Hard top camper trailer to sleep 6

Submitted: Saturday, Feb 13, 2010 at 17:51
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Hi all,
If money was no object, would like humble opinions on a hard top camper trailer to sleep 2adults 4 kids (ages 10 to 3).

Intend it to be a one-off purchase and use it for the next 10-20yrs (eventually using it for two when the chicks have flown the coop)

SHMBO insists on quick roadside stop kitchen access, under some sort of awning.

I need beds which need minimal or no packing away when decamping.
Prefer a unit that if there is a wet tent at pack up time, it doesn't get the beds wet.

We live in northern NSW and will be OS when June camping show on in Brisbane.

Have looked at aussie swag, ultimate, challenge, camprite, odyssey, trakshak, kk, t-van and adventure. Going cross-eyed now and losing the plot as to where to go next.

Are there any makes/models/manufacturer that I should look at as well?
Am trying to visit as many showrooms as possible and willl be hiring some of the more local ones over the next 4 months before the big purchase.
cheers
petro
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Reply By: Member - Bucky - Saturday, Feb 13, 2010 at 17:56

Saturday, Feb 13, 2010 at 17:56
petro

there is a Trak Shak for sale on this site, in the trader section...
You will never go wrong !
We have one, and love it

Cheers
Bucky
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Follow Up By: Member - Willie , Sydney. - Saturday, Feb 13, 2010 at 19:29

Saturday, Feb 13, 2010 at 19:29
But a pain to set up and pull down for an overnight stop.
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Follow Up By: Sir Kev & Darkie - Saturday, Feb 13, 2010 at 19:31

Saturday, Feb 13, 2010 at 19:31
They are not that hard Willie

4 pegs and 3 poles and 1 cross brace is enough for an overnight stop ;)
Pretty easy when they sleep 6

Cheers Kev
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Follow Up By: Member - Willie , Sydney. - Saturday, Feb 13, 2010 at 21:51

Saturday, Feb 13, 2010 at 21:51
Hi Kev,

What about opening it up, setting up those legs, then pulling over that monterous lump of canvas - which is bloody hard to put away again in the morning.

We took ours away to the Pilbara and we ended up using swags everytime we stopped for one or two nights. The kitchen on the tailgate was handy though.

I sold mine - I think they are only worth the trouble if you have plenty of time for set-ups and need heaps of room - they certainly have that !

Cheers,

Willie.

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Follow Up By: Sir Kev & Darkie - Saturday, Feb 13, 2010 at 21:57

Saturday, Feb 13, 2010 at 21:57
No different to any other Camper, they all take time to set up. We have no issues setting up the Trak Shak, even with my dodgy back ;)

We have been shown a few tricks to help setting up with minimal effort so all is good.

Cheers Kev
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Follow Up By: Member - Captain (WA) - Saturday, Feb 13, 2010 at 22:30

Saturday, Feb 13, 2010 at 22:30
Ummm.... Kev, have you tried setting up campers other than a Trak Shak that have a reputation of easy setup? Things like Ultimate, Tvan, Camprite, KK etc... ? WHile they all do take time to setup, I think you will indeed find there are differences ;)


Cheers

Captain
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Follow Up By: Member - Bucky - Sunday, Feb 14, 2010 at 07:20

Sunday, Feb 14, 2010 at 07:20
Willie
You have to be joking !
They are easy as, just 10 minutes each way...We did a 3 month trip, and put up and folded her back down most days...

Only a chor, if you make it.. !

Do not have the $$$$ for an Ultimate, but apart from that they are all a PIA, if you choose to make it..


Mate Bennie, who did part of the trip with us, had a 12 or 14 year old Campomatic, and they are as quick as, but that still take 5 minutes, 15 with the annex, before they are fully setup, and if they are to use the annex, which is built into the Trak Shak.

Cheers
Bucky
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Follow Up By: Sir Kev & Darkie - Sunday, Feb 14, 2010 at 07:23

Sunday, Feb 14, 2010 at 07:23
Captain,

Yes and as I said They ALL take time to set up. How long you wish to take is up to you. I can be set up for an overnigh stop in about 10 mins doing it by myself. Packed up in 15-20, when travelling with 3 females I have plenty of time ;)

The OP wanted to know about camper that could sleep 6.

The Trak Shak sleeps 4 off the ground and another 2 underneath.

Going by your checklist of campers you reviewed the Trak Shak wasn't one of them ;)

Cheers Kev
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Reply By: Member - OzGazza (VIC) - Saturday, Feb 13, 2010 at 18:13

Saturday, Feb 13, 2010 at 18:13
We had an Aussieswag which was fantastic for us an 2 kids. But if you want 6 beds then I reckon the Track Shack would be a better option.
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Reply By: CJ - Saturday, Feb 13, 2010 at 20:01

Saturday, Feb 13, 2010 at 20:01
Petro

Sounds like you wrote a description of a TVan

Can't go wrong there

Chris
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Follow Up By: Gramps - Saturday, Feb 13, 2010 at 21:32

Saturday, Feb 13, 2010 at 21:32
Chris,

2 adults and 4 kids in a Tvan ? To last a family 10 years ? Is there such a model ?

Regards
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Follow Up By: Member - Willie , Sydney. - Saturday, Feb 13, 2010 at 21:53

Saturday, Feb 13, 2010 at 21:53
Yeh, your kidding us arn't you Chris.
Willie
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Follow Up By: CJ - Sunday, Feb 14, 2010 at 10:39

Sunday, Feb 14, 2010 at 10:39
Not kidding.

Look at Petro's words, not mine:
'hard roof'
'tent not folding onto bed'

How many campers have that?

PLUS, longer term they want it for the two of them. It is perfect.

Yes sleeping 6 is tight, we sleep 5, but like any other camper you can have walled annex or family room zip-ons for now, and have the benig=fit of simply leaving it at home when there are only two

CJ
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Follow Up By: Gramps - Sunday, Feb 14, 2010 at 11:38

Sunday, Feb 14, 2010 at 11:38
Chris,

Fair enough. A bit squeezy for my liking though.

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Reply By: Member - Captain (WA) - Saturday, Feb 13, 2010 at 23:04

Saturday, Feb 13, 2010 at 23:04
Hi Petro,

I looked around for ages for a good family camper and found the Camprite to meet my needs the best. What I have found was most campers are either designed for a couple or have the issue of extended setup to accommodate the family. The Camprite is the only camper that is designed for a family and has all the kids off the floor.

While all the campers you have mentioned are very good, I too looked at them but slowly crossed them off my list. All the hard floors have the problem of kids bed setup, the Ultimate had the kids in a separate tent area underneath, the soft floors need flat ground and the Tvan is really a couples van. The final two campers left on my list were the Adventure and the Camprite. I loved the kitchen and awning of the Adventure, but after setting up the "case" tent (not that easy - make sure you do that if serious about it!), the kids were back on the floor and you had to make your bed every night.

So while the Camprite has the issue of no quick awning (does have a beach umbrella holder as standard), it ticked every other box for me. I could go on for ages about its good points and how great they are, how they can carry kayaks and bikes that can remain in place when setup etc... but I think that the most telling thing is both my sister and my wifes sister have each bought a Camprite, along with another family we also go camping with.

A Camprite is not perfect by a long shot (no camper is), but it certainly has proven to be very suitable for our requirements and I have yet to see a more suitable camper trailer on the market for a family. But if you are wanting to buy new, hope your not in a hurry as the waiting list is over 12 months long!!!

Cheers

Captain
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Follow Up By: petro - Sunday, Feb 14, 2010 at 00:54

Sunday, Feb 14, 2010 at 00:54
Thanks for the cogitation.
I've read some entries about the camprite and storage space- is it really an issue during set up that you need to move alot of gear?

Could you custom fit a pull out awning ( like on the Adventure trailers) to the camprite- it looks possible from the photos.
cheers
petro
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Follow Up By: Member - Captain (WA) - Sunday, Feb 14, 2010 at 01:39

Sunday, Feb 14, 2010 at 01:39
Hi Petro,

The current model TL8s has improved storage, but it is still not a strong point for the Camprite. I do store stuff on the floor but then put it on to the bunk beds once set up. As you have 4 kids you will not have a spare bed to put it on plus you will have more gear in the first place. However, I don't think the Camprite is any worse than any other camper.

The biggest problem with ALL camper trailers is there lack of permanent storage space compared to a caravan. I used to have a van and this is the biggest disadvantage in my current setup.

At least all the gear is inside the Camprite, compared to the Adventurer all the gear is stored outside the tent area - you have to go outside to get it. So while it may have a spot, its not that accessible!.

You can buy a quick awning for the Camprite, but it still requires poles and pegs. If I need an awning, I just use the roll-out awning on my vehicle and then use the umbrella over the kitchen.
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Cheers

Captain
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Follow Up By: petro - Sunday, Feb 14, 2010 at 02:51

Sunday, Feb 14, 2010 at 02:51
Thanks Captain....
Do you reckon you could squeeze 6 bikes onto the rig? Say 2 adult bikes off the back, and the rest on top?
cheers
Petro
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Follow Up By: Member - Captain (WA) - Sunday, Feb 14, 2010 at 10:23

Sunday, Feb 14, 2010 at 10:23
I can fit 4 adult bikes on the rack. You could either extend the bike arms to take 6 bikes (lot of weight though) or put them on top. Before I got the bike carrier, I used to put the 2 kids bikes on top of the kayaks - but was a PITA. You could also put them on top of the front box too, but would have to remove them before setting up each night.

Cheers

Captain
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Follow Up By: petro - Sunday, Feb 14, 2010 at 22:48

Sunday, Feb 14, 2010 at 22:48
Thanks all,
ot to see the camprite upclose and personal today at Byron.
Impressive set up for quick beds- can cope with the annexe taking longer if a longer stay.
Only problem is the wait for an order for the current model.
Wanted some practice with it prior to the big trip in Dec 2010
anyonye with an unwanted TL8sm ex hire ex demo?
petro
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Reply By: Best Off Road - Saturday, Feb 13, 2010 at 23:27

Saturday, Feb 13, 2010 at 23:27
I really think you need to look at something like a Jayco Expanda or Windsor Rapid.

Just some ideas.

Jim.

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Follow Up By: Member - Captain (WA) - Sunday, Feb 14, 2010 at 10:30

Sunday, Feb 14, 2010 at 10:30
I used to have a Windsor Rapid and it was a great van, very suitable for what Petro would need. However, even though it was an off-road model, it still cannot go where a camper trailer can, any van is simply physically too big if going off-road (have posted previously on the issues I had).

A van is a very different experience than a camper trailer. I have had both and definitely prefer the more "outdoor" camping feel that a camper has over a van. But there is no doubt a van has more creature comforts. All depends what type of experience you are after. Must admit if I had 4 kids I would be considering a van, but would depend more on where I planned to go.

Cheers

Captain
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Reply By: ozjohn0 - Sunday, Feb 14, 2010 at 11:24

Sunday, Feb 14, 2010 at 11:24
Petro.
Sounds like you're looking for a 'Tent Trailer'.
If you really want a Hard Top and quick set up, then a "Camper Trailer" like a Jayco Swan or similar would probably fulfill your needs.
ozjohn.
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Reply By: Member - Duncs - Sunday, Feb 14, 2010 at 14:50

Sunday, Feb 14, 2010 at 14:50
Petro,

I have had a Trak Shak for over 13 years now. When I first got it I had 3 kids; 8,4 and 3.

Up until recently all the kids have travelled with me on many trips of upto about 10 weeks.

On most trips we move daily with nothing more than 3 nights in any one spot, but we have used it for up to 2 weeks in one spot.

Those who say the Trak Shak is too much work to set up should stay in motels. I can be in bed 6 minutes after pulling the handbrake on. Generally though it takes about 10 to 12.

Our pattern is to pull up and take the kitchen off the back of the trailer. We set that up in a suitable spot and Mum starts cooking tea while I set up the camper. With a pre-cooked meal that just has to be reheated I am usually sitting sipping a beer before tea is ready, but not always.

We leave the beds made all the time and have never had wet beds to get into having packed up wet in the morning, but we have delayed our start to let it dry out, never missed a day travelling though.

The Captain's set up works really well for him, my set up works really well for me and others have campers they love too.

The most important thing you can do is have a really good look. Look at everything 2 or 3 times before you make a decision. I looked at the Trak Shak and others for six years before I bought one.

Talking to people who have them is a good start, this post is sensible. But, you will only know what they are like to live with when you live with one. Get out into the caravan parks and campgrounds and have a look at what is there. If you see something interesting ask the owner. I have never been told to shove off, most people love their campers and are happy to talk about them with you if you ask nicely. Many will let you have a look inside and at the way they use the storage space, but wait to be invited before sticking your head in.

Looking at a shiny new camper in a showroom and listening to the speel of a silk tongued sales rep is no substitute for seeing how they really get used.

Even the well constructed arguments posted on a forum like this can be deceptive.

Duncs
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Reply By: Bap - Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 13:08

Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 13:08
Hi Petro
we have been doing exactly the same as you...looking for the perfect camper trailer! We also have 4 kids (age 7-13) so we need to sleep 6.

Our original choice was the Adventure, for the same reasons your wife wanted - easy access to the kitchen for and lunch stop and it was under cover. But then we went to the Camping Show in Perth and actually saw one and watched them set it up and decided the way the bed had to be pulled out, turned around and then set up was way to much effort! Also, all the kids beds couldn't just be left on top of the main bed, there just wasn't room.

We also looked at the camprite, but hubby was a bit concerned about storage and it didn't look too easy to put the fridge on the back.

We are planning on travelling for 5 months, from Perth to Cairns, so we really needed something with a certain level of 'comfort', another fridge or extra fridge space (with 3 growing boys you need heaps of food!) and somewhere they could do schoolwork without too much trouble.

So we have finally decided on a Jayco Hawk (or similar Goldstream). Mainly because: the kitchen is always there, no need to set it up; if it is raining, windy, too many flies etc, you can get out of it easy; we can all sleep in it for an overnight stop.

But if we were not travelling for so long, we would have definitly gone for a 'proper' off road camper trailer, and probably a TrackShak because they sleep 6. But because we are travelling on our own we figure we won't be doing any extreme tracks and if we want to go somewhere the camper can't go, we will unhitch and just take the car.

Cheers
Michelle




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