When you travel the state living six months or so in caravan parks, you see quite an array or different ‘rigs’. Caravanning and boating have one thing in common and that is whatever you get, there is always a compromise. One of our funniest camping experiences was as newlyweds, on our honeymoon, trying to erect one of the wedding presents, a six man canvas tent. You know the ones that had a thousand tent poles with a numbering system dating back to the abacus. As the years went by tents became easier to erect, but other issues reared their head now the kids were on board-portable toilet, shower, water containers, etc, so we hired a camper trailer for a Waroora trip one year. Although there are plenty of good camper trailers and they work for lots of people, I cannot enjoy a boat upside down on the trailer and all the rigmarole involved in preparing to use it. Hence, many boats stay on top of campers and vehicles much longer than they should.
So having my boat trailered behind me is a must for any decent trip, as is four wheel drive capability, decent living quarters, shade, toilet, shower and oh, how the list goes on. Regular readers will have seen previous photos of our current slide on camper, affectionately named ‘Monty’, as it was made in Montana back in 1995. With this system, you have a detachable mobile home and then the benefit of a vehicle to launch the boat or head off on overnight trips without the camper. Personally, I reckon it’s a great concept, once you get the hang of using the four screw jack legs to lower and raise Monty on the truck bed. In the early days it made for great entertainment at the caravan parks when we pulled up and nothing worse than a neighbour wanting to chat when you have just driven 600kms and have a camper to offload. In the States these units are made to suit large four wheel drive utes, but mine was customised with more storage to fit on the Mitsubishi Canter truck. So the only problem now is we have the perfect system for us, but the rig is showing it’s age as we purchased it after a Qeenslander had dragged it around the country and previous owners had of course done likewise. Leaking roof, timbers rotting in a few spots, gas oven not working, fridge door needs replacing and of course parts are so easy to get hold of for something made in 1995-not. While I was locked away for four months earlier in the year with a dodgy shoulder, I had plenty of time to research and have now taken the plunge, because we have to keep working and travelling for a few years yet and this may possibly be the best option for you also.
Truck Campers Australia, based in NSW, specialise in importing Northern Lite slide on campers from Canada. I have been in constant contact with Garry Davis to ensure the new rig is customised to fit on the truck and of course everything will be easier to use ( even remote controlled jack legs ), lighter to transport and way more comfortable. Garry is currently developing what will be known as the New Aussie Base Station, which will include vehicle and camper as one package. The only decision to be made for me now is whether to do the 9000km round trip to NSW to pick it up later in the year or have it trucked over once the fit out is complete. Standby on that one!