Author Topic: Mustachian campervan (in Australia) - does it exist?  (Read 1146 times)

radek

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Mustachian campervan (in Australia) - does it exist?
« on: November 03, 2017, 06:32:04 AM »
Hi forum.

After my recent relocation Down Under I had to abandon my beloved VW Transporter in Europe and started pondering about a purchase of new automobile here.

I'm trying to figure out a solution for Brisbane now but am a bit stuck in thinking what would be a good compromise between not spending too much money initially.. not spending too much money on maintenance and gas.. and reasonable chance to sell the car if I happen to leave the country when my contract is finished in two years. What complicates the story is the fact that Australia seems to be dominated by Asian cars that I know much less about.

Of course keep in mind that I'm not going to use the car on daily basis to commute to work! For that I use bike (and intend to do it even when the summer comes ;) and the car is going to be primarily used for weekend escapades. So MPG is not that super important to me as the other factors that I listed.

Some solutions that I considered so far:

  • Buying a reasonably sized car (wagon?). Something like Subaru Outback perhaps? All gear packed in the boot. Advantages - probably the cheapest solution. Disadvantage - you cannot sleep in the car which has it's disadvantages when you are on a longer road trip and stop by only for a day or two and want to either leave quickly.. or not advertise that you sleep there at all ;)
  • Same as above - but investing into a rooftop tent. Advantage of very quick setup. Disadvantage - around 1000$ more and worse riding and fuel economy when not camping due to travelling with huge box on the roof.
  • Buying a larger car, something that is locally called people mover. Toyota Estima/Tarago would be an example. Advantage - carrying up to 8 people when not camping (good for car pooling or sth similar?).. good amount of space inside when bulky transport is needed and seats are removed.. posibility to quickly remove seats and have a minimalistic camper inside.
  • Buying small bus; older generation: Toyota Hiace, Mitsubishi Express, Ford Econovan etc. Most likely in a 'bare metal box' state. Advantage - could make for a nice campervan with lots of space and storage. Disadvantage - lots of time invested to turn it into campervan (unles more $$$ is spent and you get one done by sbd else?).. worse fuel economy.. worse safety record of older car.. slower.. cannot carry more than 2 or 3 people when not in camper use.
  • Getting older but not too old 4x4 like Nissan Patrol or Toyota Landcruiser, also with a rooftop tent.. or a teardrop trailer? Disadvantage - probably horrible on MPG side (never drove anything like that but suspect a longer trip drowns two polar bears in the Antarctic?) and clumsy to use in the city if need comes. Advantage - access to places where all of the above cars cannot get to.. and, well I hate to say that but let's be honest - probably some fun driving in difficult terrain.

Does anyone of you tackled and solved problem like that? Any solutions, ideas, criticism?

Thanks for help =)



onewayfamily

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Re: Mustachian campervan (in Australia) - does it exist?
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2017, 01:20:39 AM »
I'm absolutely no expert on cars or vans but we did a 6-month stint in a campervan (from Melbourne up past the Daintrees and back).

We bought a Fiat Scudo, about 5 years old for $17,750 - already fitted out by the previous owner.

We sold it at the end of the trip for $17,500, with the only maintenance during our ownership being 2 new tyres, a new battery for the fridge and the roadworthy when we sold - total ~$1,000.

So our strategy was basically to buy well, take good care of it, and then sell for a good price, effectively bringing our transport/lodging expenses for the 6 months down to ~$1,250 (not including gas).

We were with 2 toddlers and a dog in the van by the way.

Retire-Canada

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Re: Mustachian campervan (in Australia) - does it exist?
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2017, 07:12:57 PM »
I've watched people setup roof top tents and they are not fast to setup except maybe that you can leave some bedding in them. I'm pretty sure I'd have my 2 person backpacker tent setup before a roof top tent. Beyond that I see no redeeming features for owning one unless you really expect to be somewhere with no flatish dry spots for a normal tent. Keep in mind you have to completely collapse them anytime you want to move the vehicle. I call that a freaking huge drag.

Eucalyptus

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Re: Mustachian campervan (in Australia) - does it exist?
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2017, 10:36:15 PM »
If you are not actually living in it full time (or using it say in between stints of house sitting, staying with family, etc), I personally don't think a Moustachian camper van exists in Australia. If you are just traveling, pick a really small economical car, and pack camping gear. Reasonable quality, comfortable camping gear is not expensive. Its really not hard to "Stealth Camp" in lots of places, of course, harder inside Metro areas of cities.


radek

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Re: Mustachian campervan (in Australia) - does it exist?
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2017, 05:18:29 AM »
Thanks all! Much appreciate the input =)

@onewayfamily that was hell lot of a deal I have to say. There is always fair degree of knowledge and planing when buying car.. but also degree of randomness where relatively new cars break down heavily.. and oldies are running strong for long time. I guess you had the former. And I'll do my best also to avoid the latter. The more I think and listen to the others the more I think that full camper might be to costly initially and and maintain. But will keep my eyes open for Scudos too ;)

@Retire-Canada thanks fo info. I've never had one.. neither had any of my friends. Somehow I assumed that it cannot be such a bad deal with set up.. and this is what you pay for. Bad to hear I was wrong then and you are of course absolutely right with the moving of the car. So that idea will probably go away too.

@Eucalyptus thanks. Will try to do some research on the economical side of the market then too.






Retire-Canada

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Re: Mustachian campervan (in Australia) - does it exist?
« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2017, 06:14:05 AM »
@Retire-Canada thanks fo info. I've never had one.. neither had any of my friends. Somehow I assumed that it cannot be such a bad deal with set up.. and this is what you pay for. Bad to hear I was wrong then and you are of course absolutely right with the moving of the car. So that idea will probably go away too.

You have a roof top tent mostly as camping bling everyone sees as you drive around. It's like getting a jacked up 4x4 for cruising town. It's a lifestyle accessory. Nobody will see your backpacking tent packed away in your car or the $2K extra you have in your investment accounts because you skipped the roof top tent. How can they know how cool you are? ;)