Kicking up a storm
Even with the biggest caravan it’s sometimes going to be hard to pack everything on board, especially with a family and if you want to include a brace of motorcycles. The Nitro Storm from On the Move Caravans might be just the toy and people mover that could suit the bill.
On the Move has been in operation for only six years but in that short time they have introduced some amazing innovations including their first model that was able to pack a small tinny under the caravan body.
What’s remarkable about the Storm Nitro is that it can accommodate three motorcycles and a family of six into its ultra modern design and still have room for an ensuite and a complete galley.
The Nitro is a development of the semi off road Storm range that was designed in collaboration with the Albury dealer for On the Move Caravans, Andrew Houlihan, who with his son, is an avid enduro rider. Andrew was looking for a unit that could allow him to attend motorcycle events with his family and still be able to allow them to go outback touring for extended trips.
For our test of the van we headed into the Lerderderg Forest north of Melbourne for some rough road experience before covering the 100km of rural roads and highway travel to Bendigo and Lake Burrumbeet where we set up the van.
Andrew’s 3.2L Ford Ranger easily towed the 3000kg van over the length of the park, up and down steep hills with the Nitro showed it is more than capable of covering rough dirt .
At 6.6m (8.3m loa) the Nitro is big. It needs to be to pack in all the features on board. To be fair, to achieve its full potential the rear room opens wide to remove the bikes on a ramp and is then converted to a bedroom with four fold down bunks and the rear door folded back up.
From the outside there isn’t much to give away the dual nature of the Nitro apart from a lack of windows at the back. It shares its lines with other members of the Storm family and with its black and grey colours, squared off back and wedged shaped entry, it has the purposeful look of the current range of expedition style vans. Orange splashes along the sides have special significance as we shall see.
Its semi off road nature is based on a tandem 3.2 tonne load leaf sprung, load sharing suspension with shock absorbers all round and a heavy-duty 6” chassis and A-frame. Wheels are 245/75×16 black alloys with the spare slung under the van because of the drop-down arrangement at the back.
A simple 50mm ball hitch attaches to the tow vehicle and on the A-Frame a pair of 9kg gas bottles sit forward of a large storage box that replaces a traditional front boot. Lower sections of the van are protected by black checkerplate while higher up the cladding is a flat composite material.
Up front the Nitro is kitted out with a self-supporting kerbside slide-out kitchen with a large stainless steel table, sink with tap, and a two burner BBQ with folding lid. Further back is a through boot and in the centre a picnic table and entertainment hatch with a bracket for the 24” television. A set of external speakers and overhead lights are set below a full length awning.
A remarkable amount has been packed into the very neat interior. A KTM logo on the overhead cupboard in the front bedroom explains the orange theme – it’s the traditional colour of their racing bikes to which the Houlihan family is dedicated. You can of course option your van with your own colour scheme.
Layout is a refreshing departure from most designs we see in mainstream caravans. Up front is an east west bed, which some may not find to their liking but according to Andrew its an efficient way to get a long bed to accommodate his 6’2” frame without impinging into the available space. And as Andrew also pointed out, the bed is securely contained in the van rather than being in an expanding tent as in other brand’s iterations of the toy mover style.
A large window on the near side and a hatch over the bed let in enough light and air and there’s a television at the foot of the bed in place of a view outside. Overhead storage cupboards surround the bedroom and the under-bed storage is part of the through boot so it can be accessed from a door or from hatches outside.
The living area has the main part of the kitchen on the kerb side with a lengthways ensuite and a double door, fridge/freezer opposite. Again it’s an unusual layout and with only one long window over the sink the space relies on the overhead hatch to augment the natural light. Never the less, it’s bright and there’s a good flow of air throughout.
Large pantries alongside the fridge and kitchen bench will hold weeks of provisions, even for a big family, hungry after a strenuous day’s riding. Bench space is helped by a folding cover over the stove that is equipped with a four burner cooktop, griller and separate oven. Overhead a microwave shares space with more cupboards, a rangehood and a sound system with docking station and wi-fi.
Placing the ensuite along the near side, rather than across the van as is common, gives a good flow-through feel to the interior and while it’s compact there is plenty of head height and room to move, with good ventilation from a window and overhead extractor fan.
So where’s the dining table you ask? Good question. The room at the rear not only carries the bikes and converts to the second bedroom, it also serves as a roomy eating and entertaining space. A folding table can be set up in a north-south arrangement in the centre and the bunks folded to make three seater lounges either side.
It’s a smart idea and, even better, the table can be carried outside for alfresco dining with the addition of some camp chairs.
Four 90L water tanks are slung under the chassis and together with solar power, Andrew said the van can be self sufficient for up to a month. Twin 110ah batteries charge from the sun, the tow vehicle or 240v power through a Projector 30amp regulator and 30amp charger. To keep an eye on things there is a comprehensive monitoring panel in one of the overhead cupboards in the kitchen.
While the Nitro is an unusual design it will suit a lot of applications where you want to take motorcycles or a quad bike with you either to competitions or to do some fishing, hunting and exploring. It would be great for a group of mates to get way for a weekend and still be suitable for the family holiday.
Pricing starts at $75,000, which for a robust, well-built and versatile van is good value. Gross weight is over 3T so it puts it into Ranger, BT50, Cruiser and Patrol territory. Thanks to Houlihan RV in Albury for assistance with this review.
Manufacturer: On the Move
Model: Storm Nitro
Country of manufacture: Australia
Overall length (includes drawbar): 8.43m
Internal body length: 6.66m
Travel height: 3.05mm
Tare weight: 2649kg
Gross weight: 3250kg aprox.
Ball weight: 180kg
Price as reviewed: $79,990
Price from: $75,000
Find Out More
On The Move Caravans
31 Randor St Campbellfield Vic 3061
Ph. 03 9357 6662