Review: Echo 4x4 Kavango
We test and rate the Echo 4X4 Campers Kavango, a contender (Hybrid category) in Camper Trailer Australia's 2014 Camper Trailer of the Year awards.
ECHO 4X4 CAMPERS KAVANGO REVIEW
If you’ve ever been there, you’ll realise the climate and geography there is in parts very similar to Australia.
The Echo 4x4 Kavango is a quality, premium hybrid camper built in South Africa, except for its independent suspension and wheels, which are fettled locally.
Echo 4x4 has been making campers for nearly 30 years, and uses up-to-the-minute production techniques. The Kavango’s components are CNC cut and robot-welded.
The Kavango is an absolute corker of a hybrid camper: it ticks so many boxes for those who want the blend of a versatile, agile camper trailer and the enclosed space of a family caravan.
There’s so many features, it’s hard to list them all: the fold-forward bed area; the slide-out hardfloor ensuite; the twist-off spare wheel-mounted fire grill; the dedicated crockery and cutlery storage (with bespoke cutlery and crockery to go with it); are just some of the useful, clever features.
You might want to think about getting the mail redirection up and going when travelling with the Kavango, because you won’t want to go home Although the versatile Kavango is a four-berth camper, its layout allows a couple to set-up the fold-out bed and use the main internal area as a dinette set-up. When you have the kids or grandkids along, the table easily converts to a double bed.
When it’s time to get cooking, the Kavango has a stainless-steel kitchen sink and fridge slide-out combo. A separate folding table is stored with the slide-out, so your food prep and/or meal can be had outside as you please.
It’s such a simple idea but one that that takes the hassle out of getting a table to squeeze in somewhere — this one is already in the camper in its bespoke place.
STORAGE AND CONSTRUCTION
If you’re just pulling up for a cuppa, the Kavango has it all sorted. There is an external fold-down table, which also serves as the locker door for the standard crockery and cutlery for six.
The nice thing here is that if you want an open-air picnic during a roadside stop, you don’t even need to open the door. Just pull out the kitchen/fridge slide, drop down the fold-down table and for some shade just pull out the awning and set the poles.
The Kavango is well-designed and well-built and brings together a comprehensive list of equipment at a low cost. It’s hard not to like what Echo 4x4 has done with the Kavango. for a long while, nor will you need to.
The Kavango certainly has the ability to go into the wilds of the Aussie bush and stay there as long as you want to. The beauty of this set-up is that you have an ample 100L water capacity (plus the option of a further 80L in four jerries), gas water heating and a shower. Who said camping had to mean roughing it?
The power features are right up there, too: two 100Ah batteries, 300W pure sine wave inverter, 120W Redarc solar panel and energy-effcient LED lighting.
The Kavango’s battery management system is set up to take in electrical charge to its 12V batteries three ways: via a 15amp 240V AC to 12V DC three-stage charger (such as when at caravan parks), via the DC-DC converter (via the tow vehicle and an Anderson plug) or via the solar regulator feeding in power from the solar panel.
While the strong C-section 5mm galvanised chassis and sandwich-construction poly-fibreglass body sounds like it’d weigh as much as a concrete bunker, the Kavango is, dare we say it, almost dainty for a hybrid. Not forgetting this thing has everything you need including the kitchen sink, it weighs only 1180kg Tare. That’s a great starting point, especially considering its tough construction, and while the 620kg payload is generous, you’d be struggling to use it all.
To discover the Echo 4X4 Campers Kavango's final score, be sure to check out Camper Trailer Australia magazine #73. Why not subscribe today!
ECHO 4X4 KAVANGO RATING
PHIL JONES: The Kavango is one of my favourites here because it offers so much in the way of features, clever design and is so robust it feels like you could tow it anywhere.
I like the design of the ensuite shower cubicle, and how it is an extension of the camper’s interior. I don’t like how most of the time crockery brought from home doesn’t quite fit in a trailer — yet here it is standard and designed to fit. It is such a simple idea but one that I really like.
Add the fact that the Kavango can comfortably sleep four, is relatively light and comprehensively equipped — and all this for less than $50k — and that makes it a bargain.
STU JONES: This unit does everything pretty well; it’s a bit cramped but there is a lot to squeeze in. The shower/ensuite is innovative and impressive for such a small unit. That alone would sell plenty of units.
The finish is good, a little different to oz-made units — couldn’t find a fault other than a wobbly table. offroadability is good for something this size and length. The rock sliders running full-length give confidence. Storage is a little pokey — there is enough of it, but you would need to shuffle it around.
The foam-only bed options could get the better of some. I like where the awning is stored, rolled up along the line of the pop-up roof. I also liked the yellow light on the outside to deter persistent bugs. This will be a trend that takes off, my friends.
MIKE PAVEY: This is a good offroad camper for couples or small families, with innovation in the slide-out shower, barbecue rack on the spare wheel and storage modules exchangeable for jerry can holders in the front corners.
Generally, it’s got good finishes, and quality components and construction. It’s a good tare weight for this category, with a full-length chassis to the rear offering good protection. Missing a stoneguard to protect the fibreglass body.
Super-easy set-up and pack-up, three-pole awning, great ensuite, cutlery and crockery with dedicated storage. Access to the bed over the drawbar has a narrower than usual entry. This is excellent value, and that internal ensuite is "wow".
DAVID COOK: I like the way they’ve Australianised these campers, with local suspensions, gas and electrics. Lots of new and clever ideas, from the spring pegs to the pull-out table in the kitchen bench.
Just a few little issues on finish for me: sloppiness of fit on internal panels and a rattle in the doors let this otherwise well-finished camper down. None of this, however, diminishes its functionality.
The one-piece body is excellent and the extensive use of pVC in places where many campers use canvas means wet pack-ups are less of a problem. The adjustable double-action locks make for excellent dust sealing.
The hand basin was useful, which is more than can be said for the mirror at chest level. The kitchen was well equipped and functional. Pull into any campsite with a Kavango and all the other campers will be salivating.
Call to enquire: 1300 324 649
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