Adventure Vehicle & Camper Truck Research Trip

Having lived in our camper van ‘Harmony’ in Scotland for 5 months our long term dreams of having an Adventure Overlanding Vehicle or camper truck were only made stronger. Now we are back in Australia we felt it was time to start the ball rolling by going and having a look at some.

There were a few companies that we’ve been wanting to visit so we decided to take a road trip for a couple of days and check out some paddleboarding destinations along the way.
Our first stop was Australian Adventure Vehicles.  We were interested in finding out;

  1. How big the living space is – will it work for what we want
  2. How much would buying this style of vehicle out right cost compared to building one ourselves.

Australian Adventure Vehicle Camper Trucks

This was our first chance to get up close to one of these vehicles for a long time and it was a good chance to get a feel for the space and see how it functions.  What surprised me about the layout was just how bright and spacious it felt.  
The kitchen area was small but with 3 sides of windows around the bed and seating area there was plenty of light.  It was also surprising just how much storage the camper had.  See the video below.
We found the people at AAV really helpful and friendly and we were inspired by the owners overloading adventure which you can read about on their website.

The AAV Expedtition Truck was so light and airy and surprisingly spacious feeling

SLRV Expedition Vehicle Camper Trucks

Our next stop was SLRV Expedition Vehicles.  This company was high on my list as there are some design layout features that I really like.  Again we want to see how the space worked and if it has the right feel for us.

Their design features a lift up bed with the seating area underneath and quite a big bathroom along the back which sees like a  luxury in such a small space.  I just don’t like how wet the toilet area gets if it doubles up as a shower space and how small it is so this idea appealed to me.  The SLRV camper has less windows than the AAV and feels less light and airy as a result.  To be fair though we did view this vehicle inside a shed.  You can visit the SLRV website here for more information.

We also discovered that the water storage is on the inside of the camper box which reduces the amount of available storage for things such as paddle boards.  This design feature is for those wanting to travel to sub zero conditions to prevent the water tanks freezing.
Overall we’d say the SLRV seemed like it had a better finish but it came with a higher price tag.

What would a road trip be without a nice place to stay?

Even the Jeep got to stay in a treehouse at the Dayboro Cottages!

We found a nice getaway amongst the trees outside of the town of Dayboro which felt just like a treehouse. The Dayboro Cottages to the north west of Brisbane made the perfect place to stop after our days adventure vehicle shopping.  It was also close to Lake Samsonvale which we decided to explore the following day for a paddleboarding adventure.  The Dayboro Cottages have a cute ‘Pizza Yurt’ which we made the most of to cook some pizzas for dinner.  They also offer Llama walks.  To find out more about the accommodation and availability you can use the search bar below.

Lake Samsonvale for Paddleboarding?

Lake Samsonvale has some really nice day use areas and if you decide to paddle here Forgan Cove is the designated paddle zone, a safe distance form the dam wall.  It is fully equipped with bathroom picnic space, wash down area along with plenty of parking and easy water access.  Unfortunately when we arrived the wind was blowing at 25km/hr making conditions pretty choppy even for the kayakers who were out on the water.  Adding it to our SUP-it list we head off into the mountains towards Lake Wivenhoe.

Lake Samsonvale was a bit too windy for paddleboarding when we visited

Lake Wivenhoe for Paddleboarding?

As the prevailing wind was coming from the north we head towards Billy’s Bay which faces south, in the hope that it will be more sheltered.  Lake Wivenhoe is Queensland’s largest dam and supplies water to the people of Brisbane (a population of 2.5 million) and surrounding areas.  The lake has many parklands surrounding it, 5 different areas specially designated for paddling but the one we visited at Billy’s Bay was still too windy. It seems we have another addition to the SUP-it list to return to! We quite liked a quiet bay at the Logan Complex on the western shore but it had gotten too late to paddle by the time we reached it as we were yet to find the evenings accommodation. If only we had a camper truck to stay in!

The more tranquil western shore of Lake Wivenhoe has just been added to our SUP-it list

Build your own Adventure Vehicle or Truck Camper with Styromax

For the final day of our road trip we stop by a company called Styromax which construct composite panels for use in caravan and camper van construction.  We’re leaning more towards building our own camper van for cost reasons and also so that we can get exactly what we want.  We also like the idea of having an intimate knowledge of how things work so we have a better chance of fixing them if and when needed.

The people at Styromax were lovely and incredibly helpful and will be a wealth of knowledge for a build process.  We recommend checking them out if you are planning your own build.

What Adventure Vehicle/Camper Truck research trip would be complete without a visit to UNIDAN?

Our last stop was UNIDAN the go to person for Unimogs in Australia.  While we are still very early in the decision process about each of the components for our camper truck you have to agree, Unimogs are pretty damn awesome!

UNIMOG for sale! What do you think? Should we buy it?

We wanted to get a feel for these huge creatures and just what is possible from a refurbishment point of view. As these beauties are pretty expensive brand new we would be opting for a retro model. Surprisingly in the cab it feels just like a really big jeep!  

We were shown around by UNIDAN’s daughter, who blew us away with her knowledge of all things Unimog.  UNIDAN has a handful of Unimog’s on sale on behalf of their previous owners.  They also can perform a mind boggling array of upgrades and modifications depending on your Unimog’s requirements.  If you are interested in building a Unimog camper truck they can also do this for you but their area of passionate expertise is engineering upgrades. Visit UNIDAN’s website for more information here.

The SUP-it List grows…

So we didn’t get to paddle on our road trip but we collected a lot of info for our camper truck plans. We also came away with a couple of new places to go exploring by paddle board in the near future so if you are interested in the SUP-PERTUNITIES of south east Queensland – stay tuned!

So where to next with the Adventure Vehicle/ Camper Truck?

Unsurprisingly whether we buy of build, attaining an adventure vehicle camper truck is an expensive endeavour. It is going to take some to not only gather funds but also make the many decisions necessary. As mentioned we are favoring the idea of self building so we can get what we want, have a great knowledge of the vehicle for any eventuality and also spread the cost out over time. Even though we won’t be driving home in one any time soon it’s been really exciting to get the ball rolling and start to narrow down the many options.

Watch our Adventure Vehicle & Camper Truck Research Trip episode here

Whatever decision we make we plan on documenting the journey here so let us know if that’s something you are interested in.

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If you haven’t yet watched part one of our SUP Safari Scotland Travel Video Series  check it out here.


5 thoughts on “Adventure Vehicle & Camper Truck Research Trip

  1. WorldWideWalkies says:

    Aw, I think cyberspace swallowed my last reply. If it appears twice, sorry!
    I am so excited for you! I think you reached the same conclusion as us, that to get what you want you need to build. We looked at bought, but would have spent a fortune on getting things as we want them. That’s not to say we haven’t made some big mistakes with our build! Nothing that can’t be rectified, however. It was still cheaper in the long run.
    It’s a good job you’re not as idiotic as Mark and I. We would definitely have bought that Unimog! I know a Unimog is your dream!
    I can’t wait to hear how you get on. The looking is all part of the journey. xx

    • SUP Chick says:

      My gosh, yes the premise ones are almost the price of a house!! I think $150,000+ for the first ones we saw and $500,000-600,000 for the second one!! The unimog was pretty cool but had about $100,000 worth of mods on it… probably a good buy for someone with a big cheque book!! We’ve learned a lot so far, now to get to work and earn some money!!!

      • WorldWideWalkies says:

        Blimey – maybe we wouldn’t have bought that Unimog! We didn’t skimp on our conversion and it cost less than half of the ‘cheap; one in total. We have made some mistakes, as I say, but they are only minor. There is a lot to be said for understanding your systems when you need to do fixes on the road, and you only get that when you have built, not bought.

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