As much as we all like to accept technical innovations as the be-all and end-all of caravan builds, a good reputation really does count. A caravan manufacturer’s reputation is a tenuous thing. It can’t be touched or seen, and it’s something than can vanish instantly should a van not live up to the expectations generated by that reputation.
When it comes to Aussie-built off-road caravans, the Bushtrackers have held their good reputation for around 20 years by producing caravans that deliver exactly what they are designed for – genuine off-road capability.
An interesting comment on the Bushtracker website caught my eye. “Boeing does not build their exterior walls of aircraft in glued and stapled timber, and neither does Bushtracker.” The mind boggled slightly with visions of the 787 Dreamliner made out of plywood and glue, and Bushtrackers belting along at Mach 0.8, but you get the idea. It’s all about strength, and that’s what counts off the beaten track.
Bushtracker’s 20-footer is built to maintain that reputation, starting with a galvanised steel chassis and A frame. On the A frame is a DO35 hitch, substantial handbrake and jockey wheel. This unit had the A frame extended to accommodate a modified stoneguard protecting a chequerplate generator box positioned forward of the two spare wheels. A cutaway rear helps avoid scraping the rear end on steep banks.
The Bushtracker rides on alignable independent load sharing spring suspension, with galvanised wheel boxes, 12-inch brakes and off road tyres and wheels.
The wall and roof framework is 2mm and 3mm box section aluminium, fully welded and riveted. The external bodywork is aluminium, with substantial aluminium chequerplate panels around the lower body beneath a protective rub rail. A fording flap at the height of the chequerplate prevents water ingress under the entry door when crossing waterways.
The roof and walls are fully insulated, with screened and tinted double glazed Dometic windows helping to cool the interior. External LED lighting, a forward storage boot and drop down table are fitted along the kerb side, along with a slide out BBQ and A/V locker with 12v and 240v power outlets, TV outlet and stereo controls. A roll out awning shelters the kerb side.
Up top the van we saw carried an Aircommand air conditioner, 4x 140w solar panels and an Oyster satellite dish, as well as a roof hatch above the bed. Underneath are 3x 90 litre water tanks and the undersides carry a protective coating.
The entry to the 20-footer is forward of the axles, with the bedroom up forward, kitchen along the kerb side opposite the lounge/dining area, and a full ensuite across the rear.
The bedroom layout features a queen sized bed positioned north south, with flanking corner wardrobes, bedside tables and cupboards. A window at the bedhead allows light and air in, with a protective cover that serves as a stoneshield or sunshade. Personal lights are fitted to each side, and a hatch above the bed aids air circulation. Step lockers flank the bed and swivelling fans are fitted to the walls on either side.
There are three deep drawers under the bed, accessible from the entry, and the bed lifts up on gas struts to reveal a washing machine and access to further storage space, including the front through boot. The battery, inverter and charger are also located under the bed for easy access if necessary.
The kitchen runs from the entry along to the ensuite, with a spacious benchtop and plenty of storage space. The main bench carries a stainless steel sink, with a four burner gas cooktop alongside, concealed under a lift-up benchtop panel. A grill and oven are beneath the cooktop, with a shallow locker under the unit.
Extensive cupboards and drawers feature beneath the sink, with a TV positioned against the wall adjacent to the sink. Above the kitchen bench is a set of lockers with a rangehood and downlights beneath.
To the rear of the cooktop the bench extends out to the line of the bathroom door, providing much useable space and with a drawer fridge and cupboard beneath.
The dinette is positioned opposite the kitchen and is a cafe style unit with a removable table and a small locker/coffee table beneath, above the wheel arch. There is comfortable room for two to dine or kick back and watch the TV opposite. Storage drawers are fitted beneath the lounge seats. A nest of lockers is fitted above the dinette, with downlights beneath.
Between the dinette and ensuite is the fridge console, with a 195-litre two door Danfoss compressor fridge, alongside a full height pantry with doors and drawers.
The ensuite occupies the rear of the 20-footer, with access via an opaque door. A roomy shower recess is positioned on the driver’s side with plenty of space for larger folk, an overhead fan and shelf locker. A cassette toilet is positioned opposite the shower, and in between is a wide vanity bench with inset ceramic bowl, backed by a mirror. There are storage cupboards beneath the bench, with roof height lockers on either side for linen, towels etc.
As you would expect, the Bushtracker 20-footer is very well set up for bush camping. The water, gas and electrical systems all point to good long term camps off the electricity grid. There is a host of details in this van that show it is designed for reliable off road work, and also that the reputation of the Bushtrackers as reliable, solid and comfortable off road rigs is well deserved.
Manufacturer: Bushtracker Caravans
Model: 20-foot Off-road
Length cabin: 6.1m
Length overall: 8.23m
Width overall: 2.4m
Tare weight: 2960kg
Priced from $96,000
Find Out More
85 Enterprise St
Kunda Park Qld 4556
Phone 07 5476 5833
Fax 07 5476 9253