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Camper conversion

Postby dieselfan » 23 Feb 2012 23:29

Has anyone checked out http://www.safaricampers.co.za? My parents saw them at the Beeld Expo and I was there earlier this week. What I really like about it is that it's a one piece unit. The floor is it's own, NOT your load bins. Therefore it has 4 jacking points on the corners, you hook up the 4 jack poles and done in 15 mins the camper is off and you can use your bakkie as a normal one.

The advantage is no trailer / caravan. Costing is about what a fully kitted out trailer will cost, still less than a caravan. There's no video yet but the owner LOVED his Patrols, now has a LC.

The closest but no where close I could find for a video is

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JoSWEBUtbEU

Any comments?

His got a single cab unit and a double cab unit with space for the kids (when mine grow up).
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Re: Camper conversion

Postby Peter Connan » 24 Feb 2012 07:43

Roy, my Dad has one of those.

My Dad's was built by Radical Tops here in Kempton, who designed it. They later sold it to Safari Campers.

I am a huge fan of this thing if there are only two people using it, but there is no sleeping space for the kids.

There are a few problems though (note that I don't know what design changes there has been):
1) My Dad's is mounted on a single-cab Hilux 2.7 legend 35. It is the longer version, that ends level with the edge of the open tailgate. In retrospect, the camper is too heavy for this vehicle. With a tankfull of water and nothing else packed, the vehicle is on it's maximum legal limit. We also fitted Bilstein shocks from Mikem and air halper springs to handle the extra load. Also, the centre of gravity of the camper is also pretty far back, and this causes some serious handling issues on heavily corrugated roads. The fuel consumption @120 is about the same as my Patrol's, and thus my dad limits himself to 100kph GPS speed.
2) The legs originally supplied were useless. They had wheels on the bottom, a horizontal crank-arm and the legs were "kinked" to make room for the crank. The result was that the canopy could only be removed on a perfectly level concrete floor. Even on our lawn at home, the wheels would dig in too much and coupled with the weakness of the legs, the camper could not be removed. It also wobbled frighteningly when you rolled on the bed, if it was not mounted on the vehicle. Furthermore, the legs were too large and heavy for my Dad to load. The camper was bolted to the bakkie with four bolts, but the front bolts were almost inaccessible, and one had to unpack a fair amount of stuff to get to them. You also needed something to stand on to reach them. Because the camper doesn't fit perfectly inside the loadbed, it was hellishly difficult to re-align the bolt holes when re-fitting.

In short, the first time we put it back on, it took us two hours. Lastly, the electrical work was shoddy to the point of shockingness, and we had to re-do it completely.

We then spent considerable time and effort re-designing the attachment method and the legs, and it now really is possible for one person to un load or re-fit the camper in less than 20 minutes. I have done it in less time than our neighbors unhitched and levelled their caravan.

I still think it is a magnificent idea, but only for two people, and it needs some attention to really get the best out of it. I also beleive that it must be fitted to one of the three large bakkies on our market, being the Cruiser, Patrol or F250.

If you want more info on what we did, let me know.
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Re: Camper conversion

Postby Grootseun » 24 Feb 2012 09:07

Roy , have you looked at this one , we have one in the familly and the thing is awesome and they customise to death for you if you want

http://www.ahaweb.co.za/index.html
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Re: Camper conversion

Postby Peter Connan » 24 Feb 2012 09:59

Driko, this was one of the options considered by my father, but for three reasons it lost out:
1) It cannot be removed while in use. This has the effect that one must break up camp to go for a game drive.
2) It was very expensive. It looks cheap at first, untill you realize that the base price excludes a lot of stuff you actually need. Please note that these comments are based on prices and systems that were in operation 4 years ago, and this may not be the situation anymore.
3) A friend of mine's father-in-law had one that rattled apart in one trip (to Kaokoveld). Again, this may have been fixed in the mean time, or it may have been an isolated case. Just ensure that they are not only riveted together now as they used to be?

Having said that, this is also a great concept.
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Re: Camper conversion

Postby dieselfan » 24 Feb 2012 11:00

Thanks guys,

Peter he has changed the jacks for ones without wheels, instead they have a base plate. So you must reverse into place. He said that double cab limits are tough though and he has dropped the weight significantly. Using light weight components and aluminium when they can. I was told around 600kg for double cab and 750kg for Single cab. The new design for kids in the double cab involves a roll out canvas inside by the door. It has a pole for the edge and is supported by a half moon latch on both ends. The one on the door, the other on the base of the "big bed". It's a good use of space thats not in use at night.

He showed me the electrical work on an older model and a newer one. It did look shoddy on the older one. Reminds me of the Conqueror trailer my parents bought a few months ago. The DB shorted and melted everything on their first trip. We re wired the whole trailer - was looking forward to the Saturday meeting at Conqueror ;)

The design I saw has a bit of an overhang.

I was told around 110k with very few extras. Is pricey.

My dad then looked at the LC bakkie for around R425k, we when to Nissan to see a Patrol bakkie but no stock :thumbdown: . Was told Eskom just took 70.
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Re: Camper conversion

Postby Peter Connan » 24 Feb 2012 11:39

Roy, I went for base plates as well. Also have big ones (350mm square) of which one can double as a hi-lift base plate. I then made guides for the camper, so that when you reverse the vehicle in, it all lines up automatically.

750kg is still too heavy, except for the "big three" I mentioned. Add 100kg of water in the tank, and you are over the limit for most bakkies.

I can't beleive (well I can) that Nissan will actually sell their demo stock! Idiots.
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Re: Camper conversion

Postby dieselfan » 24 Feb 2012 13:54

The 750 is for the single cab unit aimed at the Big 3 ;). 600 is for the DCabs.

I WISH I could get a Patrol DCab cause I would like the idea for myself!
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Re: Camper conversion

Postby Grootseun » 24 Feb 2012 15:22

Peter the AHAcan in fact be removed wehn camping , havent done it myself as i dont own one , my father in law owns one , and he say they showed him at the factory how to do it , his been very happy wiht it so far but yes the proof lies in the pudding i geus , but hellish expensive if you ask me - think he ended somewhere near 80k for his setup and i still did the dual battery syste for him
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Re: Camper conversion

Postby Neill Knott » 10 Jan 2013 23:37

Peter Connan wrote:Roy, my Dad has one of those.

My Dad's was built by Radical Tops here in Kempton, who designed it. They later sold it to Safari Campers.
---------------------------------------------------

We then spent considerable time and effort re-designing the attachment method and the legs, and it now really is possible for one person to un load or re-fit the camper in less than 20 minutes. I have done it in less time than our neighbors unhitched and levelled their caravan.

I still think it is a magnificent idea, but only for two people, and it needs some attention to really get the best out of it. I also beleive that it must be fitted to one of the three large bakkies on our market, being the Cruiser, Patrol or F250.

If you want more info on what we did, let me know.


Hi Peter - came accross your post when looking up mounting options for Campers. I am looking to mount a Radical tops camper to a LC and would appreciate your input on how you went about it . Please post info either here or to knottnow@telkomsa.net
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Re: Camper conversion

Postby Peter Connan » 11 Jan 2013 06:42

Sent you an E-mail Neil
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