Hard floor campers

Submitted: Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 10:42
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Sorry to rehash an old subject, but I am looking to buy the above, and want to know if anyone's opinions have changed regarding which is best. At the moment I am seriously looking at the Aussie Swag.
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Reply By: Gronk - Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 12:33

Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 12:33
Whatever suits you and your budget !!

Aussie Swag are a good CT, as well as a KK, AORC, Pioneer, Campomatic etc....

I think the KK is best, because of the quality and features it's got....

But others think different, so only you can make up your mind !!
AnswerID: 353401

Follow Up By: LeanneW - Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 12:38

Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 12:38
My husband likes the KK - particularly their hot water set up. However the battery system appears to be better in the Aussie Swag. After I did a search on this forum on the subject, it seems that some people have had problems with KK. I want to know if any have had problems with the other brands too. It is such a minefield!
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Follow Up By: Gronk - Thursday, Mar 12, 2009 at 01:24

Thursday, Mar 12, 2009 at 01:24
Please explain, and maybe I can give you an unbiased opinion ( ha,ha )

Hows the batt system better ?

What problems have people had ?
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Reply By: Member - Kevin J (Sunshine Coa - Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 13:09

Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 13:09
Have a look at the trader page here and also on www.campertrailers.org

For mine there are only two worth looking at for build,durability and general useability IMHO Australian Off Road Odyssey and the Aussie Swag. For two people they are both right up there with quality features. The Odyssey kitchen, hot water system and general fitout is great. The Cape York is solid but lacks the finer things that keep SWMBO happy

For me the KK was alway too expensive for what they provided. When travelling it was amazing how many KK owners admitted that either of the others would be a better buy.

For what it's worth

Kevin J
AnswerID: 353406

Follow Up By: LeanneW - Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 13:21

Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 13:21
Thanks for that - I too baulk at the KK price. Equivalent in other brands are at least $5k less, plus they generally have more options as standard. We have a 3yo, so like the option of the rear kids room with the AS that can stay attached and fold up with the main tent.
Not sure if we will go with a hot water system fitted - we'll probably just get a Coleman HWS. Not as convenient, but a much cheaper option.
I am also looking to find out if the rear door on a Pajero (our vehicle) can be opened while hitched to the mentioned hard floor campers.
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Follow Up By: Member - Kevin J (Sunshine Coa - Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 14:29

Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 14:29
Ours was the first of the Odyssey ZR line from Australian Offroad. The first question asked was 'What are you towing with?'
We had a Pajero NM at that time and we could open the rear door even with the closing winch on te drawbar.

The other BIG plus was that it was absolutely dust free and we did the GRR, Old Mornington and Boorooloola to Normanton plus a lot of other b/dust runs. Only sold it cause we now live part time in our van and couldn't afford both.

Kevin J
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Reply By: Member - Min (NSW) - Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 13:28

Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 13:28
Hi Leanne,

We have had our Aussie Swag since 2000 and are very happy with it. Of course they are upgrading all the time and the later ones have many more features than ours. We bought the Classic because at that time we didn't dream that we would want to go off road. However we have taken it along the Gibb RR, up the Rd as far as King Edward River (when both roads were in poor condition) and many other places we thought we wouldn't be able to go. The only problem we had was that a knife in the plastic kitchen drawer insert drilled a small hole in it!

We opted for a long draw bar with a fridge and stone guard mounted on it.

There is a trade-off on the model you choose with any ct. We have less storage and a less robust construction but it is lighter and not as high as others so we can see right over the top when driving even on the rare occasions when something is being carried on top of it.

John 'n' Min

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Follow Up By: LeanneW - Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 13:35

Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 13:35
Thankyou for your valued input. Have you had any issues with dust in your Aussie Swag?
We are currently looking at the mid-range off road model, the Explorer.
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Follow Up By: Member - Min (NSW) - Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 13:35

Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 13:35

We have a Prado and can only open the back door about a third of the way.

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Follow Up By: Member - Min (NSW) - Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 13:36

Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 13:36
NO DUST! Wonderful in that respect.
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Follow Up By: LeanneW - Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 13:42

Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 13:42
Thanks Min,
This is just the sort of information I am looking for. Do you find not being able to open your back door frustrating, or have you found that you learn to live with it and adjust how you pack?
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Follow Up By: Member - Min (NSW) - Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 21:45

Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 21:45
The back door not openning fully is not a real problem because there are only two of us and we travel with the back seats down and organise our packing so that we can reach everything we're likely to need via the back passenger doors. The main problem is not the hitch but the stone guard, which we would definitely not be without. Nothing is packed much above the window level which allows good vision all round.

Another thing to consider is that it is necessary to have car and trailer lined up and as level as possible otherwise it's hard to wind the jockey wheel.

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Reply By: Krakka - Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 14:13

Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 14:13
Leanne, can you order one with a longer draw bar? we settled on a T Van and they offer a longer draw bar as an option.
AnswerID: 353428

Follow Up By: LeanneW - Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 14:18

Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 14:18
Hi Krakka,
Unfortunately they don't make them with longer draw bars. This is the only issue I can find to fault them. I have heard that the spare wheel on the Pajero's can be lifted by an inch, which would probably solve the problem of the rear door catching on the tow hitch and not opening.
BTW how do you like your TVan? Have you had any problems with it?
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Follow Up By: Krakka - Thursday, Mar 12, 2009 at 06:15

Thursday, Mar 12, 2009 at 06:15
We are very happy with our T van, great for two people. One part we like is we can fully open it in the garage to air or dry out. With the conventional flip over camper we could not do that. No problems and great back up and advice over the phone with any enquiries.
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Reply By: MEMBER - Darian (SA) - Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 14:16

Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 14:16
We've been in a Campomatic for 5 years but had a real good look at all aspects of the Swag, the KK and others (we chose the Campo because we liked the kitchen arrangement better). We first started looking at the Swag when proprietors Noel and Julia were presenting at all the shows - always considered their product to be very well designed and made. We see quite a lot on the road. The proof of course is in the ownership, but I'd be surprised if I heard anything adverse.
AnswerID: 353431

Follow Up By: LeanneW - Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 14:23

Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 14:23
I hadn't even considered a Campomatic. More homework for me! If you hadn't gone for the campo, which of the others do you think you would have gone for?
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Follow Up By: MEMBER - Darian (SA) - Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 17:13

Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 17:13
Was originally heading for a Kimberley Kamper - seemed to be quality and good value for money all round - but the ball weight was a bit high for my then tow vehicle - moved to the Swag and the Campo then (lighter bal) - as mentioned, then went Campo because of the preferred kitchen style - never regretted the Campo (ours was made in QLD - they have changed hands and moved since then) - has been very good overall for us, and we like the rear spare wheel swing out, as compared to the under storage on the KK. Anyway - every make has pros and cons - its narrowing down which pros and which cons best align with one's needs - what a headache !
FollowupID: 621593

Reply By: Gone Bush (WA) - Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 14:40

Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 14:40
I've had two Pioneer CTs in the past. I had the Argyle and sold that and went up to the Argyle SE to get the gullwing storage.

The first one was better quality than the second one, especially in the way the canvas was sewn. I think cost cutting caused a few short cuts to be made. Just my personal opinion tho.

Member Dave B ( BHQ NSW) has an Australian OffRoad Odyssey and I had a good look at Innaminka last Gathering. It is a beauty. I was very impressed by the attention to detail. No sharp metal edges. Canvas was good.

They appear second hand every now and then and that brand would be my choice (except I've gone up to caravans now lol !!).

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Reply By: Member - Captain (WA) - Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 15:12

Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 15:12
Hi Leanne,

Have you looked at the Camprite? I have found them ideal for families as the kids beds are inside and all of you are off the ground. This is a pic from the Camprite website showing the setup including bunk beds (sleeps 6 this way).

The Camprite is like no other soft or hard floor camper. All the beds are off the ground and are left made up and it has a less than 5 minute set up. Plus you can carry kayaks and bikes which can be left on even when set up.
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The more you look at camper trailers the more you become confused!!! There are so many good models on the market its hard to work out whats best for your family. After having one for several years now and seeing them in action, my sister and sister-in-law have both bought one for their family friendly design.


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AnswerID: 353443

Follow Up By: LeanneW - Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 15:26

Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 15:26
Thanks Captain,

Yes, with all the different ones, my head is well and truly spinning. I had seen Camprites in the campertrailer magazine, but that was all. Yet more homework for me! (but enjoyable, not like the old school days).

I still really like some features of the Aussie Swag, like the windows in the tent roof (underneath the tropical roof) which supposedly keeps it cooler on hot days, the VERY quick set up time (excluding annexes of course), and their electrics set up.
I guess I want to make sure I have investigated everything before parting with so much money.

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Reply By: Member - nrb1748 (VIC) - Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 21:21

Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 21:21
Hello LeanneW,

After deliberating for a long time and looking at the full range of hard floor campers, we purchased a new Aussie Swag in 2006 and have never regretted our decision. We've now travelled about 25,000 k'ms without any hassles including Tanami Road, Gibb River Road and the Old Ghan Railway.


AnswerID: 353495

Reply By: Coolup - Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 22:21

Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 22:21
I'll second the Captains comments as I have just ordered my second camprite and went through the same as you before our first. Go to the caravan and camping show depending when and where you are as you get to compare in one spot. Camprite was the best family camper for us ,2 adults 2 kids.
AnswerID: 353507

Follow Up By: LeanneW - Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 22:30

Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 22:30
Thanks Stuart, I'll definitely have to look into the camprites further.
We went to the Albury 4WD & camping show last weekend, but unfortunately camprites weren't there.
FollowupID: 621635

Reply By: offroad Bob - Thursday, Mar 12, 2009 at 00:01

Thursday, Mar 12, 2009 at 00:01
Hi LeaneW

There is such a range of hard floor campers out there. Just my bit. We purchased a Travelander just over a year ago now. Of course like others with other brands we love it. I just now had a look at the Aussie swag - as a had not seen it before. Lots of similarities. Our travelander unit fits on the tray of the ute but they sell the same one mounted on a trailer. Unlike the Aussie swag it opens out sideways. And unlike any others we had seen it has a remote button to open the unit and to close it. This really impressed both my wife and I. Instead of one 50litre waeco it has two x 40litre waecos so one can be set as a freezer for those longer trips.

It comes with all the usual - 120L water tank, pressure pump, hot water system, shower & full shower curtain, Inner spring queensize bed, lots of LED lighting, twin batteries with 3 stage charger, 3 burner gas stove & sink, lots of kitchen storage, drawers that open even when the unit is closed, full annexe as standard plus more. Just have a look on www.traverlander.com.au

Best part is the unit only weighs 680kg a lot less than the Aussie Swag. If you buy the trailer version it comes with a similar all singing trailer and extra storage on the draw bar. Mine loaded on the tray has wind down legs and comes off in about 15mins but if we only stop over for one night we just open it from the back of the ute in about 2 mins.

The main reason for getting a tray back unit was so I could tow the boat. Not a large boat but too big to roof mount. So far the roughest track I have been on is into Steep Point of Shark Bay. 120km that took 5 hours. Smashed the leaf springs on the boat so I had to order more to get brought in. Camper was fine.

Oh and the last thing - cheaper than the Aussie swag.


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AnswerID: 353526

Follow Up By: LeanneW - Thursday, Mar 12, 2009 at 16:45

Thursday, Mar 12, 2009 at 16:45
Hi Bob,

I have just had a look at the Travelanders on the internet. They do have a lot of similar features to the Aussie Swag, and I agree with you about the price!
They are very nice looking units. I can see why the remote opening and closing appeals. I assume that if there is a problem with the electrics, you could still manually open & close it? I also like the idea of having one fridge set as a freezer and the other a fridge.
Thanks for your input.

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Reply By: Gronk - Thursday, Mar 12, 2009 at 01:19

Thursday, Mar 12, 2009 at 01:19
Interesting to hear of some negative stuff about the KK ??

Know a fair few people with them and haven't heard one bad comment..

Yes they are dear, but unfortunately you have to pay for quality.....

But if I had kid(s) , then the Camprite would be my choice......
AnswerID: 353529

Follow Up By: Krakka - Thursday, Mar 12, 2009 at 06:22

Thursday, Mar 12, 2009 at 06:22
Howdy Gronk, The main negative for us when looking at KK is the over all weight, quite heavy compared to others. Also didn't seem very flexible with layout and options when we were looking, mid 2006. Basically as you see it is how they come, they didn't seem keen to do alterations. Just my observations.
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Follow Up By: Gronk - Thursday, Mar 12, 2009 at 09:55

Thursday, Mar 12, 2009 at 09:55
Fair comment Krakka..

KK make that many a year, they aren't interested in doing one offs( they have a production line )
If it comes with an option....tick the boxes.....but if you want a mod not in the options...bad luck !!

Weight.?.....not much heavier than other hard floors....but oh the joy of having one that wieghed in at 700kg's !!

I really like the T Van's...but it doesn't seem to have the space of the KK ?.....no storage space for things like porta potti, pantry ? , firewood ?, and can you get out of bed without hitting your head ??
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Follow Up By: Krakka - Thursday, Mar 12, 2009 at 10:19

Thursday, Mar 12, 2009 at 10:19
Howdy Gronk,

Weight: "1050kg dry weight with alloy wheel option" Well thats 300kg heavier than our T van with steel wheels. Weight was a major factor in our purchase as at the time we had a N/A diesel Cruiser, of course it depends which model KK you buy but that is the one we looked at.

Quite right, KK has more space, altyough T van does have 1200lt of storage space advertised but not all of that is practical.
Trust me, you DO learn to get out of bed without hitting your head.

We do like the KK, but T van suited our needs better at the time.

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Follow Up By: Gronk - Thursday, Mar 12, 2009 at 12:55

Thursday, Mar 12, 2009 at 12:55
Yeh, I know the T Van is approx 750kg's, but was comparing to other hard floors......although you could argue the T Van is a hard floor I suppose ??

I like the idea of a quick overnighter and not getting any canvas wet ( if raining )......do you ever use it without putting up the canvas ??

We go camping at least 20 times a year and like the quick setup of a hardfloor, and not having to set anything else up ...tables, cooking stoves, gas lights etc etc.....but would also like a CT that weighed in under a ton when fully loaded ??
FollowupID: 621751

Reply By: Member - Matt M (ACT) - Thursday, Mar 12, 2009 at 13:15

Thursday, Mar 12, 2009 at 13:15

You are right, it is tough to get the right one with so many options (and opinions) available.

I'll state my KK bias upfront, we had one for a couple of years and lived out of it (family of 4) for six months on our 'big loop'.

Some things I didn't like about the Kimberley?

Weight I suppose, but the trade off is, of course, strength. Ball weight is high. Many people point this out as a problem, without actually explaining why it is such an issue. Provided that your suspension set up is suited to the towing you will do, it is not a big issue (and reviewing/modifying your suspension to suit is something you should be doing, regardless of what you are towing). To me the real downside of high ball weight is moving the thing around off the car. I did watch people moving their Ultimates around into position with some envy. Our KK pretty much had to stay where you parked it. Overall build quality is great, but some of the finish let it down a little. Pop rivets vs. spot welding particularly. Ours was an early 2005 model, so not sure if this has improved. The Kimberleys also had some issues with funny tasting water if you weren't turning it over regularly. Again, may have been resolved now. Not sure about your comment on the electrical system, hard to see how it could be improved.

On the upside?

Reliability I think is key. From my perspective, we had six precious months to travel with the family (heaven knows when we will get another chance) and the last thing we needed was to be stuck somewhere for a couple of weeks waiting for repairs. We travelled over a fair range of conditions and the Kamper did not falter once. I had the wheel bearings repacked (precautionary measure) and othe than that, nothing needed to be done to it over the two years I had it. Price is an interesting issue and often (fair enough) a strike against the Kimberley. The only thing I would say to you is to think in terms of cost of ownership. Ours was bought (6 months old) for the purpose of doing our big trip then I was always going to sell it as it is a lot of money to have sitting at home (we now have a Tambo - great camper BTW). I had it for two years, did nothing other than routine maintenance, rego and insurance, then sold it (very quickly) for the same price I bought it for. So the total cost of ownership in my case was VERY low. I was not one of those owners (that Kevin has met) who thought others would be a better buy. My KK cost me virtually nothing, hard to beat that I suppose. I'm not saying this only applies to the Kimberley, but I would advise you to look at second hand models of the campers you are considering and watch how long they hang around, and what sort of money they go for.

You don't mention if you have (or are planning to have) kids. But obviously this will affect the style of camper you get. The flipover style offers you the floor space, and most come with a bedroom option as well. Alternatively, the Camprite also has good sleeping arrangements for kids. Do you want to cook inside or outside? Personally, I prefer not to cook in our sleeping space but your preferences here will also influence your choice.

The other thing to consider is what type of driving you reasonably intend to do. I am still looking for a definition of '4WD Camper' and it is a term that gets used liberally in the literature with most PR pictures showing the camper being towed over rocks, etc. The other line I love is 'it will go anywhere my car will go'. Yes, nearly any trailer will, but the question is how much less can your car do with the trailer in tow? To me it is not so much tricky terrain, but the ability to withstand constant pounding from potholes, corrugations, etc which defines an off-road trailer. Your driving plans also affect such things as entry/departure angles which are better catered for in the TVan and Ultimate, for example.

Final piece of advise, avoid the 'mine is the best' crowd when seeking advice. The reality is that their is no such thing as THE best camper, they each have their downside and their are probably four or five options that would suit you perfectly. Often, after careful analysis and weighing up options, you've just got to go with gut feel.

Have fun.

AnswerID: 353588

Follow Up By: LeanneW - Thursday, Mar 12, 2009 at 16:38

Thursday, Mar 12, 2009 at 16:38
Hi Matt,

I really appreciate your advice, along with everyone else who has contributed in this forum.
We have a 3yo daughter at the moment, and hopefully we will expand the family one day. Another feature I like about the Aussie Swag is that you can get a rear-end kids room that you can keep attached and pack it up with the rest of the canvas. After doing a trip round OZ with my husband 5 years ago just with a tent, something that sets up and packs up quickly really appeals to me.
I am also quite happy to cook outside and enjoy the scenery!
I agree with your comments re suspension. That is something we did with my old NL Pajero, and will almost certainly do with my current Pajero.
Our travel plans include the Gibb River Rd (which we missed out on in '04 due to a late season cyclone) plus some other tracks that I know the Aussie Swags have done. My parents have an Ultimate, so I can really appreciate it's manouvreability off the car and off-road capability, but I think that a camper-trailer would suit us better with young kid(s).
With all the research I have done, I too have come to the conclusion that there would be at least 3 which would suit, and like most people, we will probably be very happy with the one we choose.

Happy travels!
FollowupID: 621777

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