Buying a Camper Trailer Feedback

Submitted: Friday, Apr 23, 2010 at 10:20
ThreadID: 77943 Views:8136 Replies:9 FollowUps:24
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Hi Guys,
We are looking at buying a CT but would love advice on the most practical for a family 2A + 2C (4 & 6). Our first trip will be from Hobart through the middle (Oodnadatta - Tanami) on through Kimberley's including Bungle's and Cape Leveque, down thru Pilbara to Perth and back to Hobart. With this in mind I'm not planning on scrimping when it comes to the purchase. Being a long trip we will have quite a few "stop and prop" stays where ease of setup/packup is of paramount importance, but will also have longer stays where taking a bit longer isn't an issue. So far we have looked at Aus Off Road Odyssey, Kimberley Campers and Cub Kamparoo's all of which seem like they may be a hassle to setup/packup kids beds every day. This is why we have also looked at Camprite's and the larger Cub Spacematic with the thought that these may be easier. Can anyone who has travelled with kids please advise what they've found to be most practical on a long trip? I really want the whole family to enjoy this fantastic trip sa much as possible. Any comments are very much appreciated. Best Regards, The Dorney's
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Reply By: ExplorOz - David & Michelle - Friday, Apr 23, 2010 at 10:32

Friday, Apr 23, 2010 at 10:32
EcoTourer,
We have not yet purchased a CT for our trips however have spent many trips with another family that uses a Camprite. Based on their experiences, feedback, our countless watching set-ups + pack ups and spending weeks and weeks with our friends we reckon we would be buying a Camprite for our 2+2 solution. If it was to be 2+3 or more then maybe not but for 2+2 I think it is hard to go past. Now mind you we have not done as much research into other models and there may be other units as good or even better however from what we have seen it would take something pretty special to be much better (maybe price).

Hope this helps and let us know which way you go, when you make your choice.
David
David (DM) & Michelle (MM)
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AnswerID: 414011

Follow Up By: bjgard - Friday, Apr 23, 2010 at 14:15

Friday, Apr 23, 2010 at 14:15
Our daughter and son - in law recently purchased think it is called a soft top i.e you have to peg the tent section- they needed space for 3 kids. As far as I am concerned they are a complete pain in the butt if you want travel and have a lot of 1 night stops. I would only look at a hard top that folds out and forms the base of the tent and no pegging out required for a 1 night stop.

The front page here is what I call a hard top http://www.cubcampers.com.au/
and here is a soft top http://www.cavaliercampertrailers.com.au/index.shtml.

Daughter has the latter as theirs folds out off the trailer so the tent is 14 ft long and gives a lot of space, but not for me as a overnight stopper. Takes around 20 to 30 minute3s ti set upo where was the hard topper takes about 2 minutes

Barry G
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Follow Up By: EcoTourer - Friday, Apr 23, 2010 at 23:55

Friday, Apr 23, 2010 at 23:55
Thanks David. Camprite seems such a great solution for us with (small) families - am only assuming there must be 100's of families out there who have done differently. In short though, you've eco'd my thoughts completely. Thanks so much for taking the time to write back. Very Best Regards, EcoTourer (TheDorneys)
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Reply By: Wilko - Friday, Apr 23, 2010 at 13:06

Friday, Apr 23, 2010 at 13:06
Hi Dorneys,

I have a Cub spacematic and it is solidly built and well made. It may be a little cumbersome on some of the tracks you mentioned.

I'm looking to upgrade and have narrowed it down to the Kimberly, Ultimate and Tvan.

I have short listed the Tvan but SWMBO said "its to small" for kids. I Like it as its easy as to set up and pull down and easily the lightest to tow, and if I get the kids room it'll have plenty of space for the little darlings.

Just my thoughts.

Cheers Wilko
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Follow Up By: EcoTourer - Saturday, Apr 24, 2010 at 00:01

Saturday, Apr 24, 2010 at 00:01
Hey Wilko,
I've a good Mate that has a T-Van and can vouch for how awesome they are, but even he says that for "with kids" they're not ideal. The Ultimate is awesome except for the fact that the kids are on a soft floor setup and cannot access Mum & Dad (issue for us :)) too easily in the middle of the night. As for the Kimberley's - FANTASTIC CT, but are they suitable for kids??? still trying to find out. Thanks so much for your reply!!!
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Follow Up By: Mr Z - Saturday, Apr 24, 2010 at 10:12

Saturday, Apr 24, 2010 at 10:12
I'm in a simialr mind to you wilko, Tvan has been at the top of my list for years. However now that I have kids I don't think it will be the camper I buy, I'm leaning towards an ultimate at the moment.
Due to our kids being so young our setup would be, One in the king size bed with us and the other on the convertable single bed. Once they are a bit older they would probably start to use the spare room.

I considered Camprite but the mrs wasn't a fan, she really wanted something more caravan like so I think the ultimate may be the best compromise I can come up with, internal kitchen, fridge etc.... Although I'd still aim to do most cooking outside.

She really likes the Jayco Swan type setups, but they would restrict us too much and not last the distance long term.
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Reply By: Spitster - Friday, Apr 23, 2010 at 16:04

Friday, Apr 23, 2010 at 16:04
We are a larger family 2 adults and 4 kids, so our choice was a bit limited. Bought a Trakshak, which not only can accomodate our tribe (with the add on underslung room), but has heaps of room inside as well for activities other than sleeping if the weather is a bit ordinary. Can be put up and put down quite quickly for an overnight stay with 2 poles, 2 ropes and 2 pegs. Very rugged as well, have had for about 10 years now and done about 40,000kms on some very ordinary roads with no problems.
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Follow Up By: EcoTourer - Saturday, Apr 24, 2010 at 00:03

Saturday, Apr 24, 2010 at 00:03
Hey Guys,

Thanks for the reply. Have heard SO many good reports about the Trakshak but am still wary about the setup/packup time and also about rough terrain camping. Love the hrad floors as you could be above... anything!

Cheers and Thanks again,

The Dorney's
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Follow Up By: Member - Duncs - Saturday, Apr 24, 2010 at 07:56

Saturday, Apr 24, 2010 at 07:56
Hi Guys,

I will second the vote for the Trak Shak. I have had mine for over 13 years and have never backed away from a track because the trailer was behind me. I travel with a family of 5, the youngest was 3 when we bought it.

I can set it up by myself in less than 10 min, even quicker for an overnight stop where I leave it hooked onto the car. Beds are made and Kitchen in use within that time. The 2 pole 2 peg system does work very well.

To back that up. I took it in to work so I could set it up to dry in the yard after having packed up wet over the weekend. I was not in a hurry, in fact I chooked around a bit cleaning things off as I opened it up. Having said that it was not a super flash set up either. What I didn't know was that the boys were watching through the window and had the stop watch running, 6 minutes.

Like I say that was not a perfect set up but I could have comfortably climbed into bed at that time.

With my son helping, he is 17, I can now do it in under 5 for a nice neat set up.

Duncs
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Follow Up By: EcoTourer - Sunday, May 09, 2010 at 00:10

Sunday, May 09, 2010 at 00:10
Can anyone advise as to the limitations of setup area required? The look like they (Trak Shak) need a LOT of perfectly level ground. We tend to go camping in areas where there are only nooks and crannies - perfect as far as four off the ground is concerned - but how does the Trak Shak handle less then level/rough ground???

Best Regards, the Dorney's
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Follow Up By: Spitster - Monday, May 10, 2010 at 09:07

Monday, May 10, 2010 at 09:07
The Trakshak doesnt need any more level ground than any other trailer or tent for that matter. It probably needs less as the canvas floor has more "forgiveness" than a hard floor. Some people are pedantic about levelness. I have seen some setting up a c/t with a spirit level, Me as long as it looks reasonably level and you can sleep without rolling down a hill, its good enough. Remember you are in the bush and it aint perfect.
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Follow Up By: EcoTourer - Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 21:31

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 21:31
Thanks for the advice Spitster but can I pick your brains further? We like to setup where there might be some significant undulations in the ground, so if the Trakshak is on these can you still get the canvas tight and setup properly? Also, back to your comment that hard floors might need even more level ground... the type of camping we do is positively avoiding the "perfect" environment for a setup and that's where I thought hard floors would be good - surely you can just set them up over whatever is there and chock the corners to achieve a near level situation??? If this isn't the case then hard floors are certainly not for us! We're certainly not the sort to say "Hmmm, that looks like a nice comfortable CARAVAN PARK for us to rough it in" :-)
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Follow Up By: Member - Duncs - Wednesday, May 12, 2010 at 13:35

Wednesday, May 12, 2010 at 13:35
Like all camping set ups the better the site the better your result will be.

I have set the Trak Shak up in some pretty ordinary places some times it looks great and sometimes it looks like a sack on a line, that said it has always been comfortable. Late one afternoon we got bogged in the soft sand trying to get across a creek. I was worn out and just couldn't be bothered fighting to get the car out of the sand so I set up where we were, right there in the creek. We were well above the water line so that was not an issue but it is testament to the versatillity of the Trak Shak

The biggest problem I have had has been in CV Parks. Early on when there were not many campers around park operators would try to put us on a small site. The TS needs a site about 8m x5m to set up I have had arguments with people who didn't think something as small as my trailer would open up that big.

Duncs
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Follow Up By: Spitster - Wednesday, May 12, 2010 at 13:58

Wednesday, May 12, 2010 at 13:58
Ditto to that, When we stay at a Park, we generally book a van site as the camping sites are generically too small. I dont think you need to be too pedantic about undulations. It will find its own level.
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Reply By: Outa Bounds - Friday, Apr 23, 2010 at 18:53

Friday, Apr 23, 2010 at 18:53
We had an All Terrain which was pretty good for us (2 plus 2). The kids were on stretcher type beds ( the ones that can be made into bunks) and what we found worked well was only partially dismantling them (ie legs off) and throwing them up on top of the main bed. The camper set up wasn't the thing that took very long at all, it was packing and unpacking all the other gear, well doing the dishes and eating before you could pack the table and chairs up etc etc.

We mainly don't have the camper any more as we sold it to help financially (build a house etc) we're only now starting to do a little bit of camping again (it's been 2yrs) and back to tents for now (starting to dream of a camper again).
Prior to that we have had an Adventure Pilbara camper trailer, it was as good as the All Terrain but didn't quite suit us as much and took longer to pack and unpack due to type of set up, well probably not much longer just more fidgety. Plus I discovered I don't need a kitchen sink, I prefer to have a flexible set up (stove on a table and a bucket thing for a sink). Before that we had some real cheapy camper, basically a box trailer.

Check out http://www.campertrailers.org/ and if you think you like a certain model might be worth seeing if you can rent it out somewhere for a few days.
AnswerID: 414061

Follow Up By: EcoTourer - Saturday, Apr 24, 2010 at 00:08

Saturday, Apr 24, 2010 at 00:08
Hey Outa Bounds,
Thanks for the reply. The point we are hoping to minimise (from your message) IS the packing/unpacking stuff. Really hoping we can find something that stays somewhat setup while travelling.
Thanks & Regards, The Dorney's
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Reply By: Member - Captain (WA) - Friday, Apr 23, 2010 at 19:19

Friday, Apr 23, 2010 at 19:19
Hi Dorneys,

I have had a Camprite for the last 3 years and its the best Camper Trailer on the market for families IMHO. Having ALL the beds made up and off the ground while still leaving the floor area free of beds is great. The Camprite has some 50% more under canvas area than a hard floor foldover due to how the main bed pushed over the A frame. The rest of the camper is similair to others with an outside kitchen and poles required for annexes.

However, like ANY camper trailer, it can become tedious to setup when making and breaking camp for days on end. We too have a 5 week trip planned than includes the Kimberlies in July this year and while we loved our Camprite, we recently ordered a Quantum by AORC. This van is only 900mm longer and 150mm wider than the Camprite so has great offroad ability - not quite up to Camprite standards but not too far behind. However, it has an even quicker setup and a lot more creature comforts, so we have decided to go down this path.

While I still reckon the Camprite is the best family Camper Trailer, I would be reluctant to go on such a long trip even with a camper as good as the Camprite (maybe we are too soft?). My sister and her family (2+2) has a Camprite and recently went on a 6 month tour around AUS. While she enjoyed the trip, the repetition of continually setting up had her saying she would have preffered not to have used a Camper Trailer in hindsight.

Unless you really need the off-road ability of a Camper Trailer, a good small offroad van will make your life easier. We have basically asked ourselves the same question you are going thru now and the Quantum was the answer for us :)

Cheers

Captain
Its not what you drive, but how you drive it!
LC 200 + AOR Quantum

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Follow Up By: EcoTourer - Saturday, Apr 24, 2010 at 00:17

Saturday, Apr 24, 2010 at 00:17
Hey-Ho to the Captain!,
Thanks very much for taking the time to reply. I agree with what you're saying in terms of ease (no softness, just practicalities with a young family :-)). Are you able to advise how "offroad" the Quantum is? We are planning on going to Cape Leque and the Bungle's, though if it turned out better overall, would be happy to Tent it fir these parts of the trip.
Very much appreciated, The Dorney's
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Follow Up By: Member - Captain (WA) - Saturday, Apr 24, 2010 at 09:30

Saturday, Apr 24, 2010 at 09:30
The Quantum has been to the Cape, Bungles etc... and will go anywhere it can fit. It is made by the same people (AORC) who make the Odyessy camper trailers.

I have previously had a Windsor Rapid off-road van and its biggest issue was its size, I managed to write-off both sides, along with the awning, as it was simply too big - thats why I went the Camprite. However, I believe the Quantum would have gotten thru. As for the Bungle Bungle and Cape Leveque, you shouldn't have a problem, I will be taking my Quantum there in July :) No need for a tent at all.

My tug is the 200 cruiser, so anywhere that fits the Quantum will fit. Your Ranger should have no trouble, all up loaded weight (with over 300L water) is ~2T. But the downside is price, you will not get any change out of $80K after you get all the options like annexes, a/c etc... But when you have a flushing toilet and hot shower in the middle of nowhere, well my SWMBO thinks its $$$ well spent :)

Cheers

Captain
Its not what you drive, but how you drive it!
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Follow Up By: EcoTourer - Sunday, May 02, 2010 at 21:45

Sunday, May 02, 2010 at 21:45
Hey Captain,
What we REALLY want is one person setup/packup in the mininum time in a true off-rodd camper. Just want the family to enjoy while I handle the obstacales. We LOVE to camp in out-of-the-way places so Camprite seems great and can't see how a soft floor (even as good as the Trak Shak) could rival this. Let me know your thoughts - also, if anyone know of a 2nd hand Camprie TL8 s that'd be great!!!
Regrds, TheDorneys
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Follow Up By: Member - Captain (WA) - Monday, May 03, 2010 at 15:31

Monday, May 03, 2010 at 15:31
I reckon you will find the Camprite a great choice - I know I did. But now the hard part is to buy one!!! Its a ~14 month wait if you order one new and a second hand one pops up about once a month if you are really lucky. The only one I am aware of for sale in Australia at the moment is here TL8s for sale. Not cheap, but fitted with every conceivable extra and practically brand new.

Cheers

Captain
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Reply By: The Rambler( W.A.) - Friday, Apr 23, 2010 at 23:34

Friday, Apr 23, 2010 at 23:34
Having had a PIONEER ARGYSLE camper for my last 3 trips in the really rough stuff which I am really happy with,for your situation where expense does not seem to be an issue I do not think you could get a better camper than the Quantum off road. It has a lot of features of a caravan built into a very well made and compact camper including hot and cold shower and toilet ,air conditioner plus great off road suspension.If I won the lotto I would have one tomorrow!
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Follow Up By: EcoTourer - Saturday, Apr 24, 2010 at 00:22

Saturday, Apr 24, 2010 at 00:22
Thanks Rambler. Am now just trying to ascertain how "Offroad" the Quantum is, and whether my Ranger will happily tow it. As for expense, I'd rathr spend the extra $$ to get the best result, but unfortunately am not in the position where I can afford to spend without great justification - and even then to a limit! Very Best Regards, TheDorneys
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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Saturday, Apr 24, 2010 at 13:32

Saturday, Apr 24, 2010 at 13:32
Hi Ecotourer,

Have had a look at the Quatum - looks great for a couple who want all the bells and whistles plus off road capability. BUT there does not seem to be much space for children, even for little ones. Spending top $ surely means you will want it to serve you well for a few years at least. Presumably there are additional "rooms" that can be added on for additional space - in which case you are back to your original problem of time to put up and down for overnight stops?

Having travelled a fair bit over many years, we have come to the conclusion that there is no "ideal" camping set-up - everything is a compromise. It gets complicated when you have a growing family as your needs will change quite quickly over that time. Difficult to plan for but a reality none the less.

Also, speaking more generally, I wonder whether most people really need all the apparent creature comforts that are offered in the glossy brochures, especially given the $$$ asked. For example the shower arrangement in the eclipse can be put together for less than $100 (and about the same time to erect i would think. And that is just one example.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that travelling around is not just about the gear required to get from point A to B. It is about your approach as well - getting out of your comfort zone, exploring places and your response to them, seeing new places with new eyes etc. Spending big $$$ alone will seldom get you that experience, and often there is as good and sometimes more enjoyment, comfort and convenience to be had in a simpler and less expensive set-up.

Apologies if this seems a bit on a tangent, but just a thought from experience.

Cheers,

Val
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Follow Up By: Member - Captain (WA) - Saturday, Apr 24, 2010 at 22:14

Saturday, Apr 24, 2010 at 22:14
Hi Val,

The Quantum has optional childrens beds for up to 3 kids, above the main bed you can have a single or a double bunk, plus the table can covert to a bed.

You are spot on about compromise, there is no perfect arrangement out there and believe me, I have tried most of them over many years (tents, campers and vans). It all boils down to what suits the individual family and their budget. While one could have make do with an external shower, having one inside, plus a toilet, is simply a convinience, not a necessity. But my wife and daughter certainly like the idea of a clean toilet wherever we may be - certainly beats some of the bathrooms you come across. Plus a vacuum flush toilet is also much better for those of us who have to empty them, much easier than a chemical porta potti :)

We have found we spent virtually all of our time outside so having room inside the van was not a priority, just a place to sleep - offroad ability was a big attraction of this van. Another attraction for us was the outside kitchen, virtually all other vans have inside ones with perhaps a token BBQ outside. And if we do stay in one spot for a while, we always have the option of putting up the annexe, but even on my Camprite I can remember only two occasions when we had all the walls up - due to bad weather.

I certainly agree that just having all the "right" gear is not the be all and end all of a trip, but it sure doesn't make it any harder!

Speaking from my experience and that of my siblings, a camper trailer can be used for long extended trips, many people do it, but if budget is not a major concern (as stated by the OP), why not have the bells and whistles, especially when travelling with children?

Cheers

Captain
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Reply By: Member - Josh (TAS) - Saturday, Apr 24, 2010 at 20:41

Saturday, Apr 24, 2010 at 20:41
Hi EcoTourer,
We have just finished 3 yrs on the road with 2 kids aged 3 & 5 when we left now aged 6 & 8. We travelled in an O'Briens offroad trailer and for ease of set up I don't think there is any quicker. They have a pole free frame which unfolds with gas struts. We only ever pegged it down when it was blowing a gale. They are full offroad and will easily handle the places you are going. You can have a look on our website at www.kidsandall.webs.com to see some photos of the trailer. The main tent area was 8x8 ft. The annexe was 12x8 ft and we had a kids room we could zip on the was 7x5 ft. For an over night stop it only took a couple minutes to set up the basics, for a couple nights we would set up the annexe as well and for a longer stay we would set up the kids room al up taling less than 30 mins but gave us heaps of room.
We have now settled in Hobart for a couple of years before we head off again as we all have itchy feet again already. Take your time looking at the trailers and see them being set up so you can see how long it actually takes to set up. Happy hunting and what an exciting time for your guys planning your trip.

Josh
AnswerID: 414167

Follow Up By: EcoTourer - Tuesday, Apr 27, 2010 at 00:05

Tuesday, Apr 27, 2010 at 00:05
With all that experience I will certainly take your advice onboard, am only worried about the level setup space required for the soft floors as we love to get into more out of the way (and less than ideal) spots.

Your setup looks great and I certainly admire you for taking th kids on such a fantastic, life-forming trip. Thanks so very much for taking the time to reply, am humbled by the amount of advice people are willing to give.

Very Best Regards, The Dorney's
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Reply By: Tim - Stratford (VIC) - Sunday, Apr 25, 2010 at 00:49

Sunday, Apr 25, 2010 at 00:49
G'day Dorney's,

Thought I'd save the best 'til last :-)

We have an '05 Kimberley Kamper Platinum and it suits us perfectly - us + two kids.

We often camp for single nights and the KK is great for this. We don't put up the annex or kids room - just setup bunks on the hard floor for the kids. There is still plenty of room (more in the newer KK's) to move around.

For extended stays in the one spot the annex (walls depending on weather) and kids room go on giving us heaps of room. This takes a while to pack up but when in the one spot for a longer period it is worth it.

When travelling the kids bunks come apart and lay on the bed. They use sleeping bags which fit in the under bed drawer with everything else.

The only down side to our KK is short stays and bad weather. Then we have to put up the awning for rain shelter. This takes a while, 15-30 minutes depending on which kid helps, although this is much quicker I believe with the new KK and its 'pole-less' setup.

I've thought of getting rid of our KK - only to update to the 2010 model - I wouldn't go to anything else at this stage.

Regards,


Tim & Sarah.

AnswerID: 414179

Follow Up By: EcoTourer - Tuesday, Apr 27, 2010 at 00:10

Tuesday, Apr 27, 2010 at 00:10
Thanks Guys,

KK's are now top of our list for flip overs, recently edging out Aus Offorad Campers (too heavy, not easy for one person to setup/packup). Good to hear you fit the kids in easily enough, I was just worried about setting them up, staying up later then tripping over them on the way to bed!

Your time and advice is very much appreciated.

Best Regards, The Dorney's
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Follow Up By: Milan - Tuesday, Apr 27, 2010 at 10:20

Tuesday, Apr 27, 2010 at 10:20
I'll put another vote in for the Kimberley Kampers.

We have just recently upgraded from a soft floor and ordered a 2010 model Kamper. The new tent entry allows more room for the kids to sleep on the hard floor for overnight stops, and a zip on bedroom will be added for extended stays. The new quik awning is also great for overnight stops and can be opened out further and walls added for long stays.

Overall I felt the Kimberley Kamper suited our needs best - the flexibility in allowing us to have quick overnight setups or full setups for extended stays, while still allowing the kids enough sleeping room either way without having to climb over them sealed the deal for us.

Milan.

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Follow Up By: EcoTourer - Sunday, May 09, 2010 at 00:15

Sunday, May 09, 2010 at 00:15
Hi Tim & sarah,

Got to see a real live KK hardfloor for the first time yesterday. Have you found hat there is really enough room for the kids without treading on them on the way to bed? They seem very small on the hard floor area though absolutely awesome on the seup /packup side if things...

Cheers, The Dorney's
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Follow Up By: Tim - Stratford (VIC) - Sunday, May 09, 2010 at 01:20

Sunday, May 09, 2010 at 01:20
No problem - we use bunk beds (COI Leisure) which take about 5min to setup. We leave them assembled on our bed when traveelling and at camp just have to install legs and posts to beds to turn them into bunks.

With the bunks the kids only take up about a third of the hard floor area against a wall - heaps of room.

I don't think I've got any photos of this setup - but if you Google COI Leisure you may be able to find the measurements of their bunks to 'overlay' that onto a plan of the hardfloor.


Tim.
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Reply By: Member - Chris L (VIC) - Saturday, May 15, 2010 at 09:02

Saturday, May 15, 2010 at 09:02
I bought a KK a couple of years ago - and sold it within 12 months. It had some great features (diesel HWS, towing ability) but too many disappointments. Great concept, but it just didn't deliver for us overall. (I'm happy to go into details off-line).

Yes, the solid floor is a big plus but, if I were to get another camper trailer, I would probably not go past Complete Campsite. It's a soft top, but set-up, including big enclosed awnings, leaves KK in its dust. (I didn't believe it either at first - check it out.) Had I bought one of these in the first instance, I probably would still have it.

However, since I have started looking again, I have discovered the Quantum! Very good off-road ability, no wider than the vehicle, good weight, great kitchen, brilliant electrics, very easy awning - walls way easier than KK, inside T&S, lots of water. These guys are on to something. I think it's the way of the future for a big chunk of the market.
Cheers, Chris
AnswerID: 416750

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