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Our Campers - TRAKMASTER GIBSON VAN

trakmaster gibson offroad van



Track Testing the Trakmaster Gibson

trakmaster gibson van

In October 2015, we've now done over 50,000km with our Trakmaster Gibson, the latest trip being a 15,000km three-month sojourn through the heart of the country. For the most part we stuck on dirt roads and tracks as we headed from Port Augusta to Farina and across to Milparinka and then north to Innamincka. With the Cooper behind us we headed across the Plenty Highway pocking into out-of-the-way places to find a quiet, nice spot to camp. We spent some time in the MacDonnell Ranges before heading to Old Andado Homestead and Mt Dare to finally head south along the Oodnadatta Track to the Flinders Ranges and on to Peterborough. From there we took backroads and wandered along the mighty Murray River through north-western Victoria for a week before heading to the foothills of the Victorian High Country and home once more.

 

trakmaster gibson desert caming edge of simpson deserttrakmaster gibson desert sandover highway

Travelling along the edge of the Simpson Desert & the Sandover Highway.

 

Our Gibson is a compact van just six metres overall in length and weighing around 1700kg when it is fully loaded with 140-litres of water and all the goodies we take away with us. Its trailing arm suspension is backed up by 285/75R16 Cooper STT tyres fitted to 8-inch rims and even though these are bigger rubber than what Trakmaster recommend, we've had no real issue with the set-up but have changed the rims to a more positive offset which gives the tyre more clearance on the inside of the wheel well.  

That decision came about when we hit a bloody great pothole while ploughing through bulldust north of Mt Dare. That cracked a stub axle which resulted in it bending slightly with the tyre rubbing on the inside of the wheel well. We fixed it at Mt Dare but I decided we'd give the tyre a bit more clearance.

The suspension has worked extremely well whether we are cruising on the blacktop at 100kph, along a heavily corrugated road at 80kph or crawling along a rocky highly eroded track at 10kph. There are no signs of wear or tear apart from where a few rocks have pounded the shocks, but they are continuing to work just fine.

We had opted for a Vehicle Components DO35 tow coupling (the latest model), which we've found to be excellent, even in very dusty conditions, where early version of this coupling would bind up.

A DO-35 coupling connects van to tow vehicle - we'll see if this latest version is better than the first!
trakmaster gibson desert shocks Independent trailing arm suspension with twin shocks.

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Inside the van there's an east west double bed at one end, sink and cupboards in the middle and small table and seats at the front. It's a layout that gets the most usable room out of the available space and it works – even with both of us in the van ... one working on the computer at the table and the other preparing a meal or a brew.

 

trakmaster gibson van interiortrakmaster gibson desert inside seating

 

 

engel fridge trakmaster gibson offroad van Being Engel fridge fans we fitted a SR90F, 80-litre unit that has a separate freezer compartment in the space available for a fridge and this has worked a real treat.

 

 

gulf country trakmaster gibson The build quality inside is first class and best of all we've found, even in the dustiest of conditions, dust ingress has been basically nil! And while we have hammered the rig over many thousands of kilometres of dirt and corrugated roads, not one thing ... not one screw ... has come loose or fallen off. running water trakmaster gibson

 

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northern flinders ranges trakmaster gibson offroad van Meanwhile on the outside which has been hammered by rocks and gravel and scraped by bushes and branches as we've dragged the rig down narrow scrub lined tracks we've suffered a few casualties. The 240V power inlet socket sits proud on the side of the van (as does the 240V outlet on the other side of the van) and a wayward branch wiped this out.

 

 

 

trakmaster gibson desert awningtrakmaster gibson desert

Set-up for a night's camp.

trakmaster gibson desert battery box As well the battery compartment has lost its door when the latch holding the battery tray broke on yet another section of corrugated road, allowing the tray with its heavy contents to slide out and wipe off the door. We rigged up a latch and covered the space with some cardboard and that's been with us now for a few months.
 
That's a small price to pay though we reckon, for our off-the-beaten-track travels. Viv's a happy girl because she has a dust and fly free environment to live and work in and I'm happy as there are few things that have gone wrong and I can get this rig into most places where I want to go.

As well the battery compartment has lost its door when the latch holding the battery tray broke on yet another section of corrugated road, allowing the tray with its heavy contents to slide out and wipe off the door. We rigged up a latch and covered the space with some cardboard and that's been with us now for a few months.
 
That's a small price to pay though we reckon, for our off-the-beaten-track travels. Viv's a happy girl because she has a dust and fly free environment to live and work in and I'm happy as there are few things that have gone wrong and I can get this rig into most places where I want to go.

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Specifications
Manufacturer: Trakmaster
Model: Gibson
Length: 4.3m (body external); 6.0m (overall)
Width:  2.07 (external)
Weight: 1450kg (depending on options)
Tow ball weight: 125kg (depending on loading)
Wheel size: 16"
Suspension: Trakmaster trailing arm independent
Brakes: 12-inch Electric drum
Water: 2 x 70 litres; filtered
Price: Under $60G as standard.
Contact: Trakmaster Offroad Caravans, Bayswater, Vic, ph: 1800 809 194; www.trakmaster.com.au.
trakmaster gibson van floor plan

 

trakmaster gibson desert caming scenetrakmaster gibson desert ningloo coast


trakmaster gibson desert travelling Gibb River Road Kimberley Of course we couldn’t just have a standard unit so we fitted a few extras and changed a few things from the standard model. These included:

Engel 90-litre fridge/freezer.
Red Arc battery management system.
Improved water filtration system.
Gas/elec hot water system.
DO35 trailer coupling.
285/75R16 Cooper STT tyres.


trakmaster gibson van

You can contact Trakmaster to learn more about the Gibson and the other models available on their web site: www.trakmaster.com.au/, or contact them direct at ph: 03 9720 0822, fax: 03 9720 0922, Email: trakmaster@trakmaster.com.au, 29 - 31 Waldheim Road, Bayswater, Victoria 3153.

 

See you in the bush

 

Ron & Viv Moon


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