For many people, the dream of travelling around Australia in a caravan is a lifelong ambition. There’s something incredibly exciting and alluring about hitting the open road and seeing everything that this beautiful country has to offer. And while it’s definitely a great way to see the country, travelling in a caravan can also be a bit of a challenge. Choosing your car and caravan to travel, is one of the biggest decisions you will make.
Our journey started long before we hit the road, we had a smaller 18’6” semi off-road van and had been towing this with our 2015 PX Ranger 4x4 XLT and we needed to avoid the expense of a larger vehicle, but we needed a larger more comfortable van with a lighter tare and more room. Not so easy you might say, but after much research and a bit of luck we came across Essential Caravans (that was the research) and finding Ian Grants at Traralgon (well that was the luck.)
We settled on a 22’10” Design 10 Grant Cruiser and we haven’t looked back. Tare weight 2430kgs and fully loaded with all our gear, dual bike rack, water tanks, gas, and groceries all full, approx. 3050kgs. The layout with the separate bedroom, middle toilet and large shower, also separated by a privacy door, suited us beautifully. The large Club lounge at the rear means that the kitchen area is wider than normal and for us travelling full time this gives us those individual private spaces we sometimes need to read, watch television or just have some quiet time alone. The Design 10 really has it all and we can’t say enough good things about the team at Ian Grants in Traralgon. We, like all who travel as much as us, have had a couple of minor issues but it has always only been a phone call no matter where we are and help or advice has always been on hand. This gives us great confidence as we travel our great country.
But how would the Ranger perform? Well before I talk about performance it should be noted that our Ranger has been towing now for approx. 90,000klms and has over 200,000klms on the clock. We have serviced the car every 10k and are about to service the transmission at her next service and we have fitted a new complete set of 5 injectors and replaced all heater/radiator hoses. The only mods fitted is a secondary Brown & Davis fuel filter and 2 Iron man helper springs on the rear to help level the larger van.
As far as performance goes we are very satisfied, since the new injectors we get an average of 15.4 litres per 100klms at about 90-95 kms per hour on flat outback roads. Obviously, this changes with road conditions and weather conditions but in general, this is good. RPM sits between 1600 & 2000revs while cruising in good conditions. We still have heaps of power and I personally only move the transmission to sports mode for hills or passing. I know this is a much-debated point but hey this is just what we do.
When we are fully hooked up, driver and passenger on board with the vehicle fully fuelled and loaded our set up is 6060kgs, yes a bit over but we can drop out some water if needed and our split weights show all is ok with the tow ball weight adding to the Ranger. We don’t have a canopy on the Ranger but do have a roof rack and we run a separate solar panel a battery on the car for added security and running the spare camping fridge.
Hacks & Additions
4x shelves on each side of the bed
a Hidden Shoe rack around the bed base (see YouTube)
toolbox on rear
an outdoor shoe rack
a security light on the door
a BBQ slide out for a BabyQ Weber (cutdown)
a Dyson Vacuum
a nightlight for toilet
All in all, we are very happy and impressed with our set up and as we move forward in the coming years we would see no reason to move away from the current brands of Ford Ranger & Essential Caravans and of course, we fully endorse these and recommend with no hesitation the great team at Ian Grants Caravans in Traralgon.