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Caravans/Rv's as a Basecamp
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Mark McLauchlin
(markmclauchlin) - MLife

Locale: Western Australia
Caravans/Rv's as a Basecamp on 03/16/2010 01:19:29 MDT Print View

Hi all,

Just wondering how many of you have a caravan or RV that you use as a basecamp?

Hopefully this weekend at the caravan and camping show (Perth, Western Australia) my family I will be ordering our first caravan.

I can see some great advantages in this, firstly it will get the whole family out walking and secondly I think it will take me to places that were not within reach before due to travel time etc.

Pic below of the new Rig hopefully to

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Caravans/Rv's as a Basecamp on 03/16/2010 06:34:54 MDT Print View

We downsized from pickup and trailer. Now a VW Transporter/Vanagon does it for us. Queen size bed, table, plenty of light, and an electric bedwarmer round out some of the amenities in what I call my trailhead apartment. Been real nice losing dragging a trailer around. We had a teardrop trailer, and now the VW seems hugevw

Here is the teardrop setuptear

Edited by kthompson on 03/16/2010 06:49:15 MDT.

Mark McLauchlin
(markmclauchlin) - MLife

Locale: Western Australia
Caravans/Rv's as a Basecamp on 03/16/2010 06:39:49 MDT Print View

Very cool looking VW, pleanty of them still on the road over here too.

Thanks for sharing

Jack H.
(Found) - F

Locale: Sacramento, CA
Re: Caravans/Rv's as a Basecamp on 03/16/2010 07:07:47 MDT Print View

This was my last car/house car. Sold it to be more free. Now I travel and hike more and work less. I've been spending a fair amount of time in my friend's RVs and vans though. They live full time in theirs and are happy to go hiking. In about a year I plan to buy a new housecar, but I'm pretty sure that I'm going with a 4x4 truck for better access to remote places.


Mark McLauchlin
(markmclauchlin) - MLife

Locale: Western Australia
Re: Re: Caravans/Rv's as a Basecamp on 03/16/2010 07:11:10 MDT Print View

Kind of reminds me of the A-Team van :) very cool though.

Where was the picture taken, that scenery is beautiful.

Jack H.
(Found) - F

Locale: Sacramento, CA
Re: Re: Re: Caravans/Rv's as a Basecamp on 03/16/2010 07:21:29 MDT Print View

outside of Zion National Park.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Caravans/Rv's as a Basecamp on 03/16/2010 07:26:16 MDT Print View

I've often thought of going the van route when my puppies are no longer with me. Get rid of everything that doesn't fit in the van and just travel and hike and bike. Doing what Jack did 40 years later!

Chad Lorenz
(ChadL) - MLife

Locale: Teton Valley, Wydaho
Van living on 03/16/2010 11:54:54 MDT Print View

Jack H, how did you outfit the interior of the van? I have been looking into living in a van and have been trying to create a schematic of the interior: permanent bed vs fold down seats, kitchen inside vs portable to bring outdoors on a table etc.

I've also been pondering how to get my skis, climbing gear and pulk inside of the thing :)

Happy trails!

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Re: Caravans/Rv's as a Basecamp on 03/16/2010 13:12:15 MDT Print View

We have never looked back after springing for a Toyota Hiace campervan. It makes it easy for us to get away at the drop of a hat as we leave it pretty much ready to go. We often drive to our destination on a Thursday or Friday after work and sleep in the van. Some trips we drive somewhere and just do day walks. If it's a long drive we even stop to take a nap occasionally. It has a double bed on the bottom, a single loft up top, fridge, sink, stove etc...our gear lives in the top loft, and the shelves are packed with spare food, water, towels even gets decent mileage (2.8 litre diesel), and come winter it becomes our snowboard mobile since it has optional four wheel drive and low range gearing.

Brian UL

Locale: New England
Re: Caravans/Rv's as a Basecamp on 03/16/2010 13:54:47 MDT Print View

Have you looked at the Cricket?

Kendall Clement
(socalpacker) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: "Caravans/Rv's as a Basecamp" on 03/16/2010 14:20:37 MDT Print View

This is a good idea. It's convenient and it gives more options and flexibility on your trips.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Caravans/Rv's as a Basecamp on 03/16/2010 23:49:19 MDT Print View

We have been doing it for years. We go almost every weekend. My wife is not going to sleep outside on the ground, so usually we do an all day hike on Saturdays, usually 10 - 18 miles. Then a half day hike on Sunday. Sometimes it is a base camp when I go on a multi-day trip, and she can enjoy some peace and quiet.

This is a 2006 Fleetwood Niagara. I have done extensive modification including:

- Larger axle and lifted the body for dirt road clearance and addtional cargo carrying capacity.

- Two 40 lb LPG tanks for extended camping.

- 235 watt solar system.

- Two large deep cycle golf cart batteries for extended camping.

pop-up 1

We have put over 20,000 miles on it during the past 4.5 years. Only one trip out of California, when we did some hiking in Arizona around Sedona and the Grand Canyon. It works great for us.

I would be apprehensive to leave it near a trail head though. Too many people looking to break into vehicles parked near trail heads. We normally park a few miles away from trail heads and then hike to them.

Before you purchase a camper/caravan, best to do some serious research to make sure you get exactly what you need. One thing we really like about our is that it has a shower and toilet in it.

Here it is set up in a typical camping site. This happens to be a remote area of Thomas Mtn looking across Garner Valley to the San Jacintos, in the general vicinity of the Desert Divide section of the PCT.

pop-up 2

Edited by ngatel on 03/16/2010 23:51:27 MDT.

Mark McLauchlin
(markmclauchlin) - MLife

Locale: Western Australia
Re: Re: Caravans/Rv's as a Basecamp on 03/16/2010 23:55:16 MDT Print View

Thanks Nick,

Looks great, very similar to the Jayco model of pop-tops over here.

Your use seems to be the same as my intentions, base camp, wifes retreat etc.

We decided not to go for a van with a toilet and shower due to needing the extra space with the kids. There are pleanty of campsites around with both and the plan would be to leave the van at a caravan park and drive out to the trail head.

Is that a Webber Q I see under the annex? Just purchased one myself.


Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Caravans/Rv's as a Basecamp on 03/17/2010 00:09:15 MDT Print View

Yes, very similar to Jayco, which is a popular brand in the U.S. too.

If you are interested, I have a ton of pictures posted of our old Starcraft (which we gutted and rebuilt) and our present model along with some other interests:

And yes it is a Q. Best darn BBQ for camping IMO :).

If you are really interested in caravans, etc. go to the forums at There are links to the Hybrid forum, which is what your caravan really is, and a travel trailer forum too. Great forums with nice people. All the sites are run by the same person.

Mark McLauchlin
(markmclauchlin) - MLife

Locale: Western Australia
Re: Re: Re: Re: Caravans/Rv's as a Basecamp on 03/17/2010 00:22:00 MDT Print View

Great thanks again, webshots link doesnt appear to work.

I have only use the Q once, for a roast to try it out, very nice indeed.


Edited by markmclauchlin on 03/17/2010 00:23:37 MDT.

John Frederick Anderson
(fredfoto) - F

Locale: Spain
crash in the van, hike more... on 03/17/2010 02:26:34 MDT Print View

I drive to the trailhead, and usually either crash in the back of my van on an aussie swag and hike out first thing the next day, or hike out for the last two or three hours of daylight beyond the dayhikers, and find somewhere spectacular to stay the first night.
We had an old VW camper for a few years, but felt it complicated our life more than anything else. I prefer the simplicity of the bare van- it makes me get out and hike more. Damn thing had a terrible habit of breaking down in the remotest places too.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
truck/house on 03/17/2010 11:16:34 MDT Print View

My wife and I own an Xterra. We took out the back seat and built a plywood bench. Sleeping space above, cargo space beneath. It was our mobile home from 10/05-6/06. Now it's the weekend warrior-mobile.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Dodge Grand Caravan on 03/17/2010 11:53:55 MDT Print View

Dodge Grand Caravan – 12"(?)longer than a 'standard' Caravan

Van Deck
One sheet of ½" plywood and 1 sheet of ½" particle board.

The plywood was cut high enough to clear our cooler, and then slotted so the 'longs' and 'shorts' fit together. The particle board was 'cut to fit', and is screwed down to strategically located 2x2 blocks on the support plywood.

Van Headboard
The 'headboard' is ¼" masonite that lies flat under bedding when not in use. We tilt the seats back to provide support at the top.

Van Anchors
I used 3/8" 'J-bolts" to anchor everything to the seat hardware. Loose stuff wouldn't be much fun it a roll-over accident.

Construction time was about 4 hours. Installation and de-installation time is about 20 minutes.

Edited by greg23 on 03/17/2010 12:01:03 MDT.

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
If I won the lottery... on 03/17/2010 12:43:23 MDT Print View

... I'd get one of these, for base-camping:

xv-jp closed

xv-jp open

It'll go anywhere- it's the only RV to complete the Rubicon Challenge. I love that it has solar power, and a stone slab to supercool when the engine is running to keep the fridge cold without power. Cassette toilet. Internal and external shower. And the pop-up tent is just cool...

Of course, the $100K pricetag really takes the joy out if it. And it's only good for two people.

They make larger ones based on Ford F150s, too, with a real bed and toilet stall. But personally I like the XV-JP's minimalism. It'd be nice if something somewhere in between could be done, to carry four people in a crew-cab F150 or something, but still be nice and small.


That's brilliant! I have an Odyssey... I'd want to modify it so my three year old could still come along, though. Hmm...

Edited by acrosome on 03/17/2010 12:53:06 MDT.

Jack G
(NomadJack) - F

Locale: Midwest
Caravans/Rv's as a Basecamp on 03/17/2010 13:07:27 MDT Print View

Chad, check out the link below for some ideas on how to organize the interior as well as tons of other great info.

Cheap RV Living