Chesney GT Kamper rebuild for off road

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Brisbane Puff
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Re: Chesney GT Kamper rebuild for off road

Unread post by Brisbane Puff » September 7th, 2015, 4:33 am

Gary_M.. Not sure of all the tech about the different light spectrum, but I can tell you that with the same LED's in cool white, I can't see half as well. Probably is the age, but my wife is exactly the same.
Thanks for the compliments on the build. The next couple of short posts may cause some controversy, but they were decided after much thought.
Cheers.
Puff

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Re: Chesney GT Kamper rebuild for off road

Unread post by Brisbane Puff » September 7th, 2015, 8:42 pm

Now it’s time to attend to the canvas and the last of the interior. As I said early in the post, from our experience, having the canvas attached really shortens the life of the canvas in general and in particular, the PVC windows. Reasoning for this is no matter how much attention is made to tucking in the canvas while lowering the top, it always will end up bunched and folded on itself. Given the unavoidable amount of movement while travelling and throwing in the also unavoidable bull dust, the first thing that shows wear is the PVC windows, which become scratched and chafed to the point where you can’t see through them. Then there is the bull dust which finds it’s way in and inbeds itself in the canvas leaving streaks and stains. Next time the canvas gets wet, the whole thing just gets worse with dirt stains deeply etched into the canvas. Then there is the never ending problem of packing up after a night of rain, or even over night dew and condensation which requires that the camper be opened sometime during the day to at least give the canvas some airing out. I have seen quite a lot of campers that have been closed up for some time, initially closed with canvas in good condition, and opened with stained and moldy canvas requiring expensive replacement.
So we decided that the canvas will be removable on packing up. Putting up the camper will require that the canvas needs to be attached at the top and bottom. A lot of thought went into the final design and what we came up with was that the canvas be clipped to the roof of the camper, and the lower edge of the canvas attached to the outside of the camper body by a series of bungy cords and suitable clips. This was achieved by removing the upper sail track and fixing timber around the perimeter to which twist clips were attached. The canvas had the corresponding eyelets inserted and had heavy duty separating zippers sewn on each corner.That meant that the canvas was now in four sections which made it very manageable and between the two of us, after a few practice goes, had the canvas fitted top and bottom in less then five minutes.
Another thing was the foam mattresses. After a while, the foam does tend to absorb dust and requires 'beating' and airing out as well. Not a big issue, but the mattresses do get smelly over a period on time if not aired out.
Being that the camper was a limited length, we considered that the bed width was somewhat lacking. To over come that problem, the bed frames were reconstructed wider and so, the outside 1/3 of the bed then needed to be folded over inwards on top of the main frame. This pretty much negated the use of foam mattress, so we had two air mattress made up to the size of the new beds. With internal air chambers, they turned out much more comfortable to originally anticipated, and the bed width is equivalent to a double bed.
While the canvas is being fitted, the air pump is attached to the air mattresses and we can be sitting down having coffee in 15-20 minutes. But, then again, what’s the rush?? So a good time for setting up camp for a few days is about ½ an hour. Of course not including setting up of the annex or other bits and pieces or the shower ect.
Apart from a new annex with removable sides, we fitted a sail track to the opposite side of the camper so there is another fly over the offside. Also the bed flys were made with a larger overhang to accommodate the new bed size. This all means that we can have full ventilation even when raining. The camper can be packed up in light rain without the bed areas getting wet. And the wonderful thing is that if the canvas is wet, it can be aired out at any convenient time.
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edz
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Re: Chesney GT Kamper rebuild for off road

Unread post by edz » September 7th, 2015, 10:59 pm

Hey BP, If you havent already done so with canvas have a look at using the heavy duty poly tarp that they use over the wheat stocks out west .. it has a 3 year full sun rating mildew and waterproof, just have to have the stitching waxed or taped as water can wick in through it .. roof sections are light duty vinyl with 50mm velcro edges ... its what I used on my las camper and will be using again on my Jayco clone ..
All sections are flat and attached to each other using 50mm industrial velcro..
Packed up wet etc doesnt hurt it dirt doesnt stain it ..not noisy in wind either, 10 years on and still in perfect condition .
Kakadu kanvas Curumbin can get it for you as most other canvas places could too or get your own http://www.mytarp.com/poly-tarp-fabrics.aspx
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" WE GO WITH WHAT WE'VE GOT "
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Brisbane Puff
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Re: Chesney GT Kamper rebuild for off road

Unread post by Brisbane Puff » September 8th, 2015, 6:14 pm

edz... Thanks for the info, but the canvas is all done and dusted.. If I recall, the material that you are referring to is totally impervious, so it would definitely not rot or stain, but I was wondering that since it can't breath, how does one get on with condensation collecting on the inside ?? Also, I believe that the material is fairly translucent, so how is the privacy angle when the interior is lit up at night??

Not knocking your idea at all, but I'm interested in what you found out by using it.
Cheers..
Puff

edz
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Re: Chesney GT Kamper rebuild for off road

Unread post by edz » September 8th, 2015, 11:02 pm

No probs BP all good ... Condensation in winter / cooler months was a bit of an issue for us as the wife didnt like having windows open [ design fault of mine ] for ventilation, should have the window flaps zipped down from the top from inside the tent section, I also should have put breather vents in the walls up near the roof line.
Never had a problem with the lights on inside and being able to see through the walls at night, though the white vinyl roof would let a fair bit of light in on moonlit nights / lightening flashes ...
Did find that not much light is needed to light up the interior due to being white ..
I will be using the same tarp material / vinyl for the walls and bed ends of my pop top [ it will have a couple of vents in the hard roof ] and bed end flies to help combat condensation, from what ive been told by seasoned Jayco owners, using the flies helps reduce it a lot .
Found that the condensation dries off quite quickly on the poly in the mornings ..
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" WE GO WITH WHAT WE'VE GOT "
" WHAT WE HAV'NT WE GO WITH OUT "

Brisbane Puff
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Re: Chesney GT Kamper rebuild for off road

Unread post by Brisbane Puff » September 9th, 2015, 10:48 am

edz.. I was actually thinking about rainy days regarding the condensation. Maybe an idea would be to fit a solar powered roof vent. That's the way we have gone, although it isn't fitted as yet. Will do it when the roof basket is fitted and before the roof liner goes in..
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Re: Chesney GT Kamper rebuild for off road

Unread post by Brisbane Puff » September 9th, 2015, 11:13 am

Up until the time to fit steps, we were going to install a normal set of folding steps. Looked at different units, with the ones from Camec being the closest to what was needed. But those steps still left a big gap between the lower step and the ground.
Also, the original idea was to fit folding steps as per normal. But then a fold down ladder positioned on the rear bar was needed to access the roof basket. Also if one needed to get to the solar panel or associated connections, then one would need to climb up via the tow frame. I recalled other times when there was a need to slip extra ropes onto annex poles ect. So all that in mind got me thinking about going off in a different direction. Did a lot of net searching and didn't find much that suited until I found a new product from Gorilla Ladders. Tracked one down and it fitted exactly what we think is needed. It wasn't what one would call cheap, but it will do all that we require. The best thing is the the steps are not consistent with the height of the camper floor to the ground, so if we are parked on a slope, the only variable is between the top step and the camper. Also, the angle of the steps is such that one can walk down backward or forward. There is a folding front grab bar as well if one needs support when working on the top step. So the modus of operation for us is pull up, use the ladder to access the roof basket, and then place the ladder for entry to the camper after the top is up..
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Re: Chesney GT Kamper rebuild for off road

Unread post by Brisbane Puff » September 10th, 2015, 5:25 pm

As said in an early post, before we started the project, that we would not have a 3 way fridge nor a gas stove in the camper. Reasoning behind that decision was that 3 way fridges, while relatively efficient on gas while parked up, are pretty much useless in 12 volt while moving in hot weather. So it was decided to go with compressor fridges. Also, we had experienced a cracked gas line during one of our trips. This had meant that not only did we not have a fridge, but also were not able to cook meals on the stove. So over the years, for large meals, we have used a gas stove/griller outside. This is similar to the fixed internal type, but which is connected direct to a gas bottle. Smaller and quick meals are cooked on either a single or two burner butane cooker.
However, for a camp oven and bar b q, we constructed our version of a pig with hinged bar b q plate. First one was built about 20 years ago, and over time the idea has been refined to the pig we have now. The original started out as a automotive gas cylinder, then sectioned to a short length. Then a top cylindrical opening was cut in the top to just allow a larger camp oven to sit down inside (on the coals). The top cooking plate works on a sliding hinge, and when the coals are placed on the oven, the plate is lowered. We found that the camp oven cooks quicker and more even using the pig this way. The oven is basically multi fuel, being wood, then with the inclusion of a basket suspended from inside the top of the opening, heat beads. We have also used a gas ring by inserting the ring through the door. Fuel use is minimal, and two sawdust logs will keep the plate hot for near an hour. Found that the pig has always been acceptable at places like Fraser Island.

If the weather turns nasty, we can use a butane cooker inside the camper.
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Re: Chesney GT Kamper rebuild for off road

Unread post by Brisbane Puff » September 10th, 2015, 11:40 pm

Another little gizmo I knocked up to throw in the tool box. Should make life a little easier dealing with the hard clay out west..
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Re: Chesney GT Kamper rebuild for off road

Unread post by Brisbane Puff » September 11th, 2015, 2:35 pm

Well, this brings everything up to date. The end result is not fancy or modern looking, but everything needed is there.
Took the camper out for a road test. Did around 150km on roughest back roads in the area and everything worked like it should. Suspension worked very well, I placed an open plastic container of water on the floor in the middle of the camper. Water level was about two inches from the top and the container was small enough diameter to slow down surge. There was minimal splashes on the floor when I arrived home after the test. Originally thought of making longer shackle plates and using the other set of dumbjacks, but thought I would try the shorter plates first. The set up seemed to work well in conjunction with the gas shocks, but time will tell.
Stability is very good. The calculated C of G is about 25mm above floor level and the center is located about 300mm forward of the axle. This puts the center close to above the front spring hangers. Braking is very good using the new Redarc TowPro. Gave the camper a few ‘flicks’ at highway speed and it returns to neutral towing tracking after a couple of return sways. Using the TowPro override, the camper snaps back almost immediately.
Basically all that needs to be done now is the hot water system and the plumbing for the shower and the sink. Then a roof basket at the rear behind the solar panel, and last will be the head lining.
All in all, very happy about the way it’s shaping up. Like I stated, it’s not fancy nor modern looking, but it was never intended to be more then a functional camper that we can set up on a site for a couple of days, but can use it as a base when we are fossicking. It’s made to be as bullet proof as it needs to be for the purpose intended.. The clearance has worked well. One of the places we go to requires crossing a creek several times where the water depth is usually between 300 and 400mm. The camper floor level is well above that so everything will stay nice and dry.
The best part is that the camper has only cost a few grand all up and between the tow vehicle and the camper, it doesn’t represent a big amount of outlay to be sitting in the shed til it’s used.
As in the past, if the two of us are just going away for an overnight trip, we would just put our tent and basic gear in the Jeep or use available accommodation if needed. But that depends on the venue I guess.
There will probably additions and changes, but for now I think it’s coming together quite well, but always open to suggestions.
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ian.gonzo
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Re: Chesney GT Kamper rebuild for off road

Unread post by ian.gonzo » September 12th, 2015, 10:52 am

Very neat and tidy unit, it is a credit to you

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Re: Chesney GT Kamper rebuild for off road

Unread post by Brisbane Puff » September 12th, 2015, 4:11 pm

ian.gonzo... Thanks for that.. Yeah, I'm happy about the way it's turning out.. Still a few things to do, but it's getting there..
Puff

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Re: Chesney GT Kamper rebuild for off road

Unread post by Brisbane Puff » September 15th, 2015, 4:21 pm

Pre-seasoning a new camp oven using the heat bead basket.. Thought I would give you an idea of the camp oven in place so the hot plate can still be used if needed..
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This amount of beads will heat the cooking plate as well.
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The camp oven sits down well inside the pig giving about the right amount of clearance from the cooking surface.
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All hot and ready to cook..
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Shann Low
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Re: Chesney GT Kamper rebuild for off road

Unread post by Shann Low » September 15th, 2015, 5:23 pm

Where does the pig travel?
In the back of the ute or in the camper?
Just seems to take up a lot of room compared to some of the "other available options" like this one that disassembles and folds entirely flat pack inside a canvas bag.

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Off gumtree for ~$200.

http://www.gumtree.com.au/s-ad/baldivis ... 1081428835

For traveling where space is at a premium I just like the pack flat idea of this one.

** Not affiliated in any way with the seller - just like the idea**.

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Re: Chesney GT Kamper rebuild for off road

Unread post by Brisbane Puff » September 15th, 2015, 9:16 pm

Shann Low .. Hi Shann.. To answer your first question. Before we built this camper, we had built a heavy duty box trailer with a roof top tent fitted above. The pig and other sundry fitted in the trailer.
This one goes in the back of the ute. In the photos, it looks bigger then what it really is, the actual length is 600mm, (although it could have been made a bit shorter). Diameter is around 320mm. Room wise, all the big things that are in the ute consist of the pig, small gen set, and a 35 lt freezer. Anything else fits in around them.

The flat pack you posted is the best I have seen anywhere. Laser cut precision and nice robust steel plate. It really looks like it would last a long time, and do everything needed around the campsite. And, as you said, takes no room packed. If I was that way inclined, I'd buy one of those without hesitation.

The reason for the pig is that we have used that system for quite a while and are used to it. (That is, butane stove and the pig for most cooking), and are probably too old to change our ways. The pig idea hales from a long time ago. A friend owned a cattle station out west where there were a few 'out stations'. One time, one of the ringers went out to an outstation for a few days work. The building had an open type of fire place, and he needed to boil some hot water. He lit a fire and filled a 5 gallon kero drum and put it in the fireplace, and as it would take some time to boil, went off to do things. Don't know what happened, but when he looked around, the whole bloody place was on fire. The fire ended burning out about 10 square miles before it was stopped.
The next time we visited, the owner had some truck brake drums welded rim to rim with a hole cut in the back for a chimney and a sliding plate over the top, and they really held the heat. One for each outstation. Thought that was a good idea..

Moving along.. When we used to go to Fraser Island in the 80's and early 90's, one could have a camp fire, and of course, the ritual camp oven. Then it became a case of bringing your own wood. Then you could only have a fire so small that aunt Sally wouldn't burn her toosch if she sat on it. Then it became a case of only having a fire if there was no fire ban. So the camp oven in the coals slowly went out the door... Got thinking about the pigs made on the station, and when I was a kid, my mother owned the Talbingo pub, all we had was a donkey for hot water, and wood stoves in the kitchen. The cook at the pub used to put dutch ovens in the wood stoves, and the idea went from there I guess..

Now, not trying to teach you how to suck eggs, but we have always placed most of the coals on top of the camp oven when doing a roast or what ever. Found that this way, don't usually have to add oils, or cooking fat. So the idea was to make a pig big enough to fit the oven inside, and the photos show what I came up with. The wonderful thing about the pig is that it uses very little fuel. A couple of sawdust logs and a fire lighter will cook breakfast in no time. Three sawdust logs will cook an evening meal and still leave the plate hot enough to keep a coffee pot on. Of course, out west, a couple of Gidgee roots will keep the thing hot nearly all night.

A lot of the properties out west are getting a bit breezy about open camp fires, another other thing is that we have never had a problem having a fire in National Parks or State Forests. Been checked out by rangers a few times and always got a pat on the back. But of course, we have lost the nostalgia of sitting around the camp fire I guess.
Puff

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