Question on TVAN,VISTARV campers

Submitted: Wednesday, Jun 03, 2009 at 23:13
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We are looking to upgrade our camper and have see the above.

We are doing this as we want a bit more protection from the weather than the canvas top.

The above camper have a solid roof but I was wandering how they would go in the heat.

The VISTA has not been around long but the TVANS have and they are similar.

So if you have one of the above and have taken it to some warm places I would like to know how you found them.

Thanks in advance,
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Reply By: richard - Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 00:18

Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 00:18
A follow up question.

We are looking for something we can tour in for extended periods (3-6 months)

We are a bit concerned these campers would be a bit cramped but don't want to tow a big caravan. The VISTARV looks good but there is no inside seating room if the bed is down.

Are people going off for longer periods in these size campers?

Any opinions?

AnswerID: 368336

Follow Up By: racinrob - Friday, Jun 05, 2009 at 08:09

Friday, Jun 05, 2009 at 08:09
Think sideways Richard, I have a slide-on I carry on a table top LandCruiser. It is a Compass solid side pop-top (no longer made) with bed over the cab and basically the same floor plan as other 6' x 8' campers, stove, fridge, table etc. We have never felt cramped as we only cook and/or eat inside if the weather is crook.
I feel the advantages of this set up outweigh any shortcomings, we have been many places you couldn't or wouldn't tow a van. Have done all the major treks without any dramas with over three months on the road and will do many of them again now I'm retired.
Google up Wombat Slide-Ons made in Horsham, he makes a nice one !


FollowupID: 636069

Follow Up By: richard - Friday, Jun 05, 2009 at 16:00

Friday, Jun 05, 2009 at 16:00
A bit hard on a SWB Paj unfortunately :)

However I have seen them around and appreciate the advantages you have highlighted. Less hassles parking and driving.

If I had my time again where I was selecting both vehicle and camper I would seriously consider this option for the reason you mention as I like the idea. Just get in the car and off you go nothing to tow. The reason we are not going a full blown caravan is because we want to be a bit more mobile.

FollowupID: 636128

Reply By: Krakka - Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 06:14

Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 06:14
We have camped in hot weather in our Tvan, you would be surprised how much air flow/movement you get between the two roof vents, also with the end canvas flap opened up. We also sometimes have used one of those $20.00 fans from Big W etc. and just run thru a 300w inverter. The roof is bright white on the outside so reflects heat well, also have the optional roof lining inside which would also have an insulating effect. Great to tow, easy to set up and comparitavely light weight.


AnswerID: 368341

Follow Up By: richard - Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 10:03

Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 10:03
Many thanks for the reply,

Do you reckon you could live in it for 3-6 months while touring ?

FollowupID: 635920

Follow Up By: Krakka - Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 10:42

Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 10:42
Would not be an issue living in it for 3-6 months touring. But to be honest if you are at retiring age, 60 ish, I probably wouldn't buy a T van. Getting in and out of bed could be an issue, my wife and I are in our 40's and would probably be looking for something a bit easier to get in and out of bed in the next 5 to 10 years. Something to keep in mind anyway.


FollowupID: 635923

Follow Up By: richard - Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 12:38

Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 12:38
I take your point about as you get older it is a bit harder, it is a point we have considered.

The bed in our current camper runs down the camper. It is not an island bed where you can just step out but is better than the beds where you have to role over some one to get out. We also don't want one which you have to climb up into - I think the TVAN has a slight step.

The VistaRV seems to be better set in that respect.

We are trying to look for a small camper or caravan which can go offroad (not extreme but want to do some dirt driving). The smaller caravans tend to have the bed running across the caravan which as we mentioned is not what we want,

We are also trying to get away from canvas top campers (to cold and to hot) - the reason we are looking at the above.

We are still considering our options and appreciate any advice given.

Thanks again,

FollowupID: 635933

Reply By: Member - mike H (WA) - Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 10:03

Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 10:03
Hi Richard,
We have a Tvan and have been in quite warm and very cold weather with it.
We have a Scirocco fan (12v marine type) that is gimbal mounted. With both vents open it flows air through very well.
Setting up the full awning takes a little time but we also take a 3x3m Oztrail foldup gazebo that goes up in a couple of minutes and with the walls becomes a very useful shelter around the kitchen area.
For a road side stop we just use the sail and even with the tailgate down it works well for some shade for a lunch stop or whatever.
While the Tvan has a "tent" section it is really easy and quick to set up. On the second night that we had it we were in the Vic High Country area and it was set up and secure in the rain in less than two minutes.
We are just about to leave to go out to Rudall River and then up to Broome.
Brilliant camper and worth every cent.
AnswerID: 368365

Follow Up By: richard - Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 10:24

Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 10:24
I must admit I was using the TVAN as an example of the type of camper we were looking for (not a canvas top) and had not considered it due to having to do that set up.

I do like the TVAN and would have gone that way initially but did not have the money.

I am just about to retire and am looking for a bit more comfort but am not sure if I want to lug a full house on wheels around

Your comments re the TVAN are interesting and I will pass it across you know who. She actually picked the TVAN for our first camper but it went off the list due to price.

Many thanks,
FollowupID: 635922

Reply By: Member - mike H (WA) - Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 12:45

Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 12:45
We bought ours from Dreamtime Campers in Newcastle. It is a n exhire unit and it is a testament to the Tvan and also it must be admitted Dreamtime's maintenaance policy and the attitude of their hire customers that it was in such great condition after being around Oz several times. It is a Canning with all the options plus a few of our own.
We are ourselves nearly retired and we have so far been away for two months at a time with it. In the next year or so we hope to get away for longer but the great thing about the Tvan is that if you have it loaded with the essentials you can just hook it up and go at a whim. We keep a small Engel in it running on 240v in the shed so it is just a matter of reconnecting to the 12v and away you go.
We also take the option of staying in a hotel/motel/chalet/cabin at intervals along the way but we find the bed which is the standard unit plus a latex top from Ikea so much more comfortable. We prefer to sleep feet in and the only possible issue with that is that this involves a bit of turning around to get in and out of the bed.
People say that there is not enough room. In addition to the boxes that go under the bed area we have the Engel, Honda generator, portaloo (ina seal up box just in case!!), the Coleman HWS and a Weber Q BBQ that sit across the back and you can be set up under the gazebo unit with the BBQ heating up with a glass or three of the good stuff in less than five minutes.
We met a group of Ultimate owners on the road a while ago and did just that and we were onto the second glass by the time that they had got the Ulimate deployed let alone anything else.
Give Ian Porteous a call at Dreamtime because he may well have another unit available.
AnswerID: 368374

Follow Up By: richard - Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 13:12

Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 13:12
Many thanks for that information.

We did like the ulimate as well but as said trying to get away form as much canvas as possible - you get rid of all of it but just the roof at least.

FollowupID: 635936

Follow Up By: richard - Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 13:15

Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 13:15
I forgot to add - I think we met Ian at the Maitland show - selling the VistaRV.

If the same person then agree as we found this fellow to be very friendly and helpful.

FollowupID: 635937

Follow Up By: Member - mike H (WA) - Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 15:17

Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 15:17
Hi Richard,
We saw the VistaRV at Ian's place and you can see the Tvan genes in it.
Our feeling was that it seems just a bit cramped in the sense that there is too much in a small space. They are all a compromise of course but when you are in one place for a while you can set up the full Tvan annex which with a Cgear ground sheet is really cozy and as weatherproof as anything under canvas will be.
Another thought for you is the Eco-tourer. This is quite a smart unit and although made "overseas" is really very well put together. I have known Adrian Stafford from Dolium (Opposite Lock/WA Safari/Rally OZ) for a long time and once he saw one he took on the WA franchise and is currently touring around Oz with his kids in one. It is available with an off road kit and while nowhere near as capable as a Tvan it is well suited to big SUV type conditions or a lot of 4WD type country if operated according to the conditions and therein lies the secret with any vehicle.
Good hunting
FollowupID: 635948

Follow Up By: richard - Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 17:54

Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 17:54
The Vista does seem cramped a bit and no where to sit if the bed is down.

However setting up the wning etc does look a lot easier than the one we have now.

You are right about the comparisons between the two - being designed by the same fellow.

I will check out the Eco-tourer.

Thanks again,
FollowupID: 635972

Follow Up By: richard - Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 18:15

Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 18:15
Hi I had a quick look at the Eco Tourer.

It is an off-high way van - not sure what that fully means though,

It is well kitted out.

FollowupID: 635974

Follow Up By: Member - mike H (WA) - Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 18:36

Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 18:36
The on road Eco tourer is basically a clever solid roof pop top. Clever in the sense that the roof pivots from the rear and is high enough that it can be ordered with a shower. What impressed us was the quality of the fit and finish inside and out.
The off highway version has uprated suspension (designed I think by ORE) with some significant under body protection added to it.
I remember Adrian telling me that it is perfectly capable of being taken down the Anne Beadel, Connie Sue, GRR, etc provided you took it as slowly as was necessary to minimise the limitations of a leaf sprung solid axle.
Unfortunately there are all too few people out there that understand that a few less kph on the clock can save them a lot of grief if their pride and joy falls apart by being hammered to bits.
Once we have decided to be less adventurous in our travels we would buy one because it is certainly more liveable than the Tvan in terms of simple convenience.
FollowupID: 635978

Follow Up By: richard - Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 18:52

Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 18:52
It does look good - there is an optional upgrade (with OME) to the suspension.

I am not sure if necessary though.

What I have noticed is that it is a heavy beast - heavier than a lot of caravans.

In saying that I am sure we would comfortable in it.


FollowupID: 635982

Reply By: Gronk - Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 13:32

Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 13:32
You may also want to have a look at the Vision ( Pacific Aluminium )....price and features seem pretty good !!
AnswerID: 368380

Reply By: Member - RobnJane(VIC) - Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 17:24

Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 17:24
Hi Richard,
We've had our Tvan for nearly 4 years now and remain very happy with it. We travel for extended periods quite happily. We find for quick overnight stays either no awning or the sail awning, and then when staying longer than 3 days we get the big awning out.
We have full walls with larger windows/screens/flaps etc for really nasty weather/winter camping - hardly used at this stage.
Camping in the heat is fine (for us), however I have added some light 'carpet' as insulation to the fibreglass hatch that forms half the roof when erected.
We are heading off later in July for 3 months, and will have the dog with most of the time - just drop her at a boarding kennel for 4 weeks while we get to the Tip, then back to Cairns via Lawn Hill etc etc.
No real problem getting in or out of bed, and think many camper trailers have some odd quirk when it comes to getting in or out of bed. Certainly need to be careful getting out first thing in morning, but not a big deal.
Had a good look at VistaRV at the Caravan Show a few weeks ago, and it seems to me to be a very good unit, and would probabaly be a little more civilized on a nasty overnight stop etc.
Hope this is of interest to you.

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AnswerID: 368412

Follow Up By: richard - Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 18:02

Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 18:02

Based on the above I will be having a closer look at the TVAN.

I have always liked it and I have never read any major criticism about it.

It does have more offroad credentials than what we probably need but I am not worried about that, better that way than the other.

At this point in time we want the comfort - without necessarily going up to a full caravan as we like to spend most of our time outside (especially to cook).

FollowupID: 635973

Reply By: Member - Steve & Paula - Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 19:27

Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 19:27

Have you considered a "crossover" trailer? They are designed to bridge the gap between a camper trailer and a caravan. Have a look at the Quantum from Australian Offroad Campers as an example.

AnswerID: 368430

Follow Up By: richard - Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 19:46

Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 19:46
Yep sure have. The VistaRV is a cross over and I have looked at the Quantum - looks great but is very expensive- around $65,000.

FollowupID: 635996

Reply By: Member - John G- Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 20:32

Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 20:32
G'day Richard

You probably have had enough replies to go on with, and mine only reiterates some of the Tvan points already made.

We've camped in heat up to 35 degrees with no discomfort, and in frosts with very limited condensation (vent partly open), but under a doona and with abeanie for my bald nut. The latest models do have a roof lining to prevent the condensation issue.

We are both "over 60", and we occasionally mumble about getting in and out of bed, but uit's no big deal.

We have done just about all the rough road travelling we want to do over the past 5 years, and are currently looking for something that provides a more live-able inside platform than the Tvan. That's no criticism of the Tvan which really is a remarkably well engineered and versatile camper.

We've regualrly done 2-month trips, but for us, that would be about the limit. Anything more than 3 months, and we would be looking for something different. It's all horses for courses though.

AnswerID: 368445

Follow Up By: richard - Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 22:18

Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 22:18
Ya never get enough info I reckon and appreciate your comments.
We are a 57 and 58 and still working although not sure for how long.

As mentioned before the comments like yours have made me reconsider the TVAN - not at the top of the list but does satisfy many of our requirements. We have always liked it .

FollowupID: 636036

Reply By: Les B (FNQ) - Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 20:40

Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 20:40
Hi, We have just had 2 days at the Brisbane C & C show trying to find a solution to Richards and our dilemma. We appear to have the same requirements. A good option we have seen is a smaller and more basic version of the AOR Qantum called the Eclipse. It is 300mm shorter and 150 narrower than the Qantum ie body length is 3.9m and 1800mm wide. There is no inbuilt toilet and shower or hot water and the departure angle is sharper. The bed is queen size and there is a permanent 2 person dinette. Base price is $54,000. An external hot shower and cubicle setup is +$3500.
We looked at the Topaz and although it is the same dimensions as the Elipse a two person dinette setting cannot coexist with a long bed. I need a bed length of 2 metre so the standard east/west bed config is too short.

I have heard Dreamtime Campers have a demo VistaRv in Newcastle we will ring them tomorrow and may go down for a look next week. Disappointed they were not at the show.
The Eclipse is very tempting especially with a show special of 120w solar panel and reg.
We will advise further.

AnswerID: 368447

Follow Up By: richard - Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 22:15

Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 22:15
Thank you for the info. I will check that out.

It will be interesting to see how you the VistaRV (our favourite so far).

The guy at dreamtimne is very helpful.

One thing I would like to see on the Vist is a wire screen. He said they were looking in to it.

Our only big problem with the Vista is that once the bead is down there is no room to sit. This may not be a big issue when we think it through though.

We are heading North to Coffs at the end of the month (unfortunately not when the show is on) and hopefully will find time to visit the Vista again.


FollowupID: 636033

Follow Up By: richard - Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 22:22

Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 22:22
Do you have a We site for the AOR Qantum Eclipse - I get to many hits as these are common terms.

I will keep looking though.

FollowupID: 636037

Follow Up By: Les B (FNQ) - Friday, Jun 05, 2009 at 09:49

Friday, Jun 05, 2009 at 09:49
The Eclipse is a brand new model, I think the unit at the show is their first. Appears they have not updated the website yet. The show unit had 2 child bunks in place of the 2 person dinette. We are very very tempted but so many $s!
Tomorrow we head down to Newcastle to view the VistaRv. We are this far away from home so what is another 800km!
FollowupID: 636083

Follow Up By: richard - Friday, Jun 05, 2009 at 15:47

Friday, Jun 05, 2009 at 15:47
I sent an email to them but so far no response.

Hopefully they will either update their site and/or send some details.

We are about 800km south of the Vista and about the same north of factory in Melbourne.

We are travelling north later in the month and if possible will have another look.

There is a Show in Coffs on 21/6 that may be a bit closer for you to see the vista

FollowupID: 636125

Reply By: richard - Wednesday, Jun 10, 2009 at 18:08

Wednesday, Jun 10, 2009 at 18:08
Did you get to see the VistaRV.

If so how did it compare against the Quantum.

I have tried to get info about the Quantum Eclipse but with out success.

I sent an email and even rang AOR but no reply so far.

If you have any pics on it I would appreciate a look.

AnswerID: 369357

Reply By: Les B (FNQ) - Saturday, Jun 13, 2009 at 18:46

Saturday, Jun 13, 2009 at 18:46
Hi Richard,
I apologise for not getting back to you sooner I have been sick and tied to a toilet in a CP cabin in Kempsey for the last 4 days and probably more to come.
And just to make typing more difficult the X, C, V keys on the laptop have ceased to function. I bought an external keyboard today so we are back on air again.

Yes we seen the VistaRV on last Sunday and loved it. If Ian would have released it for sale there and then we may have bought it on the spot but we have to wait to late July so we will think about it some more.

It is very well built and I would be confident to take it along the roughest roads and tracks. The body shape is sleek and overgrown tracks could be handled with just a little more care than with our AussieSwag.

True, it is a little cramped inside but with the roof up I had plenty of head clearance and with only 2 occupants we would soon learn to work around each other. The dinette to queen bed conversion was easier than expected. Ian has suggested a strap attached to the mattress would aid in pulling the down over the table. He also demonstrated how in really cold weather the roof can be closed to retain the heat and we could still sit up straight at the dinette.

My wife liked the outside kitchen, her only reservation there was no outside pantry meaning she would need to go into the trailer many times gathering ingredients for meals. A cupboard just inside the door at floor level would be the place for often used cooking utensils and is easily accessible while standing outside and reaching in.

The equipment arrangement on the drawbar took some absorbing with hinged items, locks, swing up covers but we would soon learn it. The various storage compartments can hold quite a bit of gear.
Cleaning dust and mud from this area could be quite a task.
I am a little concerned about ventilation in the tropics as the door does not have a screen door. Thought i could make a mesh screen somehow.
Ian demonstrated the sail awning and annex were easy to erect.

Where to from here? We liked the VistaRV but a final decision is so difficult!
The AORC Eclipse is only another $4000 and offers a bit more space and comfort but is not as quite as able off road simply because it is larger.

lAnd now with my current illness, the cold weather and our ages in low 60's we really are questioning how much longer we want to tour the hard to access places of Oz. $50k is a lot of $$
AnswerID: 369838

Follow Up By: richard - Saturday, Jun 13, 2009 at 21:18

Saturday, Jun 13, 2009 at 21:18
Many thanks for the reply and hope you get better soon.

Both my wife and I like the Vista but do have similar issues to you 0- a screen door would be good, the kitchen would be better if there was a pantry near by (like our current camper). We have arranged to have a closer look in a week or so while in transit to Coffs (going to be a grand dad again). If you had the annex up then you could set up a pantry there - for longer stays.

I contacted AOR and they sent me some pictures of the Eclipse (do you want them as well).

I would like to have a closer look at one but can't easily get the their site in QLD to see one but will be trying. So I have appreciated your comments,

We have not really started touring yet as still working but have got to a few places, during holidays, where dragging a caravan would be difficult. The Eclipse would be OK though.

I considered the differences in price and when you add on some of the extras you want, the Eclipse ends up a bit more expensive as I would want the air conditioning which is not an option with the vista.

One other concern with the Vista is the lack of room. If one of us wants to go to bed then there is no internal seating room - I think. I need to think this through a bit as to how big an issue this is as I would prefer sitting outside unless cold.

Al in all - the Vista is still my favorite option but don't want to rush ion to any quick decision yet as we probably want be able to get another one.

All the best,
FollowupID: 637275

Reply By: richard - Saturday, Jun 13, 2009 at 21:24

Saturday, Jun 13, 2009 at 21:24
Also - I take your point re heat and the tropics - one of the reasons I started this thread.

We have got by to date in a canvas topped camper with a fan but was a bit unsure about a construction like the Vista (or TVAN for that matter).

The Vista does seem to have a lot of ventilation up top (I think) but would be good if could open side windows.

This is another of the things I want to have a closer look at and would like to see the quantum.

AnswerID: 369858

Follow Up By: Les B (FNQ) - Sunday, Jun 14, 2009 at 15:32

Sunday, Jun 14, 2009 at 15:32
We are staying in Kempsey again today, I think I am starting to mend (slightly).

The VistaRV does have a cutlery drawer in the slideout kitchen but that is all that it can hold.
If one partner wants to go to bed early there is plenty of sitting room at the foot of the bed on your side and, as you say you only want to sit inside if it is too cold or the insects are bad.

Yes the VistaRV does have 3 windows in the poptop skirt but only has the one small window in the front to draw in air. Its a pity the side windows do'nt open. Ian said it was all part of making the unit sleek and dustproof!

Good to hear AORC got back to you. We will probably call in to the factory as we head past there.

One thing I didn't like about the Eclipse was it comes with a gunyah style awning 3.9metre long. Our vehicle has a 2metre gunyah and it is really a 2 person job to handle it safely without stressing the poles joints. So a 3.9m awning could be quite difficult and heavy to handle. The manager Steve said they were not able to use the rollout style awning as fittted to the Quantum model as the sharper rear cutaway of the Eclipse reduces the length of the telescopic pole attached to the rear of the sidewall. The kitchen unit is at the rear end of the van and if the pole was moved forward to give more length the awning would not cover the edge of the kitchen unit.
Steve did say they could make a selfsupporting style awning similar to their Odessey

So it seems everything is a compromise and we have to decide what suits our needs the nearest.
FollowupID: 637328

Reply By: richard - Sunday, Jun 14, 2009 at 17:12

Sunday, Jun 14, 2009 at 17:12
Thanks again for your comments.

We did see the VistaRV at Maitland but could not remember how much space is left when the bed is down. One of the reasons we plan on another look.

We have not seen the eclipse although the info sent to us was good and did not look at a Quantum as it was out of our price range (at Maitland - not sure if they were there). Until we do I guess we are leaning towards the VistaRV.

We have looked at others like the Trackmaster which is good caravan as well. But as we are coming from a camper, which we are mostly happy with we like the idea of keeping what is towed as small as possible.

It sounds like you are leaning the same way. If we both end up in that direction we should start a Vista club :).

Any way thanks again and take care of yourself,
AnswerID: 369932

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