Crusader 18' X-Country (July 2013)
We decided on up-grading our van for a few reasons. The new X-Country is a very similar configuration to the Tuff Roder - same G&S chassis with Control Rider suspension, same floor plan, etc. Being a foot longer it doesn't have a bolster on the bed, it is obviously more modern with white/grey interior, bigger windows, more bench space around the sink and better toilet. It has also enabled us to have a much bigger fridge (230L Vitrifrigo) and I have installed a much larger solar system with three 170W panels and two 12V 150AH batteries, giving us plenty of power to run everything without needing a generator - including a 50L National Luna portable fridge/freezer and the sat TV. Another bonus was the annex from our old van fitted easily to the new one with just the addition of a couple of strips of annex track.
As with the Royal Flair the purchase of the Crusader was not without it's problems. The comments I made below pertaining to the Tuff Roder could equally apply to the X-Country. It seems that the caravan industry has not improved in the last seven years!
To be continued .......
Royal Flair 17' Tuff Roder (June 2006 - June 2013)
Half way through our Queensland trip I bought a Caravan Trader Magazine and noticed an ad for 'Queensland RV' in Caloundra who were having a demo model run-out sale. As we had decided during this trip to change to a full off road van when we got home we decided to have a look in their yard when we got there. The Tuff Roder was almost exactly as we had envisaged for our next van. Still single wheel but with shower and toilet, gas hot water system, full height, high ground clearance, 150L Vitfrifrigo compressor fridge, 2 x 80W solar panels, queen size bed, 2 x 80Lt water tanks, jerry can holders, toolbox, etc, etc. and best of all, available now at a reduced price and no WA stamp duty! We decided to change vans mid holiday.
This van has not been without it's problems. We had some major things go wrong with it in the first few months of ownership. However, having said that I have since resolved most of the issues and believe we now have a solid van which suits our requirements beautifully. A good tool kit and the ability to fix things yourself is a must when buying a new caravan. The workmanship in some areas was poor to say the least. I firmly believe the caravan manufacturing industry is in a terrible state across the board and don't think I would have got a much better van from a different manufacturer without spending a lot more dollars. The service provided by Royal Flair has improved markedly in recent times and I now believe they are making a genuine effort to improve their product and image.
Goldstream Semi-Offroad 16' Poptop (May 2004 - June 2006)
And so after our first north west holiday we made the decision on returning that a slightly bigger van with some off-road ability was required. At the time (May 2004) there was very little available in the second hand market but eventually after phoning every caravan yard in the state we stumbled across a 2001 model Goldstream 16' poptop. Because we intended to take the van along soft sand tracks and do some beach camping it needed to be reasonably light. At a Tare of 1168kg but with off-road suspension and cut-away rear end it fitted the bill nicely. By reducing tyre pressure to around 18psi in both the van and tow vehicle we have been able to pull it through some really soft beach sand and manouvre it in to tight spaces - even between sandhills! Over the next two years the Goldstream was customised to more suit our requirements. Additions included two Unisolar panels, 150AH AGM battery, larger gas bottles, electric water pump and gauge, stereo, two jerry can holders, stone guard,Trail-a-mate jockey wheel, fridge cooling fan, pressure air vent, pole carrier, stronger gas strut brackets, exterior porta-potti hatch and sundry other alterations.
Viscount Ultralight 14'6'' Poptop (October 2003 - May 2004)
We bought our first caravan in October 2003 - a 14'6" Viscount Ultralight which was a neat little van but with a few things that made it unsuitable for our purposes. The single beds were not long enough which meant sleeping with feet dangling out of the end beside the cupboards. Also we discovered a liking for off-road caravanning and the little Ultralight was not robust enough to take corrugated tracks and certainly not dustproof. Being only 7' wide made the interior quite cramped.
A Place In The Sun 2019