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Tent Trailor vs Small Caravan

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    Kevin Brassel
    Participant

    My wife and I are planning to travel SA over a number of Months but we do not want to break the bank as we plan to still be around for some time.   We have homed in on the Sherpa caravan, and the Skipper Oyster tent trailer. We have listed pros and cons to both of these options but we would love to hear from users of these two campers.  Love to also hear what you would advise in terms of Towing vehicles that are economical to run. Manual vs automatic Transmissions. I have not read much on how monkeys may be a problem and if so how have you kept them out of the tents you have attached.

     

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    John Wewege
    John Wewege on

    I am looking forward to the replies, as I am also interested in purchasing a new or used Skipper Oyster or Sherpa. What are the pros and cons which you have identified?

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    Reinhard Hettasch
    Reinhard Hettasch on

    We are in the same boat, so to speak. Have done a lot of research in the past two to three weeks and visited Sherpa and were also demonstrated a Skipper Oyster. Have decided to order the Oyster. If you compare apples with apples the Oyster is quite a bit cheaper. The waiting period for the Oyster is about 6 months, whilst for the Sherpa about 3 months. But we’ll wait! In the meantime we’ll still camp in our tent.

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    John Wewege
    John Wewege on

    Thanks for the feedback and please keep me updated on your travels and experiences with the Oyster. We are going down to Umhlanga in February `18 and will visiting Skippertrailers to check out the various models. In the meantime, we will have a look at the Sherpa (new/used), Gypsy Lite (new/used) and Camper GT trailer tent.

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    Dave Allen
    Dave Allen on

    Good day all

     

    We manufacture compact caravans, 2 sleeper, very light and can be towed by any vehicle on the road, set up in less than 2 minutes, under 50k, if you would like more details and photos, please do not hesitate to contact me at: dave@msfsteel.co.za, have a great day

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    Dave Pineo
    Dave Pineo on

    We use a Sherpa Tiny Rough Roader caravan in Namibia  (with modifications such as aluminium burglar bars to all windows for monkeys and theft) and travel all over the gravel roads here using my Land Cruiser 76 as the tow vehicle. Although small and light would still recommend fitting a power mover for moving around in tight areas. Can contact me at email davepineo52@gmail.com in Windhoek

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    Kevin Brassel
    Kevin Brassel on

    The last months have been very hectic, as once we had made our decision to go the Sherpa Rambler route as opposed to the Oyster, we were faced with having to decide on the vehicle we use to tow the Sherpa. This then opened up another minefield of information, which I will get to later.

     

    We would have liked to have been able to see the Oyster to help us decide but this was not possible without a long road trip down to the factory.  I was given the number of someone that had an Oyster, about an hour away from us but I could sadly never make contact with the owner.

     

    It was a close thing choosing but what made us lean towards the Sherpa Rambler was the fact that it was made entirely of Fibre Glass which is a good insulator and also much more resistant to the average hail storm.  Wood rot would also not be a problem.  When we viewed it out at the “Kyknet” outdoor Expo at Sondela we were impressed with the space it had for a small caravan. The fact that you had virtually no set to do if you arrived at a camp in a drenching downpour was a big plus for us.   As our long term plan is to do a road trip covering most of our beautiful country as full timers we felt we would be more comfortable in the Sherpa Rambler

     

    Once we had decided on the Sherpa Rambler and placed our order, we then had to decide on the GVM of 1200, 1400 or 1600 kg that we choose. Fortunately a lot has been written about this over the last few months, which really helped. We went with the rule of thumb that the GVM of the caravan must be less than or equal to the Tare of the towing vehicle

     

    After weeks of digging through the fine print and speaking to caravan owners we decided to go with the 1400kg GVM registration. The Sherpa axle can take up to 1600Kg.  As the tare of the Sherpa is 920Kgs we therefore would have a payload of R480 Kgs in the Caravan. This meant we would need to have a vehicle with a tare of 1400 or more.  We finally settled on a Subaru Forester 2.5 litre, which has a 1530Kg tare.  Again here there were other choices but I was also weighing up power and torque of the Subaru in making my decision.  We are very happy with our decision and looking forward to taking delivery of it in January 2019.

     

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    Paul Glasson
    Paul Glasson on

    We had the Sherpa Tiny from 2009 until 2018 and had great holidays. Our l shaped awning was greatly improved by having 2 sides to the awning. Caravan bed inside was too small and Skipper T has a queen sise bed plus van is a rough roader and only weighs360, lighter than Sherpa at 440kg. My Subaru 2.5 forester tows these with ease.

    The Skipper has an extremely well built tent which is one of the best out there for gusty rainy weather

    Looking forward to trying this on rough roads to out of the way places.

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    Dave Pineo
    Dave Pineo on

    Can’t comment on any other caravans as our Sherpa Tiny Rough Roader is the first and only caravan we have ever had. I have been very happy with it so far even on rough roads …. specified  the wheel size to be the same size as the tow vehicle (Land Cruiser 76) though which I can recommend offroad. Also had Sherpa fit aluminium burglar bars to all windows to discourage theft and monkeys ! Plus protection plates andcoversto the power mover motors to guard against flying stones on gravel roads. Dave Pineo, Windhoek

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    Jan Joubert
    Jan Joubert on

    My wife and I decided just over two years ago to down-size our caravan requirements from a Gypsey Romany to a smaller trailer type caravan that can be stored in a standard garage (a requirement of our security complex), that is light enough to be moved around by one person, bed(s) on floor level and sufficient storage space to accommodate our camping gear, clothing and groceries for extended camping holidays. Furthermore, it had to be easy and quick to set up, especially when stopping for one or two nights at a time, and we also wanted our ‘van to be sufficiently robust to deal with the gravel roads of Namibia, Kgalagadi and even Sani Pass! After some extensive research, visiting a few outdoor expo’s and viewing various examples of potential candidates, we eventually decided to purchase a new Skipper Oyster XT . It ticked all the boxes mentioned above, and I am happy to say that, after more than 2 years and many thousands of kilometers (including a 10,000 km & 6 weeks trip through Namibia) we have not regretted our decision for one moment! The Skipper tows beautifully behind my Renault Koleos 2.0 dci , with hardly any adverse effect on fuel consumption and takes any punishment from bad roads in the bundu’s in its stride.  So far, we are extremely happy with our choice and will recommend the Skipper to anybody looking for an affordable and robust little tent trailer.

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    Reinhard Hettasch
    Reinhard Hettasch on

    We took delivery of our Skipper Oyster LTX on 23 May 2019. We camped the two courtesy nights at Mac Nicols, and were in the Kruger National Park in July. I agree fully with previous comments about the easy towing. We have a Chev Cruze 2l diesel auto, and all works beautifully. We would like a vehicle with a higher ground clearance, which I hope to purchase at retirement (20 months’ time) when we’d like to take trips through the greater Karoo and Namakwaland, etc.

    I had a tilt-able spare wheel mount made because I prefer the spare wheel outside. This works quite nicely.

    We were disappointed with the mattresses. Skipper only uses 23 density (some say it is in fact 20 density), but we had no idea of density versus thickness and probably assumed that with the extra thickness we would be “rather safe than sorry”. We had ordered the thicker mattresses at an additional cost, but even with that we found the mattresses not to be so great. I weight 76kg. We had two new mattresses of 30 density cut to size. I have since heard from another Oyster owner that they also upgraded their mattresses. Expensive lesson learnt. I did give the feedback to Skipper, but the answer was that we could have provided our own mattresses if we did not want the standard ones that come with the Skipper. Unfortunately we did not know this upfront, but it would also have been almost impossible to transport two mattresses and our camping stuff when we travelled to take delivery of our Skipper. So, a word of caution when deciding on whether it is worthwhile spending the additional costs for thicker mattresses of (in my and certain others’ opinion) too low density.

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    John Wewege
    John Wewege on

    Hi Everyone

    After much deliberation, we decided to buy the Sprite Sprint, which is a 3 berth caravan that suits our needs perfectly. Our caravan is aptly named “Padlangs”! Images of the Sprite Sprint & camp set-up are attached.

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    Reinhard Hettasch
    Reinhard Hettasch on

    Ok, now a new “investigation”. Looking at possibly getting a small caravan with fold-down roof and outside kitchen that I can still tow with my sedan (Chev Cruze 2 l Diesel Auto) until I get some form of SUV at a later stage. So, its GVM must not exceed 1500kg.

    Thinking of the Bush Lapa Kewer, Echo Chobe and Imagine Trailvan – basically a 2-sleeper.

    I would appreciate any feedback on these, or referral to something similar.

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