The first thing that strikes you about the Trackabout Safari SV Extenda is its massive ground clearance and full length top rack which looks big enough to carry a heap of gear. This thing looks tough, even while it's standing still.
Since taking over Trackabout in early 2012, the Adams family from Brisbane has put in some serious effort to bring new ideas and build quality to the brand, and it sure has delivered. This big, bold Safari SV Extenda is a dedicated offroad camper that will literally go anywhere your car will. It was the only camper in this category fitted with fully independent suspension that allowed it to sit high and clear of obstacles, with a massive 610mm ground clearance at its lowest point.
There are big 16in wheels and 12in electric brakes mated to an excellent Vehicle Components dual shock suspension system giving a smooth and balanced ride over ruts and everything else we could throw at it. Despite being tough it's not overly heavy, with a tare weight of 990kg without the optional folding boat rack.
During our torture test the Safari SV climbed over the rough stuff with impressive ease. The fun-loving Adams boys often charged gung-ho at the front of the line, forging the trail for the rest of the crew.
At 5.4m long, 1.82m wide and 1.75m high this is no small camper. The chassis is a full body construction of galvanised 50x50x5mm with three 100x50x5mm drawbar sections. The main tub is zinc annealed and then powder-coated for full corrosion resistance. Trackabout fits an OzHitch as standard and a rated recovery point at the rear.
In terms of innovation, the Safari is a wonderful piece of Australian engineering. A lot of smart thinking has gone into the design to make everything easy to access.
You can access the full kitchen without having to open the camper and there's a huge amount of storage in there, too. In fact, you'd be proud to have this stylish kitchen at home. It has marbled laminate benchtops, a Smev two-burner stove (optional three burner), EvaKool 60L 12/240V fridge, stainless steel sink, pots, pans and pantry drawers and it all slides away neatly within the trailer tailgate so it can be accessed from the road. The kitchen is supplied by two 85L water tanks and twin 4.5kg gas bottles (not included).
The Safari SV really stood out as the only camper in this category to include solar in the price. The big 60W Bosch fold-out solar panels plug into the 30A regulator and then a Marinetek multi stage charger to keep the batteries topped up. The panels store neatly in a drawer. When on the road the batteries also charge via an Anderson plug, and the battery boxes are situated behind the large toolbox on the drawbar. Inside the toolbox we find the power nerve centre with a full fuse box and Stecca battery management system with full digital readouts.
There's a heap of LED lighting, and the Trackabout was unique in providing handy remote controlled switches with dimmers. It has two 105Ah batteries, internal and external 12V outlets and USB outlets.
There's a Truma gas hot water service providing water to both the sink and a separate shower. The detachable shower is standard but the ensuite tent is not. It comes down to personal preference at the end of the day.
Up front, the Trackabout Safari has a huge toolbox, and on top there is a pivoting luggage rack that is rated for boats, motorcycles, quad bikes and more. You can take a huge amount of gear or the tinnie or kayaks to explore that remote waterway.
The basic set up time is just five minutes, and when it's up there is a huge amount of room inside. The complete kit with annexe and tropical roof takes a casual 20 minutes.
Inside, the queen size innerspring bed is comfortable and easily accessed from the walk up. It's a little bit of a journey to the first step due to the increased trailer clearance, but still very easy even for those of our intrepid judges with bad knees. The extra height in the tub has also allowed Trackabout to fit four large drawers under the bed that are accessed via the walkway.
The ceiling is huge. It's so high that even on the hottest day this camper would be comfortable inside. In addition there's also a domed safari roof giving a dual zone to keep the fresh air flowing and the heat out, or in during the winter months. Trackabout uses Wax Converters Dynaproofed 12oz canvas on the walls and 15oz on the roof. The tropical roof is made from a lighter 8oz canvas.
Trackabout employs the kind of smart thinking that's going to make the Safari a popular camper in years to come. One thing we can all agree on, the Trackabout Safari SV Extenda is an excellent, fully Australian-made camper dedicated for the offroad, with the best of everything needed for a week or a few months' away.
THE JUDGES' NOTEPAD
STUART JONES: The Extenda's tropical roof and flow through floor ventilation are great for those stinking summer nights, and the new coil suspension brings a smoother ride. I also like the forward thinking USB outlets, making the whole thing very 2013-friendly. The innerspring mattress, walk-up entry and ample storage earn it a tick for internal comforts. I love my fishing so the boat rack is a big one for me. It opens up plenty of opportunities to hit the Murray and acts as a bonza firewood rack or spare wheel carrier. It's also the no-brainer space for storing the kids' bikes. The Trackabout delivers the most tricks for your dollors in this category, and the biggest area under canvas earns them top marks from me. Feel free to send me out in the bush for a week in one of these, please.
NICK MANNELL: Trackabout designed the Safari SV Extenda for family touring, and I reckon it's close to spot on. Although full of features, the SV performs well offroad with its respectable 1100kg tare riding on independent suspension. The tough chassis provides enough strength to support good water capacity and four jerries. The axle recovery point, good dust sealing, protected hoses, solar, an inlet for a genie and the swing away tyre carrier speak to an impressive offroad spec. Touring comforts include the high, breezy Australian canvas tent and an efficient gas hot water system. I would have preferred to see the kitchen drawer on rollers rather than slides. Coming in at under $35k with hot water, solar and independent suspension, the Safari SV Extenda offers real value for money. A DC/DC charger would complete this kit.
ANITA PAVEY: The Trackabout Safari SV Extenda is a well-made trailer with lots of goodies. Bushability is great with two 85L water tanks, solar, an input for the gennie and two 105Ah batteries. Protection underneath the trailer body, the hot-dipped galvanised chassis, independent suspension and your choice of coupling improve offroad performance. I can see that a great deal of thought has gone into the tent. I like that the floor comes off for repair or cleaning.
MIKE PAVEY: I think the Trackabout Safari SV Extenda meets its intended purpose as a long distance family tourer. The innerspring mattress, four drawers, hot water service and steps leading up to bed contribute to the comfort at camp, and the tropical roof and ventilation under the bed maintain climate control. The build quality is great: the body is powder-coated and the drawbar is substantial. I like the swing away spare tyre carrier. Kitchen construction is good, too, but I would have liked a stainless steel top. All the major bases covered. Full points for offroadability and bushability.
JOHN 'BEAR' WILLIS: The Trackabout Safari SV is a well-made Aussie camper with great capabilities and loads of features. The durable options and fittings are well considered and quality components are used throughout. I like the chassis construction. The full galvanised chassis and three-section 100x50x5mm drawbar ride on 50x50mm blocks for better clearance, and the 12in brakes and independent coil suspension are controlled with four struts. The Safari SV Extenda has a tent that's easy to assemble, a good tilt-over tinnie rack and easy access to storage. I could live out of this camper for an extended period in remote terrain - it's a true offroad rig that I'd be happy to own.
JUDGE'S PICK: STUART JONES
I'd be a happy camper if the Safari SV Extenda found its way into the Jones' little piece of suburbia. Having two little ones, space is important especially for extended stays, and with the Extenda having the biggest area under canvas and a 10ft floor it is a real winner for me.
Choosing a trailer is all about compromise that suits the buyer. This neat package ticks plenty of my boxes: quality brand for resale value, proven offroadability, solar as part of the package, plenty of water storage and twin 105Ah deep cycles to help keep me where I want to be for long enough. The hot water system housed in the cavernous storage bin on the a-frame is plumbed front and rear so you can shower while the dishes are being done.
The Drifta kitchen may not be for everyone, but is has a good reputation based on bush-tough workmanship. I like it and it comes with the 60L EvaKool fridge-freezer, plenty of storage, and a stainless steel sink.
Originally published in Camper Trailer Australia magazine #60, January 2013.