Mater Cars for Cancer’s latest prize pool includes a Ford Ranger FX4 MAX and the choice of two options: a Jayco Expanda Outback Caravan or a Bar Crusher 615BR recreational sports boat. You’re an adult and surely know how you want to spend your holidays, but naturally, you’ve got to be in the draw before you choose what’s at the end of your drawbar.
It was 1975 when Jayco founder Gerry Ryan took to his suburban garage to build Australia a better camper trailer. The company that emerged has spent four decades at the forefront of recreational vehicle manufacturing, prompting a generation of caravanners to ask, “How’s the serenity?” well before Darryl Kerrigan ever did. But towing your home-away-from-home to the farthest reaches of our country is getting increasingly hard; blame urban sprawl and a burgeoning population that encroaches on our beloved outback.
There’s really only one solution and Jayco have it; the Outback option fitted to the Mater Cars for Cancer prize Jayco Expanda caravan. Just because the road stops doesn’t mean you have to as the Expanda Outback sits on Jayco’s bespoke Endurance Chassis, is hot-dip galvanised for superior corrosion protection and uses roll-formed longitudinal rails for added strength while safeguarding under floor wiring and plumbing. Perfect for negotiating the rocky stuff.
But it’s the JTECH 2.0 all-independent suspension system that really dials up the freedom, with coil springs designed specifically for Jayco, married to heavy duty Pedders off-road shockers. Greater stability, exceptional manoeuvrability and increased ground clearance will not only allow access to hitherto untapped scenes of serenity, but uncompromising safety while getting there. If you’re a practical person, this is probably sounding pretty enticing, but where’s the luxury? Don’t get ahead of yourself; there’s only one way to get into this van for the price of a ticket and that’s to enter now.
The Jayco Expanda Outback isn’t all cutting-edge caravanning tech and galvanised whosie-whatsits, because in, on and around the vacuum-bonded, quad-layer body construction is where the fun happens. External storage hatches swallow a heap of outdoor gear, while a standard, pull-out awning with LED strip lighting will take your daytime adventure into the evening with ease. So again, I ask, where’s the luxury?
Oh, here it is, because as the moon rises, you and your guests can settle into not one, but two full-sized double beds that expand from the front and rear walls of the structure. Come breakfast, a meals area with club seating slides out from the right-hand side of the van, freeing up floor space and ensuring you and your friends remain exactly that; friends.
Serenity is what you make of it and having a couple of kids can really make those moments hard to find. Luckily the Jayco Expanda can not only sleep four full-sized adults, but a couple of rug rats as well. But you, your friends and your kids won’t be getting too far without an entry into the prize draw.
This truly is a home-away-from-home, so catering is no chore; the Jayco Expanda Outback includes a full-sized, four-burner cooktop and oven, 171 litre fridge, 160 litres worth of freshwater storage with an LED level display, and an external gas bayonet for when it’s time to crank the barbecue.
All this talk of getting off the beaten track requires a few added extras or you’ll be free camping in the dark. On the roof, the Jayco has a 160W solar panel and regulator system charging a big, 100 Amp Hour battery. Outback-spec drop jacks will keep the van stable when parked on the rough stuff, while protective aluminium chequer plate panels on the sides mean that if the track gets narrow, the Jayco won’t.
It’s a mega prize pack, that’s for sure. The Ford Ranger FX4 MAX was made to tow it, with the van’s Sway Command tow control working with the Ranger’s own Trailer Sway Control to ensure your safety on the road. Add the Ranger, the Jayco Expanda Outback and $100k of cashable gold bullion together, and I reckon your holidays are sorted not only for 2021, but for a fair while after that. It’s a big country after all and the serenity is out there, you just have to find it.