Camping Options

Submitted: Tuesday, Sep 20, 2011 at 22:39
ThreadID: 89149 Views:3372 Replies:11 FollowUps:1
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Over the past nine years I have been doing a lot of outback trips, usually for three to twelve weeks. On longer trips I take an Oztent and my swag and on shorter ones I usually just swag it. I also mainly travel between June and September when the weather is usually fine.

My 2004 Hilux tray top has a canopy with kitchen, fridge, water, solar etc. - enough gear to camp comfortably. Next year I am retiring and I will start my trip in March when it could be wet and cold. I am looking at the options for camping other than what I have got - camper trailer, poptop etc.. If it rains or blows for a week. tenting is not very comfortable.

I am limited by what my Hilux can tow - 1800 Kg with electric brakes - and by what I can afford which is up to $15000. I also don't want it to fall apart on the corrugations. I have spent hours searching this site and the internet in general and nothing seems to fit.

I travel on my own so whatever I get has to be a one man job to set up and re-pack and not take too long. Off-road caravan are out because of the weight so it has to be an off-road camper of some sort. There are many camper trailers on the market for under $10000 but I would prefer a caravan type camper that doesn't need guy ropes. I like the A'van Cruisliner type of camper except they have very low clearance and don't seem to be off-road.

I still want to travel outback roads but I won't be carting it across the Gunbarrel etc. but I do travel to Innamincka and Birdsville quite often and I would like to travel the Odnadatta Track and the Great Central Road.

I have just read what I have written and it is all over the place. Hopefully it makes some sense and some of you can help me with some suggestions.

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Reply By: Member - Anthony W Adelaide - Wednesday, Sep 21, 2011 at 00:12

Wednesday, Sep 21, 2011 at 00:12
What about a rooftop tent if you can cope with the ladder? I rekon they would be easy to set up in all types of weather and not worry bout mud.
Better than towing maybe?
SWMBO and myself are at about the same place. We usually take 30 sec. tent with an air mattress on trips up to 7 - 10 days but set up and pull down is getting a bit longwinded and sick of airmattress getting holes and going down overnight. We also have an old cavalier soft floor camper we take sometimes which is comfy to sleep in but towing is a pain.
Rooftop tent is something we may try soon but a bit worried about the ladder after happy hour.
Other than that a hard floor camper like kimberly or aussie swag look easy to handle and go anywhere, and we just resign ourselves to towing.
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Reply By: Terradan - Wednesday, Sep 21, 2011 at 00:54

Wednesday, Sep 21, 2011 at 00:54
Hi Bob

I have sent you an email about a camper I think fits your needs.


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Reply By: Member - Mark (Tamworth NSW) - Wednesday, Sep 21, 2011 at 07:19

Wednesday, Sep 21, 2011 at 07:19

What's wrong with an older off road hard floor CT?

Should be able to get one of those, maybe 2000 build for less than $15k. Most you should have to do is fit new shocks.
We have a 03 Kimberly Kamper which I can operate on my own without a winch or any help, just more fidly having to walk around and tuck in the canvas when closing up on your own.
If you don't put up the annex or sun roof they are a less than 5 minute set up job, probably 10 minute max pack up on your own.

Sun awning probably adds another 10-20 minutes.
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Reply By: Robin Miller - Wednesday, Sep 21, 2011 at 07:41

Wednesday, Sep 21, 2011 at 07:41
Next year is a good time to retire , I will probably try it also Robert.

I am quite sold on what we will do , which is to sleep in the car , and design all the camping bits around that senario.

It takes some time to collect/build the right acessories , but when its done nothing matches the flexibility , speed of packing up , lower fuel costs.

It also maximizes where you can go and the security.

You already have a canopy and I have seen others more or less put a dividing wall longways down it and sleep in one side.

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Follow Up By: stoney123 - Thursday, Sep 22, 2011 at 13:25

Thursday, Sep 22, 2011 at 13:25
Stick to your tent its cheaper. I put a large tarp up which covers the tent entrance and extends about 3-4 metres, i can then have a fire and sit outside in the rain under cover. Whilst all the people in vans or dome tents are stuck inside, sometimes for days.
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Reply By: mikehzz - Wednesday, Sep 21, 2011 at 08:23

Wednesday, Sep 21, 2011 at 08:23
I have an off road trailer, lockable lid with racks and a roof tent on the trailer racks...bugger climbing on top of the car at my age :-). Light, easy to set up even in the dark in places like road side rest stops. I carry a larger awning tent for extended stops if I can be bothered to put it up :-). I have 2 cars and like to take either depending on circumstances.
Ideally I would opt for a Stockman pod trailer with lid and racks with an Autohome Maggiolina roof tent on it, $7000 all up brand new. There are lots of options for the pod including kitchens. I particularly like the Kwik Kamper option. Google is your friend. Cheers Mike
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Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Wednesday, Sep 21, 2011 at 14:13

Wednesday, Sep 21, 2011 at 14:13
G'day Robert,

The way you have your current canopy set up, it wouldn't take too much to put in a sleeping area on the off side. Then you're under cover if it rains at night. Also the addition of one of those folding awnings might be useful??? Failing that a custom annexe to give some extra dry space.

"If it rains or blows for a week......" Just pack up and move on, and come back later when the weather suits you. Your Hilux looks the goods for your style of camping, and reckon you'd only need a few mods to make it more suitable, for changeable weather.

We are looking at a canopy similar to yours, made in Hervey Bay by Bob Mitchell, so we have hard top sleeping accom. & no towing duties. With an annexe/awning on each side, reckon it might be the go too. Bob will even put a reverse cycle split system aircon in one for you!!!

Enjoy your final decision, Robert.

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Reply By: Member - Vince M (NSW) - Wednesday, Sep 21, 2011 at 19:01

Wednesday, Sep 21, 2011 at 19:01
bob, may be a flip over & convert your own canopy, I built mine, but it is still canvas but will give you a reasonable amount of room for 2 (mines a 4 berth)
& you can,t leave it as a base but will only be about 80kgs heavier than you are now & will go any where you want.
I'm building a 4x4 motor home at present & it will have NO canvas for those long wet stays in retirement
good luck
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Reply By: Member - John and Val - Wednesday, Sep 21, 2011 at 21:31

Wednesday, Sep 21, 2011 at 21:31
Hi Robert,

Here's another vote for the suggestion that you set up a bed under your canopy with an awning or tent off to the side for extra space and privacy if required.

We sleep in our Troopy - its comfortable and always dry, and reasonably easy to get into and out of. We have devised a tent that attaches to the back of the vehicle so that we can get into bed while staying under cover, and we have enough space to sit inside when its wet or cold etc. We have described what we have done in some detail in our blog on how we have set up our Troopy, and while its not directly relevant to your situation it might give you some more ideas.

We estimate that we have lived in Troopy for at least 18 months out of the last 10 years, with our longest trip being for 4 months. While this arrangement sometimes lacks a bit in the way of creature comforts it allows us to go just about anywhere, and despite thinking hard about a more comfortable set-up we keep coming back to the idea that we have a very versatile go-anywhere rig.

For a long time we resisted towing anything, but now we have a small lightweight lockable trailer to carry additional gear, and that has worked very well. We figure that if you tow, there are two basic configurations: its either tow your bed and carry the gear inside a warm dry vehicle, or put you gear in the trailer and put your bed where its more likely to be warm and dry. The latter arrangement would probably also be easier for one person to manage.


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Reply By: Penchy - Wednesday, Sep 21, 2011 at 22:15

Wednesday, Sep 21, 2011 at 22:15
Hi Bob,
Hard floor camper trailer an option as well. CUB is one brand I have been looking at, as I travel on my own as well. Im not much of a fan of swags and my old tent is, well old. They are pretty light and can pick them up second hand here and there that are in good nic still. My 2 cents.
AnswerID: 465706

Reply By: nao - Thursday, Sep 22, 2011 at 19:06

Thursday, Sep 22, 2011 at 19:06
i have a jayco eagle which is great but its not suited to off road, took it up to birdsville last year and needed some good maintenance after. if you want off road ability go a camper trailer otherwise a roof top tent is a great idea..
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Reply By: Member - Robert R1 (SA) - Thursday, Sep 22, 2011 at 19:21

Thursday, Sep 22, 2011 at 19:21
Thank you for all your replies. They are much appreciated.

I don't particularly want to tow anything. For starters I am hopeless at reversing a trailer. Secondly they are expensive to buy and tow and restrict where you can go.

I still enjoy swagging and tenting. I have just come back from four weeks on the Cooper and swagged the whole time and I loved it, even with the rats running over my swag most of the night. I took my tent in case it rained but I never took it off the car.

My only concern was that because I will be travelling for a lot longer the chances of having cold rainy days etc. are greater and I was thinking that on those days it might be nicer in the larger space of a camper trailer than in a small tent. I also intend to spend a lot more time in the one place than I sometime do.

When I had my canopy built I allowed space on one side to sleep in. I have even installed a reading lamp. I have only slept in it once.

I also looked at rooftop tents and the pod type but I wanted to be self sufficient in power so I filled the canopy roof up with solar panels instead.

I had an bit of canvas sown up as an awning which attaches to a length of sail track to cover the kitchen if it gets too wet.

I do like the suggestions about connecting my tent, canvas etc to the canopy/awning in some way and creating a larger protected area around the kitchen where I will have room to move a bit.

I think I have just started to worked out the answer to my question.

I guess the question I should have asked is :- what do you fellow campers do when the weather turns bad for days at a time?


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