53: Aug 2 2014
What' s in the Box?
because getting there is half the fun...
$50 Caltex Fuel Card!
A close look at these versatile motorhome alternatives
US Winnebagos for Australia! Winnebago America finally moves Downunder…
Inside Trailblazers’ all new tough truck camper…
Paradise Oasis 4WD…
Final instalment of an excellent owner adventure!
" No one knows what works for you, better than you."
That is why at Sunliner we think you know what you are looking for in a motorhome. Our philosophy is to listen and work with you to create your motorhome dream.
Personalise your journey....
About iMotorhome | 3
iMotorhome eMagazine is published twice monthly and available by free subscription from www.imotorhome.com.au. Your letters and contributions are always welcome! Contributors Follow us on Facebook and Twitter
Jess Ciampa, Emily Barker, Elizabeth & Helmut Mueller
Published by iMotorhome
Design and Production
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On my mind | 5
The Cost of Living We take many things for granted in this country; like stable government (?), a cohesive society, robust economy, heath care, education and a welfare system to hopefully assist those doing it tough. We are indeed a lucky country and with all the strife in the world at present it’s good to reflect on just how well off we are. We are also blessed with an abundance of space and apart from certain parts of our most populace cities, we all have room to move. The right to travel is a basic given in Australian society; built on the rights of free citizens and the practical needs of a population thinly scattered across vast distances. Our love of/ need to travel is often instilled at an early age and it comes as no surprise that when retirement looms, thoughts of life on the open road often follow. I’m not going to get into another free camping versus caravan parks debate. There is more than enough for-and-against material swirling around out there at present. I just wanted to mention how important I believe it is that as many people as possible ‘hit the road,’ and not for any other reason than to look after your health – especially mental. Did you know that five Australian men took their lives yesterday? Five more will today. And five tomorrow. It’s a staggering statistic when you think about it; made all the more tragic by the effect it has on those left behind. It’s also frightening that 75 per cent of suicides in this country are men. Typically, the cycle that leads to this starts with depression caused through disconnection and isolation.
One of my nephews took his life some years back – so this is personal – and he was isolated and disconnected. I can see that, looking back. Hindsight is so very clear. Daniel was a young man, but there is a large number of men your age – my age – who feature in these statistics. And while youth suicide programs have done valuable work in reducing the numbers of young people (mainly men) taking their lives, there is no structured government policy for men like you and me. If you’re struggling with trying to find your place in a world that has changed due to retirement, redundancy or personal loss there are organisations to help you get back on track. Beyond Blue and the Black Dog Institute are two, while the Australian Men’s Shed Association can help you meet new people in your local area and develop new interests and skills. But travel is great therapy and hitting the road, seeing new sights and meeting new people is a real tonic. It’s hard to be isolated and disconnected when you're on the road. Even if your’e not particularly social, people come up and just start chatting at camp sites, petrol stations and the like. Attending big rallies like the CMCA’s is a sure-fire recipe for meeting people and making new friends, too. So don’t become a statistic. We don’t need any more. We need people on the highways and byways sharing experiences, establishing friendships and enriching each others’ lives. If you know someone disconnecting, reconnect. And if you need help yourself, just ask. The cost of living might only be your pride…
6 | Content
On my Mind
Who we are, where and other legal stuff
The Cost of Living
On your Mind
The latest Marketplace offers
User Guide How to get the best from iMotorhome eMagazine
Share your thoughts for the chance to win a $50 Caltex fuel card!
Whatâ€™s happening in the wider RV world - and beyond
Need advice on a technical matter? Ask us!
Phil from Trailblazers RV making light of our photo shootâ€Ś
Content | 7
Day Test: Trailblazers RV Overland XP
Mobile Tech: SkyView Free
Next Issue & Show Calendar
What’s in the Box? – Lifting the lid on Trailblazers’ all-new truck camper
A close look at a viable motorhome alternative!
Paradise by the Dashboard Lights - Final Instalment
Discover the magic of the night sky – for free!
What’s coming up and what shows are on soon
A slide-on could be just the thing for your next RV!
8 | Resources resources
because getting there is half the fun...
Missed an Issue? We've got them all saved in one spot for you. Click HERE to view the complete list of back issues.
Missed a road test? No problem! Click HERE to find them all listed by manufacturer. because getting there is half the fun...
because getting there is half the fun...
Making a V-Line!
because getting there is half the fun...
because getting there is half the fun...
Esprit de Cor Blimey!
If you’re looking for luxury and ability, Traillite’s Landmark Oakura 758 could be just the ticket…
Auto Trail dares to be different with its V-Line 600…
Auto-Sleeper’s Malvern is an English motorhome that’s a fine holiday destination in its own right…
Dethleffs ‘baby’ A-class is something to ogle at…
Story and Images by Malcolm Street
Story and Images by Malcolm Street
Story and Images by Malcolm Street
Review and images by Malcolm Street
iMotorhome Marketplace | 9
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10 | User Guide
How to get the best from iMotorhome eMagazine Note: This magazine is designed to deliver the best reading experience on an Apple iPad.
General This magazine is published in the Portable Document Format (PDF). This means that once downloaded it is a self-contained document that can be stored on your smartphone, tablet device, e-reader, laptop or desktop computer and read off-line at your convenience. PDFs are clever things that allow a degree of interactivity not possible with a conventional magazine. For example: The front cover and contents pages feature links in their headings that will take you directly to the relevant articles in the magazine. If you are using a laptop or desktop computer you will see the mouse cursor change to a small hand with a pointing finger, which signifies you can click on the link below it All advertisements are ‘live’ and linked to the advertisers’ websites. This means if you touch one (smartphone/tablet) or click on one (laptop/ desktop) you will be taken to the appropriate website automatically if you are connected to the Internet. If you are not connected to the Internet you will be asked if you want to connect, to complete the action Text that is highlighted and/or underlined in blue is also a ‘live’ link that will either take you to the webpage or website of the topic being discussed, or open an email (if appropriate).
iPad and iPhone Users Important: Be sure you have the free iBooks app installed. Books displays a full page at a time and allows you to read the magazine by swiping the pages sideways, just like turning the pages in a printed magazine. iBooks also has a Library function that displays a small thumbnail of the front cover of each issue. You can even create Collections so that you can store each year’s issues separately or by vehicle brand tested, or however you desire.
Using iBooks On downloading each issue of iMotorhome eMagazine on your iPad or iPhone you’ll briefly see a message at the very top of the front cover that says “Open in iBooks.” If you miss it, don’t worry. Just tap the space immediately above the iMotorhome title and it will reappear for a few seconds. When it does, tap it and your issue will be moved to iBooks and reopen. You need to do this with each issue you download. Once open in iBooks you’ll see a number of icons across the very top of the page and a strip of tiny page thumbnails across the very bottom. To get rid of them simply tap the page anywhere there isn't text (touching text will take you to the relevant article). To make the icons reappear just tap anywhere on the page again. To read your copy of iMotorhome eMagazine, swipe the page from right to left. Reverse this to go back a page. To go to the front cover at any time just tap on the page your on and then touch the tiny page icon at the far left, along the very bottom. To leave the issue you’re reading and go back to your Library, tap the page and then touch Library in the top lefthand corner.
User Guide | 11
How to get the best from iMotorhome eMagazine Laptop/Desktop Computer Users The software that allows you to view a PDF document – Acrobat Reader – has a number of controls at the top of the page. Chief amongst these are two square buttons in the centre; one showing a page with an arrow across it and the other showing a page with arrows across and top-to-bottom. Press these and you can view the page at the full width of your screen, or the whole page fitted to you screen, respectively. For further help or information email email@example.com.
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On your mind | 13
It’s only fitting that since Ed has his say in On My Mind, you should be able to have yours too. If you have anything to say – or ask – just drop a line to letters@imotorhome. com.au and we’ll share it with
our readers. We’ll also reward the most interesting, useful or thoughtful letter each issue with a $50 Caltex fuel card to help you on your way.
Tip Hatrick! Greetings Richard & team. Many thanks for a good production – after many years of camping/caravanning/motorhoming I've three suggestions: 1. Our motorhome has a 'pelmet' like board under the overhead cupboards, I've stuck large plastic hooks on the reverse side and my wife has made little hanging bags for storing items we need near the bed head. We have a few of these. 2. There is enough room between the toilet fixture and vanity cupboard to put a pair of two-litre plastic cordial bottles, which I fill with the water otherwise wasted as you wait for the hot water to come through the shower. This saves water and can be used to flush the toilet in the middle of the night when you don't want to put a noisy pump on and wake the other!
3. Most light truck based motorhomes are open all the way from the windscreen to the back wall and the cab aircon can't cool it all. So I've stuck hooks on to the walls each side just behind the cab (which get double duty being used to hang pot mitts, etc) and my wife made a cotton curtain to hang up, just behind our seats in summer conditions. As hot air rises and cool air falls the curtain doesn't need to go all the way to the ceiling. We’ve driven in 40-plus degree heat in air-conditioned comfort! Blessings, Owen & Jeanette. Thanks for those great ideas, Owen and Jeanette! I’m sure our readers will find them very useful. In return please accept this issue’s $50 Caltex Cash card, which will help keep you on the road a little longer.
14 | On your mind
El Questro Troubles We travel in a somewhat unconventional rig, a Unimog (ex ambulance) converted into a basic campervan/motorhome. On a recent trip covering the Gibbs River Rd we passed through El Questro where we were refused entry to the riverside camp sites because our "CARAVAN" was deemed to be "too big". We did enquire if its height was the problem, but no, that was apparently not the issue. They do allow Landcruisers with camper trailers in the same camp sites, which are twice the size of our "caravan". I think it was just a case of inexperienced staff (although the manager was called but did not
bother to even look at the "caravan") but let this serve as a warning to the bigger rig folk you are not welcome at El Questro's riverside campsites. Regards, Michiel Sorry to hear of your troubles Michiel. I have contacted El Questro and shared your experience with them, but at this stage no reply has been forthcoming. If/when I hear something I’ll let you know. Note: Readers can follow Michiel travels by visiting his well written and illustrated blog HERE.
Fiamma Awning Blues Hi there Richard. Had a chap approach me at a park in Nambucca Heads to discuss Winnebago/Avida. Told him about your magazine and he should get on board. We have a common complaint re Winnebago motorhomes in that the awning supplied – a Fiamma 45s – is as useful as udders on a bull. I have a Birdsville that’s two years old he has an Eyre bought in Newcastle about the same time.
another unit the first criteria would be to check the awning. The unit used on the Esperance is certainly more solid. Having said that I will check out options to change awning soon. Regards, Tim
Hi Tim, thanks for spreading the word and sorry to hear about your awning issues. According to Fiamma’s website the F45S is a “Winch awning It should be noted the Fiamma 45s is only a " sunshade" not an awning. I had problems early in for wall installation” and it’s pictured on the side the piece and immediate advice from Winnebago of a small Euro A-class motorhome. What issues have you and your Eyre friend had with yours? was that I had not used the unit in question as From personal experience these smaller wind-out per instructions. When paying the money being awnings are pretty light duty and I would never asked for a new motorhome you would expect leave one out if I left the vehicle unattended, something worthwhile for this type of unit. With or even put it out if conditions were windy. To the Eyre, the chap “cannot" put an alternative be honest I’m no fan of awnings at all and only unit on it for structural / mounting reasons. He ever use them in close to ideal conditions (little/ paid $145,000 and we both think it a bit of a no wind and us sitting under it). I’m not sure the joke. brand of vehicle is as much the issue as simply Should I ever be in the position to purchase the design limitations of the awning itself.
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16 | News
US Winnebagos in Australia images are accurate or for illustration purposes at this stage.
conic US manufacturer Winnebago has entered into a licensing agreement to allow newly formed Winnebago RV Pty Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Brisbane-based manufacturer and rental company Apollo, to “use certain of Winnebago’s trademarks on motorhomes, campervans and caravans across Australia and New Zealand.” The official website is www.gowinnebago.com.au. According to a press release dated 29 July, “Motorhomes to be manufactured under licence in Brisbane have been designed from the ground up to reveal a new standard in Australian motorhomes. Swivel cabin seats, a flat floor from drivers cabin right through to rear, dual living spaces and full queen size beds will offer apartment style living. All models will be tested for Australian conditions and prices will range from $40,000 (for compact caravans), through to $170,000 for top of the range motorhomes.” Motorhomes aside, Apollo will also import Australian designed and compliant caravans. A feature of the range will be the US-built ‘Minnie’™ caravan, which has been the fastest growing product for Winnebago in America. “Designed to appeal to the younger market, the ‘Minnie’™ is a modern looking caravan with a wide variety of functional, flexible interiors,” the press release says. On-sale dates and prices are yet to be confirmed and although the new website shows various “Winnebago” motorhome models, iMotorhome was unable to confirm if the
A dealer network is in development and Apollo is taking enquiries from dealers wishing to stock the new range. Apollo CEO Luke Trouchet said the agreements for Apollo to become the official licensee and distributor of Winnebago products will create opportunities for dealerships all over Australia and New Zealand. Winnebago USA President Randy J. Potts said he was thrilled to entrust the Winnebago brand to Apollo in Australia and New Zealand. “We’ve been working with Apollo over the last two years, developing a motorhome rental program for their rental business in the United States,” he said. “Apollo, as an Australianowned business that promotes the caravan and motorhome lifestyle, is an ideal party for Winnebago Industries to work with. We are very pleased to be able to offer our brand name and products to Apollo in Australia and New Zealand and we look forward to seeing many Winnebago travellers on the road in Australia and New Zealand in the years ahead,” he said. Trouchet expressed strong confidence in the suitability of Winnebago recreational vehicles for Australian road conditions, saying, “We’ve been designing and manufacturing motorhomes, trailers and caravans for rugged Australian conditions for almost 30 years, and I know those sold under the brand of Winnebago Industries, Inc. will perform very well here.” Winnebago will be the third RV brand retailed by Apollo. Apollo’s original RV brand, Talvor, will continue, manufacturing and importing caravans, motorhomes and campervans for Apollo’s rental fleets and as a stand-alone brand. Apollo is also the exclusive distributor for the European ADRIA range of caravans.
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18 | News
Lorraine Smith runs for CMCA Board
hile iMotorhome endeavours to remain apolitical regarding matters at the CMCA (and within the RV industry generally), we are pleased to support Lorraine Smith (N55008) in her efforts to win a CMCA Board position. Lorraine has been know to us since the establishment of the Free Choice Camps website and Facebook page, where she has worked hard to help preserve our rights to freedom of choice camping. We are also familiar with her considerable voluntary work for BlazeAid earlier this year, following last summer’s disastrous bush fires early in the season. In her own words: “I have the qualifications, experience and background as a professional business consultant
to adequately fulfil the role as a CMCA director and with new blood and new ideas on the Board I would work to have members’ needs and ideas strongly presented and incorporated in the club’s future plans and directions.” “I have set up a website in support of my nomination so please click HERE to visit and feel free to ask any questions on the “contact me” link.” Voting papers will be in the August Wanderer and must be returned by midday 5 September 2014. Full CMCA members are encouraged to exercise their right to vote and to investigate all candidates before doing so.
Mobile Lawn Bowls! coach is going to see a lot of people through the doors over the next month,” an AAT Kings spokesperson said.
our company AAT Kings has converted a luxury tour coach into a mobile indoor bowls venue. It hit the road in the middle of July and is currently making its way from the ACT to Cairns before returning to its home town of Sydney for a three day Guiness Book of Records attempt from 1-3 September. “Throughout this entire journey the coach stops every day at a different regional town. Partnering with our travel agency friends throughout these sixty regions, our sales team have set up some fantastic free events at which our coach will be the star. Our partners have rallied their customers and communities with this quirky, never-seenbefore concept, and from all accounts the
“We have partnered with Scania, our major coach company partner, and they have provided us with a brand new coach to use for the project. Thank you Scania! Most seats have been removed and replaced with a fabulous customdesigned astro-turf lawn bowls green. We’ve had great support from Australia’s leading astro-turf company, Grassman.” “After six weeks touring Australia the coach will return to Sydney where AAT Kings will attempt a Guinness World Record for the “longest marathon playing indoor bowls.” To find daily itinerary details and a video showing the vehicle in action, click HERE.
WE’VE BROADENED OUR HORIZONS
The Horizon Motorhomes family just got bigger and you’ll love the new additions. Introducing the BANKSIA +2 with additional seating and a permanent double bed and the CASUARINA, bringing extra space and flexibility to the Fiat Ducato*
LL IN 29 A C S 9 R AM OL ive PE D E r R X ba Stre VA CLU llin et N & SI ac , Ba M VEL am ll O Y pe ina TO BY rs. 0 RH co 2 6 OM m 68 E .au 1 C 15 EN 55 TR E
Now you can choose from eight Horizon models, all passionately built by master craftsmen using only the finest fixtures and fittings.
20 | News
oung Australian adventurer Ashley Newland has invented a pocket sized ‘washing machine’ that is taking the global camping industry by storm. Devised over Friday night after-work drinks with a travelling mate, Ashley hatched the idea for the Scrubba Washbag as an ultra-light luggage solution for a trip to Mount Kilimanjaro. “I had the idea if we could make a flexible washboard in a sealable waterproof bag then we could actually change the way people travel.”
Using a flexible dish drainer and a generous amount of glue, an early model Scrubba was born. Ashley road tested the Scrubba in Africa, then Europe and South America, and to prove the product could hold its own he launched a three-month crowdfunding campaign hoping to raise $2500. The result was $25,000, which allowed the production of the first batch and to invest in branding and public relations. Ashley also used his expertise in patent law to secure patents in Australia and New Zealand, and patents pending in another 52 countries. Weighing in at just 140 grams and comprising a surprisingly heavy duty and waterproof wash bag with built-in ‘washboard’ surface, the innovative, durable and highly portable Scrubba Washbag is available online from $64.95, inc free postage within Australia.
Thinking about a self-drive touring adventure?
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22 | News
Marketplace Directory Grows!
he iMotorhome website Marketplace Directory is growing. It’s designed to link you with businesses that can help, no matter what you’re looking for. We’d like to welcome the following companies and hope you’ll consider them if and when you’re in need of their specialised services: Avida Albury Wodonga At Avida Albury Wodonga, on the NSW / Victorian border, not only can you purchase a new Avida, you can have it (and any other motorhome) serviced! Avida Albury Wodonga is now featured in the Motorhome & Campervan Dealers category of our Marketplace Directory. A dedicated and fully trained service and parts department means this country centre will be welcomed by locals as well as motorhomers travelling between Melbourne and Sydney. Visit this website and learn about the vehicle detailing, storage facilities, parts and accessories.
Brett of Brett’s Camper Care Does your motorhome or campervan need repairs or new accessories fitted? Brett of Brett’s Camper Care is also a CMCA member who specialises in most types of work. Brett has joined us in the Repairs and Service – Motorhomes category of our Marketplace Directory, so if you’re based in Brisbane or passing through, visit his website and book in to get all those little jobs done – efficiently and economically! Rowmont USA Imports Rowmont USA Imports is the latest addition in the Fifth Wheelers category of our Marketplace Directory. As the name suggests they supply fifth wheelers and trucks from the USA in all sizes, makes and models, including Chevrolet and Dodge pick-ups. They provide full Australian compliance and are Department of Transport licensed for air brake and suspension systems over 4.5 tonnes. Call today and let Rowmont USA Imports take the hassle out of finding and supplying your perfect imported fifth-wheeler.
News | 23 Sunliner Sunliner is now featured in the Motorhome Manufacturers’ category of our Marketplace Directory. Sunliner produces a large range of campervans and motorhomes from small pop-top vans that can double as a second car to large, luxurious motorhomes for full-time touring. Sunliner’s unique multi-choice system let you select your layout, chassis, peak, style and specifications – to make yours a truly unique vehicle!
Café, an award-winning children’s playground and dump point. There’s even an RV parking area with free dump point!
Taronga Western Plains Zoo When asked how long it is since you last visited a zoo, the answer often is, “Too long!” Dubbo’s Taronga Western Plains Zoo, the latest addition in the Attractions, Activities, Adventures and Tours category of our Marketplace, is well worth a visit when you are next in the Dubbo area. The population of over 1,500 animals includes many cute offspring from successful breeding programs. The Visitor Plaza and free access area offers information, ticketing, the Zoo Shop, Bakhita’s
The Wirraway 260 SL
With it’s Full Length Slideout Room & Apartment Styled Layout !
From WIRRAWAY, “Australia’s Most Innovative Motorhomes” Wirraway is a dedicated family owned business striving for Motorhome excellence. Our Motorhomes are our passion! Every Wirraway Motorhome is handbuilt and designed by experienced motorhomers who know the importance of making life easier on the road. New to our Range is the brilliant ‘live like a movie star’ Wirraway 260 SL, the latest in our 260 series; our EuroStyle 260 with it’s European styled interior and “The Motorhome of the Year”, the Wirraway 260. Wirraway Motorhomes feature opulence, style and all the legendary design, electrical and construction innovations that are unique to all Wirraways.
Each Wirraway Model is unique! - All are a Must See!
View Our New Website to view All Models, Download Brochures &Virtual RealityTours For details contact: Rob Tonkin - Wirraway Motorhomes, 6 Hynes Court, Mildura Vic 3500
Phone / Fax: (03) 50 230 230 - New Email: email@example.com & New Website: www.wirraway.com.au On The Road Wirraway 260SL Slideout Motorhome - 2012 © Rex Willmer
24 | Tech Talk
Tech Talk - Your Tech Questions Answered… Have a technical question and like some expert advice? Drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org and Paradise Motor Home’s Ben Maclean will do his best to answer!
Hi Rob. Sorry, we don’t have much experience with those hatches here. Sounds like a worn or broken cog or belt, could also be misaligned or loose in the mechanism. Note: iMotorhome contacted Dometic’s service department, which in turn has contacted Rob directly to sort the problem. We’ll bring readers an update when the problem is resolved.
Diesel Heater Maintenance? Your advice would be appreciated on roof hatch that no longer opens on pressing the switch, but makes a ratchet like noise. When I push it manually whilst holding the switch on it will open under that support to about half way and then continue without my physical contribution. It’s a Dometic SEITZ MIDI HEKI according to the Dometic website images and is about three and a half years old, with low usage. The motor is working fine but is not engaging with the mechanism that physically lifts the hatch. The lowering of the hatch operates normally. Cheers, Rob.
The article in Issue 51 on camper heaters, comparing diesel and LPG was very informative. I would like to have seen maintenance and cleaning needs included for each type of heater. I have heard the carbon build up in diesel heaters is high and requires regular cleaning. How often? Thanks, Tony. Tony, in our experience the heaters require very little maintenance, customers go for years without doing anything, but may be due to lower use than in Europe. The only real maintenance required is inspecting/cleaning the glow pin. If you were fastidious you may do this annually. Click here to Continued...
Tech Talk | 25 ...Continued
see the Eberspacher Airtronic service manual, maintenance starts on page 20. Referring to the article in Issue 51, here are two excerpts that will interest you: "Of the German units I consider Eberspacher to be the best. The heating capacity, fuel consumption and power consumption of both is similar, although the Eberspacher is slightly more favourable. After considerable research it seems the Webasto isn't as easy to service and the blower motor design life is 3,000 hours against the Eberspacherâ€™s 5,000 hours." "Carbon build up in diesel heaters can be a problem and Eberspacher has a solution: The glow plug runs at the beginning and end of each run cycle to ensure excess fuel and carbon are cleared from the combustion chamber. A small amount of smoke is
produced during this burn off, but itâ€™s barely noticeable. Also, the Eberspacherâ€™s burner plate is larger, which means it's easier to maintain cleanliness, while the kit comes with a spark arrester/muffler and a fuel filter (inside the pump), unlike Webasto."
26 | Day Test: Trailblazers RV Overland XP 13800
What’s in the Box?
Lifting the lid on Trailblazers’ all-new truck camper… By Richard Robertson
Day Test: Trailblazers RV Overland XP 13800 | 27
The Overland XP’s roof is electrically operated, as are the rear legs that partially retract into the body. LED lighting on all sides (except front) adds nighttime security, while the big rear boot is at chest height and has good access.
s I wrote the first I reviewed this vehicle, “It’s difficult not to be impressed and/or intimidated by Trailblazers’ super-serious looking off-road truck camper. Perched atop huge single wheels and with enough driving lights to cook creatures at 100 metres, this is not a vehicle for shrinking violets. What it is, however, is about as close as you can get to a truly go-anywhere ‘motorhome’ without it having rotors on top and you needing a helicopter licence.”
“Trailblazers RV, a Melbourne based business that started out a decade or so ago importing slide-ons from Canada, now designs and manufactures its own slide-ons and fifth wheelers. Although the company has a standard range, every unit sold turns out to be a custom build, according to director Phil Richardson.” The reason I’m revisiting this capable, if unusual, vehicle is that while the truck remains the
28 | Day Test: Trailblazers RV Overland XP 13800
Vertical rear panels are close fitting air scoops designed to smooth airflow around the back. Anecdotal evidence claims a small fuel consumption improvement as a result.
same – for now – the slideon camper on the back is all new. Phil’s not at all keen on the term ‘slide-on’ for this particular unit because in reality most owners leave the rig permanently set up. Thinking of it more as an extreme expedition wagon with a removable accommodation module and you’ll get closer to the mark. For now at least, the big new camper is called the Overland XP 13800. If you want to read in detail about the specially modified Earth Cruiser – Mitsubishi Fuso 4X4 base vehicle click here to visit the Road Test section of our website, where you can read online or download the whole thing. You’ll also find it in Issue 31 of iMotorhome eMagazine, published on 17 August last year. The Mitsubishi is soon to be replaced by the more modern and capable Iveco Daily 4X4, which will be available in single and dual-cab versions. It’s party piece is a 24-speed gearbox with 3 gear levers that provides ultimate low-range reduction in excess of 100:1.
By comparison a good 4WD is around 40:1. This ability along with triple diff locks, big single wheels, compliant suspension and excellent ground clearance makes it the new darling of the expedition vehicle world. And in case you’re wondering about Iveco’s ability to build such a serious off-roader, the chassis, drive train and gearboxes are built by SCAM, an Italian company specialising in light tactical military vehicles. Trailblazers’ new Iveco/ Overland combination will be on display at the Melbourne Leisurefest at Sandown Racecourse, October 2-5, and we’ll have more on it after its public debut.
Outside the Box
he Overland XP is essentially a big box, with Seitz doubleglazed hopper windows with integrated screens and blinds on both sides and at the rear. It sits perfectly on the back of its host vehicle, without side protrusions and with its poptop retracted in line with the cab roof. This provides the maximum possible protection in thick bush settings, or when inching along tracks by jagged rock walls. It also allows the vehicle to fit inside a standard shipping container when international adventures beckon. Attached via shipping
Day Test: Trailblazers RV Overland XP 13800 | 29
The stairs are so long and sturdy they’d be at home on a small jet! container-style pins, the Overland XP can be removed should you want to establish a base camp and use the truck for other purposes. To do this two electric legs are built into the camper’s rear extremities and two attach to the front corners, the latter being stored between the cab and camper when not required.
Setting-up for use is straightforward. It involves opening the side door and pressing a button to raise the roof – again, electrically operated – then opening a small hatch beneath base of the door and deploying the very sturdy aluminium stairs. A substantial grab handle provides extra safety when
Custom stairs are extremely sturdy and retract neatly into a slot beneath the entry door. Like the roof, the awning is power operated and the switches for both are just inside the door.
using the stairs and it folds flush against the closed door when travelling. An electric awning provides shade and there’s a strong LED exterior light, while insect-screened vents in the pop-top valance provide good airflow and natural light, in addition to the side windows.
30 | Day Test: Trailblazers RV Overland XP 13800 The lockable boot is home to the main electrical controls, house batteries and gas cylinder storage compartment. It also has room for a small generator, but make sure it’s light!
At the rear a full-width lift-up hatch reveals a boot that houses easily accessible electrical controls, fuses, etc, plus two house batteries (four optional) and the gas cylinder storage compartment. There’s extra storage between the electrical panel and batteries, which in this case was occupied by a substantial generator, which needs to be removed for operation. As this compartment is a fair height off the ground a lightweight generator would be a better choice for most people! An LED floodlight and a gas bayonet connector are also provided. The driver’s side is clean apart from another high-mounted LED, a water filler, mains water and power connectors, the Truma hot water system’s exhaust and a hatch for the toilet cassette. An interesting design feature on this unit is a pair of close fitting air scoops on either side rear corner. Very close fitting and appearing to be made from carbon fibre, they sit maybe an inch from the camper’s smooth, compositepanel sides and are intended to help streamline the otherwise box vehicle. Anecdotally Phil reckons he’s seen an improvement of about one litre per hundred kilometres in fuel consumption – and they certainly look good – but just how suited they are to serious bush bashing I’m not sure.
Day Test: Trailblazers RV Overland XP 13800 | 31
Attached via shipping containerstyle pins, the Overland XP can be removed should you want to establish a base camp and use the truck for other purposes.
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Bedside storage is good and comes with a double powerpoint and reading light on each side. The newly designed stairs (below) are solid and provide easy access, aided by the large grab handle.
Inside the Box
The layout consists of a front kitchen that is split by the bathroom in the front driver’s-side corner, scending the air stairs – they’re so long a mid-positioned lounge that double as the and sturdy they’d be at home on a small dinette, and an ingenious queen bed at the rear jet – the first thing you notice is the that folds largely out of the way during the day, abundant headroom and contemporary decor. but extends to cover the dinette in the evening. Gloss white and matt silver/grey are the furniture But more on that later. and trim colours, with bright lemon-lime leather upholstery providing a splash of colour and Also worth noting is this unit comes with ducted touch of luxury. In fact the Overland XP is far reverse-cycle airconditioning, which lives more luxurious that you’d expect when viewing beneath the passenger side lounge and vents from outside. through a pair of long aluminium grills at floor level beneath each settee.
Day Test: Trailblazers RV Overland XP 13800 | 33 Kitchen Capers
aving the kitchen and lounge/dinette separated by the entry door means the cook can work largely undisturbed by their travel companion. The kitchen is compact and the main section is L-shaped, sitting neatly in the front passenger-side corner, between the entry door and bathroom. This section contains a single bowl sink with glass lid, a freestanding flick-mixer tap and a three-burner gas cooker with grill and oven. There’s a small window behind the sink, while the back corner of the ‘L’ in the bench top is bevelled and the wall is a mirror, which continues around to the right, across the front of the camper as far as the bathroom (and behind the cooker). Along with a mirrored bathroom door it really opens up The main kitchen section is small but well equipped. Clever use of mirrors makes it feel much bigger, while the corner-mounted TV and speaker system can be seen (and heard) from the lounge and bed as well.
what is quite a small work area, making it feel much larger and spacious. The bevelled corner pice also holds the flatscreen TV and a double powerpoint. To maximise storage space an clever sliding floor cupboard has been designed, which sits in the unit by the entry door that has the sink on top. To slide it out you first open a ‘fake’ door on the cupboard’s end, which reveals a small panel at the top containing electrical controls, tank level gauges, hot water controls, etc, and the slide-out cupboard below (other switches for the roof, awning, jacks and lights are just above floor level on the opposite side of the entry door). When extended the sliding cupboard blocks the doorway, but reveals three
34 | Day Test: Trailblazers RV Overland XP 13800
inwards-facing cupboards and extra bench space on top. And that’s only half the story! There’s another cupboard door below the sink and when it’s opened two deep drawers at the other end of the sliding unit are revealed. It’s best to see the photos to get the full picture, but suffice to say it provides great storage in a space that would otherwise have been largely wasted. The only downslide is the sliding unit’s drawers aren’t accessible unless the unit is extended, but at least there’s a small two-rack slide-out pantry between the corner of the “L’ and the cooker, plus two drawers beneath the cooker. Of course, being a pop-top means there are no overhead cupboards. Opposite the entry door, between the bathroom and driver’s side lounge, is the second kitchen unit. It has a small run of bench top just long
enough to cover the 110-litre fridge/freezer, while at the back is a roller shuttered cupboard for your coffee maker and toaster (of course!), with a microwave set above. Another mirrored panel covers the small section of bathroom end panel not concealed by the rest of this unit. Clever sliding cupboard provides good kitchen storage. The bathroom splits the kitchen (top right), while the bed’s mattress (above) folds away neatly for travel.
Day Test: Trailblazers RV Overland XP 13800 | 35
Decor is bright, modern and practical with gloss surfaces and leather upholstery that wipes easily for dust control. The table stores in a floor compartment between the lounges when not required.
Relaxing and Dining
he two inwards facing lounges of the centre positioned lounge/dinette are comfortable and provide good seating for four. It’s party trick is a lift-up floor panel between them that reveals the folded dining table’s hiding spot. The table’s aft end attaches to the bulkhead that forms the divider between the lounges and raised bed platform. A folddown leg supports the front end. Behind each lounge is a large screened, side window, while beneath the passenger side lounge are two slide-out drawers. Another two deep drawers face forwards between the lounges, in the lounge/bed bulkhead.
36 | Day Test: Trailblazers RV Overland XP 13800
The corner bathroom is quite roomy once you’re inside and features a custom moulded sink with smoked front panel. The fold-out towel rack is a great inclusion.
he bathroom is identical to the previous truck camper, except it’s in the driver’s side front corner, where it splits the kitchen. Compact, it’s more than adequate and provides a surprising amount of space once you’re inside.
he folding north-south queen bed is an interesting concept, but just one of several options available, which includes an east-west queen or singles.
There’s a Thetford bench-style cassette toilet with its back to the front wall. It’s part of a modular moulding that very neatly incorporates a small, stylish hand basin with smoked glass/ perspex front panel, which sits above the toilet, about where a normal cistern would. To save space and complexity the flick mixer tap in the hand basin has a removable shower head that reels out. A nice touch is a Maytow foldout, extendable drying rack for towels, while the need for a roof hatch has been negated by a zip-opening window in the roof valance. A round, touch-operated LED provides more than adequate lighting.
During the day the bed is wholly concealed in a white cabinet across the back of the vehicle, just below the window line. The top of this ‘cabinet,’ which is a great place for pillows and other bulky, soft items during the day, actually becomes part of the bed base when your reach to the rear of it and pull it up and over to form the bed. As stated earlier the bed, when extended, covers the lounges. This means both your body clocks will need to be in perfect sync to maintain relationship harmony if you’re travelling with a significant other. There is talk of a rear slide-out to cure this, but an east-west bed would be the simplest answer to allow for divergent circadian rhythms!
Day Test: Trailblazers RV Overland XP 13800 | 37 The north-south queen bed unfolds to provide generous accommodation. An optional east-west bed reduces lounge size but means you both don’t have to go to bed at the same time. The current bed arrangement provides two vertical bedside lockers in the rear corners, which neatly fit in the space between the side and rear windows. Each has a double powerpoint, reading light and mirror, plus a shelf on top, while the passenger side unit also has the airconditioning thermostat and a mount for the TV remote (you can watch TV from the bed, lounge or kitchen). There’s plenty of natural light and ventilation, with windows all around and a hatch above the lounge, plus the screened zip openings in the roof valance, so catching any available breeze on a hot summer’s night should be easy.
What Do I Think?
railblazers’ Overland XP truck camper slide-on accommodation module pod thingy might be hard to pigeon hole, but it’s a serious box of comfort and convenience for adventures on or off the beaten track. Benefitting from years of hard won experience, its construction quality and fit-out leaves nothing to be desired – except maybe a diesel heater – while its bold, contemporary interior is a breath of fresh air that should actually prove both durable and practical. I can’t wait to see it on the new Iveco 4X4 and to take it bush to play – I mean test – to see if it really could be the ultimate across Australia or around the world escape machine. If you can’t wait either then get on the blower to Phill or Christine and get down to Melbourne to check this beauty out. And ask Phill abut the rear slide out. I told him I wouldn’t mention it – but have you ever met a journo who could resist sharing a secret?
38 | Day Test: Trailblazers RV Overland XP 13800
Combo to Go?
lthough Trailblazers offers the Overland XP 13800 as a standalone unit for $110,000, it also sells a complete Iveco 4X4 expedition-grade vehicle/camper ‘combo.’ Complete with Trailblazer’s unique Overland Kinetic tray, which has inbuilt storage lockers and a 100-litre under-tray auxiliary fuel tank, the Iveco/Overland combo retails at $198,000 drive-away. Also worth noting, the demonstrator Mitsubishi Fuso 4X4 and Overland XP 13800 featured in this story is available for $180,000 drive away.
The Overland XP 13800 is a serious box of comfort and convenience for adventures on or off the beaten track.
Day Test: Trailblazers RV Overland XP 13800 | 39
Overland XP 13800
1000 kg (approx)
3.80 m (12 ft 6 in)
2.20 m (7 ft 3 in)
1.50 m (4 ft 11 in)
2.00 m (6 ft 7 in)
3-burner, grill and oven
110 litre 12/240 V
12 V LED
2 x 100 AH
2 x 9.0 kg
Hot Water Heater
Truma 240 V/LPG
Fresh Water Tank
Grey Water Tank
Price (ex factory)
• • • • •
Versatility Capability Build quality Comfort Build options
• No cab-camper access • Bed/lounge won’t suit everyone
Trailblazers RV 222 Governor Rd Braeside, VIC. 3195 T: (03) 9588 00773 E: email@example.com W: www.trailblazersrv.com
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40 | Feature: Slide-Ons
Slip Slide-On Away!
A slide-on might just be the perfect RV you’ve been looking for… By Richard Robertson
Feature: Slide-Ons | 41
Slide-ons come in all shapes and sizes, from the compact Wedgetail (above) for serious off-road work to the luxurious, imported Italian Mondo Musica (below).
lide-on campers fill a market niche often overlooked by prospective recreational vehicle (RV) purchasers. They combine advantages from each of the mainstream RV groups and as such are worth considering wether you’re in the market for your first RV or your next one. In this feature we’ll be taking a broad look at the various model types available, their vehicle requirements pros and cons. Like a motorhome, a slide-on on a light commercial vehicle is easily manoeuvrable and allows a boat or other trailer to be towed. Like a caravan it can be left at a campsite and, as it has no engine, requires no expensive mechanical servicing. And like a fifth-wheeler, a slide-on takes advantage of over-vehicle space – including over the cab – to provide maximum space efficiency with minimal road footprint.
42 | Feature: Slide-Ons
This super low-profile Northstar camper from Freedom OffRoad is ideal for extra and dual-cab utes, while the Mondo Musica’s brilliant interior is just one colour choice from a full range available to suit all tastes. Finally, slide-ons also have one unique advantage – no annual registration or inspection costs – although insurance is recommended to protect your investment. Downsides are basically limited to compact living space, bed access, the need to load and unload and an often less-than-optimal step/stair arrangement, but every RV type has its drawbacks and none of these should be considered deal breakers. In fact, if you already own a suitable host vehicle a slide-on could be the ideal way to enjoy getting away without breaking the bank. Models are available in a plethora of sizes and shapes and range in price from basic to super luxury – ditto their fit-out. No longer the poor cousin of ‘real’ RVs, slide-ons can be as luxurious, comfortable and practical as any other.
Models are available in a plethora of sizes and shapes and range in price from basic to super luxury – ditto their fit-outs.
Feature: Slide-Ons | 43
A camper-style slide-on can provide a surprising amount of living space, but lots of canvas makes them best suited to warmer, drier climates. Being able to remove the unit at your destination provides an established base camp and frees up the vehicle for easy day touring.
It Take All Types
or what is essentially a removable cargo box – yes, you’re the cargo – slide-ons come in a surprisingly diverse range of sizes and styles. Slide-ons fall into three main categories – camper, pop-top and hard wall: • Camper style units have lots of canvas and are meant for serious off-road travel. They usually have a pop-up or fold-out roof and are as compact as possible to avoid damage in thick bush. Excellent in their intended role they require the most setting up and are closer to a camper trailer in comfort terms than other slide-on types. • Pop-tops walk the middle ground and are usually capable of quite respectable off-road
adventures, but with more creature comforts and less canvas/fabric/plastic in the side walls, providing better water proofing and insulation. • Hard wall slide-ons are usually intended for less arduous travel and although they can be taken into quite remote locations, being bigger and heavier means they’re best suited to bitumen and dirt road travel. They provide the best weather protection and (usually) the highest level of creature comforts. Additionally, there are sub categories for models that fit traditional utes or tray-top vehicles. Within these parameters is a world of models and options ranging from a basic bed, cupboards and an outdoor kitchen to superluxury fit-outs with leather upholstery, central heating, slide-outs and even an extending bathroom.
44 | Feature: Slide-Ons
This pop-top unit from Active Campers blurs the line between camper slide-ons and more conventional pop-top units and in many ways is the best of both worlds. Hard-wall units like this Ozcape (right) provide all-season comfort and have good internal and external storage. America is the home of slide-on campers, aided in no small part by large, powerful ‘pick-ups’ that can carry equally large (and heavy) campers. If you’re fortunate to own a big F-Series Ford, Chevy Silverado or Dodge Ram then you really can take your pick of the local slide-on campers in terms of size, living space and features – finances permitting. Just remember, most big American vehicles have well-back ute bodies, not flat tray backs, which might limit your choices somewhat. Most slide-ons in Australia, however, are carried by Japanese utes or traybacks, including dual cabs, which places considerable constraints on size and weight. Only a relative few end up on the backs of Japanese or European light trucks, be they 2WD or 4WD expedition vehicles. However, something like a Mercedes Benz
Feature: Slide-Ons | 45
Designed for a conventional ute back, the Mondo Musica (above) looks like it’s part of the vehicle. Trailblazers RV’s imposing truck camper is made for serious bush adventures, without sacrificing comfort. Sprinter dual-cab with a tray body could carry quite a substantial slide-on, provide seating for five adults and do it all with Euro turbo-diesel economy and Mercedes driving pleasure and safety. When looking at a slide-on consider the following: • Style – the bigger the unit the heavier it will be, while hard wall slide-ons will increase fuel consumption (and decrease range) due to their large frontal area • Construction – composites are the usual method but some manufacturers still use aluminium cladding. The more canvas or other non-solid material in the sides the less insulative it will be and the more weather dependant your travels are likely to be
46 | Feature: Slide-Ons
• Door Location – a side door is a must if you intend towing • Access – how high off the ground is the entry door and how easily can you carry and mount the steps (and where will you store them)? • Legs – opt for electric legs if they’re not standard. You’ll soon forget the extra cost, however you’ll always curse yourself if you have to wind manual legs up and down every time you use the slide-on • Cab Gap – the space between the top of the cab and bottom of the bed area needs to be as small as possible. Big gaps increase fuel consumption and decrease performance, so make sure you measure a prospective slide-on carefully. Better still, sit any prospective slide-on on your vehicle and measure the fit •A ttachment – the standard method uses turnbuckles anchored to a vehicle chassis bracket. Trailblazers RV is moving to a shipping container pin-style mounting system on all its slide-ons, but beware of any system that mounts only to the tray and not the vehicle’s chassis • Electrical connections – slide-ons usually use an Anderson plug connector for 12 volt electrics, house battery charging and any clearance/indicator/brake lights, leaving towbar electrics free for towing duties •W eight distribution – water tank location is important and should be between the axles and as low as possible. Remember – the taller and heavier the unit the higher your vehicle’s centre of gravity will be, with resultant impacts on stability and handling
Feature: Slide-Ons | 47
Spot the bathrooms? There’s one under the lift-up bench to the right in this Trailblazer (above), and in the rear corner of the Ozcape.
lide-ons make sense on many levels, especially if you already have or are planning to buy a suitable host vehicle. You might have limited home storage space, mightn’t want to tow or you might want to tow a boat or specialised trailer. Perhaps you just can't justify an expensive RV sitting at home between trips that requires regular maintenance and has considerable annual upkeep costs. Although not as cheap as you might think, a slide-on can transform an ordinary vehicle into a comfortable RV that can take you across town for a weekend or even across the world. Like everything it’s all about design and construction integrity, so look beyond basic purchase price. Do appropriate research, choose carefully and you too could soon be slip slide-on away…
48 | Feature: Slide-Ons
Weight a Moment…
hichever vehicle you’re considering for slide-on duties it’s important to remember the advertised load capacity includes you, fuel and any extras. To find your vehicle’s true tare (empty) weight fill the seats with your intended travelling companions, add full fuel and pop down to your local tip or public weigh bridge and see what the scales say. Use that figure as your tare weight. Now look at your registration documents or vehicle hand book for the GVM. Deduct the weigh bridge reading from the GVM and you’ll have a pretty accurate load capacity figure. For example, a new Holden Colorado LTZ Space Cab 4X4 ute has a GVM of 3150 kg and a published tare weight of 2016 kg. That leaves a maximum theoretical payload of 1134 kg. Allowing 150 kg for two passengers and 63 kg for 76 litres of diesel fuel brings the payload down to 921 kg. Throw on a bull bar, towbar, winch and driving lights, and you might be down to 800 kg or less, for what’s considered a 1-tonne ute.
Also remember driving any vehicle at its maximum design weight for extended periods, while legal, is far from recommended. Another thing to bear in mind is individual axle loading. Usually, the combined axle load ratings of a vehicle will exceed its GVM, providing a measure of ‘insurance’ against accidental overloading or stupidity. However, it is possible to exceed individual axle limits if the load is poorly distributed and/or too much weight is added at a vehicle’s extremities. Food for thought…
Islander Campers new Meander (top) is a well equipped low-profile unit for tray-backs, while the Ranger 2 (above) is from their hard-wall range and ideal for cooler climes.
Feature: Slide-Ons | 49
A Guide to Slide-On
Manufacturers and Importers
Active Campers – Woolgoolga, NSW. “Our slide-on campers are a unique, light weight and well-crafted solution designed to fit all single, 1 ½ and some dual cab utes. The aerodynamic profile is ideal for efficient travel and true off-road performance. The roof lifts easily and quickly, creating a spacious and practical interior.” 1 Hawke Drive, Woolgoolga. NSW. 2456. T: (02) 6654 8828 W: www.activecampers.com.au E: firstname.lastname@example.org
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50 | Feature: Slide-Ons Bonetti Campers – Ingleburn, NSW. “Our business presents with pride the beautiful and well designed Musica slide-on camper, made by MONDO-PICKUP in Italy. Constructed from the highest quality materials it’s supremely stylish yet very functional, sleeping up to four and featuring a queen bed over the cab. Appointments include a toilet and a shower that is expandable and spacious; a well appointed kitchen, ample storage and a comfortable L-shaped dinette.” “Later this year we will present an impressive new one piece carbon fibre shell. This new camper – the Carbonio – will be one of the lightest, strongest slide-on shells in the world. The highest quality styrofoam and unique perforated foam, combined with vacuum infused manufacturing, makes delamination impossible and strengthens the sandwich construction even further. This and the new materials used for the inner fit-out enhances the construction and means weight will only be around 700 kg ready to go.” “The Carbonio will be a supreme setup, like the Musica, nevertheless you can order either in your choice of colours and we’re happy to discuss any other requirements you might have.” Bonetti Campers was established in 2012 by Stefano Bonetti, former National Fleet Operations Manager of KEA CAMPERS
Australia. When KEA closed its doors in Milperra he bought the stock of the manufacturing business and transferred everything to his workshop in Campbelltown. Bonetti Campers is currently the only KEA parts stockist in Australia and repairing and maintaining KEA vehicles is its core business. This includes refurbishing and building other campers, while modifications and manufacturing is planned. “We help every KEA owner, no matter if it is a technical question or repair or modification.”
Unit J4, 5-7 Hepher Rd, Campbelltown. NSW. 2560. T: (02) 4627 8281 W: www.bonetticampers.com.au E: email@example.com
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Feature: Slide-Ons | 51 Freedom Off Road – Penrith, NSW. “Built tough for on and off road use. Both hard wall and pop-top designs suit everything from small dual cabs up to F250. Suit traditional ute backs and flat trays.” 1/16 Borec Rd, Penrith. NSW. 2750. T: (02) 4722 3144 W: www.freedomoffroad.com.au E: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Ozecape Campers – West Burleigh, QLD. “Ozcape Campers specialise in high end slide-ons for single, extra and dual cab vehicles in the one-tonne class. We are a boutique manufacture where each camper is handcrafted, rather than mass produced on an assembly line. Owner, Joe Ried, a German engineer and recent very proud Aussie, brings years of experience in RV research and development and is supported by a very capable team dedicated to building quality slide-ons.” “Designed to travel Australia off and on road, our attention to detail speaks for itself. The range of models spans from more basic (but still with all the necessities including electric jacks), to the luxurious, with all the bells and whistles. While other companies offer selfcontained slide-ons with shower and toilet, the way we do it makes the difference: We create a spacious feel in a compact camper, with very good storage. We’re also renowned for our top notch after sales service which, for many customers, is as important as our high quality products themselves.”
72-74 Dover Drive, West Burleigh, QLD. 4219. T: (07) 5520 7388 W: www.ozcape.com.au E: email@example.com
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52 | Feature: Slide-Ons Islander Campers – Penguin, TAS. “Visit and see the service and quality of the new builds and refurbishments available. Slide on models include Ranger, Seeker, Meander and Leven. We build the Cambridge Breeze, Offroader and Innovan lightweight caravans. For simplicity, try the Cruise and Snooze! All manufactured by Penguin Composites.” 808 South Rd, Penguin. TAS. 7316. T: (03) 6437 0708 W: www.islandercampers.com E: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Trailblazers RV – Breaside, VIC. “At Trailblazers RV we pride ourselves on our innovative ideas, attention to detail and quality workmanship. We specialise in custom building to suit individual needs. Our units are designed and built in our Melbourne factory to suit a wide range of requirements and vehicles from small utes to larger trucks for both on and off road use. With nearly 15 years experience we have gathered a skilled team of designers, vehicle builders and tradesmen who take pride in what they do. We are members of state and national caravan industry associations ensuring everything is built to comply with Australian standards and suitable for Australian conditions.” “A range of flexible layouts with a choice of modern interiors are available. Our slide-ons are designed with all the required features and comforts, including a fully equipped kitchen, queen bed and bathroom. Fully insulated fibreglass walls and double glazed windows ensure comfort in any climate, while electric jacks make it easy to remove from the host vehicle. Our slide-on campers are built to
handle most road conditions, with fit-out levels from basic to total luxury, to suit your needs.” “Our larger Overland XP truck campers are purpose built expedition vehicles for those who really want to get off the beaten track. These can also be designed for international use, including fittings and components to provide long term comfort, security and complete selfsufficiency. Importantly, we offer a two year structural warranty on all units.” 222 Governor Rd Braeside, VIC. 3195 T: (03) 9588 00773 E: email@example.com W: www.trailblazersrv.com
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Feature: Slide-Ons | 53 Wedgetail Campers – Newcastle, NSW. “The Wedgetail’s tough build makes the Outback its favourite playground. The spacious interior combined with versatile inside/outside access to all amenities (including ensuite toilet/shower) is mind blowing. This camper is packed full of innovation that takes you anywhere without having to compromise on destination or comfort.” By appointment. W: www.wedgetailcampers.com.au E: firstname.lastname@example.org T: 0458 493 917
54 | Travel: Paradise by the Dashboard Lights
Paradise by the Dashbord Light! Part 3 Final instalment of a new owner’s off road adventures… By David Spencer
Travel: Paradise by the Dashboard Lights | 55
s we entered the third week of our month long road test of our Paradise 4WD Sprinter motorhome things were going pretty well. The exploration had not only delivered some spectacular scenery, the motorhome was performing well (other than a ceaseless rattle from the side entry door) and, most importantly, my co-driver and I were not seeking a divorce. All in all, a great holiday so far! We made it to Queensland crossing (unsurprisingly) at the Border Ranges. Keeping to our plan of using as many back roads as possible, we took Lyons Road. The road was
funded and partly built by local volunteers including the Lions Club, who wanted a faster route to Brisbane through the mountains. It is a very scenic drive with plenty of places to stop and admire the views. We headed back into civilisation, although some may dispute the Gold Coast qualifies as that, taking time to visit the birth place of our truck, Paradise Motorhomes. It was good to talk to one of the head guys, Michael, who was planning on building an up-spec Oasis 4x4 and I gave him some ideas based on our experience. In particular, I told him of the CAMEC side door that had rattled its guts off
56 | Travel: Paradise by the Dashboard Lights
caravans, where rattling would not be noticed. I doubt it was intended for use on a 4WD motorhome.
for the last 10,000 km! Despite my numerous adjustments, the addition of vibration dampening foam and finally, in despair, the use of a bungee cord to limit the slapping, we could not eliminate the incessant banging on any kind of uneven surface. The movement in the door was so great it kept breaking the top plastic locking clips. To be fair to CAMEC, the door was probably designed for light duty
Paradise advised me they were now aware of the problem and were using a differently designed CAMEC door, with a stiffer mesh inner screen. For a mere $850 I could have the stiffer new inner door fitted. After some bargaining I managed to get it to $650. Still way too much for a problem they knew about and on a truck less than 12 months old (in my opinion), however they fitted it rapidly allowing us to continue our trip with little interruption. It was time to test the new door set up and see if it was money well spent.
Door to Adventureâ€Ś
onondale National Park just south of Kenilworth has a couple of great camping areas. Booloumba creek is
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5 km off the main road; a narrow paved road becomes a wide dirt road that follows the creek into the hills. The last section is 4x4 only and there are at least three crossings, depending on which camping area you choose. The river has some amazing colour changes and the fast moving water was only 200 mm deep over a solid pebble base, although after heavy rain it could be a risky crossing. The Oasis crossed no problems, with water only reaching the bottom of the door sills and the gently sloping banks meant the departure angles were no drama for vehicles with a large rear overhang. However, I still took the precaution of pumping up the rear airbag suspension to gain an extra 50 mms height on the tow bar. The four separate large camping areas are buried in subtropical rain forest, with plenty of space. Apparently youâ€™re supposed to book in advance, although how we werenâ€™t quite able to work out.
The walking trails are pretty easy and well marked. The shortest takes you along the river up to an old gold mine dug in 1900, although you can't easily get into it. It has a grate over the entrance and a large tree has fallen across it making it tricky to see. It is also now the refuge of various bats and according to the warning signs it is best not to sniff the bat droppings as they can grow a fungus that has toxic spores that can cause lung disease. All of which sounds pretty uncomfortable and
58 | Travel: Paradise by the Dashboard Lights
probably best avoided. My visions of exploring the mine vanished in a waft of bat poo. A longer 4 kilometre (one way) hike follows the river and takes you up to Artists Falls. It has a series of very pretty cascades and is worth the extra sweat. The track is part of a “Great Walk" that is over 50 kilometres long, a bit more than we planned on doing on this trip. From there we back tracked to the main Kenilworth road and headed north for a few kilometres, then took the road to Jimna. It
wasn't long before we saw a warning sign advising the track was steep, narrow and dry weather only – just what we were looking for! The whole purpose of the expensive 4WD option was to go where other motorhomes wouldn't or couldn't go. The blue sky stretched as far as the eye could see, so the track wasn't likely to test us out too much. With only 25 km of bad road it should be no worries. At least that’s what I thought at the time.
Travel: Paradise by the Dashboard Lights | 59
confident we would make it through. I knew the Oasis could handle anything the track was likely to throw at it. I also knew with certainty that a standard motorhome would struggle and anyone crazy enough to try it would most likely end up bogged in a ditch – or worse. Once we hit the tarmac the rain miraculously stopped and we were back in the Queensland sunshine. Sadly it was now time to head for home. We had now been on the road for almost four weeks.
I should have known better, particularly being from Melbourne with its reputation of four seasons in one day. Fifteen minutes later it was pouring rain. The wheel ruts quickly became rapidly flowing twin streams and the red clay became extremely slippery. With the 4WD system activated we pressed on, climbing higher into the rain forest. The Mercedes 4WD easily coped with the conditions, although the fuel consumption suffered with the low speeds and higher revs, increasing from the usual 14 L/100 km to 19. We were obviously not doing too badly as we actually caught up and passed a Landcruiser! The conditions worsened as the rain continued and the track became steeper, but I was very
We were both surprised how easy it was to live in the Oasis. We had travelled just over 3000 km on mostly back roads, with heaps of dirt and a reasonable amount of rough stuff. Again the Mercedes had proven its worth and had cruised easily through it. The Paradise build had stood up well to the punishment and showed very little wear and tear – and the new side door was quieter but still far from perfect, thumping on corrugations. I had hoped to challenge the 4WD system more; my recovery winch and equipment never even looked like getting unpacked! Still, we had gone everywhere we wanted to, in comfort and safety – and you can’t really ask for more than that!
60 | Mobile Tech: SkyView Free
Free Proof the best things at night are free... By Emily Barker
Mobile Tech: SkyView Free | 61
here is something inspirational about the night sky, even more so when your view is unobstructed by the effects of city lights. For everyone mesmerised by the lure of a brilliantly starry night there is a series of apps that can help you identify what, where and even when specific objects, constellations, planets or stars will be visible. SkyView is one such app that recently caught my attention, especially as it uses Augmented Reality (AR) technology: basically, the camera on your device turns your phone or tablet into an interactive viewing map. You simply hold the device towards the sky, day or night, and identify objects as you see them â€“ or search specifically and be guided onscreen.
62 | Mobile Tech: SkyView Free
Stunning graphics make this app a visual feast. Extra information is available, along with a search facility for specific objects – including satellites. This app is literally packed with features, yet operation wise it’s incredibly easy to use. You can freely scan the sky and watch objects appear such as planets, stars and space stations. As you glide past objects information pops up discreetly on the bottom of the screen that you can tap to open. Tapping on the screen when an object is highlighted will bring up a list of facts that you can then cycle through, making SkyView a handy learning tool. For example, you can discover constellations and individually identify the stars they contain as well as the history and mythology behind them. Hold momentarily upon an object and you will be able to see its line of trajectory or ‘Sky Path’. In fact, using the calendar feature you will be able to see an object’s location at the time or date of your choice and by manually altering the location
you can create a view of the sky as seen from anywhere in the world.
n addition to guiding you around the galaxy, SkyView offers history and trivia upon everything you find. Indeed it’s the perfect companion to a telescope on a starry night! If you’re looking for a particular constellation or planet, simply hit the Search button and make your selection. When you return to the main screen an arrow will appear to guide you to your destination. In an interesting twist you can also point your device below the horizon line and see all that is currently below us, including where the sun is at any time. The night mode option makes viewing at night easy on the eyes by using a red or green filter,
Mobile Tech: SkyView Free | 63
and interferes less with your natural night vision than a brightly lit screen. You have complete control over what you want to see in SkyView, with the option to toggle the visibility of the Sun, Moon, planets, dwarf planets, satellites, stars, and constellations.
But Wait There’s More!
or a free app there are a surprising number of settings and features, not to mention the actual volume of information. Good news too; you can access all features without WiFi, a data signal or even GPS, so it can be used anywhere at any time, without any nasty data usage shocks. There is an option to upgrade to a premium version that includes a far more comprehensive evaluation of the universe’s contents, including thousands of satellites, galaxies, nebulae and stars. The creators, Terminal Eleven, offers a range of applications including a free satellite guide for
those more interested in manmade creations orbiting us. This app has made it into the ‘iTunes Best Of’ charts two years in a row and it’s easy to see why. It’s fun and incredibly informative, literally opening up a whole other world for exploration. At 60 Mb it’s no light weight, but certainly worth a look if you are a natural stargazer. The current version requires iOS 7.0 or later and is not available for android devices, Google Sky Map is similar, however. Fast facts: Name: SkyView (free) Cost: Free Size: 60 MB Platform: Apple iOS V7.0 or later only, although Google Sky Map is similar for Android devices.
64 | Next Issue
Hi Ho Pinto!
a full-width rear bathroom with separate shower, and all in a compact 6.6 metre package. On the travel front we’ve got a great yarn from Elizabeth and Helmut Mueller, centred on the small coastal town of Moonta on South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula. Packed with tales of long vanished copper mines, Cornish heritage and even a traditional Cornish pasty recipe it’s a story not to be missed!
unliner takes top billing next issue with its Pinto 1 on an Iveco Daily, which Malcolm recently reviewed. It has a clever electric drop-down bed over a particularly spacious front lounge-cum-dinette; August 08-10
And that’s just for starters. Next issue is on August 16, so until then why not join our more and Twitter than 12,000 Facebook followers for news, updates and more than a few laughs? See you in two weeks!
15-17 8-10 15-17 August 05-07
Mid North Coast Caravan & Camping Show
Border RV & Camping Show
Penrith Caravan, Camping & Holiday Expo
Wauchope Showground, Beechwood Rd, Wauchope. NSW. • Open 9:00-5:00 daily (4:00 Sunday) • Parking: Not specified. • Adults: $15 • Seniors: $11 • Kids: U16 Free with adult
Wodonga Racecourse, Thomas Mitchell Drive, Wodonga. VIC. • Open 9:30-5:00 daily (4:00 Sunday) • Parking: Free. • Adults: $12 • Seniors: $10 • Kids: U15 Free with adult
Penrith Panthers, Mulgoa Rd, Penrith. NSW. • Open 9:00-5:00 daily (4:00 Sunday) • Parking: Free • Adults: $10 • Seniors: $6 • Kids: U16 Free with adult
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Know of a local or regional show coming up that attracts and promotes motorhomes, campervans and the great RV lifestyle in general? Drop us a line at email@example.com and we’ll happily promote it in this calendar.
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