Change caravan to camper?

Submitted: Saturday, Jan 05, 2008 at 19:39
ThreadID: 53146 Views:2701 Replies:11 FollowUps:5
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Hi all, Due to the high fuel prices, and that I seem to always be driving into a head wind, I'm thinking of selling the 1230Kg 16ftx7ft6in poptop and buying a lower profile camper (Jayco or similar) approx 950Kg.
Has anyone any info if this, would be worthwhile as the height above the 4x4 vehicle of the poptop seems to act as a sail battling against the wind.
Is there any figures or other sites to prove my theory.
Thanks again
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Reply By: Member - Longtooth (SA) - Saturday, Jan 05, 2008 at 20:42

Saturday, Jan 05, 2008 at 20:42
I reckon it's a bit the same as trading in the current vehicle for a more economic type because fuel prices go up. The trade in price goes down because fuel prices go up and with the changeover cost and the difference in fuel economy will you ever recover the difference? Just my thoughts as I've done this type of thing a few times until I realised the economics of it. Keeping the Patrol and van because of this.

AnswerID: 279982

Reply By: disco driver - Saturday, Jan 05, 2008 at 21:00

Saturday, Jan 05, 2008 at 21:00
Hi Danman,
If that's the only reason for change, think again.

One of the advantages of the poptop is that when you stop for the day you just pop the roof and everything is ready to go, kitchen, beds etc.
With a camper trail;er it takes a bit longer. With some you have to wind up the roof, extend the ends, spread the fly over the bed ends and so on.

If you have a hard or soft floor camper trailer there is even more to do at each stopover.

Not much of a problem if you are to be in the one place for a few days but it does become a bit of a PITA if it has to be done every night.

FWIW I went the other way, from a camper trailer (soft floor) to a 16x7 poptop for just that convenience (I'm the wrong side of 65 and not in the best of health).
My tow vehicle is a 99 Landrover DiscoveryTD5 which still gives around 14L/100Km when towing the van, down from around 12.5L/100km with the campertrailer.

Just my thoughts, no one has to agree with me.

AnswerID: 279984

Follow Up By: sjp - Saturday, Jan 05, 2008 at 21:28

Saturday, Jan 05, 2008 at 21:28
yep with you on that,used to envy people with pop tops on the side of the road having a cuppa while towing our jayco camper as odds and sods were also shoved under the pullout beds ,wont go down that road again
FollowupID: 544190

Follow Up By: Mogul - Saturday, Jan 05, 2008 at 21:43

Saturday, Jan 05, 2008 at 21:43
It takes the whole of 90 secs to erect or fold up our hard floor camper.

Each to his own.
FollowupID: 544192

Follow Up By: Crackles - Saturday, Jan 05, 2008 at 22:15

Saturday, Jan 05, 2008 at 22:15
90 seconds Mogul? You'd be asuming then that the ground was flat, not needing to level or disconnect the trailer & have most likely forgotten your kitchen is still out in the open. On a recent trip with many different brands of campers the fastest setup a flip over trailer could manage was around 5 minutes for a basic setup & 15 to 20 minutes for the full canvas. (The Trayon was quickest)
Not that there's anything wrong with a 5 minute setup as most caravans take longer than that to level anyway.
Cheers Craig........
FollowupID: 544196

Reply By: Motherhen - Saturday, Jan 05, 2008 at 22:09

Saturday, Jan 05, 2008 at 22:09
Danman, we went from wind up van to full height van

Our reasons, apart from getting the strongest van to take the rough stuff, were;

Ease of stopping without having to set up, as we are getting older

The windup was very difficult for me to wind - what if my husband was ill along the way?

Room for storage in the full van for long term travelling (well i hope to get to do that some day soon)

Air conditioner for occasional use on very hot days (i suffer from the heat)

Rain doesn't worry us - no setting up - just go inside our 'home'

Dust free - the wind up took in a lot of dust

Security - the camper when set up was not secure as the canvas could easily be cut or the zips pulled open

I wouldn't like to go to the other end of this country with the old windup up and the bit of luggage, food and water we could fit in it.

We hope to be able to travel without undue time constraints - if the wind is wrong, camp early and next morning it has usually subsided or changed.

Considering the cost of the rig and travelling, the bit of fuel saved with a lighter lower van would be only a small proportion

Travel with what you choose and be happy, rather than having a rig you are not entirely happy with.


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AnswerID: 279988

Reply By: Member - Captain (WA) - Saturday, Jan 05, 2008 at 22:52

Saturday, Jan 05, 2008 at 22:52
Hi Danman,

I seem to be going against the trend of the above posters and I did what you are asking about and went from a Windsor Rapid to a Camprite camper.

My motivation for doing it was to access more remote tracks as at the end of the day any caravan is simply too big to take down tight tracks (regular readers may remember me writing off both sides of my Rapid on a tight track). Also my kids were getting older (7,9 when I changed) and they no longer needed the creature comforts of a van.

Above posters are quite correct about the convenience of a caravan, you cannot compare the setups. But then, I never really felt I was camping in the van, something about reverse cycle airconditioning, microwave ovens etc... and i just cannot call that real camping :)

But if doing it for fuel savings then think again. I saved probably 2L per 100kms and I am sure if I travelled at 90km/hr in the van I would have made the same fuel savings. I personally would not give up the creature comforts for 2L per 100kms!!!


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AnswerID: 280003

Follow Up By: disco1942 - Sunday, Jan 06, 2008 at 01:04

Sunday, Jan 06, 2008 at 01:04
I don't consider you are going against the trend - your reasons were other than fuel economy. I am a little envious of you types at times - you can slip into places can not.

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FollowupID: 544224

Reply By: keith & louise - Saturday, Jan 05, 2008 at 22:59

Saturday, Jan 05, 2008 at 22:59
hi all
We have a Tvan and find it to be best of all worlds.
if we want to stop and have lunch, we can open the main compartment and access everything in seconds.To cook food is very easy as you only need to role the kitchen out the side.
fuel economy is almost the same as traveling with a tent due to the light weight(750Kg) and aerodynamic design. and setup is usually around 2 minutes.
I have been extremely impressed with the Tvan's performance on and (Very serious) off road. I could not fault it.
just My opinion


AnswerID: 280006

Follow Up By: Shaker - Saturday, Jan 05, 2008 at 23:10

Saturday, Jan 05, 2008 at 23:10
We also have a Track camper trailer & were very keen on the Tvan as it has the same chassis & suspension as we already have.
The only drawback that we could see was very limited storage space, unless you pack on top of the bed, which in a way defeats the purpose.
FollowupID: 544207

Reply By: Richard W (NSW) - Sunday, Jan 06, 2008 at 06:53

Sunday, Jan 06, 2008 at 06:53

I have just purchased a small second hand 500/750kg hard top camper and towed it down from Qld. Although it has the same dimensions and sits in nicely behind the TD100 it has a flat front and long drawbar.
I sit on 100kph and fuel consumption is normally around 12.5L/100km without towing. On the trip down it was about 15L/100km.
AnswerID: 280036

Reply By: Ray - Sunday, Jan 06, 2008 at 09:42

Sunday, Jan 06, 2008 at 09:42
Been there done that. If you are a genuine traveller the only way to go is with a caravan or a pop top. With a caravan you can stop whenever you want and instantly have a brew up or a meal. If you run into bad weather you don't have to do a lot of packing away wet gear and drying it out later and of cause there is insulation and air conditioning if you want it. No insulation in a camper.
My daughter baught a camper. She used it once and got stuck into some foul weather. As soon as she got home she traded it in on a small pop top.
On other advantage with a pop top or caravan is refrigeration. You have access to the fridge and it can run on 12v while on the move/ Just my two bobs worth
AnswerID: 280047

Reply By: Dunco (NSW) - Sunday, Jan 06, 2008 at 10:56

Sunday, Jan 06, 2008 at 10:56
I went from a wind up camper trailer to a pop top for obvious reason....can pull over and go to sleep when I want is one of them...

Now that the prices of fuel are going up, I will just stay at places longer and don't drive as much....but the only problem there is that I will spend more on beer. Oh well, better than spending it on fuel.

AnswerID: 280058

Reply By: lifeisgood - Sunday, Jan 06, 2008 at 11:37

Sunday, Jan 06, 2008 at 11:37
It can be hard to "go backwards" in comfort and convenience once you have had a van.
We went from tents to fiip over trailer (3 kids) to a small 10 ' poptop for just the 2 of us. . Roadside and bush camps are so convenient. Same fuel consumption as city driving if speed is kept to around 90 (flat country) Feels so snug in the wind and rain - relaxing for coffee/ lunch breaks etc and for a quick power nap. It goes on. We still carry a small tent for leaving the van and heading into those rough Gorges if needed. Really depends how much rough dirt and how much bitumen you intend to do I think .
A 1230 kg van is not really very heavy. Many 2400-2800kg vans may have more valid fuel concerns.
AnswerID: 280062

Reply By: Member - barbara M (NSW) - Sunday, Jan 06, 2008 at 13:29

Sunday, Jan 06, 2008 at 13:29
i Danman,
We are in the fortunate position at the moment of having both a Kimberley Kamper and a 16ft joayco outback. They both have different positives and negatives but if I had to choose between the two just on fuel consumption the POp top caravan would win not on the fuel but just the convience. If the weather is foul be it wind rain or extreme heat you just pop the top and your in especially packing up. My better half might have different ideas but I dont think so. Because in reality there is not that many places you go that if you take care the caravan cant go.(I know there is some) The difference in fuel consumption is a bit but not worth having to go back to winding up and pulling out the ends on a Jayco camper as soon as we didnt need that number of beds we traded up to a caravan.
Hope tis helps
AnswerID: 280081

Reply By: Danman - Sunday, Jan 06, 2008 at 22:26

Sunday, Jan 06, 2008 at 22:26
Thanks all for replying, I guess if the wind is in my face I'll just have to stay abit longer till it changes, were thinking of going to Darwin from Melbourne and if it's only 2lt/100ks more then at 4500kms it should cost about an extra tank 90ltr full each way.
AnswerID: 280185

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