Offroad caravan weights

Submitted: Saturday, Mar 14, 2009 at 14:31
ThreadID: 66825 Views:3358 Replies:5 FollowUps:13
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Hi fellow Aussie Explorers
Does anyone have any information or comments on the comparative weights of the Bushtracker, Kedron Topender and Phoenix Scorpion? I read that the BT is the heaviest but Kedron seems awfully heavy also at 3.5 ton. Cant' find any information on the Phoenix weight.
Happy travelling
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Reply By: Motherhen - Saturday, Mar 14, 2009 at 14:44

Saturday, Mar 14, 2009 at 14:44
Hi Bob

We have a Bushtracker, but was recently talking to someone who had changed from a Kedron to a Bushtracker, and he said Kedron are heavier. I understand that Phoenix are lighter. We have members with both on the forum, so hope they will come forward.

Our BT is 18' (they are measured on internal) and is 2.22 t TARE according to licence papers.


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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Saturday, Mar 14, 2009 at 14:47

Saturday, Mar 14, 2009 at 14:47
PS: Note also that Bushtracker have trialled a 'lightweight' model taking it through the Kimberley and Tanami year before last. I don;t think they have hit the market quite yet, but a search on the Bushtracker site has a bit about it.


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Follow Up By: Member - Willie , Sydney. - Saturday, Mar 14, 2009 at 17:13

Saturday, Mar 14, 2009 at 17:13
Mrs Hen,
When you note that the BTs are measured internally, can I read into this, that others are measured externally ?
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Saturday, Mar 14, 2009 at 17:29

Saturday, Mar 14, 2009 at 17:29
Hi Willie, I am pretty certain Kedron are measured internally, and that the mass produced such as Jayco are measured externally. In between ones - i just don't know.


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Follow Up By: bob&loz - Sunday, Mar 15, 2009 at 21:11

Sunday, Mar 15, 2009 at 21:11
Hi Willie
It is hard to compare different types of vans when it comes to sizes as they all measure them differently. Our BT is classed as a 20' which is measured internally from the front wall at floor level to the rear wall.
Because of the way the bed goes over the spare wheels it actually measures 21' internally from bedhead to rear wall.
To get the same internal size with a van with front boot it would have to be around 22'-23' outside dimension.
Confusing isn't it
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Reply By: Mobi Condo - Saturday, Mar 14, 2009 at 15:38

Saturday, Mar 14, 2009 at 15:38
G;day Bob,
We have a 19' Bushtracker, 2440Kg tare with rated 3500Kg for legals and 4000Kg suspension capacity. Obviously we keep below 3500 and seem to have managed to stay around 3200 with full load of water, clothes, toys, food etc to last at least 1 month independent of water replenishment!
Camped next to a Kedron rig near the Central Gasgoyne one year and was immediately challenged re my heavy rig. I replied along the lines of the factors above and the response was to the effect of, 'must be a 16 footer eh!' When I told hime we were 19' internal he nearly fell over and admitted that his kedron was 17' AND was heavier and he had changed tugs 3 times ending up with an upgrade suspension 100Series TLC in order to be within the law!
We were happy!
Cheers - Mobi
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Follow Up By: Member - Willie , Sydney. - Saturday, Mar 14, 2009 at 17:11

Saturday, Mar 14, 2009 at 17:11
It is a surprise to me to see that the 19' BT is ony 2440. My 16 ft Bushtracker is 2000 kg tare, so the weight does not diminish a lot with a drop of 3 feet in the length.

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Follow Up By: Mobi Condo - Sunday, Mar 15, 2009 at 08:25

Sunday, Mar 15, 2009 at 08:25
G'day Willie,
Pretty simple factors here I reckon.
The 3ft difference in length would equate to some 3 ft of some al tube frame up each wall and over the roof (maybe 14 'rails' or 'noggings' & maybe two full 'stud' runs each side & 'rafters' across the roof), poly insulation, plywood lining, al outer skin, floor ply, maybe an outrigger run across and of course two x 3ft lengths of chassis. Of course the heavier suspension we have would naturally be a heavier tare as well. I reckon that all up it would be about the 440 Kg or near on 1/2 tonne difference! We do have 3 x 120 Watts solar panels and 3 x 100 Ah batteries which have never run out yet!

PLUS (and this IS a BIG plus) we have very few creature comforts. We love to be free of stuff such as sound systems, washing machines, TV antenna dishes etc) These can add a huge weight to the tare before the van is even picked up from the factory!
Our approx 3200 Kg 'on road' includes 320 L (320 Kg) of water, 2 x 9 litres LPG, lots of food, tent(for places like the Bungles), inflatable HF 360 boat, and all of our usual living neccessaties.

What we really did was simply buy a very capable shelter for a bed and kitchen (with a big 12V 190 L fridge) and shower and then fit in our camping items.
You see, as we got older we got more and more physically tired from the set up and pack of camp each night and morning as we travelled long distances to see family.

So on our regular long family visit trips now, we tow our "Mobile Condominium" (AKA Mobi Condo) and simply stop, open a door, have a hot shower, eat tea and then sleep.
Then the next day get up, check the tug mechanically and the rig etc and drive off without the drag of the set up / pack up routines.
Of course we also get to 'way out places' with assurity of no breakdowns and have great comfort and weather protection.
Cheers - Mobi
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Follow Up By: Member - Willie , Sydney. - Sunday, Mar 15, 2009 at 22:01

Sunday, Mar 15, 2009 at 22:01

Maybe my idea of selling the 16' BT and getting a 14' BT is a waste of time if there will be so little weight advantage in a van 2 feet shorter - it would be more agile through creek beds and on twisty tracks though.

I am just about to get three of my four solar panels replaced, as even with three new 100 amp hour batteries and just me and a few lights, the system was not coping.

As soon as Kyocera heard they were 2001 stock, they did not even want to look at them before replacement.

You sound like you are very comfortable with the set up you have.


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Follow Up By: Member - Beatit (QLD) - Monday, Mar 16, 2009 at 10:32

Monday, Mar 16, 2009 at 10:32
Gday Mobi and Willie,

Mine is 19' with 2580 tare and 3500 gross. I get the feeling that there is little differnce in the BT's which reflects inclusions and size but when I was looking it also surprised me that the Kedron was heavier.

Hope all is well with you guys and that life is treating you OK.

Kind regards

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Reply By: Member - Kim and Doug (QLD) - Saturday, Mar 14, 2009 at 18:15

Saturday, Mar 14, 2009 at 18:15
As another BT owner ours is 20' and weighs in at 3285 with half full water tanks (6) ,gear food etc but it is towed by an F250 so we don't have any problems with the weigh issue as we can go up to 4500 with ease.

Even off road over soft muddy or sandy ground alls well with the tyres let down and heeeeeeps of power from the 4wd to get us through.
AnswerID: 353996

Follow Up By: Mobi Condo - Sunday, Mar 15, 2009 at 08:29

Sunday, Mar 15, 2009 at 08:29
Hey Kim & Doug,
and from what I read around various forums, those so called "big brute fuel guzzling trucks" get VERY efficient fuel economies as well!
Any chance of some figures here to show some of the less informed of the culture that fuel efficiency is available in big rigs.
Cheers - Mobi
FollowupID: 622219

Follow Up By: Member - Kim and Doug (QLD) - Sunday, Mar 15, 2009 at 12:29

Sunday, Mar 15, 2009 at 12:29
Hi Mobi,

We are only a few weeks back from our last trip of just over 9000km from bris to tassie and back.

The average was 25lt/100km towing the van and through some of the areas on the west coast of tassie was as high as 48.5lt/100kms, 16mt long and around 7500kg.
Over all very very happy with the rig and weights etc and although it will travel well at the speed limit and over very easily we travel a lot of the time on back roads at around 80kph

FollowupID: 622258

Follow Up By: Member - Willie , Sydney. - Sunday, Mar 15, 2009 at 22:10

Sunday, Mar 15, 2009 at 22:10
I have a picture of myself in an F250 on the Mitchell Plateau two years ago - sorry guys, couldn't help myself.
Willie.Image Could Not Be Found
FollowupID: 622377

Reply By: Russ n Sue - Sunday, Mar 15, 2009 at 23:57

Sunday, Mar 15, 2009 at 23:57
Ours is a 21' (external) Kedron Top Ender. 2840Kg empty, 3470Kg as we tow it now. We have all of the bells and whistles that added to the tare weight (as mentioned by a previous poster) such as washing machine, HWS etc.

The tow vehicle can pull it at open road speed limit if we want to, but we don't. With that kind of weight I always worry about the stress on the tyres, particularly on the hot bitumen roads up north. So we tend to cruise along at about 90KPH. (And much slower on some of these 12% or worse inclines on the east coast!)

So far (we've had the van since late December 2008) the fuel use has averaged 16.4 L/100Km with our V6 diesel. Worst individual tank-full was 19.2 L/100Km (going up and down the hilly country near Stanthorpe) and the best was 14.2L/100Km just the other day as we ran up the coast away from cyclone Hamish and he gave us a nice push.

For us, weight was never an issue. The van has what we want in it and is as tough as all get-out. While it won't take us to places that the Kimberley Kamper could, it will go close.

Buy whatever takes your fancy and drive it sensibly. All of the "off-road" vans are heavy compared with Joko's etc and you'll always use a lot more fuel pulling them than the lightweight vans. But if you want a van that WILL go off-road, you don't really have much choice. Follow your heart. few cents difference in towing costs between Kedrons, BT's etc is not the issue...what you like in a van is....and they each have their good and bad points.

AnswerID: 354225

Reply By: RovingOz (QLD) - Monday, Mar 16, 2009 at 12:05

Monday, Mar 16, 2009 at 12:05
Hi Bob
We had an 2007 18ft Phoenix which had a 2.35t tare with ALL the bells and whistles. Travelling weight (living full time) with 240lts water it was 3.2t.

Phoenix maybe the lightest of the true off roaders but not by much. Today's Phoenixes are heavier with all the new gear. We've seen a 21.5ft Phoenix fully kitted out which sits around the 3.65t mark fully loaded. Still, that's not bad for that length.

I agree Kedron are getting a little heavier. When we visited the factory the same spec van as our Phoenix would've come out at about 3.4t on the road.

I think manufacturers will try and go lighter in the next few years as BT has just done with their prototype and alum chassis. Looks like a well thought out product. At the moment you've really got to drive a F250 or GMC to own a BT. The lighter version will cater to the 100's and Prados etc.

The days of tassy oak interiors are numbered I'd say. The heavy alum/timber constructions might also make way for lighter composite materials if they'll hold together.

Bring back the original Phoenixes I say with a tare under 2t. They're are still rolling around the country like they left the factory yesterday.


AnswerID: 354289

Follow Up By: Motherhen - Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009 at 16:07

Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009 at 16:07
Hi John

I didn't know that the present Phoenixes were that heavy. Do they go on internal measurement of length like BT and Kedron do?

Sure you say you have all the bells and whistles which we don't have, so very similar with our 18' BT TARE 2.22 t. We estimate with the 240 litres of water and all our gear we'd be getting up near 3 t, hence the move from the auto Patrol to the F250.


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Follow Up By: RovingOz (QLD) - Thursday, Mar 19, 2009 at 12:58

Thursday, Mar 19, 2009 at 12:58
Hi Motherhen
I suppose at the end of the day weights shouldn't vary too much between brands.
The newer Phoenixes are built using mostly the same materials as everyone else.

With Phoenix there isn't much difference in length inside or out, they don't have a typical front boot like Kedron or the bed nose of the BT's.
I think Phoenix measure at bed or bench height internally and quote on that length.

The older Phoenixes used lighter weight materials inside but they stood up to anything you could throw at them.
They were fairly basic, had less bells and whistles and a lower profile so this kept them under 2t and about 2.5t loaded.
As you know from the Wattos van they had a practical finish inside, nothing flashy to look at but you didn't care if you traipsed in dirt or had dust blowing in the door.
The market has changed I suppose with buyers wanting more comfort or a van they could live in full time but this led to an off road van that sometimes ran out of track.
It still handled the corrugations but had its limits.

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