Holidaysexploring discovering learning experiencing relaxing . . . 

The wonderful part of living in this space in time is that technology makes it possible for us to travel – whether it be to the other side of the planet by air, or, to a destination just hours away by car.

Backpacker Drawing - ClipartPlanes and automobiles – fantastic inventions that provide us the freedom to travel in a way that was but a dream 150 years ago – yet today we take them for granted.  Frustrations reign should we be held up or delayed – none of us take the time to appreciate those that made transport in such comfort and safety possible – for before the invention of the steam engine and soon after, the internal combustion engine – the horse and cart, by foot, and sailing ships were our only options.

One hundred and fifty years – but two lifetimes . . . how the world has changed.

Now we are spoiled for choice.  If travelling by plane, choosing your holiday equipment is relatively easy – a suitcase or backpack weighing no more than 20 kg, passport, travel documents, currencies, etc.

Holiday PictureFor the annual family camping holiday – tents, caravans, camper trailers provide clever compact luxuries ensuring fun, safe travels.  Many families still enjoy traditional holidays – often visiting the same location year in and year out.  Choosing camping equipment for this scenario is relatively simple as the years afford the knowledge and therefore the know-how of what equipment provides the most enjoyment for all.

However, choosing a recreational vehicle and the best gear to suit a big adventure → whereby you choose to ‘hit the road’ for lengthy or infinite periods → to destinations unknown . . .

herein lies a choice whereby the equipment has the ability to make or break the the dream . . .

 

Some Camping Options

for that Open Road Trip Dream . . .

Now that the team at POI Australia have lived on the road, on and off, for many years, we have learned much, and are still learning every day . . .  We thought it prudent to share our experiences in the hope that it might assist you in choosing the right vehicle and camping set up for your road trip.

Step 1 – What Sort of Camper Are You ???

Firstly, analyse and decide what sort of camper you are.

cropped-POI-Australia-Favicon-e1406709399487.png  Are you single, a couple or family ?

cropped-POI-Australia-Favicon-e1406709399487.png  How healthy is your budget ?

cropped-POI-Australia-Favicon-e1406709399487.png  Do you like a high level of luxury ?

cropped-POI-Australia-Favicon-e1406709399487.png  Or do you prefer to live with the basics only ?

cropped-POI-Australia-Favicon-e1406709399487.png  Do you like to travel the main highways ?

cropped-POI-Australia-Favicon-e1406709399487.png  Or do you prefer to venture off the beaten track ?

cropped-POI-Australia-Favicon-e1406709399487.png  Do you like to explore a region when you arrive at your destination ?

cropped-POI-Australia-Favicon-e1406709399487.png  Or do you prefer to stay within walking or riding distance of your camp ?

The above represent questions that are fundamental to choosing your preferred camp set up.

At this point it would be wise to note that to free camp in Australia, you technically need to be classed as ‘self contained’.  This means you need to be able to carry fresh water, a separate grey water tank to capture all the water used in your bathroom and kitchen, as well as a black water tank to hold all your toilet waste.

Imparting some or our Road Trip Wisdom . . .

We started our experience with the works.  A large motorhome with all the mod-cons, slide outs, space, comfort, etc., etc.  Over time we began to find this mode of ‘glamping’ quite restrictive – the large size made us think thrice about exploring secondary roads with the fear that we would not be able to fit through, manage lumps and bumps in the road with our restrictive ground clearances, long length, and tall height clearances.  We soon learnt that many of Australia’s roads are not suitable for such large vehicles.  We had no other vehicle in tow, as that was the whole point of buying a motorhome, so that we DID NOT have to tow.  We rapidly realised that we needed a set up that would allow us the freedom to travel all kinds of roads, as well as provide us the availability of a vehicle with which to explore, once camp was set up.

We preferred not to tow as this would once more render a long vehicle – potentially restricting us again . . .

Months of research found a more compact but still comfortable and totally self-contained solution.  The slide-on camper offers the same quick set up, a shower, toilet, kitchen, hard walls, comfy bed, no towing, and, the availability of a vehicle once camp was set up.

. . . no more ground clearance problems – the unit is small enough to fit into a supermarket car park, yet fully self-contained and self-sufficient with which to enjoy the great outdoors.

Our new camp set-up attracts much interest – so we thought we would share some of our insights with our readers . . .

Step 2 – Some Camp Alternatives – The Pros & Cons . . .

5th WHEELER

5th Wheelers are generally very large sporting the ultimate of luxury.  Full kitchens, bathrooms, lounge suites, bedrooms, etc.  Many have slide outs too – they truly are a home away from home . . .

Pros

– Large, spacious & comfortable

– the ‘Home away from Home’

– The ultimate in luxury

– Hard walled

– Comfy beds

– Quick to set up

– Increased security due to lockable doors, windows, hatches, etc.

– Use of vehicle once unhooked

– Heating & cooling → comfort as well as decreased issues with damp, etc.

– Incorporated storage, kitchen, cooking, washing, bathroom, toilet, TV, audio, seating, dining, etc

– Suitable to ‘cat nap’ at wayside stops

Cons

– Heavier to tow

– Requires a specially adapted vehicle

– Generally very large – in height, width, length & weight

– Increased vehicle capabilities required

– Increasing towing ability required

– Must be registered for the road – costs vary from state to state

– Their large size can cause high stress when backing into tight sites, parking, driving narrow roads, etc.

– Relatively expensive to purchase

– Increased maintenance costs

– Requires a sizable storage area when not in use

CAMPERVAN

Campervans are a very compact form of the motorhome.  They vary from – pop-top to solid roof – providing from the most basic of facilities to some fitting an astounding amount into their small space.  The wonder of modern technology.

Pros

– Compact & comfortable

– Hard walled

– Comfy beds

– Quick to instant set up

– Easy to drive

– Easy to manoeuvre

– Easy to store when not in use

– Will easily fit anywhere; handle tight, narrow roads

– Increased security due to lockable doors, windows, hatches, etc.

– Heating & cooling → comfort as well as decreased issues with damp, etc.

– Go anywhere, anytime with the convenience of having all you own with you

– Incorporated basic kitchen facilities, some with bathroom, toilet, TV, audio, seating, dining, etc.

– Direct access from the drivers seat providing a means of quick exit should the need arise

– Suitable to ‘cat nap’ at wayside stops

Cons

– Limited storage on board

– A one use vehicle

– Requires ‘pack up’ for every requirement – e.g. a quick run to the supermarket

– Large winds can wobble the vehicle a great deal, which for some, is quite disconcerting

– Can cause high stress when backing into tight sites, parking, driving narrow roads, etc.

– Relatively expensive to purchase

CAMPER TRAILER

Pros

– Easy to tow

– Reasonably compact

– Relatively inexpensive to purchase

– Beds are generally off the floor

– Many come with a solid floor

– Many facilities are incorporated within the trailer e.g. beds, kitchen, food, etc.

– Relatively cheap ongoing costs

Cons

– Towing

– Relatively lengthy set-up time

– Requires some associated equipment to be unloaded & set up too e.g. seating, fridge, dining, etc.

– Canvas accommodation tends more prone to temperature differences, damp, etc.

– No toilet or shower facilities

– Less security due to canvas construction

– Not suitable to ‘cat nap’ at wayside stops

CARAVAN

Caravans come in all shapes and sizes.  They vary from their upper sections sporting canvas sides and slide out beds →  to entire solid walls.  As a general rule – the less canvas → the quicker the set up . . .

For the purpose of this exercise, we will demonstrate a self-contained, hard-walled caravan.

Pros

– Large, spacious & comfortable

– Hard walled

– Comfy beds

– Quick to instant set up

– Increased security due to lockable doors, windows, hatches, etc.

– Use of vehicle once unhooked

– Heating & cooling → comfort as well as decreased issues with damp, etc.

– Incorporated storage, kitchen, cooking, washing, bathroom, toilet, TV, audio, seating, dining, etc

– Suitable to ‘cat nap’ at wayside stops

Cons

– Heavier to tow

– Increased vehicle capabilities required

– Increasing towing ability required

– Must be registered for the road – costs vary from state to state

– Can cause high stress when backing into tight sites, parking, driving narrow roads, etc.

– Relatively expensive to purchase

– Increased maintenance costs

– Requires a sizable storage area when not in use

MOTORHOME

Motorhomes also come in all shapes and sizes and are generally much larger than a campervan.  They are generally fully self contained and enjoy a high level of space and luxury.

Pros

– Large, spacious & comfortable

– Fully self contained

– Hard walled

– Comfy beds

– Quick to instant set up

– Perfect for those who wish to travel the major roadways of this great land

– Increased security due to lockable doors, windows, hatches, etc.

– Direct access from the drivers seat providing a means of quick exit should the need arise

– Go anywhere, anytime with the convenience of having all you own with you

– Heating & cooling → comfort as well as decreased issues with damp, etc.

– Incorporated storage, kitchen, cooking, washing, bathroom, toilet, TV, audio, seating, dining, etc

– Suitable to ‘cat nap’ at wayside stops

Cons

– Heavy to drive → many require a truck license

– Generally set on a truck body which can require increased maintenance, know-how, etc.

– A one use vehicle

– Requires ‘pack up’ for every requirement – e.g. a quick run to the supermarket

– Large winds can wobble the vehicle a great deal, which for some, is quite disconcerting

– Their large size can cause high stress when backing into tight sites, parking, driving narrow roads, etc.

– Generally very expensive to purchase

– Increased maintenance costs

– Requires a sizable storage area when not in use

SLIDE-ON CAMPER

Slide-on campers also come in all shapes and sizes.  They vary from pop-top canvas roof to full hard sides all around.  The larger varieties include slide outs, full kitchens, lounges, etc. →  as with any of the more luxurious caravans, 5th wheelers and motor homes . . .

For the purpose of this exercise, we will demonstrate a self-contained, hard-walled slide-on.

Pros

– Compact & comfortable

– No towing

– Self contained

– Hard walled

– Comfy beds

– No Registration Costs

– Minimal maintenance costs

– Easy to store when not in use

– Easy to manoeuvre

– Fits wherever a ute or wagon drives or parks

– Cab overhang forms a large covered verandah area when grounded

– Quick to instant set up

– Easy to level with electric jacks

– When the camper remains on the vehicle, it is easy to stabilize by extending the electric jacs

– Use of vehicle once unloaded

– Increased security due to lockable doors, windows, hatches, etc.

– Heating & cooling → comfort as well as decreased issues with damp, etc.

– Incorporated storage, kitchen, cooking, washing, bathroom, toilet, TV, audio, seating, dining, etc.

– Suitable to ‘cat nap’ at wayside stops

Cons

– Increased vehicle capabilities required

– Requires some modifications to the ute tray

– Relatively expensive to purchase

TENT

Pros

– No Towing (if it all fits into your car)

– Relatively cheap to purchase and maintain

– Reasonably compact

– Easy to store

– Assemble anywhere, e.g. remote locations, 4WD tracks, sandy beaches, etc.

Cons

– Depending on the tent → it can entail relatively lengthy set up times

– Requires all associated equipment to be packed, unloaded, and set up e.g. beds, bedding, seating, kitchen, benches, cooking, food, food storage, dining, fridge, etc.

– Beds are generally on the floor – can become uncomfortable due to ground damp and cold

– Canvas accommodation tends more prone to temperature differences, damp, etc.

– No toilet or shower facilities

– Less security due to canvas construction

– Not suitable to ‘cat nap’ at wayside stops

 

We hope this may provide some guidance when choosing your perfect recreational vehicle . . .   

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