Buying a Camper Trailer

Submitted: Monday, Feb 25, 2008 at 09:30
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I, like many people are in the market for a new Camper Trailer but are amazed at the number of Manufacturers out there. We are looking at a Camper for me, wife and three kids (3, 6 & 8). After reading endless specs, have narrowed the search to the KK, Cape York Adventurer and maybe the Trak Shack. The KK looks like it has all the features (new model has 2nd kids bedroom) but the Cape York certainly looks very solid. Just wondering if people have hired/own the above models and the pros & cons for each.

Thanks

He who would travel through the land, must go with open purse in hand.
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Reply By: Ratmo - Monday, Feb 25, 2008 at 09:39

Monday, Feb 25, 2008 at 09:39
Con
I'm also looking at hard floor campers , but only for myself and wife and yes it is very confusing. I live very close to the KK factory and have been there a few times for a close inspection and to be honest although they look strong and solid , I was not all that keen on the kitchen and pantry setup. I'm looking at both the Aussieswag Ultra and the Australian Offroad Camper Signature which to me seem to just have an edge mainly in the storage facilities with things like solar panel storage and room to put the porta loo which I wouldn't want to stow in the car. Also check out the Pioneer Camper site.
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Follow Up By: Gronk - Monday, Feb 25, 2008 at 11:53

Monday, Feb 25, 2008 at 11:53
Funny that as I thought that was one of the good points with the KK ?? ( the kitchen and pantry setup ) But everyone has their own ideas ..

I have my portaloo stored in the off side front storage box ( along with all the canvas walls etc, clothes line, bbq etc )

The Aussie Offroad is an excellent CT except for one thing ( and this may not bother other people )
You can't pack the camper with clothes etc that go under the bed without having to open the camper out , as it has no rear door.. good for dust, but for me would be a major problem to pack and unpack the camper !!
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Follow Up By: Member - Au-2 - Monday, Feb 25, 2008 at 20:40

Monday, Feb 25, 2008 at 20:40
Being the proud owners of an Aussie Offroad CT, we have not found it necessary to have all clothes inside the trailer. When continually travelling each day, we keep one outfit each in the truck and always keep our toiletries in the galley. As we use the camper each night, we keep out the clothes we may need the next day. Friends of ours who have travelled Aus in a CT, found that they would stop at midday to fuel up vehicle, have hot/main meal of the day and then would have a shower at facilities provided, if available. This cut down a lot of hassles at the end of the day when they were worn out and tired. If camped for a few days the clothes become a non issue.
Ozesheila.
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Follow Up By: Gronk - Tuesday, Feb 26, 2008 at 00:09

Tuesday, Feb 26, 2008 at 00:09
But the problem as I said before is when you want to pack (or unpack ) the CT before a trip ( and the trip may only be one night )

I have heard of some AOC owners putting all their clothes in the 4x4 and then putting them under the bed when at camp for the 1st time !!! Bit of a pain to do it that way ??

As I said.....a great CT, but this was a major problem for the way I wanted to go camping....but maybe not for others !!!
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Reply By: Member - Norm C (QLD) - Monday, Feb 25, 2008 at 09:44

Monday, Feb 25, 2008 at 09:44
When I went through this process about three years ago, The Cape York and KK made it to my short list. I ended up choosing an Odyssey ZR from Australian Off Road Campers at Caloundra.
Australian Off Road Campers

We have been very happy with it. Remarkably tough, well finished and very dust and water proof. But you can be pretty sure that if you buy one of the top brands and get it set up for your needs, you will be happy, which ever one you go for.
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Follow Up By: Shaker - Monday, Feb 25, 2008 at 18:59

Monday, Feb 25, 2008 at 18:59
An excellent trailer & certainly the OP should look at one.
BTW I don't have one, but a friend does!
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Reply By: Member - Captain (WA) - Monday, Feb 25, 2008 at 11:33

Monday, Feb 25, 2008 at 11:33
Have you considered a Camprite? It is great for a family as it comes standard wth a double bed and two singles with an option for two bunk beds. The big advantage of the Camprite is that all sleep off the ground and you still retain your internal floor space when set up and not littered with kids beds. Anyway, may pay to take a look as its is one of the best camper trailers for families.

Cheers

Captain
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Follow Up By: Gronk - Monday, Feb 25, 2008 at 12:03

Monday, Feb 25, 2008 at 12:03
If I had 3 kids I would seriuosly look at the Camprite !!!

Even though the KK has a bigger bedroom now available, it still means another thing to attach every time you make camp..

The Track Shack is a soft floor CT !! ( nothing wrong with that, as long as you are aware of the longer setup times etc ?? )

Me personally !!! I would pick between the Camprite or the KK..
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Follow Up By: Confucious - Monday, Feb 25, 2008 at 12:04

Monday, Feb 25, 2008 at 12:04
I have not heard of the Camprite, but looking at the website it certainly appears the go for a family of five. I am planning a trip in April with a hired 'soft floor' just to experience what is involved with setting up an Annex Tent etc. Having said that I can just see the missus and 3 girls giving it to me while we flounder around setting up camp (in the dry!) The extra 10K's would be money well spent for everyone!
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Follow Up By: Member - Captain (WA) - Monday, Feb 25, 2008 at 13:56

Monday, Feb 25, 2008 at 13:56
Hi Confucious,

Hiring a camper trailer is a great way to understand what you do/don't want. Not sure how much of the Camprite you have seen but for an overnight stop you can be setup in well under 5 minutes with no pegs or guy ropes. You even have your beds made-up ready to sleep (but will have to set bunks up).

The awning does take some time (~10 minutes) to set up and I find I only every use it if staying for more than 2 nights. While I have a full annexe I haven't ever used it, only one wall as a wind break.

Also, the attraction of sleeping well off the ground with a ladder as the only way in certainly minimises any creepy crawly entering your camper. Plus being able to camp in stoney ground (no pegs) or very soggy ground (no wet canvas on the ground) are real advantages.

My BIL has just purchased a new Camprite after trialling a Pioneer CT, very similair to the KK. He also tried a softfloor and swore never to use one again after trying to peg it out in stony ground and ended up putting weights (water conatiners) in the corners.

Anyway, we are very happy Camprite customers who find them to be a great family camper. Nothing is perfect and all have compromises but we have found the Camprite the best for us.

Cheers

Captain

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Follow Up By: Member - Duncs - Monday, Feb 25, 2008 at 20:38

Monday, Feb 25, 2008 at 20:38
Hey Gronk,

I'll bet I can set up my Trak Shak for 5 of us to sleep quicker than you can set up a KK for 5 to sleep.

Duncs
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Follow Up By: Member - Duncs - Monday, Feb 25, 2008 at 20:43

Monday, Feb 25, 2008 at 20:43
Should have said in the last follow up but just thought of it.

I'd be willing to take on the camprite too for set up time. Might be a bit bold 'cause I haven't seen one set up.

How long does it take you Captain for a quick set up just for an overnight stop?

Duncs
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Follow Up By: Member - Captain (WA) - Monday, Feb 25, 2008 at 22:06

Monday, Feb 25, 2008 at 22:06
Hi Duncs,

Speed of setup is not the be all and end all of why the Camprite is IMHO one of the best campers for a family. But having said that I would be willing to bet my camper against your Trak Shak that I could set it up quicker, but I get to pick the location - either a concrete pad or a 2ft deep stream hahaha...

But back to reality, for an overnight stop all you have to do is:
- open the rear kitchen and lower steps down - 10 sec
- unclip the two main gullwings and pull open (gas struts) - 20 sec
- push up main tent section and clip in supports - 30 sec
- push double bed forward and clip in supports -10 sec
And thats it, 2 single beds and 1 double all ready to sleep in - beds made- after a total of just over a minute.

But in the real world, after tripping over the log in the dark, banging your head on the car door as the kids open it as you walk past and stubbing your toe after losing the left thong, well you would probably need nearly 5 minutes before the beer was in your hand after setting up:)

And as we all know, for a longer setup you will need to unpack the camp table and chairs, set up the annexe, put up the shower tent and toilet etc... and so the fact that the camper took 2 minutes or 10 fades into insignificance.

Whats of more importance IMHO is that when you pack up you have somewhere to put all your gear and that things go easily into place (how often have you cursed those spring loaded shower tents that take "10 seconds" to fold bag into their round bags!!!)

Anyway, I am very happy with my Camprite, my BIL picked his new on up last week after comparing with others so all in all both very happy. But I am sure other camper owners are just as happy with theirs, and why not (beacause they haven't experienced a Camprite - thats why hahaha...)

Cheers

Captain
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Follow Up By: Member - Duncs - Monday, Feb 25, 2008 at 22:39

Monday, Feb 25, 2008 at 22:39
I agree about the set up time not being everything. My follow up was primarilly to let people know that the hard floor is not everything either.

Some people seem to be righting off soft floor campers for the wrong reasons.

Can you open the camprite while it is hooked onto the car? That was one of the features that attracted me to the Trak Shak and I still really appreciate that small thing. For me it was important at the time of pruchase because we were planning a trip with lots of one night camps. Oh and I can still open the back of the Patrol with the TS set up.

Duncs
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Follow Up By: Member - Captain (WA) - Monday, Feb 25, 2008 at 23:09

Monday, Feb 25, 2008 at 23:09
Yep, can set up without unhooking and have done so when only an overnight stop on a "transport" leg of a trip. And I can still access the rear of the GU with only a small degree of difficulty.
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But I would think that a cruiser with horizontal split tailgate would be much more dificult. You can improve the acces by angling the vehicle to one side.

Cheers

Captain
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Follow Up By: Gronk - Tuesday, Feb 26, 2008 at 00:24

Tuesday, Feb 26, 2008 at 00:24
Hello Duncs.....I haven't got any extra bedrooms etc with my KK, but looking at the new bedroom available for the KK, I think you may eat your words if it came to that !!!!!!!! ( although the bedroom is designed for 2 beds, so the 3 kids would have to be fairly small )

After pulling up ....to being in bed.....is approx 2 minutes ( that would be skipping the beer of course )

The bedroom attachs via a zipper and 2 pegs ( I think ) so add another 2 minutes...

I doubt a soft floor would come close to that ??
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Follow Up By: Moggs - Tuesday, Feb 26, 2008 at 08:48

Tuesday, Feb 26, 2008 at 08:48
Hi, We looked long and hard at the Camprite when looking for a trailer and it looks a great bit of kit. A few things concerned us though - the door doesn't look like it seals at the bottom and the canvas just 'hooks' under the gull wings and main bed - do you have any issues with insects getting in?

In addition, is the quick set up time offset by the need to remove everything off the floor to get to the beds? For quick overnighters where you just want to fall into bed I imagine you would need to climb over all your gear to get into bed??

Not having a dig at the Camprite - I reckon they look great. These were some issues that we couldn't get comfortable with and would like to hear what a Camprite owner thinks of them?
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Follow Up By: Member - Captain (WA) - Tuesday, Feb 26, 2008 at 09:45

Tuesday, Feb 26, 2008 at 09:45
Hi Moggs,

We have never had a problem with insects getting in, except when leaving the door unzipped and the light on! The door actually extends down past the entrance so you can just lift that back into the camper and thus you have about an inch of canvas "sealing" the entrance.

There are other areas that have gaps (where the double bed pushes out - on the side in the corners) but we have never had an issue and besides, it nothing a jacket or rug pushed into the tiny gap wouldn't fix if required one night.

We keep all our gear in boxes or bags and normally have say 5-6 all up. Originally I just put them at one end of each single bed as the beds are longer than standard beds and the kids are short! But I have since had an "L" shaped stand (about 700mm wide) made up by Camprite and this simply clips in at the bed ends. I put the gear on this and you can still put your feet underneath - great if an adult sleeps in the single bed. Time taken is very quick, way under a minute and not really an issue for us.

As I said earlier, no camper is perfect and there are compromises in all designs. After many trips of differnet lengths I still reckon they are the best camper for a family bar non - but others will have different compromises on what suits.

One of the biggest bonuses is being able to take our kayaks and not have to unpack them when setting up. Take a look in the pic above and you can see how they just "hang" when setup - plus they are very easy to remove/replace in that position

Cheers

Captain
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Reply By: snailbait (Blue mntns) - Monday, Feb 25, 2008 at 12:04

Monday, Feb 25, 2008 at 12:04
Confucious
I, like many purchased a new Camper trailer a soft floor model, i was very happy with it on short trips but then i retried and went on a 6 week trip and was then very unhappy with it. I, would look very closely at the cost of a hard floor unit, also how many times you will use it per year some of the hard floor trailers with all the goodies are up to $40k
that's my 2 cents worth
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Reply By: mfewster - Monday, Feb 25, 2008 at 12:10

Monday, Feb 25, 2008 at 12:10
I have a Cape York camper trailer. The hot galv dipped trailer with a tent unit on top. Layouts are a matter of personal choice. Cape York trailers are just the strongest I have seen, but also tend to be heavy, A couple of niggles on mine. The bolts that close the back tail gate are very strong, but very cumbersome to use. This may have been changed on later models? I think the stone guard on the front is too upright, but like everything else on it, it sure is strong. The shape of the front/ stone guard/ spare wheel carrier/ tool box could have been done better to improve aerodynamics. Stones get in around the steel protection and the watertank. I sprayed expanda foam into all the gaps around the tank and that fixed that. Very stable to tow, no matter what the road surface. Long, very heavy duty tow bar, Excellent brakes.
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Reply By: PBob - Monday, Feb 25, 2008 at 12:12

Monday, Feb 25, 2008 at 12:12
I agree with the above.
I have a KK (new) and really liked the Odyssey, but didn't go there as I wanted the back door as well. You shouldn't have to open the whole camper to get into the back and as this is my third camper I have never had a dust problem into the back. Likewise the kitchen on the KK - I think it is pretty good and different to my other campers, so it really is a matter of ones own preference. I also agree that if you go to the top 1/2 dozen on the market, they will all be good, just pick the one that suits your needs. In your case with the family, the Trak Shack might be the go?
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Reply By: Member - Bucky (VIC) - Monday, Feb 25, 2008 at 15:58

Monday, Feb 25, 2008 at 15:58
We have a Trak Shak ,,,, Aussie made version, pre 2003-2004,, tough as hell, and a pure delight to travel with..heaps of room and storage
They are now imported from China, and as you would expect no where near as good ( but I stand to be corrected,, )

Best Idea, is to go hire different types, and you can do that, and make up your own mind..weigh up all the pro's and con's of each, ( and there will be good and bad points on each trailer..

Cheers
Bucky
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Reply By: Dirty Patrol - Monday, Feb 25, 2008 at 16:50

Monday, Feb 25, 2008 at 16:50
We have a soft floor c/t O'brians its very good and plenty of room for the 3 kids to sleep on the floor for quick over night stops, and room for when it rains for 5 of us all to sit and read a book or play scrable, hard floors are ok for 2 people but a bit short on internal space, I think a pain to remove the side room each time to set up and packing up is an art form for some people,just what I have seen people do and the drama they seem to have geting all the canvas back in to close the floor down, most soft floors are all done 5min ours you don't have to peg out internal frame is a bonus.
just my thoughts.
Cheers
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Reply By: Pomgonewalkabout - Monday, Feb 25, 2008 at 17:55

Monday, Feb 25, 2008 at 17:55
http://www.adventurecampers.com.au/

We purchased one of these about a year ago, the storage room is excellent and the kitchen is at the correct height just like at home.

The tent is hidden underneath so there is room to carry a boat or to store things on top.

We have just done a trip from outback SA up the Ocean road into NSW. The only drawback is when it's raining you have to pack the tent away wet or wait for it to dry out. The missus now wants an off road caravan!

The bed is kingsize and there is ample room on the floor area for more beds for the kids or you could even purchase the additional annexe.



cheers
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Reply By: Paul McDougall - Monday, Feb 25, 2008 at 18:17

Monday, Feb 25, 2008 at 18:17
G'day Confucious. We have just taken delivery of a Pioneer Onyx C/T and although we don't have kids there is a bedroom attachment and large annex. Heaps of room. Kitchen layout IMO is great and you can access the storage from the rear without the need to raise the tent. Have a look at the website. Everything seems great. Only have one concern and that is the tyre choice Pioneer made. They have put Telluride A/T Goodride 265/75 R16 tyres on the camper and I believe these are cheap Chinese imported tyres. I hope they are not the same tyres the US administration is currently trying to have recalled over there. IMO I think Pioneer should use good quality recognised A/T tyres instead of trying to cut costs by using cheap imported tyres. Apart from that we are very happy with the Onyx camper.
I was keen on the KK however, their weight is an issue. After optioning up our onxy with plenty of power plus solar panel and several other items the cost was considerably less than the KK too.
AnswerID: 289334

Reply By: Grego - Monday, Feb 25, 2008 at 18:58

Monday, Feb 25, 2008 at 18:58
Hi Confucious,

We are heading off for six months with three kids the same age and did a lot of research in to our camper. At the end of the day we went with the Camprite. You can put it up in a couple of minutes, all the kids sleep off the ground and not in an annex and when you pack it up you are done in five minutes and the beds are still made. It is also Ozzie built and the customer service has been great.
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Follow Up By: Confucious - Tuesday, Feb 26, 2008 at 08:30

Tuesday, Feb 26, 2008 at 08:30
Hi Grego,

Must be good to be heading off for 6 months! A lot of people have commented that the Camprite is a great hard floor camper for families, the short setup times is a big positive. To my knowledge there are no Qld distributers for the Camprite (I could be wrong here), so if your trip includes the Mackay area (a bit damp at the moment) I can offer a beer to have a gander.



My greatest fight was with my first wife!

Mohammd Ali
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Follow Up By: Member - Greg O (NSW) - Tuesday, Feb 26, 2008 at 08:37

Tuesday, Feb 26, 2008 at 08:37
I know there is a Byron Bay Dealer - but still a hell of a long trip.

I might take you up on your offer. Will be up your way July'ish.
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Reply By: jeepthing - Monday, Feb 25, 2008 at 21:18

Monday, Feb 25, 2008 at 21:18
I know you've narrowed it down to the ones you have mentioned and you're right there are so many out there now. Have you heard of Robust Campers they're made in Rockhampton, Qld be worth having a look I looked at one at the Brisbane Caravan and Camping Show in 2006 and I thought they were the best there even a cut above a KK.
I don't own one I prefer an offroad van but they did impress me.
AnswerID: 289375

Follow Up By: Ballfyboy - Monday, Feb 25, 2008 at 22:05

Monday, Feb 25, 2008 at 22:05
We own a Robust Camper, purchased it after looking at my mates one. We have found it to be fantastic and great value for money. John (Robust) has a few really cool ideas. One of the best things is that because it is aluminum it weighs less when loaded than a lot of the others empty! The new model has a big attached kids room however when ours are big enough we will put them in a little tent so we did not get that option.
Good luck

www.robustcampers.com/
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Follow Up By: Gronk - Tuesday, Feb 26, 2008 at 00:28

Tuesday, Feb 26, 2008 at 00:28
A cut above a KK.....thats a bold statement.......to compare a soft floor with a hard floor
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Follow Up By: Confucious - Tuesday, Feb 26, 2008 at 10:38

Tuesday, Feb 26, 2008 at 10:38
Gronk,

One of the few criticisms about the KK I have come across is the Tare weight, particuarly on the drawbar (although the Camprite, Trak Shak etc all seem to be heavy also). Did you have to beef up your suspension, are airbags sufficient? Interested in your thoughts.

It seems like the soft floor vs hard floor argument is like L/cruiser vs Nissan, it goes on forever.
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Follow Up By: Gronk - Tuesday, Feb 26, 2008 at 14:14

Tuesday, Feb 26, 2008 at 14:14
Tare weight of the KK ranges from approx 850 to 1050kg's and ball weight from approx 70 to 140kg's.... which I think you will find is much the same as the other hard floors..

Keep in mind that the ball weight should be approx 10% of the weight of the CT..

I have a Terracan with some King springs in the rear and with the KK on the back it droops approx 20mm ( hardly noticeable )
But then again I don't carry much crap in the rear of the 4x4,,,,,only a Waeco fridge..( the advantage of no kids )

Yes I would prefer to tow a lighter trailer (500kg's would be great ) but we love the KK and nothing else comes close ( I know, we are a bit biased !!!!! )
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Follow Up By: jeepthing - Tuesday, Feb 26, 2008 at 16:15

Tuesday, Feb 26, 2008 at 16:15
Gronk,
My recollection of the one at the show was that it was a hard floor model as we were doing some research at the time in terms of what suited us for our touring and we were only interested in hard flloor campers if we went that way. We did look at a KK and in my view the Robust was better...but anyway everyone to his/her own. I do understand though that the standard robust is soft floor. There's more soft floor campers out there but if I had one it would be hard floor.
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Reply By: Ratmo - Tuesday, Feb 26, 2008 at 08:44

Tuesday, Feb 26, 2008 at 08:44
This forum stuff is great so much good info for the new buyer. Everyone seems to keep talking about the room available and setup times. But consider these points. I was in the Army for a hell of a long time and served as a Leopard Tank crewman and when you live and work with 3 other men in an area of 2 square metres for weeks or months at a time you learn what is essential and what to leave behind - the more room you have the more junk you'll take , and if you want to take your house , stay at home
As far as setup times go , after leaving the Army I had a market garden and did some of the work with a Clydesdale drafthorse and at a field day at Gatton , Qld an old farmer told me that the best thing about working a drafthorse is that they slow you down. Put that concept into camping , if it takes you 1 minute longer - what the hell.Just slow down and enjoy it your not at work.
AnswerID: 289423

Follow Up By: Member - Norm C (QLD) - Tuesday, Feb 26, 2008 at 14:40

Tuesday, Feb 26, 2008 at 14:40
Ratmo, I couldn't agree more. We have a hard floor CT (Odyssey) and once, we thought we would see how fast we could set up for an overnight stay. Took just under 2.5 mins from turning the Hilux off to sitting at the camp table with a beer in hand, kitchen open and operational (inc sullage hose connected), bed ready for sleeping and Porta Potti out for wife.

Once was enough. We normally take 15 or 20 mins to do the same thing at a leisurley pace, having a chat while we do it. Much more relaxing. If it was a race, I could get the annex up in about 5 mins. We generally take at least 20 mins.

I also agree that we all expand to fill any given space. Having said that, I also spent 20 years in the Army (though not in tanks). I figure I've done my share of living rough and on the bare essentials (well a bit more than that, but you get the drift). I now enjoy camping in relative luxury. Rather than cutting down on what we carry, I'm looking at getting a bigger vehicle!!!!!

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Reply By: peteC - Wednesday, Feb 27, 2008 at 17:00

Wednesday, Feb 27, 2008 at 17:00
Confucious, if you are not going to somewhere like the Cape on a regular basis have a look at the Jayco Outbacks. I changed my view on them after going all thru the various campers. They are great with kids as pleanty of room and everything can be stored inside the van. I just came back from a 4 week trip and the only thing in the ute was the kids bikes and an esky of beer. They take 10 minutes to setup and close. They are also a lot chaeper than a lot of other campers around. If you are look at the Kimberley Campers be careful as I know 2 people who purchased the $80k units and got rid of them in 12 months as they were back getting fixed more than they had them. They purchased the Jaycos and have never looked back (except to see the extra $60k they had in their back pockets.
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