Bendigo Leisurefest points caravan industry direction in stormy RV reality check 

November 25, 2008
Bendigo Leisurefest points caravan industry direction in stormy RV reality check

Bendigo Leisurefest shows a trend towards lighter caravans, trailer campers and related Recreational Vehicles.

In average to awful weather the upside was the reality check for products in the field over the three-day Leisurefest.

Storm-force winds and rain tested equipment and the determination of the Leisurefest crowds. Those who pressed on in the big winds and rain squalls of Saturday were certainly serious about getting out there.

They came to learn and buy but bigger caravans ran second to interest in lighter rigs, pop-tops, campers, camper-trailersand tents.

It is too early to know whether this is driven by renewed fuel cost rise fears and prospects of eco-cars and four-cylinder power, but it certainly seems a good bet.

In response to the new boutique industry of world economy outlook doom-sayers the industry offered bargains to satisfy the keenest shopper.

This was most notable in some motorhomes which were extremely attractive on price. Generally prices were keen on all product across the range of Bendigo Leisurefest exhibitors.

Leisurefest Seminar presenters found newbies were their audience. For the first time in years of seminar sessions GoSee asked the Saturday group what they wanted to know and got an absolute square-one response.

At Sunday's session the need was indentified for GoSee as differences.

They were specifically the difference between caravan types, motorhomes and campers and camper-trailers.

Tow vehicles and what will be available in the future is now the focus of a study by the Caravan and CampingIndustry Association, Bendigo Leisurefest Organiser Peter Wright told GoSee.

Peter Wright says that the on and off-road camper and tent trailer display has also expanded in response to demand from consumers.

This RV industry market segment is going through the roof and visitors saw a complete range at this years event, including slide-on campers and roof toppers which are rapidly gaining in popularity, he said.

Motorhome prices were real bargains
Motorhome prices were real bargains

The interest in camper-trailers, related equipment and tents educated your correspondent. Awarded design excellence is notable in this segment of the market.

Complete Camper, Heaslip, Red Rock and Challenge showed options which make comfortable, independent camping possible anywhere the tow or tray-top vehicle can go with safety.

Solar-panel supported battery systems back-up real home comforts.

Storage space and custom options turn camper trailer and tray-back products into roomy, comfortable outdoor living space which shrugged off wild wind and heavy rain.

The weather reality check also underlined the truism that there is no such thing as bad weather - only the wrong clothes!

The Red Rock Camper crew dressed as though they were at Threbo in mid-winter and all over the big Bendigo Leisurefest grounds industry members also dressed in their heavy weather best to prove there is no substitute for experience.

Easy going Heaslip camper with stone guard and solar panels
Easy going Heaslip camper with stone guard and solar panels

Astute Leisurfest goers read that and spent time at their displays on Saturday.

On Sunday at the GoSee seminar the educational benefits of seeing product in the field under weather stress continued.

Roll-out awnings, guy-ropes and pegs were explored in relation to caravans, motorhomes and tents.

So while Bendigo Leisurefest was unlucky in one way with its weather the ill winds blew some good. As Gareth Handshin of Challenge Campers found Saturday brought real buyers.

Heaslip Campers options include a go-anywhere camper trailer, a slide-on traytop camper that suits both standard and dual-cab traytop vehicles and a traytop or trailer kitchen camper known as the Gourmet Getaway.

This fully-equipped kitchen fits to traytops and trailers for camping.

Red Rock camping range created  interest
Red Rock camping range created interest

The Heaslip Traytop Camper won Best Camping Product in the 4x4 Industry Awards in 1998 and Best Slide On - Camper Trailer in the Caravan Motorhome Awards in 2004; and the Dual Cab Traytop was finalist in 2000 for the 4x4 Industry Award.

Heaslip options include a Boat Rack which is adjustable and removable.

Living area can be doubled with annex options and sleeping can be queen size with wardrobe and storage areas.

Avan designs include patented panel pop-top

The Avan Slideout range of Pop-Top caravans offers versatility and comfort with Avans patented Panel Construction.

The rear double bedroom has superior insulation and security when compared to canvas-based designs. The Avan Slideout is compact and lightweight.

A'mazing A'van RV's is Victoria's only Avan dealer, based in Seaford, Melbourne and it showed the latest Adventure design at Bendigo Leisurefest.

Heaslip  tray top camper will go anywhere the vehicle can
Heaslip tray top camper will go anywhere the vehicle can

A'mazing A'van RV's was opened in May 2006 by experienced RV retailer Andrew Page.

The showroom and outdoor display area, has a full Avan RV display which includes the complete range of Avan campers, Eurostar caravans, Gran Turis caravans, hard-top caravans, pop-top caravans, slide-out caravans and motorhomes.

Kimberley Kamper must be the heart of an adventure

The first design principle for Kimberley Kampers is that the camper must be able to travel anywhere the tow vehicle can go safely.

Kimberley Kamper Camper Trailers is a purpose built dedicated 4WD Camping trailer capable of handling the extreme off-road conditions of Australia.

Kimberley Kamper Campers Trailers need to be quality, reliable, energy sustainable, quick to put up and down and a comfortable home at the heart of the owners adventure.

Kimberley Kampers environmentally friendly camping solutions (including energy solutions):

Batteries with Absorbed Glass Matt technology: 99 per cenrt recyclable

Ultra low power LED lights integrated into our products.

Low power pumps (Kimberley supply both a low power and high power pump).

Vacuum toilets (zero chemicals).

Water efficient showers with low turn-down flow rates.

Remote mounted compressor refrigerators (reduces power loss).

Eutectic refrigerators (in the Kamper range).

Energy design allows for easy connection of solar panels.

Diesel powered ceramic cook-tops reduce energy use.

Diesel heaters (both air and hot water).

Low power space heaters (in conjunction with the diesel heater).

Tropical roofs (in the Kamper range) reduce temperatures by 20 per cent+.

Quality insulation throughout the Karavan reduces energy loss.

Ian Grant's Caravans builds on established family principles

Since 1988 Ian Grant has stocked what he considers to be the best value dollar for dollar caravans he can get.

So his range of Royal Flair, Bushranger Campers and the Grant Tourer designs are the mirror of the Traralgon family business which includes his wife Minnie, sons Ian and Scott, daughter Lorraine and granddaughter Sarah.

Three generations of Grant knowhow plus great expertise in service and repairs means Bendigo Leisurefest goers can talk to Ian Grant's team about anything from a bargain-basement purchase to a luxury custom built caravan.

Insurance, finance and accessories are all part of the service too.

We like to think of our business as unique with old fashioned family principles to the fore, says Ian; and we dont intend to change that concept.

Matting concept keeps camping clean and grass green

EnduroMat Mate groundsheet covering or annex flooring is an Australian Innovation which was at Bendigo Leisurefest.

The matting is designed to be: Lightweight, non-slip, mildew resistant, low maintenance easy to store and UV protected.

Maintenance of the mat is minimal a quick hose down and shake and the matting is ready for storage.

The concept keeps 75 percent of dirt outside of recreational vehicle or tent as well as keeping the grass alive - which an issue in the world of camping today.

The matting is edged and eyeleted for securing to the ground. The fabric allows the smaller particles of dirt to fall through leaving larger particles of dirt on the surface of the mat, which can then be swept away.

Campers who build for campers trigger for versatile Challenge

Challenge Camper Trailers is a Edwardstown, South Australia, family business run by campers who build for campers.

Avan Adventure rates a second look
Avan Adventure rates a second look

Gareth and Sandy Handshin put their considerable camping experience into designing and manufacturing a camper trailer which included all their holiday needs.

So many of their fellow campers were impressed they made a business of building affordable campers for Australia.

The Challenge Camper Trailers feature quality, heavy duty, lightweight and practical features which make a camping holiday easy.

They took the challenge and now produce -Off and on-road camper trailers.

Tents supplied on steel bed base to suit existing trailers.

Awnings, annexes, walls to customer specifications.

Standard trailers. Boat trailers. Transport trailers. Upgrades and repairs to existing trailers (South Australia only). Trayback campers.

Traytop tents. Sheep-feeders.

Red Rock Campers offered broad-base experience to Leisurefest goers

Red Rock Campers owner David McCormick built his first trailer with his father 15 years ago.

This Challenge Camper Trailer off-road deluxe  package sold on the spot
This Challenge Camper Trailer off-road deluxe package sold on the spot

He and his wife Roslyn and their two boys Cameron, 10, and Jason, 3, are keen recreational campers.

Roslyn has extensive experience in the camping wholesale side so she and David provide good advice for Bendio Leisurefest goers on all aspects of recreational camping needs.

In recent years Red Rock Campers moved into specialized trailer building, and work with the Salvation Army Emergency Services to produce bushfire relief trailers designed to feed and assist at emergencies or disasters.

Red Rock also works with other emergency service providers including the SES.

Red Rock Campers is a wholly Australian family owned business.

Best Manufacturer award recognises The Complete Campsite

Red Rock bed-time story
Red Rock bed-time story

Grant and Jodie Joyce of the Complete Campsite are continually improving and evolving their campers based on their own personal camping experiences.

Their campers are also continually tried and tested in their hire fleet.

This year the Caravan and Camping Industry Assocation recognised their dedication and awarded them as Best Manufacturer - caravans, camper trailers and tents.

The Complete Campsite are members of the Caravan and Camping Industry Association and have award recognition of their products and services.

These include:

2008 Winner - Best Manufacturer - Caravans, Camper Trailers and Tents.

2008 Finalist - Best Dealer/ Retailer/ Wholesaler - Regional NSW.

2006 Certificate of Recognition - Business of the Year - Regional NSW.

Sunset Campers offers nine model options for all budgets

Sunset Campers manufactures nine different models including on and off-road camper trailers.

The manufacturing and distribution centre of the family business in Ballarat Victoria is Australian owned.

Sunset Campers specialise in building heavy duty campers to suit all budgets. Prices start at $4500. Sunset Campersalso offers a camper trailer hire service for short or long term trip with the option of hiring a 15ft x 8ft annex with the 7'x4' heavy duty camper trailer.

Models include the Bushstar 7x4 Medium weight Off-road Camper Trailer which comes with 15 in off-road wheels, five-leaf shackle suspension and off-road coupling. Heavy duty Australian canvas is used. Gas struts lift the queen-size bed base and mattress.

Sunset Campers has authorised dealers throughout Victoria.

www.sunsetcampertrailers.com.au

Here are some GoSee Features which look at using the Cobb and Dream-Pot for great meals while enjoying the outdoor lifestyle -


Also See -

Fold-down stairs lead to Complete Campers  bed
Fold-down stairs lead to Complete Campers bed
And so to bed Complete Campsite
And so to bed Complete Campsite
Complete Campsite camper comes with bed and fold down stairs
Complete Campsite camper comes with bed and fold down stairs
Complete Campersite includes fun toys and comfort
Complete Campersite includes fun toys and comfort
Cooking - sink and water supply swing out on Challenge camper
Cooking - sink and water supply swing out on Challenge camper
Solar feed for battery power Complete Campsite
Solar feed for battery power Complete Campsite
Avan layout has space and style
Avan layout has space and style
Avan pop-top is an easy lift
Avan pop-top is an easy lift
Avan design provides good acces to bed and cupboards
Avan design provides good acces to bed and cupboards
Challenge Boss tray-top rig reflects real experience
Challenge Boss tray-top rig reflects real experience
Challenge camper options require thought
Challenge camper options require thought
Cooking - sink and water supply swing out on Challenge camper
Cooking - sink and water supply swing out on Challenge camper
Challenge Campers from SA attracted families
Challenge Campers from SA attracted families
Families, couples young and old at Bendigo Leisurefest
Families, couples young and old at Bendigo Leisurefest
Good  idea - try before you buy.
Good idea - try before you buy.
Heaslip Camper trailer
Heaslip Camper trailer
Heaslip Campers Judy and Rob Heaslip
Heaslip Campers Judy and Rob Heaslip
Heaslip kitchen top camper
Heaslip kitchen top camper
Heaslip tray top rig handles storm winds and rain
Heaslip tray top rig handles storm winds and rain
Red Rock gear had  no trouble with strong winds and rain
Red Rock gear had no trouble with strong winds and rain
Red Rock Traveller off road camper kitchen
Red Rock Traveller off road camper kitchen
Sunny break at  Bendigo Leisurefest
Sunny break at Bendigo Leisurefest
Solar  panels top up battery power on this Heaslip option
Solar panels top up battery power on this Heaslip option
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