EXTRA-LIGHT OFF- ROAD CARAVAN JOINS THE INNOVAN RANGE
Written by Welby Davidson
An impressive new small OFF-ROAD CARAVAN is now available from Innovan Campers and Caravans. The Innovan Caravan is designed to be capable of handling extreme off-road terrain and will complement the Innovan slide-on unit designed to be carried on the tray of a 4WD (or a 2 wheel drive). Both these "go anywhere" versions will have great appeal for people who want to explore our great outdoors well away from "the beaten track" while still enjoying their home comforts.
The first of these new caravans was completed early 2009 and immediately went into an evaluation phase. This unit was a top of the range (Voyager) caravan, with eleven extra options. It was weighed with two full gas bottles, a mid mounted 100AH glass mat battery and with about 340 litres of water on board. The tow-ball weight was 80 kg., and the weight at the wheels was about 1100 kg.- (a dry weight of about 750 kg. on the road). As standard equipment, the van had heavy duty parallel bearings rated at 1600 kg., air bags rated to carry about 2400 kg. and light truck tyres so it is capable of carrying plenty of extra cargo. Locating the battery at the back and leaving the front water tank empty would have reduced the tow-ball weight to about 65 kg.. Alternatively tow-ball weight could have been increased by not using the back water tank and relocation of the battery to a forward location.
The caravan has a fully integrated moulded base and chassis produced from newly developed moulds. It incorporates some really innovative concepts, and patents have been applied for to cover these. Those at Innovan have been working with people at the cutting edge in manufacture and assembly of composite materials and have taken the opportunity to introduce a caravan designed from the ground up rather than having a slide-on attached to a trailer underframe with a front storage area added. At the same time some extensive changes have been made to the interior fit-outs.
With a length of just under 5 metres plus the coupling (overall 5075 mm.with a hyland coupling) and a height of 1.8 metres plus ground clearance (which can be varied) the caravan is smaller than some cars and can fit in an average garage. The independent trailing arm suspension with heavy duty air bags has the bushes set at an angle to the axles to enhance stability. When the suspension is raised, the ground clearance can be as much as half a metre. Adding the optional "high-lift suspension" kits can add another 100 or 150 mm of ground clearance. The underbelly is flat with the bottom of the three water tanks being flush with the surrounding surface to prevent "hang-ups" on rocks or stumps. As well as providing the ultimate in suspension, the air bags enable the caravan to ride at the optimum height no matter what the load. They facilitate provision of extra ground clearance in extreme conditions and can be used to level the caravan for sleeping. The airbags also allow the overall height of the van to be reduced for storage in a confined space such as a garage.
LED lights are used throughout, even in the storage compartments. The rear combination lights have a lifetime guarantee. Where possible, metal parts (including the drawbar) are made from stainless steel. Glass matt batteries are used in line with Innovan’s policy of producing the highest quality product to withstand extreme conditions.
These Innovan Caravans are equipped with disc brakes and there is the option to match wheel size and track width to the towing vehicle. A three-quarter horsepower air compressor and a five gallon alloy air tank are available and would be greatly appreciated when it comes time to pump up vehicle and van tyres after crossing a sandy stretch and being confronted with a stony or stake-strewn track before the next patch of sand.