Sleep-ready caravans for going almost anywhere





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  1. #1
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    Default Sleep-ready caravans for going almost anywhere

    Kindly note that this thread is my opinion. Please don't crucify me, but rather share your thoughts if you had seen all these caravans.

    Firstly, I would like to point out that I’m not married to any caravan currently on or off the road. Thus I would like to think I did have an open mind when I looked at the vans on offer at the show.

    We have a Jurgens Exclusive and a Conqueror Commander and are now looking at combining the 2 into one as we are about to become two retirees and not just one. Reason for the combination is that we still want to do off-road trips to some extent, but not to the extreme and we also would like to join campers that stay at one place for an extended period of time. Leaving out glamour and glitter, we do not want to compromise on some of the comforts currently in the Exclusive, for example the nice size bed and full bathroom. I guess what I am trying to say, is that this new purchase should be able to serve most of our requirements, but without braking the bank or take all of our retirement savings.
    At our age our needs are very basic and minimalistic as we are beyond the days where the only thing we did not take with on a holiday, was the kitchen zinc.

    So we went to the Caravan Show at Gallagher over the week-end to look at what’s on offer.
    Now we might have missed some, but for us there were only 3 contenders and they are –


    1. BorderX Expedition @ Basic Price from R 459 000

    This caravan will become a serious contender in the near future. With a few minor modifications, we might go for it. Optional extras are what we still need to look at and how that will influence the final price. Also will have to look at the T & GVM. That’s if we do go for this caravan.


    1. Conqueror UEV25 @ Basic Price from R 528 080

    With this caravan we might sound like “Ripley’s Believe it or Not” – believe it, the bed is too small to our likes/needs. We are used to bigger beds. After this comes weight and then price. T – 1870 KG & GVM – 2200 KG.


    1. BushLapa Gravelroader @ Show Special of R 595 000

    Lastly, but for no other reason than being the most expensive (I listed the 3 caravans in price sequence), is the all new Bush Lapa Gravelroader. This is the only one that does not have a full bathroom. I think it’s called an “integrated bathroom” as shower, toilet and basin are all in one confined space. We prefer a shower that is separate. This caravan also feels the most cramped inside. You just don’t get a feel for spaciousness. The built quality however seems very good. Weight here is also well beyond our vehicle’s towing allowances. T - I can’t remember GVM – 2700 KG.

    Note – All three caravans have twin axles.
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Sleep-ready caravans for going almost anywhere

    hi Spook, I saw some of the other normal caravans having a gravel option as well ie the Destination Magic which adds 10k to the normal price. a Big factor is the Tare and GVM of these vans and obviously suitable vehicles to legally tow them. From the ones you mentioned the Border X impressed me the most especially at the price!

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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Sleep-ready caravans for going almost anywhere

    HI, I was at the same show and noticed how large, heavy and expensive the off-road / gravel caravans got.
    It is almost following the Ozzie trend.

    This is all good and well and some of the products are well assembled with high quality BUT I do scare at the R500K pricing. It is simply not justified.
    For caravans of that weight you will also need a heavy duty 4x4 vehicle with expensive maintenance and upkeep.
    For me the price, weight and towing needs, is the killer.

    I also had to make a caravan buying decision 1 year ago and agonized over it for some time. Eventually We decided to stick to a road biased caravan (Sprite Surfer de Lux) with a bathroom for our normal camping. Small, easy to tow and manhandle and cheaper. I tow with a V6 Touareg and the caravan weighs 895 kg which translates into easy stress free towing, easy parking, easy site handling etc. To this we added an easy to erect canopy with no loose pole and pegs in nice weather.

    The only problem we have is that we cannot go off-road camping with this caravan. To do offroad , we will just have to B&B on the way and then tent or lodge. We have more than enough camping equipment. Yes, I know this is not the ideal and peoples preferences are different.

    To me, the thought of getting stuck with a R500K caravan and expensive vehicle, knowing my physical capabilities are getting less and a wife with back problems, did not leave me at ease.

    I understand peoples circumstances are different and it is not an easy decision. To me, your current combination is just about perfect but you could also look at the Gecko caravan. (did not see them at the show)

    My 2 cents worth..
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  6. #4
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    Default Re: Sleep-ready caravans for going almost anywhere

    We've had an XCAPE off road van for many years but now we're also looking at changing gear, going softer.

    What we're planning to do is have a more comfortable van with facilities we want .
    Then when we want to venture to the places where we normally have taken our off road van to we will chalet or B&B if possible.
    If neither of those are available we will have an 'emergency one-nighter pack' (pop-up tent, sleeping bags, blowup mattress) if we get stranded without accommodation.
    The back of the vehicle will suffice as a kitchen etc. if and when necessary.

    We've already tested elements of this method (Namib dune trip, The Old Postal Route and a few other places) and it works well for us.
    If you make a noise or need music in the bush or on the beach, you’re missing the point.

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  8. #5
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    Default Re: Sleep-ready caravans for going almost anywhere

    Oh, and we can do that at maybe half the cost of the numbers mentioned above.
    If you make a noise or need music in the bush or on the beach, you’re missing the point.

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    Default Re: Sleep-ready caravans for going almost anywhere

    Ooops - similar to JBX's method - did not notice his post.
    If you make a noise or need music in the bush or on the beach, you’re missing the point.

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  11. #7
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    Default Re: Sleep-ready caravans for going almost anywhere

    Quote Originally Posted by PRA View Post
    We've had an XCAPE off road van for many years but now we're also looking at changing gear, going softer.
    WE currently have a Courage and were thinking of going softer....... XCape! Apparently not so soft?
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    Default Re: Sleep-ready caravans for going almost anywhere

    That bordeX is one serious van but for us it has always been the MobiLodge. Maybe not as hardcore but oodles of space and space.
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    Default Re: Sleep-ready caravans for going almost anywhere

    Quote Originally Posted by Luka View Post
    WE currently have a Courage and were thinking of going softer....... XCape! Apparently not so soft?
    Nope - XCAPE is a very capable off-road van. Where your vehicle can go the XCAPE can go.
    It's good for sleeping in and for changing in.
    Everything else is outside.
    If you make a noise or need music in the bush or on the beach, you’re missing the point.

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  16. #10
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    Default Re: Sleep-ready caravans for going almost anywhere

    Have you looked at the Gecko?
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  18. #11
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    Default Re: Sleep-ready caravans for going almost anywhere

    Nope - not yet.
    If you make a noise or need music in the bush or on the beach, you’re missing the point.

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    Default Re: Sleep-ready caravans for going almost anywhere

    Spook have you had a look at the Nayela caravan.This is a very nice setup.

    https://nayela.co.za/
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  21. #13
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    Default Re: Sleep-ready caravans for going almost anywhere

    Thanks for all the replies this far.

    As for Gecko, they were not at the show. Neither was the Imagine Cruiservan.

    The Nayela, Mobilodge and Echo Kunene all have a slide-out bed and as the heading of my thread says - caravan should be sleep ready
    Last edited by Spook; 2020/02/24 at 05:27 PM.
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  22. #14
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    Default Re: Sleep-ready caravans for going almost anywhere

    Spook kyk ook na die Sprite Tourer SW seker nie heeltemal off road nie maar ook n awsome wa vsterkte en geniet die soek

  23. #15
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    Default Re: Sleep-ready caravans for going almost anywhere

    Have you looked at the Xplorer? If I remember correctly, with the Xplorer it's support legs out, lift up roof, pull out kitchen and you can sleep, the rest like awning and front bed takes more work, but is optional. The Xplorer is quite a heavy van though, so look at caravan movers as well, Ewiks movers is making a world of difference for my parents on their caravan. Internal shower and toilet will take some modding on the Xplorer though, but will be possible since it has plenty of space if only rigging it with one bed for 2 people.

    Or have you maybe considered something totally different thinking out the box like a camper on the back of a bakkie? With most of those it is open door, take out chairs, maybe a roof that needs lifting and also a little awning at the front then sleep. Internal shower and toilet in a camper will be quite tricky though since space is quite limited.

    Please don't limit yourself to a on-road platkar caravan, you will kick yourself. Each time we go camping I see how one of the parties in our group is limited by his on-road caravan, only the slightest bad piece of gravel road and it's doors getting ripped off, van underside taking hits on the middelmannetjie etc.
    Last edited by bigboy529; 2020/02/24 at 07:25 PM.
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  24. #16
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    Default Re: Sleep-ready caravans for going almost anywhere

    I like the idea of a sleep-ready caravan. Also getting to an age where ease of setup, comfort and safety is important to us.
    Was also at the Caravan show. Had a look at all 3 caravans. Like the double axle.
    The Bushlapa was a surprise- didn't know they where bringing out a double axle. Very expensive if you think it is not even isolated... not really something I am keen on (also very heavy) .
    UEV25: Its isolated, so a plus for it. But I don't think they are using a very good panel. Not if you can see the light through it. Also if it does scratch, how are they going to fix it? Bed a bit on the small side.
    BorderX Expedition: New on the market, but I like it. I have also been to their factory in Centurion. I liked what I saw. They use a panel similar to Conqueror, but with a thicker "skin". It gets pained with Raptor paint, which will make it even stronger. All joints get glued with a special Sika product, and riveted in place while the glue cures. I think also it is going to be a popular product under families as the inside gets customized per family need. They claim they can accommodate 6 people, and all beds sleep-ready. Not many caravans on the market that can do that, except with foldout beds. I think its tara is under 1600kg, and GVM they can adjust per client. Definitely some competition out there.

  25. #17
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    Default Re: Sleep-ready caravans for going almost anywhere

    We camp with a C Commander.

    Being a tall guy (2m) the fold out bed is not for us. We made the 2-bed/sitting area into a spacious 2m long queen size with the available mattresses, etc. Sleep ready anytime!

    The front shelf we now use for the ammo boxes that when in transit is stowed under the bed. Works for us very well.
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  26. #18
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    Default Re: Sleep-ready caravans for going almost anywhere

    Quote Originally Posted by JohanMaree View Post
    We camp with a C Commander.

    Being a tall guy (2m) the fold out bed is not for us. We made the 2-bed/sitting area into a spacious 2m long queen size with the available mattresses, etc. Sleep ready anytime!

    The front shelf we now use for the ammo boxes that when in transit is stowed under the bed. Works for us very well.
    Johan, mind posting pictures of your changes in the Commander please?

    Thanks
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    Default Re: Sleep-ready caravans for going almost anywhere

    I own a 2018 Bushlapa Ratel 4 and camped right next to a BorderX in full sun at Almega last year October. I cannot describe the difference in temperature inside at mid-day. You will actually be able to catch an afternoon snooze inside the BorderX. I assume it will then apply to thermal insulation in the cold as well. I think the material used is very underrated and offers a lot more than most people realize. I even had the opportunity to tow the big double axle Expedition behind my 2l Polo bakkie (Amarok) at the same camp - I was surprised at how stable it followed me and it did not feel a lot bigger behind me. I was pleasantly surprised a how well the VW towed it! That suspension just looks the part.

    Look I really love my Ratel and will not sell it right now, but I am very impressed with the quality. I also understand with BorderX still being a fairly young company, the guys are willing to do a lot of customization inside to satisfy your needs. Most probably a big plus to everyone that dreams of building your own van, but do not have the time or place to do so. Also something that the more settled companies only do to a certain extent.

    In my opinion, this company is going big places very soon!
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    Default Re: Sleep-ready caravans for going almost anywhere

    Quote Originally Posted by Spook View Post
    Johan, mind posting pictures of your changes in the Commander please?

    Thanks
    Spook

    Two pics below. Taken with the front hatch opened. We removed the bedding of that foldout bed completely to provide shelf space.

    Close up of bed. The tables left and Solar panels right stay there during travel. When we do a one night stop we just put that stuff on the car roof rack for the night.

    Wider picture. Showing the shelf area that is very empty for saving tow-ball weight during travel. The black surface is a carbon fibre sheet I had to stop mozzies and critters enter the van when parked. This area is used for our ammo boxes as mentioned earlier.
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