what makes a serious off road caravan

Submitted: Wednesday, Jun 27, 2012 at 11:06
ThreadID: 96528 Views:3088 Replies:9 FollowUps:3
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Hi all: May sound like a silly question but what defines a serious off road caravan.I talking roads like gun barrel anne beadell hyw.
I have been looking around for quite some time and some of these so called off roaders are not much different than my 20 year old viscount van. Is it the construction ie: welded steel or aluminium frame.The different type of suspention or what.
I will be very interested in the different answers

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Reply By: Ozhumvee - Wednesday, Jun 27, 2012 at 12:10

Wednesday, Jun 27, 2012 at 12:10
IMHO a true offroad van is basically the same width and track as the tow vehicle and of a size that can be towed anywhere the tow vehicle can go.
Something like the current crop of crossovers and things like the Kimberley Karavan.
The "normal" sized vans like Bushtrackers etc can never be true offroad as the majority of current tow vehicle would be incapable of towing them on most remote tracks due to width and weight considerations.
Most are approaching the tow vehicles towing capacity for bitumen use and the offroad towing capacity would be far less.
Most of the big vans should be considered all road rather than off road/trackless terrrain.
AnswerID: 489513

Follow Up By: rocco2010 - Wednesday, Jun 27, 2012 at 12:34

Wednesday, Jun 27, 2012 at 12:34

I like your use of the term "all road", but that isn't nearly sexy enough for advertising. A lot of people talk on here and other places about going off road when what they really mean is off bitumen.



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Follow Up By: D200Dug- Wednesday, Jun 27, 2012 at 15:23

Wednesday, Jun 27, 2012 at 15:23
We looked for and hopefully bought an "All Road" Evernew van, our main checklist was suspension, frame, dust seals, wheel size ( we changed to 16" wheels with the same stud pattern as the tug ) and all round protection and build quality.

It is not an off road van by any stretch, I would not consider taking a van off road anyway.
FollowupID: 764711

Reply By: Lucko - Wednesday, Jun 27, 2012 at 13:45

Wednesday, Jun 27, 2012 at 13:45
Certainly agree with Peter re. width and track. I'd suggest that suspension and design aspects such as clearance, underfloor protection, hitch type and chassis exit angles has to be considered as well.

AnswerID: 489522

Reply By: racinrob - Wednesday, Jun 27, 2012 at 14:58

Wednesday, Jun 27, 2012 at 14:58
G'day Al.
Things I'd be looking for are:
Serious ground clearance.
A full length 6" frame.
Trailing arm or independent suspension.
A good articulating coupling.
Exaggerated departure angle.
Protection for under floor water tank and fittings/plumbing.
That's just for a start, I have a Royal Flair Discovery off road van and it has all those as standard.
rr VKE237 6678
AnswerID: 489529

Reply By: equinox - Wednesday, Jun 27, 2012 at 20:22

Wednesday, Jun 27, 2012 at 20:22

In the 90's when I went off-road for work I was given one of those commercial type white caravans. I can't remember the brand however I would imagine that type would be still used (Steel I think). It was a dual axle, leaf sprung two door. Had a shower, washing machine and sink in one section. The other larger section had cupboards, kitchen, seats/table and 4 beds. (I had my choice as I was alone)

I took it all over the place however my most memorable trips were when I was camped on the shore of Lake Goongarrie for over a month, and when I took it on the "hard core" track from Ullawarra and Glenflorrie Stations, it did sustain some damage on that track - I bottomed it out on the rear drop steps.

I towed it with a Troopy. Gunbarrel and AB would have been doable, I don't think it would handle sand dunes very well though.


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AnswerID: 489556

Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Wednesday, Jun 27, 2012 at 21:02

Wednesday, Jun 27, 2012 at 21:02

A lot depends on the speeds that are sustained on inferior roads, with any 'van. Back when we were running a tank sinking plant, in 80's, we towed the old Viscount, about 27', all over the Barkly Tablelands, and never did any major damage. The wife even towed it through a grid near Urandangie, that had most of the rails missing, after damage by some road trains. There were the odd rivets that showed some wear, on the ply walls, but none of the cupboards collapsed, and the walls/ceiling didn't sag.

Think much of the credit can go to the old HJ45, in background of the photo. It didn't have the power to pull the 'van, much faster than a trot. Van had bogie axle, heavy chassis, and "normal" rocker type springs. Only thing it didn't have was a shower, which is a necessity in that line of work.

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AnswerID: 489566

Reply By: Ross M - Wednesday, Jun 27, 2012 at 22:38

Wednesday, Jun 27, 2012 at 22:38
Clearance, departure angles, not too much ball weight, a van which isn't longer than the tow vehicle and most importantly, a suspension which is suited to offroad use and actually works. Not many of offroad vans have a soft riding compliant suspension, and many vans are far too big to be called off road.
Just because the "----boys" might tow a monster somewhere doesn't mean others will be able to do it too. You don't hear of their troubles, only their claimed successes.

Ross M
AnswerID: 489574

Reply By: Motherhen - Wednesday, Jun 27, 2012 at 23:00

Wednesday, Jun 27, 2012 at 23:00
Hi Al

Aside from toughness of built exterior and interior fittings, and all components underneath well protected, for tracks such as the Anne Beadell, i would say size. Definitely narrow as already mentioned, and short as well. Personally i would choose to take a tent rather than a caravan on some of these roads. People have come to grief with trailers.


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AnswerID: 489575

Reply By: VistaMax - Thursday, Jun 28, 2012 at 12:32

Thursday, Jun 28, 2012 at 12:32
For a serious off road van, consider the Vista RV Crossover. Last september, we took it down the Anne Beadell along with a Kimberley Camper and an Oddysey camper. It handled the corrugations and narrow overgrown track better than the Troop Carrier, though it did sustain many penstripe cratches.

Serious off road should be small, fairly narrow, and have supple strong suspension.
AnswerID: 489593

Follow Up By: Member - David P8(Echuca,Vic) - Thursday, Jun 28, 2012 at 19:39

Thursday, Jun 28, 2012 at 19:39
Check out the Track Trailer Topaz for great suspension and tow ability. We are on the road at present and have done some reasonably rough tracks and find that it will willingly go where ever the tow vehicle will go. Some tracks that we have done are the southern track into the Davenport Ranges(NT) ,the track up the eastern Saige of the Gammon Range up to the Strzleckie Track. Going into Dalhousie Springs and from there to Mt Dare were also rough with deep wheel ruts and washouts when we went ( mid May).
hope this helps.
FollowupID: 764770

Reply By: Jeff P - Thursday, Jun 28, 2012 at 21:44

Thursday, Jun 28, 2012 at 21:44
Suspension, suspension,ground clearance!! if you get a chance watch some footage of a buggie running the fink desert race then you can understand how a good suspension works, corrigation is the biggest killer of so called off road vans and vehicles !!
AnswerID: 489634

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