Jayco Outback Swan
Getting the choice of camper right might be the difference between enjoying a lifetime of camping or forgoing camping forever. With so much at stake, I towed the Jayco to the lake to discover if this camper provided value for those looking for an RV on a budget.
Our tow vehicle, a Toyota LandCruiser Sahara with its almost unstoppable V8 engine, had absolutely no trouble towing the 1165kg camper. What’s more, the RV looked first-class sitting behind the Toyota. With its 125kg ball weight it held firm to the car while the AL-KO Outback leaf springs, underslung axle and offroad ground clearance helped it track easy enough behind the Cruiser.
When it encountered a little off-road duty, the leaf springs didn’t allow it to hug the contours as well as more upmarket suspension might. Nonetheless, its performance was still quite acceptable as it rode across a paddock to find its place by the lake.
On the outside, the Jayco Swan Outback looks trim and tidy. That is, it appears attractive yet sturdy as if it could handle the outback. Its thick fibreglass skin with a gel-coat finish means it certainly should withstand some knocks, especially the incidental knock from a rock or brush from a tree branch as you ramble along an outback road. A 42mm interlocking aluminium frame provides the rigidity needed for off-road driving.
The aluminium chequerplate both sides and pebble guard front and rear provide protection from some stone damage. Just the same, as with any camper, take note of driving conditions and drive to them.
The chassis that underpins the whole kit and caboodle includes 150mmx50mm RHS main stays. That sounds like plenty of support. On or off the road it rolls along on 15in alloy wheels with 235/75R15 tyres, which are standard and adequate for any job. They are a nice compromise between on-road high speed travel and driving slow through deep sand when running along a beach somewhere. That’s as long as you keep an eye on tyre pressures.
Walking around the outside, convenience is the word that comes to mind. That’s because it features a handy external 12V auxiliary plug, a jerry can holder on the A-frame as well as a practical double step by the entrance door – great to overcome the extra height of an off-road camper.
With that in mind, it’s time to explore the inside.
Chassis: Galvanised ‘Millennium Chassis’
Frame construction: Maxiframe wall construction
Windows: Plastic windows with flyscreen mesh
Corner jacks: AL-KO
Waste water common outlet: Yes
Water tanks: 82L
Water tank covers: Yes, galvanised
Coupling: 50mm coupling
Suspension: AL-KO outback leaf springs
Brakes: Electric brakes
Wheels: 15in alloy
Tyres: 235/75R15 tyres
Boot(s): Front storage boot with one-piece boot liner
Stone guard: Flexcoat pebble guard and chequerplate on sides
Gas cylinder size/s: 1 x 9kg
Hot water: No
Battery: 12V power system with battery charger (battery optional)
Battery charger: Yes, built into transformer
Solar panels: No
Solar provision: No
Tap on A-Frame: No
Simplicity is the key here, and the Jayco Swan Outback camper-trailer hits that mark. Getting ready to camp is easy and efficient taking around 15 minutes from go to whoa before you’re ready to boil the kettle for morning tea – not bad at all.
Simplicity does mean uncluttered space in which to live, including plenty of internal storage. While there’s the usual array of kitchen cupboards and under-seat storage, it’s nice to see Jayco added in a fold-up three-quarter-height cupboard in which to hang the good going-out gear. When it’s time to move on, the cupboard simply hinges forward ready for the camper to lower its lid.
At meal times, the Swan had a Smev four-burner with gas grill including one 240V element, meaning you could save your gas and use electric when camped in a park. Powdercoated aluminium seat frames meant the furniture was set to take a few knocks.
The Swan is one of the nine in the Jayco camper-trailer range that come standard with a microwave. Once again, this is immensely handy when camping with kids.
Dining-wise, the simple table would accommodate four easily, but would perhaps struggle if you filled the van to its maximum six-berth capacity. However, a U-shaped bench by the front door provides plenty of extra seating. Just a note on the table, Jayco calls it Eurostyle. It certainly has the old-fashioned 1950s look about it. That’s okay because there is an undeniable elegance and timelessness about its design.
A Dometic RM2350 three-way fridge is a standard part of the kitchen, as are easy to roll, well-finished drawers and large-bowl stainless steel sink.
When it comes to bedtime, the Jayco Swan features a front queen-sized bed and rear double bed, as well as providing room for one, maybe two, more when you fold the table down. With parents at the front and the kids at the rear, it’s nice to know a child-safety rail keeps them secure.
If reading in bed is your thing when camping, there is no need to worry as the Jayco comes with clip-on night lights to hang over the beds. Although, given the overall size of the van, there is not a great need for extra lighting.
Just the same, it does make enjoying your latest Dan Brown novel easier without disturbing sleeping campers.
Fridge: Dometic RM2350 three-way fridge
Television: Coaxial TV point
Music system: N/A
Cooking equipment: Smev four-burner gas grill with one 240V element
Lighting: 12V lighting system including bed lights
Smoke alarms: Yes
Cupboard finishes: Timber
Lounge configuration: Table and two benches
Seating capacity: Seven
Sink: Deep bowl
Sleeping configuration: Queen size at front, double at rear
Berths: Seven berths with optional bed converter fitted to front club lounge
Bed size(s): 6ft 6in x 5ft front, 6ft 6in x 4ft 4in rear
Privacy screens: Optional
Toilet provision: No
Towel racks: No
Value for money: 5/5
This Jayco Swan Outback campertrailer is an ideal camper that boasts easy to use and adequate facilities to make camping at the beach or in the mountains enjoyable. What it lacks in high-end technology, it makes up for in terms of elegant simplicity.
Make/model: Jayco Swan Outback camper-trailer
Chassis number: L13608
External body length: 5.591m (18ft 5in)
External width: 2.240m (7ft 4in)
Vin Tare Weight: 1165kg
Ball Weight: 125kg
NB: length and width are external measurements of the vehicle shell (and awning) only
Contact person: Joshua Carnavas
Name: Brisbane Camperland
Address: Brisbane Camperland, 1459 Wynnum Rd, Tingalpa QLD 4173
Phone: (07) 3348 8200
Fax: (07) 3348 8288
Please Note: Pricing was correct at time of review