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Tell me about your caravan please


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#1 SkeptiHandsOnMum

Posted 23 July 2019 - 05:42 PM

I am getting closer to my "grey nomad" plans. I would love to hear feedback on caravans.

For example:
* pop-top versus not
* ensuites
* price range spent and why
* starting cheap "in case" it is not for me - or just go the whole hog
* regrets/things you would have changed
* towing vehicles (that is actually likely my first decision, as I will be due to upgrade my car sooner rather than later)

I have owned a jayco wind-up van before, and also do some camping. But I do understand that it is not always everything it is dreamed to be, and many set themselves up and do not enjoy it.

I am not worried about towing.

I will be a solo traveller - to me this is a part of the appeal of the van life, sitting outside my van with a glass of wine and chatting to all and sundry (I already do this with my tent).

I had a brief consideration of a camper, but I really think that I like the space of a van, and not having to pack up in order to go for day trips.

Talk caravanning with me, please.

#2 crochetgirl

Posted 23 July 2019 - 09:18 PM

If there's a Caravan Show anywhere near you, I would recommend attending. I spent two days wandering around the Melbourne Caravan Show and it was great exposure to all the options available.

#3 hills mum bec

Posted 23 July 2019 - 09:52 PM

Love a caravan thread & I love my caravan!

Our first van was a Jayco Eagle windup caravan.  We took that van on some really big trips.  Uluru & Alice Springs.  Canberra in the middle of winter.  I loved that van but it was a PITA to set up & pack up.  It was fine if we took it somewhere where we were staying put for a week but not ideal for long trips where you have short stops on the way to the destination.  Storage was also a bit of an issue, especially clothes.  We decided that we wanted to holiday a bit further afield so we sold our Eagle to get a full sized van.  We owned the Eagle for 3 years and sold it within a week for the same price we paid for it.

The van we have now we have had for 3 years, it is a 2009 20ft Jayco Starcraft full size van.  It cost $27k. It has a double bed at one end with a bunk at the other end that is perpendicular to a lounge that is also used as a bed, great size for our 3 kids.  We don’t have an ensure and I didn’t want one, I would rather use caravan park amenities than clean toilets/bathrooms on holidays and we don’t often free camp.

Unfortunately due to DHs work circumstances in the last few years we haven’t been able to take it on a really big trip yet like we planned but it will happen one day and we have gone on lots of smaller, local trips.  There is nothing I would change in our current van.  I love how we can get to our destination, put the stabilizers down, plug it in and we are set up.

Our current tow vehicle is a Ford Ranger which tows the van beautifully.  Before that we had a Pajero which was a great car but I felt that it did work a bit too hard with the big van.  I guess if I have one regret it is that the van doesn’t fit in our back yard like the Eagle did so it is parked in our front yard which isn’t ideal.

#4 foom

Posted 24 July 2019 - 07:41 AM

All we've done is hire campervans. Would love to buy a jayco style poptop but not enough space.

But I've looked on and dreamed.

As a solo traveller I'd say campervan, where you can get in the front and drive away without leaving the van.

#5 foom

Posted 24 July 2019 - 07:48 AM

I forgot to add... We have an extended family member exploring Oz solo with a motorhome, towing a tiny vehicle behind for his day trips. He is very happy with arrangement.

#6 teejay

Posted 24 July 2019 - 08:29 AM

We had a caravan when the kids were younger buy sold it last year. We will buy one in another couple of years for just DH and I and if the kids come they use swags.

So we had a pop top but will be getting a full van and definitely an ensuite. We have free camped at some amazing places with no facilities that wouldn't of been possible without it ( fully self contained requirement of area). Also so great not to have to lug everything over to the showers and line up in busy times at caravan parks.

My wish list for new van is:
Queen bed
Cafe style dinette with fold table and recliners at end of seat
Washing machine (need to research more)
Diesel or gas heater
Good air con
Seperate shower not combo ensuite
Outside attached table and gas bayonet for BBQ or slide out BBQ
Water tanks and battery meter
Solar ( as much as possible)
Inverter
Off Road
I'm sure there more but that's all I can think of for now

#7 SkeptiHandsOnMum

Posted 25 July 2019 - 05:08 PM

View Postfoom, on 24 July 2019 - 07:41 AM, said:

As a solo traveller I'd say campervan, where you can get in the front and drive away without leaving the van.
Can I ask why you would go for this option as a solo traveller?

I am loving hearing everyone's thoughts.

Storage is always going to be an issue for me, with where I live, and will quite possibly involving hiring space to store a van ... which is a nuisance, but not really changeable.

#8 FiveAus

Posted 25 July 2019 - 07:05 PM

I'm a solo traveller, although I'm not single. I travel with my caravan to dog shows.
I started off with a small, old wind up camper that I bought for $3500. I had never towed anything before and never camped on my own. This was a cheap way to see if I could do it and enjoy it.

I had the camper for a year and did 13 trips away with it. I loved it but it didn't have enough room and a year was long enough for me to work out what I really wanted.

My next (and current) caravan was a Jayco Freedom pop top, 2002 model with 2 single beds. The extra bed gives me the option of having a friend stay with me and it's been well used.
I don't have en ensuite, although sometimes in the middle of winter I wouldn't mind a loo. I"m not sure that I'd want to give up the space an ensuite would take up. My van cost me $13,000.

The best thing I did was bought a Purpleline remote mover and my husband attached it for me. It gives me a bit more independence when trying to hitch up the van to my ute, it also means tricky reverses are a thing of the past. I just unhook the caravan, turn the remote unit on and press a button and the van moves itself.

The longest I've been away was 10 nights this year when I travelled with 3 dogs to Sydney before Easter.  The van was great, I could easily live in it for months.

My tow vehicle is a VW Amarok twin cab ute. It suits me because I can fit dog crates and all my show gear under the canopy, and also have dogs on the back seat. It tows the caravan like it's not even there and the fuel economy is reasonable. It's very comfy to drive too.

There's nothing really I'd change about my van, it's a good size for me (16 ft), easy to tow, and I love the layout. It has lots of storage space as well, and a decent kitchen. No oven, but I doubt I'd use one. One appliance I use a lot in my caravan is an electric frypan.

One day I'd like something newer but at least with mine I can have the dogs in it with me and it really doesn't bother me that there's a bit of dog hair left behind. I just vacuum it out when I get home. I think I'd be more picky if the caravan was new and very expensive.
If I got a newer one, I'd go for a similar layout.

#9 Let-it-go

Posted 25 July 2019 - 08:13 PM

I’ve only campervanned once but the packing up the van to so much as drive to the supermarket drove me mad.  We did take bikes and they were good but I would much prefer a seperate vehicle.

When thinking about en-suite, it’s probably important to decide if you’re camping in caravan parks (which have their own amenities) or is the desire to do more adventurous trips to more remote places.

I don’t tow anything but am surrounded by dual cab 4wdriving towing lovers!  We actually just had this conversation on a recent holiday with my IL’s and all agreed the VW Amarok is a fabulous vehicle.  The Ford Ranger is good but then my brother, who’s towed a camptrailer through seriously rough terrain up through the Kimberlies, swears by his Hilux.

Apologies for spelling and punctuation, my phone has a mind of its own tonight, and I’m just too tired to correct.

#10 SkeptiHandsOnMum

Posted 25 July 2019 - 08:43 PM

View PostFiveAus, on 25 July 2019 - 07:05 PM, said:

The best thing I did was bought a Purpleline remote mover and my husband attached it for me. It gives me a bit more independence when trying to hitch up the van to my ute, it also means tricky reverses are a thing of the past. I just unhook the caravan, turn the remote unit on and press a button and the van moves itself.
Off to google what this smoke-and-mirrors is that you speak of.

#11 FiveAus

Posted 25 July 2019 - 09:31 PM

View PostSkeptiHandsOnMum, on 25 July 2019 - 08:43 PM, said:

Off to google what this smoke-and-mirrors is that you speak of.

https://www.purpleli.../e-go-titanium/

This is it. It is amazing. I saw one on someones caravan and I thought it was the most incredible thing I'd seen. Assumed it would be much more money than I could afford and was gobsmacked to find they were only $1300. We considered it a great investment given I do all the caravanning on my own.

#12 Chelli

Posted 25 July 2019 - 10:06 PM

We have a family van - Jayco Expanda. It has a set of bunks up one end and the queen bed expands on the other. I wanted an ensuite as we do a lot of free camping at surf carnivals. If I'd designed it myself, there would be an outdoor shower head as well. We had to get large tow vehicles due to the weight of the car, so DH has an Amarok and I have a Landcruiser.

If I were on my own, I'd probably prefer a camper purely for the freedom of getting out of somewhere in a hurry if I felt unsafe and was free camping. Obviously not going to happen in a park as you'd probably be connected to power and water. I am also terrible at parking, especially in tight spots.

Campers would also be convenient for music festivals and things like that.

Good luck with your decision, I love getting away and staying right next to the beach.

#13 foom

Posted 25 July 2019 - 10:20 PM

Why be able to drive away? Mainly for peace of mind if I was somewhere quiet and there was a disturbance outside. If I was FiveAus with the dogs I'd probably less concerned.

Also if I stuffed up and picked the wrong place to stop I could move in the night easily. We've had to do this once when we discovered we were in mozzie central and we couldn't work out where they were getting in.

#14 SkeptiHandsOnMum

Posted 29 July 2019 - 07:17 PM

 foom, on 25 July 2019 - 10:20 PM, said:

Why be able to drive away? Mainly for peace of mind if I was somewhere quiet and there was a disturbance outside. If I was FiveAus with the dogs I'd probably less concerned.

Also if I stuffed up and picked the wrong place to stop I could move in the night easily. We've had to do this once when we discovered we were in mozzie central and we couldn't work out where they were getting in.
That makes sense. I have never had that with my solo camping, so for now I am thinking the convenience of having a separate car might be a higher priority for me ... But I will have it in the back of my mind with decision making.

I am thinking about hiring a campervan for a holiday just to see what I think and be sure that I really do not want one.

Edited by SkeptiHandsOnMum, 29 July 2019 - 07:35 PM.





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