campertrailer advise

Submitted: Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 00:04
ThreadID: 9578 Views:4610 Replies:8 FollowUps:7
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Have just made a decsion to travel around oz, my husband, 18month old daughter and myself. Have read and researched many campertrailers and are currently considering a Jayco campertrailer, for numerous reasons comfort being one of them! Any opinion or experiences with this type of camper trailer would be appreciated
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Reply By: Mark - Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 00:50

Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 00:50
We have a 13'6" off-road version of the Windsor Rapid van that I have now had for almost 2 years. We seriously looked at the Jayco Swan and actually nearly bought one. However, the main reasons I didn't were;

1. roadside stops require you to open the ends and wind it up to access anything inside the van.
2. flycovers are required in wet weather over the bed ends
3. the canvas ends lay on the beds when packed up (wet!!!)
4. the awning is a "bag" awning, requiring poles and ropes to support it.
5. As the top half is all canvas, in strong winds it is "noisy" and has that tent feel to it.
6. limited storage (no cupboards around the top of the roofline area)

The Winsor Rapid is approximately 300kg heavier than the Swan (off-road version) but the Winsor has independent suspension. It is much more like a caravan, but still has the advantage of relatively small tow size, like the Jayco.

I find the Windsor the best compromise for my needs. We have 2 kids (4 & 6) and they love the camping trips (but is it really camping with R/C airconditioning, microwave oven etc...not like my day as a kid...) There is no "perfect" van possible, everything is a compromise and what suits one may be different for another. I could easily live with a Jayco for a month long trip, but if you are planning the umbitiquos 12 month trip, then i feel you will find the Jayco may become too "tent-like", unlike the vans with more "walls". But then again, many people prefer this, all a matter of taste.

If comfort is a priority, you will find that the Winsor Rapid is far more comfortable than a jayco, especially if optioned with a R/C air conditioner (hey, don't knock it, wait till its 42C in the shade in a parched van park (like Mt Augustas) and all you can do is sit in the cool of the van with two bored kids watching the 20th rerun of Toy Story!!!)

If you want any more info just post your email address.


AnswerID: 42171

Reply By: tessa_51 - Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 07:01

Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 07:01
Hi Kira
We've had a Jayco Outback Eagle for 3 years and done an enormous amount of k's. I've read the earlier post and I think the most relevant part is effectively "each to his own". I note one of the reasons you give for preferring the Jayco is comfort. Bear in mind that the Jayco body is approximately the same length as the Rapid but does not have the beds in it. Therefore you must have more internal space! Turning to the individual points raised:
1. roadside stops require you to open the ends and wind it up to access anything inside the van. I agree. So you arrange to have anything you need during the day either in the tow vehicle or in the externally acccessed boot of the camper.
2. flycovers are required in wet weather over the bed ends. Why? I have fly covers and rarely use them. Their greatest benefit is in providing protection from the heat.
3. the canvas ends lay on the beds when packed up (wet!!!). They sure do. But if you turn the matresses over they have a waterproof base to protect them from such occurrences. We also carry cheap (about $2) plastic tablecloths to slip over the matresses as a double protection when the tent is wet.
4. the awning is a "bag" awning, requiring poles and ropes to support it. We have a bag awning and it is a "pain"! But, wind up awnings are now available.
5. As the top half is all canvas, in strong winds it is "noisy" and has that tent feel to it. I have never experienced the noise described. and have been in some big winds. When wound up fully the tent section is as tight as a drum.
6. limited storage (no cupboards around the top of the roofline area). I don't think I've ever been inside a van/camper under 20 feet which has enough enough storage. We carry 4 Sabco Stakka sliding drawers which I secure on the floor when we are mobile and they stack on top of each other and replace one seating position in the 4 seater lounge when we are camped.

As for the air conditioning , well thats a matter of personal choice. But bear in mind virtually the whole tent area of the camper can be opened up as windows to get the very last breath of breeze in.

It takes us about 10 minutes to set up or take down basic camp for an overnighter. This does not include awning or flies. To put them up takes about another 15 minutes at each end.

What we really like about our camper is the feeling of space inside. Remember you have a large floor area for storage while travelling and we have seen a lot of people who use one bed end for storage when stopped, sleeping the kid/s on the table/fold down bed. And one last thing, Don't think you can get by without the optional boot at the front of the camper. I haven't met one person who has left it out and didn't subsequently regret it.

Good luck


AnswerID: 42181

Follow Up By: Mark - Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 12:37

Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 12:37
Tessa, the Winsor rapid is similair to the Jayco in that the ends open up. The main difference is that the metal ends of the van forms the roof, but you still have canvas sides on the bed ends. There is another metal section for the floor, but the "wet" canvas gets folded between the two ends while your mattress and bed face into the van (totally dry).

Opening and closing is literally a 5 second job. There are two T handles that once opened allow the top to open (gas struts) and the base lowers. All the canvas is permanently attached to the top and bottom, no press studs to clip around the base like the jayco. The mattress and bedding is inside, all set up. Opening the awning is another 30 second job. We use it regularly on roadside stops to provide a bit of shade (any shade is welcolme in 40C heat). Popping the roof is another 30 seconds, but we only do that when setting up for the night.

Each end section has three huge windows and can be completely unzipped, like the jayco, and there is a huge amount of area for breezes to flow. But the main section of the van only has 3 windows, unlike the full clear area of the Jayco. But the breeze flows through beatifully with both ends open (when there is a breeze!).

Our 13"6' van is equivalent to a 23" when opened, again like the jayco. I found the bigest difference between the two vans (once set up) is that the jayco is definately more "airy", a nice feel. The Windsor is much more like a traditional van, less window area, but very cosy.

Once on the road, the Windsor's ability to allow roadside stops is a huge advantage. You can acces the entire van without popping the roof or opening the ends. Makes for easy stops for boiling the kettle, getting lunch from the fridge, sitting at the van table eating, then washing the dishes etc...

Also, if say stopping at a rest stop after driving late into the night, the van can be used in seconds after simply opening the ends. Great for when the kids are asleep in the car and the driver has had enough. Simply carry the kids in climb in the other end yourself.

Yes, I am wrapped in the Windsor Rapid, but the Jayco is also a VERY good product. If ease of setup is a big priority, then the Rapid is hard to beat. But the cost advantage of the jayco certainly helps make the setting up time bearable :)


FollowupID: 304660

Follow Up By: kira - Friday, Jan 09, 2004 at 23:05

Friday, Jan 09, 2004 at 23:05
Query as to how much off road you have done and capabilities of the jayco ???? of course the sales person tells you what you want to hear but would like so other feedback
FollowupID: 304859

Reply By: Mikef_Patrol - Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 10:53

Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 10:53
Hi Kira

We used to have a Jayco Dove Off Road and really liked it. Now, like Mark, we have a Windsor Rapid (14'6"). First trip in it next week. Can't wait. :D:D:D

See if you can hire a Jayco for a week, go away and put it up and take it down every day and see how you go. You will be paying for it and you will have to live with it.

Any trailer towed behind a 4X4 that weighs more than about 500KG is going to present some problems, regardless of how well built or expensive. I would think the heavier you go, the more problems you are likely to incurr.

Take your time towing whatever you buy, and only go places suited to the type of trailer you get.

My 2c

AnswerID: 42199

Follow Up By: Member - Alan- Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 18:39

Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 18:39
We've got a Windsor Rapid of about 14' as well. It's really good.
We sold a Goldstream Camper to get this for the convenience of roadside stopping among other things. I didn't feel secure one night in strong winds when we nearly got turned over
Yes, the Goldstream was very light and airy with plenty of windows for the cook who's a bit nosey to perv out of, but this is better.

We had shelves put in the wardrobe so we can pack that with heaps of cloths. In one of the large cupboards near the cooker I installed runners for slide out drawers (did this in the Goldstream as well) and these take tons of canned food.
I've just moved the spare from under the van to the rear bumper and now the cooks thinking of another project she can get me started on.

One good thing with the Goldstream was that the wind up wire was about twice the thickness of the Jayco's and the build quality a couple of years ago was better. We thought so anyway.
Good luck and happy travelling what ever you decide, but definitely look at the Rapid, although you can't go real bush with it which is the ONLY disadvantage.
FollowupID: 304704

Follow Up By: Mark - Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 20:48

Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 20:48
Alan, I have the offroad version of the Windsor Rapid. It has 6" main frame rails, treg hitch, dual rear jerry can holders, 30" tyres, 7 leaf independent springs etc... It has been on some pretty rough gravel "roads", huge washouts, bogged to the eyeballs in dry creek crossings and had the TV antenae brackets, indicator lenses etc ripped off by passing branches.

Yes, it gets used off-road pretty hard and has yet to have a problem. The biggest problem is its sheer size and weight. The Windsor would get anywhere a Jayco could, but its not in the same offroad league as the dedicated camper trailers (glorified tents on wheels IMHO).


FollowupID: 304711

Follow Up By: Member - Alan- Friday, Jan 09, 2004 at 11:11

Friday, Jan 09, 2004 at 11:11
Mark, you're right, I'd completely forgotten about the off roader style Rapid. I was of course thinking that ours wouldn't be much good on anything other than bitumen and dirt roads.
We had a look at the off roaders but in the end considering that we don't really intend to go "deep" bush on our own, which we mostly are, we decided on the normal type van.
Comparing what you get with a Rapid against the dedicated campers such as Campomatic and Kimberleys for example, beautifully made they may be, I can't see near 30 grand for them.
I intend to buy a decent tent for those occassions we can leave the van in a park and go off into the real bush.
Happy camping to all whatever you drive or camp in.
FollowupID: 304786

Follow Up By: kira - Friday, Jan 09, 2004 at 23:07

Friday, Jan 09, 2004 at 23:07
Mike why did you get rid of the Jayco ? problems ?
FollowupID: 304860

Follow Up By: Mikef_Patrol - Sunday, Jan 18, 2004 at 08:26

Sunday, Jan 18, 2004 at 08:26
Hi Kira
No, we had no problems with our Jayco Dove at all. Was a very good unit. Paid $18K for it new and sold it 15 months later for 16K so we were quite happy with the minimal loss.
Our biggest gripe with it was the setting up. Took too long. Hvae to wind up the top, pull out the ends, get inside and put up all the pipe work to hold it all up. And don't forget to take the awning and the bed end flys out before winding it up, or you have too take the whole thing down again to get them out of their bags. Too much of a pain for us.
We also want to live in ours for a few years in about 5 years time, and the space was not enough.
Oh, and don't forget to switch the fridge over to 12V, or you'll have to unlock the top again, crawl inside to switch it over, then lock it all down again.
Just got back from 6 days in the Rapid, and verrrrryyy happy with it. Easy to put up and take down, heaps of room, and you can switch the fridge over easily if you forget. Tows like a dream. Ours is like someone else said, 6" chassis rails, Independent Suspension. Haven't got a Trigg hitch yet, but may do down the track. Don't need it yet. Only problem we had in the 6 days was we forgot to lock the front and rear doors before heading to our second destination within the 6 days. The rear door locks came undone on the corrugated road we got lost on for a while, and the bottom of the door rubbed on the spare wheel holder. Minimal damage, although a bit of dust inside, and a bit of a file and some white touch-up paint and we'll never know the difference.
Other than that, the Rapid was brilliant. Worth every cent of the money we paid for it.

FollowupID: 305698

Reply By: 10 Para- Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 13:19

Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 13:19
We have a off road camper and are really pleased with it

RegardsHome For Xmas
AnswerID: 42213

Reply By: Leroy - Friday, Jan 09, 2004 at 10:10

Friday, Jan 09, 2004 at 10:10
There's a Windosor Rapid in the Trader section.

AnswerID: 42327

Reply By: bruce - Friday, Jan 09, 2004 at 11:01

Friday, Jan 09, 2004 at 11:01
Kira...5 yrs ago my wife and I took of on our trip around oz with a Jumbuck camper trailer ...not the same as you are going to use , but a very good camper just the same....after putting it up and down 37 times in 4-1/2 mths we bought a poptop...oh the joy of not folding up wet canvas and being able to stop anywhere anytime and setting up in just a couple of minutes , plus heaps of other advantages ....not trying to put you off , but ...been there , done may well enjoy it , good on you if you do....cheers
AnswerID: 42333

Reply By: tessa_51 - Saturday, Jan 10, 2004 at 06:15

Saturday, Jan 10, 2004 at 06:15
I guess a lot depends on what you call off-road. We have done Broken Hill to Birdsville via Innamincka. Birdsville, Oodnadatta and Streszlecki Tracks all both in the wet and the dry. Plenty of forestry tracks along the east coast, Fraser Island and assorted other dirt and corrugated "highways" , e.g., Mereenie Loop. Sure we have had some problems but nothing that was insurmountable. Our Jayco is now 3 years old and we have had the shockies welded back on three times. But the latest models apparently have a different setup to the one we have. The side steps are a pain when you have to drive through narrow tracks. I have spoken to people who have had them removed and carry a box or something to use as a step. The steps are the lowest and widest point of the camper and I have had to take to them with a sledge hammer on occasions to straighten them out. The other irritating feature isthe outriggers. They fill up with mud when its around and you have to clean them out before you can wind them down. BUT, we have been surprised by the sturdiness of the interior. Not one panel has come loose and the only thing I have had to repair was the pop rivets holding the upper door hinge.
I think that dollar for dollar they are a bloody good unit!

AnswerID: 42436

Reply By: Wombat - Monday, Jan 12, 2004 at 12:48

Monday, Jan 12, 2004 at 12:48
Hi Kira

Have you looked at the Coromal Silhouette (off-road version)? We have one and love it!"Live today as if there may be no tomorrow"

AnswerID: 42662

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