It’s Her Caravan, and it’s His Boat
There are very few caravans available anywhere that can provide the versatility of the Boatahome. Mind you, it’s not exactly a caravan in the normal sense, but more of a trailerable houseboat. But no matter how you want to define it, the Boatahome is a very interesting and practical rig, guaranteed to bring out the Huck Finn in all of us.
The Escape II rides on a very robust alloy trailer, with beam axles and spring suspension. Forward on both sides of the A frame is a set of access steps with handrails to allow easy access to the entry door. A spare wheel is fitted between the steps and the hitch is a standard 3500kg ball type. Electric/hydraulic brakes and a breakaway system is fitted. The rig is secured to the trailer via a forward winch mount, side ratchet tiedowns on the four corners, and the raised trailer section between the hulls. The hulls sit on broad Teflon skids for ease of launching and retrieval. The trailer is also fitted with an electric winch and submersible lights.
The Escape II is built from light weight marine composite, with buoyancy foam in the bow, stern and the twin hulls to provide additional strength and positive buoyancy. The exterior finish is very slick. All handrails and the roof access ladder are stainless steel, and a Fiamma wind out awning is fitted.
Up top is plenty of room for a spot of sunbathing, as well as solar panels, air conditioner and TV antenna. Access to the roof is via a ladder (easy to negotiate) beside the front door on the port side. This is a very open rig, with plenty of windows, all screened and with blinds.
Entry to the Escape II is via a forward door – unheard of in a normal caravan – with central walkway down the centre. Along the starboard side is the helm station, with the dinette, fridge console, washing machine and bench top to the rear.
Along the port side is the kitchen area, with shower/toilet module midships and the lounge/bed to the rear.
And across the rear is a covered deck with the outboard in the centre.
The helm station is tucked into the forward starboard corner, with throttle and trim controls, GPS/sounder and the lighting control panel all within easy reach. There is good visibility at this point, making for easy driving.
Behind the helm is the dinette with a removable table and two bench seats. The forward seat back pivots to form either the backrest for the helm, or for a diner. The seating is comfortable and there’s plenty of room for a couple, and the big window backing the dinette allows the views in as you dine.
Behind the dinette is a fridge console with a 118 litre fridge, and astern of that is the washing machine and a nest of drawers and storage space under a benchtop. A TV can be positioned on the bench and another long window makes things open and airy. A microwave is positioned above the fridge.
At the roofline along the starboard side is a line of overhead lockers for additional storage.
Along the port side the kitchen (galley?) is up forward, with a spacious bench featuring a covered sink and range with a three burner gas cooktop, grill and oven. Drawers are installed beneath the benchtop and a wide storage locker is fitted above the bench. A rangehood and light are positioned above the cooking area, and yet another big window backs the galley.
Astern of the kitchen is the bathroom, a roomy module with a cassette toilet, shower and vanity basin all moulded in gleaming fibreglass. Astern of the bathroom is a long lounge that doubles as a fold out double bed. This bed can remain as a lounge, or be left made up. There is plenty of room to walk around the bed if that’s your choice.
Above the lounge/bed are yet more storage lockers and another big window lets the outside in.
And then there’s the rear deck – with marine carpet and stainless steel rails, and with storage lockers under the deck. The 80hp Suzuki outboard sits in the middle at the rear, with boarding pads on each side. This is a handy utility area on land, but a great deck while on the water.
The interior finish is all moulded and glossy fibreglass, easy to wipe clean, and extremely tidy. The wide open feel of the layout makes it easy to slip into holiday mode.
As a land based caravan the Escape II will go where any big blacktop tourer will go, and while its floor level is higher than your normal caravan, it will still feel at home in a van park.
But the extraordinary advantage of the Escape is its houseboat ability. It’s easy to launch, and once on the water it really shines. Pushed along by the big Suzi it will take you anywhere on enclosed waters – lakes, dams, big rivers and the like – for an extended floating free camp. Ideally a small tinny mounted on top of the tow car will allow a bit of fishing.
As far as on water performance goes, if there’s a bit of chop you’ll need to close the front entry door, since there’s only a low coaming above the front deck level. But heck, she ain’t designed to challenge anything other than inland waters or coastal rivers and bays.
Retrieving the Escape is also pretty easy. You can use the power winch, but it’s far easier to simply drive the rig up the skids and onto the trailer with the engine.
The rig as shown was towed by a standard 4wd ute, but tow ratings applied by vehicle manufacturers are a bit of a mystery. With this rig, fully loaded with fuel, water, gas and all the other bits you’ll need for a long trip, I’d be looking at a max rated tug – 3500kg – just to make towing, launching and so on easier.
There is no doubt any such rig, designed to be as versatile as the Escape II, will have compromises somewhere in its design. However this Boatahome really comes very close indeed to providing the best of both worlds, a big touring caravan and a really fine houseboat.
Manufacturer: Poppy’s Fibreglass
Model: Escape II 760
Body Length (on trailer): (9.3m)
Width (on trailer): (2.4m)
Height (on trailer): 3.2m
Weight: approx 2350kg
Base price: from $104,990 – as shown, $130,000
Find Out More
Brett, Vivienne and Luke Golding
Shed 4/2 Premier Circuit
Warana Qld 4575
Tel (07) 5493 8599