240L of potable water, 18kg of gas, a 300Ah battery capacity fed by 300 watts of solar, a comfortable interior living space and the largest ensuite for its class combine to make the Austrack Tanami X13 an alluringly self-sufficient hybrid. The self-sufficiency of this finalist was so alluring, in fact, that it won itself the secondary award of 'Most Self-Sufficient' out of all competing campers.
The Austrack Tanami is the sort of rig you’d expect to find around Corner Country, attached to a powerful 4WD and promising to keep its occupants poised and comfortable, regardless of what Mother Nature has in store. A heavy weight in its class, the Tanami is loaded with gear to keep you on the road for extended periods. If you’ve got the grunt, it’s got the ‘go’.
The Austrack Tanami is a hefty beast that packs a punch with its go-anywhere fixtures and fittings. It offers the greatest carrying capacity for water, gas and electrics of the hybrids reviewed, with two 9L gas bottle mounts, 240 litres of potable water and a further 80 litre grey water tank. Add to this the two jerry can storage bays, the three 100Ah AGM batteries, the three 100W solar panels as standard and the Dometic reverse cycle A/C, and the Tanami is set to service your daily needs with plenty more up its sleeve.
Inside, the rig offers the biggest ensuite in its category and a king sized 150mm innerspring mattress with a functional dinette and wardrobe. Outside, the kitchen is functional if not inspiring. The fully enclosed canvas annexe that comes standard with the rig has rubber flooring to two inches above the ground, ensuring that travellers who aren’t accommodated in the king sized bed are not left battling the elements outdoors.
The Tanami is properly capable of dealing with harsh conditions with its McHitch 3500kg coupling, leather stoneguard, one-piece composite floor with full underbody plastic coating, and rock-resistant aluminium checkerplate front storage box and side panels. Given its rough-rider ambitions, there is, in my books, room for improvement in the density of the checkerplate, which appeared a little thin in places, and the positioning of some of the water piping, which appeared unnecessarily exposed under the chassis.
With a Tare of 2,090kg, a payload of 660kg, and a height of nearly 2.5m, the Tanami struggled with the narrowness of the test track during review, sustaining underbody damage to the leg leveller and stairs. Nevertheless, this camper is solidly built and well capable of keeping up with a turbo tow tug on B-grade roads in the ‘back of beyond’. In such an environment, the Tanami offers a comfortable couple’s escape pod with sizable benefits.
When we asked the Austrack team “who’s your market for the Tanami?” we were surprised by the answer: “Young families”, because we were stood inside the rig looking at a two-person sleeping arrangement with no apparent additional bed space. To our eye, this camper was calling out for DINKs and Grey Nomads in search of a comfy, well-appointed home on the road.
A key element of the Tanami’s ‘Shebang!’ is its internal ensuite. It’s the largest on the market in its class. And, if that’s not enough, there’s also an outdoor shower for those of us who generally get covered in dust and fish guts while we’re in the Great Outdoors. To service this lavishness, the Tanami has a combined total of 345L of fluid capacity on-board. This is great if you consider cleanliness next to Godliness.
For quick stops, the Tanami has an electric awning that will deploy in minutes. However, the reality is that the Tanami’s family credentials depend on deployment of a fully-sealed canvas annexe. On review, the roof of this annexe took half an hour to deploy with two burly adults involved, including one climbing on the camper’s front nose; the walls take as long again.
This is a task that would likely be reserved for one to two week periods of stationary set-up, to provide shelter for a gaggle of kids, cousins or great Uncle George. In this setting, the Tanami promises comfort and shelter for endless hours of love, laughter and lager — with everything and everyone close around you.
With a price tag of $39,990 as reviewed, the Tanami will suit many buyers and as a matter of fact, I think the marketing pitch can afford to encompass a broader audience. We could see this camper being used by couples or families who regularly attend multi-day sporting events: mountain bike competitions, equine tournaments, or archery and gun club events. With the annexe unfurled, there’s plenty of space to play for a few days or even weeks. Alternatively, if you and your other half want a slice of opulence on your Big Lap — with the comforts of a caravan but the convenience of a camper — this could be the One for you.
TIM VAN DUYL
Austrack’s design brief for the Tanami X13 was to maximise inside and outside living. Though the body and layout of the X13 are familiar, a lot of small innovations culminate with its success in meeting this brief. It may seem overly simple to suggest things like the electric awning, removable height-adjustable dinette table, and kitchen bench extensions combine to show innovation, but the total package delivers a truly liveable hybrid inside and out.
It comes with an AC, composite panels and double-glazed windows to mitigate the truly hot days and a full canvas annexe that includes a sealed floor and sides that provide wet-weather protection. Inside it’s a comfortable place to be, with a small removable dinette and firm 150mm-thick innerspring mattress. Ventilation is okay around the bed head and although there were no fans as standard where your pillows lie, they wouldn’t be hard to retrofit.
If you were hiding inside, relying on the batteries for the TV and other facilities would be okay for a few days thanks to the battery-bank totalling 300 amp hours, which are fed from a total 300W of roof-mounted solar. There is a toilet as standard, impressive for such an affordable unit, and the hot water system has a 30L holding capacity, so showers in the surprisingly roomy shower/toilet combo will be comfortable for the big-bodied.
In terms of usage, I really appreciated the positioning of the cooktop relative to the fridge slide. I think having them apart is best as someone always wants a cold one while the chef is busy. There is a great amount of external storage including a big slide-out that would swallow some big pots and pans (a problem for many camper trailers). There were some reservations on the ease of popping the top, but it should be an easy fix with new struts.
Set up time, if you don’t include the time-consuming annexe with its sail-runners and 28 poles, is minutes. Pull out, get out, unlatch and drop the spare wheel carrier, lift and pull out the sides to the extension, lock them away. Unlatch the safety catches for the roof, head inside and pop the top, and you’re pretty much ready to make the bed. Rolling out the awning is the push of a button. It’s that easy.
The finish on the Austrack Tanami showed a good deal of care from a team that well understands the value of a smartly packaged camper. This starts with the padded leather bra on the front of the body above the black, powdercoat-finished, checkerplate aluminium front box. The latter will be well beaten up by stones on bush tracks, but could be easily enough touched up by a can of black gloss spray paint.
The pop-up roof is an aluminium frame with a reinforced fibreglass outer skin and an aluminium composite inner core. The camper had a single colour option on colours internally (ash grey and white) and externally (silver and black) and the black alloy rims provide a smart appearance. The poly interior furniture is an excellent choice and will last well and be fully water resistant while showing less wear and tear.
The internal flooring is a timber-look vinyl and the seating is finished in a plush faux leather. The pop-up roof may prove difficult for some to raise and lower on their own, but it at least had 10 points of contact with the camper’s body, which limits the tendency of the roof to “walk” when on corrugations and rough tracks, which is a sure way to get dust past seals.
The hot dip galvanised drawbar, at 150 x 50 x 4mm, was sturdy and well braced at bend points, with a 100 x 50 x 3mm chassis and 30 x 30mm aluminium frame for the body. The underneath was fully sprayed with black underbody paint, with a one-piece composite floor. The aluminium composite walls are well insulated and did a good job, even in the Gold Coast heat, of keeping the interior pleasant. They’d do a good job of assisting the reverse cycle air conditioner in sustaining its work.
The Tanami is well balanced for a hybrid that is rated to a Tare of 2,140kg and an ATM of 2,850kg, and the ball weight is a comfortable 120kg. The Tanami X13 was a well presented and packaged camper for its asking price of $39,990 (exc. Queensland). The smart interior (and that great roomy ensuite) along with the air-con and the rest of the package mean that, on a value for money scale, it would be well worth looking at.
ATM 2750kg (can be plated to 2500kg if required)
Payload 660kg (calculated)
Ball weight 120kg
Suspension Independent coil spring suspension with twin shocks per wheel
Brakes 12in electric brakes
Coupling McHitch 3500kg
Chassis 100mm x 50mm x 3mm hot-dipped galvanised steel
Drawbar 150mm x 50mm x 4mm hot-dipped galvanised steel
Body Fully welded aluminium frame construction with aluminium composite panel
Wheel/tyre 265/75R16 mud terrains on 16in six-stud black alloy rims (2 x spares)
Style Hybrid camper trailer
Box size 4050 x 2180 x 2420mm (not including A/C unit)
Length 6050mm (hitch to tail lights)
Water 240L potable/80L grey, Truma 14L gas/electric H/W system
Gas 2 x 9kg mounts
Kitchen External slide-out with three burner gas stove, s/s sink with hot/cold mixer
Battery 3 x 100Ah AGM
Solar 3 x 100W
Air-conditioning Dometic reverse cycle A/C
PRICE AS SEEN
$39,990 + ORC
CAMPER STAR RATINGS
|David Cook||Tim van Duyl||Kath Heiman||Scott Heiman|
|1. Fit for Intended Purpose||6||6||4.5||6|
|4. Quality of finish||7.5||5||5.5||6|
|5. Build quality||7.5||4.5||6.5||6|
|8. Ease of use||6||6.5||5.5||7|
|9. Value for money||6||7.5||7||6.5|
Austrack Campers Showroom
Address 73 Lear Jet Drive, Caboolture QLD 4510
Phone 07 5498 3888