Monthly Archives: November 2014

Is the new Kimberley S Class the offroad caravan for you?

kruiser-S-class-offroad-caravan-single-axleYou may have read that Kimberley creates products from solving problems for customers. The Kruiser Models, whether the Tandem (T) or Single Axle (S), are born from the complaint that the traditional crinkle cut side caravan does not have enough “view” reaching out into the bush you are camping in. Instead they are designed for caravan parks with spaced windows, plenty of timber panels inside and a “busy” looking “small room” interior.

Space is a luxury

The clean internal lines of the Kruiser and the placing of the seating and windows give a feeling of more space; always letting you enjoy the million dollar views.

The choice of wall lining material and roof interior lining in the Kruiser also puzzles some people. Why isn’t it the wall-paper, painted aluminium and plastic roof liner of the crinkle cut vans? It’s because the materials we chose absorb sound, not bounce it around and in a Kruiser you hear less internal sounds and more of the sounds from the bush. There are more windows to let this in too!

You are effectively “camping” in a luxury cocoon that is designed so you don’t feel isolated or “contained”. You are letting nature in. After all, that is the big benefit of an offroad caravan: to Experience ALL of Australia. Outback models just don’t do this.

Layout of single axle kruiser off road caravanBefore we leave this fundamental design concept, one of the nicest times is at night. The head of the queen size bed is nestled into the nose cone and here it is much quieter. There is the option of the super size “star gazer” hatch over the bed. Pull the privacy screen around the bed and you can sleep tight. The windows all have block-out curtains that pull down from their concealed storage inside the upper row of overhead cupboards. These block-out curtains have reflective material on the outside keeping the heat out when down.

Here is a summary of the full Kimberley offroad caravan and camper trailer range as a guide against your needs:

Kamper
Single Axle
Folding
Canvas
Karavan
Single Axle
Folding
NO Canvas
Kruiser S
Single Axle
Non-folding
Kruiser T
Tandem Axle
Non-folding
Price Guide $36-60K $77-$120K $89-$129K $110-$170K
Tare Weight
(typical model)
1000kgs 1750kgs 2050kgs 2600 kgs
Typical All up weight people travel with 1400kgs 2100kgs 2450kgs 3000kgs

Offroad limitations

None None Width and height Width height and length

Can Sleep

Queen + 3 in second bedroom Queen + 2 in bunk seat conversion Queen + 2 in bunk seat conversion Queen + 2 in Tatami seat conversion

Bed Design

Enter from end Enter from end Enter from either side

Enter from either side

Walk through height

Angled tent structure but good for tall people

2.2m height
Everyone can walk through
1.88m
Ensuite tapers

1.88m
Ensuite tapers

Outside Kitchen
(many configurations, typical one chosen)

Up to 3 Burners, griller large sink, prep area and integrated dining bench-top Up to 3 Burners, griller large sink and integrated prep area Weber plus large single burner, sink, prep area and drawer fridge

Weber plus large single burner, sink, prep area

Maximum Solar Possible on offered caravan

25W on front
220W on top second bedroom
540W
(solar on rear tail of eco-suite)
450W

720W

Unique to it offroad caravan

Lightest hard-floor camper in its class by 200kgs, Delta Gullwing Pak, Stainless steel kitchen best in class;
Boat and outboard
Compact design gives low fuel consumption. Split Air-con and Hybrid power.
NO Pop Top, No Canvas
Big on inside with Windows, Tropical roof, insulation, outside kitchen, full width ensuite.

Big on inside with Windows, Tropical roof, insulation, re-claim water to washing machine, cinema seats, full width ensuite

Can I take it on beach like Fraser Island?

YES YES YES

YES

Can I do Cape York?

YES YES Width may be an issue

Width and length may be an issue

Can I do stay all winter in the Alpine snow conditions

NO Doesn’t have tropical roof so limited time in snow YES

YES

 

luxury seating and bi-fold tableThe seating design for just the two of you is a set of curves as a main feature in the rectangular interior. The surface finish on the table is identical to the solid surface benchtop and so it easily doubles up as more preparation space. This multi-tasking space can see you “rolling out the pastry”, or put your feet up for a snooze or set the candles out on the table for a great dinner. And should a friend or two pop in with a bottle of wine, you can have a cosy foursome.

One of the other seating designs inside can easily be converted to bunk beds. You can leave it set up like this all the time and then use an outside table for main meals. The TV can be viewed easily from the bunk beds.

Outside Kitchen

Kimberley off-road caravan kitchen 8036 900x500This comes in 2 layouts. One has a large outside stainless steel sink and pull out cooker or BBQ. People who enjoy a lot of cooking at the fire prefer this layout as there is maximum preparation area with plenty of space for utensils, plates and food storage. The alternative is the layout that includes an outside fridge drawer, weber BBQ, large single burner, stainless sink but smaller food prep area. The fridge is a winner for all the lunchtime goodies as it is also easily accessible for aKimberley off-road caravan kitchen-750x400 5589 road-side stop without having to go inside. Pull over, snap open the kitchen door, and you can have lunch (and a beverage) in seconds. Quickly wash-up and you are on your way without going inside! The LED lighting for this kitchen is carefully designed to shine onto your cooking and prep area and not into your eyes. Of course there is hot water at hand that gets to temperature in less than 5 minutes.

Water

All Kimberley models are designed on the premise that this is the scarcest resource in the bush. Its one reason we have grey water tanks and in the Kruiser we collect the shower water in a dedicated tank. This can be reclaimed. In the Tandem series, it can be used for the washing machine and toilet. In the S Class, it can be used for washing and the toilet even if you don’t have a machine. It can be used for general outside wash-downs of BBQ plates etc.

There are dual water tanks as standard with a total of 190 litres and you can carry another 40 litres in Jerry cans and more in the tunnel boot. The higher models have the automatic switch selection to pump from a stream or billabong directly, bypassing the tanks. It can lift up to 4m and you can then shower as along as you like. Here is a fundamental requirement that Kimberley follows: the use of a stainless steel heat exchanger and diesel hot water system. You have the added safety of “no interior gas” and the benefit that water of any kind can be heated whereas the thin fins of a gas hot water system are susceptible to water quality.

So there are 5 water sources in the S Class: drinking water tank, general water tank, high pressure water inlet (town water), pump from a stream or billabong, and of course, reclaimed water. There is a weight saving by not having a “hot water” tank. As these tanks have to be full to operate, having one of these is just carrying dead weight around. It doesn’t give you any more water as they can’t be emptied and still operate.

If weight permits, you can add the washing machine but you may have to delete the automatic satellite system as a tradeoff. If you want both, consider the Tandem class. The S Class is all about keeping the gross total weight under 2500kgs so that medium size 4WD’s like the Prado and Hilux can tow it.

Ensuite and Toilet Choices

The ensuite is full width with a great fresh clean look of white fibreglass, curved glass door and large mirror. The solid surface bench-top and sink are easy to work with. The large hatch over the shower can be pushed wide open so you see the blue sky and the second hatch over the toilet gives plenty of air circulation. The “windows” are in the roof! Any of these hatches can be upgraded to the automatic fan type.

offroad-caravan-chemical-toilet-500WToilets are a personal choice and in the S class we offer either the One Touch electric tiny-flush (chemical) toilet or the 80 use composting toilet. This composting toilet is NOT like an old thunderbox as it separates liquids and solids. The solids will quickly decay to dust in the warmer temperatures and there is absolutely no smell. If you are like some of us and want to be able to dump “anywhere” then this toilet is a good one to look at. It also has the lowest “carried weight” but you have to be comfortable with the concept. Opera Divas may be grossed out.

offroad-caravan-composting-toilet-500WThe chemical toilet does not need much water per “flush”; 100ml is enough. It has a surprisingly low carried weight for the 25 or so uses. It does have to be dumped in a “dumping station”. We don’t and won’t ever offer a maceration system. This requires water to flush and keep clean just like at home. Regardless of what the sales people say, a healthy quantity of water is needed; closer to 4 litres per flush and not 2 litres. After all, it is just the water the removes the material to avoid odors. A 60 litre tank holds less than either of the choices above. Plus you are constantly carrying a lot of weight; and water is a scarce resource. If it blocks, the subsequent maintenance needs a full “nuclear white” suit on. It was designed for boats where there is plenty of water and can constantly pump out off-shore.

No Gas Inside

All Kimberley models are devoid of gas inside. Why? The first reason is safety. There are still explosions every year inside caravans. When travelling off road with so much vibration, delicate naked flame gas devices are vulnerable. Secondly, gas fridges have poorer efficiency. When travelling they use a huge amount of 12V power from the car to operate. They are bulky and block out the view. Finally they are not eco friendly and expensive to operate. The 12V electric fridges can operate from solar powered batteries. The inside fridge is 133 litres with freezer that will make ice in Darwin. We make modifications to the conventional fridge increasing the compressor speed to the maximum, deadening the thermostat’, doubling the insulation, and using a remote compressor (so no “large bump” at the bottom of the unit). As a result our modified fridge uses less power per 24 hours cycle than the low speed off the shelf models. However, it has more power to the freezer for ice! Add the outside drawer fridge and you have 163 litres in total.

Cooking inside is easy with the diesel ceramic cooktop. This is a near flush glass-like top and so easy to keep clean. We do our morning toast on this with a mesh toasting rack. It is semi-automatic and sends up smoke signals when done. Add the microwave for those quick meals on a wet night when you are in a hurry to watch the satellite news. What about cooking a roast, I hear some say? The outside weber is perfect for this! Keeps all the smells outside and if you follow our rules, the driver keeps the outside immaculate and the passenger the inside! Yes, we cook outside nearly every night.

Connected World

We do live in a “connected” world and Kimberley offer both high range data communications and satellite TV. The data communications extends the range compared to mobile phones with a high gain antennae and a special Australian designed modem that optimizes the speed for Telstra reception. There is a dedicated “sim card” with this so it doesn’t require you changing any provider, it just gives added range to your smartphone for emails, messages or using the internet to check out future camping areas. Friends and family can stay in touch at a very, very low cost. If you are a keen photographer, we use a high speed gigabit hub which will support faster wifi and connect storage devices to backup your images. We have a lot of experience in locating USB and 240V outlets so camera batteries can be charged yet secure.

The satellite system can use either Foxtel or Vast and the signal is sent to a 24 inch screen that swivels to face the main seating or the bed. You can also play DVDs or watch movies on a hard disc drive.

Music soothes the soul. So we have on board a great new system with Bluetooth control of any music on your smart phone or tablet. There can be up to 4 speakers, 2 inside and 2 outside.

Lightest most powerful energy system

To power all of this is the lightest, most powerful energy system in the industry. Lithium batteries are standard. You can choose from 120 Ahrs up to 480 Ahrs. Combine this with the Super Thin Solar on the roof which is a fraction of the weight of glass and we can package up 450W of solar and 480 Ahrs of Lithium in the S3 model. The battery chargers range from 40 amps to 120 amps in the S3. If you don’t want a large generator, our Hybrid energy system with the 480Ahr batteries will allow a small Honda EU10i to run the *air-conditioning. It draws additional power from the batteries during startup and this size generator is enough to keep the air-con running primarily off the generator. We have been doing this in the Karavan now for over a year with great success.

Chassis, suspension & braking

Finally we come to the core of offroad design: chassis, suspension and braking. Firstly there is no timber in the construction of this caravan other that the drawer and cupboard fronts. Timber absorbs moisture and will degrade over time. You can travel through water crossings of half a metre of so with this S Class. Heaven forbid, I hear some say…. But here is what we do only a few hours outside of Sydney: there is a beautiful camping spot near a river, popular for caravans. But drive through the river (generally only 400-500mm deep and 200m down the other side is a better spot. No Jayco’s here! So you may only use the “offroad” features for the last 1% of your journey but it makes all the difference.

The chassis is steel that is “hot dipped galvanized”. The subframe that holds the floor and services to the chassis is alloy. They are riveted together with aircraft style 2 piece rivets. The suspension arms are steel. This all comes with a 5 year warranty and IS transferrable to a second buyer.

The suspension is air just like on the high end 4WD’s. There is an anti-sway bar as standard which is a must with air suspension and mono-tube shock absorbers. The air bag design has as secondary “Christmas Tree” bump stop inside of it so that in the unlikely event that a bag is punctured, you can limp on without it. We provide a spare air bag in any case. Changing this is less time than a conventional spring.

The braking is exceptional with hydraulic assisted disc brakes and a one touch parking brake. There are no cables underneath, no electric wires and no drum brakes. The brakes come with a “break away” function as required for added safety. All you need is a basic electronic brake controller in your vehicle.

Download PricebookThere is nothing like seeing this in person so call your dealer and book a time for a demonstration. They are in short supply and not every dealer will have one available in their showroom all the time.

Download the detailed price book in the meantime. It will require you to nominate a Dealer. If you are uncomfortable with this, go to our summary page and see the model pricing here. Or see a Dealer at a show.

**There are 3 models on the S Class: S1, S2 and S3. We have not differentiated between these models or options in this description but described the overall range. Please review the model guide and consult your dealer prior to purchase.

* The air-conditioning is limited to 2.2kW output with this configuration. The normal roof top unit is 3.2kW and has a much stronger “cold air” appeal.