Kinds of 4wd Campers for Hire



Before getting into the different kinds of 4wd campers for hire that the hire companies have chosen to use, it might yes best to discuss what is the difference between 4wd’s and all wheel drives (AWDs).

Difference between 4 wheel drive and ALL wheel drive

There are so many classifications these days of 4wd and all wheel drive vehicles (AWD) it is hard to know what you are getting in your rental camper. Here is a brief breakdown between them:

Full Time 4wd
As the name suggests this means that all 4 wheels are getting power all the time. When driving on normal roads that are sealed tar, the front and back axles are split by a differential that runs between them that allow the front axel and the rear axel to turn at different speeds. This is required for cornering where the front tyres travel at different speeds and different distances from the back (the speeds and distances are not not huge, but think of turning the vehicle in a tight circle round and round. You can imagine that the outside front wheel is travelling a greater distance an at a faster speed than the rear inside wheel – the same will apply over the twists and turns of a road).
Most of these kinds of vehicles will have an option for “diff-lock”. This locks up the differential running between front and rear axels and now the axels will run at the same speed. This is better suited to 4wd roads for more control and an even distribution of power.



AWD (All Wheel Drive)
This is common these days in SUVs and the like. Subaru have been doing it for ages but pretty much every brand has them now. What this means is that all wheels are getting power at all times. This is why it can be also called 4wd. Technically it is true.
One major difference that will be found between an AWD and 4wd vehicles is the power range selection option that can be chosen by the driver to be in Hi range or Low range (see later). Also most AWD don’t come with the ability to lock the differential running between the front and rear axels meaning that there can be less than optimal distribution of power between the wheels when the vehicle is in real heaving going on extremely bad roads where 1 or 2 wheels are not on the ground.



Part time 4wd
This is the oldest and most “traditional” of the 4wd systems. An example of this kind of 4wd camper hire is the Toyota Landcruiser. This vehicle will spend most of its life in 2wd on the bitumen, but when you choose to, you can manually put it into 4wd. In the case of the Landcruiser, there will be 2 gear sticks. One is for the normal changing of gears from 1st, 2nd, 3rd gear etc and another that determines whether the drive train is in 4wd. That will have the options of 2wd, 4wd-Hi and 4wd-Low. The Hi and Low refer to gear ratio and the amount of torque (power) that will go to the wheels from the engine. In low range, all 4 wheels will get more power but you will get less speed. This is desirable in situations of extremely steep hills or extreme slow going over muddy terrain where you are likely to be bogged or stopped and you just need a tonne of grunt to get the vehicle moving.
4wd Hi is generally driving in the same gear ratio of 2wd just with 4wd engaged. You would use this on dirt tracks and roads that are not particularly taxing when it comes to pushing the vehicle forward. Whenever you are on a dirt track it is wise to be in 4wd, it is very easy to lose control on corners on dusty and corrugated roads as there is a lot less traction for the tyres.

Part time 4wd do not generally have a differential running between the axels. This generally limits the use of 4wd to dirt roads or even more challenging terrain as there is equal power and speed going to all wheels. If you are not on a dirt road, eventually you can damage the drive train with “wind up”. This happens when some wheels are doing greater distances than others due to cornering and the drive train can’t undo the inequalities is distances by “slipping”, like they can on dirt roads.

What kinds of 4wd campers for hire are there?

With all the vehicles available to make 4wd campers out of, the manufacturers have settled on relatively few kinds of 4wd Campers for Hire. Take a look here at what base models they have chosen and the pros and cons of each style.


Apollo4WD-300x202Toyota Hilux
The Hilux is built primarily for the trades industry like plumbers, road works and the general kind of outdoor works. It normally has a flat bed on the rear to throw tools and machinery into. It is a reliable truck and is a market leader in Australia for what it was designed for. As an alternative to the flat bed on the back, the camper hire companies have instead built on a living area complete with beds and kitchen sink.
Designed for 2 people only, you are unable to get from the front cabin of this 4wd camper into the the living area directly. You have to get out and walk around the the door at the back. Many of this style also have a pop-top element so the living quarters are compressed down for travel and you have to “pop it up” to its full height once you are parked up for the evening.
In general the living quarters of these kinds of 4wd campers for hire are the nicest in the market and are the easiest to live in. Some allow for cooking inside others have to do the cooking outside this kind of 4wd camper, however most the time there is an awning provided in case it is raining at the time.
In general the Hilux has lower ground clearance and less grunt than some of the kinds of 4wd campers for hire, but if you are looking to do some of the better maintained dirt tracks in Australia, then this model might suit you.


Mitsubishi Triton
CheapaCampa4berth4wd-300x139A competitor to the Toyota Hilux (above) in the market for work utility in the city and country, this kind of 4wd camper is built along the same concept – a living area loaded onto the back. However, the Triton has been designed as a 4 person camper. It has a 2nd row of seats (dual cab) and so can can have baby booster seats installed. The extra cab space at the back means that there is less room for the living space that is loaded onto the tray but they use the space in a different way allowing for 4 people to sleep in it. In general though, this kind of 4wd camper for hire has a smaller sized fuel tank but a bigger fridge. Both the Triton and the Hilux are Diesel fuel making it easy to find fuel in the outback. There are some fuel stops that don’t carry any fuel other than diesel, so if you get really remote, be careful if you are in a petrol camper.
Like the Hilux, the Triton does not have the ground clearance of some other vehicles and in general less people in the country areas use Mitsubishi, so if it breaks down, you might be waiting longer for parts.


Toyota Landcruiser
Britz4WD-300x190The Toyota Landcruiser is seen as the the most reliable of all the kinds of 4wd campers for hire. It is the largest, tallest, heaviest and gutsiest. It has a bigger, more powerful V8 turbo engine that the previous 2 don’t have, it has the highest ground clearance so you can get down just about any road or track, it has dual fuel tanks, a huge water tank and reliability that no other kind of 4wd camper for hire can claim. It is, of course, also the most expensive to hire.
Designed for a maximum of 3 people (but better as a 2 person) The living quarters of this kind of 4wd camper are built within the confines of the vehicle itself. You can’t WALK through to the front, but you can climb over so during the night, it means you can throw luggage and other equipment in the front cabin and still access it from the rear. Something that can’t be done in the last 2 models. For those 2 you will have to get out and walk around.


Fun Road. Put it into 4wd Low and have high ground clearance

It is a part time 4wd campervan so you have to chose when to lock it in to 4wd and that will involve slowing right down (preferably stopping) before choosing to go into Hi4 or Low4. You also need to get out and lock in the front wheels by turning a disc at the hub but once locked in you have the best traction out of all the models listed so far.
The 2 biggest advantages of this vehicle for off-roading is the engine and the ground clearance. There are a number of roads in the Kimberley and Pilbara regions of Western Australia I can think of that the Hilux and Triton simply won’t get down due to rocks and ruts – particularly after being loaded with the living quarters on the back, the passengers and their luggage.
If you want total freedom to go on any road you come across, this is the vehicle you want. The V8 turbo can haul this beast up amazingly steep inclines, tracks you would look at normally and just say “no way”, are often easily chewed up by the Landcruiser. This can also be partially attributed to the tyres. The Hilux and the Trition standard tyres are built for highway cruising and sealed roads, if you get on to a muddy track, they are more likely to slip, but the Landcruiser comes fitted with more “crossover” style tyres that have better nubbling (my word) around the edges that make for much better bite in the slippery conditions.

All in all, each of these vehicles has proven themselves to be reliable enough to be used as one of the kinds of 4wd campers for hire but each one has its own little niche area to fill, you are best to try work out in advance which niche best suits you.

If you are interested in finding the best priced campervan hire in Perth for what you want to do in Western Australia, the head to the booking form on the home page.