T Nation

Motorhomes, RVs, Caravans and Vehicle Camping


#1


Does anyone have any experience with motorhomes? I've never travelled in a caravan and never liked the idea of them. For one thing the climate here can get very hot and caravans look like they store heat. We always pitched a tent and the only time we spent in the tent was to sleep. Nowadays I tend to use a "ute swag" a lot. A "ute swag" turns the tray of your utility vehicle(pickup truck) into a shelter with a full length, wide padded bed, a tarpaulin cover so you can sleep confortably in the back:

http://www.uteswags.com.au

Or I just pitch camp in a solo tarp shelter of some kind. This is a pretty comfortable and easy way to travel and it's in the great tradition of Australian swagmen but brought up to date with a high performance vehicle - my ute handles exactly like the sedan version. Low to the ground, great suspension, mags, well balanced chassis housing a reasonably powerful 8 cylinder engine. But enough about that. I've recently decided that having a flushable toilet, hot water, shower, microwave, stovetop, TV, computer, tabletop for work etc, might be worth the hassle of driving a larger vehicle(I don't want to tow anything).

Does anybody have any experience with motorhomes and the like? What are they like to travel in?

And I've seen some pretty cool motorhomes for sale. There's a German company that makes a reasonably compact motorhome that can stow a small, two seat sports car like a Porsche 911 or a US Army Jeep or something of that size underneath its belly(see attached photo).

Granted, that particular motorhome is expensive and right now I'm not in a position to buy expensive playboys' toys on a whim. But that model has been around for seven years now and the price for a secondhand model would be a lot cheaper. And I can do a lot of the customised interior work myself. I could put in marble or granite kitchen tops and get some nice sink and tap and put them in myself and so on.

The idea of carrying a little sports car or a small 4WD vehicle onboard is what perked my interest. That would overcome a lot of the issues of having to drive a large vehicle around. And having a little US Army jeep or some other small 4WD onboard would be great to go exploring more inaccessible areas. You could have a nice camping system like my current ute swag or a vehicle tarp shelter of some kind. And after a few days in the wilderness in relative comfort you can go back to the motorhome and have a shower and a nice bed to sleep on and so on.

So that's what drew me into the idea but if it turns out to be unaffordable for a model that takes a sports car/4WD onboard there is still the option of having a dirtbike, motorcycle, quad bike, dune buggy or something onboard and I could design some good tarp shelters utilising the vehicle as a wall, windbreak etc. This would make camping, fishing and hunting trips so much more enjoyable. I'm planning on doing a little trout fishing soon in the mountains while the season lasts. At this time of year it's impossible not to catch brown, rainbow and brook trout in abundance. And if you mess up you just stop by Lake Eucumbene at the end of the day and throw a line in. Lake Eucumbene is the largest trout producing body of water on the planet.

So anyway, any advice about motorhomes and the like? Any stories?


#2


This is what I'm currently using for most short camping trips. The ute swag takes literally no set up time at all. No poles or lines. My model like the one in the attached photo is housed under the tray lid and you just unfurl it and clip the sides on underneath the vehicle. It takes literally 10 seconds then you're ready to sleep on a comfortable, wide bed. As it's completely contained and has mosquito netting ventilation no critters can get in. If I don't want to bother with a fire I cook in a little alcohol stove and there's room inside the swag so I never have to leave the vehicle except to go to the toilet. But as I said, I'm getting drawn into the idea of travelling in the comfort of a motorhome that can carry on board a toilet, sink, hot water, microwave and stovetop, fridge, shower, TV, internet, washing machine, tabletop etc - oh, and the Porsche 911/Mazda MX 5/BMW Z4/Nissan 370Z etc. or a US Army Jeep or something that stows away inside the motorhome.

Edited

A lot of people use a ute swag as a hunting blind by positioning in the right direction and camouflaging the vehicle with branches and debris and the like. Have you heard of this in the US with those pickup truck things you have over yonder there?


#3

Please tell me that's yours.


#4

I find it incredibly difficult to believe that you drive that thing around and are somehow vehemently opposed to smoking pot.

It just doesn't add up at all.


#5

I sure as hell wouldn't mind one of these.

http://www.military.com/video/off-duty/autos/the-swiss-army-knife-of-camping-trailers/3730841983001/


#6

Heck no! That loud, uber-ugly paint job is not mine. My Commodore is plain white.

You're right. That is the kind of paint job a pothead would choose.


#7

Yeah that's pretty cool but I've never liked towing things. Currently, I can sleep comfortably in a high performance vehicle that handles just like a sedan. But yes, I want a way to bring the comforts of home to the road.


#8

Toy Hauler + Duramax = Win.


http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/trucks/1403_2015_chevrolet_silverado_2500hd_ltz_first_test/


#9

My parents got rid of their little trailer and updated to a big ass motorhome that isn't too fancy but has more modern things like a tv, satellite dish, dvd player and other stuff that people use nowadays for "camping." I guess they are getting old and need something more comfortable, but it surely isn't like how we use to camp when I was a kid.

I'm ranting here, but isn't the idea of camping suppose to be to get away from everything and be one with nature. Go explore the outdoors and see what it has to offer. There should be no tvs or cell phones or any kind of similar electronics such as that.

Also, that truck bed tent is pretty sweet.


#10

Yes, toy haulers are great. I also like the idea of just buying a big truck with a nice engine; maybe a Merecedes engine. Something reliable and with enough power to accelerate. And then just fit out the whole space in the back with all kinds of comforts. Maybe adjoin the overhead sleeping cabin to the rear area. With a medium sized truck you could fit a small car or small 4WD in the back and have your bed, kitchen and so on. It seems like a really good project and I think I'd like to spend a few months each year on the road and camping and so on. And with a desk, computer and internet access I can do my work while I'm travelling. I probably won't get it before the trout season ends but maybe in the winter I'll have one when I go up to the Myall Lakes for a few weeks and go exploring the national park waterways and fishing/camping in a canoe or a tinny. Last time we hired a yacht for a few weeks but this time we were going to camp on the shorelines at night with a tarp shelter constructed around the cannoes as a windbreak. Or maybe we'll get my friend's tinny and we'll have an outboard motor to get to more remote areas. They'll be plenty of bream, whiting, flathead and other stuff to cook on the campfire. Instant oats made with black coffee and a couple of fried eggs for breakfast. Should be good.


#11

Yeah, I know what you mean with those quotation marks there. But my idea is to use my motorhome as a kind of base camp from which I will set off to more remote locations, pitch tarp shelters and then return to the motorhome as needed/as convenient.

Yes, me neither. We had a big old family sized tent and my brother and I would take our own little solo tents. Great days.

It can be yes and as I said I know staying in a motorhome is not camping. See my point above about using it as a basecamp from which you can set off on a smaller vehicle(dirt bike, army jeep etc) for some real camping in more remote and inaccessible locations.

I do. I've been a camping and a fishing and a hunting since I was knee high to a scrub bull.

Yessiree Bob. But I'll be sneaking back to my motorhome every now and then while I'm in the wilderness. Not to watch TV but to get fresh food and/or supplies, maybe have a shower and maybe a shave, maybe take advantage of the toilet while I'm there - maybe spend a night in a more comfortable bed if I felt like it. Lots of maybes. Then leave basecamp(the motorhome) and head into the wilderness on a dirtbike or 4WD and pitch camp as per usual. Is it cheating to have a basecamp like that to go to when you feel like it? I do t know. Depends what you're doing really. I'm not trying to "test" myself which I often did when I was younger. Nowadays I'm older and injured and no longer as keen to do things like mountaineering and more "extreme" outdoor activities. So I guess maybe that's a similar reason to the one your parents had because they're getting older. As I said, I'd never thought much about caravans/motor homes/RVs and so on. I always liked to pitch a tent or tarp shelter and in more recent times in my Commodore SS mobile bed.

Yep, thanks. Sometimes I prefer to pitch shelter on the ground so I can sit around the fire. I've got a mini fridge in the car and I can carry all my tools and cooking gear. Sometimes we take off on 250cc dirt bikes into the wilderness with tarp shelters and gear on the back. My friend tows the bikes and we make a little base camp around the cars.


#12

The Duramax looks nice. One thing I've noticed about pickup trucks though is they all have high suspension for off road and big tires. The higher centre of gravity and off road tires obviously handle very differently than a sedan. The downside of my ute is it's not an off-road vehicle but the upside is it handles exactly like sedan.

Anyway, I love American cars. I've been toying with a little idea for a while now >> Ford are releasing the Mustang in Australia and word is it's going to be really, really cheap for such high performance. The flagship 450+ hp model will retail for below $70,000 - perhaps well below. This puts it in the price range for an every day car for a lot of people. It's very tempting.


#13

Some of these motorhomes have nice interiors...


#14


I know a lot of people would want a luxurious motorhome for the holidays but think they can't afford it. You could build one yourself from an old truck. Fully customise to however you want it.

Attached photo has a nice leather lounge suite and wooden interior and so on. Yes, you could build something like this in the back of an old truck. Salvage a lot of stuff for the interior and get good deals at flea markets and elsewhere for much of the stuff. Do all the wiring and electrical. Put in a cheap mini-fridge and work out a toilet and bed, water system etc.


#15


This is the exterior of one of the luxurious and spacey models. It looks like a supervillain's mobile command centre or something. This one has a huge shower recess in a bathroom with tiled floor; it's got a designer kitchen, flushable toilet, holds over 1000 litres of fresh water and 600 litres of grey water.

Yes, I know it's not camping but something approaching this would be a hell of a way to travel and become a second home that you can travel around and park and stay wherever you like. It's the basecamp from which you can set off to go camping or anything else for that matter. I could see myself spending a lot of time in something like this. Maybe 3 or 4 months a year I could spend travelling; maybe park it at a remote beach or up in the mountains somewhere for a few months and then move on or head back home. It would be great.


#16

http://earthroamer.com

Trust me on this one.


#17

From storage unit, to RV.

I'm sensing a theme, but can't put my finger on it.


#18


Better with pictures.

This is a Ford F550.

If only Toyota made the Tundra with a diesel engine, it would be the perfect base vehicle for something like this. Toyotas run forever. Fords, not so much.


#19

This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.


#20

Www.adaktrailers.com. Looks pretty good.