15-30k - FINALIST
When casting their eyes over the Blue Tongue, our judges were more than convinced of its offerings as a rock solid camper well-equipped to take the family out on the tracks. Much was made of the valuable inclusions that contribute to the Overland's self-sufficiency, and will no doubt make your crew's journey more comfortable. Our judges were also taken with the sharp presentation of the Overland, and it's finessed details on the interior.
OFF GRID EASE
In terms of self-sufficiency, the Blue Tongue will let you live off the grid for several days at least. It has a 120L stainless steel water tank and an additional 35L tank that feeds the shower. With holders for two jerry cans, you can effectively have 195L of water on board. There are two 4kg gas bottle holders in a dedicated compartment that is plumbed through to the kitchen – although you’ll need to supply your own bottles.
The electrical set-up will keep you well powered, with two 100Ah batteries with a DC-DC charger and, on the camper presented at CTOTY, a Redarc 30 Battery Management System. This is supplemented by a 120W solar mat, also an upgrade from the base model but included in the camper on test.
Days spent off the grid are made more comfortable by the Dometic diesel hot water unit, and there’s plenty of space for several days’ worth of food and supplies in the excellent pantry box.
UP TO THE TASK
Blue Tongue Campers have positioned themselves as a high-end camper for luxurious camping trips, rather than a beat through the scrub kind of offering, and it’s shown in how they’ve pieced together the Overland XF. The body sits atop a 100x50mm chassis from front to back, the drawbar measures in at 4mm thick, with it dropping down to 3mm under the body. The XFs profile has been extended rearwards thanks to a relocated pole storage box, both spare tyres have been bumped higher to accommodate. While some may baulk at the choice, it shouldn’t drastically affect its offroad ability. Weight is middle of the pack at 1400kg, hardly surprising considering the sheer number of goodies fitted, and should still perform better in tricky situations and soft terrain than some of its heavier competitors. The whole lot rides on Blue Tongue’s independent suspension with twin shocks on each side. The team from Blue Tongue strip every camper down before it hits the road, going through front to back to ensure every nut, bolt, weld, and seam is up to scratch, even replacing bolts with high-tensile offerings.
Look, if your tow-tug is sporting 35s and you want to point your nose down every side track looking for trouble the Blue Tongue probably won’t be at the top of your short list. But for families aiming to do some serious back road exploring without stopping when the track deteriorates, the Overland XF will be more than up to the job.
BANG FOR YOUR BUCK
The Blue Tongue Overlander XF presents a number of quality specifications and comforts. Blue Tongue has specialised in upspeccing their campers over the past few years, always looking to value add by offering high end branded inclusions or features.
The Slumberest inner spring mattress that replaces the standard foam bedding is typical, as are the wrap-around internal seating and the inclusion of a fully plumbed diesel hot water and space heater system. This latter provides hot water to the kitchen as well as the front permanently connected outlet for the ensuite.
The kitchen is of reasonable size with its pull-out extension and the spacious pantry drawer solves one of the major storage issues with some forward fold designs, which, with the roomy space for a fridge ensures that the living area beneath the awning is well provided for.
The 655mm deep body also permits enhanced internal storage options that are supplemented by the pole storage at the rear which assist in counterbalancing the drawbar and reducing ball weight to a very acceptable 130kg. The rooftop bag for the awning walls and floors frees up even more internal storage space. The wind-up internal table was excellent and the three-pole “quick awning” set-up is great for those short-stay camps.
Strangely there were no internal window covers, so that in the event of the onset of rain or a cool front at night the occupants are put to dashing around outside to close things up. There was no sound system or TV, though frankly we all go camping to get away from the outside world and this is not seen as a great loss.
LOOKS THE GOODS
John 'Bear' Willis
The Blue Tongue Overland XF Series 2 forward fold camper is a rugged and well presented package that offers comforts and accessories to please the whole family. Blue Tongue has carefully considered the packaging to extend beyond basic camping with upgrades and accessories that separates them from other forward folds. It starts with a strong, fully reinforced galvanised chassis with independent trailing arm suspension in a realistic size trailer. The usual suspension items are supplied, but Blue Tongue separates itself from the bunch by providing laser adjusted toe in/out alignment and reinforce key stress points with hi-tensile bolts.
With the Overland XF, Blue Tongue upgraded the long list of standard specifications with additional quality components. The standard camper starts at $22,490. However the additional Dometic hydronic diesel hot water system plus cabin heater, Redarc Manager 30 battery management system, Slumberest inner spring mattress and 120W flexible solar mat took the overall price to $29,980. Would I pay over $4K for a diesel hot water/heater unit? No, yet plenty will!
Blue Tongue has an eye for finished quality, comfort and presentation. The 450gsm canvas manufacture is terrific, and the external presentation speaks quality with premium two pack polyurethane paint plus polished stainless steel trims and fittings. Plus, the internal upholstery is beautifully moulded into the corners. The table has been upgraded with a collapsible pedestal that eliminates those tricky corner legs that inevitably cause a dinner time upheaval. When it comes to life’s essentials, the Overland will keep you travelling comfortably for extended periods in comfort and style.
Tare 1450kg (without boat rack)
SuspensionIndependent coil spring
Brakes 12in electric
Coupling 360 degree AL-KO offroad ball
Chassis Galvanised 100x50x3mm
Drawbar Galvanised 100x50x4mm
Body Steel and polyurethane paint
Wheel/tyre 16in alloy 265/75 all terrains
Style Forward fold
Box size 4200mmx1900mmx1400mm (LxWxH)
Length 5300mm (hitch to tail lights)
Tent size 4500mmx1900mm (LxW)
Gas cylinders 2x4kg bottle holders (plumbed to kitchen)
Water 1x120L and 1x35L (for shower) with 12V pump
Cooktop Three-burner gas SMEV
Kitchen Stainless steel slide out
Battery 2x100Ah GM deep cycle
$22,490 (optional inclusions extra)
Check out all the action from CTOTY 2018 in issue #122 of Camper Trailer Australia magazine. Subscribe today for all the latest camper trailer news, reviews and travel inspiration.