When the going gets tough, the tough get going… And with that in mind, you’d want to be in the corner of the new Jurgens TuffTRAX in bouts off the beaten track. This robust offroader is a real little streetfighter and packs a massive wallop for its size and weight.
The TuffTRAX has been more than 60 years in the making, reflecting a South African heritage that harks back to 1952. The TuffTRAX are shipped to Australia from South Africa as a shell and then finished off at Jurgens Australia HQ in Pakenham, Vic, to meet Australian standards. In addition to this imported model, Jurgens has around 20 Australian-made dirt road-capable touring caravans and hybrid campers.
I took a prototype of the hard-hitting pop-top through the southern slopes of the Yarra Ranges, Vic, and it was truly at home among the undulating 4WD tracks. Not surprising, considering the 4.36m (14ft 4in) TuffTRAX had recently been put through the wringer, undergoing a ‘torture test’, conducted by Jurgens, on some tough Aussie outback tracks. You could call it a ‘tuff love’ initiation.
DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION
I’ve tackled a few intermediate-level 4WD tracks in my time, but I certainly don’t class myself as a true 4WDing warrior. So I was impressed (and relieved) with the balance and poise shown by the TuffTRAX on the steep inclines and descents. Obviously, its physique increases manoeuvrability and, pleasingly, at no expense to traction. I didn’t feel any bouncing about from the camper, and I would feel confident piloting the TuffTRAX along tracks less travelled.
The Duratherm walls of the TuffTRAX are a combination of materials bonded together and vacuum pressed to create a strong and light sandwich panel. There’s a 26mm aluminium outer skin with checkerplate on the lower walls for added protection, internal 20mm high-density foam for insulation, one-piece ply on both sides of the foam core for strength, and a wash-and-wear internal lining. And the front and rear panels are a sturdy fibreglass construction.
The interior of the TuffTRAX is designed for convenience and practicality – comfortable bedding, multiple zippered compartments, and a one-piece floor.
There’s a large bed at the front and two single beds in the rear, which can also convert to a double bed. So you could sleep three, or possibly four with two smaller children sharing the front bed. For a couple, the front bed can be utilised for storage. The myriad zippable partitions throughout the interior provide clever storage and also mean supplies are safely stowed when underway.
The 52mm composite floor comprises an aluminium outer skin for protection underneath, complemented by 40mm internal high-density foam sandwiched between one-piece ply with a vinyl covering on top. Special reinforcing brackets strengthen the wall-to-floor connection.
Externally, the TuffTRAX also boasts a slide-out kitchen with a two-burner cooktop and hot/cold water sink, allowing you to maximise your time in the great outdoors. This is a great addition to a true little offroader and gives you more options for enjoying your time outside.
There’s a side hatch storage compartment which includes a tent pole carrying cylinder, and skid bars (front and rear) to protect the camper in challenging terrain. On the rear are two 20L jerry cans with mounted holders and at the front a stone protection blanket covers the body and window. All plumbing and electrical lines are shielded against stone damage.
Additionally, there’s an external shower with privacy tent, a handbasin, 100L (main) and 60L (reserve) polyethylene water tanks with metal stoneguards, a 240V powerpoint, 12V water pump, 22.7L gas/electric hot water service, double-glazed windows for thermal and acoustic insulation, and ample LED lighting. The A-frame has a wood carrying platform, a mains pressure tap, and a large lockable boot housing two 9kg gas cylinders. A Hitchmaster DO35 all-terrain coupling completes the package, making for easier hitching and unhitching on uneven ground.
THE WRAP UP
The Jurgens TuffTRAX is spruiked as ‘built tough to follow your 4WD on great offroad adventures with the confidence to get there and back’. And I tend to agree after experiencing first-hand its agility and durability.
HITS AND MISSES
- Strong build
- Excellent offroad ability
- Great zippered storage compartments
- Front bed somewhat redundant
- No internal toilet or shower
- No air-conditioning
Check out the full feature in issue #101 June 2016 of Camper Trailer Australia magazine. Subscribe today for all the latest camper trailer news, reviews and travel inspiration.