Best Aussie Vans Finalist 2014 Olympic Javelin Test Review
The Olympic Javelin is a small, budget van that’s perfect for first-timers or downsizers.
The Olympic Javelin, is a pop-top caravan with a length of 5m (16ft 6in), no bathroom, and a price tag of just $35,500, which includes a full annexe.
Design and Construction
The Javelin is built in a very conventional style. Underpinning the van is a SupaGal chassis with 100x50mm (4x2in) main and drawbar rails with 50mm C-section (rather than RHS) cross and longitudinal members to help keep the weight down a bit. The suspension setup is a simple leaf-spring arrangement with 14in alloy wheels and 10in electric brakes.
The van’s framework is meranti timber covered by standard aluminium cladding with a simple padded stone protector across the lower front. Standard inclusions are the Camec security door, Galaxy tinted hopper windows and Dometic awning. There isn’t a great deal of external storage apart from the galvanised sheet-lined front boot and while that does house the battery and charger, there should still be enough room for all the essentials.
Simplicity is the buzzword on the drawbar. Apart from the essentials, such as a ball coupling, centre-mounted jockey wheel and handbrake, there is also a single 9kg gas cylinder. At the rear, the bumper bar sports the spare wheel and it’s worth noting that it’s mounted at a reasonable height for getting the wheel on and off.
Being a pop-top with windows in all four gusset walls means there is plenty of upper ventilation and that’s aided by the windows spread throughout the van below. One asset of not having a bathroom is that there is plenty of room inside the van for other things. The Javelin’s layout not only has a good-sized kitchen across the front of the van but, in addition to the nearside dinette, there’s a two-person lounge on the opposite side.
All the cabinetry work is built using a ply veneer with timber fronted doors – so the traditional ‘timber look’ prevails, although it is nicely offset by the white ceiling and walls, as well as the lighter colours of the benchtop and table.
The Bottom Line
Although there are many travellers who like the convenience of an on-board bathroom, this little 5m (16ft 6in) van is an interesting demonstration of just how much living area can be achieved without one. There is plenty of room to move, without the feeling of being boxed in.
Sure, the Javelin isn’t going to score any points for not having a bathroom but if staying in caravan parks is your objective, along with having a caravan that’s light to tow and has a comfortable living interior, then the Javelin is the winner in that respect.
- Lightweight caravan
- Easy towing
- Open layout
- Well-appointed kitchen
I would have liked...
- Higher microwave (yes, I know, usually it’s the opposite)
- Better corner storage design
- A little more attention to detail
The full test will appear in Caravan World #533, January 2015. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!