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Camper Trailer Page

For travel within Australia we have chosen a 4WD towing a Jayco Penguin Caravan (popup camper). We are very happy with our caravan purchase and the annexe is very quick to put up. We considered putting bike racks on the van although Jayco don't recommend putting the bikes on the back of the van as it can effect the balance of weight. On a recent trip to Bundaberg we stopped and spoke to another Jayco Offroader who had welded a special piece in front of the Gas Bottle/Water Bottle holder to accommodate the tow ball for the bike rack. Looked like a good idea. A relative made it for him - wished we'd got his name.

We decided it would be much better to have the bike rack on the back of the van as the bikes would get less damage when driving and would be out of our way. This meant moving the spare tyre somewhere else. We bought and fitted a 2nd hand 'under car spare wheel bracket' to the underside of the van that holds the spare tyre and attached the bike carrying bracket where the tyre was. Now we just need to make some sort of cover to keep the bikes clean when travelling on those dusty roads. We need to be aware of the weight shift and compensate with extra weight to the rear of the axle when packing the inside of the van. Click on the photos below for a larger view.

We have added a few hooks and hanging pockets in various places inside the van plus a drop down mosquito screen for the door for quick stops. When you wind the van up for a lunch stop you don't want to put the top half of the door on and in some places at certain times of the year flies are a major problem eg Alice Springs in September. There is always a space problem in vans that popup from halfway as cupboard space is limited. We have bought some fittings for inside the cupboards to allow us to make the most of the space and stack the food, crockery and cookware better for offroad travel. That anti-slip matting is great. To allow for extra shade from the heat and protection from rain we have had two canvas awnings made up for the van - see the equipment page for photos and info on that.

Once we stop we find that bringing the crockery up above waist height is handy and more accessible on our tray and stacker.

The van's stove has 3 gas burners and 1 electric hotplate. The van's fridge runs on gas, 240 volt or 12 volt battery and that battery recharges when the car runs. The sink connects to town water via a hose or we can use the pump from the van's water tanks. We are pretty well covered for off-road holidays. We intend to install a 12 volt power outlet in the van also for a variety of other uses when we are in areas without electricity e.g. shower pump, flouro light.

Our New Camper Trailer (popup caravan)

We picked it up on a Saturday morning and tried it out straight away with a couple of nights at Burrum Point National Park campground. It is just south of Woodgate which is just south of Bundaberg for those of you who don't know your way around Queensland. We LOVED it! The track in requires 4WD so we were able to give our offroad camper a bit of a tryout. The campsite itself caters for about 15 sites and is on the beach at the mouth of the Burrum River. It is good for fishing and boating although we did little of that this time around. Shirl & Noel came along with their tent and camped with us. They wanted to check out the new van. We had a great weekend and will probably come back here again - Noel will bring the boat next time. Have a look at just a few of the Burrum Photos.

We didn't get to try the annexe out until we went to the Broadwater Caravan Park. You will notice we had the new 4WD by then and it has the canopy and roof racks fitted. Have a look at just a few of the Southport Photos OR click on any of these to see the enlarged versions or inside the van.

Click to enlarge this photo of the annexe  Click to enlarge this photo of the van Click to enlarge this photo of the van   .

Caravan or Camper Trailer or Tent Trailer? - the leadup to the purchase

Karen & Gary and Cath & Pete went to the Caravan & Camping show and we were impressed by the Jayco Outback on a show special. We had looked at various RVs and camper trailers. We also decided to look out for second hand caravans and campers as we know a lot of people buy them, do one trip and then sell them.

Then ... We found one!

On our way back from a holiday to Lake Monduran we called in at Bundaberg to the Jayco Dealer there - Warburton Caravans - where we had seen a number of 2nd hand Camper Trailers on a previous trip through Bundaberg. This time they had exactly what we were after - a Jayco Penguin 13 in the Camper Trailer Outback range. It was less than 12 months old - the previous owners (retired couple) having decided they loved travelling and camping so much they wanted to do it for 12 months in a larger popup style of caravan. They traded up and we were lucky enough to purchase what we had been looking for at a better price than a new camper trailer of the same type. They had looked after it well so we are more than happy with our purchase. The bonus was that it came with a full annexe in case we ever want to take the kids along.

What requirements did we have for the van?

  • We need it to be a detachable caravan type so we can do some serious 4WD-ing if we want to.
  • We may need to be able to pull it along 4WD routes so it needs to be of sturdy construction, take 4WD tyres and be a popup type that is lighter in weight and more stable.
  • We prefer one that doesn't fold out for the bed areas so wet tarp material isn't an issue if it rains and we want to pack up and leave before it is dry.
  • We really only need to sleep two inside the van.
  • The appliances need to run on gas as well as electricity. Battery powered fridge and lights would be great for while we are on the road.
  • An awning out the side that is easy to put up and down is a must. Detachable sides are a plus for use on other holidays before and after the around Australia road trip.

Tip: Did you click on the links to the Jayco site to see all of the other options? To see the detailed specifications for our new Camper Trailer once you get to the Jayco site click on 'Penguin'. Remember the Jayco site opens in a new window so just close the window when you are ready to come back to this web page.

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This page was last updated on 27-Feb-2017

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