Bushranger Joey: Review
We put the compact Bushranger Joey hybrid through its paces on the rugged tracks of the Flinders Ranges.
They say, "It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog" and that is a most apt sentiment for the Bushranger Joey. This is an appealing hybrid camper for travelling nomads who want a compact towing package with the simplicity of less than five minutes total set-up time with vehicle disconnected, roof popped and stabilisers down. And now the Joey comes with a "bat wing"-style awning, expanding the shaded footprint.
You can literally pull up at a roadside stop, open the back door and jump into the comfy double bed as quick as snap, crackle, pop. Not only is this ideal for an overnighter when there are big miles to travel, but it is also great for a lunch stop, or maybe even a "nanna nap" to break up the journey.
DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION
The Joey has quite a few surprises in store, especially considering its compact nature. It’s built on a strong, full-box galvanised chassis and features its own Austrack trailing arm shock absorbed independent leaf suspension that tracks beautifully on the asphalt. Offroad, it carries the 1140kg Tare load extremely smoothly over corrugations, craggy ground, rocky inclines and muddy bogs. The 2in raised suspension and 16in Hercules Terra Trac all-terrain tyres on attractive alloy mags allow excellent ground clearance, and the relatively short wheel base provides very good manoeuvrability in tight terrain with minimal rear overhang to reduce bum drag.
Stepping in through the Joey’s rear door, you simply pop the gas-strutted roof and place a pair of stays for added support. I was impressed, not only at the quality of the fit-out and the amount of accessories inside the compact body shell, but also the amount of living space and comfort afforded by the design and selection of textures and fittings.
Our review model came with an optional 19in 12V/240V LCD TV/DVD player on an adjustable bracket that is visible throughout the whole interior, including from the east-west bed, which is tucked into the front of the van. East-west beds can sometimes feel a bit small, but not in the Joey, so you can be assured of a good night’s sleep after a long day on the road.
While the Bushranger Joey is very compact, it is far from claustrophobic. There are long, wind-out windows on either side and additional light is let in through the rear door panel. All are provided with appealing black-out curtains. Overhead, there are zippered windows in the canvas sections of the hinged pop-top, all fitted with fine mesh flyscreens.
The roof is thickly insulated and carries a permanently mounted 120W solar panel to assist the Anderson plug and Projecta Smart Charge VSR battery charger/management system in keeping you fully-charged. There is also a Ventline roof hatch for light and ventilation if you don’t feel like popping the roof.
The internal kitchen is to the right as you enter and comprises the Smev cooktop, a stainless steel sink, preparation space, plenty of cabinets and a Waeco 80L upright compressor fridge that really showed its worth on our Flinders expedition, maintaining our sustenance at a satisfying even temperature even when the outside temperatures fluctuated wildly from quite hot during the day to freezing at night.
The quality of the cabinetry is most pleasing and, in fact, the Joey is really very inviting inside. It feels rich and warm with the plush timber finishes, laminated timber edge benchtops, and attractive upholstery. Overall, it has a nice feel and I found it to be a very sensible layout for a travelling couple.
There is a surprising amount of storage, with checkerplate toolboxes, pole cabinets and an enclosure for the twin 100Ah batteries externally, as well as a large array of cabinetry inside, including under-bed storage. There are cooking options inside and out, with a pull-out Swift two-burner gas stove and barbecue plate externally and a Smev two-burner cooktop in the internal kitchen.
THE WRAP UP
At 2.25m height overall, the Joey not only has quite low wind resistance for towing economy, but it will also fit into most domestic garages and carports. It can be easily towed by mid-sized vehicles and, in this price range, represents real value for money given all the creature comforts provided.
Bushranger Campers is a boutique-style family operation that provides a personalised buying experience backed by a two-year manufacturer’s warranty and recognised dealers. The Joey will get you to the tough spots to hide out in style and comfort, and maintain those pleasures for the well-deserved extended holiday. What could be better suited to your next Aussie bush experience?
HITS & MISSES
- Compact and relatively light weight
- Great storage
- Level of comfort
- Accessory selection
I would have liked…
- The addition of a grill
Check out the full feature in issue #90 Julyne 2015 of Camper Trailer Australia magazine. Subscribe today for all the latest camper trailer news, reviews and travel inspiration.