Despite the model’s name, think of this Jayco All-Terrain 22.68-1 as something built to be towed on all roads, rather than over all types of terrain. Paul Owen gears up for anything.
Like a lot checkerplate-armoured, high-riding Aussie vans, the Jayco is classified as ‘semi off road’ rather than something built to take on the potentially lethal desert tracks of its land of origin. The nine-metre-plus long All-Terrain is simply too long, too heavy, and too luxurious to tow down something like Maruia Track in this country.
However, it’ll probably tackle Molesworth Station just fine because there’s a pretty decent gravel road all the way through and just the one usually shallow river ford to challenge the ground clearance. Ben Nevis Road, on the other side of the Remarkables to Queenstown, has 36 fords, some with entries and exits that are probably too steep for any caravan, so that ‘all-road’ tag that I’ve just given the Jayco needs to be applied with a healthy serving of common sense. New Zealand’s high country routes, even some nominally called roads, can present challenges beyond any contemplated by an Australian caravan manufacturer designing towable dwellings specifically for Australian conditions.
That doesn’t mean that the All-Terrain feels out of place in this country, far from it. Just towing the All-Terrain to a photo location east of Auckland made me aware that this caravan is made to take on the imperfect road surfaces of our nation. Recent record-setting rainfall had given the surface of the location access road the appearance of a former wheatfield in eastern Ukraine, and its foundation layers had already been corrupted into unplanned cambers and corrugations by constant convoys of heavy trucks and trailers visiting a busy quarry nearby.
Yet, while the Ford Ranger tow vehicle pogo-ed and bucked all the way down that road, the Jayco sat serene and stable and never put a wheel wrong. The independent coil-sprung, shock absorber-damped JTECH 2.0 suspension and the acclaimed DO35 Hitchmaster coupling were really making their calming presence known, resolutely limiting the motion of the caravan to a single direction and a single direction only – towards wherever the tow vehicle was heading.
MY2022 VS MY2023
The All-Terrain that you see in these photos is a 2022 model, however you really need to imagine that it is the $117,790 2023 version that you’re looking at, because that’s the model that’ll be on display at Jayco dealers in New Zealand by the time you read this. It’s not a big stretch visually to picture this 2022 All-Terrain as the more up to date version as most of the confirmed differences are in places that are hard to spot without careful up-close inspection.
The confirmed differences all focus on increasing the ability of the Jayco to camp independently. Instead of the single 100Ah lithium domestic battery of this ’22, the ’23 will add a second one alongside it in an expanded armoured battery box located below the cabin. This increased battery storage will be backed up by increased capacity to capture solar energy. The ’23 will have three 200W solar panels mounted neatly to the roof instead of this model’s twin 180W panels. Want even more independence from the national electricity grid? The 2023 version of the All-Terrain has the option of a comprehensive off-grid energy upgrade consisting of a 3000W inverter, 400Ah lithium battery, 40Ah solar controller, and a 7” touchscreen monitor. Called ‘Off- Grid X’, the package also includes extra graphics and a heavier-duty rear bumper complete with a firewood rack.
The other big difference between last year’s model and the 2023 version is that the two freshwater tanks now carry 95L each instead of 80L. There’s still a single 80L catch tank for greywater with a drain connection on the right underside of the All-Terrain.
Fair dinkum ocker
The All-Terrain reflects the culture of its state of origin – it’s robust, strong, good value and only a little lacking when it comes to some of the finer details. It sits on a hot-dipped glavanised chassis that looks tough enough to withstand decades of rough road use, the sandwich-walled, hail-proofed cabin and the well-crafted interior furniture made strong and stable with metal framing, yet some of the catches and latches used feel at odds with this ready-for-anything ethos. The flimsy injection moulded plastic cover for the outdoor shower outlet on the right side of the van simply doesn’t deserve to belong to the same caravan as the well-sealed and insulated exterior storage locker covers found elsewhere.
This is a small niggle, and I hope a better external shower outlet cover is one of the improvements that Jayco has yet to announce for the 2023 version of the All Terrain, for that’s about all one can point the bone at. As Aussie caravans go, this is one of the best in terms of towing performance, storage inside and out, independent camping ability, and modern looking interior decoration.
The extra solar generation and battery storage capacities of the 2023 probably raise the 2605kg unladen mass of this 2022 model by around 20-30kg. Which doesn’t worry the chassis one iota as the four-wheel axle groupset located mid-trailer is rated to cart 3300kg. Jayco have even added an extra 125kg to the maximum payload of the ’23 model, taking it to 600kg instead of 475. This means you can load up the storage locker at the rear of the van and put a couple of full-power e-bikes on the optional bike rack in the knowledge that the rear is the best place to stash heavier items in a caravan. I’d personally feel less keen about carrying heavier stuff in the checker-plate storage box mounted on the drawbar even though Jayco have tailored the right side of it with a slide-out drawer for a generator. With two 9kg gas bottles already sitting on the drawbar plus two jerrycan holders to cart extra fuel or water,
I’d be reserving that drawbar box for lighter stuff like outdoor furniture, fishing rods, and boogie boards instead. Where the exterior of the All-Terrain really pushes out the caravan design envelope is with the powered awning that is deployed or retrieved with push-button convenience from the inside of one of the overhead lockers above the living area. It’s a great solution to the old awning conundrum of having to roll the awning back in when stormy weather suddenly arrives in the middle of the night. Now those on either side of the Jayco’s 1.8m x 1.45m double bed can complete this necessary but normally arduous task without having to leave the warm comfort of the caravan. It’s a feature that strikes a blow for male liberation as it’s no longer a bloke’s prerogative to have to get up, brave the weather and wind the awning back in manually.
A comprehensive range of equipment and features greets you when you step inside the All-Terrain. There are two Sirocco fans, dual-toned reading lights, a large Thetford T21175C fridge/freezer accompanied by a four-burner stove/oven/grille from the same brand, a 22L gas/electric hot water service, a ceiling-mounted air conditioner, Furrion entertainment system, 24” LED TV with wind-up antenna, and a mirror-finished microwave. It’s all easily controlled and monitored from the Projecta LCD screen located out of toddler reach above the living area.
The right-side bathroom at the rear not only has a relatively spacious shower cubicle and a proper washbasin; it also houses a washing machine capable of handling 3.3kg of laundry. Be warned that you’ll have to be plugged in to use that facility (unless you’ve ponied up for the Off-Grid X package) and know that washing machines are generally quite hungry when it comes to water use – you’ll soon be filling that 80L greywater reservoir.
Such is the amount of stuff that comes with the Jayco that it’s hard at first to spot what’s missing. It’s a heater. Although the air-conditioner can heat the cabin when connected to mains power or the inverter of the Off-Grid X package, the All-Terrain has no gas or diesel heating system to keep the cabin cosy when camping independently. Given all the gas capacity carried on the drawbar, and its proximity to the storage area under the double bed, installing a Truma gas heating system and a couple of ducts there should be a relatively easy process. Jayco’s New Zealand dealer network also offer a diesel heating solution and can also install either one or two cameras at the rear of the caravan to fit the final piece in the equipment jigsaw puzzle – a reversing camera.
Home on the range
There’s a nice n’ light vibe to the interior of the All-Terrain, with the grey leatherette seats of the café area (an L-shaped bench is the other option here, and two
other leatherette colours are available) contrasting harmoniously with the matte white walls, glossy cream coloured overhead locker doors, light grey curtains, and cedar plank-mimicking floor vinyl.
The black kitchenware and stove splashback, dark grey bedroom fittings and black drawer handles make nice counterpoints to the lighter hues, and the interior of the Jayco is very easy on the eyes. It’s also comfy, with the large ‘double glazed’ Perspex windows creating plenty of natural airflow, and the café seats deliver long-term luxury provided you seat the kids near the window as the wheel arch restricts the leg room for those seated there. If travelling with teenagers, the L-shaped bench is probably the better option as it solves the legroom issue. Another interior option to consider is whether you need two bunks for the kids or three. Meanwhile, the café seats can be configured into a bed for younger children.
Journey vs All-Terrain
If you can’t stretch to the $117,790 for the All-Terrain, let alone the $131,090 that Jayco ask for the Off-Grid X-equipped version, it’s worth looking at the 9-metre Journey models sitting just below them. These start at $99,890 for the leaf-sprung base model, or $106,790 for the Journey Outback equipped with the same JTECH 2.0 suspension, and DO35 coupling as the All-Terrain. The Journeys have virtually the same cabin as the All-Terrain, with the bonus feature of a front window.
|MAKE & MODEL:
|Jayco All-Terrain 22.68-1
|Glavanised trailer with dual-axle
and DO35 coupling
|3205kg (unladen mass: 2605kg)
For more information, visit https://www.jayco.co.nz/