Hiring a 4WD or Camper-Trailer
TIPS & TRAPS WHEN HIRING A 4WD OR CAMPER FOR AN OUTBACK ADVENTURE
We receive lots of inquiries from clients who are either joining our tours or travelling independently asking us where they should hire a 4WD vehicle or camper for their outback adventures.
After some disastrous personal experiences with ill-equipped & poorly maintained hired 4WD’s, campers & motorhomes both in Australia & overseas, we thought we’d create this information & referral page to share our thoughts with you, give you some useful tips & advise you how to avoid some of the pitfalls.
Book Well in Advance
Seems like everyone wants to go exploring in a 4WD vehicle or camper these days & in Australia, the increase in demand for hire vehicles has been massive over the past few years. With Western Australia now officially known as “The Road Trip State”, many hire companies have their vehicles booked out a year or more in advance. So you need to choose & book your vehicle early to avoid disappointment! The same goes for booking campgrounds or caravan parks, particularly if your Big Trip coincides with Aussie school holidays which often occur at different times in various States.
We’ve had mostly good experiences in Australia & overseas when hiring two-wheel drive sedans for short holidays. But unfortunately, when it comes to hiring 4WD vehicles and/or 4WD campers, we’ve experienced, witnessed & heard about some pretty distressing incidents. In fact, we’ve often been horrified at the low standards & lack of customer care exhibited by some of the hire companies – even the larger well known ones!
Check out the innovative battery handiwork (below left) & the filthy mess left around a jack (centre) in hire vehicles rented to our clients over the years.
We’ve also seen vehicles hired out with the wrong sized jack (or no jack at all) & with spare tyres that were flat! And these were vehicles supplied by so-called reputable companies to women travelling through the outback on their own providing medical assistance to communities in very remote areas! Shame on you!
We’ve also seen - & sometimes hired – campers & motorhomes with torn awnings, broken chairs, empty water tanks, missing equipment & useless fridges, stoves & air-conditioners – faults that aren’t always apparent at the pre-departure hand-over session.
For emergency vehicle recovery, some companies provide ‘snatch-straps’ But then the companies do not fit the vehicle with rated recovery points to which the straps should be attached if vehicle recovery is to be undertaken safely.
This is a disaster waiting to happen because the client may attach the snatch strap to an unsuitable part of the chassis that is not sufficiently robust to handle the operation. There have been several deaths caused by snatch straps and/or inappropriate attachment points breaking free during vehicle recovery. So if snatch straps ARE provided & are in good condition, ensure that the vehicle is also fitted with rated recovery points (rather than ‘tie downs’). If not, the supplier should instead provide Maxtracks (or a similar product).
You have to be prepared for normal wear & tear when hiring a vehicle, but renter beware! Don’t let an ill-equipped, mechanically defective or poorly maintained vehicle, camper or motorhome ruin your holiday!
We’ve also heard reports of companies charging clients at the end of the hire period for damage they didn’t cause so pay close attention when you’re returning the vehicle!
The Moral of the Story
We know you’re excited about your holiday, but take the time to triple-check EVERYTHING before you accept delivery of your hired vehicle, including spares & tool kits.
The Good News
Having said this, the good news is that there are several quality suppliers of hired 4WD’s and/or 4WD campers that we’d be happy to stake our name on. Here are three of them:
In Perth, our gold medals go to Perth-based Allstar Campers & RedSands Campers - both are small, family-owned companies who deliver personalised service & take pride in their small fleet.
On a national scale, we recommend online ‘vehicle brokers’ Totally Campers, who have access to hundreds of quality vehicles right round Australia from their base in Melbourne. They have been hiring vehicles to our clients for years for a range of Aussie adventures & can also assist with rentals in several overseas countries.
Here’s some information about these three companies with the primary focus on 4WD campers.
A. REDSANDS CAMPERS
RedSands Campers was established in Perth by owner/operator Adam Sands who has extensive experience in the vehicle hire industry. Today the company operates from three locations - Perth, Broome and Darwin.
RedSands prides itself on personalised service & attention to detail. The company uses only customised Toyotas – a vehicle that is unrivalled for handling Australian conditions. Each camper is fitted with quality James Baroud hardtop roof tents which are quick to pack up & set up & protect your bedding from getting dusty. Another excellent feature is that your bed can remain made-up while you travel – there’s no need to pack it away each day. Additional spacious ground tents are also provided.
All vehicles are also fitted with a sizeable triangular awning offering protection from sun or rain which is easy to put up and take down.
Please note that there is a minimum two-week rental period & that vehicles are not permitted on the Canning Stock Route.
Features of Two-Person 4WD Camper
Features of Five-Person 4WD camper
The five-person model has most of the above features PLUS an additional ground tent. Vehicle/mechanical details are:
Price: Please check with RedSands for current rates & details of insurance cover.
How to Book: Contact RedSands direct to make a booking. Be sure to tell them that Global Gypsies sent you! Quote the special “Gypsy” code with your inquiry – GG/Red followed by today’s date (such as GG/Red/01/01/19) - & they’ll roll out the Red (Sands) Carpet for you!
B. ALL STAR CAMPERS
AllStar Campers is another relatively new family-owned & operated West Australian-based company. Unlike many of the bigger rental car companies, AllStar allows you to take their campers off-road – including the legendary Canning Stock Route!*
Proprietors Nick & Emma Box pride themselves on their personalised service. Just tell them where you want to go & if you have any special requirements & they’ll set up your camper to suit you!
AllStar uses Toyota vehicles for all its campers. Each one is fitted out & maintained in their workshop & individually tested before each hire.
Please note there is a minimum hire age of 25 & a minimum hire period of five days.
* A surcharge may apply if driving on the Canning Stock Route
Vehicle Specifications & Equipment
Toyota Hilux 4WD Dual Cab
AllStar has also just started building another camper to add to its growing fleet - an automatic which will incur a small surcharge.
Price: Please check with AllStar Campers for current hire rates & details of insurance cover.
How to Book: Contact AllStar Campers direct to make a booking. Be sure to tell them that Global Gypsies sent you! When you inquire, quote the special “Gypsy” code – GG/Star followed by today’s date (such as GG/Star/01/01/19) - & they’ll give you their fabulous, five-star AllStar treatment!
Unit 3 - 21 Vale Street
C. TOTALLY CAMPERS
Ester Maas & René van Zuijlen established TotallyCampers.com.au more than 20 years ago & were one of the first online booking agents for campervans, motorhomes and even motorbikes. Today they can arrange campervan & other vehicle hire not only in Australia, but also in New Zealand, Canada, USA, Namibia & South Africa. About 10 years ago, the separate website focusing on 4wd vehicles was added to the mix: Totally4wdCampers.com
Once again they pride themselves on their personal and friendly service – even though everything is handled online and by phone! The two principals have extensive tourism knowledge & experience and will give you the best possible rates on the best available vehicles. They can also provide information about the best route & itinerary for your holiday.
Totally4wdCampers is a licensed agent for many large and medium sized family-owned vehicle, camper & motorhome hire companies and are in direct & daily personal contact with their suppliers which benefits you as their customer.
Please note that there is a minimum hiring age of 21 for most vehicles & that there is a minimum hiring period of 14 days.
Here are just some of the many vehicles you can hire through them.
Price: Please check with Totally4wdCampers for current available models, hire rates & details of insurance cover.
How to Book: Contact Totally4wdCampers direct to make a booking. Be sure to tell them that Global Gypsies sent you! Quote the special “Gypsy” code – GG/TC followed by today’s date (such as GG/TC/01/01/19) - and they’ll give you their terrific total treatment!
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GLOBAL GYPSIES PTY. LTD.
P.O. Box 123 Scarborough (Perth)
Western Australia, 6922 Australia
Tel: (Within Australia) 08 9341 6727
Mob: (Within Australia) 0417 913 071
INTERNATIONAL ONLY: 61 8 9341 6727
ABN No. 75 078 002 276
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