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Is the Let’s Go Caravan and Camping Sale just like a Caravan and Camping Show?
The Let’s Go Caravan and Camping Sale 2018 was held at the Adelaide Showgrounds for 4 days from Thursday 26th July to Sunday 29th July 2018. It was a huge success as far as numbers through the doors with exhibitors saying it was the busiest one yet. The organisers, Caravan And Camping SA really pushed that this was not another show. Instead, it was specifically a sale where local and national dealers come to offer the best prices possible.
We went along to find out!
We visited on Sunday morning at 10am when the doors had just been opened. We purchased our tickets online, whch is just the norm for us, but could have easily purchased them at the ticket booth for the same price as there were no queues, either when entering or leaving later in the day.
A quick scan of the tickets as we go through the main gate and an offer of the Let’s Go Caravan and Camping Sale Directory – yes please – and we’re in.
Pick up one of these Directory’s if you get a chance, they are useful, especially if you are trying to find something specific, or need to head back to somewhere where you want a second look. They also usually offer a competition on them to enter – this time a Waeco Fridge where we entered our filled in slip at the Stirling Angas Pavilion.
The first notable difference were the ticket prices are a little cheaper than the other shows held during the year.
For this 2018 Sale, tickets were $12 for adults, $10 for concessions and children under 16 free. Compared the main show of the year, the Let’s Go Caravan and Camping Show, normally held in February at the same venue, tickets prices for 2018 were $15 for adults, $12 for concessions and children under 16 free. This show is held over 5 days, instead of the 4 for this event.
Compare it again against the annual SA Boating & Fishing Show with the joint Adelaide 4WD & Adventure Show, also held at the Adelaide Showgrounds, and these tickets are $18 for adults, $14 for concessions, $9 for children aged 12-15 years and free for children under 12. This weekend event, held over just 3 days could have a higher ticket price justified by having a joint outdoors show.
However, there is usually a number of grumbles from those feeling the exhibitors should be paying enough exhibitor fees to cover the cost of entry.
The additional costs for the bigger shows no doubt come from the number of different activities and presentations at the main shows, which is the second notable difference at this Sale event.
Show presentations and forums
On first impressions of entering the Goyder Pavilion, it was just like walking into the main show in February. Caravans everywhere. Numerous signs hanging from the ceiling. Flag banners everywhere! You’ll notice that most of the signage is the same used from February!
However, compared to a ‘Show’, there were no forums set up, central stages for presenters or places to learn new skills, and find out about new innovations. This really is a ‘Sale’ for exhibitors to show off their stuff with minimal fuss (or distractions in their case) around them.
There was just one presentation this weekend. This come from the impressive Smoke & Steel BBQ Team who were doing outdoor live cooking demonstrations on Saturday and Sunday. This team of 3 clearly knew what they were talking about with low and slow cooking of lamb and steaks in their number of different smokers and Webers. The wind was a bit of a challenge for these guys, but as World Steak Cooking Champions, it wasn’t really the same problem as it would be for you and I!
Some of the dealers were holding live demonstrations on how to set up their products. Opus, with their air-filled camper trailer were holding them randomly during the day. The Dirt Off Road Campers had their times advertised and it did attract a number of people to see how it all worked.
There was also a lack of destination type exhibitors at this Let’s Go Caravan and Camping Sale event as well. Tourism boards, Big 4, Discovery Parks and local resorts didn’t make an appearance. With more space dedicated to caravans, this was a shame as everyone loves to start planning where their next adventure will be!
More space for displays
Because of the lack of forums, stages, etc., this meant that exhibitor displays were actually bigger. The Sale itself was pretty big, with the Goyder, Jubilee, Ridley and Wayville Pavilions all bursting at the seams. We were surprised that all the exhibition halls were open for the event.
Hamilton Boulevard also had some good displays outside, although slightly less that the main show, no doubt because of the colder, windy weather. There was a nice touch by having an open pit fire going outdoors which made a cosy feature to huddle around.
And the Sterling Angas Pavilion – well, we’ve not seen that many people in one place for a long time.
It was good to see Bluewater Marine making an appearance. They had their pontoon boats, which don’t seem to be that popular in South Australia yet, car toppers, tinnies and trailers on display for the real outdoor enthusiast.
It gave exhibitors who don’t normally get the bigger pitches, more room to display their products. We noticed that Signature Camper Trailers had a bigger display this time round (we like these guys so that was good), and were noticing more of the smaller dealers like Far Horizon Campers and The Dirt Off Road Campers.
It got really busy!
From speaking to some of the dealers, the show was busy but people weren’t really buying. In Adelaide, people really do like to do their research before committing, and is a good reason for these events being busy. But when they do buy, they are generally more satisfied!
At 10am on this Sunday morning, it was reasonably quiet. When walking around, it was difficult to duck those reps who were ready to pounce on you as they had nothing to do at that point! Come 12pm though, and it was a different story. There were people everywhere. The Stirling Angas Pavilion was packed full of displays, and come midday, it was beginning to get a little difficult to walk around normally.
The main halls were easier to manoeuvre around, but were especially busy around the accessories areas.
Not as many accessories or stuff for 4WDs
This really did feel like a big caravan event. No questioning it. There were a few displays of camper trailers from the likes of Cub Campers (Dave Benson), Eagle Camper Trailers, LumberJack Camper Trailers, The Dirt Off Road Campers, Ezytrail Campers, Skamper Kampers, Far Horizon Campers and Signature Camper Trailers.
But this really was a showing off event for the big boys. From the looks of the Directory map, Camperagent RV Sales, Dave Benson Caravans, Australian Caravan Co. (Jayco) and Cameron Caravans SA, who took up all of the Ridley Pavilion, were the space hungry exhibitors. They accounted for about 30% of floor space.
The usual accessories exhibitors were on display such as Hall Towbars, Cara Rest and Home of 12 Volt, but if you’ve been to shows before, this is nothing new. We were disappointed with the lack of 4WD stuff. There was a missed opportunity here, especially as trailer campers are becoming more and more popular.
It’s not a camping show
This may not be a difference to the main show, but’s it’s a frustrating point!
We don’t understand why there isn’t more camping gear at these shows. Sorry, sales. It’s almost as if the ‘camping’ should be moved from the event title. Apart from a few swags, and a couple of roof tents, that was it for camping. Oh, and a few accessories if you want to include those.
I’m not sure if it’s already a tried and tested model that didn’t work, but it has been this way for years. Why aren’t the likes of TentWorld, Snowys and Aussie Disposals coming to these shows? If they are, we miss them everytime! Even Anaconda and BCF, who probably say they have a show everyday in their stores, are missing a trick.
These events attract people who enjoy the outdoor lifestyle. It doesn’t necessarily mean they want to come and buy a shiny, luxurious 28ft caravan! It doesn’t cater for those who like to get down and dirty, and want to spend a few hundred bucks to upgrade their camping gear, or try something different out. Just saying!
It was still a good show. Damn it, I mean sale
Frustrations aside, it was a good day for us. We found some more competition against the Signature Elite Camper Trailer that we absolutely love. Love so much that we’ve written off at least 5 other models that are very similar, but they just aren’t the Signature!
The Tuff Track from Far Horizon Campers is tempting, especially as it comes with more accessories that we would want anyway. Coming in a little cheaper than the Signature, it does have that slightly unfinished feel about it which we are trying to get our heads around. And we can’t believe we haven’t seen them before at shows.
We also found a new love for the Nissan Navara ST-X! Lakeside Nissan had their usual display outside the Jubilee Pavilion and this striking red ST-X really did catch our attention! At $57k with $12k discount as a show special, we’ll have to arrange a test drive.
There were some good deals around with some high numbers of 1000’s being displayed as discounts for show specials. Only the exhibitors will really know if these are true ‘show specials’ (note how none of them changed their wording to ‘sale specials’!) but they are tempting. Haggle hard with these prices, and if you don’t buy at the event, make sure you make a note of the prices to try and get the same if you go to their showroom later on!
It was also good to see Deluxe Camper Trailers Hire as we feel this is definitely an up and coming trend. We love the concept and plan to hire quite a few before we finally decide what it is we really want from our camper.
One show special that got Sara a bit wound up was the LumberJack Camper Trailers accessories deals. They claim to have up to $3000 worth of extras thrown in for free when you purchase one at the event, but one of them is a jockey wheel! We’ll let you decide if a jockey wheel should be an extra, or pretty standard by any stretch of the imagination!
We were seriously considering buying a roof rack for the Captiva today. We’ve been looking for a while so it’s about time. We approached the Rhino Rack representative as we have always liked these ones, and he could not have been any less interested in us if he tried. Big Fat No Sale. We would never buy anything from someone like that. Rhino-Racks, you let us down and we’ll now probably purchase another brand.
But the guy from Home of 12 Volt was much better! Sara spotted the LED bar lights and after being shown some different ones, we went with the LED flexible white/amber light bar strip with dimmer. Perfect. Now we have the Thunder Battery Box, we can get stuff like this! And amber lights are good for my mozzie attracting blood which may give me a slightly better chance to survive the night!
(UPDATE: Since returning home, we found out that instead of paying $55 for this Lightfox LED Camping Light at the sale, we could have bought it on Ebay for $30 with free postage. Or for just a white light version would have been just $25 with free postage! Even with Amazon, it would have only cost $43.66 with free delivery!)
All up we spent about 3 and half hours at the sale. We got a few quotes for an air cooler, Weber, driving lights and more to think about when it comes to buying a camper trailer.
We used to spend hours and hours going in and out of caravans, but our lack of doing it this time, clearly shows we’ve moved away from this as an option for our Big Lap.
The Let’s Go Caravan and Camping Sale is a worthwhile event to get inspiration, ideas and more of an idea of what it is you want. It is more sales than show, so just bear this in mind. It may also mean not as much time spent there than you would during a full show day.
Oh, and don’t forget to grab a load of brochures and leaflets to take home but give them to someone else to carry! Not guilty!
Did you go to the Let’s Go Caravan and Camping Sale? What did you think? Worth going?
Also, if you own a Signature Trailer Camper, we would love to know what you think about it!
Inspirational content to spend more time outdoors, in blue spaces and experiencing Water Wellness.