Caravan or camper

Submitted: Tuesday, Jul 27, 2010 at 23:15
ThreadID: 80360 Views:11675 Replies:13 FollowUps:9
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Yes I know a big question but this is my dilemma. We currently have a camper trailer, off-road sort of but not set up well enough to do any touring. The family (wife, two kids 4 and 5 and me) want to do some travelling from Perth to Alice, Darwin Broome and back to start with. My wife want a caravan for comfort and it is all set up, me, I want a new camper set up to travel. So my question is how far can i get with a caravan as opposed to a camper. Will we still get to all the "good" places. Thankyou in advance for any help replies.
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Reply By: Voxson - Tuesday, Jul 27, 2010 at 23:27

Tuesday, Jul 27, 2010 at 23:27
A camper in essence can be towed anywhere with the right driver and a caravan can be dragged through with the right driver...
Depends on where you call the good places....

Caravans are great for crapholes like Longreach, Winton, Charleville, Mt Isa, Kurumba, etc etc......

Campers are great for the choice places like high country, Cape York, Kimberly, Savannah Way, Arnhemland,, etc etc...
AnswerID: 425466

Follow Up By: ExplorOz - David & Michelle - Wednesday, Jul 28, 2010 at 02:24

Wednesday, Jul 28, 2010 at 02:24
that's a clever answer - I like it! And I would agree.
David (DM) & Michelle (MM)
Always working not enough travelling!

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Follow Up By: Member - Toyocrusa (NSW) - Wednesday, Jul 28, 2010 at 06:33

Wednesday, Jul 28, 2010 at 06:33
I wouldn't describe any town in Oz as a "craphole" Some may not be so good but they all have their positives. Bob
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Follow Up By: Voxson - Wednesday, Jul 28, 2010 at 11:44

Wednesday, Jul 28, 2010 at 11:44
And the positive of Wilcannia is????

I agree with your comment actually.

Mine is harsh and yours is a bit sugar coated but i agree.

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Reply By: Motherhen - Tuesday, Jul 27, 2010 at 23:47

Tuesday, Jul 27, 2010 at 23:47
You're young enough to handle a camper, and would probably feel constrained with the four of you in a caravan. Convince your wife that a caravan is for retirement years, when you can tour without children and not have to worry about unfolding a camper at each stop with your creaking old joints. Good luck and happy travelling.


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Reply By: landed eagle - Wednesday, Jul 28, 2010 at 07:09

Wednesday, Jul 28, 2010 at 07:09
If it was me I'd be looking forward to having a look about the place and playing with the kids after a days touring instead of having to unfold a camper,especially if only doing an overnighter.
Caravan----open the door,grab some toys,a beer and that's it.
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Follow Up By: Member - DAZA (QLD) - Wednesday, Jul 28, 2010 at 07:26

Wednesday, Jul 28, 2010 at 07:26
I agree re: the Caravan for comfort and ease, and if we want to go to other out of the way places we can leave the van at a secured site and use our camping gear, tent ect, a camper trailer is a tent on wheels and not much different to a tent on the ground.

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Reply By: Going Bush - Wednesday, Jul 28, 2010 at 08:24

Wednesday, Jul 28, 2010 at 08:24
You could consider a Jayco Outback type thing, Its sort of halfway between Camper Trailer and Caravan.
AnswerID: 425482

Follow Up By: landed eagle - Wednesday, Jul 28, 2010 at 09:13

Wednesday, Jul 28, 2010 at 09:13
I have a Jayco Expanda 16-49-3 Outback Hardlid with shower/toilet. Heaps of room inside. Only takes about 5 mins to unfold the beds,connect water and power( if you're in a van park), and you're done.Certainly recommend this style of van.
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Follow Up By: Member - troy s (WA) - Wednesday, Jul 28, 2010 at 09:26

Wednesday, Jul 28, 2010 at 09:26
We have a goldstream camper, so same-ish as the jayco eagle outback. For me it is a compromise between full offroad, ease of setup, and comfort for the wife.
I plan to take it most places, heading off next week through the 'Outback Way' up to Cape york and where ever next. I figure we'll drive to the conditions, and it'll follow me, will asses every situation as we get there.

First night we got it, I set it up in the dark, and took no longer than 10 mins to set up, so can only get better, longest part was extending the leg supports.

Which ever way you go, I'm sure there is no 'bad' option, every bit you get to see of this land is a bonus!

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Reply By: Allan B, Sunshine Coast, - Wednesday, Jul 28, 2010 at 09:58

Wednesday, Jul 28, 2010 at 09:58
Bear in mind that it is probably your wife who has to manage the domestic chores but under even more difficult condition than when at home, which is why she opts for a caravan. Not considering her needs may lead to tensions!

Perhaps a compromise would be a compact pop-top van which would be reasonably versatile but provide some of the conveniences of home. Chuck in a small tent for those occasions when you might want to get into the more inaccessible locations for a day or two. Discuss this proposal with wifey and see the reaction.

Cannot suggest differing models (caravan, not wife! lol) as I am a self-contained Troopy man, but I do know something about domestic harmony.


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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Wednesday, Jul 28, 2010 at 16:29

Wednesday, Jul 28, 2010 at 16:29
Allan, I am a Troopy wife and old enough for 4 and 5 years olds to be my grandchildren! One of the joys of travelling in a Troopy is the freedom and simplicity of living on the road, something all the perceived comforts of a caravan could hardly match.

Perhaps jvb1 could encourage his wife to read thread 80358, especially David and Michelle's response which very neatly sums up the positives of the kind of travel we all do. Personally I don't think considerations of comfort are very high on the "must have" list even if you are travelling with young children - though if you are new to camping/travelling I can see that caravans may look like an attractive option.

Perhaps sharing the domestic chores (and for that matter all the "chores" including driving) would make for a more enjoyable and satisfying trip for all concerned. Part of the fun of travel, especially in more remote areas is getting out of your comfort zone. Children respond particularly well to this, but they need their parents to set them an example.

Im with Motherhen - hold back on the caravan until you're a bit more creaky in the joints. With it you wont be able to see a lot of the "good bits" at least not without a degree of anxiety about how your van is faring.


J and V
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Follow Up By: Allan B, Sunshine Coast, - Wednesday, Jul 28, 2010 at 17:35

Wednesday, Jul 28, 2010 at 17:35
Val, I'm unsure why you directed your thoughts to me instead of to Justin, the original poster.

We are also "old enough" and travel with everything in or on the Troopy, no trailer, and have passed beyond having our children with us. Both my wife and I loved camping and roughing it. But not everybody is like that. Clearly Justin's wife appreciates a little more comforts and facilities and should not be made to feel that she should also be expected to rough it if it does not suit her. I'm sure that Justin shares the domestic chores but it always falls to the mother to provide. Some, such as yourself, may have no problem with that but not all. Part of your fun may be to get out of your "comfort zone" but it does not suit everyone and they should not be made to feel that they are less than adequate compared to others.

I don't think Michelle's response in thread 80358 is "the kind of travel we all do". Michelle is a superwoman and does she have ankle-biters along?

Anyway, don't lecture me, direct your response to Justin without depreciating my response to him. I'm old enough to be a GREAT grandfather and we still really rough it. You will never see me in a caravan. When we are too old to climb into the Troopy we will probably be swanning down the Rhine in a cruise boat!


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Reply By: Crackles - Wednesday, Jul 28, 2010 at 12:50

Wednesday, Jul 28, 2010 at 12:50
"Will we still get to all the "good" places."...........In short No.
A caravan will restrict access to many great locations & force you into leaving the van at a base & day tripping to the more remote & challenging attractions. ie: Bungles don't allow vans in.
There are plenty of campers & crossover type vans available now that are quick & easy to setup. With the money saved you can afford to stay in the occational motel when the weather is a bit rough.
Cheers Craig.....
AnswerID: 425509

Reply By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Wednesday, Jul 28, 2010 at 13:02

Wednesday, Jul 28, 2010 at 13:02
Sitting here in Coffs with the rain pouring down the last thing I would want is to have to set up a camper.

Its a Caravan for us Turn the key ,open the door you are home.

We saw "most" of the good places and they were 95% of what I wanted to see and 110% of some places wifey didnt want to go. LOL

Keep the wife happy and it will make for a far better trip.

AnswerID: 425511

Reply By: jvb1 - Wednesday, Jul 28, 2010 at 13:26

Wednesday, Jul 28, 2010 at 13:26
Thanks everyone. I'm still not decided but as they say happy wife .... Will try and take her around to see a few camper and caravans when we get back from Coral Bay in a few weeks time. I am tall and lanky so the Jayco ones we looked at the benches were to low, gave me a sore back (my sister had one as well). I think my wife wants a caravan with all the fruit but so we may - will have to compromise. As long as I can take my fishing rod and beer I'm happy.

Thanks Justin
AnswerID: 425512

Follow Up By: BrownyGU - Wednesday, Jul 28, 2010 at 18:28

Wednesday, Jul 28, 2010 at 18:28

My wife and I have just brought a Goldstream Storm with the Cruisemaster independant suspension underneath, you'll find that the Cruisemaster stuff is used on a lot of off road vans and campers, and has a good reputation.

The Goldstream Storm is a "Jayco" style of van that winds up and the beds slide out the end, I'm 6'3 and I hear you in relation to the bench top heights, but to be honest in the few trips we've done in the van so far I spent very little time standing and working at the benches to find it a problem, if I'm in the van it's generally to sit or sleep, the wife is only 5'2' and finds the bench hight fine for sandwiches food prep etc,doing the dishes is the only issue for me, most of our cooking has been done on the external barbie (a great hight)

We had a camper trailer before this but like you we are heading on an extended trip around OZ (12 months) so the wife wanted some extra creature comforts with the odd few nights in a caravan park as well, and I didn't want to compromise too much off road stuff, so far we find it a great compromise of "comfortable camping".

I'd recomend a look at one if you can

Cheers and good luck....Browny
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Reply By: Outa Bounds - Wednesday, Jul 28, 2010 at 17:51

Wednesday, Jul 28, 2010 at 17:51
Sounds like a good trip. I wouldn't mind doing that one day....Perth to Alice, Darwin, Broome and home!

We've got a couple of kids (7 & 5) and we have had a couple of different camper trailers. I think my Husband would like to get another one at some point, I'm not sure to me it's just a place to store your gear and sleep...a tent on wheels and makes it too hard to turn around on any bush track if you really need to. I would prefer if we can sort out a set up to carry all of us and all we need in a dual cab ute!

I do like the idea of a crossover (there is a brand / model called crossover) or even a off road caravan, something that has the benefits of both. Maybe as middle ground you could consider looking at some of the hard floor camper models out there as well? Maybe she wants a caravan because she doesn't like the current trailer for some reason. Lol being a woman I know sometimes if I'm dead against something doesn't mean that my way of thinking won't change if I'm given some time.

Some campers are mighty quick to set up these days. When we travel we generally do a lot of quick overnight stops to get from one place to another, the last soft floor camper we had was pretty quick to set up, but yes it can be a little inconvenient having to set up the awning if it's raining just so you can cook in the dry.

I don't know caravans, we had one to live in before we had kids but that was about it, would have hated to travel with it all the time (cheap 16ft thing it was). Consider weather taking a van instead of a camper would make you any more reliant on staying at caravan parks? Like that electric microwave, lights etc that it has, do they work away from power? How much bush camping vs caravan park camping are you planning on doing anyway?

You never know maybe the compromise might be towing a camper but staying at a caravan park more often.

Good luck and I hope you both make the right choice that suits you well.

AnswerID: 425551

Reply By: ianmcoutback - Wednesday, Jul 28, 2010 at 19:51

Wednesday, Jul 28, 2010 at 19:51
Well i have to tell you that i have been looking and trying all types of things and it came down to one thing no canvas and not to big other wise to see everything Australia has you need to drop the caravan go look at things and then come back and pick it up what a mess. I went for the best one the supreme getaway caravan it is realy a camper trailer steel body with a caravan affixed to the top and is as tough as nails it keeps it size down so you can go anywhere and not have to back track all the time saves fuel. and just like home double bed hot and cold water system shower an toilet gas cooker with oven and its only 13 foot long and goes everywere.
AnswerID: 425577

Reply By: IdahOz - Wednesday, Jul 28, 2010 at 20:02

Wednesday, Jul 28, 2010 at 20:02
I think one way to approach the question is to think about what specific aspects of a caravan or trailer you and your wife have to have, and what you are willing to do without.

Think about how you will spend your day and what activities you will need to do (cooking, sitting around, sleeping etc) and how you will get them accomplished. And what things you want to be able to do (sleep off the ground, have your own shower/toilet etc) and how they will work.

For instance, we had a brilliant caravan in Idaho that we used a lot with our 4 children, but mostly only used the beds and the awning!! We almost never cooked or sat inside, did all our cooking, eating and chatting under the awning or round the campfire, and always preferred to use the campground toilets when available. The children always played wherever we were, with whatever was available (trees, rocks, streams and loads of imagination) But we mostly went on short trips. And I did like my bed up off the ground.

We currently have a tent and a trailer for all our gear but are looking to modify the trailer into a semi-camper so I can have that bed off the ground.

I think it really comes down to what basics/luxuries you are willing to go without and what are must-haves for you. Then you can see what set-up will fulfill your needs.

I also think you should look at as many options as you can even try before you buy before making a final decision.

A final comment is that everyone's needs seem to change over time and people up or down grade accordingly and that's where exploroz trader comes in :)
AnswerID: 425580

Reply By: Chipsy - Wednesday, Jul 28, 2010 at 20:24

Wednesday, Jul 28, 2010 at 20:24
Hi JVB1,

whatever you choose will be a compromise, theres always something that your rig cant do or somewhere it wont go.... its a tradeoff. but in the end the most important thing is to get out and do your trip. if you buy a caravan to siut your wife she may enjoy the trip so much more and so then might you all. just chuck in a tent and take the car to any places the caravan wont go.... however you travel you are sure to have a wonderful time.... Im all for campers, we bought ours early this year and couldnt be happier our kids love it too. I grew up camping in a tent so the camper seems luxurious to me. but each to their own once you hit the road you realise how many people choose caravans so there must be something to it!

have a great trip.
AnswerID: 425583

Reply By: bruttus - Wednesday, Jul 28, 2010 at 21:03

Wednesday, Jul 28, 2010 at 21:03
We are on our third camper trailer now, they are easy to tow and easy to store and not so much money tied up if you are working full time and it doesn't get used a lot as opposed to a caravan or upmarket trailer that is a lot of money tied up just to be sitting in the driveway. Although sometimes especially in winter we wish we had something in between a camper and a caravan,but then in the hot weather there is nothing better than sleeping in a canavas camper and feeling the canvas breath and the cool air. Nothing beats it. Good luck
AnswerID: 425596

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