Lumberjack Otway Forward Fold Hard Floor: Review
Need storage and accommodation under canvas for your family travels? The Lumberjack Otway may just be the answer.
Emanating from Victoria’s west coast, Lumberjack has hit the market running and is bursting forward in leaps and bounds. The company is well placed in the budget camper category, providing a heap of sensible options and accessories on smartly designed and constructed bases. My first glimpse of the new Otway had me quite excited, particularly to see such a sensible slide-out option to the forward folding camper design. I spent much of my misspent youth in the beautiful Otway Ranges and, hence, the model name held a definite attraction for me.
DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION
The Otway takes hardfloor camping to a level that will greatly appeal to larger families. It’s all very well to say, "there’s room to assemble a set of bunks on the floor" but who really wants to be carrying and assembling extra bunks for the kids at every stop along a long and winding, or straight and dusty road? The extra pull-out double bed not only gives added innerspring accommodation, it becomes a place for the kids to play in inclement weather and opens up the centre section of the camper to a terrific dinette where the family can eat, or perhaps have a game of cards or Monopoly – just like the old days, before modern gizmos and gadgets ate away our family interaction.
The drawbar feeds into a RHS painted and galvanised chassis construction that appears very strong and suitably welded. Offroad specialists will like the independent trailing arm suspension that features twin gas shockers and a coil spring each side. I was also very pleased to see replaceable stub axles and I would certainly be ordering a spare to keep in the road kit if I was anticipating long-range offroad sojourns.
Water carrying capacity is maximised with 100L and 65L stainless steel tanks suitably housed well up into the chassis away from harm’s way, and topped off with checkerplate alloy shrouding. She’s certainly built for purpose but I would personally spend just a little more time protecting water lines and electrical cables, just in case of rock damage or that inevitable drop-bear that drops unexpectedly into the chassis.
The centre dinette easily converts to yet another double bed or twin singles, so add this to the queen-size innerspring mattress on the folding section and you could easily sleep a whole tribe under the roofline of the main tent.
The internal upholstery makes life very comfortable with thickly padded cushions and backrests. The U-shaped dinette will seat the whole party if required, and I’ll give you the tip that this camper will become the social centre of a group of companion trailers.
The Otway comes fully equipped with double 100Ah deep-cycle batteries fitted to a sliding tray in the rear driver’s side compartment where you will also find a power isolator and fuse box. There is a switch panel inside the camper that has a voltage indicator and water level gauges for both tanks. Both internal and external LED lighting and 12V sockets are provided with the standard unit.
Also on the driver’s side, Lumberjack has more storage facilities and an external pull-out shower with hot and cold water from the optional gas hot water system. An external shower curtain comes as standard but one wasn’t provided for our test. All external doors are fitted with compression locks and automotive-style rubber seals to minimise any dust ingress and the unit is finished in an attractive deep grey hammertone paint. There are alloy checkerplate offsets that really make the Otway a classy looking camper. The roof of the unit is also checkerplate and its surface area can carry a large load including a roof top tinnie, kayaks or maybe even some firewood. The entire rim also provides plenty of tie-down facilities.
The entry and relief angles seemed quite good considering the amount of overhanging equipment at the rear and even when we hit the potholes and mud, she never bounced or felt unstable.
THE WRAP UP
Lumberjack is presenting a terrific combination of design, suitable accessories and a host of standard equipment at a very reasonable, almost entry-level price with the Otway. And yep, I was whistling Monty Python’s "He’s a Lumberjack and he’s okay", all over the beautiful Otway Ranges.
HITS AND MISSES
- Seems strong
- Well designed
- Independent suspension
- Plenty of storage
- Bedding combination
- Drop-down dinette
- Stainless steel water tanks
- Top loading capacity
- Heavy tent to erect
- Swing down jockey wheel
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