Query from Prospective Bushtracker Owner

Submitted: Saturday, Sep 25, 2004 at 18:16
ThreadID: 121434 Views:25642 Replies:4 FollowUps:5
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I received the following message form Stephen and Deborah who is hoping to order a Bushtracker soon. After looking through so many BTs at Copeton, I KNOW there are owners who can help with these questions:


We are new to caravanning but have bushcamped for 25 years, mainly on the eastern seaboard, with a little bit of inland stuff. We are planning to take off in early 2006 on ‘the big one’. After a factory tour we’ve decided to go the BT way (will order new), but want a few home comforts, whilst staying away from caravan parks as much as possible. Once we embark on our adventure, we expect to be on the road for at least 12 months, so some aspects which were previously minor, become an issue. No doubt our wishlist will become a series of tradeoffs over the coming months, but it seems to us that BOGGERS are the best source of up-to-date advice.

Can any BT users give us advice/feedback on the following:

We’d like to install a washing machine but don’t want to end up with a white elephant due to unacceptable/unavailable water supply. The only basic assumption we have made is that creek water would have to be filtered to an acceptable level.
We note from photos and passing comment on the BOG site that some of you have w/machines - how have you fared? Make of machine? Load capacity? Water comsumption? Reliability? Was it worth the cost and space?

We know that the Lemair at 17.5kg is much lighter than the Dometic/Electrolux, but are having trouble ascertaining how much water it uses.
We have seen a NEC toploader in another make of van, but know little about them.

Taking a trail bike
As tent campers we frequently duck down tracks in search of the elusive ‘perfect’ camp site. Having a big rig in tow will certainly cramp our style, and we’re considering the trail bike option as a quick way to do a ‘reccy’ and save ourselves the hassle of a never-ending track with no campsite, and nowhere to turn around. How do others get around this one, or do you just resign yourselves to less secluded campsites?
Maybe pushbikes are a better option, with more overall benefits despite their limitations when put to this particular use.

Look forward to receiving your responses,

Stephen & Deborah Ringe

Life's too short to drink bad wine.

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Reply By: TroopyTracker - Sunday, Sep 26, 2004 at 04:53

Sunday, Sep 26, 2004 at 04:53
Lemair 2.5kg washing machine will fit standing up under bed, at least it does in ours! Don't know if I'd bother building it in as really only usefull when water in abundent supply-depends where you do your camping and how often you stay in van parks. Saw one today in mates new Kedron built in, looked good, and in a van their size you could afford to loose the cupboard space (21ft). It's my understanding that said machine will run happily off 300watt inverter which is good if you had water available while out of van parks. Cost? $290 up. Ours has been reliable so far as long as its drain hose is postioned higher than the manufactuer states (tied to water inlet hose is sufficiant, designated hole in side of machine is not). Great to not have to use public machines though-$3 a go many places but probably more important-hygeine factor. I recently required surgery and the nurses recomended not using public machines, bought machine for this reason originally.

I doubt many trail bikes would be light enough (or small enough) to stow on front of BT. Maybe one of those ag bikes (look like postie bike with off road tyres and big mudflap) may be suitable. Another option might be electic scooter although off road capability would have to be very limited. Me thinks push bike may be the best option, good exercise as well. No where near as good as trail bike for sure, depends how far and how often you intend on scouting out for secluded spot. Haven't had same problem myself although if I did I think I'd be inclined to tow BT say 50metres up track, unhook and use 4WD as reccy vehicle. One person could stay with van if security was a worry?
Best of luck,

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Follow Up By: Noosa Fox - Tuesday, Sep 28, 2004 at 07:57

Tuesday, Sep 28, 2004 at 07:57
I would have to agree with Matt when it comes to Trail bike. We have been to lots of isolated places without any other form of transport and haven't really had too many problems. Just had to do a couple of turn around jobs. The best bet would be as Matt suggested, unhook and go in tow vehicle to check out the area first. For the convenience of having a trail bike with you for the ocassional use, it is a high price to pay with having to cart that amount of weight around all the time. We have found that we all tend to cart too much stuff around that is just not required. If the tow vehicle cannot get into a spot then there is no chance of getting your van in.

Could I suggest that when you order your Bushtracker that you have an extended draw bar fitted, and then go and try it for yourself in the real world of Bushtracking and see if you still think it is necessary to have a bike to check out sites.

Washing Machines.
We don't have one and rely on bucket or laudromats. But if you have a suction hose fitted to your van then you can collect good clean water from a stream and use that to wash your clothes in, as well as showering with stream water. Most streams are clean enough to drink out of, and we have found their water good to shower in.

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Reply By: Motherhen & Rooster - Tuesday, Sep 28, 2004 at 19:33

Tuesday, Sep 28, 2004 at 19:33
I have 2 large buckets with lids that sit in on the shower floor - one for wash and one for rinse - just need to go find a very bumpy road, as the BT rides so steady.

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Reply By: Freewheelers - Wednesday, Oct 13, 2004 at 00:02

Wednesday, Oct 13, 2004 at 00:02
Many thanks to Matt, Brian & Margaret, and Motherhen for your helpful advice. I also did a search on 'washing' on the new forum archive back to Jan 2003 and came up with some other very useful info re the Lemair.

Whilst we don't want to drive you nuts, we'll no doubt have dozens of queries over the coming months, and your kindness in taking the trouble to respond is truly appreciated

Stephen & Deborah

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Follow Up By: Bushtracker Buck & Babe - Wednesday, Oct 13, 2004 at 07:13

Wednesday, Oct 13, 2004 at 07:13
Hi Stephen and Deborah,

Congratulations on considering the Bushtracker as your mode of accommodation when you do the "big one". We have just commenced the permanently on the road lifestyle and so far can tell you that it is relatively painless. It's really great when every day is Choose-day.

We have the Lemaire washing machine built in to our BT. I find it a useful space to store dirty washing and brooms, etc and I can still drop the lid of the hinged bench down and use it to put things on when needed. Look at the pics of our van for the idea.

The only negative thing is that we found that it used heaps more water than the pamphlet said because we were pumping it in and it was going straight out the sullage hose due to the outlet hose being set too low. Ivan is working on a solution to this. The higher he has set it the more I have noticed it use less water, so we are gradually getting there. It gives a great wash and we tend to use it on the 6-7 cycle for everyday clothes which is really a light wash and then I turn the dial round to spin. Only for dark clothing would I consider a rinse cycle if needed and that depends on how much water we have in the tanks and how long it has to last. The longer cycles take a lot more time and water obviously and for most day to day washing is probably overkill.

The other thing is that I have found it better to use liquid washing detergent rather than powder as with the shorter cycle it "dissolves" quicker. I find that I can fit in a decent size load and definitely our king size doonah cover on its own.

The other ideas being mooted for consideration are all worthy. I guess it depends on how much effort you want to put in and whether you want to be able to walk away from it and do something else whilst the washing machine does its thing. I wouldn't be without some kind of machine if you are living in the van permanently as we do. As we won't always be on the move the idea of the bucket and letting the road do the agitation won't necessarily work for us, but as I said, still worthy of consideration.

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Follow Up By: Freewheelers - Thursday, Oct 28, 2004 at 23:35

Thursday, Oct 28, 2004 at 23:35
Thanks Angie for that really helpful followup.

This morning I spoke to the technical man (Paul Evans 02 96742361)contracted by Lemair to do repairs etc, having been referred to him by Tecma Lemair Pty Ltd importers (ph 02 96081266) when they couldn't answer my questions (neither could Caravan Accessories at Kogarah)

He was very helpful on some stuff, but I'm back here picking your brains on the rest.

1.Paul owned up straight away to never having used a Lemair, and didn't have one there to help him answer some of my questions

2. He was slightly concerned about the stability of the bowl in an off-road caravan, but agreed if he was in our shoes he'd give it a go - said it's not marketed towards caravanners etc...(oh yeah??) Told him overall it had pretty good feedback on this forum.

3. He volunteered firstup the problem with the water going straight thru' or sucking back into the machine. Apparently this is due to caravan plumbing being smaller diameter than conventional residential plbg. So I relayed boggers' solution to that problem, i.e. raise the outlet hose etc etc

4. Now to the answers he didn't have.........I gather from you that you can interrupt the cycle to exclude the stages you don't want by pushing the dial in and turning it to where you want to resume. Can I assume then that it's possible to, say, use only the spin, as I frequently do at home with hand washing?
Also, without getting too complicated, I'm envisaging doing more than 1 wash with the same water, and likewise for rinsing. That's going to mean parking dripping washing in buckets, and getting the machine to repeat each stage before pumping out it's water. Have you tried to do anything like this, and how did you go?

Deb (quickly developing [I suspect] a reputation as a laundry freak!)

Stephen & Deborah

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Follow Up By:- Friday, Oct 29, 2004 at 03:31

Friday, Oct 29, 2004 at 03:31
Deb wrote ...

Also, without getting too complicated, I'm envisaging doing more than 1 wash with the same water, and likewise for rinsing.

Watch out Stephen ! I reckon you're in for some pretty crisp jocks whilst travelling mate !!! (smile) If I was doing the washing ... my clothes would be first and come out gentille as duck down !! Like Deb's !!! (GuessWhosMumsGotAWhirlpoolGrin)

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Follow Up By: Freewheelers - Wednesday, Nov 03, 2004 at 00:09

Wednesday, Nov 03, 2004 at 00:09
Ah Anthony,

I't's obvious Whirlpool Mum has yet to initiate you into the mysteries of SWB (Secret Washing Business)....rule No.1:

"One must not engage in any clothes washing practices that ultimately may result in the hindering of jiggling"

Cheers Deb
Stephen & Deborah

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Reply By: Deleted User - Wednesday, Nov 03, 2004 at 01:32

Wednesday, Nov 03, 2004 at 01:32
Autos used to be all the rage with the motorhomers but the current trend is for twin tubs. I was looking at an auto until I was told this and changed my mind and I'm happy I did. This is because they use much less water and wash in a lot less time. We have a small Hitachi mounted externally in front of the near side spare wheel. A large tool box is in front of the off side spare. It will run happily from the 1kW inverter. It is plumbed into the vans water system as well as the drainage. Using public machines is for the birds. We carry his and hers pushbikes and a generator on a rear mounted frame which I built.
You will find vanners and campers have a million ways of doing the washing as you have probably realised by now.

AnswerID: 564927

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