A Fanatical Sabbatical | Part 5 - On why we chose a camper trailer

Kim explains why they chose a camper trailer over the other options available . . .

We are camped down on South Bruny Island, in a gorgeous bush site over looking Cloudy Bay. When we arrived, the sun was beaming down and the cove was twinkling turquoise. After doing the circuit of the packed campground trying to find a spot to squeeze into, we all dashed down to the beach for a quick swim before it got dark. We were pretty sure it was the last of the good weather for a spell and wanted to make the most of it.

I’ve got to admit, I expected more Camper Trailers on the road than there are. Caravans, no surprise, are all over the joint, like little white nuggets crawling across the landscape. There are RV’s a plenty, plus a smattering of slide on campers, the expected quota of Wicked or similar Whizz-Bang vans (Whizzzzzzzzzzzzzzz-BANG! Go the doors all night), and a sprinkling of tents depending on your location of campsite. Well fitted-out buses are here and there. Oh and we’ve seen one amazing Mercedes all-terrain luxury monster camper loaded with Mountain bikes, dirt bikes, surf boards AND Kayaks… not jealous or anything.

But not so many camper trailers. What’s going on? Have we chosen the wrong set up? Will I have ‘Rig-Regret’ after a couple of months on the road in this canvas castle?

We made the commitment to a Camper Trailer after watching the Expedition Australia DVD series. Initially we were considering a Jayco bird of some variety of wingspan and cupboard space configuration, but my husband convinced me a camper was the way to go and I’m so far, I’m happy with our choice.

The initial reasoning stemmed from not wanting to be held back from any destination by a vehicle or tow choice that couldn’t follow the car where we wanted to go. Think: river crossings, sandy beaches, tight corners on bush tracks and low trees or bridges. We wanted to go everywhere our little hearts (and little engine) could take us without worrying about chipboard expanding with the rising water, or cupboards shaken to bits by kilometres of corrugated dirt road. A good quality off-road camper trailer could do that, we reasoned.

Big Lap Budget Spreadsheet - 2018

Finances came into play next. The solid off-road caravans cost a lot more than a camper. I had an inkling I’d be spending a fair whack of my disposable income on Tasmanian cool climate wines and soft rind cheeses early on, so I wanted to keep more of my savings up my sleeve for the icing on the cake. You can spend a small fortune on any variation of travel rig, but at the end of the day, the trailer we chose was cheaper. Not as cheap as a tent, true. But easier to put up, beds already made and off the ground, and a good whack of storage with a kitchen somehow included.

Next came life-style. We wanted to see our country by being outside amongst it and to experience the landscape at all hours. I wanted to cook out under the big sky, to socialise in the fresh air and for the kids to be exposed to the outdoors lifestyle as much as possible. The Camper Trailer we chose was simple, functional and funnelled us out into the wide world at large. Inside, the tent section was basically our sleeping areas and a change room with a place to keep our clothes and access to the storage of the trailer. It was small enough to easily find a park outside that little bakery selling scallop pies as we flew through town.

Finally, I have to acknowledge my lack of skill, a dislike and complete sense of apathy towards housework. I wanted no part in toilet cleaning. No shower cubicles to keep sparkling. No floors to sweep and mop or surfaces to keep clean and no space to hussle the children out of, should they walk in half the beach. Part of wanting to get away from it all was just that – getting away from the drudgery!

Every single rig is different and every family, couple or individual has different needs and desires, and no one set up is the ‘right’ way of doing things. The reasons above are just what suited our family, our budget, and our imagined expectations. You don’t really know how things will be until you are out there doing it.

The rain has set in here on Bruny, and whilst we are mostly dry and warm things are feeling slightly damp. I’m running out of hanging space inside the tent and we didn’t bring many changes of wet weather appropriate gear. Maybe the folks who chose 24ft caravans with all the trimmings are on to something. Like coffee in bed, air-con and… oh shut up. I’d kill for a hot shower right now.

A Fanatical Sabbatical

‘Mark, Kim and the kids are leaving behind their home in the Adelaide Hills to jaunt around the country side while they manage their arborist business remotely. Normally enrolled in ‘bush school’, they thought they could push the kids outdoor eduction experience a little further by living outside for a year.

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