If you travel in any tourist area, particularly in Queensland and the Northern Territory, you’ll find many grey nomads in their home on wheels.
What type of rig you choose is up to you but there are several options to pick from. You can opt for a caravan - whether fold-down or pop top to save weight - or a camper trailer, converted bus or a motorhome.
Caravans are the most popular form of nomad dwelling. They offer a degree of comfort, privacy and security, as well as the flexibility of being able to go exploring in the tow vehicle once the caravan has been dropped. On the down side, many people feel uncomfortable towing a large vehicle and they add to your fuel costs.
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It’s worth spending a bit more money getting some ‘comforts from home’ such as a toilet, shower, TV, air conditioning and an induction oven. There are many choices when it comes to the layout or configuration of the caravan’s interior.
The length of a standard caravan can range from about 12 feet (3.7m) up to around 30 feet (9m), and prices for a new van start around $20,000 and can easily go up to $100,000 or more for something with a double axle and luxury fittings.
Pop tops can have the top part folding down so the caravan offers less wind resistance on the road which means fuel consumption is generally less than it is with standard vans. They are also a little bit lighter and their maximum length is limited to about 17 feet.
Camper trailers offer a place to sleep plus they are easy to tow and light on fuel but there is less storage and security. If the weather is fine, some grey nomads are happy to travel in these budget-friendly rigs. A year or two on the road may be pushing it though.
Grey nomads are becoming increasingly adventurous so an off-road caravan may be the answer. “A good off-road van allows you to get off the beaten track and take on roads that you wouldn’t otherwise be game to,” a spokesperson from The Grey Nomads website said.
“They boast a strengthened chassis and frame, heavy duty suspension and increased ground clearance. Extras can include a solar panel and battery setup, extra water tanks, extra spare wheels and gas bottle holders.
“Some vans are more off-road than others. A little extra ground clearance and a beefed-up suspension system isn’t going to stop a van from shaking to pieces on corrugations.”
To make the road trip safer and easier, there are many products or accessories that prove a big help. These include reversing cameras, self levelling systems, roof racks for extra storage, solar panels, water filtration and more.
Then there are the creature comforts such as portable air conditioners, camp pegs that light up at night, and many other accessories.