CT or CV

Submitted: Tuesday, Jul 31, 2012 at 07:40
ThreadID: 97172 Views:2354 Replies:10 FollowUps:14
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I have thrown this idea around over and over, I usually end up leaning towards the Caravan, but I am wondering should I re-consider the camper trailer?

We plan to go for a year or more around Aus, we are only going to be spending up to 7000 so yes very budget.

I guess I am wondering what would YOU choose? Caravan or Camper trailer?

Does the constant setting up and taking down get too much over such a long period of time?? Is the comfort of a caravan better for long term?
Are we like to encounter more problems then it is worth for a caravan in that price range??

I don't think I will be able to convince the man to go camper trailer though, he seems set on a caravan....

another note: We have a Holden Jackaroo petrol, very very thirsty......
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Reply By: Member - Arsenal Phill - Tuesday, Jul 31, 2012 at 08:07

Tuesday, Jul 31, 2012 at 08:07
We got a van in the end because we got fed up with the constant up and down of the trailer. It took about 40mins to set up the annex etc. When we were doing short hops, it was too much. We kept the camper for about 4 months.
In the end we have tents and I'll also consider a roof top for the cruiser should the need arise, but we calculated that the places we'd go to where we couldn't take a van as a percentage were small. When we come to these situations we'll just camp using the tents and leave the van somewhere for a few days. The other benefit of the van was it was not affected by rain. We camp all year round and sometimes rain was an issue with the camper when having to pack up etc and things getting wet.
The van we bought though is suitable for off road and fully self sufficient. I think your question will be determined by budget. You could pick up a nice trailer with more extras on it, than you are likely to get a similar kitted van.
Best of luck with whatever you choose.
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Follow Up By: Grumblebum and the Dragon - Tuesday, Jul 31, 2012 at 08:29

Tuesday, Jul 31, 2012 at 08:29
Camper trailer are just OK for longer stays but IMHO a caravan will wins hands down. Minimum set up time, more storage, better insulation and better overall comfort levels esspecially with a shower and toilet. For me it is a no brainer.

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Follow Up By: KevinE - Tuesday, Jul 31, 2012 at 09:14

Tuesday, Jul 31, 2012 at 09:14
We bought a CT in Jan this year after tenting & we regret doing so! The CT is a pain to set up for short hops & that is what we do most of the time. We're now looking at a CV with a tent in the tug for the more remote locations like Phill!
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Follow Up By: SDG - Tuesday, Jul 31, 2012 at 18:00

Tuesday, Jul 31, 2012 at 18:00
I'm looking for a cv now as well over my ct. My beef is the set up, put down time. While 40min to an hour does not sound much, after driving for x amount of hours it is the last thing you want to do. As my old man said to my brother in law after watch/helping him set up a camper, I could be on my third beer by now.

If you want to leave eary in the morning, you are often packing up wet canvas.

The other consideration i'm looking at, is where I can set up. If travelling and you need that break, a truck stop will do the job for a quick nap.
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Follow Up By: Angie M - Wednesday, Aug 01, 2012 at 09:59

Wednesday, Aug 01, 2012 at 09:59
Thanks Guys for sharing your experiences, I think I knew we would never go CT... The Man really will not have a bar of it and I know too that it wouldn't be the best place to live for a year or more.
We have two little ones, and I think I would like for them to have a permanent bed that the could decorate and make their own, plus an annex would solve space isues.
I just got worried that we might not find a Caravan in good enough condition to take us around Aus for that long...I dont want it falling to pieces on us while half way around!!
We have started looking around and its nice to get an idea of what is around, pity every one feels the need to Paint over rust, you have no way of knowing how deep it goes when its covered in spray paint, I expect a bit of rust on an old van let me decide how bad it is! That is my biggest gripe right now!! :P
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Reply By: Member - Josh- Tuesday, Jul 31, 2012 at 09:08

Tuesday, Jul 31, 2012 at 09:08
We spent three years in a camper trailer. We choose a camper trailer cause we wanted to go where we wanted without being limited by a van. We had an Obrien's offroad camper. It is the quickest to set up.
We had heaps of storage room (2 adults and 2 kids). We could go where ever and not have to worry would the van make it.
My advice is decide what sort of places do you want to see. If it is mainly just on the black top then a van is fine. But if you want to get into some the really amazing places in the remoter areas where there are less people then a C/T would be better.
Have a look here to see some of the places we went and how we did it all in a camper
What ever you choose you will have fun, remember nothing is perfect so you will have to compromise somewhere. Remeber there will be days you will think "what are we doing??". Just remember those days make the other days even better.

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Follow Up By: Angie M - Wednesday, Aug 01, 2012 at 10:05

Wednesday, Aug 01, 2012 at 10:05
Thank you for another perspective Josh, I like the idea of getting to more remote places without needing to leave the Van, but I think inevitably for us that is what is going to have to happen. I am curious to know what some of he places are that we really Should see that aren't caravan friendly? We plan to do the Gibb, but I don't really know what other places we should see, any suggestions?? :)
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Reply By: wato35 - Tuesday, Jul 31, 2012 at 12:26

Tuesday, Jul 31, 2012 at 12:26
We had 6 months in a CT and would do it again in a flash. I would probably get a smaller CT to the one we currently have.
$7k budget, what sort of CV would you get for that amount? You might be buying something that will cost too much in maintenance and repairs (I might be wrong, often are). We paid about $9k for our CT (brand new at time), and had no problems at all.
Hope this helps
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Follow Up By: Member - Joe n Mel n kids (FNQ - Tuesday, Jul 31, 2012 at 12:59

Tuesday, Jul 31, 2012 at 12:59
to be honest $7k will buy a perfect camper trailer as long as it is what you want and you check out the tent and running gear carefully, we see all sorts of things here and they are absolutly WAY over priced, some dont bat an eyelid for a camper trailer that costs $40k PLUS, and it has a kitchen setup better than they have at home ..... and they are only "camping" after all ....
Sit down and do a rough trip plan and think carefully about where you will be staying and the costs, we have worked our that if we factor in the comfort..... a BIG factor for us we are better off taking basic stuff for the odd camping stay and live in accomodation, it is ALWAYS clean and you dont have to clean it when you leave, you have WARM showers, it is DRY, and always a decent bed to sleep in, we have carted camper trailers around and ended up staying in accom, with other towing campers, and got up in the morning and looked at the stupid camper wondering why the hell we towed it that far already .........
Oh and DONT even think about a roof top tent, ask for honest opinions from woners and almost all hate them ...........
End of day do ya sums as $7k is a LOT of really good accomodation with BARS, POOLS, a/c's, cooked dinners and ya can sit at 10-20kph faster and that does add up in this big country ...
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Follow Up By: Angie M - Wednesday, Aug 01, 2012 at 10:07

Wednesday, Aug 01, 2012 at 10:07
We are mainly worried about what other problems we might inherit getting a cheaper van, but sadly there is no convincing the man!
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Reply By: Member - nick b - Tuesday, Jul 31, 2012 at 12:59

Tuesday, Jul 31, 2012 at 12:59
Angie : I think it would depend on what you are doing & where you are going ,how often you will be moving . We did a trip 6 week in a c/ trail -on average moved every other day and didn't mind it a bit .....but others may be different , plus it would depend on the camper & how complex it was & what sort of camper you are thinking of ?
Some people take only a few minutes to set & others with very complex c/trail a long time ...
$ 7000 would buy a good s/hand camper trailer but i don't know how far that would go towards a c/van ? .....Not much of a cv i would think !!!

I would rather be in a newish c/t than an old cv that wasn't reliable ....+ ct
cheaper & easier to tow . I would agree with Josh comments as well ...

cheers nick
Cheers Nick b

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Follow Up By: Angie M - Wednesday, Aug 01, 2012 at 10:14

Wednesday, Aug 01, 2012 at 10:14
We plan to move fairly slowely, well I plan too. The man can get a little impatient and want to drive everyday, but I think on such a big trip he will settle down a bit and might actually take time to smell the roses.
We also have two kids, and are planning at least a year but really have no desire to stop. And we aren't actually leaving for another 2 years, so still have some time to get everything in order.
Thanks again for sharing your experience Nick :)
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Reply By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Tuesday, Jul 31, 2012 at 13:18

Tuesday, Jul 31, 2012 at 13:18
Hi Angie,

We got a caravan, back in 1973 as we were stepping up as we had done our time in tents.
After that first caravan we were sold on caravans and have had one ever since.
I always say, if I cant open the door and put the kettle on then I don't want it.

If you are going around Oz, you, being of the fairer sex, will appreciate the full caravan more so probably than your partner. More organisation with less setting up.

It is especially good when it rains and you have to set up or pack up. Nothing worse that sleeping with wet canvas. Or packing it up for that matter.

There are some very good older vans in your price range available though they are becoming more popular as time goes on, especially for those on a tight budget.

Things to look out for are roof leaks and chassis rust. If you get a good old one I would replace the axle and springs in prep for your round the block trip, just for peace of mind. I have broken a spring while touring and they are not always available, even in Tamworth where you would think everything would be readily available. So speaking from experience here.

All the older vans need is coat of paint on the inside and the outside if required and you can hold your head up in any company. You will be surprised at the amount of attention you will attract when you get an older van and hit the road.

Good luck looking and have fun doing it.
Cheers, Bruce.
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restless and lost on a track that I know. HL.

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Follow Up By: Angie M - Wednesday, Aug 01, 2012 at 10:22

Wednesday, Aug 01, 2012 at 10:22
Thank you Bruce! We have seen some good vans in our price range which is piece of mind I think as we are still new too it all at the moment, we worry we might miss an obvious flaw.
I mentioned above that people paint their cvans in prep to sell, but they paint over rust and it makes it hard to then know how deep that rust goes or if it just surface rust and is really not too much of an issue. We drove 4 hours to look at a van yesterday, that looked great in all the pics but as soon as we walked in the smell of damp hit us, and then the paint obviously covering rust got us, and then a quick look underneath exposed a rust explosion, needless to say we walked away, well drove another 4 hours back home. It was a big day, and a disappointment but it was also experience, so we are learning what to look for, and when to walk away. The fact that we have 2 years to find a van means we have the time to look properly and wait for the right van. Though I am not sure if we will be doing too many more 8 hour journeys.... It is just hard looking in Tas, the place isn't big as it is, and then the majority of vans pop up in the north of the state (we are south) not looking 4 hours away seriously narrows our search options!

In time all will be fine!!
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Follow Up By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Wednesday, Aug 01, 2012 at 12:56

Wednesday, Aug 01, 2012 at 12:56
you appear to have the right idea there, every negative experience is a positive learning experience. So stay positive, is my best advice.

Perhaps when holidays come around you can get across the gutter and look around Vic. Having plenty of time up your sleeve is a very good thing.

Check out the internet as I have cars all sorts of things through it.

It is still a gamble of course, as you have found and the old rule of buyer beware still holds true.

Good hunting.

Cheers, Bruce
At home and at ease on a track that I know not and
restless and lost on a track that I know. HL.

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Reply By: Member - Arsenal Phill - Tuesday, Jul 31, 2012 at 19:48

Tuesday, Jul 31, 2012 at 19:48
Angie, if I may add a post script.
One of my best mates bought a CT. Its large as he and his partner often take away 3-4 kids as well. They love it. I think the main difference is that they have more hands to help put it up. I think if we had had two little helpers, things may have been slightly different. As SDG said, we found that after a long drive, it really was a chore to set up. Equally putting away on a warm day was exactly the same. We'd pack up hit the road and be all hot and bothered and not feel too comfortable at the start of our drive.
The sleeping section of our CT was up and ready in under 2mins, however to put the awning up and cover the kitchen was a major hassle. I am very fly intolerant and can't handle them buzzing around when eating or cooking. I therefore always had to have the annex up. This was the draw back.
It really is a personal choice. I love the concept. But after having and using the van, it wins by miles for us. It has exceeded my expectations and even my main concern about not being able to drive fast enough has been washed away. Convenience, comfort, ease, and speed of set up, have far out weighed the greater freedom offered by the CT. This `freedom' is the only plus I can see a CT offers over a CV.
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Follow Up By: Angie M - Wednesday, Aug 01, 2012 at 10:26

Wednesday, Aug 01, 2012 at 10:26
I had never actually thought of the heat when setting up/down. It would just wipe you out hey? I think the van has won us, and we would be going for at least a year so that would be a long time in canvas.

I am wondering if you could share some places that are a 'must' that we wount be able to take to Van. It would be good to have a rough Idea, we have planned to do the Gibb but I haven't really thought of other places?1

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Reply By: Member - John and Val - Wednesday, Aug 01, 2012 at 09:29

Wednesday, Aug 01, 2012 at 09:29
Hi Angie,

I have been looking through your threads as you make the big decisions about getting kitted up for a big trip. I haven't been able to work out how much camping or travelling experience you have, and I think that might be a key factor in making your decision.

May I suggest that if you are new to all this you find a big caravan park that is used by both caravnnners and camper trailer users, and try to spend a weekend there, maybe in a cabin. Spend as much time walking around the site and talking to owners of various rigs about what works and WHY. You will find that most folk are only too happy to show off and explain their rig.

Then when you have narrowed the options down a bit see if you can hire something that is close to what you think will suit you, and take it for a run for a few days to see how you like it. Try to travel on the type of roads and camp in the kind of places that you think you might go to when you are actually doing the trip.

It is perfectly possible to set up a vehicle to travel on a budget, and you can do so with a degree of comfort even without even a camper trailer, (Have a look here to see what I mean) However I guess the longer you plan to be on the road the more home comforts you may need. Your age and health may also have a bearing on what you will need.

One thing is certain though - great travelling rigs usually evolve and develop over time. While its good to get the big ticket items right, its the little things that really make a difference. And we have found that putting it all together is a lot of ongoing fun.

Another thing - make sure that when you have things organised go for a few short "shake-down" trips before you actually set out on the big trip. That will help to iron out any little issues that might otherwise become big issues.

Anyway, good luck with it all and have a great trip when you do eventually set off.



J and V
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Follow Up By: Angie M - Wednesday, Aug 01, 2012 at 09:51

Wednesday, Aug 01, 2012 at 09:51
Thank you for the great help Val, I definitely think we will spend some time talking to others about their set ups and what works/doesn't work etc.
We are a young family, the Man and I are mid-twenties and we have two little ones, a Near 5 yr old Daughter and 14 month old Son. We aren't planning on leaving until 2014...probably mid-year. So we still have plenty of time to research and find the right set up. But I want to get it as right as I can and then work out the rest on the road.
We plan to be pretty minimal, we aren't big comfort bugs we like a nice place to sleep but we wont be taking too many fancy extras, we are looking forward greatly to getting away from tv, it's a horrible thing for us at the moment. We will be taking a laptop as I will be studying at the same time plus Ill need access to all you lovely folk on ExplorOz!! We have a Tent for the places we can't take the van.... but are you able to shed any light on how much it might cost to leave a caravan for a week or so while we travelled the Gibb??
Thank you again Val, it is great to have so much assistance on here :)
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Follow Up By: timothy - Wednesday, Aug 01, 2012 at 12:39

Wednesday, Aug 01, 2012 at 12:39
Val's reply is very helpful, especially around basing your accomodation on your camping experience, where you want to take your home on wheels and a shake down trip. Another consideration might be how much experience you have towing a trailer or van, you might want to get a bit of practice before you have to park in a camp site with other campers watching.

My wife and I had the same dilemma as you in 2007, we were in our 20s and going to take 6 months travelling around Australia. We did a couple of short camping trips and found packing up wet tents even if just from dew wasn't much fun and they started to smell after a few days if packed wet.

With this in mind we looked at several older poptop caravans around 12' long. We found a few lemons for around $5000 and settled on a 12' 1984 Viscount Grand Tourer for $3500. The first thing we did was take it on a week long shake down trip and found a couple of problems that needed to be sorted, the onboard battery didn't charge from the car and that the car got hot towing the van. We fixed the issues, added a couple of solar panels, hit the road and had the time of our lives, we did a full lap and a detour through the centre, down the Oodnadatta track, Lake Eyre and Cameron corner and home to Sydney.

We liked the van so much we still have it after 6 years and have taken it all over the place, with an older van be prepared to do some maintenance on the road especially if you tow it on dirt for extended periods, we lost our water after the filler hose was destroyed by stones, have had to do some re-wiring because the existing wires rubbed through, spent some time dust proofing the inside and bent the axle on a large pot hole. After a couple of years the fridge needed re-gassing which is a significant cost so finding a van with a reconditioned/new fridge is good.

We left our van on the mainland while touring Fraser island, the cost was about $6 a day. We also left our van while travelling north of Cooktown, the cost again was about $6 per day.
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Reply By: ExplorOz - Wednesday, Aug 01, 2012 at 13:39

Wednesday, Aug 01, 2012 at 13:39
Hi Angie,
In your original post you ask us to tell you what would WE choose, so on that basis I'll reply, however I think you've got some wonderfully helpful information here already and you've got plenty of time to think it all through. My viewpoint is just a little different (and I hope I don't offend you by giving you MY thoughts, I respect that we are all different and each to their own)... so here's a different viewpoint to what's been given so far....

We have already done a trip around Australia (2 year trip, no kids, we had just turned 30). We drove a Troopy & towed a small offroad trailer and dragged it everywhere, but not a CT, just "stuff". We are active and adventurous when we travel so our trips are about "exploring" in every sense of the word. We originally planned to "circumnavigate" the country as we were water lovers and has our windsurfers and scuba diving gear with us and did that for the first 9mths but we quickly found the excitement was when we headed offroad and got into the remote/4WD only areas. We extended our trip to 2 yrs by heading into the deserts and exploring the more remote areas avoiding bitumen roads, enjoying the thrill of unplanned adventures. It was so much mroe rewarding. For us, the vehicle is just the means to get us where we want to go, comfort is not part of the equation, nor is convenience or time to setup camp. We don't mind effort and hard work - we're young (well, we were back then).

Now we have 2 kids (8 & 11) and we are in our mid 40s and things have changed a bit for sure in regards to the need for more comfort and less effort. We still don't own a CT or CV, as hubby can't bear to tow again. We just use swags and the roofrack but it would be no good for a year's trip. We would need a CT for a long trip such as yours and I would choose something like a Camprite (2nd hand) but that would be above your budget - they feature a hard floor and a quick basic setup to get everyone out of the car and under shelter very quickly with minimal fuss in bad conditions. You can all sit and eat a meal and go to bed without getting out annexe or chairs etc. But it has canvas and is better put away dry in mornings, and is a bit fiddly to put down but our friends do theirs in the same time as we roll up our swags and stick 'em on the roof racks. The Camprite bed are awesomely large too and heaps of storage space. I am always impressed (ok, jealous). BUT the reason we don't have one is hubby doens't really want to tow, and the $ of course. A bit more hardship for us and no mega big trips and there's no urgency to change the current setup.

The only caravan that we have considered would be on the wishlist is one of those $$$ Bushtrackers - my friends took their two kids around Australia for a year in one and we met up with them for a month - they were doing it perfect! But we definately cannot afford one of those, HOWEVER, they bought it new (custom made) and sold it for $5K more 12 mths later - supply and demand for one of the best CVs on the market. OK for those with the equity to do it in the first place.

But back to the reality of your situation - with that budget, I'd go CT.


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AnswerID: 492023

Reply By: Dr Hook - Wednesday, Aug 01, 2012 at 14:39

Wednesday, Aug 01, 2012 at 14:39

Ever seen a camper trailer with a door lock, for when you go off for a drive?

:) Hook
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Follow Up By: Angie M - Wednesday, Aug 01, 2012 at 15:12

Wednesday, Aug 01, 2012 at 15:12
you make a good point :)
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Reply By: Brian - Tuesday, Aug 14, 2012 at 01:53

Tuesday, Aug 14, 2012 at 01:53
One very important point to consider Angie and it has hardly been touched on is if you intend to store your CT or CV when not in use in your garage if you have one is will it fit in your garage or carport , whatever ? In other words is your CV or CT lower than the height of the garage door . Most likely your CV will not !!
I have an older van (Opal ) which is quite high and when i was building my garage i stood up two profiles as used for bricklaying and strung a line across where the height of the lintel would be then backed my van under it , i ended up having about 50mm to spare above the a/c which was the highest point of the van . Strange to say a friend with a much more modern van tried to back his van in to my garage and the van was too high , think the wheels were quite a bit higher than mine .
Having said all that i prefer a van , you will use a touch more fuel but dont think you would ever go back to a CT after owning a van . Have fun
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