Family camping is a great Aussie pastime. It’s great taking the kids away for a few days or a few weeks to experience new places (or revisit your favourite camping hideaway time and time again). And anyone looking to invest in some suitable family accommodation for such family camping holidays may be a little spoilt for choice once they start looking around. Let’s face it, you can’t beat a tent for simplicity, a camper trailer has plenty of room for a large family and a caravan is great too for the little extra comforts you may want. But which style do you choose? What is best? Well….that’s of course up to each individual’s preference, needs and of course the very important budget.
We want to let you know about Jaycos brand new design (2012) of their very popular Eagle Camper trailers and in particular the Outback models for those families who like to get off the tar and into bush and outback tracks of this big brown land. They are a smart compromise between a camper trailer (tent type) and a caravan for the best of both worlds.
A lot of families are choosing camper trailers these days because they offer very practical room inside for the kids and they are generally lighter and easier to tow than a caravan. Saying this, there are plenty of weekend campers (and long term tourers) who still like the luxuries too and refuse to leave home without them. Jayco’s range of camper trailers have been around for a while now and their popularity are on a steep incline due to the value for money and features they offer. Without a doubt they make a great introduction to family caravanning. We have all heard of the Jayco brand within the leisure and caravanning circles, they have been around for ages so they know what campers want and the importance of flexible design layouts and features for all budgets.
Outside- what makes the Eagle Outback ready to get off the beaten track.
Let’s start off with the chassis of the Jayco Eagle Outback: If you take a look underneath, the heavy duty oversized galvanised chassis is impressive, very sturdy! Teamed up with the heavy duty ALKO leaf springs, protected shock absorbers and an underslung axle (for extra ground clearance), the Jayco Eagle Outback really is ready for the bush tracks! Stand back and you will notice straight away the extra ground clearance of the Outback models.
A few of the off-road features include a pair of oversized Jayco mudflaps, off-road ALKO electric brake system, extended ALKO corner stays (for secure stabilizing of the camper in uneven ground) and a strong double step to make getting in and out of the camper easier and a heavy-duty read bar for extra protection. Helping the Eagle Outback perform as a more capable camper on the dirt and ensuring it can keep up with your tow vehicle when you hit the tracks, a set of all-terrain tyres and snazzy alloy wheels (including matching spare) come standard.
Externally the Jayco Eagle Outback boasts the new orange and green “splash” colour scheme which in my opinion looks quite rugged and adds some real off-road aesthetic qualification to the protective aluminium checker-plate finish on the sides. So it even looks like it’s ready for some off-road work too! A few other goodies include a jerry can holder on the drawbar, a handy 12v power outlet on the side and the LPG bottle is now stored in the newly designed (and larger) front boot. The new-style of LED taillights and side clearance lights look pretty snazzy too!
Inside- Just add your family and off you go!
As you step inside a Jayco Eagle Outback you will be surprised of the room it offers, mainly because ALL of the bed area is extended out of the way and the main seating and kitchen area inside is left to be used however you like without feeling too cramped. The bed configuration is what impressed us the most- a full sized queen bed extends over the drawbar and a 2/3 double bed out the rear. The dinette drops down and you can use the lounge (with bed insert and cushion) to provide extra sleeping. So all up it can sleep 6/7 people in total.
As you look around the inside of the camper there is a roomy club lounge with plenty of space underneath for storage. Along the side wall is your basic kitchen layout with sink, a 3-way Thetford fridge/freezer and a Dometic cooktop with grill. Plenty of cupboard space underneath for the cookware etc. A fold-down robe with hanging space and under-seat drawers should have most families catered for when it comes to storage. The dinette seats 4 people and is easy enough to be quickly dropped down and be used as a bed. Jayco has a range of timber laminate finishes and upholstery options so you can pick and choose what suits you- We like the darker colour schemes as it hides the dirt better (kids = dirt) . Other extras that can be added when you purchase are things like extra LPG bottles, external pull-out BBQ, aux water tank, wind-up TV antenna, 12v LCD TV, external awning…..and heaps of other goodies. Most dealers would be able to go through a huge list with you.
The Jayco Eagle Outback incorporates a start of the art SETEC power management system that controls the campers entire 240v and 12v power systems including “smart charging” your battery if you have one. Everything is taken care off!
What we think:
The wind-up campers like the Jayco Eagle really are a cross between a camper trailer and a caravan. They are compact yet very room and practical. They are easy to tow yet still have most luxuries of a full sized caravan. And these Outback models allow you to take all of that with you to places where it would be impossible to take a caravan.
The Eagle Outback campers are designed with families in mind and therefore can be easily towed with the family’s SUV or 4×4. You don’t need to be an expert at reversing and they may make a great introduction for a family looking at doing some more camping and travelling.
It’s hard to imagine that over 20 feet of living space (that’s a big caravan when you think about it) can be packed up into something that measures just over 16 foot (including drawbar) to tow yet incorporates a full kitchen and can sleep 7 people. No wonder these are popular units and they tend to really hold their value for re-sale.
We have been living in our camper for over 4 months now as we have been travelling and we are very happy with our choice of a Jayco Eagle. Everything is easy when it comes to setting up and packing up. The design layout inside the camper is very practical especially with our 2 boys we can still have our own space- and that’s important to us.
The Jayco Eagle is only one of the designs (layouts) that Jayco offers. Check out your nearest dealer or the Jayco website for more info on what range is available.
(July 2013) FOLLOW UP- 12 months later and we’re still a happy campers! Read our follow review HERE!
Check website for your nearest dealer