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RVs for the serious back country, boondocker!


Kirk W

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Have any of you ever looked at the sort of RV which is popular in other parts of the world? Thanks to BruceT, I have been reading an RV magazine from Australia and am fascinated by the RVs the magazine advertises and reviews.

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This model which is built by Lifestyle Camper Trailers holds great interest for me as we started our RV travels with a pop-up that was towed by a 4WD vehicle. In fact, our first two RVs were pop-ups and two different tow vehicles, trading for a larger 4WD to handle the larger, more equipped RV on those national forest and BLM roads. In looking through the various RV ads the only name that looks familiar is that of Jayco/AU and it is a very different Jayco line from the US version.

 

Just wondering if anyone has seriously considered the purchase and use of an RV imported from other parts of the world?

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Have you considered the Canadian Bigfoot? It's alleged to be an excellent off-road boondocking 4-season molded fiberglass trailer. Here's a classified ad for one I just spotted on fiberglass-RV-4sale.com...

 

http://www.fiberglass-rv-4sale.com/for-sale/2008-bigfoot-25b25rq-travel-trailer

 

It may have too many creature comforts, though!

 

WW

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Imported vehicles have to meet the U.S. standards. Here is a link to the Customs website discussion of the subject. It may not be as big a deal for non-motorized vehicles but something to consider is: "If vehicles manufactured abroad conform to U.S. safety, bumper, and emission standards, it is because these vehicles are exported for sale in the United States. Therefore, it is unlikely that a vehicle obtained abroad meets all relevant standards...Vehicles entering the United States that do not conform with U.S. safety standards must be brought into compliance, exported, or destroyed."

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How would that apply to a trailer? What safety standards? Brakes? Lights? There are no mandated 'build' standards I am aware of.

You may be right, but I seem to recall information on some towable websites about meeting U.S. and or Canadian standards. It seems to me that there area least some DOT or NTSA standards for towables. Follow all the links on the Customs website if you want to do more research on the issue.

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The Aussie backcountry "caravans" are built for extremely serious back-country roads/roadless terrain. The best I have seen is one that is manufactured in both Australia and South Africa. The Big Foots (Big Feet) are excellent for what we call boondocking but not for the Aussie style. The Aussie manufacturer primarily builds equipment for the military and their stuff is built to Australian military specs.

Reed and Elaine

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I like the 4-step program for back-country boondocking: Drive to a nice place in the motor home, take the Jeep as far as you can; take the mountain bike you put on the Jeep as far as that will go; put on hiking boots and take your tent and a sleeping bag to where you want to go.

 

Reverse the process for a warm shower. :D

 

WDR

 

PS: No one ever spent a million dollars on a tent. Ok...maybe NASA...

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I know rock climbers that have parachuted into Greenland to cut costs of hiring helicopter for both in and out. They had to go out by helicopter. A guy I climbed with in Peru in 1967 went in by boat to do a climb and the ice choked the inlet and they had to cross-country for six days. Polar came in and ate all their food. They did have a Weatherby .375 but could not find the ammunition. They were fortunately not eaten but they did get hungry.

 

A group of sky divers jumped onto on the sandstone peaks known as Tepui in Venzuela (Movie "Up" and Arthur Conan Doyle's " The Lost World"). They planned to repack chute and basejump off. However, one broke an ankle and the Venzuelan government forbade the others from jumping. It cost them a few bucks to get out of that mess.

 

Was in UK for 6 weeks of a NATO test. One morning I walked out to car after breakfast, got in, and wondered where the steering wheel had gone. Got in left side.

 

Reed and Elaine

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WDR...we use that 4 step program frquently. Only with us its get the MH into a boondocking situation, take the truck off into the wilderness...when the going gets too rough, unload the RZR and keep going. We use our feet for the final climb if needed but its not needed very often. Dont stay out overnight either.

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Maybe not big issues, but some things to consider might be. Australia uses 240 volt and three blade outlets. Not being an electrician, I do not know what would be required to properly adapt to the U.S. style 240 volt 50 Amp outlets on the typical campground pedestal. Do they make small 240 volt quiet/inverter generators? Would you want to use any plug in appliances that are not compatible with 240 volts or buy new ones that are. Could the electrical system be easily converted to 120 volt or would the converter/inverter battery charger and maybe some other appliances have to be replaced? The website of the manufacturer of the unit you pictured doesn't give very detailed specifications. Are the same brand of LP appliances like water heater, refrigerator, furnace used in Australia or if not are parts available in the U.S. without shipping from Australia? The Jayco specs show a dual gas/240 volt water heater and 240 volt element on the cooktop. They also list an air conditioner and a microwave. Are the tires provided a size easily found in the U.S. or at least easily replaced with ones that are. I replaced the 14" tires on our previous trailer with commercial grade metric tires used on European delivery trucks and trailers. They were a little hard to find in the smaller markets, but were carried by tirerack so I could get them shipped if I could not find them locally.

 

I didn't see anything on the website about warranty, but that likely wouldn't matter once the trailer was in the states since they have no dealerships here. Unless of course they would pay to have the work done in the states. Then there is the shipping cost. "...if all the factors were just right, our best price for shipping a car from Australia to the USA starts at around U$3,000...If the car is a running vehicle it will cost less to ship than a rolling shell."

 

In doing a little web surfing, it seemed like there was more talk about bringing a foreign RV into Australia than shipping one out (because of the high cost of RVs in Australia) .

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One problem with Aussie or British RVs is that since they drive on the left the entry door is on the wrong side.

Most of the trailers really don't matter right or left hand drive... :P

Interesting to read the reactions here. I have seen at least one of the tent type trailers of Australian make that was handled by a dealer here in the US but not most of them. I don't know many American RV owners who do the sort of RVing that most of those are built for. Australia have vast areas where off road means far more challenge than anywhere in the main part of the US. Places where you would need weeks to walk out where help could be found. The magazine I'm reading has an article also on back country repairs to your radiator if you should somehow poke a hole through it. They don't get into finding a shop to do the work as there are no shops in those areas for one to find.

 

My point in bringing all of this up is the fact that RVing there is very different from what we do here. I see very little evidence of RV parks in the mode that we think of here, even in our state or federal parks. I found no advertisements for motorhomes of any kind. They use terms in describing RVs such as hard floor or soft floor. That seems to mean that a hard floor RV is one that you walk about on the inside on the RV's floor while a soft floor seems to be one that a tent folds out from the trailer and your living area is inside of the tent with the kitchen and storage staying in the trailer but the people live outside.

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Here are some links to look through some of the popular RVs from "down under."

Scamper Trailers Trackabout RhinoMax MarsCampers

 

These were advertised in Camper Trailer magazine.

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We vacationed in Australia and New Zealand over the Christmas holidays (2014-15) in a combo cruise and land exploration for three weeks. Whole there - especially in New Zealand - we saw many Class B and C RVs on the road with an ocassional smaller 5th wheel. Most rentals are in the class C range. Saw a few tents but no pop ups; several "RV Resorts" but much lower key than what we see in the states.

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