This Jayco Swift camper trailer is the perfect entry point for those keen on starting their discovery of life on wheels, writes Ben Selby.
It’s incredible to think the humble camper trailer has been the bedrock of success for many brands who have since branched out into large caravans and motorhomes. Such is the case with Jayco in Australia. It all started when a production manager at Sunwagon Trailers by the name of Gerry Ryan visited the Jayco base in Indiana during 1975.
Having liked very much what he saw when shown the pop-up camper range, Ryan was given permission by Jayco Inc. founder Lloyd Bontrager to manufacture them in Australia under licence as Jayco. After the ideas pitched to colleagues at Sunwagon fell on deaf ears, Ryan went it alone, and the first Aussie built Jayco pop-up camper was born in 1976.
These days, one of Jayco Australia’s vast range of campers, caravans, campervans and motorhomes leaves the assembly plant every eight minutes. And they all owe their existence to those early pop-up campers. Which brings us neatly on to the Jayco Swift camper trailer featured here. According to Jayco Canterbury’s Tony McWhirter, over the past 12 months, camper desirability has seen an increase of around 164 per cent. When you add in factors like Covid and the rising cost of air travel, people are keener than ever in the concept of a home-away-from home holiday courtesy of a camper trailer.
Entry level fun
The Jayco Swift is the most affordable new camper trailer in the Jayco stable, with the entry point Touring kicking things off at $30,190. The more rugged Swift Outback spec will set you back an extra $5,340, bringing the final figure for the most adventurous Jayco Swift camper trailer to $35,530. With a body length of 2,790mm and travel length of 4,280mm, the Swift Touring is also the most compact camper trailer in the Jayco family. That is until the smaller still Wren camper trailer arrives later in the year.
Like all Jayco camper trailers, the Swift Touring is built using Jayco’s Maxiframe. This form of construction is both stronger and lighter than conventional aluminium campers thanks to a quad-layer aluminium frame wall, which gives greater strength and weighs less.
The Jayco Swift Touring is aimed at couples or young families who desire a camper trailer with a good mix of durability and refinement mixed with a decent amount of space and some home conveniences. Also, despite its compact dimensions, the Swift Touring has pull-out bedding for three adults but is capable of sleeping up to four. The bedding itself also comes with an innerspring mattress which gives a homier feel, rather than a conventional camp stretcher or lilo. “It is a big step-up from a tent,” explains Tony. The Swift also comes with a 90L fridge, optional 200w solar panel with regulator, two 12-volt sockets, one internal and one external and a 2 burner cooktop. Plus, buyers can choose from a range of interior décor options and can download an app with which they can monitor the battery charge and water level.
On the move
On the road, the Jayco Swift Tourer’s Maxiframe construction helps make towing a stress-free experience. It feels solid and well planted at a motorway cruise. Its optional underslung axle A-frame, galvanised chassis and simplistic leaf spring suspension setup means there is little to no flex. Said A-frame also has a mounting point for a 9kg gas bottle.
While my towing vehicle was a Toyota Land Cruiser VX, you certainly don’t need a gargantuan powerhouse of an SUV to tow the Swift Tourer. With its tare weight of 904kg and loading weight of 385kg, any small to mid-sized four-wheel drive or wagon with a towing capacity of 1.5 tonnes would be more than up to the job. There are more advantages; for example, having a tow ball weight of 69kg means there is significantly less stress being applied to your tow bar. Opting for the Bush Pack means things are slightly heavier but only by an additional 18kg. The Bush Pack also gets greater levels of ground clearance and j tech 2.0 independent coil suspension over the conventional axle and leaf spring set up.
Once you have reached your destination, which in my case was the Groynes Holiday Park, just north of Christchurch, wasting hours setting up your camper trailer is not part of the Swift Tourer’s vocabulary. You have four corner steadies that keep the Swift firmly in place and the roof lifter system is a doddle to use. The lock point for the lift lever is well positioned, and it doesn’t require a great deal of elbow grease to convert the Swift from travel ready to camp ready. Unzip the tent section and you can pull out the bedding and have it in place with the help of stabilisers in minutes. In fact, once you get into a rhythm, it is possible to have it set up entirely in around five to 10 minutes.
Now is the time to slide out the steps and step aboard. Once you are indoors, there is ample room for couples, though any families with a couple of kids in tow may have to manoeuvre around each other. Unzipping all the windows allows plenty of filtered light to come in and thanks to that skylight, the Swift embraces the summer vibes by giving plenty of natural light to brighten up your surroundings.
When lying flat on either the single or double bed set up, my 5ft 10 frame fit quite well and there was ample room to extend one’s arms or legs to whatever sleeping position you fancy, within reason of course. However, those with a taller frame may find things start to get a bit cramped. That said, the innerspring mattresses themselves are rather comfortable. I would have no argument against spending nights on end stretched out on one of these.
The basin, bench and cooktop are positioned well and easy to operate. You also won’t be straining your back when preparing summer dishes to your nearest and dearest, as the height of the benchtop itself is decent. Right of the two-burner cooktop, there is a small fire extinguisher that fits snuggly in its specialist cubby hole.
Talking of cubby holes…the cupboards and storage areas of the Swift Touring are tastefully finished and are more than capable of swallowing up many holiday kitchen essentials and clothing. The one-touch handles can get a bit stuck if pushed too softly, so applying an assertive thumb or finger is advised. There are also multiple three-point plugs on offer for charging devices and other electrical equipment.
The 90L fridge sits nicely between the double bed and table area and provides ample storage for beverages and produce. At the table area, the seat back cushions provide good lumbar support for those family dinners or afternoons spent indoors playing games or working. I also get the distinct impression Jayco has tailored the seating area next to the single bed for little ones as there is a convenient footrest situated in the corner.
There is so much to like about the Jayco Swift Tourer camper trailer– couples and families will delight in the step up from tent life. Factor in ergonomics, versatility, creature comforts, user friendliness and value for money, and you end up with a vehicle that works perfectly as a charming and well-equipped mini home away from home. Basically, it does just about everything right.
|MAKE & MODEL:
|Jayco Swift Tourer Camper Trailer
|Galvanised with axle and leaf
|1x 80L Tank
|TOW BALL WEIGHT:
|UNLADEN MASS (TARE):
|$30,190 (Bush Pack $35,530)
For more information, visit: https://www.jaycocanterbury.co.nz/