Off road caravans

Submitted: Friday, Jun 01, 2012 at 18:50
ThreadID: 95962 Views:8168 Replies:4 FollowUps:13
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I am wondering if anyone out there has any experience with the off-road vans built by the WA company Explorex. They have been building caravans for the mining industry for several years, and 3 or 4 years ago started building domestic off road versions.
I have trawled the forum, but haven't found them mentioned.
If anyone has had any caravanning experience with them, I'd love to hear how they perform.

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Reply By: Member - Arsenal Phill - Friday, Jun 01, 2012 at 19:04

Friday, Jun 01, 2012 at 19:04
Hi Denis

When we were looking at buying a van, we did look at Explorex as they are made about 2mins from our house.

They look well put together but we found the interior a little basic and not looking as polished as other manufacturers. Therefore as good as they maybe for off-road, the internals, put us off.

Good luck with the hunt and your final purchase.
AnswerID: 487392

Follow Up By: Member - Denis B (WA) - Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 20:10

Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 20:10
Thanks for your reply Arsenal Phill.
I agree that the interior looks a little basic...but strangely enough, we are actually attracted to the no frills look...curtains and carpets and slim line venetians are a turn off for us when we look at the practical issues of off road dust and cleaning!!
But it's horses for courses I guess (or should that be courses for horses!?)
Anyway thanks again
FollowupID: 762709

Reply By: Member - Wamuranman - Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 07:33

Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 07:33

Not sure how you "trawled" this Forum but using the search function for Explorex comes up with 6 threads (of which yours is one)
Thread 92281 is one I posted a few months ago (with a photo) about an Explorex van that had been rolled - remarkably intact for a roll over. So they must be a very robust van - there is no doubt about their build integrity.
But we were searching for an off road van recently and as stated above they are fairly plain inside and we thought tend to look "industrial" on the outside.
But thats just a personal impression.
AnswerID: 487423

Follow Up By: hazo - Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 10:18

Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 10:18
There was a post recently on C/Forum regarding this damaged Explorex unit , it had been bought and totally stripped for a rebuild and there are pictures of its progress etc.

As an after thought I am assuming its this one as the new owners are in WA and seems a big coincidence if not.

All internal appliances were still ok and operational but the internal skin was pretty bad.
They had currently stripped it right back to the chassis and were considring Monopan as a rebuild material.
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Follow Up By: Member - Wamuranman - Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 12:50

Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 12:50
What's Monopan?
Is that the same as Fibreglass sandwich panel?

FollowupID: 762684

Follow Up By: hazo - Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 15:42

Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 15:42
Monopan is a thermo composite panel with Fibreglass reinforced outer skin on both sides, with a core of almost like drinking straws on end, made from recycled materials.
It is very tuff, light and strong but being opaque requires some sort of painting.

I looked into it to make a storage box for my new truck tray, but went with pantech instead as it comes pre coloured with fibreglass gelcoat, but still similar core material.
It is easily glued (with Sikaflex 252) and can be rivetted with bifurcated pop rivets.

When built up it is a very strong product.

Available from TCT technologies in WA
FollowupID: 762689

Follow Up By: Member - Wamuranman - Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 16:23

Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 16:23
Thanks for the explanation.
We have a fibreglass sandwich panel floor in our new van as it gives very good insulation and also is stronger but lighter than marine ply and is one continuous sheet so there are no joins. But I don't think its Monopan.

I think these new products will revolutionise how caravans are made in the future.

FollowupID: 762693

Follow Up By: Member - Denis B (WA) - Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 20:18

Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 20:18
Thanks Wamuranman
I guess I didn't trawl too effectively eh? If nothing else, I've learned a bit more about the ExplorOz site!!

I was talking to a guy at Explorex last week, and he mentioned the rollover too. A pretty impressive survival I think.
As I said in response to another reply, we don't actually mind the spartan look inside.
Just curious...which brand did you finally choose?
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Follow Up By: Member - Wamuranman - Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 22:57

Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 22:57

We live in SE Qld and had a close look at all the local off road manufacturers - Kedron, Bushtracker, Spinifex, Phoenix and Sunland. In the end we chose a Sunland Patriot as it came the closest to the set criteria and specifications we had determined for ourselves researched up over a period of 9 months through attending caravan shows, inspecting build process on-site, talking to owners, research caravan forums etc - we did exhaustive research/comparison.
Only had the van 2 weeks - so limited use thus far.
FollowupID: 762734

Follow Up By: Member - Denis B (WA) - Sunday, Jun 03, 2012 at 12:02

Sunday, Jun 03, 2012 at 12:02
I was reading a thread the other day and the Sunland vans featured prominently...and their owners seemed very happy with their they're obviously good.
Perhaps like you, right now I feel a bit of a compulsion to buy locally, so long as everything else stacks up.
Enjoy your new van, and thanks for your input.

Best wishes
FollowupID: 762773

Reply By: nordi - Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 10:43

Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 10:43
Hi Denis
I noticed Explorex a few years back, a second hand triple axle caravan in a sales yard. Never seen anything stronger. In 2010 I saw 2 or 3 in the outback, towed by trucks from a mining company.In 2011 I had a closer look at them in the caravan show in Perth, but they were to heavy for the Prado. And now Explorex has trimmed the weight down to 2.5 t and I ordered one. ready in September. I hope. The company changed a bit inside,, the shower is now a 1 piece unit. Another reason I went for Explorex there is nearly every thing on and in the van, the price I got is for a finished product and not a basic van with lots of add-ons. I also got a price for a similar van from the Brisbane region, same price but a 15 month waiting time.

Good luck with Your decision.

AnswerID: 487438

Follow Up By: Member - Denis B (WA) - Sunday, Jun 03, 2012 at 11:55

Sunday, Jun 03, 2012 at 11:55
Thanks Ron. September's not far away, so I guess there's some anticipation in the household!!
You mentioned that the weight of your van is now down to 2.5t...I'm wondering if you've gone for the lighter dirt road version (which I only found out about last week...called Ningaloo I think) or the full off road version, ie Gibb River or Tanami or their equivalent.
I've had a browse throught the Qld van websites too...and there's some nice looking rigs available...but there's something that makes me prefer to buy local if I can!
FollowupID: 762771

Follow Up By: nordi - Sunday, Jun 03, 2012 at 13:08

Sunday, Jun 03, 2012 at 13:08
Hi Denis
Yes, I went for the dirt road edition, Abrolhos. Same as Ningaloo but with single beds. Good enough for the Prado and for all the gazetted roads. And I take a tent with me for all the hard to reach places with a van. And don't forget, going into places is easy, but coming out is sometimes a problem, especially if you are on your own.
The only thing so far that I don't like is the microwave setup. To high. They make for me another shelf below for the microwave. I consider any microwave above chest high as dangerous. Many van manufacturer doing it that way. Maybe that should be discussed in another tread.

FollowupID: 762783

Follow Up By: Member - Denis B (WA) - Sunday, Jun 03, 2012 at 22:40

Sunday, Jun 03, 2012 at 22:40
Hi Ron
I feel that the dirt road version might be a good option for us too...I think it unlikely that I will really want to drag a van 'off road', but I would like to feel comfortable that I can travel even the roughest gazetted roads without worrying about shaking it to pieces. Having said that, I am a pretty cautious driver on the rough stuff. Have done the Gibb River twice without incident...but witnessed my fair share of fellow travelers airborne when they shouldn't have been!!

I absolutely agree with you on the microwave. Every van that we have looked at has essentially the same high level configuration. No matter which van we go for, we have decided that we will forego the oven under the hotplate and opt for a convection microwave in its place. This will probably limit our use of the oven function to caravan parks and so on, but we travel with a Cobb oven which will cook a roast with just 8 Heat Beads, so we'll manage!!!

Thanks for your input.
FollowupID: 762831

Follow Up By: Member - Denis B (WA) - Monday, Jun 11, 2012 at 20:27

Monday, Jun 11, 2012 at 20:27
Hi Ron
I don't know if you're still following this thread...but I've tried to find you to send a MM but to no avail.
I'm still thinking about the dirt road option and I was wondering what sort of "dirt roading" you are planning for. For instance, as a benchmark, do you think your dirt road model would handle the Gibb River Road or the Tanami Road...driving to the conditions of course? I'm trying to grapple with whether I need to go to the expense and weight of the off roaders if the worst I will ever do is to tackle a gazetted road like these.
Did you opt for the standard suspension or go for the upgrade to Simplicity?

If you see this, I'd be grateful for any comments you might like to share.

FollowupID: 763434

Reply By: Member - bungarra (WA) - Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 15:04

Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 15:04
Hi Dennis

Well we purchased ours and took delivery at Easter last year.

We looked very hard at Phoneix, Bushtracker and Kedron. (flew over and went through Kedrons factory) yes we took a lot of time and effort at making a decision as to which way to "bounce"

Quite frankly we would most likely have been happy with any of them but the scales tipped in Explorex favour for a number of reasons.....

Amongst these reasons were the huge reputation in the mining industry with existing clients (multiple purchases)....they are very well built and as strong as you will ever get.

The attitude of Greg and Dave at Explorex was at all times totally focussed on us as a client, the quality of construction and the fact that we were welcomed many times to come and see it under construction....we took, as well as them, many construction photos and believe me behind the facade and cladding it s all 100%..."no skimping on what the eye cant see"

Yes they are a little plain interior wise (when compared to some of the other...more along the lines that others liked carved door finishes etc) )but the dman thing will always perform and it actually looks very nice out on the road or in the bush and if you want to fiddle with the interior for a few more dress ups that can always be discussed with Explorex.

We have given ours some serious workouts off road etc, and the company delights in us sending them offroad pics...the more extreme the better

If you want to talk to us..send a mess and we can chat on the phone if you wish...or come and look at ours

No affliation etc...just a happy customer.

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AnswerID: 487449

Follow Up By: Member - Denis B (WA) - Sunday, Jun 03, 2012 at 22:20

Sunday, Jun 03, 2012 at 22:20
Thanks for your input Bungarra.
I will take you up on your offer to have a chat and perhaps a look at your rig when convenient.
Explorex have offered to get a local client to bring his van in so we can look it over too.
I'll be in touch.
FollowupID: 762829

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