The Joey, priced at $39,360 as we saw it, came on the scene following few of the standard pathways of camper design. Instead, its builders set out to follow where their design criteria led them and the result is surprisingly pleasing.
Design & Construction
The fundamental design concept placed the focus on creating a lightweight, comfortable and durable camper. That could have led to all the old ideas, but the Joey went its own way.
At 1120kg Tare and 1450kg ATM, it ticks the weight box considering its level of fit-out. Entry to the interior is a door in the centre of the rear wall, and inside you get most of the luxuries of a caravan but in a much more condensed package. Outside, you get a small cooktop and living space under an L-shaped awning to enjoy the camper lifestyle.
Set-up is simple, taking just 10 seconds (literally) for an overnight stop and 10 minutes with the awning.
Step inside and pop the top and you get a view of the “comforts”. Our review camper had a double bed on an innerspring mattress across the front of the camper, a small dinette with a triple-fold table to the left and a kitchen to the right. For such a small package there was plenty of cupboard space beneath the bench, a two-burner Smev cooktop, a stainless-steel sink with a mixer tap operating off a Duetto 12V/240V 10L hot water system and an 80L Waeco upright fridge.
All cupboard doors had large piano hinges and the general finish appeared excellent. On the driver’s side exterior was a shower set-up.
A Sony stereo and 19in 12V/240V TV added touches that lift this camper into a higher realm, though these are not automatic inclusions. In fact, our highly optioned review camper could have come in many variations, such as two single beds in a north-south format, and without the “fruit” the price would drop to a more modest $27,990.
On the passenger-side exterior is a two-burner Swift cooktop and a large fold-down bench. The body is an aluminium bonded panel over a 19mm meranti frame with 19mm of insulation in the walls. The alloy rims add a nice finishing touch, as did the added 240V air-conditioner in the 45-degree Broken Hill desert heat.
THE JUDGES’ Wrap Up
For couples who want caravan comforts with camper trailer convenience, this works well. It boasts a unique design, combining lots of comfort features in a small and somewhat surprising package. The exterior is fine, if a bit basic in appearance and the alloy wheels give it a sharp look. The rear step hits on rough ground and there was some dust ingress on the 4WD course, but not too much.
The air-conditioning was great in the heat (or wherever power is available). The 19in TV is a surprising addition, but speaks to the market sector seeking caravan comforts. The interior and exterior cooking facilities were fine, but an exterior sink (even a plastic bowl that could drop into a holder) would be great.
This is a hybrid camper at half the price of just about every other such camper on the market, so that has to count for something.
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Check out the full review in issue #84 January 2014 of Camper Trailer Australia magazine. Subscribe today for all the latest camper trailer news, reviews and travel inspiration.