family caravan

Submitted: Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 10:03
ThreadID: 53238 Views:13409 Replies:6 FollowUps:3
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We are looking to purchase a family caravan and are unsure what to buy. We need something to accomodate 3 young children and 2 adults, we also want a shower and toilet. Are bunks the way to go and which vans have this setup.

We dont want anything to long and heavy. Please help.

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Reply By: Member - barbara M (NSW) - Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 10:33

Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 10:33
Hi Jodi,
I would definately go with bunks it gets very tiresome making up beds at the end of the day, I havent had one but you could also look at a windsor rapid, they have one with a toilet and shower, also think about getting an external shower and a port a potty if you cant find a van with an internal that cuts down on space inside the van we have one and it works fine.
I am sure whatever you get you will be providing great memories for your childrens future I know I would not go back and change our camping adventures with our children except maybe start earlier.
Best wishes
AnswerID: 280431

Reply By: giffo - Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 10:51

Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 10:51
There is a viscount grand tourer pop top on ebay for $5500 with triple bunks ! I have 3 kids myself and am looking for much the same thing !
AnswerID: 280434

Reply By: splits - Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 12:34

Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 12:34

Can you give us a bit more information like what do you consider to be too long and too heavy, what price range are you looking at, what type of roads do you intend towing it over and with what type of car?

Unfortunately when you start looking for accomodation for five plus a toilet and shower, the size, weight and price usually start climbing. You can overcome this to a certain extent if you are prepared to make a few alterations.

A small van with a double and single bed for example could possibly have the single bed converted to triple bunks.

Porta potties are very good and can be easily concealed under a cupboard but they will have to be emptied fairly often with five people using them. This can be an advantage though because a built in one, while it may last longer, will usually add a lot more weight, particularly if it has underfloor holding and flushing tanks. The built in may also need a dump point to empty it while the little portable ones, providing you use bio-degradable chemicals, only need a hole dug with a shovel if you are out in the bush.

The lack of a built in internal shower can easily be overcome by making a temporary one. My wife and I have successfully used one for years inside small home made campers on the back of utes. I simply made a fiberglass tray about 650 mm square and 100 mm deep with a drain tube in one corner. You then cut a small round hole in the floor of the van and fit it with a drain and plug from a vanity basin. The fiberglass tray is then placed on the floor and the drain tube goes down the plug hole. Small strips of Velcro are then glued with contact adhesive to the inside corners of the tray. You then make a shower screen with pieces of Velcro to line up with those on the tray, elastic loops on the top corners to attach to hooks in the roof and either Velcro or a zipper to seal up the opening after someone gets into it.

Camping stores have plenty of inexpensive 12 volt hand held showers that use a bucket of water.

This system works well and is an easy way to make an internal shower in a small area that is not big enough for a permanent one.

Making the tray is easy even if you can't use fiberglass. You simply make a tray out of particle board and fit a small piece of dowell rod into a corner for the drain. Sand it reasonably smooth on the outside, round the corners as much as possible and give it a few coats of cheap paint. Take it to a fiberglass manufacturing company and tell them what it is for. They will give it a couple of coats of PVA relaese agent and lay glass mat over it plus a sheet of core mat in the bottom to stiffen it. You then take it home and fill it with water for a couple of days until the particle board disintergrates then clean it all out, sand off any sharp edges and glass strands sticking out of it then glue the Velcro into it. Roughen the surface with sand paper before applying the glue though.

Storing the tray is easy. Simply lay it on the bed while driving, take it outside if it is in the way when stopped and put it on the seat of the car overnight.

I argee with Barb about the bunks. They are easy to use, the kids usually see them as a noventy and love them and they are great space savers.

To cut down on having to carry heaps of sheets and blankets, you might find sleeping bags are easier. My wife and I use two Roman goose down bags, two cotton bag liners and one old blanket.

The liners only are great on warm nights. The liners and the blanket are good if it is slightly cooler. The liners and the bags unzipped and spread out like blankets are great if it is a lot colder. If it is freezing we get completely inside the bags.

The bags are too efficient and hot to get inside them all the time.

You will find this combination should be all you need to cover all weather conditions and it sure beats having to make up beds each day.

AnswerID: 280448

Follow Up By: Member - Fred G (NSW) - Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 20:47

Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 20:47
Splits, it never ceases to amaze me how many people want to take their marble bathroom with them. Just follow the KISS rule Jodi...Keep It Simple ...... Who needs an on board shower??? Geez... when it's all said and done, all you want is a bed for all, and a feed at days end. You can have a tub out of a bucket if necessary, to make do on the track. Trust me, the kids will love a simple setup, and so will you, without unnecessary drama when you pull up for the night.
Good luck and good onya, the great Oz outdoors awaits.
FollowupID: 544749

Follow Up By: splits - Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 23:07

Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 23:07

I am all for keeping things simple too. A bucket outdoors in the middle of nowhere works well but have you ever tried it in a roadside rest area on the side of the Hume Highway with other cars and trucks all around you? Most people have to stop in places like that on their way to and from wilderness areas. Even a shower tent looks out of place in an environment like that which is why I made a simple glass tray and curtain for use indoors. I could even use it while parked in George Street Sydney without getting arrested.

Jodi said she wanted a shower inside a caravan so all I was doing was suggesting a simple way to get one in a smaller van which would not normally have the space for a permanent one.

FollowupID: 544766

Follow Up By: Member - Fred G (NSW) - Wednesday, Jan 09, 2008 at 16:32

Wednesday, Jan 09, 2008 at 16:32
Actually not a bad idea that tray you devised.. especially for a pop top.....good old Aussie ingenuity...good onya.
Cheers from Fred.
FollowupID: 544878

Reply By: KCT - Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 14:33

Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 14:33
You might also consider a Camper Trailer?

There are some great ones available from here for example:

Just thinking outside the square.
AnswerID: 280470

Reply By: Waza & Wend - Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 22:58

Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 22:58

We just bought a Jayco Expanda, 16.49-3 Pop top, with the off-Road pack. Has shower, toilet, a/c and all the other usual. Has a queen one end and a double from the other that fold out. Tow's at a length of 20'7" and ends up once "expanded" as 23'7", less then 1500kg Tare weight. Got the privacy covers and awning in fills for $39k all up. Seem to hold their value from what we have seen. We did look at the Windsor Rapid, they are a nice van, just couldn't justify the additional cost.

Good luck
AnswerID: 280534

Reply By: PajeroTD - Wednesday, Jan 09, 2008 at 03:54

Wednesday, Jan 09, 2008 at 03:54
Actually, i want to pursuade you to go heavy, not so lightweight. I will give you a couple of reasons. Caravans are all roughly same shape and similar height (aerodynamics of a house) They are prone to be blown around in the wind, if they are more bottom heavy, they will tend to not do this as much (just like trying to hold a big piece of cardboard in the wind, if there was more weight in it, it's less of a problem) It's the aerodynamics (or lackof) which is going to use more fuel than the weight. Get something not so square on the hitch side. Make sure it's at LEAST two axles, electric brakes, Hayman Reece anti-sway bars etc.

The other reason is the lightweight ones, tend to be more flimsy, the cupboards break easily etc.

Anyway best of luck for your purchase, i would be looking at 20-25ft length for what you want
AnswerID: 280550

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