Jayco Eagle

Submitted: Saturday, Aug 20, 2011 at 20:38
ThreadID: 88588 Views:9284 Replies:7 FollowUps:4
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We are planning to travell the country for a couple of years at the end of the year and are researching what type of van to take. Up until we visited the local Jayco dealer we were intending on buying a full size second hand van to tow with our 4wd and looking at leaving it in caravan parks or storage while we done trips into the National parks and some of the spots you wouldn't take full size vans. However our minds were changed when we looked at the Jayco eagle off-road camper. Weighing in at almost half the weight and price of a large van and the versitility of being able to take it most places the fourby will go has almost persuaded us to go for one of these style of campers. My question is how do these things hold up in bad weather. It would be great to hear from some owners of these style of campers that have experienced some nasty weather conditions such as strong wind, hail, snow, heavy rain etc. We will be venturing through Vic high country so how do they fair for staying warm in winter conditions? One salesman at Jayco told us they would be sweet in all conditions and another told us not to even think about it and that the $60,000 van at the other end of the yard would be the only thing suitable for us. No prizes for guessing he was getting payed by commission but we would like some accurate info by informed people not a sales pitch.
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Reply By: Member - Mark G Gulmarrad - Saturday, Aug 20, 2011 at 21:22

Saturday, Aug 20, 2011 at 21:22

we have a 2004 Jayco Outback Swan. we have been in some ordinary weather with it and its kept us safe & dry so far.like other forms of camping.......if the weather turns ugly a few extra poles , pegs and ropes will help.

hope you enjoy your Eagle,cheers.
AnswerID: 463103

Reply By: paulnsw - Sunday, Aug 21, 2011 at 06:55

Sunday, Aug 21, 2011 at 06:55
If you are going for 2 years you would unlikely survive 3 months personally in a Jayco Eagle camper. No chance of staying warm in cold conditions which you get inland in Australia. The putting up and taking down, packing and unpacking, wet canvas, mildew, cold, heat, lack of space and comfort would soon wear very thin. A full height combined shower toilet caravan 17' 6" inside is the sort of caravan you would want for 2 years. 17'' 6" is the top sized comfortable touring caravan.
With the size of Australia and what there is to see with tens of thousands of k's of good bitumen roads there is so much to see you seldom need to go down a gravel road. For the time you need to go down a gravel road take off on a couple days trip and leave the caravan in a park or safe location.
AnswerID: 463124

Follow Up By: Benno77 - Sunday, Aug 21, 2011 at 09:03

Sunday, Aug 21, 2011 at 09:03
We would be very unlikely to see much of anything that we want to see by staying on sealed roads. This is not the sort of trip we want to do. We have been 4wding and camping for many years and are not worried about setting up and packing up as we know this is only a half hour to an hour job that we may only be doing once a week. Space in the Eagle is quite comparable to all but the biggest vans we have already checked them out. All we want to know is will they handle storms and the like. Having to leave the van in parks or storage while we go off road is something we would like to avoid. It will only add more cost to the trip or the likelyhood of the van being subject to break ins or theft while un-attended. However if the common consensus is that we will spend the next 2 years cold and wetin a camper than we will have to look more at a full van as an option. How much experience have you had with the camper style of van and have you spent much time touring with them?
FollowupID: 736954

Follow Up By: paulnsw - Sunday, Aug 21, 2011 at 13:18

Sunday, Aug 21, 2011 at 13:18
You can always fit a Webasto diesel heater to a Jayco Eagle. I have a friend with a Jayco Eagle with a Webasto diesel heater installed. They don't handle storms well at all as you can work out they only have 4 skinny steel tubes a few cables to support the camper. There is no bracing to give them support and you do have to collapse them in bad weather to protect them and prevent the tubes getting damaged.
You will certainly be erecting and pulling down many times daily moving around. Packing and unpacking soon becomes a tiresome chore.
You stop for lunch with a caravan you can walk inside, pouring down rain, you open the door of the caravan and get inside dry. You want to leave or need to leave with a caravan you close the door and drive off. Even if you go for a smaller caravan you can be comfortable all the time and importantly dry and have no issues with storms. We have a caravan and a camper and after 6 weeks in the camper we are really getting to the end of our tether for more comfort.
FollowupID: 736982

Reply By: DOEY- Sunday, Aug 21, 2011 at 07:50

Sunday, Aug 21, 2011 at 07:50
hi benno77

how you would handle the cold etc depends on how tough and adventurous you are! we did 16 months around oz in a softfloor camper trailer, quite a few months of that were in WA and nearly everyday for 4 months straight we felt like we were gong to be blown away!
like others have said a few extra poles and ropes will work wonders! extra blankets wouldnt go astray either. The eagles are a tough design!

we are now thinking about an eagle or a swan ourselves as we have a new baby on the way (already have a 4yo) and will continue to travel. The jaycos have a great design and is perfect for a small family.

How many people does the van need to sleep? if there is only 2 of you, check out the i think its the jayco penguin, it doesnt have the 2 extendable beds but a queen?? size bed within the trailer and the roof just lifts up, less of the van to blow around etc, and lighter to tow.
Dont let others tell you that you need a full size van for long term travel. everything is a compromise, what you get with one type of van, you miss out on another.
You will survive in a jayco eagle just fine, and be able to go more places!
a bigger rigid van will see that you stay a little warmer and out of the wind but at the cost adventure!
whats more important to you?

if we could do it in a camper trailer, cant see why a jayco eagle couldnt do it!

have fun!

AnswerID: 463127

Follow Up By: Benno77 - Sunday, Aug 21, 2011 at 09:13

Sunday, Aug 21, 2011 at 09:13
We have two adults and two kids so we do need the extra beds. We have been camping and 4wding for years so the spirit of adventure is there but the reality of living outside full time has made us stop and put a bit of extra thought into the trip. I agree with you totally there is always a comprimise. And so far we haven't been able to find a van that meets our needs more than what the Eagle does but we do have some reservations about making one our home for the next two years. We are going to have an air con unit in it ( probly a portible one so we can get more stuff on the roof than with a roof mounted unit) but not sure if they will hold the heat or cold in the north.
FollowupID: 736955

Reply By: Off-track - Sunday, Aug 21, 2011 at 10:00

Sunday, Aug 21, 2011 at 10:00
I dont have any experience in travelling for that long so I cant give any accurate opinion there but regarding the cold the way I see it is that when we go touring we mostly use the CT for sleeping and eating, the rest we are outside trying to get away from the mod cons. So for us if it is cold outside we wear appropriate clothing anyway and that is what we will wear inside until we tuck into warm beds.
AnswerID: 463138

Reply By: Hairs & Fysh - Sunday, Aug 21, 2011 at 12:01

Sunday, Aug 21, 2011 at 12:01
Hi Benno77,
We've an old 87 Swan, I believe it's the original canvas.
We've owned Touche for two years now, a couple of leaks in the roof vent, all fixed now :)
The previous owner had dragged it around the block twice with out drama, I don't know how long each trip lasted.
To help the roof in strong winds, I attach ropes with springs to the kitchen side cnrs and peg, this tension helps pull opposite to the awnings ropes and pegs.
Takes the slack out of the roof swaying.
Packing up and setting up in wet weather isn't a drama either. By leaving the bed end flys on, the awning and kitchen awning on until last(tucking the bedding in) helps prevent the bedding from getting wet. When done right it will stay nice and dry with a little thought.
I take it you will have the bedend flys and awnings in bags already attached.
We also find ours is really warm inside, in fact it can be stuffy in bad weather, If it is really cold the Griller becomes a heater, only had to do this once.
I think you'll be fine, as you said, It's not as if you a new to it all.
I say go for it, you'll have a ball.

AnswerID: 463155

Reply By: Brian H4 - Sunday, Aug 21, 2011 at 22:55

Sunday, Aug 21, 2011 at 22:55
Hi Benno77.

No experience in a camper but have had a 17ft 6in van for over 9 years and it's great but not off road. So, you have options: go for what is called a cross-over van, it's a cross between a van and a camper but not cheap, or, I have had experience camping: take along an extra tarp, poles and spring loaded guy ropes and if you're in one spot for more than a few days put a tarp over the lot. It'll keep you warmer, dryer and cooler. Extra guys do wonders in rough weather provided you have the right pegs in the right soil/sand. Even with the van I carry tarps, poles and lots and lots of ropes and pegs of all types. You'll be fine. One more thing; there's no such thing as bad weather just inappropriate clothing.
AnswerID: 463211

Reply By: BrownyGU - Wednesday, Aug 24, 2011 at 01:26

Wednesday, Aug 24, 2011 at 01:26
G'Day Benno,

We have the Goldstream equivalent of the Eagle, we are currently doing an around OZ trip,(me, wife and 8 year old son) and there is extra work when setting up and pulling down compared to a van, but the internal room once erected is comparable to a much larger van, you will love the sleeping area for your kids, try buying a standard van that comfortably sleeps 4.

The harshest roads we have done so far have been the Gibb river road and also the Mitchell Plateau to Mitchell Falls, didn't see many full sized vans up that way, actually none come to think about it, but ours did it fine and we slept in comfort each night. But they are cold if the weather is cold and hot if the weather is hot, I dunno about full vans? A/C is an option with ours, with heavy rain we have had no water ingress into the van at all, we had 256mm in Tassie over a 24hr period and stayed dry in side, we use the flys over the bed ends when in bad weather, and find it possible to pack up in crook weather with only minimal wetting of the canvas. I'm sure it could be done completely dry, if you had more patience than me.

But, me and the wife both agree, that if we were to do a different trip,in the future with out any kids and we didn't do as much off road stuff, the full size van with toilet and shower would be our preferance, we do admit to a tinge of jealousy when we see a lovely big van pull in next to ours, and watch them basicly wind down there stabilisers open there door and there ready for a drink or a feed.

My oppinion is that you wont regret the purchase of the wind up type of camper as long as your prepared for a little extra set up and pack down.

AnswerID: 463401

Follow Up By: HGMonaro - Wednesday, Aug 24, 2011 at 14:39

Wednesday, Aug 24, 2011 at 14:39
We have a Goldstream too and think it's better in hot weather than a full van. In-laws have full van and when you can run the A/C (not always possible) it's noisy and claustophobic inside. A/C works very hard when you've got 4 people in there too. Our camper can be opened up so whatever breeze is about wafts through, like sitting under a shady gum tree!

Wind-ups are not for everyone... some of us don't want some the drawbacks of a full van ;)
FollowupID: 737225

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