There’s a whole world of forward fold camper owners out exploring our massive country. By definition, competition drives quality. And, mark my words, we are in the midst of a cracker-jack race among manufacturers to provide the highest quality campers, full of features and accessories, at the most gratifying price. A keen competitor in the race is Queensland’s Jawa Campers and they are worth investigating.
In case you were wondering about the name Jawa, it was coined by the owners, the enthusiastic and charismatic Jay and Wayne Hinchsliff, who just ooze Queensland appeal in their larger-than-life personas. The Jawa logo features tropical palm trees silhouetted against a setting sun, which evokes a fair idea of the holiday possibilities that you can find with your Jawa camper in tow. I reckon I would have surfed with the pair way back in the north coast days of the late 1970s – but that’s another story for the campfire!
IT'S GOT THE LOOK...AND THE GRUNT
The Jawa Outlander is an attractive camper with its silver baked enamel finish, polished checkerplate alloy edge trims and black highlights. It differs from competitive forward folds with the addition of a large storage boot across the rear of the trailer that gives it an appealing aesthetic advantage. The box is ideal for carrying all of the annexe canvas and steel poles. It's easily accessed by tilting down the rear bumper frame and spare wheel mount, revealing a large fully dust-sealed hatch on top, plus side access doors. The cut away angles actually take any 'boxiness' away from the aesthetics further enhancing the outward appeal of the camper.
Our demonstration Jawa Outlander was also fitted with a well constructed boat/luggage rack on top plus a further pack/firewood rack above the forward box section. Out front the 100x50x4mm A-frame drawbar peaks with an ADR approved 2000kg polyblock coupling, grab bar, a decent handbrake, premium Ark jockey wheel, Anderson plug, and a nifty stone screen with a replaceable mesh centre. This screen has hinged checkerplate wings protecting twin gas bottle and jerry can holders. There is also a removable frame for the winch mechanism which frankly I doubt you would ever use unless you were alone, as the gas strut assisted forward fold is quite easy. I reckon I’d remove it completely in heavy offroad scenarios, as the winch seems mighty close to the coupling for the relief angle, particularly if you have a spare wheel on your vehicle's tailgate.
The Outlander features a full box section chassis and independent trailing arm suspension with twin shockers and a coil spring either side. It will surely take you to that distant destination and back again with a minimum of fuss. Even the suspension retaining chains are locked into place, which seems small but can have dire implications if not done properly. The Jawa Outlander has 12in electric brakes and adjustable camber, plus the entire undersides including the chassis and Zincanneal tub are treated with a protective body deadener. All of the plumbing and wiring is fully enclosed and protected from underbody damage.
Jawa have taken particular care with dust and water ingress protection by fitting high quality automotive seals and compression locks. There are wind down legs on each corner and a pair of engineered recovery points to the rear should you need to drag out backwards. The ATM is 1990kg with 100kg ball weight with standard load, and a Tare weight of 1460kg. Also underneath is a 120L stainless steel water tank with checkerplate shroud, plus a 35L tank up front, which leaves around 375kg of accessory loading capacity with full tanks, jerry cans and gas bottles. It rides on 265/75/16in mud terrain tyres with attractive alloy mags that blend well with the silver baked enamel paintwork and trims.
SET UP SIMPLY
I timed the boys setting up the Outlander and it was a grand total of six minutes for an overnighter, plus an easy annexe construction should you want it. Incidentally the annexe roof and some bedding can stay connected, which greatly reduces set up time. The 5mx1.75m, 16oz tent popped up in no time with minimal adjustment for tension. This is a premium quality tent with an automatic erecting tropical roof, double stitching, both inner and outer awnings with easy set up poles outside plus midge mesh screens, YKK zips and heavy reinforcement on all wear points. The cantilevered doorway and stairwell opens easily and feels safe with decent tread sizes. Erecting this forward folding camper reminded me of just how much easier it is compared to those with extendas. I guess if you have to sleep the whole crowd then an extenda is the go, but for a couple on the road perhaps with a small family, the single fold suits.
We set up the 5x2.4m annexe in a jiffy with Wayne emphasising that he only uses galvanised poles for strength, explaining he has had too much trouble with softer aluminium options. You do need a separate ladder to insert the spreader poles but the outside frame was strong enough without. The annexe has a longer drop on the wall returns for added shelter from that harsh Queensland sun, but it also means its easier to assemble the detachable walls. Then Wayne revealed another of his nifty inventions! It seems that one of his favourite campsites (and mine) has a rocky base, so instead of using standard tent pegs, he uses 200mm baton screws for penetrating the tough ground. It is a great idea and you only need to carry a cordless drill to make life easier. The Outlander package comes complete with removable walls, floor and draft skirt that assemble easily with zips and Velcro for a longer stay.
ENTERTAIN INSIDE WITH EASE
Inside the camper you'll find a standard forward fold layout with a Queen bed (high density foam mattress) up in front with privacy screen, and a convertible U-shaped lounge with drop down table that becomes a double. The trim, finish and upholstery standards are high, with plush seat cushions, faux timber flooring and plenty of steel constructed storage compartments and lockers, both under the bed and seats. Yes, there’s even the portable TV monitor for those that just can’t live without it! The Outlander package comes complete with two 100A deep cycle batteries with the Anderson plug for charging from the towing vehicle or the 200kW portable solar panel which forms part of the special package. There’s a tonne of 12V LED lighting including sensor lights to the forward compartments, a 240V 20A battery charger, plenty of 12V and USB sockets, and an external compartment with the battery management system, isolator/circuit breaker, LED power and water indicators and fused switch panel.
I must say this Outlander is quite the entertainer with its cafe style side window rolled open and the sound system delivering the tunes from CD/MP3/USB and bluetooth. The outside living space features a deluxe stainless steel slide-out kitchen at the rear complete with pressurised cold water to the sink plus a four-burner stove with heavy duty cast iron trivets, surrounded by stainless wind guards. There are three cutlery and utensil drawers, plus a pull-out bench extension and adjustable legs. Forward of the stairs is a deep pull-out pantry and then the fridge compartment with slide which in the “Silver” pack as displayed also includes an Evakool RV62L fridge/freezer. The standard fridge tray is 1150x540x500 for those with their own existing fridges, which can house up to 110L in Evakool’s. The entire forward compartment is pressurised including the large storage compartment opposite the fridge.
The bonus inclusions on the Outlander package include a separate freestanding full canvas ensuite tent, porta-potti, shower, a smaller touring awning and wheel chocks. The “Silver Pack” as displayed includes the Evakool RV62L fridge/freezer, side folding boat/luggage rack, TV monitor, stainless steel kitchen, 200kW solar panel and the gas hot water system. Jawa offer a full range of options and accessories and will tailor fit a package to the customer needs.
WHAT'S THE VERDICT?
The Jawa Outlander offers a terrific package with a high quality build and a terrific list of accessories for a reasonable price. The addition of the rear annexe and pole carrier along with the personalisation options sets it high on the ladder in a competitive field.
HITS AND MISSES
- Overall quality
- Canvas construction
- Rear awning/pole boot
- Separate shower tent
- Strong chassis/undercarriage
- Baton screw tent pegs
- It’s all in the package plus options!
Suspension Independent trailing arm suspension with twin shockers and coil springs
Brakes 12in electric
Coupling 2000kg polyblock
Chassis Box section
Body Zincanneal with body deadener underneath and baked enamel finish
Wheel/tyre 265/75/16in All-terrain
Style 16in alloy mags
Box size 7x6in
Length 5200mm (hitch to tail lights)
Gas cylinders Adjustable holders only
Water 120L plus 35L stainless
Cooktop Four-burner gas
Kitchen Stainless steel slide out with three drawers, cooktop, sink with cold water pressurised, adjustable legs and pull out bench
Battery 2x100A AGM deep cycle
PRICE AS SHOWN
Check out the full review in issue #121 of Camper Trailer Australia magazine. Subscribe today for all the latest camper trailer news, reviews and travel inspiration.
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