Where do you think all this camping will end, straight up, what’s your dream camper? Do you daydream about a kitted out Unimog so you can overland the world in. Or are your goals a tad more pared back. Here at Recreational Society we overtly covet Sunliners, Sherwood Conquerers and the locally made Explorers. They sit in a class of their own, between a full blown road maggots and a camper van. Big enough to have the luxuries of a motorhome, but not so unwieldily that you can’t get off the beaten track. But have a chat to your bank manager, they start at $140,000 and range up to $200,000.
Brent and Shona Gordon just bought one… that name sound familiar? Well their son Blake has featured on Recreational Society before HERE.
Shona explains swapping out the sea camper for a dream wagon….
Brent has had 4WD’s for years. A Toyota Townace 4WD truck and then a Hilux which he still has. They were mainly for beach, surf searches but also free diving and fishing in remote places.
The camping came with that and we started with a $100 warehouse tent which leaked and collapsed in the wind. Then we bought a blow up Zempire tent which was glamping compared. We didn’t know about Feldon roof top tents then, like what Blake has.
A lot of our adventures were on our yacht which we recently sold to get the Explorer. The idea being for Brent to surf as many spots in NZ before he gets too old. He bought a copy of NZ surfing guide, with 470 breaks, he’s done 76 so there are a few to go. Also we are especially keen to explore inland South Island.
We wanted to explore all of NZ without having to make up a bed and also having a hot shower and fridge. We also wanted the ability to go anywhere. Initially Brent looked at the Australian versions but wanted Kiwi built. And that’s when he discovered Explorers. Simple layout, practical, well thought out and strong. The one piece moulded fibreglass body is a real plus. We decided on extras like solar power, diesel heater, tow bar- to tow our 6m RIB, and an awning.
Off road it’s very capable with good ground clearance. We have tested in soft sand/ mud/gravel roads. We changed rims and tyres to MT Baja Atz. This gives us the option of letting tyre pressure down in really soft sand without damage to tyre sidewall. The tyre change has also helped stability on the road.
The cabinetry built with light but strong material which Brent had a good look at in the factory, so no issues at all. Unlike some horror stories with imported campers.
Being Toyota fans, the Explorer, even though it’s a Ford, we are very impressed. It’s very comfortable with plenty of power! It’s excellent at towing, tows our boat with ease. Even Shona is happy behind the wheel, but she may get a speeding ticket one day!!
The Buying Process
Firstly we looked at the website then arranged a viewing. We had to have a second viewing as Explorer will not sign up anyone without the wife seeing.
Then at the time of ordering and making the first deposit we were told we would have to wait a year as they are in such high demand.
At this point you get a colour choice of vehicle and cabinetry.
There is a progress payment when Ranger and body attached. Two months before completion we were invited to make the curtain and cushion choices.
At this time we joined NZMCA for inspection and certification of self containment. The final balance was made 5 days before delivery.