TIP To the 8 or so Newbies that came to Copeton, with Notepads in Planning:

Submitted: Friday, Sep 29, 2006 at 18:31
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Here is an IMPORTANT and well meaning bit of advice you need to think about in collecting all of those great ideas you saw...

At Bushtracker, our structure is actually lighter than most with the aircraft style framing, but our chassis and body armour and suspension is a little more and it evens out with every other so called Off-road van in weight only we have a lower center of gravity than the rest with our frames… In other words the net is we weigh the same overall, but our center of gravity is lower… However, if we do weigh more than another, it is because we offer more Optional Equipment, for luxury and self sufficiency and some Owners specify more yet.. The Optional Equipment adds about 300kg or more to the weight of the van… If you take most of it, an 18' with a lot of gear can weigh in at about 2300kg. There are to many variables, even down to the layout, an open plan will weigh less than a multiple room sort.... A lot of Optional Equipment should put a 20' van up around the 2500kg mark. 21' can go 26-2700 with a lot of gear.. Sometimes it is a bit lighter, and sometimes it ends up a bit heavier.. I noticed in August of 2005 when I wrote the first edition of this article (TIP # 69 for the BOG) for example, we had a 22’ well equipped go out at 2700kg and a 24’ loaded up ran out at 2900kg… That is a little lighter than would be expected, but it shows that the weight goes both ways.. Most of the variability is by how much gear you load up on the van.. The average with most of our Optional Equipment on board, would be about 2300kg for 18’ and 2500 kg for 20’ and about 120 to 140 kg per foot after that… Some a little lighter, some a little heavier…

The problem is that some people add a tremendous amount of little details and widgets, and a lot of well meaning good advice and tips on the BOG.. But you need to filter it a bit and think about what you can do without or this is where you come to grief ...It is hard for people to remember all of the little bits and pieces they add on themselves. There is a broad spectrum of variation in layouts as it is. But one thing is constant and that is the extreme attention to little added goodies that adds up to a heavier van... Those that made many repeated trips here adding on bits and pieces each time, supplying a lot of advanced toys, gadget, goodies, and components, and great attention to detail tend to weigh more.. Each idea has great merit on their own, but the problem is that they all add up.... People tend to forget that... It is not just an extra panel or battery we are talking about, it is a list of 150 little bits and pieces that add up in the end... A kilo or pound here and there.

Little rails on shelves and this and that, and it all added up... The record of late is a person that made thirty or forty trips here with little fold down tables here and little shelves here, and captains railing here, and slide out cutting boards, and lights in cargo areas, and around in front under the overhang, and over the outdoor shower, and extra electrical and plugs, and stereos and DVD stackers and quad speakers and flat screen TV, and three way switching this and that, and bunks that converted into this and that, and computer work station under the table, and extra towel rails in six different places, laundry hanger, and wood box, jerry can holders, boat trailer mount, and all these kind of little 100 more good ideas. They only weighed a kilo or two, but after 85 of them were added on he weighed in at 2840 kg..!!! This is the problem, when we are full of wonderful ideas of dreaming about what more would be good to have aboard… And this is what you need to be on guard for… Unless you are going to tow it around with a Ford, Dodge, Chevy, Isuzu truck or something… With a normal Landcruiser or Disco or Nissan tow vehicle you really have to be conscious of the weight problem of all the accumulation of great ideas.

If you went around to the 68 vans at Copeton last year, each would have had a good little bit that they added on to personalize their van with.. On their own, they are nearly all really nice ideas, but do you need them? I have used the parable before, of the trip to Lightening Ridge, with Landcruisers parked on each side of the street… If a Novice came and looked in detail at all the different ideas on the forty Landcruisers on the main street... Each individual would have a different idea of gear, some front hitches, some with winches, some with rear winches, some with two spares, some with dual tanks, tool boxes, roll bars, side bars, side steps, centre consoles, multiple radios, fridges, solar panels, boat rollers, roof racks, pole holders, side lights, flood lights, backup lights, water tanks, hot water shower systems, cargo cages, roll out drawers and compartments, tyre breakdown kits, on and on and on.... If a Novice took on board half of the great ideas, their vehicle would be overweight and illegal before they even got into it... This is precisely the problem.

AN IMPORTANT PERSPECTIVE: When collecting ideas as one makes the rounds, the right attitude is “That’s nice, but do we really need it” rather than “what more can we add on”…. OK?
Take your list of 100 great ideas, and maybe prioritize them to the top most important 20 you want to add on…

Kind Regards from the Ranger, just trying to look after you! I am here for the long haul, with Bushtracker and horses now being my Lifestyle... for life...

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Reply By: Noosa Fox - Saturday, Sep 30, 2006 at 03:50

Saturday, Sep 30, 2006 at 03:50
Steve,
I have seen a 24ft Boroma that weighed in at about 3200kgs and a 20ft Kedron ATV that had 3400kgs Tare on the plate.

All these people who say that the Bushtrackers are too heavy, don't take into account what extras the Bushtracker van has compared to the Jayco, Roadstars etc.

If you compared the tare weight of these other brands and then added
Much stronger suspension than most other brands
3 or 4 Solar Panels,
3 or 4 Batteries at 32kgs each compared to maybe 1 in the other vans
Off road wheels and tyres and a second spare
3 to 5 water tanks compared to their 1 tank
2 electric water pumps compared to their one or hand pump

The weight of the Bushracker is very close to that of the other vans.

Then all the other brands appear to have a 400kg pay load for tandem axles and 300kgs for single, so if they were to add the additional equipment later they would be over their gross weight before they put anything else like food and clothing in.
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