WHAT IS THE BLUEWATER TASMAN?
The Bluewater Tasman is a forward folding, semi-imported camper aimed at the cost-conscious. It is not the cheapest in its bracket but there is a good reason for that. The team replace a number of parts on the Tasman to make it more capable in our harsh environment. Things like wheel bearings, shocks and springs (the shocks are quality Ride Pros) are replaced here. The best coupling in the business is fitted up front (Cruisemaster DO35) and my favourite Jockey wheel too (ARK 750). The canvas is from Wax Converters and is Dynaproofed and zippered with YKK Zippers. All in all, its quality gear with the body and chassis is the only imported part.
WHAT STANDS OUT ABOUT IT?
The first thing that stands out to me is the pole system. There are a lot of campers like the Tasman and most use a heap more poles and most use awning poles that sit on the ground. The Tasman does not, it has no internal spreaders, the main hoop is fixed and the awning poles slot into receivers on the side of the camper.
Believe me when I say, for me, this is reason enough to consider the Tasman over more complicated (and some say divorce-leading) pole systems.
Other standouts are the fridge and pantry layout which although had issues on our test camper, is a clever use of space and fairly easy to use.
Where most fridge slides have the fridge come out east to west, the Tasman’s slide is north-south. This means better access inside the fridge but the big tick comes from how with one latch more, the fridge rotates away to reveal two massive pantry drawers.
Now the issues we had with ours were small and the factory told us they knew of them and have already rectified them. One was the fridge lid fouled on the exhaust fan and the cradle that held the fridge sagged a little when out making getting it back in place a challenge.
BLUEWATER TASMAN FORWARD FOLD LAYOUT
If you've seen inside a forward-fold camper, you’ve seen the Tasmans layout. If you haven’t it's great, they all are. There is a reason the forward-fold layout exploded and took over the market ten years back. There is a heap of space for a small family or touring couple with a Queen sized, locally made mattress (it's good too, I slept on it a lot) a lounge with a removable table and OK storage (it is hard to pack in storage into forward fold campers). One detail I appreciated about the storage was that one section by a wheel-wheel was accessible from the inside and out.
The kitchen layout is fairly familiar too with a slide-out with extending bench, drying rack and cooktop but here is another difference with some imports. Bluewater fit a Dometic-like, three-burner cooker that has lightweight fiddles and more space to properly cook on.
The other standout detail in the kitchen is the use of a snake track for water and gas plumbing. There is no bayonet to attach and remove every time you move the camper or need to attach a water pipe, it is plumbed from the factory and yes, if you are wondering, it is all legal and certified - I won't let the cat out of the bag on how they do it but it is simple. I am astounded more campers do not use it.
SELF SUFFICIENCY SPECS
Slung under the Tasman are two water tanks totalling 150 litres. They are pumped by SeaFlow pumps (quality) and are valved so you can choose which tank to draw from. There is a mains inlet for holiday park camping too.
Power control in our camper was upgraded to a Projecta ProCharge 21A, a AC, 21 amp, a six-stage charger for AGM and deep cycle batteries, not lithium. Beside it was a DC charger also from Projecta and a cool bit of tech from BMPRO in their SmartLink.
SmartLink allows you to hook up the SmartConnect range of sensors from BMRPO to your power system so you can easily keep an eye on power consumption and state of charge as well as use handy sensors like tyre pressure monitors, gas level sensors and even temperature sensors for fridges. It talks to your phone by BlueTooth and if you've not tried it, do, once you’ve used it a while, you’ll always want it.
Power storage was by way of a pair of 120-amp AGM batteries. These will be enough to run a fridge like we had (an 85L MyCoolman) for a week, easily. You can top it up with a solar blanket via the Anderson at the drawbar though I am not sure if the DC charger was ready for unregulated power or if you’d need a separate solar reg.
Twin 4.5kg gas bottles can be stored in the ventilated front locker alongside a jerry can holder which we made good use of with the thirsty RAM 1500
TOWING A BLUEWATER TASMAN CAMPER TRAILER
We towed the Tasman with two cars over our 7000km test. A late model Dodge RAM 1500 V8 and one of Hema Maps’ Map Patrol 79 Series Landcruisers. Both were up to the task but for comfort, you’d take the RAM and surprisingly too, for fuel consumption.
The RAM got down to the early 20L/100km when the headwinds dropped and we took it a bit easier. The 79 sat between 25 and 30L/100k. Blame the sheer bulk and weight of the 3800kg GVM and stretched ‘Cruiser for some of that but also the factory gearing which sucks at 110km/h.
I’d suggest, with an ATM of only 2400kg, you would be fine with most late model utes and SUV’s or older large SUVs like a 100 Series Landcruiser or GU Patrol.
VALUE FOR MONEY AND FINAL THOUGHTS
Our camper had a few options on it. The power system upgrades being the standout but as tested our Tasman was still under $38,000. Starting at $36,990 is a great deal when you take in the inclusions and changes the team make locally. The Wax Converters canvas is the best in the business as are the jockey wheel and hitch plus the shocks are quality but its the ease of use that I’m most impressed by.
Sure it still has some poles but they are easier to use than most and the free-standing awning is magic as is the snake track, fully plumbed kitchen.
I’d suggest you’ll struggle to find a better semi-import for the money, seriously.
Bluewater Tasman Forward Fold Specifications
- Tare 1600kg
- ATM 2400kg
- Payload 800kg
- Ball Weight ~125kg
- Battery 2 X 120A AGM
- Chargers Projecta 21A AC, Projecta DC
- Solar BYO
- Fridge BYO
- Toilet 10L Portable
- Shower External
- Water 150L Combined
- Gas 2 X 4.5kg
- Grey Tank NA
- HWS Truma Ultra Rapid
- Wheels and Tyres Alloy 16” with 265/75R16 Tyres
Bluewater Tasman Dimensions
- 1.9m Wide
- 1.6m High (packed)
- 5.49m Long
- 6 x 2.4m annex
Bluwater Tamsman Priced From $36,990
THE NEXT STEP
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