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GUIDE Buying right – Part 2

‘BIG LAP’ CARAVANS

Five

WORDS EMMA RYAN, IMAGES VARIOUS

While this list is by no means exhaustive nor ‘tested’ by RV Daily, here are five vans we reckon would be up to the task of completing a big lap in comfort and style. Because of the nature of long-term touring, with many vanners renting or selling their house to pack up and hit the road, we haven’t set a price limit on this list.

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  • 480 amps of lithium battery power
  • 540 watts of roof-mounted solar power
  • Three-way valve to draw from external water source
  • 650kg payload


TOP FEATURES FOR LONG-TERM TOURING


At the pointy end of the luxury touring market, the Mountain Trail RV LXV 6.7 is a tandem axle, full off-road caravan that aims to be both robust and comfortable. Manufactured in Albury using innovative CNC construction techinques, the LXV 6.7 has an insulated composite frame with aluminium internal cabinetry to provide rigidity. The floor, roof and wall panels are all CNC Router cut European XPS composite fibreglass with gloss white finishes inside and out.

Mountain Trail has designed its own independent airbag trailing arm suspension system with three pre-programmed ride heights and a self-levelling program that ensures the rig rides level. This caravan is built tough to handle just about any conditions you’ll find on your big lap. It’s a pricey offering, but you get what you pay for.

The LXV 6.7 is built with off-grid touring in mind, with bucketloads of lithium and solar power, plus a 3000W inverter that can power the microwave and reverse-cycle air-conditioner – perfect for steamy nights in the Top End. There’s a spacious ensuite with a 2kg washing machine, a well-equipped kitchen and plenty of storage inside and out.

Click here for our full review of the Mountain Trail RV LXV 6.7.

Mountain Trail RV LXV 6.7

Priced from: $167,950

1

“To get to some of the best destinations in Australia, you’ll need to traverse the odd dirt road”

  • 300-amps of lithium battery power
  • 440 watts of solar
  • Three large water tanks with independent pumps


TOP FEATURES FOR LONG-TERM TOURING


An excellent all-rounder that appears to balance self-sufficiency, comfort and durability, the Optimum Off Road from Masterpiece Caravans would be a more than suitable long-term tourer. Similarly to the Mountain Trail, it has an impressive electrical set-up with 300 amps of lithium battery capacity backed up by four 110-watt roof-mounted solar panels. A 3000-watt Redarc inverter powers 240-volt appliances, with internal power points inverted. It’s fitted with Redarc’s RedVision, plus a 4G aerial mounted to the roof to help you stay connected during your big lap adventures. It’s got more than 250 litres of fresh water storage, plus a 100-litre grey water tank.

The Optimum has plenty of comforts to make it a suitable home away from home: full-size ensuite; washing machine; Truma air-conditioner; and plenty of storage.

Manufactured in Melbourne, this is an off-road van with Cruisemaster XT suspension, insulated high profile stucco aluminium cladding side walls with a front and rear aluminium composite panel and a dedicated generator/BBQ hatch with a slide drawer.

Masterpiece Optimum

Priced from: $100,000

2
  • Separate bedroom
  • Dedicated BBQ and generator slides
  • 650kg payload


TOP FEATURES FOR LONG-TERM TOURING


At the more affordable end of our selection is the Crusader Excalibur, a tandem-axle semi-off-road caravan. Available in seven models, we’ve selected the SCV for its 650kg payload and separate bedroom, providing a level of personal space that would allow couples to retain their sanity when living long-term in the close quarters of a caravan.

The van is constructed from a Meranti timber frame with a composite fibreglass used on the walls, body and floor. There’s a one-piece composite floor and ceiling comprised of high-density polystyrene foam for insulation.

We like the sound of the front toolbox design, which has a twin BBQ and generator slide. Other niceties include an oversized shower, front-loader washing machine, reverse-cycle air-conditioner and a large 224-litre fridge.

The van has adequate self-sufficiency although not as strong as the other vans listed here, but the price reflects that. There’s a single 120Ah battery (we’d tick the options box to add another) plus two 170-watt solar panels. There are two 95-litre water tanks and a 95-litre grey water tank.

Crusader Excalibur SCV

Priced from: $83,000

3
  • 200+ litres of fresh water
  • 200-amps of lithium power
  • 680-watts of solar power
  • Clever floorplan with multiple zones


TOP FEATURES FOR LONG-TERM TOURING


The off-road, tandem-axle Lotus Trooper has plenty of gear for off-road exploration and self-sufficient touring. It’s available in eight models, but we’ve selected the biggest of the range because we like the floorplan for long-term touring. A central ensuite separates the bedroom from the living area, creating a sound buffer between the two should someone be up late or early watching telly while the other is sleeping.

Like all Lotus vans, the Trooper is manufactured in Melbourne but employs a German-made composite panelling that Lotus claims is both strong and hard-wearing. The structural-grade one-piece floor has a single-piece hardwearing vinyl covering, while the walls are fitted onto a lip on the chassis to take pressure off connecting bolts. The Trooper has a truss system G&S chassis which helps cut weight, plus Control Rider twin shock suspension.

And it’s fair to say the Trooper is equipped for free and bush camping, with more than enough fresh and grey water capacity, lithium batteries and solar power.

Lotus Trooper 22ft 

Priced from: Approx $113,000

4
  • Lightweight yet robust van
  • 1100kg+ payload
  • Lithium and solar as standard


TOP FEATURES FOR LONG-TERM TOURING


While its roots are in full off-road caravans, Zone RV has launched the semi-off-road Venture Series range as a versatile, multi-terrain rig that aims to reduce weight and maximise essentials for touring. Available in eight different models, we’ve selected the 18.6 for its compact dimensions, low Tare weight and excellent payload – 1110kg. While still tandem axle, this van is the smallest and lightest in our list of big lap caravans; this saves on fuel costs during your odyssey, and it can be towed with a greater variety of vehicles.

Zone RV uses single panel monocoque construction inspired by high-end marine, with composite fibreglass walls, floor and roof. There is no wood used in the construction.

Compared to other vans on this list it’s a little light on for self-sufficiency, with 100 litres of fresh water storage and 100 litres of grey – even for the largest van in the Venture Series range – although you can upgrade to an additional 100-litre tank. It comes standard with a lithium battery and 220 watts of solar.

Zone RV Venture Series 18.6

Priced from: $97,900

5

GUIDE Buying right – Part 2

‘BIG LAP’ CARAVANS

Five

WORDS EMMA RYAN, IMAGES VARIOUS

While this list is by no means exhaustive nor ‘tested’ by RV Daily, here are five vans we reckon would be up to the task of completing a big lap in comfort and style. Because of the nature of long-term touring, with many vanners renting or selling their house to pack up and hit the road, we haven’t set a price limit on this list.

Accessing your vehicle is as easy as one step up

ADVERTISEMENT
SCROLL TO CONTINUE

Mountain Trail RV LXV 6.7

1

Priced from: $167,950

At the pointy end of the luxury touring market, the Mountain Trail RV LXV 6.7 is a tandem axle, full off-road caravan that aims to be both robust and comfortable. Manufactured in Albury using innovative CNC construction techinques, the LXV 6.7 has an insulated composite frame with aluminium internal cabinetry to provide rigidity. The floor, roof and wall panels are all CNC Router cut European XPS composite fibreglass with gloss white finishes inside and out.

Mountain Trail has designed its own independent airbag trailing arm suspension system with three pre-programmed ride heights and a self-levelling program that ensures the rig rides level. This caravan is built tough to handle just about any conditions you’ll find on your big lap. It’s a pricey offering, but you get what you pay for.

The LXV 6.7 is built with off-grid touring in mind, with bucketloads of lithium and solar power, plus a 3000W inverter that can power the microwave and reverse-cycle air-conditioner – perfect for steamy nights in the Top End. There’s a spacious ensuite with a 2kg washing machine, a well-equipped kitchen and plenty of storage inside and out.

Click here for our full review of the Mountain Trail RV LXV 6.7.

  • 480 amps of lithium battery power
  • 540 watts of roof-mounted solar power
  • Three-way valve to draw from external water source
  • 650kg payload


TOP FEATURES FOR LONG-TERM TOURING


“To get to some of the best destinations in Australia, you’ll need to traverse the odd dirt road”

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SCROLL TO CONTINUE

Masterpiece Optimum

2

Priced from: $100,000

An excellent all-rounder that appears to balance self-sufficiency, comfort and durability, the Optimum Off Road from Masterpiece Caravans would be a more than suitable long-term tourer. Similarly to the Mountain Trail, it has an impressive electrical set-up with 300 amps of lithium battery capacity backed up by four 110-watt roof-mounted solar panels. A 3000-watt Redarc inverter powers 240-volt appliances, with internal power points inverted. It’s fitted with Redarc’s RedVision, plus a 4G aerial mounted to the roof to help you stay connected during your big lap adventures. It’s got more than 250 litres of fresh water storage, plus a 100-litre grey water tank.

The Optimum has plenty of comforts to make it a suitable home away from home: full-size ensuite; washing machine; Truma air-conditioner; and plenty of storage.

Manufactured in Melbourne, this is an off-road van with Cruisemaster XT suspension, insulated high profile stucco aluminium cladding side walls with a front and rear aluminium composite panel and a dedicated generator/BBQ hatch with a slide drawer.

TOP FEATURES FOR LONG-TERM TOURING


  • 300-amps of lithium battery power
  • 440 watts of solar
  • Three large water tanks with independent pumps


Crusader Excalibur SCV

3

Priced from: $83,000

At the more affordable end of our selection is the Crusader Excalibur, a tandem-axle semi-off-road caravan. Available in seven models, we’ve selected the SCV for its 650kg payload and separate bedroom, providing a level of personal space that would allow couples to retain their sanity when living long-term in the close quarters of a caravan.

The van is constructed from a Meranti timber frame with a composite fibreglass used on the walls, body and floor. There’s a one-piece composite floor and ceiling comprised of high-density polystyrene foam for insulation.

We like the sound of the front toolbox design, which has a twin BBQ and generator slide. Other niceties include an oversized shower, front-loader washing machine, reverse-cycle air-conditioner and a large 224-litre fridge.

The van has adequate self-sufficiency although not as strong as the other vans listed here, but the price reflects that. There’s a single 120Ah battery (we’d tick the options box to add another) plus two 170-watt solar panels. There are two 95-litre water tanks and a 95-litre grey water tank.

TOP FEATURES FOR LONG-TERM TOURING


  • Separate bedroom
  • Dedicated BBQ and generator slides
  • 650kg payload


Lotus Trooper 22ft 

4

Priced from: Approx $113,000

The off-road, tandem-axle Lotus Trooper has plenty of gear for off-road exploration and self-sufficient touring. It’s available in eight models, but we’ve selected the biggest of the range because we like the floorplan for long-term touring. A central ensuite separates the bedroom from the living area, creating a sound buffer between the two should someone be up late or early watching telly while the other is sleeping.

Like all Lotus vans, the Trooper is manufactured in Melbourne but employs a German-made composite panelling that Lotus claims is both strong and hard-wearing. The structural-grade one-piece floor has a single-piece hardwearing vinyl covering, while the walls are fitted onto a lip on the chassis to take pressure off connecting bolts. The Trooper has a truss system G&S chassis which helps cut weight, plus Control Rider twin shock suspension.

And it’s fair to say the Trooper is equipped for free and bush camping, with more than enough fresh and grey water capacity, lithium batteries and solar power.

TOP FEATURES FOR LONG-TERM TOURING


  • 200+ litres of fresh water
  • 200-amps of lithium power
  • 680-watts of solar power
  • Clever floorplan with multiple zones


Zone RV Venture Series 18.6

5

Priced from: $97,900

While its roots are in full off-road caravans, Zone RV has launched the semi-off-road Venture Series range as a versatile, multi-terrain rig that aims to reduce weight and maximise essentials for touring. Available in eight different models, we’ve selected the 18.6 for its compact dimensions, low Tare weight and excellent payload – 1110kg. While still tandem axle, this van is the smallest and lightest in our list of big lap caravans; this saves on fuel costs during your odyssey, and it can be towed with a greater variety of vehicles.

Zone RV uses single panel monocoque construction inspired by high-end marine, with composite fibreglass walls, floor and roof. There is no wood used in the construction.

Compared to other vans on this list it’s a little light on for self-sufficiency, with 100 litres of fresh water storage and 100 litres of grey – even for the largest van in the Venture Series range – although you can upgrade to an additional 100-litre tank. It comes standard with a lithium battery and 220 watts of solar.

TOP FEATURES FOR LONG-TERM TOURING


  • Lightweight yet robust van
  • 1100kg+ payload
  • Lithium and solar as standard