Bushtracker 14ft: Review
You might scoff at the idea of taking a family of five on the road in a 14ft van, but Bushtracker has figured out how to make it a reality.
Family caravans come in all shapes and sizes. There are some very compact units around, as well as those that offer plenty of internal living space. Some designs evolved for people who love offroad camper trailer travel but desire a few more comforts in their home away from home.
For those in the latter bracket, Bushtracker has developed a 14ft pop-top model. It not only offers fixed beds for a family of four but has been developed for al fresco living.
Design & Construction
The 14-footer is built very much in the traditional Bushtracker style, with a hot-dipped galvanised chassis that features double rails and a drawbar. Above the chassis, the 2mm/3mm aluminium frame is both welded and double-riveted to support the fibreglass composite body structure. Naturally, it is all fully insulated and the lower sides have protective alloy checkerplate.
One of the characteristics of Bushtracker vans is the chamfered lower rear end that creates an excellent departure angle, and this pop-top doesn’t miss out. Another characteristic is the twin spare wheels that are mounted under the body overhang at the front of the van. Bushtracker reckons that’s a better position for more balanced towing.
Setting up a pop-top isn’t much different to a normal caravan, except for lifting the roof.
Externally there’s an interesting clue (or lack thereof) that a power-operated roof lifter is fitted – there are no external roof clips. That might sound like a strange thing to get excited about but the roof clips in offroad caravans are often out of reach of the average person and you need a step to reach them.
The Bushtracker’s roof-lifting mechanism is a neatly designed system which isn’t too obvious on the inside, yet is powerful enough to lift a pop-top roof fitted with solar panels, a power-operated awning and an air-conditioner.
This is a family van and the all-important 2.03x0.7m (6ft 8in x 2ft 4in) bunk beds are fitted across the rear. Up front and about as far away from the bunks as possible, the double bed sits across the front of the 14-footer. That leaves enough space for a nearside kitchen and an offside dinette and bathroom cubicle. The dinette can also be folded down into another bed, taking sleeping berths to five. So while general space might be at a premium, sleeping accommodation is not.
Neatly slotted in between the bed and bathroom is the dinette. It comes with a rigid table mounted on a single pole, and the table can be removed if needed. Although the dinette can fit a young family of four, those closest to the wall will have to rest their feet on the wheel arch.
Available space and the external slide-out kitchen means that the internal kitchen has been designed a bit differently to many vans’ kitchens. For a start, there isn’t a cooktop or much benchtop space but there is a round stainless steel sink, a 165L Danfoss compressor fridge, the aforementioned pantry with dual access, and five good-sized drawers. Of more than passing interest is the electrical switch panel that has been very neatly fitted on the panel below the kitchen sink bench. Those electrics include a high-end Fusion radio.
- Compact but usable interior layout
- External slide-out kitchen
- Internal/external use cupboard
- Bed with all-round windows
- Great length for bush track towing
I would have liked...
- 12V fans, but I’m sure they are an option
- More standard features
The full test appears in Caravan World #535, March 2015. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!