Caravan or Campervan?

Hey all, after some advice on choosing best value and best mode of travel as we head into our grey nomad years!
We have just returned from a few fabulous weeks away in North QLD in a brand new rented campervan. It was a VW Crafter, and converted to a van by the owners. Included double bed, fridge, toilet, shower, solar, inverter etc. They did a nice job, and considered most features, however there would be a couple of things we would add if it were ours. The van drove well, but we rattled our teeth in our heads with the state of the potholes and crappy Bruce Highway from about Maryborough and then further north.
We found it a quick and easy packing job to move from one place to another, easy to park, could pull in to park off grid just about any where, got about 10 litres diesel/100km. But it was a bit annoying if you wanted to explore locally once you had set up camp (awning out etc), or you had to pack up and leave your camp to run down the street to get a few groceries etc.
Would you choose a caravan or campervan/motorhome?? Is it cheaper or more expensive to custom build? What about long term strain on the suspension and chassis given corrugations and general wear on major roads?

Comments

  • Neither. Decent 4x4 and roof top tent for me.

    • +13

      This ends up with the same problem as OP - once you've established camp you're stuck unless you pack everything up. I've been looking at those slide on campers which have the electronic legs, you can plunk it down and nip out to the shops or the beach or wherever, then just back the car up, jack it down and you're mobile again.

    • I'll take a floor tent any day. Just as easy to set up but way more portable, doesn't axe your fuel economy or move your centre of gravity, and you can put stuff on the roof. Also like, 1/5 of the price haha.

  • +5

    So do you always have to camp near toilet facilities? Being new to the whole camping game, we stayed in campgrounds only twice. Yuk. Everyone crammed in small sites, no privacy… didn't enjoy those couple of nights at all. It was great being completely self contained.

    • Dig a hole

    • No you don’t have to camp near facilities. Makes it easier if you have your own loo and shower, but many people prefer not to have to empty toilet cassettes or cart lots of water.

      Lots of people ‘free camp’ with no amenities at all.

    • I tent camp but I also have a Porta Potti for going to the toilet (Which I empty as a caravan dump point) and a Joolca Portable Shower that if I don't feed from a river, I've a 90L tank on my car I can use for a quick shower

  • +1

    It is really the question about how often you plan to move. If you will spend days at a time without needing to drive your car then self contained campervan is great. Or get one that is really easy to pack up then you won’t be bothered about a quick trip into town to get some milk.

  • +15

    Hotel

    • +7

      Trivago

      • +1

        Nah they are the worst! ACCC fined them for good reasons. Use 3 cheap pads and one hotspot. Even Wikicamps goes forever if you reset a pad!
        Use any comparison site but once arrived at a good deal stop touching that very pad as your mac address gets logged and after you try for cheaper you can never go back to that deal. Saved us over a grand so far, also use to find rental cars.
        All in all we would NEVER pull a caravan. Adding all costs and issues like lengthy setup times it is just not worth it.
        A diesel SUV AWD where the back can be laid flat used to rest if the hotels are too expensive or full.
        Most important: Travel light! It is your own life at risk.

  • +5

    Have had a caravan (an old Coromal Silhouette 451) for a while now (5 years).

    Definitely very useful and handy setting up somewhere, then taking the car to the surrounding towns and places. We're able to stay at a place for as short or as long as we want (some times just 1 night, some 2 weeks). We commonly see seniors just sitting outside their van at the campground, not really going anywhere, because they can't (no mode of transport besides the van, which is fully pegged down and setup). Much better IMO to tow a caravan.

    No inbuilt toilet or shower with our camper trailer, however, we do have a portable toilet/shower, but if there's access to a campground toilet/showers we'll use that. Solar panels take care of power, and we're able to filter water ourselves from taps.

    • +3

      We commonly see seniors just sitting outside their van at the campground, not really going anywhere, because they can't

      Chances are they don't want to go anywhere and that is why they are stationary, resting.
      They are probably having a brake of going everywhere.
      Taking a breather.
      Otherwise they'll pick and buy a caravan that is cheaper than a properly set van.

      The "van (motorhome) versus caravan" differences reminds me of the Holden vs Ford arguments.
      Get what you like to have and don't think the others are worse off.

      Just enjoy your rig because they are enjoying their rig.

      • +2

        I’ve also seen a camper van leave a site for the day, marking their territory with two camp chairs to ensure they had a space when they got back.

        • Yes!, haven't we.

          But it gets worse, I saw many people leaving a full caravan parked there whilst visiting other places and shopping … and … and quite often you'll see also one of those detachable campers left there … just to "claim" the spot.
          Deplorable!

      • +4

        They are probably having a brake

        disc or drum ?

        • +3

          I expected a higher caliper of joke from you JV

        • Glad to see you were paying attention.

          Carry on.

      • I always preferred her rig

    • What about one of those camper vans with a Suzuki Vitara attached at the back, or a Vespa? That'd be pretty sweet.

  • +1

    4wd and hard floor campertrailer for me…. we had many trips with ours base camping with the camper trailer. you can setup a base camp and then go driving and exploring to your hearts content without having to packup your gear everytime.

    Caravan limits you as well to where you can go - depending where you wanna go exploring.

  • +2

    Over the years we’ve upgraded from tent, to soft floor camper trailer, to non ensuite caravan and now ensuite caravan. Definitely handy having a shower and loo, even if we use site facilities when available. So much easier to set up than anything with soft walls and roof! It is a bit of a pain trying to park while you’ve got the van on the back. Can’t pull into woolies car park easily and you need a string of around 4 spaces to pull up at the kerb. However, once set up we re free to day trip and discovering you’ve forgotten milk and need to head to the shops after setting up is easy.

    My brother set off for ‘the big lap’ with a roof top tent and sold it half way round because they were sick of having to pack up house every time hey wanted to go sightseeing when they planned on staying in an area for a few days.

    Do you want to drive and stay, or will you be moving near every day?

  • +4

    But it was a bit annoying if you wanted to explore locally once you had set up camp (awning out etc), or you had to pack up and leave your camp to run down the street to get a few groceries etc.

    This is why you see a few either towing a Jimny on a small trailer, or flat towing a Grand Vitara. Long vehicle when they do, but that way they have a car to run around and explore, go 4x4 etc

    • +4

      Had a long time caravanner tell me he was seriously considering a motor home plus towed vehicle after a nervous late night outback encounter when free camping at a roadside stop. Was tucked up in his caravan and there was some kerfuffle outside. Said if he’d been in a motor home they could have upped and left immediately, but were scared to exit the van and jump into the car to drive off. It wasn’t a really serious situation, just some drunks fighting or similar, but if you regularly stop in the middle of nowhere being able to drive off quickly could be a benefit.

    • +1

      Just what I was going to say - plenty of campervans and converted buses hauling a small car (or postie bike) for the day trips.

      We have a camper trailer and it's great to get away, but the 2 hour setup/pack down does impact how often we use it

      Best advice I can give is whichever route you go with, the faster pack down and setup are, the more you'll use and enjoy it.

      • +3

        2 hours? how much shit do you take? LOL

        ours without awning 10 mins, with awning was 30 tops with kids helping, or 20-25 without heir help

        but you are right, the faster setup, and the less you need to load up (leave it packed) to get away for weekend/week/month - the more use it will get

        • Our soft floor camper was around 20min to set up. But all the extra bits and pieces meant it took around 2hr to get fully set up or packed away.

          • +1

            @Euphemistic: Yeah, it's a jayco pop top - the van itself is 20 minutes ish but just like Euphemistic, we have lots of extra junk in there to set up too

        • +3

          30 tops with kids helping, or 20-25 without heir help

          Haha

    • +2

      I would love this future. I have the Grand Vitara, I just need the motorhome to tow it with and a way to fund it all. Grand Vitaras are fun little cars if you're considering this option.

    • +1

      I once saw one towing a rav4 with numberplate "IPUSH"

      loved it

  • +11

    Get a couple of folding ebikes and you can explore quite a bit on them, do grocery runs, etc.

    I don't think there is one single perfect solution to camping, they all have their pros and cons. It's about finding the one that most suits you.

  • +2

    I think the best setup is different for everyone, and it changes too.
    If I was 20 and single it would be a station wagon and a swag, I’ve had campers, and rented vans.
    I’m thinking of a caravan, maybe one of the little fold up avan aliners. It would be good for touring, though maybe not for months at a time.

    • +1

      My in-laws bought one of those about 23/34 years ago and used it to travel around Australia, then throughout Qld and after that would go to SA for 6 - 8 weeks every year. MIL is nearly 80 and will probably do that again this year.

      The fold-up AVan is still going strong. (As is, obviously, my MIL.)

    • Exactly. When I was younger, I lived in the back of my Sandman panel van
      When I got a bit older I bought a 1964 bus for $13,000. It had a 308 in her which was converted to LPG,
      and I worked up the motor. The ol' bus used to do doughies in the dirt & drift around corners :)

      • last century I inherited by parents' Austin 1800 (with hydrolastic suspension) - the amazing thing was that reclining the front seats laid almost perfectly flat back to convert the entire interior into a very comfortable double bed !

        I went on a beach surfing trip with a friend where we slept/ate/stayed very comfortably in that for some days - until I rolled it on a gravel winding back road - it was never the same after that, and I've never found another car that converts to a comfortable double bed - especially now they have headrests …

        • Those suspensions are funny, not in a joking way
          The only way to get something that will fit a double bed is a panel van
          You can get them with windows & then put curtains, but the Sandman never had windows
          At least it will be a bit more private than the Austin. Panel vans have bigger motors too. Mine had a 253 & it did 180 in 3rd
          You still have to sleep with the window open a bit, and you have to remember to not sit up fast in the morning
          I saw one the other day, man it bought back memories

  • +2

    A good camper van = decent diesel, lower wind resistance, mid sized, and yes e-Bikes for local visits to attractions or supermarkets. I had one some years ago, slow, drank fuel, headwinds were not the best! and the "set up" was a pain in the tail!. Would never buy one again or a caravan, the holding cost's are another issue!.

    • yep - fuel consumption in a large cross-section van is not likely to be good - also cross-winds could be scary - and suspension on bumpy roads also unlikely to be the most comfortable

      an acquaintance apparently spent $70K on a fully kitted offroad camper ute-type vehicle - and I'm like - how often are you going to be using it for this to represent value ?

      I once asked someone about not having a spare bedroom for visitors - they said 'for less than the $30,000 cost of a spare bedroom we hardly ever use, I could put up any visitors in a five-star hotel'

  • +1

    I bought a dual cab VW Crafter with a Jayco renegade on the back. It was an ex Britz hire unit. We’ve got three young kids so the the dual cab option is amazing. Apparently as rare as rocking horse poop too, but I can’t attest to that.

    You’re set up in roughly 5 minutes flat once you get to where you’re going. You have everything you need when you get there too. A massive disadvantage is not being able to shoot off to the shops or go exploring further than your legs can take you. Having said that, we’re exploring flat towing options with a suitable car, but that is a bloody expensive route compared to the trailer option.

    Each option has its pros and cons. Work out what you’re willing to compromise on and go from there.

    Happy nomadding!

  • +1

    There are so many possible correct answers to your question and your answer will change over time too.
    We currently have a caravan with ensuite and tow it with a large 4wd SUV. We looked at pretty well every alternative - even considering building a camper on a 4wd base ourselves. We have taken a small tent to very remote places the van wouldn’t go.
    Everything has its pros and cons and it really depends on what you are prepared co compromise on.
    Our logic for our set up is that we want a quiet, cruise, go anywhere vehicle that is safe and comfy and are prepared to pay for the extra fuel.
    Wife particularly wanted to avoid Caravan Park ablutions, so ensuite.
    Turns out we love camping in Nat Parks and basic camping areas and avoid CPs anyway, so solar and batteries.
    But, van is too big to go really off road and difficult to manoeuvre into some small campsites.

    One thing though - if you want to tow, a safe rule of thumb it make your tow vehicle around the
    same weight as your trailer or heavier. So don’t go for a big, heavy van, then expect a dual cab Ute to safely tow it. It’s almost universal nowadays and it’s not safe. If you decide you want a big van, buy a small truck to tow it with. They are about the same price or cheaper that an SUV and much better.

    Good luck.👍

    • Says my car is 3.7tons, the caravan is 4tons. Can I make up the different by, add more load onto the car ?

      • +2

        It's not about how much the car can pull, but more about how much it safely can take while braking.

        • How/where do I find out it ?

          • +1

            @frewer: Manufacturers specifications are what is considered safe by the authorities despite what the armchair experts will say.

            • +1

              @Euphemistic: Sadly, the armchair experts are all advising that their 2.5 t Ute is perfectly fine towing 3 or more tonnes. This includes the nice person who wants to sell you that awesome Ute. Everyone with vested interests.

              OP is going to get lots of this as she/he starts to consider options.
              The automotive engineers and the like are saying keep the weights similar, with a bit more on the vehicle side if possible. You need to look at particular vehicle and trailer specs, but it’s a reasonable starting point.

              Meanwhile, caravan rollovers are a common occurrence on our highways. Sort of a [email protected] thing to happen during retirement years.

              • +1

                @saltypete: The marketing brochures oversimplify the towing equation. If you get it right, it’s safe within the manufacture specs. The most important factor they fail to advertise is the combined weight limit. It’s a balancing act between towing more and hauling less in the tug.

                • +1

                  @Euphemistic: It can be safe, but is at the engineered limit of the vehicle. It leaves no margin for error, I towed large trailers for work for years and they were audited as legal and were fine. The problem for the grey hoards setting forth is that concentration is required - for hitching, tyre pressures all round, speed checking, really having your wits about you the whole time and slowing for bad road surfaces, off cambers, undulations, wind changes.
                  They are retired - and don’t keep the whole show on the road properly.
                  Hence the vehicle/trailer weight guidance - it gives a margin to the biggest risk - the trailer exerting control on the tow vehicle.

                  • @saltypete: You don’t think the limit of the numbers allows for a margin of error?

                    • +1

                      @Euphemistic: It does, but what is that margin of error?
                      Have been travelling with a van for a little while now and a scary amount of folk on the road have no idea of their weights and really don’t want to know.
                      They have taken some salesman’s advice, backed it up with some FB ‘tows like a dream’ feedback to confirm bias and have sunk an amount into the rig that they have no financial ability to change. It’s too late for them. Hubby will defend it to the death because he doesn’t want the wife asking awkward questions.
                      I think it’s pretty sad actually.
                      Meanwhile, if you talk to people doing for years, engineers, folk with tech rather than sales background- you’ll hear the advice of ‘keep the weights about the same or better. It’s a start - you still need to consider weights but it puts you on the right side of things.
                      The other problem is that as a first buyer, the tendency is to go for a big van that is like home on the back of the car. 3500 ATM. Then find a light duty dual cab to do the job.

                      • +1

                        @saltypete: Then there’s GVM upgrades. If a piece of paper and some new shocks/springs is enough to allow you to tow and carry more there must be a fair margin in manufacturers limits.

                        Agree with you in respect to many banners having no idea what they are doing. Salespeople have a fair bit to answer for selling vans that are too big. Agree, lots of newbies what all the bells and whistles then work out too late their rig can’t tow it.

    • While the old rule of thumb is tow less than the tug weight, I would think that the design rules, engineering standards and stuff would consider whatever is legal is safe. If it was unsafe, you couldn’t do it.

      Where everyone gets caught out is thinking they can tow max weight (3.5t) with a full load in their ute. Reality is you can only tow 3.5t with a driver and toothbrush in the tug.

  • +5

    I am your very basic, low maintenance, female so this may not suit everyone but we travel around in a older model triton one ton ute with a canopy on the back. The black zip up sort. We don't bother with refrigeration and take very minimal stuff. It has a mattress in the back that is quite comfy and we carry a jug, coffee, cereal and the like with uht milk. Set up is finding a nice tree and often they will have picnic tables, stopping the car and jumping in the back to sleep. Normally we stop in camps with facilities like toilets and showers and a picnic table sometimes very basic ones but that is half the fun. We eat at the local RSL or pub grub asking locals for the best value for the best food.

    Because there is no actual "set up" or "pack up" unless you call pulling out the small step ladder to get in the back, if we want to go for a drive we just drive off. I particularly like this because if we had for instance a caravan or the like it would still be up to me to do the cooking/cleaning etc so this is a real holiday for me as well. Being just a regular sized vehicle it is still fine for driving to the shops etc. We usually spend a week or so at a time so I don't know how it would go as a longer time way to travel but it suits us fine. I am fully aware though that some may rather a few more luxurious trappings.

  • We have been pondering the same question. We spend a lot of time in the bush and like to free camp. Currently we are tenting in a good quality canvas tent. This is fine for the moment but as we get older it is getting a bit less fun sleeping on the ground.
    We are now thinking that a 4wd Ute with one of those slide on campers on the back will be the go. As wittyusername said above, you can wind down the legs of the camper unit and slide it off the Ute to go exploring for the day. We are currently leaning towards the Leven model camper from Islander Campers inTassie. We are going over later this year and will have a look at them in person.

  • +1

    Every camping option (caravan, campervan, camper trailer, roof top etc) has it pro's and cons.

    You need to choose the one that works best for your budget, preferences once on the road and storage when you're not on the road.

    I know a few that started with tents —> camper trailer —> hard floor camper —> caravan and spent a fortune in the process.

    • +1

      that is quite common on the camper forum as people get older and no kids with em..

      • +1

        Yep. Start out cheap (tent). If you stick with it you’ll invest more to have more comfort/convenience.

        • yep, except im back to a swag… although would like an RV2 oztent except for the price and size when packed

    • +2

      Reminded me of this https://imgur.com/a/Rf7mUQp

      • That's bang on correct

  • +1

    I've noticed RV friendly towns signs all over the place recently.
    These offer free or low cost parking/camping facilities for RVs, I'd think that whatever you end up getting, it'd be very desirable to meet the criteria to use these places. Rooftop tent on a 4WD probably doesn't qualify. I can't find a specific national guideline, but this is what one of my nearby towns says.

    Types of Vehicles allowed

    Recreational Vehicle (RV) means purpose built recreational vehicles, caravans, buses, coaches or other types of vehicles primarily designed and constructed to provide occupancy to a person or persons that are licensed to operate on a road. A recreational Vehicle using this area must be fitted with an operable integrated black water waste system with a holding tank within the RV. The RV must also have a grey water waste system fitted with the system being capable of capturing grey water without it being deposited on the ground (an integrated holding tank is not required). Grey water capture must be disposed of off-site.

    • +1

      Many of the smaller towns (atleast all over regional NSW) all have the RV friendly signs; if they didn't they won't get any new customers/tourists in the area.

      Most of these towns will offer free camping, as well as sometimes free hot showers and water (not very well-maintained amenities, but free is free). Very commonly it's just the town's sports oval that isn't used much, which makes for good ground for camping and caravans.

    • If your 4wd plus roof top has toilet and grey water management it counts. Not many would though.

      • Depends how picky they are about the 'purpose built' bit. Probably fine though.
        I was shocked once in the UK that a caravan park wouldn't let me in because my kombi was not a 'proper motorhome' probably doesn't happen in Australia.

  • I've also noticed a lot of campervans and caravans on peer to peer rental platforms lately. Seems like a great idea to get some of those campervans that spend 90% of their life in a driveway into use. Either rent someone else's, or put your own up for rent when not using it. I haven't tried one yet, but they seem to offer a fair bit more flexibility than the commercial operators. Lots of dog-friendly options for one thing. Some caravans are even available with a tow vehicle. Could be a way to try out some options before commiting.

    I quite like the van + ebikes idea. But if doing a lap through the north there are still quite a few places like Karajini where being able to leave a caravan behind for long corrugated roads to the really good bits would be nice. Probably depends a lot on where you intent to go. Possibly renting a 4WD for a day or two here or there could work as well.

  • -3

    Go the Campervan… its a no-brainer.

    Towing a van is dangerous… and cumbersome.

    The van you can stop anywhere, have a quick coffee and be off again on your adventure. Caravans as so YESTERDAY

    • Towing a van is no more dangerous than a campervan if you do it right.

    • thats why theres 12 mth waiting lists for CaRaVAnS

  • Very difficult to just stop anywhere if you are not self contained with toilet and possibly shower.
    A fridge is almost a must. Unless you are prepared to rough it quite a bit.
    Anything less than a self contained motorhome or campervan will have you tied to caravan parks most of the times.
    Problem is that caravan parks are expensive and if you want to be in them on school holidays or long public holidays you need to book wayyyy in advance. Some of them the people book for next xmas or easter from obe year to the other.
    They keep selling new caravans, but many caravan parks are closing down to become housing estates or retirement living villages so there is a lot of demand and not much offer.
    On the other hand in a lot of places it is illegal to sleep in a vehicle, including motorhomes and campervans. Gold Coast for example will fine you if they catch you.

    • On the other hand in a lot of places it is illegal to sleep in a vehicle, including motorhomes and campervans.

      Including caravans as well. You "cannot" sleep or stay overnight in any of those.

      Gold Coast for example will fine you if they catch you.

      IF they spot you.

      With a campervan you'll be spotted.
      With a caravan you'll be spotted.
      With a van you might get away is using common sense and just being astute.

      Your pick.

  • A towing caravan or a panel van?

    Want comfort "like at home"?, get a fully done towing caravan. But if wanting so much comfort, why to leave home at all???

    Want the flexibility of stopping anywhere and still walking inside for a coffee/drink/snooze?, get a fully done panel van.

    Dreaming of driving aimlessly in a light rainy day and then stopping for a rest (nice and dry)? … a van it is!

    Dreaming to directly go and stay at location A for xx days? … a caravan it is!

  • List your priorities.
    - Moving regularly or have a base camp for a few days in one location?
    - Having bathroom/shower facilities?
    - Going to offtrack/unsealed roads or remote locations or just highways?
    - Using major campgrounds or remote campgrounds that maybe on unsealed roads?
    - Want full luxury or basic?
    - How often do you want to use it? Every 2nd weekend, month or whenever?
    - What activities you want to do? Will you out doing day trips/hiking/exploring towns or you want to chill at camp most of the time
    - Cost of ownership of campervan vs caravan would be diffferent.

    If you lean towards one, then it will determine your camper of choice.

  • +1

    become a carni

  • -2

    Buy a tent like a normal person, that way you wont clog the street with a trailer that use maybe twice a year realistically.

    • +1

      Stay in motels like a normal person
      Go to Bali like a normal person
      Don’t go on holidays, stay home and bake like a normal person
      Hitchhike like a normal person

      • Lots of salty trailer/camper/caravan owners in this post!

        • Says the salty tent owner who’s street is clogged with underused caravans and boats.

  • +1

    I would go for a 4x4 with a caravan because:

    • As others have said - you can set up the caravan as a 'base', then drive off in your car
    • Even if you are not a hardcore 4WDer, there are plenty of places that something like a Crafter may struggle to reach
    • You are concerned about suspension etc on corrugations - plenty of customisation for 4WDs to suit long distance travel, for vans I imagine less so
    • When your trip's over, I'd much rather have a nicely setup 4WD as a daily driver than driving the Crafter around or having a second car

    But as others have said, it's very much a personal decision. My parents had a Mercedes Sprinter campervan for a fortnight in Tasmania and loved it.

  • We have a 4x4 with an optional roof tent. The car is well kitted out with dual batteries, solar, water carriers, 240v inverter and it's set up for off-road work. We agonised over options for longer trips especially as we love remote camping but found it limiting due to having the roof tent set up and then no longer being able to use the car. Last year we purchased a used off-road hybrid pod - basically a hardtop fully enclosed bedroom with pullout kitchen and cooking area. Like the car, we wanted it to be off-grid so it's equipped with dual batteries, solar, 120 litre water tanks, hot and cold water, portable toilet, exterior shower, wraparound awning etc. So far we love it. For more local trips it gives us an almost instant setup and pack away is about 15 mins. It's light to tow and very comfortable to sit and sleep in. Yes, fuel consumption increases and whilst it has good clearance (it's lifted with aftermarket suspension) we wouldn't take it on any really tough 4wd tracks. For our longer trips we plan to keep the roof tent on the car and have an option to store/park/leave the pod whilst we explore more remote areas. The bottom line for us is that there is always a compromise that has to be made. You should look at your preferred places to travel to and visit (for us it's remote, free camping, bush, rivers etc), match that up with your preferred comfort level and then find that best compromise. Good luck!

    • Which brand pod did you get?

      • +1

        We got a Lumberjack Sorrento. Also looked at the Jayco J-Pods but didn't like the rear exit door set up and they were also very warm inside which suggests a lack of insulation in the roof-space. The Sorrento was second hand and the owner had made some sensible and useful mods/upgrades. There are still some flaws that we are working on but overall very happy. MDC's XT Series was another option but expensive - something we may look at in the future. Feel free to message me if you want any more info.

        • Yeah nice, I haven't seen those before but have looked at the jayco jpod.
          Makes me always wonder how something like the lumberjack is $42k which is almost as much as a 4wd. Surely there's a huge markup in these trailers.

          • @22slurpee: We thought the same regarding price - it's worth more than our Prado!! Got ours a lot cheaper as it was used (right time and right place and had a lot in common with the seller so mutual trust blah blah). I think it's down to low volume sales plus they all seem to have massive showrooms (the Jayco place near us is huge = big rent). Having said that, the construction of ours is pretty good and we throw it around a bit. Based on my research, all of these vans seem to come from China with a variety of different levels of assembly when they land here. I don't have a problem with where things are made, it's more how they are made and then put together. I know that the MDC guys pride themselves on being a 'cut above' but I've heard even they had huge problems with parts supply and it affected their ability to service warranty claims. Not sure where you are based but if you're in Victoria you are welcome to take a look at ours.

  • +1

    All excellent comments and views, thanks! We are both still working, so we can't up and leave for weeks on end. Our thoughts are that we could instead continue to rent either a van, motorhome or camper trailer, and test the different configurations out to see what suits us best? Yes, we used Camplify for the trip we just finished.
    Neither of us have ever towed anything in our lives! Wouldn't have a clue how to hitch a van. Our 4WD had a towbar included when we bought it. I read that you can do a towing course through RACQ… would you recommend this? Or just travel and get experience on the road?

    • Towing can be daunting at first but there are courses out there and I know people have done them and found them valuable. I gained experience towing small to medium trailers so towing the pod is not a lot different. The thing most people seem to struggle with is reversing them! If nothing else, get some experience reversing and parking and never reverse without a spotter behind you giving some guidance and directions.

    • Roadcraft in Gympie do an excellent towing course. I would do one if you were going to do serious towing. They also do an excellent 4x4 course, if you think it would help. They are a not-for-profit organisation and own their own facilities. Only downside is that they copped it in the recent flood event.

  • Now when borders are open and people can fly overseas, do you guys think this will drop caravans demand and prices overall in used market?

  • Also consider toys - eg kayaks and bikes are easier to transport on caravans (well on the tow vehicle and A-frame). Yes I know you can put bikes on the back of a motorhome, but reconsider that if you plan on dusty roads. And inflatable kayaks are just not as good. But small motorhomes can be used for daytrips eg beach when not even on holidays, and that's pretty tempting.

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