Offroad caravans- worth it?

Submitted: Thursday, Jan 03, 2008 at 13:36
ThreadID: 53072 Views:3378 Replies:8 FollowUps:12
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We have our 4by, now to complete the rig with a caravan. Personally I don't see much point in an offroad seeing as we will be leaving the caravan at parks to do any serious 4 wheel driving. However I know there will be a fair few unsealed roads we will be travelling on. Many people before us have gone fine without offroad caravans but if we were to get one is it truly worth it?
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Reply By: Axel [ the real one ] - Thursday, Jan 03, 2008 at 14:03

Thursday, Jan 03, 2008 at 14:03
The answer my friend is blowin in the wind ,,, how much is anything worth it ? if your towing your bed behind you and you go to out of the way places you want your bed to stay in 1 piece , if your only on the blacktop or graded gravel your missing half of what you bouhgt the 4x4 for ,, the answer my friend is blowin in the wind ,,,
AnswerID: 279527

Reply By: Jim from Best Off Road - Thursday, Jan 03, 2008 at 14:10

Thursday, Jan 03, 2008 at 14:10
Having had both, and based on what you are planning to do with it, I'd say don't waste the extra money.

If it's just a bit of extra ground clearance you're after, you can get the axle underslung for about $200.

AnswerID: 279529

Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Thursday, Jan 03, 2008 at 14:30

Thursday, Jan 03, 2008 at 14:30
If you are doing any serious 4 wheel driving, you may have to reach the caravan park first.

Offroad vans are designed to withstand the more vigorous travel over unsealed roads, quite often corrugated. The offroad suspension, like your 4BY also enables a higher clearance underneath. There would be nothing worse than opening your van to find everything has either shaken itself out of the cupboards, etc., or worse still, the cupboards themselves have disintegrated in an unorderly pile on the floor.

Also, in a lot of worthwhile 4 wheel driving treks, there is no Caravan Parks. You camp "in the bush".

Ask yourself if you really need an offroad caravan.
What type?. A full sized van, or a pop top.
Would an offroad camper trailer provide a similar, but cheaper alternative.
How many times during the year are you likely to use a van, or camper trailer.

Some places you may travel to, will require you to leave the van "somewhere" then venture in "unladen". This may require a swag/tent, etc., if you intend staying overnight.

Have a look under the Topics folder at the top of the page and click on some of the sub-topics to get more information to help you decide.

Good luck in your quest.


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Reply By: deserter - Thursday, Jan 03, 2008 at 14:36

Thursday, Jan 03, 2008 at 14:36
Depends on what you mean by 'off-road' van too. A lot out there have just been tricked up with things like a bit of check plate and a battery pack then called 'off-road'. Might as well save your money if you are staying in parks.
AnswerID: 279532

Reply By: jeepthing - Thursday, Jan 03, 2008 at 17:40

Thursday, Jan 03, 2008 at 17:40
If you guys want to see the real Australia get off the blacktop. There are not too many dirt roads around that are NOT corrugated...the more traffic the worse they are corrugated then there's potholes, rocky sections etc.
So if you guys want to see the real Australia then you need to consider what is commonly being referred to now as a dirt road van; capable of handling dirt roads but falling short of a true offroad van.
The only difference between these sorts of vans and a road van is the chassis, suspension and axle load. Most of the manufacturers are now optioning these components to cater for dirt road travel. We are in the process of upgrading from a Jayco Offroad Camper to a Majestic full van with upgraded suspension and chassis and, the price difference between a standard blacktop van and this upgrade didn't break the bank.

One thing you need to keep in mind if you intend travelling on dirt roads with a standard van is that you will have a warranty issue.
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Follow Up By: Gone Bush (WA) - Thursday, Jan 03, 2008 at 17:50

Thursday, Jan 03, 2008 at 17:50
jeepy, may I suggest that you go to this Caravan Forum (and there are two other well used Caravan Forums incl Touring Oz, use Google I don't have the url's here) and just ask the users for their opinion on Majestic Caravans.

Then stand back.

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Follow Up By: japmel - Thursday, Jan 03, 2008 at 22:16

Thursday, Jan 03, 2008 at 22:16
If you want all the info about how bad Majestic Caravans are ask about them on this Forum, You'll get the real answersCaravanforum Different to the Caravanners Forum Gone Bush has mentioned..
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Follow Up By: jeepthing - Saturday, Jan 05, 2008 at 16:58

Saturday, Jan 05, 2008 at 16:58
Gone Bush and Japmel,

I have spent hours searching those forums, I have googled Majestic Caravans and I can only find one negative reference to Majestic Caravans and that is in relation to someone who had a problem with the timber framework. Can you be more specific about the issues with these vans and provide reference material about those issues. I have researched full vans for the last 18 months and during my trips have spoken with dozens of people who owned the vans I was considering. The fact of the matter is that NOT one owner of a Majestic Caravan had any complaints!!!

I am not interested in the bias of someone who for some reason has a beef against any particular brand and then embarks on a vendetta against that brand through forums.

I want some hard evidence that a particular brand is indeed not worth buying. In the case of Majestic I haven't seen any evidence for me to seriously stay clear of that brand. Obviously the timber framework issue was a serious one and was probably the fault of a worker. However, after you have raised the issue of these vans and even though I cannot find sufficient issues during my searches I do intend to visit their factory during construction to ensure that the build quality is of a high standard.
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Follow Up By: Gone Bush (WA) - Saturday, Jan 05, 2008 at 19:16

Saturday, Jan 05, 2008 at 19:16

Go to this Forum:

About six or so months ago one of the contributors there had an absolutely terrible tale of woe regarding this brand. He posted photos as proof. The discussion was ongoing and really needs your scrutiny.

Now these MSN Forums are not easy to search so just put in a post asking to be put into contact with the person who had all the dramas. Mention the brand.

Believe me we are not scaremongers. You really need to go there before opening your wallet.

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Follow Up By: Gone Bush (WA) - Saturday, Jan 05, 2008 at 19:32

Saturday, Jan 05, 2008 at 19:32
Jeepy, try these links. Hope they work.

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Follow Up By: japmel - Saturday, Jan 05, 2008 at 23:12

Saturday, Jan 05, 2008 at 23:12
Jeepy I would suggest you join the site that Gone Bush has provided the links to above and ask HardChefJonno also known as Brigalow about his experiences with Majestic.

You'll only have to ask one question about Majestic on that site and you will get plenty of responce.

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Follow Up By: jeepthing - Monday, Jan 07, 2008 at 08:48

Monday, Jan 07, 2008 at 08:48
Thanks for the information and site references, don't know why these detailed particulars didn't show up when I performed the google searches. I have been in touch with Mac and while he didn't follow through with the Majestic purchase he informed me that he did meet a few Majestic owners during his travels and none of them had any complaints.

The problem I have with all this is that I always do considerable research before buying anything of significant value and over the last 18 months I have spoken with a heck of a lot of people who own a Majestic and NOT one person had any complaints. I've thoroughly inspected chassis, suspension, quality of workmanship and even swung on inside cupboards with the weight of 2 people up around 180kg, not a creak. So now I am confronted with what seems to me to be a "one off" alleged major problem with a timber frame, which in all probablility was either bad timber or bad workmanship, and which the manufacturer has most likely rectified through quality control...they would be crazy not to.

I cannot ignore the fact that I have spoken personally to numerous Majestic owners none of whom have had a problem, Mac has spoken to some as well with no problem. I have googled Majestic and whilst I didn't find the details in the sites you guys have sent me I did in fact find some details of the frame issue but nothing else.

What also concerns me is that it seems Majestic is being hung out to dry for what is certainly an alleged major fault without any consideration to the real possibility that the defect has been rectified through quality control. I am aware that some major car manufacturers have had some issues over the years, do you stop buying a toyota landcruiser because of one defect...I would suggest the answer to that is a resounding NO.

Anyway, I have a contract with Majestic and I have read stuff on this forum by bush lawyers that is legally incorrect. I am bound by that contract to follow through with the purchase I have no legal grounds to cancel it. The only avenue to get out of it is through the goodwill of the dealer.

I have copied the stuff from those sites you sent me and will be discussing them with the dealer.
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Follow Up By: japmel - Monday, Jan 07, 2008 at 09:38

Monday, Jan 07, 2008 at 09:38

I really do think you need to ask about Majestic Caravans here

Because the search feature on MSN is terrible.. Trust me there are more than just issues with the timber and there are more than one Caravan.

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Follow Up By: japmel - Monday, Jan 07, 2008 at 09:42

Monday, Jan 07, 2008 at 09:42

I don't think discussing it with the dealer (who stands to make a profit) is going to give you any honest answers. Even the Manufacturer is going to duck for cover if you ask them about it.

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Follow Up By: Gone Bush (WA) - Monday, Jan 07, 2008 at 14:21

Monday, Jan 07, 2008 at 14:21

I'm sorry if we may have soured your buying experience.

Sometimes it's just best to butt out of these things and let the old adage "buyer beware" take its course.

I really do hope that perhaps Majestic have responded to all of the criticism on the other sites and that you do indeed come away with a good van and get many happy years out of it.

You own investigations may well show that this has actually happened. You are also right in that some contributors to those van forums do overstate things a bit.

Cheers, I really do wish you all the best and once again, apologies if we have made your purchase less than the pleasant experience it should be.
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Reply By: Mal and Di - Thursday, Jan 03, 2008 at 17:41

Thursday, Jan 03, 2008 at 17:41
What is off road? Hard one that, however we have recently returned to SA having travelled the Borefield Rd , Oodnadatta Track , Birdsville Track and out to Lawn Hill from Gregory River all of this on the dirt.
We towed a AVan cruiseliner which they say is not strictly off road but it certainly held together very well and just "followed". Some may say this is not "off road" but what is? Go slow enough you should be able to go anywhere!
AnswerID: 279571

Follow Up By: Steve - Thursday, Jan 03, 2008 at 20:44

Thursday, Jan 03, 2008 at 20:44
totally agree Mal + Di but the issue then becomes; how much of this can the van/camper take before it starts to suffer? I have a Defender which of course will tackle practically anything, but our camper is in the "soft roader" category (Coromal Pioneer Silhouette) It gives us heaps of comfort, bordering on the luxury compared to some campers but I wouldn't fancy too many trips along the Tanami, for instance, whereas a dedicated off-roader like a Camprite camper or Bushtracker caravan (with it's fancy price tag) would stand the constant corrugations for repeated trips. Then again, I wouldn't fancy pulling a Bushtracker and I prefer my Silhouette's comfort over that of a Camprite. Depends what, and how much of the rough stuff you're likely to do. I'm sure I'll change to something different in a few years' time but for now, very happy and that's what we all aim for. What suits you.

btw, I'd recommend some of those Kedron DVDs. Very entertaining - they put them thru stuff that we'd hesitate to put the Landy thru - but then again, if they write one off they can patch it up, flog it, and just build another. Just testing their limits but most of us can't afford that luxury.
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Reply By: Motherhen - Friday, Jan 04, 2008 at 00:19

Friday, Jan 04, 2008 at 00:19
Hi thecastles

As most have said, it does depend on how you travel and what you want to do. If you intend to stick to the black roads and stay for a while in towns in CPs to do day trips, you are unlikely to need the features of an off-roader. There are also so called off-roaders which have disclaimers that qualify 'suitable for occasion trips off the bitumen'. I think one of these would void the warranty on the track into our farm and home which i drive on every day in a small sedan.

My man was not willing to risk being stranded with a van falling apart out in the never never, so insisted on the sturdiest or he wasn't going. It meant a longer wait and less money for travelling to get our Bushtracker, but we can go where we want to with confidence.

The Australia we want to see is vast, remote, and the roads can be very corrugated. We have left the van for a bit to go on a 4wd track that that van couldn't follow us on (although it has on some of them) but generally our little home follows us. Distances are too far in Australia to do it all twice to come back for the van.

As Sandman says about opening up and finding a mess - been there done that. Our little windup took quite a bashing and each time we stopped i got the tools as soon as i opened the door, wondering which cupboard door I'd need to repair this time. Generally the hinges had come out of the cupboards, as they were only chipboard. Once the entrance door had come adrift. It was a so-called 'off-road' camper. Once a weld on the slide out bed had broken. it was old when we bought it, but it was not sturdy enough for the job.

Also when we were younger, camping out was great, but with advancing years, it is so nice to stop now and have our home ready (full sized van), clean and dust free, bed made, to just stop when and where we want to and bush camp. This lifestyle suits us - i just want to get out there more often.


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Reply By: Ozboc - Monday, Jan 07, 2008 at 21:45

Monday, Jan 07, 2008 at 21:45
I don't like camping with 100's of other people jammed into a camping ground with ferrels and all kinds of people --- I therefore purchased an off road Jayco - and with that i can go toplaces that are away from most people - except other 4x4ers ( so have a common interest if i choose to interact) - I don't have to book or pay for a camping spot. dont get stuck with a camping spot that i don't have any choice with ....

I don't have to worry about the kids annoying anyone as we are usually alone ..... therefor freedom to do as i wish without a Proprotor telling me when to be quiet - what i can and cant do and not having to listen to neighbor fighting - coughing there guts up - or any other activity.

This is why i have chosen an off road campervan. But then again if everyone would think like me - then such places ( as per the photo below) would not be occupied by only us..... so perhaps you should go to the Caravan parks ;)

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Follow Up By: thecastles - Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 10:06

Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 10:06
Yeah it's a difficult one because we want the best worlds (of course!). We are definately the type of people who would like to experience places outside of caravan parks, yet we like the comforts of a caravan as we will probably be off for quite a while- an undetermined amount of time. We are just going to take it as it comes and live the gypsy life- find work when we want/need to. I think we would get tired of living in a campervan for an extended period of time. Oh well, the caravan show is coming to perth soon, we will have to check out a few different types I think (not that we would actually buy from a show but just to get an idea).
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