The new Bushtracker model may not be as big as some of its relatives, but it has plenty of features to make it as off-road capable as its brand is renowned for
Before you order a Bushtracker caravan, their team invites you for a tour of the factory where your van will be custom-built. To open that invitation any manufacturer must be very confident in its product and ability to deliver the customers’ requirements. With more than 24 years in the business of making caravans for the Aussie outback, Bushtracker has built up a solid reputation for quality and longevity.
Each Bushtracker caravan is custom-made for the customer who has input on the features and décor, and the price reflects this. If you are looking for cheap, maybe look elsewhere, but if you are after a van that is feature-laden and will go the distance with you on your dream trip, keep reading.
Bushtracker manufactures vans from 14ft to 30ft with multiple layout options to suit the individual customer. As an example, there are eight different layouts for the 16ft version. You can download a PDF of the van outline and internal components to print, then cut out, and, similar to a jigsaw, create your design. It’s a simple but effective way to get that perfect van for your needs.
As you enter the van, the queen-size island bed is on the left. Under the floor on each side of the bed are shoe lockers where you can store an array of footwear needed for your adventures. Next to the bedhead is a hanging locker, shelves and USB outlets for those phones/tablets and even printed books. Above the bed is a large skylight hatch to allow the light and or breeze in. A 2.5kg Daewoo washer/dryer lives under the bed, which is an advantage over placing this weight at an outlying rear corner.
On the right of the entrance is the internal kitchen bench with sink, mixer tap and four-burner stove. Under the stove is the griller and oven with an externally vented rangehood. A large window provides a view to the outside, and the decorative splashback provides a stylish look that combines well with the blue cupboard doors.
Again, styling is up to you. Opposite the kitchen is the 800mmx500mm table and comfortable bench seat. The table is particularly solid but also easily moved to suit how you prefer to use it. A large 220-litre, full-height compressor fridge finishes off the kitchen utility and décor.
At the rear of the van is the separate shower and toilet, plus vanity basin. The ensuite in this particular van is snug, but the dimensions are flexible to suit your particular needs. There is plenty of space for towels, toiletries and a wet storage area in the shower recess is a nice feature.
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. The advantages of lithium include fast charging as it accepts full charge until 100 percent and the vastly reduced battery weight when compared to AGM.
There are three water tanks at 75 litres each plus a grey water tank of the same size. You can fill the two non-potable tanks with local water such as creeks using an onboard pump. Let’s hope it rains a bit more for both farmers and travellers.
Many of the Bushtracker vans have tandem independent suspension, but on this 16-footer they have used single axle independent suspension to reduce the overall weight of the van. The suspension is made by Simplicity that has been in the business for more than 50 years, so it is certainly up to the task of outback travel.
The awning is very easy to set up with the flick of a switch to extend or retract. Having a full kitchen on the outside will make outside living enjoyable and the second fridge included means you don’t even have to go inside to get a cold drink. A drop-down table fitted to the watertight door closure sits below electrical outlets and a TV mount with antenna socket, offering more reasons to live outdoors.
Instead of two spare wheels, one spare is included and the area that would normally hold the second has a cage perfect for wet or muddy gear. Two gas bottles are housed behind the stone guard on the drawbar. There is a powered Bulldog jack to lift the van off the fully articulating 5t Hitch Ezy and then easily level the fore and aft of the van. The Anderson plug used to power the jack can also be used to power other 12V appliances while at camp.
There are too many features to be listed in this short review. Bushtracker anticipates what the van owner will need in the field, and provides quality components that will stand up to the rigours of extended travel around the country. Bushtracker vans are custom-built for each customer and designed for their requirements. The quality of workmanship is outstanding.
Custom designed and manufactured
Don’t expect delivery next week, it will take a few months
Almost too many choices for some
Quality comes at a price
Length (caravan): 16 feet (4.88m)
Length (overall): 23 feet (7.01m)
Width: 7 feet, 2 inches (2.17m)
Height: 9 feet, 10 inches (3.0m)
Tare weight: 2140kg
ATM: 2950kg (810kg payload)
Price: $144,010 (as tested)
For more information see https://www.bushtracker.com/
Words and images Gary Tischer