The popular Jayco brand has something to suit everyone. Malcolm Street headed for the bush in their Off-Grid X 19.61-3.GX.AT caravan.
Jayco’s place as Australia’s largest manufacturer is undoubtedly an asset, as it’s able to produce a model and layout to suit most customers. That includes the All Terrain models designed for those who like to get away from it all. The All-Terrain vans have been available for some years in a 19ft couple’s van, a 19ft family van and a longer 22ft family van. A more recent development has been the Off-Grid X range, which features the same van lengths and layouts but with a higher 12V electrical capacity. For this review, I looked over the 19ft family van.
The road more travelled
The Off-Grid X 19.61-3.GX.AT is a decent-sized van with an external length of 5995mm. It has a Tare Mass of 2610kg and a payload capability of 600kg – ideal for a family of four, and not an overly heavy caravan. A 4X4 dual cab ute, like a Nissan Navara or Ford Ranger, will handle it without a problem and keep well under the 3500kg maximum towing weight, which many utes have. Indeed, the van was very well-behaved during my towing drive.
Giving the caravan a good ride is the independent suspension. Jayco’s JTECH 2.0 system is fitted with Pedders coil springs and shock absorbers and is designed to be easily adjustable for correct wheel alignment. In keeping with the high-tech nature of this van, the tyre pressures can be monitored via a smartphone.
The Off-Grid X 19.61-3.GX.AT reveals a van built very much in the Jayco style. The chassis is Jayco’s tried and trusted Endurance design, hot dipped galvanised, with 150mm x 50mm (6in x 2in) RHS used for the main rails and extended drawbar.
Pressed steel C-section is used for the cross members to improve the strength/weight factor. A bumper bar with a mounted spare wheel and bin for collecting firewood is fitted to the van’s rear. It sits unobtrusively between the rear bumper and the rear wall. Between the chassis rails are two 100-litre fresh water tanks and an 80-litre grey water tank.
The expected items on the drawbar include the Cruisemaster DO35 hitch handbrake and jockey wheel, plus two 9.0kg gas cylinders, jerry can holders and a well-sized chequer plate storage box that includes a generator slide-out on the offside.
For the body structure, the Off-Grid X 19.61-3.GX.AT has an aluminium frame. It’s part of Jayco’s vacuum-bonded multilayer wall construction, which consists of external fibreglass/3mm plywood/ aluminium framing/insulation and internal 3mm ply. Protective black alloy chequer plate is used all around the lower waistline area. The nearside fittings include an awning, picnic table and an external storage compartment at the offside rear.
Most of the front tunnel storage is occupied by a slide-out kitchen. It has a two-burner hob, stainless steel sink and a hinged extension piece.
Getting to the heart of the matter in the Off-Grid X 19.61-3.GX.AT, what’s been a game changer in the RV world has been the development of Lithium LiFePO4 batteries, which offer several benefits over the more traditional AGM batteries.
Those include a more efficient charging cycle, a better power-to-weight ratio and the ability to hold the output voltage for longer when the battery discharges. For an All-Terrain van, the Off-Grid X upgrade considerably boosts the 12V power system and allows for the effective use of an inverter. There are two choices in power capability. The similarities are 30A DC charger, 40A solar controller, 7in touchscreen monitor and a Projecta IG2-BT7 power management system. Solar panel capacity consists of three 200W panels. One option is for a 200Ah Lithium battery with a 2000W inverter and the other is a 400Ah Lithium battery with a 3000W. The battery capacity depends on the appliances used, like an air conditioner or a microwave oven, which draws a fair bit of power.
The Off-Grid X 19.61-3.GX.AT has a forward door entry and stepping through that reveals a simple but effective layout. Being a family van there are two bunk beds in the rear area on the nearside and a bathroom opposite. Filling the mid-space is a café dinette on one side and the all-essential kitchen bench on the other. An east west bed sits up front. For those who don’t particularly like a transverse bed, the alternative is the longer Off-Grid X 22ft van which has a very similar layout to this van, except that there’s an island bed instead of the east-west arrangement.
The bed measures 2030mm x 1500mm and fills the van’s width to maximise the available space. The asset is that the bed length will suit taller people, which is not something all caravan beds will do. An array of overhead lockers fills the air space above the bed and there’s a bedhead shelf and two storage compartments under the offside window. Something appreciated on warm days are the two Sirocco fans fitted under the overhead lockers. The fans look pretty small but they quite effective.
A pleasing feature of the café dinette and kitchen area is that it will accommodate a family of four without too much trouble. That might sound like a motherhood statement, but not all caravan designers seem to appreciate that!
The kitchen is a good size, with a good meal preparation area, even with the stainless-steel sink and four-burner hob. With the grill/oven under the hob and the microwave oven fitted into the overhead locker, there’s plenty of cupboard and drawer capacity. Located between the dinette and rear bed/bathroom area is the Thetford 171 litre three-way fridge.
Down the back
Built into the nearside, the bunks measure 1.84m x 0.7m (6ft x 2ft 4in) and have plenty of air space. Each bed has a window, reading light, privacy curtain and power sockets, both mains 240V and 12V. The aluminium ladder is easy to scramble up and down when clambering into the top bunk. Under the lower bunk is a storage area, also accessed from the outside.
The bathroom is very compact but also practical. For space reasons, the layout is slightly different to usual. The shower cubicle fits right into the rear offside corner, leaving enough space for a Thetford China bowl cassette toilet. That leaves the remaining room against the forward wall for a vanity cabinet and a top-loading washing machine. For bathroom privacy, there’s a concertina curtain. The final touch is the multi-shelved cupboard and multiple drawers between the bathroom and bunks. In a family van, any storage is an asset.
Jayco has done well with this layout, which is packed with features. It will interest those who like to get away from it all for longer periods and still have all the home comforts. It’s also a great family van that doesn’t require a heavy-duty tow vehicle and is easy to drive and manoeuvre.
|MAKE & MODEL:
|Jayco All Terrain Off-Grid X 19.61-3.GX.AT
|Hot dipped galvanised
|Tandem axle, J Tech independent
|2 x 100 litre 1 x 80 litre
|3 x 200W
|UNLADED MASS (TARE):
|TOW BALL MASS:
For more information, visit https://www.jayco.co.nz/