Off Road Vans are they any good?

Rusty Panels

Well-Known Member
The wife and I are looking at buying an off road van. We have been sifting through all the various brands and have come to the conclusion that there is no such thing an easy or perfect choice.
We are just on retirement age so not as spritely as we once were. Therefore we're looking for something that is relatively easy to set up. We were initially drawn towards a hybrid like those in the Austrack Tanami range but have decided that we would rather go with a full van and not a pop top roof like the hybrids.
We want to be able to travel to some of the typical must see locations where you need to go off road to some extent but don't plan on dragging a van through super tough white knuckle terrain.
We are seriously considering an MDC XT16HR which looks to tick most of the boxes for us. I am wondering if anyone can give me an honest review of their products. The only reviews Professor Google is returning are industry generated so probably a touch biased.


Well-Known Member
There is an mdc XT owners group on fb you should join to get the good info. Some of the places they get them will amaze you. My workmate has a 12HR. He goes to the cape every year with it supporting motorbike rides. He loves it.


New Member
We have. Windsor seka 552s pop top which we have take. To many places, and does not weigh a ton….. but not true off road to do cape Yorke….


Well-Known Member
Personally I wouldn't touch many if any of the cheaper off road vans, most will fall to bits after a few years of off road work.
The amount of busted supposed off road stuff we saw on our Kimberly trip was enough to convince me to spend the extra coin and get a well designed and well built off roader, not just a cheap Chinese built or on road with a strip of checker plate


Well-Known Member
@Rusty Panels The most important question you need to ask yourself is, where do I want to take my “offroad” van?

If it is to Cape York for example, and take into consideration that it is already 50% bitumen, I saw heaps of vans up there that I would not consider to be true offroad. If you want to do the GRR, my friends just got back after doing the full length and all the side trips in a Jayco dual axle offroad van.
But if you want to go truely offroad, to remote locations, not talking NPs, then you need to consider width, height and weight plus build quality. W,H & W will be you most limiting factors, not how much checker plate or Raptor lining they have.


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The main issue as Discomatt says is the idea of some checker plate, mud tyres, a bit of lagging and DO35 hitch and they call it off road. The main problem with the cheaper models is way its put together. Cheaper vans internals are stapled and glued. cheap small hinges on doors and light weight runners on drawers and no evidence of a decent locking system to stop them opening on the rough roads. Sliding internal door, and aluminim framed shower doors are all evidence of not fit for even mild dirt road driving. Then when you look underneath its how ell is everything protected. Is the floor sealed to stop water ingress. How well is the plumbing lagged and entry into the van sealed properly. When looking its easy to appreciate the New York apartment fit out, and not realising looking good is not going to cut the mustard. The other thing is where are you really going to take it off road? I have a off road van (ha Ha) and I have ended up spending at least another $1000 in beefing up underneath and fixing showers, stoves, fridges etc. I can travel quite quickly now on dirt roads and not get a surprise when i open the door at days end! Taking true off road, not even a remote possibility!!


Well-Known Member
@Rusty Panels The most important question you need to ask yourself is, where do I want to take my “offroad” van?...............................
I totally agree. I know guys who have had off-road vans and when updating, went to a standard or semi-off road van. They were choosing to instead, go with tenting or an off-road trailer when/if tackling the rough stuff. There are plenty of folk out there who manage fine with a nice standard van, who carry a swag or tent for odd occasions when the going get's tough and they want to venture into non van-friendly territory. To me this makes so much sense, as you will find there are plenty of places you can't get an off-road van into. I've had plenty of joy on occasions when we've had our standard small 13 foot pop-top van camped in wonderful locations where off-road vans had no hope of entering due to height and/or maneuverability issues.
The summation is no one van/camping option is going to cover all bases for you. Just thought I'd share/chuck in my thoughts. Good luck with it.
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