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Post Info TOPIC: Looking to buying campervan need advice from Solo Ladies


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Looking to buying campervan need advice from Solo Ladies


Hi All

 

I have made the decision and starting to look at campervans.  My question is do I need a 4WD?  I am looking at 2003 Kombi Van ATM.  I do not want anything big, something simple.  Can any of you ladies respond with what sort of rig you are travelling in?

Thanks

Janis



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Why restrict your question to women?

There is a wealth of experience here (most of it posted by men) and there is a great deal more to consider when buying a motorhome for living/touring? than does it need 4WD.

I suggest you tell us your situation (in general terms) and intentions of travel and we'll be in a better position to advise.



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Hi Mike

 

Yes, you are right, I was just trying to get a woman's point of view I guess.  My situation is, I want to travel around Australia.  I am single, not mechanical, just basic knowledge like I know how to check oil and water.  I think I will stick to main roads and parks as being Solo camping remotely seems a bit daunting.  I am looking at Kombi's and Hiace campervans ATM.  But just wanted suggestions on what I should look for in long term camper for travelling.  Any help from Anyone would be greatly appreciated.

 

Happy travelling..

 

Janis

 



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Hi Janis :)

Thanks for the extended description, it makes a response much easier.

No, you do not need 4WD - the reasons for my answer are manifold but I suspect most will agree.

You can happily travel around Oz in a Commodore, many do, but a motorhome will be more comfortable. Most NPs will be accessible to a 2WD to some degree and you probably would not wish to visit those areas which are not 2WD accessible.

My suggestion to you is to consider all the other aspects of such a journey:

What do you *want* from it?

How long will it last?

What are your finances?

Do you seek solitude or prefer to have other in calling distance?

What level of communications do you seek? (Radio type)

How long do you wish to reside in the "bush"?

And there are many more... but you have started an interesting thread and I suggest we sit back for a few days and let others add to it - I guarantee you will be surprised by all the things you (and I) haven't thought of :)

Most often these forums do not provide definitive answers but frequently raise questions... and that is good.

I hope your journey goes well :)

MH



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Chief one feather

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Welcome to the gang Janis, enjoy here and out in the playground.

I'm solo but a man, well I think I am anyway confusebiggrin I have been solo now since 2011 and out here in the playground enjoying what comes along. Being solo is not my choice but Cancer decided otherwise.

I travel in what is listed below and have done since 2014. Before that was in the baby of the Avan family but had great times in it, part time. When I decided to go full time in 2014 I got what I have now, as wanted something bigger and my own shower and toilet.

I thought about Motor Homes and Camper Vans but liked the idea of setting up and leaving van while I gallivanted. I have not regretted it once. I love my choice and will continue as long as my health lets me. I think that is catching up slowly though. I hope to keep it slow too.

I spose what I am saying in a way is, make sure you will be happy and comfortable in the size you are thinking off. That said. I have seen and met many, many solo ladies out in the playground travelling around in exactly what you are thinking about and enjoy them and feel safe doing so. I have also met many solo ladies that prefer something slightly bigger and chose a small motor home, like a small Winnebago sort of thing, heaps on the road. Those ladies love their choice and also feel safe. I have also met many ladies that have decided on a caravan, some small, some big and they too love their choice. There are also many solo men out here as well. Just thought I'd chuck that bit in to equal it up a little biggrin

While travelling around in the playground and when you decide to pull up for the night or longer, have a look around and see if others are set up, if not go with your gut feeling, if it looks safe and you feel safe stay, if not, move on to the next place.

If you decide to stay in a caravan park, ask if they do a solo rate, some do, some don't, more don't though. You don't know if you don't ask, they won't ask you.

The most important thing is,

 

Keep Safe on the roads and out there.



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Hi Jaylynn, welcome to the forum

Although I am a married man, I sometimes travel on my own, so I know just a few of the trials and tribulation, of travelling solo

As it has already been said, you do not require a 4 wheel drive vehicle, to travel around Australia
I towed a caravan with a normal Ford Falcon car, around Australia in 2013/14, and my current vehicle is 2 wheel drive

If you plan to stay in free/donation/low cost camp sites, (I use them 99% of the time), then being self sufficient is a bonus, as not all camps have toilets etc.
A lot of small campervans carry a port a potty, type toilet, and a toilet/shower pop up tent

If the vehicle/s you are looking at, have 3 way fridges, ask them to start it up on gas, then return in about six hours, as not all small gas fridges, work very well in the heat

A deep cycle battery, and some means of charging it, such as solar panels/DC to DC charger etc, is always handy, to keep your phone/tablet/laptop charged

Ask as many questions as you want, as there are plenty of friendly and helpful people, on this forum

Hopefully it will not be too long before some of the ladys come along and give their point of view


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Also a bloke but I suggest you have a look at Caravan Council of Australia's website www.caravancouncil.com.au/ and download all the free technical articles regarding the purchase of an RV.

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Thanks everyone for their advice. I am particularly interested in looking at solar panels. The van I am interested in as 12V,240V & gas Fridge. So I will be looking in deep cycle batteries and panels. I am not very confident driving something bigger, so I think a van should suit me. Initially, I will be planning a 6 months trip. Have any of you travelled with dogs?? I either have to get a housesitter or take her with me. I know there are books on how to travel with dogs that lists all dog friendly parks. Cheers, Janis

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Hi again Janis

I suggest you buy a smartphone (or tablet) Apple or Android (Android is cheaper) and download Wikicamps:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=au.com.angryrobot.wikicamps&hl=en_AU

This software is a crowd sourced database with extensive details and locations of thousands of campsites across Australia, it costs about $5. The individual camp listings indicate whether dogs are allowed.

Dogs, technically, are not permitted in National Parks except for the purpose of travelling through the park so you would have to leave your dog with a sitter when you visit a NP. There is a lot of "travelling with dogs" advice in the "Travelling with Pets" section of this forum.

Solar and batter: as you have a three way (gas) fridge you won't need a lot of solar, I'd suggest a second battery (your vehicle will have a "starting" battery) of AGM 100Ah rating and about 150W of solar panel mounted on the roof of your vehicle with an appropriate MPPT controller - total cost around $500 plus installation.



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I have travelled all over this country with caravans from an early age. My parents were great caravanners and we did many of the outback roads, that in those days, were little more that goat tracks. All with a 2wd. So unless you are towing something of reasonable size or intend doing things like the Canning Stock Route, a 4wd is not needed. I currently have a 4wd simply for the tow capacity although we have used it to get into some of the more remote sites but not with our van in tow. The important thing to look at is the towing capacity of your vehicle verses the weights of your intended van. This can be a bit of a mine field so be careful. What the van salesman tells you may not always be correct. There is good advice out there including on this forum so seek that out before you commit to buy.

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Last year I drove from Sydney to Perth to pick other half up from the airport after her 2 months in Europe. I was in Tassie for a month earlier in the year. We have no issues traveling on our own.

As others have said, you do not need a 4wd, but it is a big investment & you want to get it right. It is a nice option to have but the reality is that you can get to most places in a 2wd, & it will be cheaper to run.

Have plenty of funds just in case things go wrong, peace of mind!

Don't overload the vehicle, it is all too easy to take far too many wrong things. Too large a fridge. How many plates, cup & saucepans does one need!

Once you have the vehicle do a week trip, then a 2 week trip, then a month, by then you will have worded out all the items you can chuck out of the vehicle!

We sleep in our car & everything gets chucked in the front overnight so we have to very careful not to carry too much. Nevertheless after doing a spreadsheet & weighing everything on kitchen or bathroom scales we were over our 500kg payload, so things had to go.



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Hi Janis,
Well I don't see too many women replying (yet)! Hopefully Gwynnie will reply soon for you - she has a Toyota Hilux dual cab & a camper on the back-top.

Your vehicle - get something that is reliable, spare parts are available without dramas & something that can be worked on by the average mechanic.
A garage that I used for my gas injection on my last Patrol, generally got all the jobs in Townsville that no-one else would touch (Rolls Royce, VW Kombi (the 1968-80 series), American "tanks", & many other exotic breeds).

And with the recent demise of the Holden, & remembering my past, how many EJ, EH, HD sedans, wagons went where a few years later that Toyota Landcruisers went? A brother-in-law made it 3/4 up Big Red on a rally with a full tank of fuel, tools & his navigator in a HR Holden sedan! He said he passed bogged 4WDs enroute.

Yes a 4WD will get you where other cars cannot go, but it can get you bogged even more by taking risks & going where one shouldn't!

Mike's second post sums it all up - & you have to answer those points before you splash out your cash.

There is an enormous amount of info on this forum that you can access - "Search" & ask - as you have done here.

All the best!

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Hi again Janis,
Look up the lady I mentioned above in the Solo Traveller's Tab - her Forum Name is "matildatraveller". I'm certain you could learn something from her.

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Thanks Warren, I will look her up.  Interesting no women have replied, It makes me think that the majority of solo's are men?

Cheers

Janis

 



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Chief one feather

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Hi Janis. Nope.

There are heaps and heaps, a lot even, Solo ladies out here in the playground as I mentioned above. I think you might find a lot just don't want to comment on here for fear of the 'experts', not many thank goodness, taking over the thread. So they just don't bother. There have been many use the forum for along time but have gone to sit in the background and probably just read what is going on here. More than likely thinking to themselves, what a bunch of know it all's.




Keep Safe on the roads and out there.

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Hi Janis

There are a lot of solo girls out there travelling around who more than happy to share their experiences, you really just need to check out other sites where they are posting. 



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Hi Janis
I am one of those solo ladies who usually just read the threads. I have a new vw transporter which I love. Its not 4wd but I dont think you need it. I had my previous vw transporter for 5 years and travelled everywhere in it and you can park it anywhere as well. The things I would look for is reliability, I think you need diesel and pop top is a great luxury. Not having a shower or toilet doesnt bother me theres always my solar shower. I travel in the north in the winter months and house sit on the Sunshine Coast in summer. So I get the opportunity to be in a house and spread out. When Im on the road I mostly stay in caravan parks or low cost like Showgrounds, and there are some fab ones. For me I like to be in town or close enough to walk everywhere, go to a pub for a beer or cafe for a coffee. I dont travel with a pet but I am finding that more and more parks are pet friendly so if you have to take your dog I think you would get by. Hope this helps. Cas

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Hi CAS

Thank you for responding, that helps heaps. I was looking at the VW Transporters! I own a VW EOS and love it. I will continue in my search to find the fit for vehicle for my needs.
Cheers Janis

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Hi Janis,

I bought an old Ford Transit campervan 2 years ago as I wasn't sure if I would like travelling by myself and didn't want to invest too much.

I love it travelling 

I annoying things about my van : 

I can't stand up straight 

no toilet or shower inside was no big deal in the beginning, but I find it most annoying to go to amenities at 3am!

Having to pack up when I want to dash down to the shop is a pain.

So, if you can, I would suggest do a short trip in a hired campervan - there are some great specials if you look around and then do another trip in a motorhome with aircon, ensuite etc.

I really wish I hired a van before buying, but "such is life"

enjoy your travels - it's the best thing I've done in a long time for myself

Susan



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Good advice.blankstare.Everbody has a different idea suits them travelling around.cheers roker.



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I travelled in a Winnebago Escape that had a toilet and shower, at the time I had two dogs, one very large and one tiny one. I really liked it but wished I had been brave enough to go bigger, now looking again for a motorhome but will be looking for one with plenty of floorspace and a drop down bed, as I now have two elderly small dogs but am also planning to adopt a large dog again. I enjoy the company of others in small doses and enjoy my own company very much, I have met a few solos that found the travelling lifestyle wasn't what they imagined so take the advice of others on here and try hiring a few times.


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One point to consider:

If you intend to live in (as opposed to holiday in) your motorhome then keep in mind if it suffers a mechanical breakdown you are suddenly homeless for the time taken to repair it which, if parts need to obtained from overseas, could be weeks or months.

With a caravan; if the tow car breaks down the RACV (whoever) will tow your van to a van park and you can wait there for the car to be repaired.



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Following from Mike's point of consideration
Great little Avan Sportliner, well designed, sleeps two. It folds down to a travel height of only 5' 4" and is easy to set up the pop up roof ( has standing room of 7'10"). It is only 8' 9" long. It has Aircon (reverse cycle), hot water, gas stove, sink and 90 ltre 3 way fridge, 63 ltr water tank and cupboards, so you can go away for a week or just a few days in comfort. You even have your own external shower. Also has a 80 watt solar panel, a 12v battery system and plenty of LED lighting inside. It weights only 680 kg and has a 60.kg ball weight so its easy to tow and adjust into place. it has electric brakes and independent suspension and shocks. An ideal get away van at around $18K www.caravancampingsales.com.au/items/details/2016-avan-sportliner/SSE-AD-6325584/

The one I have found has all major features including Hot water and external shower - you would only need to purchase shower tent (approx. $25). There are many Sportsliners without all the features listed here; but don't be suckered in, You will rely on having all these features and good resale
These units can be towed with any of the current breed of soft roaders or Family cars.

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Hi Jaylynn.

There is so much great advice here with everyones responses.

There is no one fit for all and many often sell and buy something different as time, age, health and desires change.

I'd say TOP cover with NRMA/RAA/RACQ will give you mechanical peace of mind. My Top NRMA cover includes benifits for my Purr Baby so check it out. Peace of mind. 

Think about personal safety..

- cooking after dark in the rain outside or having an inside kitchen.

- bathroom needs in the middle of the night either a dash across the padock or an inside alternative. 

- pricacy and security inside with window covers. Can you have ventilation on a hot night without compromising safety. Can your Fur Baby tear through or get out of the window/flyscreen if you aren't home.

Comfort with room to relax inside on bad weather days or short winter days. How do you feel in confined spaces?

What are your interests? Do you like to leave your setup and walk or does it bother you having to pack up everything just to go anywhere or would you rather leave the van and take the car for sightseeing.

Hire as many different setups as you can to get a feel for the type of camper you are and the space you need and then practice with many trips starting close to home and small then work your way up to bigger and more exciting trips.

I'm a solo female living full time off-grid in my off-road pop top 17'6" van towed with 4x4 and are blessed to have the company of my 18 year old Purr Baby. I free camp 99% of the time and use WikiCamps.  History of tent camping and love of solitude and  nature and have always had a passion for 4 wheel driving. 

Find your individual way of camping. Doing it your way will bring you peace and happiness. Do it your way and enjoy.



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Hello i have readall of this and some great advise i am thinking of going alone i have a 21ft caravan and a 80 series landcruier witch is pritty sick and sorry i am on a pension dsp and i am sickof looking at my 4 walls and not been able to do anything because that evil money im paying $520 rent a fortnight 100 to electric because of a large bill when i moved in 2 yrs ago and the normal phone bill and internet bills dosent leave muchto enjoy i live mostly on sandwitches now my lease lease runs out in June this yr and i am seriously thinking but same as all its a big dawnty think to packup and leave iv all ways wonted to travel but all the people i know and i read they all havea few bucks behind them incase some thing happens like car or health or caravan stuffs up now i dont have any ony of that my money at this time as i type this is a $10 this next Saturday and the same thing will happen bebroke by tuesday sorry about the sobstory but i know there is a lot in same boat i am male 56 with a double fusion from when i was roof tyler back in the 80s i was a young chap than. My caravan has a all the bells and whisles i have 2x150 watt solar and i have just ordered on zippay 2x 120ah batterys so once iget them i will start thinking of what do with all my stuff furiture and house old stuff i think i might havea gaurage sale and sell most like to know what people take with them i knw u cart take all your clothes and kitchen stuff

Well i have rembled on sorry hope i havent bored you but i have really have to think about what i am going to with my life

Cheers Christopher



-- Edited by Smithy on Sunday 8th of March 2020 12:50:52 PM

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Hi Everyone

UPDATE!!!@

After reading all posts and great advice and thinking long and hard of what and why do I want to do this at all?  What are my physical capabilities  and what do I plan on doing really.  I looked at a few Hiace's and Mercedes vans. I know I do  not want anything really big.  Living in the a country town the possibilities were really not that many.  As I was thinking about a trip to Perth, (which is a big deal as you have to stay somewhere and driving around the city is not much fun for me).  A Kia Camper Car turned up around the corner from where I live.  I thought I would just go and have a look, I did not realise that I would fall in love with it.  It felt and looked like the best of  both worlds to me. It is comfortable to drive all the time. I am now thinking of selling my VW EOS.   It is as big as Hiace Van 5M long.  Manufactured Kia Camper kitchen out the back.  6Cy. 3.5 engine.   It was an ex Hertz hire car camper so it came with EVERYTHING except solar battery and panels which I have now bought and installed. Double bed in Van.  Could foldup to couch with set up table for inside seating.   Rhino Rack Storage Pod and Awning on top of vehicle.  So I know it is not meant for Living in, but I like to test the water before I jump in, so decided to use this camper for short trips.  WA is full of wonderful spots to go to not very far from me (i live in Busselton).  So my plan is to go explore WA for the next year.  Once I get confident I feel I can sell it and get something bigger.  It feels right for me ATM.  First trip next weekend camping in Augusta with my dog.  I actually set up camp in front yard yesterday as a test run!  I am having so much fun and learning so many new things, like never even heard of an Anderson Plug before!   Got my Wifi camp App, who would have thought there are so many free camping places in WA alone!

Open Invitation to any any of you if you get to Busselton to  please contact  me for a catch up!!

Cheers

Janis



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Dont be too put off by a vehicle you may initially think is too large ? Known many who have thought this over years . Now dont like the smaller vehicle as they fear the safety side . Without getting too my opinion is rear when drive, good tyres for the conditions, good suspension travel. Which can mean in some cases higher suspension . Not that hard or expensive to fit . It gives better clearance over rough terrain.

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We sleep in our Freelander, we have a awning tent as well but too lazy to put it up. Was in Busselton last year & worked our way around to Poison Creek. Was at Wave Rock the year before. We don't go without!

I had a nice dinner with the people in the background. They were a bit surprised when I turned up with coffee beans, grinder & cream for coffee! We might have a small space but we don't go without! A previous trip we even surprised ourselves when we realised we had 7 different cheeses for lunch in Innes NP, & red & white wine!

1876391644307027226.jpg



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Excellent news Janis :)

Enjoy your adventure - life is too short to waste it.



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Congratulations, Janis (Jaylynn)

I hope that there are many happy, road trips ahead of you



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