First post -wind up camper Q

Submitted: Tuesday, Jun 16, 2009 at 15:22
ThreadID: 69875 Views:6433 Replies:7 FollowUps:11
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Hi there

I've been lurking here for a long time on and off, and here is my first post!

Hubby, kids and I are looking at buying our first wind up camper. Eventually we would like to do a trip up to Cape York, and with that in mind we are trying to work out what breed, model, etc to get.
Can anyone give me their 2 cents worth please?
Do we really need an off road? Can the on-road ones be converted or is it not worth the effort? Is one brand much better compared to the others? We are quite obviously at the research stage, so please feel free to send any advice our way!

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Reply By: Shaker - Tuesday, Jun 16, 2009 at 15:48

Tuesday, Jun 16, 2009 at 15:48
You would better to concentrate on offroad models if you plan to do Cape York, over & above the superior chassis & suspension etc, the internal furniture is usually also built stronger.
I have no first hand experience with wind up campers, but I believe the Goldstream is well worth looking at.
AnswerID: 370330

Follow Up By: Member - AJ - Tuesday, Jun 16, 2009 at 19:48

Tuesday, Jun 16, 2009 at 19:48
Thanks for that - after reading replies here and having a bit of discussion we agree that we will just stick with the off road types... just need to work out which one!

Thanks again.
FollowupID: 637702

Reply By: Member - Oldbaz. NSW. - Tuesday, Jun 16, 2009 at 16:33

Tuesday, Jun 16, 2009 at 16:33
Hi, AJ, I dont know a damn thing about windup campers,still getting about with a C/t, but welcome to the party. Owners generally feel their camper is the best & that isnt a bad thing. Collect all the advice you can, compare
features, check Ebay & other sites for info. Beg, borrow or hire one that seems to fit your needs & try it out. The only advice I feel qualified to give is...dont fill it up with stuff you dont need, weight is more fuel, more chance of
breakage etc. I know kids need a lot of stuff but try to make the trip the entertainment, not boxes of DVD & video games. I am sure happy owners will
tell you what they like about their campers. Good luck with it & keep asking
AnswerID: 370340

Follow Up By: Member - AJ - Tuesday, Jun 16, 2009 at 19:53

Tuesday, Jun 16, 2009 at 19:53
Thanks Oldbaz - I have started a bit of a list of things we might take, and figure we will then have to leave half of it out! We will of course do a few smaller trips to get used to it all and work out what we really need. The great thing about kids is that they really don't need all the "stuff" we tend to give them... a few sticks, rocks and imagination go a long way :)
FollowupID: 637704

Reply By: Member - Tony & Julie (FNQ) - Tuesday, Jun 16, 2009 at 17:37

Tuesday, Jun 16, 2009 at 17:37
Sorry also can not give advice on wind up camper - I have slide of camper on my ute.

But as for suspension. The road suspension will not cut the mustard for Cape travel. The road conditions change often on the PDR and it can get very corrugated - on road springs/suspension is not designed to take that type of punishment where off road suspension is. As stated above the fixtures are also made more robust. There are on road caravans/trailers dotted around Australia in pieces beside dirt roads.

I see a lot for sale in the Cairns post up here, so there must be a lot to look at. Look for something that includes h/duty suspension & shock absorbers.

Thats my 2 cents worth :-) Cheers Tony
AnswerID: 370352

Follow Up By: Member - Tony & Julie (FNQ) - Tuesday, Jun 16, 2009 at 18:24

Tuesday, Jun 16, 2009 at 18:24
2nd Hand Trailers for Sale
FollowupID: 637689

Follow Up By: Member - AJ - Tuesday, Jun 16, 2009 at 19:55

Tuesday, Jun 16, 2009 at 19:55
Hi Tony - thank you for that link. I'll check it out soon. Thanks also for the advice on the suspension.
FollowupID: 637705

Follow Up By: Member - AJ - Tuesday, Jun 16, 2009 at 19:58

Tuesday, Jun 16, 2009 at 19:58
The price range we are looking at is up to $18k. To be honest, we don't need anything that looks too pretty (we have typical rough and tough bush kids!), as long as it is structurally sound and does all it should it will be fine for us.
FollowupID: 637706

Reply By: Member - barry F (NSW) - Tuesday, Jun 16, 2009 at 17:49

Tuesday, Jun 16, 2009 at 17:49
Hi AJ, Why a wind up? We have not owned one but that is what we nearly bought when we were looking for our first van. My reason at the time was that not having towed a van before I thought seeing it was lower when all packed up it would be safer to tow. The thought of the view of a ruddy great van in my rear view mirror was a bit daunting at the time!
The more we talked to people who owned vans as well as sales people in caravan yards we were soon convinced not to go for a wind up, reason being set up time, particularly if it were raining & not being easily able to access the interior to make a cuppa etc whilst on the road.
We eventually compromised & bought a pop top, but if we were to buy another van we would buy a full van.
Having said all that, there are only the two of us & we stick to the bituem
As to whether you need an off roader or not will be dictated by where you intend to go & I would imagine it would be cheaper to buy a purpose build off roader rather than modify a standard one. Good luck
AnswerID: 370360

Follow Up By: Member - AJ - Tuesday, Jun 16, 2009 at 20:01

Tuesday, Jun 16, 2009 at 20:01
Hi Barry - I guess we figured that a wind up would be easier to get in to less accessible areas. Would that be right? We'd like to take it to places like Fraser Is along with Cape York. We figured that the wind up would be a reasonable compromise between a trailer and a van.
FollowupID: 637707

Follow Up By: Member - barry F (NSW) - Tuesday, Jun 16, 2009 at 20:16

Tuesday, Jun 16, 2009 at 20:16
You are probably be right about getting a wind up in less accessible areas, others on the forum would be better equipped than me to answer you on that & I reckon a wind up would be less hassle than a camper trailer, particularly if you were not staying at the one spot for very long. Cheers
FollowupID: 637710

Reply By: Member - Tony & Julie (FNQ) - Tuesday, Jun 16, 2009 at 18:18

Tuesday, Jun 16, 2009 at 18:18
AJ - Price Range you are looking at?
AnswerID: 370367

Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Tuesday, Jun 16, 2009 at 19:44

Tuesday, Jun 16, 2009 at 19:44
With trips like one to Cape York, you will definitely need an off-road camper.

There are two important points to consider.

An off-road camper will provide superior suspension to handle rough, corrugated tracks and also provide a higher ground clearance than an "on-road" version.

An off-road camper will (should) provide a sturdier chassis and general build quality to handle the rough surfaces you will experience. A standard build camper will shake itself to pieces.

Also, an off-road camper will provide underbody protection to things like a water tank, to stop the chance of a rock, etc. from puncturing it.

As for a wind up camper.
Have a look at the various styles of wind up campers available and the cost of a decent off road model.
Compare this type with an off-road hard top camper trailer and you may be surprised at what a camper trailer, as apposed to a wind-up camper (e.g. Jayco) provides.

Have a look at the range of Manufacturers selectable from Campertrailers.Org site for detailed reference.

A "hard top" camper trailer will give all the advantages of a "wind up" camper.


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AnswerID: 370385

Follow Up By: Member - AJ - Tuesday, Jun 16, 2009 at 20:20

Tuesday, Jun 16, 2009 at 20:20
Hi Bill
Thanks for that info. I guess the reason we are leaning more towards a wind up is that we thought for one-night stays or setting up in rain, the wind up would be easier with no need to make up bedding, etc, and the kitchen being inside.
FollowupID: 637711

Follow Up By: Sand Man (SA) - Thursday, Jun 18, 2009 at 07:24

Thursday, Jun 18, 2009 at 07:24

That is why I suggested a hard top Camper. Be assured, the top simply flips back and you can access the bed, etc. without the need to make anything.

On most styles the kitchen cooker and sink are accessable via a slide out drawer in the side.
The only time you need to errect the awning is to provide sun & rain protection if desired.

Or, depending on funds, you could look at something like the Ultimate Camper Trailer, which has the kitchen, etc. inside.

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FollowupID: 637929

Reply By: Brian B (Brisbane) - Tuesday, Jun 16, 2009 at 21:52

Tuesday, Jun 16, 2009 at 21:52
Hi AJ,

We recently sold our Goldstream off road wind up style camper and have now gone over to a pop top.

IMO the main players in wind up campers are Jayco, Goldstream and Coromal. Again IMO the Goldstream is the best in terms of quality etc but this comes at a premium price.

While you hear a lot of stories about where you can take these things it really depends on the conditions at the time and how the rig is handled, but they are not bulletproof and should not be taken to extreme places. Having said that, the off road setup is better as it offers better ground clearance and in some cases has upgraded suspension and underside and side panel protection as an extra.

They are great on internal room however their largely canvas sides do not offer a lot of insulation. The base unit is fairly quick to set up but you slow down a bit when you start putting awnings and flies up. Sleeping arrangements generally have a Queen size bed at one end and a double at the other, and in some the table converts to a double as well.

Packing them up in the wet requires you to leave your flies up and do it all under their shelter and then pack them up towards the end of the operation.

Check the bench height in them as some models have this down so low it is very uncomfortable using things at that level.

I think they are pretty good value for money and are quite popular with families. Happy hunting.
AnswerID: 370423

Follow Up By: Boobook2 - Wednesday, Jun 17, 2009 at 06:59

Wednesday, Jun 17, 2009 at 06:59
AJ, I second most of Brian B's comments. I purchased a Goldstream Storm offroad wind up after looking at the ones he mentioned and research here and other forums. It definitely has the best reputation for toughness and quality IMHO. Check out the cupboards of Jayco for example. I love it and have taken it on some pretty rough tracks and corrigated roads and it has been a dream.

We ordered 2 queen size beds and usually take 3 kids. The little one shares with us at one end and the 2 bigger ones share the other end. You can fit 1 or 2 where the table is but like most set ups it is a pain to manage at bed time and in the morning.

I had similar goals, ie off road, possible Cape Trip, Gibb River road etc etc.

I have drawn a line at where I think I will take it.

Basicaly it is tough enough to take anywhere. BUT it is heavy and large. So for me that rules out tight and steep / slippery tracks.

GRR, Tanamai, Bungle Bungles, any dirt corregated road at the right speed, no problems. High country tracks are a no no and while I haven't been to the Cape I would imagine it would be out too.

I figure it will go 95%plus of where I need it too. The offroad ones have a stronger frame, are higher and are generally stronger. I am not sure if you are buying new or second hand, but my MUST have list would include

Independant suspension
Off Road
Flies at each end as Brian Suggests

I also got the air bag suspension which helps. ( and makes leveling at set up time a breeze).

We have spend some time lately in the Snowys area and in temps to zero. We were surprised how comfortable we were. Yes it gets cold but if you close all the blinds it is surprisingly warm inside, especially if you turn a gas burner on for 15 mins or so to take the bight off the cold.
FollowupID: 637757

Follow Up By: Member - AJ - Wednesday, Jun 17, 2009 at 14:00

Wednesday, Jun 17, 2009 at 14:00
Thanks Brian and Boobook2.

We will have to go 2nd hand, which for us I think will be better in a way... at least I wont stress out the first time one of the kids puts a dent in something!

As for climate, we will do the majority of our travelling in Spring-Autumn, so I'm not too worried about the cold.

Thanks for the tips on what are must-haves. We have now decided we will definitely go off road to give us more options on where we can go, and understand we will still have to check treks out before deciding whether we could manage it in a wind up or not.

Again - thanks for your advice :P
FollowupID: 637830

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