Your opinion on best 4x4 for long-term camping

ShaneM

New Member
Alright, I'll make this as brief as I can. I want as many people as possible to sell me their favourite 4x4, or what they personally would choose for the following circumstances. Please feel free to elaborate on what mods you'd make to your vehicle of choice, assuming you have between $90-130k total to dump, give or take.

Circumstances:
I need a 4x4 for long-term camping in the Australian outback, predominantly along the coastline. I don't plan on recreationally 4x4ing on crazy tracks, however a vehicle that can cut the mustard with a few aftermarket mods would be ideal, just incase.

Most important:
Reliability/Functionality - It needs to make long drives with minimal mechanical drama and should be easy to unpack/pack up camp from. My personal preference is a set up where I can conveniently unroll a swag inside the back of the vehicle, but I'm happy to camp outdoors. Durability over soft sand is essential.

Less important:
Fuel economy - This is non-essential, but should be considered, as I'm not adverse to taking it a bit slower if I can have more of the aforementioned important things, but also want to minimise time spent on long stretches of road between camps.

Even less important:
Driving comforts - I want decent aircon and for my sweaty back and butt to not stick to the seat and stink the car out after a few hours driving on a hot day. Not too fussed about anything else, I can always swap in nicer seats, wireless etc, so don't worry much about this stuff, it's just fluff.

Personally, I've been considering the Troop Carrier, but I'm not experienced enough to make an educated decision.

Tell me what you'd choose and why.
 

Albynsw

Well-Known Member
Being able to sleep in the back narrows your options but I know of a fellow who has set his Prado up with his bed in the back and does a lot of desert trips so you could consider any of the wagons if that floats your boat.

Otherwise a Troopy or 79 single cab. I possibly would lean towards the 79 if you were camping in hotter climates as you can set up withbetter ventilation with screened sides.
I have tried camping in a Troopy in the wet season in Kakadu and it is very hot and uncomfortable so ended up sleeping on the ground
 

MrMiller

Member
I’ll second the 78 series with a pop top. If it were just me and the missus and I had a hundred grand sitting around. I’d definitely go that route.
 

boobook

Well-Known Member
It sounds to me like you are describing a Troopy too.

You wouldn't need any mods other than tyres, roof rack, internal shelving and second battery. Though that Mulgo pop top would make it a lot more comfortable and livable.
 

discomatt

Well-Known Member
I am eagerly waiting for the Grenada to become available to see if thats any good, on paper it looks great and first reports are good but that means nothing, on paper the new Defender also looks good....
The troopy, IMO, is not value for money and needs way to much in the way of mods and more cash after already paying a premium to bring them up to a decent standard that is easy to live with on a daily basis, a quality build modifies or changes nearly every part of them
If reliability is the be all and end all where nothing else matters just go the Toyota because when or if it does break down or need anything a dealer is always close by
 

rob_macca67

Well-Known Member
For me... It would be the Troopy 1st followed by the Defender. The Troopy is about 200mm longer internally which when travelling fulltime would make a big difference. As previously mention, add a RoofTop conversion to the previously mentioned vehicles and u should be fairly comfy.

I just completed a 8500k trip where I was sleeping in the back of my 2010 Defender and it was brilliant. Toasty and warm out in the cold Desert, Quick to setup/packup as there was nothing to do bar pull up and open the passengers door and climb in to go to sleep. This setup for full-time travelling might not be the best though... One thing I've come to realise is that u need to be able to get out of the wind or Rain or when the bugs get real bad. A Troopy/Defender with the RoofTop conversion enables u to do this when needed. It makes a big difference if u can get out of the elements when the situation requires...

You never mentioned about towing... so I assume that is not a option then?? Also, do u want a NEW vehicle or 2nd Hand? Going 2nd Hand & depending on the AGE and KMS travelled, would leave u some $$ in your pocket to spend on Mods

Not sure if the Sprinter Van comes in a 4WD version here in Australia?? Is there any 4wd Van now available here in Australia now ?? I'm thinking not...
 

Albynsw

Well-Known Member
I am eagerly waiting for the Grenada to become available to see if thats any good, on paper it looks great and first reports are good but that means nothing, on paper the new Defender also looks good....
The troopy, IMO, is not value for money and needs way to much in the way of mods and more cash after already paying a premium to bring them up to a decent standard that is easy to live with on a daily basis, a quality build modifies or changes nearly every part of them
If reliability is the be all and end all where nothing else matters just go the Toyota because when or if it does break down or need anything a dealer is always close by

Agree they are better with the mods and I am doing them too but still straight out of the packet they are fit for the purpose he wants and any mods just make them better again.
The pricing gets out of hand pretty quick when you start doing the mods. My eyes are starting to water.
 

cam04

Well-Known Member
79 single cab Ute with a camper back canopy would be my choice. Or a charmingly camper converted troopy. I’d take the Ute/canopy over a bare troopy. You can approach a canopy from all directions and don’t have to crawl around in it to get stuff done. And you can take it off and just have a Ute.
 

Hoyks

Well-Known Member
How many of you are there and what do you intend to do at your coastal stops?

I'm a big fan of a turbo diesel extra cab with a tray back, canopy and a quality roof top tent.
  • 4cyl is cheaper to register, compact (fits into shopping centre car parks), has more than adequate power, reasonably comfortable for long drives and pretty good off road. All 4cyl utes have the option of an auto, a rare thing in a troopie.
  • Lighter and easier to punt along the sand than a troop carrier.
  • Extra cab has more room than a standard ute cab to stretch out, as well as stow expensive gear and have it reasonably safe, secure and protected from the weather. You can even fit a fridge in the space behind the seats. You don't lose as much load space as you would with a dual cab. The air con will also work a bit better with less room to have to cool.
  • Tray back gives much more real estate to put stuff in and you can load it from 3 sides (canopy permitting). The flat floor makes it easy to fit slide out kitchens and fridge slides. My setup, I have the left side for the kitchen and the right for everything else and a solid divider between.
  • Canopy gives you heaps of room to chuck stuff in, and no matter what it is you don't have to sleep with it sticking into you or stinking the place out. I prefer a canopy that only opens to the sides as they have a tendency to such dust through the rear window seals, but if you're not going anywhere particularly dusty it probably isn't an issue.
  • A good roof top tent can take only minutes to set up or pack up, yet gives you plenty of room to spread out. Good when the weather is rubbish as you aren't trapped in the limited sleeping space in the car. If you get a hard shell, then there may be the option to strap surf boards or fishing rods to the lid and keep them out of harms way. Something like this, you can leave your sleeping bag in it and just pop it up and its ready to go. https://driftastockton.com.au/product/roof-top-tent/#roof-top-tent
 
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mikehzz

Well-Known Member
For me... It would be the Troopy 1st followed by the Defender. The Troopy is about 200mm longer internally which when travelling fulltime would make a big difference. As previously mention, add a RoofTop conversion to the previously mentioned vehicles and u should be fairly comfy.

I just completed a 8500k trip where I was sleeping in the back of my 2010 Defender and it was brilliant. Toasty and warm out in the cold Desert, Quick to setup/packup as there was nothing to do bar pull up and open the passengers door and climb in to go to sleep. This setup for full-time travelling might not be the best though... One thing I've come to realise is that u need to be able to get out of the wind or Rain or when the bugs get real bad. A Troopy/Defender with the RoofTop conversion enables u to do this when needed. It makes a big difference if u can get out of the elements when the situation requires...

You never mentioned about towing... so I assume that is not a option then?? Also, do u want a NEW vehicle or 2nd Hand? Going 2nd Hand & depending on the AGE and KMS travelled, would leave u some $$ in your pocket to spend on Mods

Not sure if the Sprinter Van comes in a 4WD version here in Australia?? Is there any 4wd Van now available here in Australia now ?? I'm thinking not...
There's a guy on ExplorOz that just took delivery of his 4wd Sprinter van but he had to wait a fair while. There's a wait on Toyota's too so no different.
 

ShaneM

New Member
How many of you are there and what do you intend to do at your coastal stops?

I'm a big fan of a turbo diesel extra cab with a tray back, canopy and a quality roof top tent.
  • 4cyl is cheaper to register, compact (fits into shopping centre car parks), has more than adequate power, reasonably comfortable for long drives and pretty good off road. All 4cyl utes have the option of an auto, a rare thing in a troopie.
  • Lighter and easier to punt along the sand than a troop carrier.
  • Extra cab has more room than a standard ute cab to stretch out, as well as stow expensive gear and have it reasonably safe, secure and protected from the weather. You can even fit a fridge in the space behind the seats. You don't lose as much load space as you would with a dual cab. The air con will also work a bit better with less room to have to cool.
  • Tray back gives much more real estate to put stuff in and you can load it from 3 sides (canopy permitting). The flat floor makes it easy to fit slide out kitchens and fridge slides. My setup, I have the left side for the kitchen and the right for everything else and a solid divider between.
  • Canopy gives you heaps of room to chuck stuff in, and no matter what it is you don't have to sleep with it sticking into you or stinking the place out. I prefer a canopy that only opens to the sides as they have a tendency to such dust through the rear window seals, but if you're not going anywhere particularly dusty it probably isn't an issue.
  • A good roof top tent can take only minutes to set up or pack up, yet gives you plenty of room to spread out. Good when the weather is rubbish as you aren't trapped in the limited sleeping space in the car. If you get a hard shell, then there may be the option to strap surf boards or fishing rods to the lid and keep them out of harms way. Something like this, you can leave your sleeping bag in it and just pop it up and its ready to go. https://driftastockton.com.au/product/roof-top-tent/#roof-top-tent
It'd just be me and my dog, probably for a few months at a time, only dropping in on towns/cities when essential on the trips.

The ambition is to explore W.A. in the most unrestricted way possible, without taking silly risks while out there alone. Going to do lots of beach fishing, bit of hunting, avoiding busy places, that kind of jazz.

A couple of you guys have done a great job selling the 79 series single cab. I'm thinking a platform in the tray, swag and large gear on either side up top, drawers underneath, and a breathable canopy as cover. Small fridge behind the seat and room for my dawg in the passenger side. This might be the go
 

Albynsw

Well-Known Member
Ally canopies are totally dust proof. Then they sell drop down screens for insect proofing and ventilation at night.

That is the direction I think is the go too, it is a lot more flexible and gives you more space and options
 

phs

Well-Known Member
Sounds Ike you want a 78 series…..

But I’d be looking at a 79 single
you can setup the Canopy to suit and Roof top tent on top

Also look at a pre DPF lower Kms less potential problems and should got in your build budget

the key is consider every KG you add to the lightest option

ie all alloy ( canopy, Bull bar ect. )
 

Bru9

Active Member
Sounds like someone who is spoon feed. Heres all my money! I command you to build me the best rig! Hahaha you cant buy a pre packaged touring life. When you directly seek something in life you will usually find unhappiness and regret. But dont talk about happiness here, its taught by a monk in the Himalayan mountains. 130K for camping like a bum? With an obnoxious exhaust and two spare wheels on the back? I dont buy the whole 'new vehicle reliabilty thing' soo many horror stories of new vehicles having problems, things breaking. There is a reason most these guys with fancy new vehicles are penny pinching with batteries and equipment.

It sounds like your mind is or maybe was already made up, but since you asked what.
a wagon like y61, they are tough and good comfort, only mods would be, ATs, sus, roof rack for basic lite stuff, no bull bars, add on tanks. basically keep it as bone stock to avoid lifes hidden nasties. along with a equip trailer if possible. The budget would be eaten largely by the trailer and camping gear. An elite equip trailer will carry more than a canopy setup and on a vehicle the whole canopy setup is only as good as the weakest link, which is the vehicle itself. Who would you trust more? Some asswipe greedy oems who cut corners everywhere they possible can, or a trailer actually designed for tough outback conds? I find enjoyment in life by using quality camping gear, dont see the point in a 100k rig if your showering every 4days and using a bucket as a sink. Big bucks, 4grand easily for my plug n play water pump setup, but that's real happiness, not looking at a waxed paint job. Sorry if gone off on a tangent...

If the trailer isnt possible than a hilux single cab with canopy. I'd throw 45k into the canopy setup, the goal is to have shelter and the kitchen set up in 5mins. A RTT does eliminate the setup time of bedding and tent, but trust me after a good few weeks they suck! A good external canvas tent is alot of times worth the extra setup, I mean where are you going that you need a 5min setup? You in a hurry to get back home?
The 70series imo cant be justified. but as they say a fool and his money will be parted. I wouldn't pay for a new 79pickup unless they came with an auto, big straight 6 petrol, the ability to drive thru water with parts not getting water corroded, a big two fiddy amp heavy duty alternator, an extra few hundred kilo payload-not the BS gvm upgrade! I mean adding actual thickness to the steel body. Sound deadening, an alloy canopy from factory.

Some guys fall into the mainstream pretty easily. They imo get sucketed into the fairy tale that there is an exotic paradise just waiting out there. Then down the line it will hit them like a ton of bricks that spending all that coin on such a "material" item was very foolish.
 

ShaneM

New Member
Sounds like someone who is spoon feed. Heres all my money! I command you to build me the best rig! Hahaha you cant buy a pre packaged touring life. When you directly seek something in life you will usually find unhappiness and regret. But dont talk about happiness here, its taught by a monk in the Himalayan mountains. 130K for camping like a bum? With an obnoxious exhaust and two spare wheels on the back? I dont buy the whole 'new vehicle reliabilty thing' soo many horror stories of new vehicles having problems, things breaking. There is a reason most these guys with fancy new vehicles are penny pinching with batteries and equipment.

It sounds like your mind is or maybe was already made up, but since you asked what.
a wagon like y61, they are tough and good comfort, only mods would be, ATs, sus, roof rack for basic lite stuff, no bull bars, add on tanks. basically keep it as bone stock to avoid lifes hidden nasties. along with a equip trailer if possible. The budget would be eaten largely by the trailer and camping gear. An elite equip trailer will carry more than a canopy setup and on a vehicle the whole canopy setup is only as good as the weakest link, which is the vehicle itself. Who would you trust more? Some asswipe greedy oems who cut corners everywhere they possible can, or a trailer actually designed for tough outback conds? I find enjoyment in life by using quality camping gear, dont see the point in a 100k rig if your showering every 4days and using a bucket as a sink. Big bucks, 4grand easily for my plug n play water pump setup, but that's real happiness, not looking at a waxed paint job. Sorry if gone off on a tangent...

If the trailer isnt possible than a hilux single cab with canopy. I'd throw 45k into the canopy setup, the goal is to have shelter and the kitchen set up in 5mins. A RTT does eliminate the setup time of bedding and tent, but trust me after a good few weeks they suck! A good external canvas tent is alot of times worth the extra setup, I mean where are you going that you need a 5min setup? You in a hurry to get back home?
The 70series imo cant be justified. but as they say a fool and his money will be parted. I wouldn't pay for a new 79pickup unless they came with an auto, big straight 6 petrol, the ability to drive thru water with parts not getting water corroded, a big two fiddy amp heavy duty alternator, an extra few hundred kilo payload-not the BS gvm upgrade! I mean adding actual thickness to the steel body. Sound deadening, an alloy canopy from factory.

Some guys fall into the mainstream pretty easily. They imo get sucketed into the fairy tale that there is an exotic paradise just waiting out there. Then down the line it will hit them like a ton of bricks that spending all that coin on such a "material" item was very foolish.
Way to take my thread completely out of context. Does it make you feel better calling me spoon fed, because I asked for the opinion of more experience people on long range 4x4 camping without a tight budget? Did you think maybe I'm just a middle class guy, saving my ass off so I can go explore my country solo and maybe I want a reliable vehicle for the job?

Jumping to conclusions about other peopls lives/intentions, just so you have a chance to deflect on how bad you feel about yourself is pathetic and it's a weak man's game, but you keep going and see where it gets you, mate.

Keep your moralising about monks and exotic paradises and jam your opinion up your dot.

Thanks for the advice, bud; don't waste your time in future.
 

ShaneM

New Member
Don’t worry about him, that is his typical rant on any subject matter

What are your thoughts on vehicle type now?
I'm going through some rough price ups to compare the single cab and troopy cruisers. They're easily the most reliable from what I've seen and heard, so it's really just coming down to deciding what's most comfortable for me personally vs. trying to save a few bucks on the set up.

Fortunately I've got a friend with a ute set up and he wants to head out fishing for a couple of days, so I'll get to form an opinion on a similar rig to what I'm considering, without actually owning one first.
 
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