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169 posts

Master Geek


  #2474183 30-Apr-2020 16:47
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A couple of years ago we had a similar discussion and went for a caravan, but at the heavier Jayco end. Love getting out and about so wish you well.

 

MikeB4:

 

Fully self contained is an absolute must.

 

 

Don't overestimate the amount of time you can spend out independently. We have built-in fresh and grey tanks, and find that 4-5 days is the max we can stretch. Toilet cassettes are getting pretty honky after 4 days anyway, but we have 2 cassettes (17 litre each). To empty and replenish fresh and grey waters we need to move the caravan. UK caravans are to light to have built in tanks so they use the roll in/out variety, been there done that. Has the advantage that it is easy to replenish/empty onsite by just rolling containers to the facilities, but you will have no disposal points at most DOC and NZMCA sites. Disadvantage is that capacity is low. And those tanks outside freeze in winter, we had to bring them inside overnight.

 

A good NZ forum resource is https://www.nzmotorhome.co.nz/

 

Many years ago had a 13' Swift, but that will bear absolutely no comparison to today's caravans so can't comment.




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  #2474192 30-Apr-2020 16:59
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MartinGZ:

 

 

 

Don't overestimate the amount of time you can spend out independently. We have built-in fresh and grey tanks, and find that 4-5 days is the max we can stretch. Toilet cassettes are getting pretty honky after 4 days anyway, but we have 2 cassettes (17 litre each). To empty and replenish fresh and grey waters we need to move the caravan. UK caravans are to light to have built in tanks so they use the roll in/out variety, been there done that. Has the advantage that it is easy to replenish/empty onsite by just rolling containers to the facilities, but you will have no disposal points at most DOC and NZMCA sites. Disadvantage is that capacity is low. And those tanks outside freeze in winter, we had to bring them inside overnight.

 

A good NZ forum resource is https://www.nzmotorhome.co.nz/

 

Many years ago had a 13' Swift, but that will bear absolutely no comparison to today's caravans so can't comment.

 

 

The Camper van v Caravan choice is a hard one. I watched this video by Andrew Ditton on the subject. It is very good but still left me somewhat undecided.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34BB8-P35Ls





Mike

 

Consultant

 


The views stated in my posts are my personal views and not that of any other organisation.

 

He waka eke noa


 
 
 
 


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Ultimate Geek

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  #2474223 30-Apr-2020 18:07
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Not self contained but my wife and I have one of these little teardrop campers.

 

 

 

https://www.roadchief.co.nz/caravan-new-road-chief-teardrop-caravans-with-front-opening-window-417

 

 

 

Its awesome. We absolutely love it and get a lot of use out of it. 


934 posts

Ultimate Geek


  #2474224 30-Apr-2020 18:13
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It’s an interesting dilemma. A caravan is a real pain, from a point-to-point perspective, but you can drop it and have a vehicle to get around from a centralised location. A van is much better point-to-point, but has the characteristics of a heavy-ish vehicle on a day-to-day basis.

 

i kind of get the feeling caravans need things like power supplies, water supplies etc, more frequently than vans; and therefore more suited to caravan parks. Vans seem more flexible.

 

personally, I would lean more towards a van with the flexibility to move anywhere at any time. But it really comes down, I reckon, to how mobile you want to be, and how much you are ok to tow. Personally I don’t enjoy towing, so caravans would be a turn-off.

 

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve moved from big canvas tenting towards smaller, more flexible 1- or 2- person tenting.

 

is going to be interesting to see what people think.





BlinkyBill


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Uber Geek


  #2474290 30-Apr-2020 20:01
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BlinkyBill:

 

It’s an interesting dilemma. A caravan is a real pain, from a point-to-point perspective, but you can drop it and have a vehicle to get around from a centralised location. A van is much better point-to-point, but has the characteristics of a heavy-ish vehicle on a day-to-day basis.

 

i kind of get the feeling caravans need things like power supplies, water supplies etc, more frequently than vans; and therefore more suited to caravan parks. Vans seem more flexible.

 

personally, I would lean more towards a van with the flexibility to move anywhere at any time. But it really comes down, I reckon, to how mobile you want to be, and how much you are ok to tow. Personally I don’t enjoy towing, so caravans would be a turn-off.

 

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve moved from big canvas tenting towards smaller, more flexible 1- or 2- person tenting.

 

is going to be interesting to see what people think.

 

 

As far as needing a built in toilet and shower goes ...

 

My wife and I spent nearly 4 weeks going through the southwest USA national parks last summer (their winter) in one of these c19 

 

 

 

 

Has a built in shower and toilets but we weren't able to use them as it gets so cold that the tanks and lines freeze (our coldest night was around -20C).  Good thing is the national parks have heated bathrooms.  I am not sure we would have made use of the RV bathrooms much anyway.  I don't want to take a dump in the morning and stink the RV out.  The only time it was an issue is in death valley and really needing to pee and the bathroom having a massive line (an empty bottle worked).

 

The c19 is built on the ford e350 a v8  said to be the most efficient rv (by american standards) and drank fuel.  One of the most powerful things I have driven, despite it's weight I could zoom up hills.

 

the T17 which we didn't get probably would have been a better bet.

 

 

 





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Ultimate Geek


  #2474291 30-Apr-2020 20:05
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A few for sale here

 

https://www.rvsupercentre.co.nz/ex-rental-motorhomes-for-sale#/?pageNumber=1

 

Some are used and look to be new.


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  #2474324 30-Apr-2020 22:24
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Im no expert but i spoke to a fella down the street once... he's had multiple "Auto Trails" and another fella down the street has one too plus a few around the neighbourhood.

 

I think its the choice of the boomers who want functionality and comfort and ease of use. 

 

Pretty nice inside too and has all the things you need. 

 

edit: might be on a Fiat or VW chassis...cant remember and I aint going for a walk! 

 

 


 
 
 
 


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Ultimate Geek

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  #2474326 30-Apr-2020 23:03
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MikeB4:

 

As we are not intending to travel overseas for the foreseeable future due to Covid-19 and also a dislike of air travel  we intend to see as much of Aotearoa as we can possibly do. We will be using Motor camps, DOC campsites and NZMCA caravan sites. Fully self contained is an absolute must.

 

 

Sounds like a good plan.

 

Have you done many trip's with a caravan or camper-van? If not, you could consider doing one each once travel restrictions lift. Often you can get very cheap relocation deals for camper van's (did this my last trip, 4 days Akl to Christchurch). Caravans rentals are generally only via the peer to peer websites.

 

 

 

What is the best fit for you will depend on your individual circumstances. Generally caravans seem to be more popular in the South Island, and camper-vans in the North Island.

 

Generally camper van's are better if you are the kind of person that only likes to stay a day or two in one place, and caravans are more suited if you want to set up camp somewhere nice and stay for several days. (caravans take longer to set up & break down at a campsight, but once they are you can leave them set up, and use the tow vehicle for day trips etc.). Generally you get more bang for buck from a caravan, especially if you like a larger vehicle as your daily driver.  Caravans are a lot cheaper to maintain, insure, register etc.

 

With regards to that video, it is UK centric, where free camping is largly banned. In Aussie, free camping with caravans is very popular so there caravans tend to be better set up for it (A caravan and a landcruiser seems to be the pick in aussie for gray nomads or to do a "big lap" rather than a campevan. In short, Aussie caravans are too heavy to tow with a rav4, you would need to upgrade to a Fortuner or other heavier SUV/Ute if you wanted to go that route. Aussie caravans are a lot heavier as they have to be built to stand up to hours of travel on corrugated gravel.

 

The big difference between the NZ and UK market is:

 

  • Free camping is more common.
  • We have a large volume of ex-rental camper-vans on our market, The covid-19 situation likely means many rental companies will downsize, making the market for campervan's flooded with supply.
  • Heaver tow vehicles (Utes, and heavey 4x4's) are more common.

 

 

The flowing situations would favor a camper van:

 

  • Where you can use it to replace a car. My grandparents were in this situation. They live quite rurally and wanted a car each for the rare times they both wanted to go different places (and for redundancy). They are quite happy to use the campervan in the rare situations they would have used the second car.
  • Where you want to tow something else i.e. boat. Can only tow one trailer at a time with a light vehicle in NZ
  • Enjoy frequently moving between camp-sights.
  • Want to fit into tighter freedom camping spots (i.e. near wind-vane in wellington)
  • Don't want to deal with hitching, unhitching etc.
  • If you prefer to avoid towing. Relatively easy to get into major trouble towing a heavy load if you get something wrong, A rigid vehicle is a bit more forgiving.
  • Where you desire to downsize your main vehicle. Perhaps you could decide that you will always take the camper van when you go out of town, so change your daily driver to a cheap Nissan leaf.
  • You are happy with a van under 3.5T, and want to travel at the signposted limit (110km/h in some areas) rather than being restricted to the trailer speed limit of 90km/h
  • You are going to do lots of ferry crossings (Inter island, great barrier etc).
  • You want your amenities closer to hand when traveling. Much easier to stop for a quick bite or a to use the toilet in a campervan especially if the weather is bad.
  • You plan to go places that are closed to towing vehicles (mountain passes in very bad weather)

The following situations would favor a caravan;

 

  • Where you already have, or would like a larger SUV or ute as a daily driver for reasons unrelated to caravan towing.
  • You have a tighter operational budget.
  • You want the better ergonomics / acoustics / driving comfort of a SUV, as compared to a van.
  • You want more space / stuff than a 3.5T campervan has, but want to avoid COF's, higher RUC's and other requirements that kick in when you cross that threshold with a rigid vehicle.
  • You plan to keep the caravan a long time, but plan to regularly upgrade your tow vehicle.
  • You want to do day trips places you couldn't take a caravan, - say 4x4 trails, or CBD multistory carparks.
  • You like the interior of caravan's - generally the have a more spacious layout than camper-vans.

 

 

From my three camper-van holiday's I learnt the following;

 

  • Converting a bed to lounge and back again daily sucks. Beds made from couch cushions suck. Get something with a separate lounge / bed area, or a bed that drops down from the ceiling.
  • If you are not going to stay in a campground each night, make sure you have a gas or diesel fired heater (extinguishing to the outside), and that the house battery is big enough to run it all night.
  • Having hot water heated off waste heat from the engine / 240v is not as nice as being able to having it heated when the engine is not running and you are not plugged in.
  • Payloads on some van's are pritty low. We went accross a weighbridge in a 4 person campervan, and we were only 40kg away from GVM, despite only having 2 adults & 1 baby.
  • Bigger water / grey / black tanks would be very nice. 
  • Doors (especially boot door) that open on the right hand side of the vehicle suck.



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  #2474425 1-May-2020 10:32
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@Scott3 thank you for a very thorough and informative post. You have given me a lot of food for thought. I have to go and do some work but I will respond later today.




Mike

 

Consultant

 


The views stated in my posts are my personal views and not that of any other organisation.

 

He waka eke noa


5751 posts

Uber Geek


  #2474445 1-May-2020 10:50
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I've done the caravan ownership thing and spent time looking at vans as well.  We even got reasonably serious about buying a bus to convert into a motorhome.

 

One thing I did learn about was vehicle width.  European stuff tends to be narrower than NZ/AU/US.  My recollection is that this is the result of EU regulations.

 

This makes a significant difference to both layout and comfort.

 

 

 

 





Mike

169 posts

Master Geek


  #2474519 1-May-2020 12:12
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@Scott3

 

Pretty thorough summary, one of the better ones I've seen. I do feel you overegg the positives of the campervan a bit, e.g. personally I like the fact that when we stop for lunch we get out and stretch our legs wandering back to the caravan.

 

Really it's a very personal thing and even having made the choice there will be times when you wish you'd made the other! If it was an easy option this conversation wouldn't exist.

 

Just to put my slant on a few things.

 

Capacity (water etc). No real difference between a NZ or Oz caravan and a campervan and often you'll find larger water tanks on the caravan because of weight restricitions. UK caravans that the OP is looking at are a different kettle of fish, very seldomly do they have any tanks that will last longer than a day.

 

Tow vehicle. The Fortuner would be fine for the caravans the OP is looking at, IMHO it is not a suitable tow vehicle for the heavy NZ or Oz vans. They have upped its towing capacity a small amount, but it is a bit of the tail wagging the dog. It's also petrol. For heavier vans diesel is a must if you travel any sort of long distances.

 

Setup/breakdown times. Very little difference between a campervan and modern caravan. It takes us at most 15-20 mins to park, unhitch, level and put down the steadies. Hey I'm on holiday, what do I care. I have actually seen the odd person take longer to get their campervan level that it takes us to set up. That's WAAAAY to fussy!

 

The ability to travel on each day is no different with a caravan or van other than the hitching up etc. Minuscule in the scheme of things. Personally I prefer staying a few days at each spot and having the ute available to explore.

 

@MikeB4

 

You mentioned you have a disabililty, but obviously feel that it would not affect your ability to use a caravan. It is easy enough to park a caravan in the correct spot if you are good at reversing and practice makes perfect. With the larger heavier caravans you have no choice as you cannot maneuver them by hand anyway. However there is still a bit of pushing and shoving involved in hitching up, but reversing cameras have made a huge difference and we also use a couple of walkie talkies to aid communications. Obviously a campervan has none of that involved, its park and forget, perhaps a bit of levelling if you are fussy.

 

@blackjack17

 

Sounds like we did a similar trip although I went through Death Valley before winter hit. We had a similar vehicle and didn't really enjoy it. The inside was cramped and dark, and thirsty was not the word - 12 mpg, 23.5 l/100km was our average. (That said I average around 17 l/100km when towing my caravan.) I actually find it easier to tow my 19' Jayco caravan than I did to drive the "small" c19. It's odd really, but I find it much easier to judge the width of my caravan than I did the campervan, even though the campervan wasn't much wider. Guess it's what you get used to.


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Ultimate Geek

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  #2474744 1-May-2020 14:20
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MartinGZ:

 

@Scott3

 

Pretty thorough summary, one of the better ones I've seen. I do feel you overegg the positives of the campervan a bit, e.g. personally I like the fact that when we stop for lunch we get out and stretch our legs wandering back to the caravan.

 

Really it's a very personal thing and even having made the choice there will be times when you wish you'd made the other! If it was an easy option this conversation wouldn't exist.

 

Just to put my slant on a few things.

 

Capacity (water etc). No real difference between a NZ or Oz caravan and a campervan and often you'll find larger water tanks on the caravan because of weight restricitions. UK caravans that the OP is looking at are a different kettle of fish, very seldomly do they have any tanks that will last longer than a day.

 

Tow vehicle. The Fortuner would be fine for the caravans the OP is looking at, IMHO it is not a suitable tow vehicle for the heavy NZ or Oz vans. They have upped its towing capacity a small amount, but it is a bit of the tail wagging the dog. It's also petrol. For heavier vans diesel is a must if you travel any sort of long distances.

 

Setup/breakdown times. Very little difference between a campervan and modern caravan. It takes us at most 15-20 mins to park, unhitch, level and put down the steadies. Hey I'm on holiday, what do I care. I have actually seen the odd person take longer to get their campervan level that it takes us to set up. That's WAAAAY to fussy!

 

The ability to travel on each day is no different with a caravan or van other than the hitching up etc. Minuscule in the scheme of things. Personally I prefer staying a few days at each spot and having the ute available to explore.

 

 

While I am interested in caravan's I have never used one, so clearly you know far more about them. Your comments seem generally good.

 

That said, you do seem a bit confused with the Fortuner. I am talking about this car https://www.toyota.co.nz/new-car/fortuner/ This is the SUV version of the hilux ute, and is only offered in NZ with a 2.8L diesel engine (same engine as the diesel prado & hilux). It is rated for 2800kg of braked towing, and 280kg of towbar downforce. It is toyota's smallest vehicle with a tow rating over 2.5T. Obviously a bigger heavier vehicle (Prado or LC200) would be better, but I picked this one as it is the nearest in size and cost to a Rav4.

 

Regarding Tank's, I looked up the Jayco Journey spec's. It lists water tanks as 2 x 82L which is way better than the 100L typical in small-medium campervans, but it lists the grey water tank as "optional" which seems's odd. I would have thought it was a widely demanded feature for their target market.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


169 posts

Master Geek


  #2474874 1-May-2020 15:50
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@Scott3

 

I knew of the Fortuner, but had totally missed the fact that it is diesel. Ideal for lighter caravans.The RAv4 does have a reputation for being a bit thirsty.

 

However it is too light for most of the heavy NZ and Oz caravans. My 19' has an ATM of 2755 kg, so in theory the Fortuner could run it. Personally I'd advise against running near the towing capacity of a vehicle, it's much better to allow for a performance and longevity margin (I use a Ranger). Other caravans in the Jayco range will hit the ATM 3475 kg range, hence my general comment about it's viability for these types of caravans. You will often see these large caravans being towed by Prados - illegally.


1083 posts

Uber Geek


  #2474876 1-May-2020 15:58
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MartinGZ:

 

@blackjack17

 

Sounds like we did a similar trip although I went through Death Valley before winter hit. We had a similar vehicle and didn't really enjoy it. The inside was cramped and dark, and thirsty was not the word - 12 mpg, 23.5 l/100km was our average. (That said I average around 17 l/100km when towing my caravan.) I actually find it easier to tow my 19' Jayco caravan than I did to drive the "small" c19. It's odd really, but I find it much easier to judge the width of my caravan than I did the campervan, even though the campervan wasn't much wider. Guess it's what you get used to.

 

 

I wasn't recommending the C19 (god that thing drank fuel did 4000 km in it San fran to Salt lake city and back again in a gigantic circle and I would hate to imagine how much fuel we went through.  It burnt gallons like cars here do litres), just pointing out how not having a shower or toilet might not be a bad thing.

 

They take up a huge amount of space and adds considerably to the cost and then you have the practicality of actually using it.  The shower is over the toilet and is very cramped.  Using the toilet would stink out the camper.  Most camp sites have very good toilets and it is only the doc sites that don't have showers.  A portable gas hotwater heater and shower tent might be better.  The space savings and weight saving is considerable.

 

We have a pop top camper and I don't even like cooking inside it

 

 







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  #2474901 1-May-2020 16:47
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I thought it would be a good idea to show the type of camper van we are considering. The are in the length range of 6-6.9 meters.

 

 

 

 





Mike

 

Consultant

 


The views stated in my posts are my personal views and not that of any other organisation.

 

He waka eke noa


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