Author Topic: Just retired - TVAN suitability?  (Read 1157 times)

Offline LesP

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Just retired - TVAN suitability?
« on: November 19, 2018, 07:40:51 PM »
We have just retired & looking to purchase an off-road capable camper for around $30k. Have looked at the TVAN (2010 Mark2) & like many of its features but a bit concerned about climbing into / out of the bed area with limited headroom + effort required to put the tent away in the hatch particularly when wet.

Appreciate comments from TVAN owners of similar age especially strategies you use to overcome these concerns.

Les

Offline Ray

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Re: Just retired - TVAN suitability?
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2018, 08:16:10 PM »
We have been retired for 8 years and still enjoy the tvan. It takes about 5 minutes to setup the basic tent, maybe 20 minutes with the main annexe as well.

My wife at 68 normally packs the tent up into the hatch while I do the annexe and outside things, it is not hard once a routine is established. It is a little heavier when wet, easier with 2 people packing it up.

Crawling into bed with heads at the front end is easier than crawling over each other in our previous east/west type bed.

Ray
« Last Edit: November 19, 2018, 08:50:09 PM by Ray »
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Offline gentoopeng

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Re: Just retired - TVAN suitability?
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2018, 08:22:59 PM »
Retired 18 months ago and since then have spent months in our Tvan.  We have a system for putting up and pulling down, not hard.  Set the Tvan up by myself today, no problems.  We like sleeping in our van and have slept comfortably in all conditions from freezing to hot and humid.

Rob
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Offline Wildmax

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Re: Just retired - TVAN suitability?
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2018, 11:02:54 PM »
My wife and I retired nine years ago and travel for about four months each year.
Five of those trips nine trips were in a TVan, which we sold in late 2015 when I was 68 and SWMBO a few years younger. Never had any problem camping in, towing or setting up/packing up the TVan - it just becomes an automatic routine once you have done it a few times.
The bed is perfectly comfortable (we had the inner-spring) and heads to the drawbar is very cosy, despite seeming a bit odd when you first look at it.
We only changed over from TVan to our AOR Eclipse in late 2015 because we wanted the option of indoor cooking and no canvas in inclement weather (we come from Tasmania and have kids in Victoria, so when down south the weather is a bit less predictable than our usual destinations north of the Tropic of Capricorn).
If you're normally active folk in your 60s, go for the TVan - you won't regret it.
For genuine off-road travel and getting to those spots which are off-limits for big campers, there is nothing better.
Cheers
Wildmax
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Previously: TVan Canning MkIII
now: AOR Eclipse III + Black Wolf 210 tent

Offline Phil G

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Re: Just retired - TVAN suitability?
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2018, 08:25:00 AM »
We are retired (early 60's) and had our 2003 Tvan for 9 years.  We drop the tent everytime we setup because we find it very easy and gives you good protection and privacy.  Other tvanners we travel with prefer to not use the tent and leave the back open with maybe a privacy screen - you have that option for overnighters to just lift the hatch and climb in.  We sleep head up because it is easier to get in and out of bed.
Phil
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Offline Gumb

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Re: Just retired - TVAN suitability?
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2018, 04:59:22 PM »
Les, the Tvan will do the job perfectly and there are easy ways to pack up, like sitting on the shelf at the end of the bed and just grabbing handfuls of the tent and shovelling it in to its bag. We are retired and have done over 20k in our Firetail and love it. There are several different types of off road van in our 4WD club (Idlers 4WD club)  which is for retired people and the Tvan is by far the best I reckon. Some friends just bought exactly what you are looking for and they love it. No packing up the bed each time you move, no wet bedding, ample room inside to eat and move around. 
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Offline Alan Loy

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Re: Just retired - TVAN suitability?
« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2018, 07:59:00 PM »
We are retired and have just come back from 6 months 25K trip and it survived many rough roads without a problem.  We are happy with it but it is basic camping not glamping.  If you want TV, aircon, an ensuite or a washing machine then its not for you;

Maybe add a diesel heater or hot water if you really insist. 

Offline Nifty

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Re: Just retired - TVAN suitability?
« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2018, 06:30:02 AM »
Allow me to pass on some wisdom from my vast experience. I'll never have another birthday with a 6 in front of it, and have owned our Tvan for, oh, nearly three days now. We failed to understand the mayhem that is around Bowral on a Saturday evening and couldn't get any accommodation (we had driven about 900km that day, inspected and bought our first Tvan, and navigated our way out of Sydney in the rain) and were kind of forced to resort to the obvious alternative. We managed our first erection, by torchlight, in a little rain, without drama or even a cross word. That says a lot about the usability of the thing. We had planned a few sneaky practice runs in the back yard but our experience so far has filled us with confidence. Oh, we meet the other requirement too; we're retired.

Offline Trex

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Re: Just retired - TVAN suitability?
« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2018, 02:22:16 PM »
We are retired and have just come back from 6 months 25K trip and it survived many rough roads without a problem.  We are happy with it but it is basic camping not glamping.  If you want TV, aircon, an ensuite or a washing machine then its not for you;

This made me smile - camping or glamping, its all about perspective.

2 years ago we were in a caravan park in Darwin. An old lady, long retired, wandered over from her McMansion on wheels and commented on lovely it was to see people camping so basic. We were tent campers back then, having migrated from ground tents to roof tents (a great move by the way). No more erecting tents, blowing up the li-lo and rolling out sleeping bags for us. We had the roof tent, an awning, rear draws, a slide out fridge and ample space left over in the back of the cruiser for storage. Compared to where we had come from this was glamping. Later in that trip we came across another pair of retiree's, only they had a TVAN - and my definition of glamping just got redefined again. Fast-forward 2 years and we've had our mk2 for 6 months now and it is by far the most glamorous camp setup we've ever had - kitchen sink and all. Sure, there are other setups that offer more comfort but they cost more, weigh more and won't go anywhere near where a TVAN will. I guess it all comes down to what you want to do and where you want to go.

PS: Not retired yet …
Landcruiser 100 (HDJ100) towing 2005 TVAN Murranji

Offline RAR110

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Re: Just retired - TVAN suitability?
« Reply #9 on: November 21, 2018, 06:50:44 PM »
We followed a similar path.
TVan Mk2 & RAAF Tactical Trailer

Offline LesP

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Re: Just retired - TVAN suitability?
« Reply #10 on: November 24, 2018, 09:20:22 PM »
Thanks to all who replied to our post.
Really appreciate your comments & reassurance that the TVAN is very suitable for all ages.
Next step for us is to purchase a suitable tow vehicle (Prado) then start looking for a 2nd hand TVAN....the journey to camping or should that be glamping begins!

Offline Gumb

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Re: Just retired - TVAN suitability?
« Reply #11 on: November 24, 2018, 10:04:40 PM »
I hope your not buying the new Prado. It's got big problems with air filtration.
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Offline MarkA

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Re: Just retired - TVAN suitability?
« Reply #12 on: November 24, 2018, 10:18:55 PM »
Most of the new Yotas have issues with filtration. The 200 series and HiLux have some serious problems.
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Offline Cuppa

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Re: Just retired - TVAN suitability?
« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2018, 12:30:56 AM »
My wife (60) & I (61) 'retired' last June & have been pretty much 'on the road' since ..... in our Mk2 2010 Tvan. We do believe the time will come when we find getting in & out of the Tvan, or packing it away too hard physically but we think we will have a good few years before that occurs, & believe when that time comes we will be able to sell our Tvan without too much loss. In the meantime it is allowing us to travel to the sort of places our previous mode of travel, a converted bus, didn't, and we are loving it. Getting in & out of the Tvan is just a matter of technique, you only bump your head a few times before sussing it. I find one thing which makes getting out a little easier is that our storage boxes under the bed protrude a few inches past the bed, giving a very useful 'guide rail' for my hands when getting out. Putting the tent away when wet is a bit harder than when dry, just because it's a bit heavier, but it's not a big issue. Packing up the tent into the hatch is something we do together & routine has made it easy. I can recall thinking that deploying & packing away the tent could become a chore day after day, but really that hasn't been the case, it would be hard to think of any other canvas structure as simple & easy to put up & down. That said we do prefer to camp by ourselves when possible, & frequently don't bother with the tent, just open the hatch, secure the elasticated mozzie net & it's done ... our swag on wheels. We leave the 'main' canvas awning at home,along with the zip on 'en suite'. We do carry the lightweight 'sail awning', useful when shade or rain protection over the kitchen is needed,  but over the past few months have probably used it less than half a dozen times. The real 'price' we pay for the flexibility & go anywhere nature of the Tvan is the lack of indoor cooking ability........ mostly that is not an issue, but when it's windy, wet or the mozzies o flies are out in force it can be a challenge. We love the 3.5 months we spent exploring Tassie, but there were times when we found the weather pretty hard going. We learned to carry supplies which enable a 'no cook' meal for when the weather was really crook.

Being retired & without the ties that some have we are able to travel long term & without time limit, something others, including some Tvan owners, told us the Tvan was unsuitable for ...... we disagree, but of course whatever you choose, it's a horses for courses thing. I'm sure there are plenty of Tvans never used for much more than occasional weekends.

We are however currently caretaking in a remote Kimberley coastal spot for the wet season (a bucket list thing) & both agreed that a wet season in a Tvan was not something we would do. We are thoroughly enjoying living under a fixed & solid roof for a few months, but also very much looking forward to getting back into the Tvan to explore the rest of the Kimberley in depth next year. 

We are set up to be able to stay 'bush' for a month at a time, & treat towns as places to resupply rather than as destinations generally. The Tvan works well for that. If however we were the sort of travellers for whom towns represent destinations & expected to stick mainly to bitumen & good dirt roads then a van with internal cooking space may have suited better, but really to travel as we do, having the confidence that the Tvan will follow us wherever we go, we have no regrets with the choice we made. That said, to be honest most places we have been a larger single axle van would have been fine, but our confidence levels would have been less...... and there have been a few places we've been where that larger van simply could not have gone.  The narrow tracks down to Boggy Hole in the Red centre & around Karlamilyi NP come to mind.

You might like to check out the blog we keep to see where we've taken our Tvan & if you feel 'that's the sort of thing we want to do' either for a series of shorter adventures of longer term as we are doing, then the Tvan would be a good choice I think.

Bottom line is if you can afford to buy one, but find it doesn't suit, you will have little trouble re-selling & should lose little or nothing.
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