I recently got to pickup a brand new Tvan Murranji from Track Trailer in Melbourne and take it to The Big Red Bash. Here is my review of the trailer and how I found it.
I turned up to pickup the Tvan from Outback HQ, the head office of Track Trailer, and home of their world class manufacturing facility. I have to admit that the last time I’d used a Camper Trailer would have been over 20 years ago when I was a kid heading away with Dad to the Warrumbungles.
Knowing this, the guys at Track Trailer booked me in for a 2 hour famil with the trailer before they handed it over. I thought this was a long time, but quickly discovered that these days you actually need to spend that amount of time learning the vehicle.
The gentleman who showed me through the trailer was on his third Tvan. He was a customer who had been turned into a diehard fan thanks to his experience with the brand and now comes in to help conducting handovers with new owners in his spare time.
I can honestly say I was surprised at how much there was to learn that was specific to the vehicle. How to open the rear boot, how to lower the hard floor, how to release and setup the tent, how the power systems, heaters, and water pumps worked, and this was just the start.
The time spent getting the overview was invaluable, and I’m sure it prevented me from breaking something the first time I actually used the trailer, so if you are considering buying one, I’d highly recommend getting a thorough run down before you attempt to use the thing!
Anyway, I’ve now towed the Tvan over 5,000km, sleeping in it for over two weeks with the Mrs and also young kids. I’ve towed with our HQ GU Patrol, as well as a Ford Ranger XLT, and I’ve towed it at max weight as well as empty.
The following are my findings:
How it Tows
The Tvan is a trailer that tows brilliantly, both on-road, and on the dirt. Whatever tow vehicle you have, with the 1140KG tare weight (on our spec model – most come in closer to the 1 tonne mark), you will feel the vehicle pulling the trailer at least slightly, until you get used to the additional weight behind you. However, when I got to highway speeds on the way home, the vehicle towed so well I found myself constantly checking the rear mirror to ensure that it was still there.
It was no different on the dirt. I let the tyre pressures down, and the van was very settled no matter what I did. A few times I had to hit the brakes hard, or move off the road at very short notice due to some crazy drivers coming the other way on single lane roads, and at all times the trailer was very composed and comfortable. It handled the corrugations, holes in the road, and everything with ease and composure.
The electric brakes were brilliant, and with the adjustable Redarc Towpro system, I was able to adjust the braking effort easily to match the conditions as they changed.
If you check Youtube, you’ll see the guys setup the van in mere minutes. Being honest, I couldn’t get the setup down to that quick, but realistically whenever we setup the Mrs was generally wrangling the kids while I unpacked the trailer, which meant I was doing it solo most of the time. In reality, I found that it took me about 10-15 minutes to setup the trailer to be ready to use. When I say this, that encompassed opening the trailer, dropping the hard floor, setting up the tent, zipping on an extra room (more on that below), and pulling out the Kitchen.
In regards to the setup, it was the little things that really impressed me. Like magnetic clips on the anchor points for the tent to the hard floor, and the flaps of the tent. It was all good quality but also made it easy to setup once you knew what you were doing. And it meant you didn’t have to be perfect in your placement of the clip if you were in the dark because the magnet would complete the connection.
The other thing that I found really useful was the Family Room add-on. It is essentially an additional room which zips onto the main tent. It is not currently well advertised on the Track Trailer site, but was brilliant given I travelled with two young kids. It folds down into its own bag, and literally takes two zips and one U shaped pole to setup.
For an additional few minutes of work, I doubled the living area inside the trailer, and it easily accommodated 4 people.
Kitchen / Fridges
We chose the Premium kitchen in our model. It comes with a 3 burner gas stove, and a slide out sink, which has a number of brilliant storage drawers for plates, pots, pans, and cutlery. My initial reaction to the kitchen was that the design would restrict me using all of the bench space next to the stove itself because of the way the sink pulls out. However, I found that in reality, I didn’t need the sink while I was cooking, so it was not a problem at all.
The Quick Cover awning that comes with the trailer was solid. The awning itself fits well into the cover, is easy to unpack and pack, and it isn’t a really snug fit in the cover like some aftermarket brands of awning where you have to pack it perfectly to have a chance at closing it.
You need to be prepared to extend a few poles to fill out the awning, but it is relatively easy to do and the coverage of the awning is good.
It also comes with an extension which will extend cover across to the entrance to the tent, but I haven’t actually used it because I found the coverage of the awning sufficient. It might help in inclement weather though, where you are setting up for a few days in one place.
The control panel of the Tvan is nicely set out, and pretty easy to use, once you understand it. There are several buttons for lights, although one button controls the internal lights inside the bed area, one controls the light in the boot, which lights up the tent area, and one controls the external lights outside. Additionally, there is a switch outside near the external water tap which can be used to turn the outside lights on and off without going inside.
The water pump is also controlled from the inside, as well as the Diesel heater in our model, which was plumbed up under the bed.
There were also multiple USB ports for charging smaller devices, and a 300W invertor which was good for charging my laptop and camera batteries.
We had the Tvan fitted with 2x 105AH batteries. There was a 120W Solar panel on the roof, 240V inputs, and also an additional external Anderson Plug for an additional solar panel to be connected.
We found that the standard setup was fine when the unit was running a single 65L Waeco Fridge and that the 120W panel was sufficient here. However, when we had to connect a second fridge which we used as a Freezer, the additional power drain created a deficiency which meant that the unit barely charged through the day and needed charging every third day, even when we connected an additional Redarc 72W amphorous panel.
My recommendation here would be to carry a 120W or 150W additional panel and I think that this would help if you are thinking you might need to run more than a single fridge off the trailer.
The Tvan has storage a plenty. Being highly customizable you can choose a number of configurations. We took the extra front boot and had it wired for a second fridge, as well as Bike Racks, although you can have a plate installed here to carry even more. The front boot is spacious, and even the smaller of the two boots you get will fit a 65L Waeco Fridge. You also get a number of smaller lockable compartments, one that is spacious enough for additional tools.
Under the bed there is plenty of space for your clothes / food etc, and you can even request drawers if that is your style.
Inside for us was the magic though – you have a huge amount of space on top of the bed, with storage pockets above the bed, on the sides, and also on the bed itself.
Additionally, with the Skyward lift deck, a new innovation on the Mk5, you can now open the rear of the trailer without dropping the hard floor down. This is really practical if you want to access any of the trailer features while stopped for lunch, or for accessing your bags / storage while on the road without having to setup.
- Ease of towing
- Ability to sleep in the thing without setting up if need be
- General quality of finish
- Generous storage space
- Plethora of features
- Ease of setting up the additional Family Room
These were very minor, but I feel they should be listed.
- Stickers on gas stove peeled on first clean, even when not using detergent. Not a major issue because you can still work out which one is for which burner, but noticeable given how good everything else is.
- Gas ignitor not in the most ergonomic position for lighting the stove.
- I needed to go an buy a water filler hose, and a 15A lead so I could plug in 240V. I didn’t find this out until after I’d picked up the van, which meant I had to beg borrow and steal until I could sort. The good news here is that I’ve provided this feedback and the team at Track Trailer are working on a “ready set go pack” which will prevent customers getting this surprise in future.
While the Tvan is far from the cheapest trailer available in the market, it is very well built for Off-road touring, is made in Australia and very good quality. And it’s the little details that make it really special – you can really see continued innovation and a desire to really continue to make things better and more practical with every model.
With the way it operates and tows, you can tell that Track trailer has invested significantly in design and development – this is not a copy of anyone else’s design or a me too product, it is the benchmark.
So, if resale value, quality, utility, and fitness for purpose matter to you, it would be hard to go past the Tvan.
RRP (as tested) – $82,000. This is because we chose the top of the range Murranji, and then added some additional features. Prices for the base model of the Tvan start at $56,000.
Tare weight 1140 (given all of the features we chose). Most Tvans come in at or under 1 tonne.
GTM 1500KG (you can choose to upgrade this if you wish)