Having launched some 17 years ago in 2000, the Tvan continues to turn heads and set benchmarks wherever it travels. It’s such a well-constructed trailer with a legendary reputation for toughness, offroad ability and reliability that many others wish for; I never get sick of reviewing Tvans, so how did the year’s MK4 Tanami shape up?
The MK4 Tanami reviewed had the new ‘Premium’ kitchen fitted. It’s a real plus for the trailer, a fantastic design offering easy one-person operation and improved storage space, including a chunky pot drawer giving you more at your fingertips. The kitchen has a nifty windshield that pops up around the three-burner Thetford making it perfect for a quick roadside cuppa. It has oodles of stainless steel food prep area for just about any chef and even has a bottle opener on the edge of the kitchen. One of the quirks of the Tvan is your main pantry items are stored in tubs inside the cabin rather than in a dedicated slide-out near the kitchen but this is something your camping will quickly evolve around.
There is no fridge supplied with the Tvan; the fridge slide is stored in one of the twin the front lockers. The fridge locker is vented and a second locker is used for storage. It’s also fitted with slides so you could run a second fridge if you wish, have storage for your loo, or you can even fit up to four jerry cans; compression locks on the doors make certain no dust gets inside. Completing the well-planned A-frame are your twin 4kg gas cylinders, covered wet bins that keep your rubbish out of your trailer or car, and finally adding to its offroad credibility, the spare is easily accessible sitting on top.
The Tvan’s offroad ability is by which others are measured. The military MC2 Asymmetric Suspension is a brilliant setup that maintains contact with the ground over just about any terrain. Offroad ability is a combination of things, suspension wheel travel and clearance is part of the puzzle, if you are serious about offroad travel, don’t overlook weight and length. The Tvan is only 4.9m long, 1.9m high (the same as the Prado) and has a 1500kg GVM. Its walls are high density closed cell sandwiched between aluminium sheets, the chassis is hot-dip galvanised, and the roof is an all fibreglass affair. The body design has little extras the edge trim on the trailer that’s raised off the roof, so any branch is kept off or the shield that protects the kitchen light through tight mountain tracks. The big and little things make it a go-anywhere machine that’s perfect taming a bazillion or so corrugations.
Usability is a large part of the Tvan package. Pulling into camp, depending on the days or your situation, you have the choice of four setups. In 30 seconds, lift the rear and pop on the insect screen, and you are in punching out zeds in no time. Four minutes can double your living space if you deploy the tent, or spend eight minutes and add the sail awning over the kitchen; this will probably be the most popular setup. It gives you enough shelter to cook or have a refreshing beverage out of the sun’s rays. If you are in for a long stay you can set up the full awning and the optional walls.
Deploying the tent made with Wax Converters Dynaproofed canvas is easy. The canvas for the tent is so conveniently stored up and away in the roof, out of your way and not on the bed. You never need to fold the thing just stuff it up there, it’s held in place by series of carabineers.
Perfect for the touring couple with the queen-size bed in the cabin, it works for the kids too, with plenty of room in the tent area for a set of bunks; however, for long term suitability you may prefer to option up the kids’ room.
Once inside the Tvan shines. The cabin area is dominated by the bed and storage around the bed is cavernous, with a series of mesh ‘stuff pockets’ all around maximising the space available to keep yourself organised. Ventilation is excellent with large sliding windows on each side and twin skylights in the fabric-lined roof. All are covered with curtains or block-out screens and midge-proof flywire to keep what you don’t want out.
Although it is optional, there is no air-conditioning on this model. It comes with a pair of three-speed fans that draw next to nothing, meaning on those hot stinking nights you can set on a timer to switch off or run them all night without issue. Under there bed there is masses of storage area. You can use a series of 40L tubs under there or option up to a drawer system of your choosing. It even has lockable box storage for your valuables.
All the electricals are operated from Track Trailer’s Interior Command Console (ICC), clearly laid out on the right-hand side of the cabin. Your stereo, chargers, water tank gauge, light switches, solar regulators are all stored here. So easy to see and access. The single 105Ah AGM is stored under a panel under the floor, with room for another (available as an option).
On self-sufficiency, the Tanami is solid without being over the top. A 60A solar panel is permanently fixed to the roof constantly feeding the battery, the 15A charger is standard (a DC-DC charger is optional), there’s a 300W pure sine wave inverter and water is stored in 108L roto-moulded food-grade plastic located just behind the axle. You can option up a second 70L if you wish but don’t overlook that you have carrying capacity of up to six jerry cans. I’d personally option a second battery and a DC-DC charger.
THE WRAP UP
You don’t get a reputation like Track Trailer by accident. The Tvan is a well built, tough, seriously go-anywhere, comfortable camper trailer. It has a distinct 500kg weight advantage. In terms of comforts, it’s not as well appointed as others seen at CTOTY 2017, but there is enough on offer for an enjoyable tour out on the tracks.
You also have another $7500 up your sleeve, by comparison, to spend on whatever option you need to complete your perfect touring machine.
Yes it’s over $60K and would probably cost me around $65K by the time I added in a few options, but that’s okay, the resales on Tvans are excellent!
HITS AND MISSES
- Offroad ability and weights
- Premium kitchen
- Impeccable pedigree
- Set-up options
- Simplicity of use
- YouTube tutorials for owners
- Is a single 105Ah battery enough?
- DC-DC, hot water, and a storage solution under bed not included as standard
Check out the full feature in issue #111 of Camper Trailer Australia magazine. Subscribe today for all the latest camper trailer news, reviews and travel inspiration.