Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast

Thread: New Kamparoo Trans-Continental

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    USA, Texas
    Posts
    216

    Default New Kamparoo Trans-Continental

    In late March I received a brand new, shiny Kamparoo. The Kamparoo was a bit of a compromise. I wanted to continue to tent camp in remote locations, like this one:



    How are you at "Where's Waldo? Did you see my tent in the middle of the picture?

    My wife, on the other hand, has had her fill of sleeping on the ground, was looking for some more comfort and prefers to camp someplace with accessible activities like nature trails and swimming holes. OK, I'll admit, sleeping (or not) on the ground was beginning to wear on me too. I'll have to give her that one. She would also like to be close enough to other people that if you are taken out by a thermo-nuclear blast, someone would hear it. Weird!

    So, we started looking for solutions that would work equally well in site 27 of your local state park and off old mining roads near ghost towns in the desert. It also needed to fit in our garage. We considered several options from "off-road" pop-ups from Jayco and Fleetwood to RTTs on Adventure Trailers to the Lifetime utility tent trailers. We found lots of interesting options that couldn't be purchased in the USA and finally stumbled upon the Kamparoo. I think I read every word on the internet about the Kamparoo and corresponded with a local couple that had made a couple of trips from Texas to Alaska in one.

    After some discussion, the wise and logical choice seemed to be to send several thousand dollars to some guy in Canada named Glen for a model of camper that I had never seen in person. Before you start coming to conclusions about where this is headed let me say what pretty much every purchaser of a new North American Kamparoo has already posted (remember, I've read every word). Doing business with Glen is about as good as it gets. Glen either has a healthy markup on the Kamparoo or is running a charity because at the mere mention of something you don't like or would like, he jumps to action to make sure you are happy, even if he has to eat some cost. YMMV, but I doubt it.

    Since I see others buying Kamparoos, I'll say a word about delivery. "Different." Until a while after the decision to purchase the Kamparoo was made, I had not considered how a camper from Canada was going to arrive at my door-step in Texas. Basically, it hitch-hikes. Glen works with a shipper in Saskatoon who will add the Kamparoo to loads headed in your direction. I'll say here that Glen is a "can do," optimistic, "it'll work out" kind of guy. He assured me that there were regular shipments of ambulances bound for Florida that wouldn't mind taking a detour through Texas. Well, apparently the Florida ambulance market dried up and so it took a couple of extra weeks but, in the end, an oilfield service company about 3 miles from my house was taking delivery of a pump-jack from, . . . wait for it . . ., Saskatoon. The Kamparoo stuck out it's thumb, bumbed a ride and at about 9 pm on a Sunday night a 40 foot step deck semi-trailer arrived at a church parking lot near my house carrying several tons of oilfield equipment and, . . ., my Kamparoo.



    Now you may be looking at that picture and thinking to yourself, "Hmmm, how exactly does a feller get a Kamparoo off the back of a 40 foot step deck semi-trailer." Good question. I had the same one. Fortunately, as the truck driver was passing through Kansas, his wife called to confirm the directions to my location and to make sure that I had a fork-lift.

    FORK-LIFT!

    Hmmm? Apparently trucks that ship ambulances have ramps. Trucks that ship oil field equipment ... not so much. Time to call Glen. Glen said, no problem, just call a tilt-deck wrecker, transfer the Kamparoo from the trailer to the wrecker and from the wrecker to the ground and send him the bill. I was a little worried about arranging all of this on a Sunday, but wreckers work 24/7 and it turned out there was a wrecker owner in my neighborhood with the right kind of truck.



    Thank you Integrity Towing!

    More to come . . .
    Last edited by kevint; 05-24-2012 at 08:06 PM.
    Kevin

    2011 Ford F-150 FX4
    2012 Kamparoo Transcontinental

  2. #2
    What a great story. I can't wait to hear more and see more pics.


    Herb
    1969 Bronco, 351W, ZF 5spd + Atlas
    2001 Ford Excursion 4x4, 7.3L
    2012 Appalachian Teardrops Krawler 459

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    608
    Great beginnings, keep story and pictures coming... and I'll be spending the next few hours reading about (new to me) Kamparoos on the Net.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    USA, Texas
    Posts
    216

    Default The Build - As Delivered (Slide Out Kitchen)

    I know that a lot of people come to this site to review the gear--how it is made, how it functions, etc. so let me address that aspect of this Kamparoo. Let me first say that, of course, all of the specs can be obtained from http://www.kamparoo.com or by calling Glen at the number listed on that site.

    After a lot of researching and talking about different camper options, I basically stepped back and let my wife make the final call because, remember, "If momma ain't happy, ..." well you know. For her the thing that tipped the scales toward the Kamparoo was the slide out kitchen.



    Unfortunately, Glen has decided to stop offering the slide out kitchen and it has been dropped from his website but we were able to get one. At that time he had six left. Not sure if he still has any in stock. The slide out kitchen is really a slide out cabinet with a sink. Each of the two door panels is 17.5" wide. That's just a little too narrow to slide a standard propane camp stove straight in. There are a number of 20" camp stoves out there so that would have been a nice dimension. Glen threw in a Camp Chef Teton which we fit by unpacking the cabinet upon arrival and angling in through the doorway. The Teton has turned out to be a lemon but that isn't Glen's fault, so, ultimately, we'll switch to an 18" Partner stove that will require less finagling and make my credit card a good bit lighter.

    I had hoped that a stove could fit under the sink but that just isn't going to work. Glen included a removable (sort of) drain line so we could fit the stove under there but my wife felt having to mess with that at the beginning and end of each stop doesn't work. I identified an elbow drain line that I could modify to fit but it still only leave 2-1/2" of clearance under the sink. I'll probably still install the elbow but it won't get the stove under the sink.

    The bottom line on the kitchen is that my wife loves it. Everything she uses is right there and it all is very convenient to get to once we arrive at a campsite. A water pump is located right next to the sink which is handy for grabbing a drink or for filling the sink. The sink drains through a drain line through the bottom of the kitchen. We keep a collapsible bucket there to collect the water and dump it as needed.

    The kitchen slides out of an aluminum "box." The box is about 5 feet long and the kitchen is just over 3 feet. Minus clearance and doors and hinges and such, you end up with about 17 - 19 inches of storage space on the other end which I'm using for tools, cords, chocks, etc. The odd thing is that the slide mechanism goes all the way across so you have to unload the other end before sliding out the kitchen.



    One of these days, I'm going to fab a sheet metal shelf to cover the end of the slide mechanism so I don't have to unload before sliding out or in the kitchen. In the meantime I keep everything in a canvas bag so it is a quick process. If you are buying one of Glen's last kitchens I recommend paying a few extra dollars and have him put the shelf in. Four bends and some pop rivets are all that would be needed.

    Anyway, with the kitchen, "Momma's happy," which means everybody's happy and we have just moved up from camping to glamping I guess.

    The one thing I don't like about the kitchen is that is uses up all of that wonderful storage space in it's box pretty inefficiently. We store our pots, pans and propane hose in the sink and we pack the cabinet pretty tight but if you just packed all of that stuff in the box it would take up a lot less room. As I looked at the box, I coudn't help but feel that the space on the top was being wasted. I thought it out and sent Glen a simple schematic of a box with a rail around the top. The next thing I knew, he had talked it over with a fabricator down the street and came back to me with this:



    Glen added about a 3" rail made of aluminum diamond plate and pipe. Cutouts in the diamond plate provide tie down points. Sweeet!!!! It is rock solid, strong practically to the point of overkill and tremendously adds to what you can store/carry on the Kamparoo without having to use the roof rack (which has to be unloaded before setting up the camper.) I'm using this rail to strap down a battery box (which I will discuss later), a roll up camp table, all of our chairs, a shovel, roasting sticks and a campfire grate. These remain on the camper at all times and move us one step closer to our goal of a system with which we can decide at the last minute to take advantage of a free weekend and be on the road in an hour or so. It would also be a great place to carry coolers.

    Here you can see the rail in action on our first shakedown trip.



    With the kitchen comes a larger (DEE-LUX!) awning that shades the kitchen.



    We also purchased wall panels to enclose the awning area which we will almost never use but we've had a long string of uncomfortable, cold and/or wet, camping weekends recently and enclosing the awning would have been a nice option. Glen also had an old awning and wall set (which he calls the add-a-room) from an older vintage of canvas that fits the other side of the tent and he threw that in for free. I haven't set it up yet but one of these days I need to set the whole thing up with both extended add-a-rooms and invite 15 of my closest friends to go glamping in my Glamparoo!!!

    To finish off the kitchen discussion, I'll add that the normal option for on-board propane is a 10 lb bottle. I'm too lazy to go once per season, find a propane dealer, and get the bottle filled so Glen agreed to fab the camper with a 20 lb bottle like the ones you can exchange at the local hardware store, etc.

    Next post I'll cover some of the BLING--more shiny aluminum and the skid plate.
    Last edited by kevint; 05-25-2012 at 04:20 PM.
    Kevin

    2011 Ford F-150 FX4
    2012 Kamparoo Transcontinental

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    608
    Thanks Kevin! ... My Daughter and Son-in Law are looking for a a well built camper so your review is most appreciated and timely.
    Really like the picture that shows the top loaded with bikes and gear, this is a feature that could be easily overlooked when comparing campers.
    .
    What's your thoughts on the skid plate-spare tire carrier, pertaining to approach angle and a place that could accumulate road mud thrown up from the tow vehicle?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    USA, Texas
    Posts
    216

    Default The Build - As Delivered (Skid Plate)

    OK, McZippie (nice handle) let me go ahead and address the skid plate.

    This was a tough decision. I'm not sure what the right terminology is for the area between the rear tires of the vehicle and the trailer tires but I guess I'll call it the trailer breakover angle. Yes, that will definitely be limited even though the design of the skid plate is that it doesn't extend below the axle of the trailer. It actually sits a few inches above, I believe. When crossing something akin to a giant speed bump, one could get hung up in that breakover area although there is a good chance your hitch would hang up as well whether you had the skid plate or not.

    I raised these concerns and I know Glen and his shop worked it to ensure the skid plate is only low enough to get the tire in and out.

    When Glen was recommending the skid plate, we discussed removal. Glen said the plate would be removable so if you got in a bind, you could just remove the skid plate and tire and move on. In reality, that may not have been possible or something got lost between Glen and his builder because while the skid plate bolts on in the front and middle attach points, it is held on in the back by what looks like 50 or so large rivets, not bolts. It'll be several months before I have the Kamparoo off-road and it's not like I'm sending it back to Canada to have something else done so I haven't spend much time thinking about what, if anything, I'll do about it. I've been intending to call Glen at some point and get his thoughts but have been focused on other things.

    I liked the fact that the skid plate protects the tire and more importantly, the water tank.



    If you look at different vintages of Kamparoo (US and Australian) you'll see the tire mounted in all kinds of places. If I didn't have the kitchen and the propane tank, I'd slap that tire on the front of the storage box where it is easy to get to, not in the way of the terrain and not likely to get damaged in transit. Then I could add a Trasharoo to my Kamparoo. It would go nice with the storage bag I use on the top of my kitchen box (The Rola Walaroo). Yahoo! You could also just mount it on the top rack. After all, how often are you going to need to access the spare after camp is set up?

    I do believe the water tank benefits from protection. In the desert, I don't think you want to find yourself several hours (or days) from civilization only to find that you have 19 gallons less water than you thought because you put a hole in your water tank. The water tank comes with a galvanized shroud (which you can see under the skid plate in the pic below) but it is not nearly as heavy as I want my water supply protection to be.



    All that said, I want to share how heavy that skid plate is. It is constructed from 1/8" thick aluminum. I am a big man and I can stop on the skid plate in front to climb up on the camper. I actually hope that in a bind, I can just drag the skid plate over some rocks but we'll see.

    Concerning, dirt and mud, good question. I actually hadn't thought about that one. I can say that the skid plate collected rain when I first got it. The water sat and I think I got a small mosquito infestation growing. I drilled a couple of holes in the front so water would drain. There is also a hole under the center of the spare to help you remove the spare. I need to add a couple of holes in the back next time I am under the camper.

    It doesn't directly address this question but Glen did add an extra mud flap at the front of the water tank to protect it from rocks thrown at it.



    Note that in this picture, there is a lot of space under the spare. This must not be my Kamparoo or it was an early attempt at the skid plate. My skid plate is much closer to the tire.

    I hope this helps. If you have more questions, just ask. I may not answer until next week. I gotta go load the Kamparoo. I'm going camping!
    Kevin

    2011 Ford F-150 FX4
    2012 Kamparoo Transcontinental

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Oregon, USA
    Posts
    1,868
    Thank you so much for the pictures, story and follow up! You have a beautiful camper and solution to making camping the best for the important people.
    "Speed is just a matter of Money - How fast do YOU want to go?"-mechanic from Mad Max-
    If at first you don't succeed - Don't take up Skydiving!
    - BLT Offroad KE7CSK

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    608
    Thanks Kevin for the quick reply... For us the front skid plate shouldn't be a problem, it should do fine on Northern-Forest Jeep roads.
    I'm liking your camper more... the more I check out it's features.
    .
    Have a GREAT camping trip with your new Rig!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Victoria BC Canada
    Posts
    2,340
    Very nice setup... very sweet design. Love the skid plate!
    2014 Ram 1500 Sport 4x4 5.7L
    2000 Jeep XJ Classic 4.0L
    1992 CDN M101 1/4 Ton ExPo Trailer
    2014 Black Rock 17B 23' Travel Trailer
    VE7RXJ
    ____=__=
    l l ,[_____],
    l---- L -[]lllllll[]-

    ()_) ()_)--o-)_)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Medicine Hat, Alberta Canada
    Posts
    60
    Great looking camper, how many people can you sleep in it? I have 3 small kids and I'm looking for something compact and light but still enough room to sleep them all

Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •