Size of caravan for permanent living??

Submitted: Monday, Aug 07, 2006 at 09:57
ThreadID: 122837 Views:4497 Replies:7 FollowUps:7
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Firstly - congratulations on an excellent website, I have spent many hours looking through it.
My questions are:
What is the best size caravan, for long term living. We have a dream when we retire (end next year) to travel through Australia. We also like to have the freedom of going off road, and being able to live in the outback, and the Bushtracker seems to fit the bill.
Having said that, we have never had a caravan before, only camper trailers.
Also what is the best type of awning/annexe, plastic versus canvas, I have noticed (on most of the pictures) that you don't have those arms, which are attached to the awning on most caravans.
Where is the best place for bicycles, infront or behind a caravan?
We are going over to Brisbane in September, so we look forward to visiting the Bushtracker premises.

John and Anne

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Reply By: Bushtracker - Monday, Aug 07, 2006 at 17:42

Monday, Aug 07, 2006 at 17:42
Hello John and Anne,
Welcome to the BOG, the only BOG it is worth getting Mired in!!

When in doubt you could always ask the Lone Ranger, who has owned more and seen more than just about anybody. Worth getting a view of how the thousand or so are going... Now, your answer:

We have built now, 43 second vans for people, since we started counting about three years ago; and have one or two more on the Schedule. The predominant reason is SIZE MATTERS... 42 of 43 went larger. The happiness quotient of what was enough, used to be 18'. It is now more of an average of 19-20' as the minimum. For those with larger tow vehicles that can handle a large van easily due to the longer wheelbase leverage on the van and power, the minimum happy size is about 20'-21'. Let your layout needs, be the deciding factor, in relation to your tow vehicle, but Japanese tow vehicle probably about 19'-20' average. Ford, Chev, Dodge, or Isuzu type trucks maybe 21' or even 22' depending on your needs...

Awning? See them here at Bushtracker, but only one stands up to storms and wind when you are away, and while it is fiddily and a curse the first ten times you put it up, you will get the hang of it and love it longterm... The other types you will put up and put away everytime you come and go or go to bed, and still likely to have it blow to pieces some day. Ours is also the only one ready made to take high wind and easily accept walls... Comes stock with zippers and velcro closing flaps and storm rafters.

Bicycles? In a bag out of the bulldust, better yet on a rack on the roof of the tow vehicle totally out of the bulldust in gears, chains, cables, derailers....

These are the things that work best, and I am sure other Owners will chime in and tell you there views on them... If you could get 100 to answer, I think the overall weighted average would be the above...

Regards from the lone Ranger... Doin' it with real horse power... Ha!
AnswerID: 569021

Follow Up By: Two Doo - Monday, Aug 07, 2006 at 23:54

Monday, Aug 07, 2006 at 23:54
Greetings John and Anne,
Go uo to the factory and see others, speak to Steve, then take his advice. For us our relatively new 21ft behind an F250 is perfection. You will not regret the choice of a Bushtracker or the Boggers advice. Warwick
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Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Tuesday, Aug 08, 2006 at 00:11

Tuesday, Aug 08, 2006 at 00:11
Warwick,
Thank you for that kind endorsement.... People do not have to take my advice, as long as they consider a few things:

1) My advice is based on how the far and away vast majority are going, not on $'s. We have based our Company, and our success IS WITHOUT A DOUBT, on having the best Customer Service possible, and looking after the Client, not going for dollar squeeze, but real the real needs of the Customer coming first.

2) My advice is an attempt to look after our Customers Best Interests, because as they travel happier, further, and they end up BEING our Sales Staff. If we ever fail in our endeavours, it is not for lack of trying to do the right thing...

3) They should consider the point of view on matters, and fully understand it before plowing on ahead on their own... We will allow people to do what ever they want, as long as we are sure they understand what guidance we are giving... and why...

Regards from the lone Ranger..
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Follow Up By: Flipp'n Lorry - Tuesday, Aug 08, 2006 at 03:18

Tuesday, Aug 08, 2006 at 03:18
John and Ann,

Steve has covered the question of size (I have to agree 'cause we are on our 2nd and went from 18' to 20').

As for the bikes, Lorraine and I are keen cyclers but are somewhat of the view that it is just too much hassle. We have heard of to many stories where people have mounted them on racks at the rear of the van, and they just shake to pieces. Up front, dust and road grime gets into the gears and bearings, and stone damage can take all the paint off - we have seen bikes that were only 6 months old that look like hand-me-downs.

On the roof is probably the most sensible, but is it practical?

Now I have a brother and sister-in-law who are serious cyclers and ride about 300km a week just for leasure - they couldn't go on a holiday anywhere without their bikes!. But if you are casual rider like us, I would probably look at leaving them at home and take up walking (or get a small motorised scooter you can put in the hatch).
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Follow Up By: Grumblebum & Dragon - Friday, Aug 11, 2006 at 07:02

Friday, Aug 11, 2006 at 07:02
The Aussie Traveller is, as Steve says, a breeze to take up or down, then you get to relax and watch other owners pulling canvas up and down lke a racing yatch every time the winds gets up a bit.

We are in a 19' footer and very happy.

Cheers Grumblebum and the Dragon
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Reply By: Two Doo - Tuesday, Aug 08, 2006 at 06:07

Tuesday, Aug 08, 2006 at 06:07
Greetings John and Anne again,
My wife and I take our bikes everywhere also. We carry them inside a Carryboy canopy of the F250. The front wheels are off, with the forks attached to mounts that are bolted to the floor. These are readily availble from all bike shops. They look like a front axle with a mounting plate and a locking lever. These mounting plates take up virtually no floor room. The bikes stand against one side wall of the canopy with the front wheels between. They do not get shaken about or dusty, and take up minimum room. So far, this has been by far the best way we have used to carry our bikes, which we use and value. Kindest Regards, Warwick
AnswerID: 569022

Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Tuesday, Aug 08, 2006 at 23:13

Tuesday, Aug 08, 2006 at 23:13
Warwick,
I am very impressed with your latest Poetry mailed to me by someone else; regarding our hard bought freedom to travel in this great land. I think it is a fine bit of work and would hope that you take the time to put it on the BOG.... I am fast at the keyboard, and if you like and I have your permission I will even type it in for you...

Regards from the lone Ranger...
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Reply By: Jacmar - Thursday, Aug 10, 2006 at 06:47

Thursday, Aug 10, 2006 at 06:47
To John and Ann,
We have our 20ft bushtracker on order and hoping to recive at the end of the year.
We are thinking of taking bikes with us as we will be living in our van full time. So far this is the best heavy duty bike rack we can find. Web site www.bernsbeaks.com.au.
Looking at mounting on the back of van with a custom made bag to go around bikes.

regards
Mark and Jackie
AnswerID: 569023

Follow Up By: Tassie Bushies - Friday, Aug 11, 2006 at 08:14

Friday, Aug 11, 2006 at 08:14
Hi Mark & Jackie.
Just a word of warning.
I followed another make van with two bikes on the back of van, into Sapphire this morning (on the black stuff too) we were laughing at the anticks of those bikes as we couldn't understand how they were still hanging on.
I can't see them lasting on a rough road very long at all.
Maybe, you better rethink your carrying position if you want to have them when you reach all your destinations.
Regards Peter.

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Reply By: Deaf Nomad - Sunday, Sep 03, 2006 at 09:03

Sunday, Sep 03, 2006 at 09:03
When we travelled around Australia for 14 months in 2004, we took our three bikes mounted on a bike rack welded to A frame just behind the jerry can holders. Steve warned us about the bull dust getting into the chains, derailers and whatnot, wish we followed that advice. Also, we very rarely used the bikes as we mostly hiked on foot - slower lifestyle pace, take in the sights, smell the flowers so to speak, couldn't do that with bikes - they were a hassle to disassemble and reassemble. Now that we are ordering a 2nd BT, we won't be taking the bikes this time.
AnswerID: 569024

Reply By: Bushtracker Buck & Babe - Sunday, Sep 03, 2006 at 12:04

Sunday, Sep 03, 2006 at 12:04
John and Anne we lived in our van for 12 months before coming back to London. We will be returning soon to take up full time travel again and looking forward to it. We miss the lifestyle and so can't wait. In our van we have a washing machine which made it easier for us when hubby was working at an abalone farm. Everything else was pretty much the same as in a house but smaller and with less housework.

We could not have survived without our annexe. It was a craft room, music practice room, reading room, second kitchen, party room and a multitude of other uses.

Hope this helps.

Angie
AnswerID: 569025

Follow Up By: Bushtracker Buck & Babe - Sunday, Sep 03, 2006 at 12:05

Sunday, Sep 03, 2006 at 12:05
Sorry, forgot to say 20footer towed by an F250 which also takes quite a bit of necessary gear.

Angie
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Reply By: Burt & Mary - Wednesday, Sep 13, 2006 at 01:06

Wednesday, Sep 13, 2006 at 01:06
18' is great if you leave the junk at home
Have 2 8 speed fold up light weight bikes with great balloon tyres that have rolling resistance of racing tyres and act like suspension Schwalbe Big Apple tyres. Use the bikes 5 days out of 7 as need to keep fit and healthy so can travel longer. You cannot hold off the ageing process, but does not take much to make it much more enjoyable health and mobility wise. There are so many good country bike tracks and generally good free camp sites with water. North East Victoria bike tracks are amazing.
AnswerID: 569026

Reply By: Noosa Fox - Friday, Sep 15, 2006 at 08:22

Friday, Sep 15, 2006 at 08:22
We have a 21 ft van and have spent the last 6.5 months in it and it actually feels like home and we have been very comfortable.

We were travelling with Conrad with his Tri axle 27 foot BT and we noticed that our van was far more manouverable than the larger one in tight places.

Big is nice, but too big can be a real problem with the excessive weight and limited places that it can be taken. Most of the really good places are in the harder to get to places, so my advice is not to go too big.
Enjoying the friendship of BOG members

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