Holidays → exploring → 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.
Planes 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.
For 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.
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 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 . . .
– Large, spacious & comfortable
– the ‘Home away from Home’
– 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
– 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
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.