a look around my camper trailer

David & Jenn's camper trailer




david & jenn's
vista rv crossover


     When the time came to replace our trusty old Jayco Flight we looked at many alternatives. In the end we decided against all the soft and hard floored camper trailers because, living in the inner suburbs, we do not have anywhere to dry out wet canvas. We gave serious thought to an off-road caravan (a Trakmaster Gibson was the one most likely), but in the end decided that we cook outside, eat outside and basically live outside when we are camping, so a camper trailer of some sort was what we wanted.
In the end the VistaRV Crossover gave us what we wanted. It is extremely quick to setup for an overnight stop. Just undo two roof latches, open the door, give the roof a shove and go to bed. Packing up is just as quick; pull down the roof, lock the door and do up two latches.

     For a longer stay we add the awning, which is a simple matter of sliding the awning into the track, clipping it on at the two ends then putting up a few poles and guys. It takes a few minutes. We also roll out the annexe mat we have used for over ten years.

     The kitchen slides out the side and you can have a kettle on in a couple of minutes for a lunch stop. You can also access the water tap by just opening the hatch. You can use the rear tap anytime, without opening anything except the door to turn on the pump. If it is cold and wet at lunch time you can even sit at the table without even lifting the roof. There is also a hand pump next to the door for a quick hand wash.

     When we saw the engineering and care that goes into the construction we were won over. As they are made locally, I was able to drop in once a week to see ours being built.

     We love it. It is very easy to tow (for ours, the tare is 1150 kg, the ball weight is around 130 kg and ATM is 1650 kg) and has excellent aerodynamics. The suspension is superb. The bed is very comfortable and requires no setup. There is a mass of storage space, all of it easy to access.

     The only thing I would like to change would be to find a quieter water pump. If anyone knows of one, please let me know. Every other van or camper with a water pump seems to suffer from the same problem.

external features

     There is plenty of storage. In fact we are having trouble thinking what we could put in to fill it all! The upper front hatch holds the awning, waste water hose, water hose, pegs, guys, 240 volt cable and a few other things. The lower front hatch holds the chemical toilet and the annexe mat. Opposite the kitchen is a large hatch which holds the table, 5 x 30 litre plastic boxes with food and cooking gear plus all the poles with room for a set of annexe poles if we decide to get one.

     Further back on the driver’s side, behind the wheel, there is a holder for two jerry cans then a pair of hatches. The top one will hold a Coleman hot water system, but we use it for a Cobb oven, a Coleman oven, two jaffle irons and a few fold-up buckets. The lower one holds the two rear jacks plus a few odds and sods. It is large enough to hold the annexe canvas.

     At the rear is the 85 Watt solar panel which is hinged (with a gas strut) so it is held vertically when travelling but horizontal when camped. Under it is the hinged shelf which is handy when camped to put boxes on or to carry firewood into camp. It is also very handy if you get the optional ensuite which fits to the rear of the Crossover. There is also a hatch which holds the batteries (2 x 100 Ah Gel in our case) with a shelf above, which we use for the clothes line and pegs, 12 volt shower, fold up sullage buckets, 2 x Versalites, in-line filter and assorted other things. There is also the 240 volt inlet and a tap plus I have my twin cameras located in the centre between the solar panel and the shelf.

     Continuing around to the passenger side there is the lockable filler for the 87 litre rear water tank plus a hand pump and a 12 volt Merit socket. Next is the door, then the front 87 litre water tank lockable filler plus another 12 volt Merit socket and then the kitchen which slides out on heavy duty runners from under the side window. It does not need legs. The kitchen is a large stainless steel area with a twin burner stove with fold up windshield, a sink which slides out the end with a drainer area plus a tap. The tap can be accessed with the sink in or out and even by just opening the hatch, without pulling out the kitchen. There are two drawers, one on the end of the kitchen, the other on the side. There is also a storage area on the opposite side to the side drawer. This is handy for things like the gas hose, hot plates and my kitchen utensil and knife rolls.

     Stone protection is taken care of by a heavy duty vinyl stone guard across the front locker and angled steel stone guards on each side of the front. Behind the steel stone guards on each side are a jerry can holder and a 4.5 kg gas bottle. The gas hose is long enough to reach either gas bottle. Behind the front locker is the spare wheel. I have matched tyres and wheels to the tug so I can have 3 spares plus the two Crossover wheels in an emergency. I can even rotate 9 tyres if I can be bothered.

     The Crossover comes as standard with a large awning which fits into a sail track along the roof line on the door (or the other side if you want to) side. This awning is very easy to fit and provides a good shaded/rain protected area. The awning comes with one zip on wall which can be fitted to the rear edge of the awning to provide rain and wind protection for the door. We usually pull ours out horizontally and use two poles/guys to hold it up. This extends the shade/rain protected ground area very nicely.

     All Crossovers are made with sail tracks on both sides plus the vertical sail tracks at the rear corners. The awning can be fitted to either side as it is made reversible and there are tracks on both sides, but the annexe can only be fitted on the door side.
The door has a standard handle lock plus two compression locks to seal it when travelling. Because there are no internal gas appliances, there is no requirement for a gas vent in the door. The front window has a seal, the roof has full automotive dust seals as does the door and all external storage compartments. This means the inside is effectively sealed when travelling and thus never gets any bulldust or water inside. One owner took his Crossover up the OTL and was crossing creeks with the water level over the bottom of the side windows. Not one drop of water got in, or any bulldust.

     The Crossover comes with a powder coated steel folding step which stores inside the door when travelling. It is a large, stable step and works very well.

     All panels are insulated and the Crossover remains remarkably cool inside, even when parked, closed up, in the street in full summer sun.

     The step and rear jacks are removable to keep them out of harm’s way should you decide to test the limits of the Crossover. I suspect my tow vehicle will break before the Crossover does.

internal features

     Inside the door we have, across the back, the electrical cupboard and above it is a solar controller with LCD display, twin water tank monitors and all the switches. Next to it is an 80 litre Waco upright compressor fridge then a large cupboard. Across the top of these is a wide bench with a sink and tap. Facing the door is the car stereo with MP3 capability plus radio and assorted inputs. Below it is a small cupboard. To the left is a large cupboard which can be configured as hanging space or shelving. We went with shelving as we tend to leave the ball gown and tuxedo at home.

     Just to the left of the door are a fire extinguisher and a pair of netting pouches. There are two more of these pouches facing the bed. On the walls next to the large side windows we have a pair of large, fine mesh pockets on each side. These are fantastic for books, clothing, toilet bags, torches or whatever.

     There is a queen size bed with a shelf at the head and twin LED reading lights. All the lights, including the tail lights, are LED. There are LED lights distributed intelligently throughout the interior and one over the kitchen outside.

     There is a table and seating for four under the rear (foot) end of the bed. We wondered if this would be a problem to access but have found it is literally a 10 second job to set up or pack up should we want to use it. We have even used it for lunch when it was raining heavily. We didn’t need to raise the roof to sit at the table. All you have to do is fold the lower half of the mattress over and release the table pole with its gas strut. There is storage space under the seats and behind the seats. In our case this space is still waiting for something to be stored there. On a really long trip it would be a good place to store heavy things like canned food or extra water as it is right over the axel.

     As well as the two large, non-opening side windows, there is a wind-out front window which is protected by a large, hinged and gas strutted cover at the front. We have had the front window open wide in torrential downpours and no water has come inside. We have the front window open at night to get a gentle breeze across our heads. The angled pop up roof at the rear has a very large window with a clear vinyl, zip down panel plus two side windows. The cross ventilation has proved to be excellent. There are curtains for all the fixed windows, attached by Velcro, including the door window. The curtains work very well and are quick and easy to fit or remove.


     We decided not to get a few options which can be retrofitted with no problems. We figured we would wait and see if we found a need, rather than getting a “burger with the lot” and then finding we didn’t need half of the stuff.
At a later stage we can get the ensuite which fits to the rear. We use either a fold-up toilet tent or a twin room shower/toilet tent at present.

     We are giving very serious thought to getting the new, extended annexe. The standard annexe is the same length as the Crossover, but the new one extends to the rear and provides a larger area under cover. You can add walls as needed, depending upon the weather.

     We got the optional fly screen for the door. This works really well. It rolls up and secures with Velcro when not in use. In use it has small, high strength magnets sewn in around the hems which attach firmly to the door surrounds to seal the opening. It is a simple and effective solution.

     The Crossover comes standard with one 87 litre, rotary moulded water tank, fitted between the chassis rails to the rear of the axel. We ordered a second 87 litre tank fitted just in front of the axel. The total of 170 litres in two separate tanks should be all we need. The four jerry can holders can be used for either fuel or water so we could take up to an extra 80 litres of water if we feel we need it, giving a maximum capacity of 250 litres on board. That is a lot of cups of tea. Or a couple of teenager’s showers...
We have the optional 12 volt fan which can be used on a still, humid night to provide a gentle air movement. It has a timer which can be set for 2, 4 or 6 hours. We have yet to use it, even though we have camped in some 100% humidity, windless weather.

     As we store the Crossover near the beach, we bought the fitted cover. This is an excellent piece of gear. It fits the Crossover perfectly so it does not flap at all. It has a pair of zips for the door so you can access the inside without taking it off. There is also a pair of zips in the back corners. The solar panel has a clear panel over it so the batteries remain fully charged without plugging in to mains power – a nice touch.


     I have made up a couple of canvas tool rolls to hold the kitchen utensils and kitchen knives. I find cutlery draw inserts to be a great waste of space plus the utensils and knives bounce around together and make a mess. I bought some canvas and sewed them up on the home sewing machine. They have compartments for the handles of the utensils or knives and the knife one has an extra flap to cover the blades when folded and also for safety when unrolled and attached to the kitchen.

     I use some strong suction cup hooks to keep the rolls handy when cooking. The utensil roll hangs on the inside of the door, which is usually open when camped, and the knife roll hangs off the side of the kitchen. When travelling the rolls are stored in the hatch on the side of the kitchen where they can be accessed at lunch stops when travelling. I keep the knives/forks/spoons in a small, zipped pouch which can also hang on the hooks.


     We have found the VistaRV “Crossover” to do everything we need of it. It tows like a dream on fast bitumen or rough off-road tracks. It is very fast to set up or pack up and is very comfortable.

     The storage space is expansive and is very easily accessible. The kitchen is easy to use and very practical. The interior is comfortable and pleasant to live in, unlike some of the competitors products. You can get dressed standing up inside without having to erect any canvas.
It suits us perfectly.















thanks to David Jones for sharing his thoughts with us



february 2011