Roof top campers not tents.

Submitted: Tuesday, Jan 29, 2002 at 01:00
ThreadID: 694 Views:2511 Replies:2 FollowUps:2
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Hi all,

I'm hopping that someone out there will have first hand experiences or knowledge of long term travel in a roof top camper. The style I'm talking about are like the Aussie Traveller or Ship Shape (I think that's the spelling)not the imported ones we are starting to see now that are basically a tent on the roof. I have a 3.0l petrol GQ patrol and in the very near future will be organising a trip around Aus for about 12mths. It might sound a little long in a camper like this but I've decided it opens up a lot more opportunities and when we get sick of it can rent a unit or caravan for a few days.

My questions are: how well does the Patrol's roof handle this weight plus 2 people on top for extended times, does the gutter crack?; are they really water proof as they state?; what long term problems have you heard of?; and most importantly where do you suggest is the best place to buy them second hand?

I'm in a regional area so not sure of what would be the best medium to look at for purchasing a second hand model when I'm down in Brisy next week.

Any and all suggestions are appreciated.
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Reply By: Steve - Tuesday, Jan 29, 2002 at 01:00

Tuesday, Jan 29, 2002 at 01:00
Ray :
Have had an Aussie Traveller on a Landcruiser for last 4 years, they are the ants pants! Its got a room on the side which the others don't have and it is absolutely waterproof and has been well tested!! For a long trip suggest you get a good quality foam mattress and raise it every few days so as perspiration etc does not accumulate under and cause the cover to get mildew!!

Have a look in Trading Post sometimes you see them there- they don't last ! I bought mine new and was a little sceptical but am certainly happy with my buy ! Worried about the weight ? Why not put an extra Rhino Rack under it - This is what is used on mine

AnswerID: 1863

Follow Up By: Ray - Wednesday, Jan 30, 2002 at 01:00

Wednesday, Jan 30, 2002 at 01:00
Hi Steve,

Thanks for the advice this is what I was after. Can you tell me what height the camper has added, from the top of the roof. I'll have to make sure it fits in under the roller door.

FollowupID: 632

Reply By: Jim - Thursday, Jan 31, 2002 at 01:00

Thursday, Jan 31, 2002 at 01:00
Hi Ray. We have used a Shippshape for over 10 years on a SWB GQ 4.2 petrol Patrol, a 3.9L petrol Disco and currently a LWB 2.8TD GQ Patrol. Generally we have 5 weeks away each year, mostly to Central or Northern Aust to get away from the Southern Winter. It has been very successfull with its ease of setting up and packing up camp while touring, and of course you have no restrictions on where you travel (apart from underground carparks). Not quite so great if you want to stay put for a few days as you have to pack up the camper whenever you want to drive anywhere. All the above vehicles had no trouble with the weight of the Shippshape and us (over 200kg in total) as it is distributed over 3 roofbars with quite wide feet. All up height (packed up for travel) is approx 300mm above the roof of the vehicle - except on the Disco where I had to raise the roofbars to clear the step in the roofline. It does have an effect on the aerodynamics (such as they are with a 4WD), increasing my highway fuel consumption by (est) 15%. Minimal effect at slower speeds. We have had to re-waterproof it as it started to weep slightly during heavy rain after about 7 years of use. We also had all the flywire replaced at about the same time as the original was becoming brittle. I believe the Shippshape is the 'best of breed' as it has all vertical walls in the sleeping area, and the use of the end walls on the 'downstairs' area is optional and rarely used when touring outback. Makes for better ventilation and easier setup/packup. The Shippshape is no longer in production but repairs are available from a place in Sydney. They may even still make to order. I believe I have the contact details at home if required. They do occasionally come up 2nd hand, but prices are usually high and they don't hang aound long. Hope this helps. 12 months around Aus! Lucky bugger. Regards, Jim.
AnswerID: 1891

Follow Up By: Ray - Saturday, Feb 02, 2002 at 01:00

Saturday, Feb 02, 2002 at 01:00
Hi Jim,

Thanks for the comprehesive info on your shippshape. I couldn't find any info on this product so had assumed it was out of production. I am very interested in the contact you have!!!!hopfully they still make them. I hadn't realised the weight would be so much, hope the gutters handle it over a long term period of rough travel. I was hoping to get one cheap and try it for 12mths before the big trip and see just how we go for week long trips. If they are that hard to get second hand I maybe better of just bitting the bullet and purchasing new. I notice there is a free standing kit you can buy if you want to leave it all standing in the one place. I may look at this depends on the cost and volume it takes up. The year long trip has been pretty much a life time goal, actually to travel long term is the goal but first crawl before you walk they say. Hence the idea to go cheap initially, thanks to some suggetions from this forum.

FollowupID: 652

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