Dunedin based Christy Prior and Simon Dickie were one of the first couples we ever featured on Recreational Society. You can view their original post HERE. In fact the feature was so popular they were one of the core chapters for the book The Recreationalists. They still own and use their trusty Hi-Ace camper van, but what about something different, what other options are out there.
Christy and Si tried something new on their annual surf trip north. This is mentioned a lot in the How To section of this website. Before buying a camper at all or thinking about the next upgrade, go rent different models. Find out what’s too small, too big. It’s super common for many Recreationalists to include a camper rental as part of their overseas holidays. It’s a great, and fun, way of figuring out what you need and what you don’t.
We did a winter trip to the Coromandel last year in our Hi-Ace and decided that for any future winter trips something a little more spacious and preferably with a hot shower might be needed!
School holidays are crazy in the mountains so we figured we would get away and head somewhere ‘warmer’ but knowing full well the winterless north can be subject to lots of rain we opted for a luxurious camper so if the weather did pack it in (which it did, very often) it wouldn’t matter so much.
We had the Wilderness ‘Double for 2 camper ‘ and it was lush! Had everything we needed. Flew to AKL where we picked up the camper and headed north for a total of 12 nights.
It had a ‘garage’ in the back for the short boards and mid lengths (yes we brought options) which was great but we did have to put the long boards inside the camper which did cut into our lounging room but, we are more accustomed to small spaces anyway haha.
Si took on the drivers role (as he prefers it to being a passenger anyway so works for me) and being 7.4m long and wider it took a little to get used to it but he soon got it sussed! There was no parallel parking but traveling in winter meant everywhere was so much quieter anyway so there was loads of free parks we could take up all of them at once, it was great! It also hill climbed a lot faster than our Hi-Ace given the bigger engine. We were really impressed, it was quite economical on gas – did help it was diesel.
Configuration; Yeah, loved it actually. It didn’t ,matter that you couldn’t open up the back as lying in bed you got two beautiful big windows to look out of. where the shower and toilet were worked really well too. We just hung wetsuits above the shower and they drip dried between each surf and all the run off was caught in the bottom of the shower tray and down into the grey water waste.
Has it ruined the Hi Ace, like are you guys now visualising yourselves parked up the hill, or at Karitane with the heater blasting between sessions… or is it a little too boomer?
Haha, it’s pretty boomer, but if I got given one I wouldn’t say no. The 250k price tag is a pretty big deterrent. You could most definitely live it in though so if you didn’t have a house and put everything into that then that might work.
We’re happy as in our little Hi-Ace, especially for summer missions or for weekend winter missions. Anything longer in winter, yeah sure an upgrade would be ideal again though!