owners.
Thanks to you all
Cheers Bob
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Reply By: Faulic_McVitte - Tuesday, Jan 01, 2008 at 19:11

Tuesday, Jan 01, 2008 at 19:11
dont worry you will never get that much offroad with such a big rig. Real offroad caravans are 7' max width and 14' long max. Majority offroad vans parked in caravan parks
AnswerID: 279251

Reply By: Gone Bush (WA) - Tuesday, Jan 01, 2008 at 19:16

Tuesday, Jan 01, 2008 at 19:16
Bob, I have a Trakmaster Nullarbor 16'6" without the increased departure angle (see my rig pictures). I ordered mine and picked it up at the same time as some friends (they did all the research, I just tagged along with my wallet) My friends ordered the Cross Country version with the high departure angle.

Before finalising my plans I discussed the Cross Country option with Craig at Trakmaster and he said that the Cross Country option is exercised on only a very small number of their vans and those without the high tail go everywhere the Cross Countries go.

I readily admit that I'm not as adventurous as I was in my younger days so I placed a lot more value on having the under bed storage, accessible from outside, that the non Cross Country shape allows. I have my Genny, HWS, batteries and BBQ all stored under the east-west bed and accessible thru outside hatches.

If I get into a situation where I have to drag its arse thru a riverbed I'll just do it. It should cope OK.

BTW, I chose a Soveriegn BBQ and it is outstanding. The only thing I would have done differently is put the batteries and the genny in hatches forward of the wheels to improve the light towball weight. I would still keep hatches under the bed but put light stuff in them.

I see you live in Victoria, I think Trakmaster is probably your best option because you can visit your van every week. We built by phone from Perth. I would have preferred some "on-site" time but it wasn't to be.

The Cross Country version with chequerplate looks fantastic, brutish, purposeful but I prefer the practicalities of mine.

I'm glad I ain't too scared to be lazy
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AnswerID: 279252

Reply By: Motherhen - Tuesday, Jan 01, 2008 at 20:01

Tuesday, Jan 01, 2008 at 20:01
Hi Bob

We'll really test the departure angle on our trip next year. When i see 'flat' caravans travelling past on the road, i wonder how many bangs the back gets on even small dips. When driving through these, we cannot really see what is happening at the back.

It has proved an advantage when coming to the end of a track in the bush and having to do a "more than 3 point" turn as the height and the cutaway enabled us to back overhanging the scrub without damaging it. Ours is an 18' Bushtracker.

Like Gone Bush, we have the sideways bed with storage underneath. Even with the cutaway, we still have oodles of room for the batteries, ladder, fishing gear, table and chairs, tools and junk. Likewise this storage area is accessible from the outside too.

I can't think of anything else i would really store in the room I'd gain if we didn't have the cutaway, so think it is worth seriously considering.


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AnswerID: 279263

Reply By: furph - Tuesday, Jan 01, 2008 at 20:16

Tuesday, Jan 01, 2008 at 20:16
Agree with F McV.
In any decent off road situation underbody clearence is a requirement, but any full height, 7'6"+ wide van is going to be stopped long before the back end scrapes the ground.
In our old 14x7' Viscount, with an additional 50mm of lift, we were very seldom stopped due to lack of departure angle clearence. And when it marginally did occurr, the old truck pulled us through with no drama.
The fact it was pop top (low profile) and barely wider than the tow vehicle made it very navigable on narrow tracks and under overhanging trees. (creekbed tracks)
Its replacement, a Supreme Getaway at 14'x6'6", L/C wheels is better yet.
Sorry this is not a response from a Trakmaster owner, we did look at the T/M Perentie but the Getaway won on value for money.
I believe you should consider how far "off road" you are contemplating. A smaller van may be your answer
AnswerID: 279268

Reply By: Gone Bush (WA) - Tuesday, Jan 01, 2008 at 21:09

Tuesday, Jan 01, 2008 at 21:09
Bob, there is a lot of relevant comment in all the replies above. Possibly the most relevant is to work out how far "off road" you intend to go with a van that you will spend at least $80K on.

When we came back from picking our Trakkie up we took six weeks and went on some roads that I normally would not have chosen (our friends were leading the trip). One was the Cordillo Downs Road. While it was great to see these places I hated the gibber rocks banging into everything behind the rear wheels. Like I said above, I'm not as adventurous as I used to be and prefer my acquisitions to still be intact when I get home.

Yes, it's a contradiction but there you go. (And I'm aware of the split infinitive in the previous paragraph.)
I'm glad I ain't too scared to be lazy
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AnswerID: 279275

Reply By: RnR - Wednesday, Jan 02, 2008 at 11:19

Wednesday, Jan 02, 2008 at 11:19
Bob S,

I have a 14' x 7' X country Trakmaster. View on my rig page. I purchased this van because I wanted to continue to get into those tight spots that I used to go with the off road trailer. The extra departure angle has been of help in a few situations but as others have said you are not going to get a larger van into as many tight spots.

I also have an east west bed with under bed storage from both sides which holds everything from chainsaw to chairs and extra cooking equipment.

I completed the Alice to Marble Bar trip with a Trakmaster group in May 2007 and was the only van with the X country rear. The other vans were all larger than mine and none had the extra departure angle and did not need it.

Hope this helps
AnswerID: 279320

Reply By: Member - Willie , Epping .Syd. - Wednesday, Jan 02, 2008 at 15:53

Wednesday, Jan 02, 2008 at 15:53
Bob ,

I would also consider a Phoenix Scorpion . I did similar searches to you and was about to order a 15 ft Scorpion when a cheaper second hand 16 ft Bushtracker came available .

I have heard only good reports about the Scorpion .

Willie .
AnswerID: 279366

Reply By: Member - Neil M (NSW) - Thursday, Jan 03, 2008 at 13:46

Thursday, Jan 03, 2008 at 13:46

If you can stretch the budget, or find a second hand unit, the Bushtracker is the way to go.
We have a 20' BT towed by a LC100TD, & have travelled some 70,000km, mostly in outback OZ and most major desert roads. We are a bit long in the tooth for a tent. If the BT won't go on a track, we don't go. However we have been to Hunters Gorge in Diamentina NP, where the departure angle was tested to its fullest. Lambert Centre where a beam axle would have acted as a grader. Kingfisher camp to Lawn hill through the bulldust, which stays outside the BT. Through 650mm water on King Edward river on the Mitchell Falls road. Over the sandhills to to Haddons Corner. Down the Finke to Palm Valley.There aint many other vans that can do this. If youv'e been to these places you will know what i mean. You can travel in luxury with a BT, they don't fall apart & you dont need a little 14' x 7' van to go where we have been.
Suggest you contact Bushtracker for a free copy of their DVD to see the capabilities.


Adventure before Dementure
AnswerID: 279524

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