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Bushtracker: The van for all seasons

The Bushtracker reputation for off-road durability is one really built on solid ground… and sand, and mud

Over the years of caravan and camping shows I’ve attended, one display that I always remember is the aluminium caravan frame that people can use as a monkey bar or climbing gym. You may remember it as well. This is a Bushtracker. So confident in the strength of their frame, there is a photo of nine Aussie blokes standing on top of it in their brochure.

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A big tick for strength and longevity. The level of detail that goes into their vans was the next thing I noticed as I toured the Bushtracker factory for this review. Bushtracker caravans have been around for 23 years and are manufactured on the Sunshine Coast. Each van is custom-built for the individual customer, focusing on their specific needs and requirements.

An infinite number of choices could sound like hell, but they will guide you through the layouts and refine it down with you so you get the layout that matches your requirements. Part of the decision process for prospective customers is to offer a factory tour, which I would highly recommend.

Inside

When was the last time you saw dovetailed joinery in home furniture, let alone in a caravan? The Bushtracker kitchen drawers are dovetailed, so don’t expect them to fall apart. Ever. Attention to detail and built to last is what I noticed when closely inspecting the interior of the Bushtracker.

Even the shower is custom-built and has two drain holes. The review caravan had a small hatch in the shower to store shampoo and the like when travelling, but easy to get to when stopped.
A separate shower and toilet in an 18 footer is a nice feature, with plenty of storage in the ensuite. If you are looking for the front loader washer, you’ll find it easy to access under the bed.

Another unique feature of the 18ft Bushtracker are the footlockers either side of the bed. These are a great place to put those extra pairs of shoes or boots that you might need on your travels. All the spaces are well utilised.

The café dining seating set-up has two table configurations. One is a small side table (with storage under, of course) and the other is the large table that travels under the bed and is only used when needed. Once in place, it is a good, solid tabletop.

The four-burner gas stove top includes a wok burner, with a grill and oven underneath. The 220-litre two-door fridge provides plenty of cold storage. Bushtracker hand make their own fridge door closure to keep the doors closed during travel. Another nice touch. There are three water tanks at 75 litres each plus a grey water tank of the same size. The configuration of the water tanks is one potable and two non-potable on completely separate systems. These two non-potable tanks can be filled with local water such as creeks using an onboard pump. This ability will extend your stay in remote locations.

The electrical system is an Enerdrive 300Ah lithium system providing plenty of power for off-grid travel. The 450W of solar panels on the roof easily top up the battery system which can take inputs from the vehicle and panels at the same time. Lithium also allows fast charging as it accepts full charge until 100% (unlike AGM systems). There are plenty of USB charge points throughout the van along with 240V outlets. Need power? Amply catered for here.

Outside

Options? You bet. Bushtracker offers either aluminium cladding or composite panel over the structural aluminium framework. Whichever you choose, there is one-inch cooler board insulation in the walls and a whopping three inches in the roof. If that is not enough to keep you cool, there is a Truma air conditioner mounted on the roof. For warmth, the diesel Webasto heater will make even the coolest days warm on the inside.

Under the van, Bushtracker runs the Simplicity Axles fully independent load-sharing dual axle suspension with 12-inch brakes to stop when required. Simplicity Axles have sold over 24,000 axles and have been in business since 1955, which says something about the component companies used by Bushtracker.

A watertight door is fitted so that no water intrudes during water crossings. This folds over the main door and also helps eliminate dust or damage in tight, dusty situations. The lower section of the van has aluminium checker plate to protect it from scratches on those narrow tracks. If you check out the hatches and where they join the body, you will notice that the checker plate pattern matches. Attention to detail right there, folks. The roof may look flat, but it has a slight camber to each side so the water runs off and doesn’t pool. The small things do count.