It’s not often that when we review a camper we get to have it for more than a day, but the benefit of Austrack joining our Outback Pub Experience with their offroad hybrid, the Tanami X13, meant that I had plenty of time to have a good look at it. It also allowed me to see how an imported hybrid handled the conditions that 95 per cent of its owners will want to take it.
We towed the Tanami X13 on a variety of road types, from bitumen to maintained gravel roads, desert sands and heavily corrugated tracks as well as crossing many cattle grids and navigating washed-out creek beds, and all were handled comfortably. We stayed in caravan parks, bush camped in national parks and set up beside the Darling River for a couple of days, and the ease of setup shone through.
The Tanami X31 is a touring hybrid targeted towards families and couples with a cost below $50k, an extensive list of inclusions, ease of use and offroad, off-grid capabilities, this camper is sure to impress.
WHO ARE AUSTRACK?
For over 15 years, the Austrack brand has been involved in the caravan and camping community, and they pride themselves on sourcing the best quality materials and building their campers using first-class manufacturing processes. Austrack appears to follow its mission statement by providing “quality, affordable and dependable” products to “enhance” your camping experience “for generations to come”. Having seen the Tanami X13 up close for over a week, I think Austrack are succeeding in their goal.
The business began in Hervey Bay but relocated their HQ to Caboolture nearly 9 years ago, expanding their premises in the meantime. Austrack also has showrooms in Rocklea and Townsville in Queensland, Armidale and Newcastle in New South Wales and Campbellfield in Victoria.
BUILT FOR AUSSIE CONDITIONS
The Tanami is a remote desert on the WA/NT border and the track that crosses through it and takes the same name has a reputation of being one of the roughest you’ll come across. The Austrack Tanami X13 has certainly been designed to be able to tackle tracks of similar ilk and with the hot-dipped galvanised (inside and out) RHS 100 x 50 x 3mm chassis and 150 x 50 x 4mm drawbar it’s off to a good start.
The box frame is fully welded aluminium with insulated Royal silver aluminium composite panel and gloss black aluminium checkerplate that adds further strength to this lightweight frame. The gas strut assisted pop-top roof is simple to raise and is constructed using a single reinforced aluminium composite panel on an aluminium frame.
The suspension package is hardcore, with Austrack having designed their own trailing arms with greaseable shackles, independent coils springs and twin reinforced shocks. Black alloy rims wrapped in a set of 265/75R16 Goodride muddies are fitted to six-stud 4x4 hubs with heavy-duty bearings and 12in electric brakes, mechanical handbrake and breakaway system. A McHitch 3500kg Uniglide coupling connects the camper to your rig and offers great articulation when offroading.
When it comes to weights, the Tanami will have you thinking hard. With an ATM of 2750kg and tare of 2140kg the 710kg payload includes two 120L poly water tanks, an 80L grey water tank, two 9kg gas bottles, two 20L jerry cans and the canvas for the annexe and ensuite, a calculator and set of scales could come in handy.
The external finish of this imported camper is high quality and added to that are the bits and pieces once the hybrid reaches our shores. All the water tanks are well protected by checkerplate shrouds, and the plumbing and wiring are all tucked up nicely, out of the way of harm. I was impressed with the seals, especially after driving on dusty tracks. The was no dust to be found inside the camper or boot and even the seals on the external storage boxes performed well.
The lockable front storage box is where the two 9kg plumbed LPG bottles hide and there is also a provision for two jerry cans, although on this trip an additional water jerry was being carried. The box also doubles as the stoneguard, something I would be nervous about on a rocky road being towed behind a 4WD with a large rear window.
The front wall of the camper is protected from stone damage by padding. You could certainly throw some firewood on top of the box, securing it via the tiedown rails. There is also a smaller box for storing the awning poles, an axe and maybe even a fishing rod or two. The tunnel boot is accessible from both sides of the camper and is the perfect place to store the chairs, levelling blocks, C-Gear mat and annexe canvas.
Having such an easy set-up, it won’t take long before you’re sitting back enjoying the view. The Tanami also has two camping setups so you can stay for a day using the quick set electric awning or stay a week with the full annexe set up. Both setups provide excellent cover although the annexe does extend further each side offering better protection for the kitchen and the fridge.
The slide-out kitchen is typical of a hybrid, with a sink plumbed with hot and cold water, a Thetford three-burner stove, cutlery drawers and storage hatches and a handy drying rack. There is good bench space with a slide-out on the side and a fold-out at the rear, the perfect spot for the Weber BBQ that can plug into the nearby bayonet gas connection. A slide-out pantry drawer is next door that is big enough to store your pots and pans as well as your food.
Hidden behind the fold-down external table is the mount and sockets for the HDTV and doubles as a bar or a place to store the herbs and spices, with easy access from the slide-out kitchen. I would be adding some foam to safely store the glasses and bottles of wine.
It’s easy to clean the sand off your feet or wash your bike via the external shower point. While the shower tent is large, I’d be looking to replace it with one of the permanent mount foldout shower tents for simplicity and weight reduction.
Once you’ve unlocked the full security mesh front door, stepping into the camper is made easier using the electric fold-down steps. Inside you’ll discover a bright and airy décor with the cabinetry bouncing light from the large, double-glazed windows that include mosquito-proof mesh and shade curtains. Then it’s just a matter of unlatching the roof and with the help of the gas struts, adding instant height by lifting the roof.
The bedroom opens from the outside adding solid walls, roof and floor while providing enough space for a foldout full-length king-size bed with a 150mm innerspring and pillow topper. From here you can relax watching the HDTV or grab a book from the bedside storage pods.
Internally it’s a good layout with a quality finish and there is plenty of storage with a mix of cabinets, cupboards and drawers and even the ensuite has his and hers storage cupboards. The spacious combo ensuite contains the Dometic electric flushing toilet with an external removable cassette, vanity sink and shower, with the water heated by the Truma Ultrarapid 14L gas/electric hot water system.
The cafe dinette seating is covered in faux leather and is perfectly suited to two people, it would be difficult to seat a family of four in the family model. There is also storage under the seats. The dining table is adjustable and can be removed to use outside, a bit weird.
The climate is controlled by the Dometic roof-mounted air conditioner and under the foot of the bed hides 3 x 120Ah AGM batteries, hot water system, Redarc Manager 30 BMS and charging system, Redarc 2kW Pure Sinewave inverter plus smaller storage space. There are multiple USB and 12V accessory outlets around the camper plus internal and external 240V outlets.
The Tanami X13, with a list of inclusions as long as your arm and a price tag of $47,990 shows that you’re getting great value for your hard-earned money. So, what does $12k worth of standard and bonus inclusions look like? Let me put it this way, BYO or option a fridge to fit the slide-out and the only other things you need to do to get away is fill the water tanks and pack food, clothes, fishing rod, fire pit and chairs. Yep, everything you see on a Tanami X13 (besides the fridge) is included at the end price tag and here are some examples:
- Dometic roof-mounted Air conditioner to keep the temperature just right
- Redarc 2kW Pure Sinewave inverter with a remote switch to power the coffee maker and hairdryer
- Redarc Manager 30 BMS and charging system that looks after your batteries and 12V power
- Three 120Ah AGM deep cycle batteries that will keep you off-grid for a couple of weeks
- 400W of roof-mounted solar that will keep your batteries charged for longer
- Bluetooth stereo CD/DVD/MP3/USB/Radio system to get the party started
- HDTV with internal and external mounts so you’ll never miss a ball being bowled in the Ashes
- Truma Ultrarapid 14L gas/electric hot water system plumbed to both the internal and external showers plus the kitchen sink
- Fully enclosed 450 gsm canvas annexe that includes roof, walls, floor and draft skirt
- Multiple gas outlets with one plumbed to the kitchen and the other for the BBQ at the rear
As I said in the beginning, we were able to check the towability of the Tanami X13 and a variety of road conditions. On the bitumen run from Bourke to Broken Hill, we had a westerly wind howling into our faces with the conditions a challenge for anyone towing. The Tanami tracked nicely behind the Great Wall and the only concern was the fuel consumption.
On the dirt, it was the same and you almost forgot that the camper was there, even over cattle grids and sweeping bends. The suspension kept the Tanami in line and on course, eating up corrugations with ease. Tyre pressures were reduced once off the blacktop, and this also improved the way the camper coped with the offroad conditions.
THE BOTTOM LINE
For an imported hybrid camper, the Austrack Tanami X13 provides a good bang for your buck. Designed as an offroad hybrid camper, from what I witnessed, it covers that 100 per cent. This camper is built with ruggedness in mind and the quality of finish is great. There is plenty of useable storage both inside and out and can handle remote off-grid self-reliant camping without you needing to stress about water or power. The payload does need to be well thought out as it could be easy to end up overweight. The Tanami X13 offers great value for money, a simple set-up, comfortable camping experience wherever you want to take it.
Keen to read up about other Austrack campers? Head over here.
CAMPER TRAILER SPECS: AUSTRACK TANAMI X13
Ball weight 140kg (approx.)
Suspension Adjustable independent coil suspension with twin reinforced shock absorbers
Brakes 12in heavy-duty drum
Coupling McHitch 3500kg Uniglide premium
Drawbar 150 x 50 x 4mm hot-dipped galvanised inside and out
Chassis 100 x 50 x 3mm hot-dipped galvanized inside and out
Body Fully welded aluminium frame, aluminium composite panelling, reinforced aluminium composite roof
Cladding Royal Silver aluminium composite panel, gloss black aluminium checker plate
Wheels Reinforced Black Alloy mags
Tyres Goodride Radials MTs 265/75R16
Body size 6050 (L) x 2180 (W) x 2650mm (H)
Towed length 6500mm
Awning size Electric 3.5 x 2.5m
Gas cylinders 2 x 9kg
Water 2 x 120L fresh; 1 x 80L greywater
Hot water service Truma Ultra Rapid 14L gas/electric
Cooktop Truma three-burner (external)
Kitchen Slide-out Stainless Steel with Thetford three-burner stove, sink, cutlery and utility drawers, drainage rack, rear prep bench and a large slide-out prep bench
Battery 3 x 120Ah AGM
Inverter Redarc 2kW Pure Sine
Solar 4 x 100W Renergy panels