Question: what’s better than the Australian bush? Answer: Nothing.
Okay, perhaps a better answer is, being in the Aussie bush with the right camping setup. I’m talking about a camper that’s right for you. A camper that keeps you comfortable, offering reliable refrigeration, a logical storage layout, a kitchen that ticks all the boxes, and a place to scrub off the day’s dust…and a big old bed doesn’t hurt, either.
That’s my ultimate camper, and I’m tipping it comes close to describing yours, too. Even in a place like the Flinders Ranges, where fresh supplies are within cooee, being self-contained makes all the difference. And the Complete Campsite Exodus 16 is about as self-contained as a camper gets.
DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION
In terms of construction, the Exodus comes from a full fibreglass mould with a structural foam core sandwich panel finished with gel coat, built on a 75mm hot-dipped galvanised steel chassis (5mm-thick steel), with the whole plot riding on Cruisemaster independent suspension.
While the generous overall length of the Exodus 16 (and 14, for that matter) might limit its hardcore, bush-bashing offroadability, it’s still totally competent in offroad situations, and there are smaller models (the Exodus 9 and 11, for example) that would better suit tight tracks.
In design and functionality, the Exodus 16 gets it right. Rather than building the camper around the proprietary products of other suppliers, such as the external kitchen or fridge, Complete builds them — or has them built — to suit the needs of the camper.
The nearside boasts a number of key features. The kitchen slides out and then swings parallel to the camper so that it’s not in the way. There’s a nearby 240V powerpoint, so you can run basically any kitchen appliance, thanks to the onboard 2000W inverter powered by two 110Ah deep-cycle AGM batteries.
The batteries would deplete pretty quickly in the bush, though, if not for the 300W solar panels on the roof. These panels, by the way, are another area in which the Exodus 16 has saved weight. Rather than a traditional panel, the 16 employs a flat, lightweight, high-output variety for a saving of about 20kg.
The electrical system is managed by the sophisticated Redarc Battery Management System, which allows the batteries to be charged simultaneously by the solar panels and tow vehicle’s alternator, and/or a 240V source, or a combination of all three.
The interior is also made from a fibreglass mould. CNC-cut cabinetry is the order of the day, resulting in a clean, contemporary finish.
The queen-size bed occupies the entire front of the camper, where you’ll also find twin LED reading lights, a 240V and 12V point on the nearside, wardrobe space and more.
In the rear offside corner, the Exodus is fitted with a bench for food prep, where you will find a sink and the optional induction cooker. Our camper came without the optional internal cooker. Another example of weight saving: our test Exodus was the first to get a stainless steel internal benchtop instead of timber. Adjacent, in the nearside rear corner, is a toilet in a separate cubicle, complete with privacy curtain.
Overall, it’s a well-presented interior that makes effective use of the space. And that extra 650mm of living space, which results in a larger dinette and two extra windows, is a welcome touch.
A slide-out pantry (the lid of which also slides to create bench space) is within easy reach of the kitchen, as is the slide-out 12V Evakool fridge, which is custom-made to the required dimensions. Another pantry, built into the nearside wall, adds an impressive amount of cupboard space, so you can effectively do all of the cooking under the Fiamma awning without mucking around. It’s a cohesive, logical layout.
Further forward, you’ll find a locker for poles, fishing rods, shovel, etc., while the dual 4.5kg gas cylinders are recessed neatly below the drawbar overhang, out of harm’s way.
The Hitchmaster DO35 on the 16 is a proven all-terrain coupling — no complaints there — and we liked the fact that the drawbar has been fitted with a winch to raise and lower the spare wheel, mounted at the rear, under the body.
The front boot, meanwhile, is spacious enough to carry the other gear that won’t fit into the 16’s many other nooks and crannies.
Along the offside, you’ll find yet more storage, but I particularly liked the bin for the firewood you’d collect before arriving at camp. Complete Campsite has stitched together a canvas bag that fits this compartment perfectly, keeping the wood from damaging the inside.
You’ll also find a couple of jerry cans recessed below the overhang, along with a diesel tank to fire the Webasto heat exchanger that gives hot water and provides internal heating.
THE WRAP UP
Hauling this van through the Flinders Ranges was one of life’s more enjoyable tasks. Behind a 200 Series Cruiser, the van barely registered its presence as we traversed rubble-strewn tracks, through gorges and on the bitumen.
Its offroad credibility aside, this rig is particularly notable for its cohesive design. Nothing appears to have been shunted into place, there’s storage where you need it, plenty of 12V juice, and a great cooking setup.
At the end of the day, camping is about enjoying the outdoors. And the Exodus 16, with its emphasis on outdoor living, should be a reliable partner on the road. It’s a capable, tough, self-contained tourer.
HITS & MISSES
- Excellent external living facilities
- The 12V capacity
- The cohesive design
- External ensuite
I would have liked…
- This camper wants for nothing
Check out the full feature in issue #90 July 2015 of Camper Trailer Australia magazine.