The Search For The Perfect Family Camper LED CTA’s Max Taylor To The Goldstream RV Wing 3 Off-Road.
When Max Taylor’s camper trailer was stolen last year, the search began for a replacement camper suitable for his family – including wife Stacey and their three kids, Ethan, eight, Jasmine, four, and Ashton, two.
As the managing editor for CTA and sister magazine Caravan World, Max was well aware of the cross-section of innovation within the Australian RV sector but his growing family had very specific needs.
The Taylors wanted an offroad capable rig that was comfortable to tow and offered sufficient payload, storage and space for the plethora of family-related daily needs. Weight was a factor, too, with Ruby, the family’s petrol-powered 80 Series LandCruiser, already carrying a considerable load.
Bedding was also a major consideration as Max didn’t want to be assembling annexes and bunks on every overnight stop, so the ability to sleep the entire family within the camper was paramount. And, with five people, big and small, sleeping in the camper, the internal layout had to flow to avoid the frustration of constantly shuffling around people, clothes, food, iPads, toys, cooking and eating utensils.
Cooking was an important factor, with the family wanting an outdoor barbecue as well as an internal gas stove. A microwave and air-conditioner would allow the family to camp with mains power in supreme comfort while solar and generated 12V power would serve them when they ventured off the grid. Hot water is a welcome comfort on the road, but almost a necessity for an extended stay.
The search was short and sweet: Goldstream RV’s immense range appeals to many kinds of RV travellers, but it was the commitment to quality and its reputation in after-sales service that made the choice simple. With a few optional extras, the Goldstream Wing 3 Off-Road ticked every box for the Taylors.
The Goldstream RV Wing is the original model in the range. It was first produced more than 20 years ago and now offers a choice of three different layouts to suit a variety of traveller needs.
I can attest to the quality of a Goldstream RV, having travelled 14,500km from Melbourne to both South Australian gulfs and north to Lorella Springs, NT, on a seven-week trip. More recently, I took a Goldstream RV to Nundooka Station, 100km north of Broken Hill, NSW, and survived 45°C heat and offroad extremes. I was skeptical about the ability of an air-conditioner to keep a soft-sided camper cool until my time at Nundooka, when the Goldstream RV became the most popular spot in camp. I wouldn’t call the optional Dometic Freshjet FJ3200 air-conditioner essential, but it’s worth its weight in gold when you need it.
There were no shortcuts in this camper: while the standard Goldstream RV Off-Road pack has proven itself over the years as suitable for the rough stuff, Max optioned the Cruisemaster XT Coil independent trailing arm suspension for its smooth stable ride and easily exchangeable components, such as the polyurethane bump stops, twin gas shockers (each side) and coil springs. A tough suspension means little if the underpinnings aren’t up to scratch, but the Goldstream RV chassis is tough and proven. The hot-dipped galvanised DuraGal box construction has 150x50mm main chassis rails extending through to the drawbar and a DO35 offroad coupling up front. She rides on 15in alloy mags with Goodride 31/10.5 R15 MT radials and 12in electric brakes and a handbrake. The twin 60L water tanks are well shrouded with checkerplate alloy. Families certainly need loads of water, especially when there’s an external shower fed by the Truma gas hot water service. There is no shower tent so Max carries a pop up, stand-alone unit that doubles as a privacy awning for a porta pottie.
Out front, we find the Anderson plug connection, a removable jockey wheel, a full-width mesh stoneguard, twin 9kg gas cylinders in lockable mounts, side handles, an aluminium checkerplate protection liner and a long storage boot. Inside the lockable boot are all the poles, steps and tools as well as the 100Ah deep cycle battery, electrical isolators, Projecta battery charger and solar regulator. Max added some clips to individually hold the poles but, to be honest, I reckon they’re a pain! But each to their own. The poles are only required if you choose to roll out the extra flies over the fold-out beds, which act like tropical tradervs.com.au 73 roofs and offer protection in extreme rain.
As we travel around the unit, we find checkerplate panels protecting the base of the side sheets. Underneath are four drop-down stabilisers and to the driver’s side is the pull-out shower, hot water venting and lockable water filler. The rear of the trailer has a moulded ABS outer liner, waterproof LED tail lights, and a strong bumper bar with twin jerry can housings. The spare wheel is out back. On the nearside are the lockable access door, a handy fold-out shelf, 240V inlet, 12V outlet, external lighting, a hatch housing and the optional stainless steel barbecue on sliding tracks.
We set the camper up in a jiffy with the shade of the full-length Fiamma awning completing a very attractive outside living area. Up on top, the one piece insulated roof has the optional Dometic air-conditioner and the optional 120W flexible solar panel keeping the battery charged. It is truly amazing just how much power a single battery can supply when backed up by suitable charging such as Goldstream RV provides. I never found any run-down problems in my seven weeks on the road with sensible use.
I like the convenience of a wind-up camper like the Wing 3, and can quite easily have it set up for a comfortable overnighter in a matter of minutes – alone!
As you step up into the spacious interior you will be visually pleased with the hard and soft finishes, as well as the fittings, fixtures and appliances. Comfortable seating is an absolute must and you will really look forward to relaxing on the front club lounge at the end of an action-filled day. The table near the front club lounge can be lowered to form another full-width bed.
Immediately to the right of the door is a counter, known as the breakfast nook. It is a handy flat surface with storage underneath. The rear-side of the brekkie nook forms the backrest for one end of the convertible dinette with its handy drop-down table that also forms a separate bed for one of Max’s littleuns. It is actually large enough for an adult to sleep comfortably, or maybe even two who really like each other, which means the Wing 3 can accommodate six, or even eight at a squeeze.
The opposite side is the kitchen with plenty of laminate bench space, a stainless sink, four-burner stove and grill, 93L three-way fridge, microwave and tonnes of cabinetry including drawers and a slide-out pantry. The roof has the air-conditioner outlet, vented relief and plenty of lighting options. The canvas and fly wire surrounds are excellent and most have internal clears. The driver’s side can open right up to become an al-fresco entertainer and the block out blinds lock out all of the harsh sun and insulate the interior from heat and cold.
I just love the pull-out beds. I honestly sleep more soundly in them than my own bed at home. There’s a queen at the front and usually a large double at the rear, however, Max opted for the larger queen at both ends, both with privacy curtains.
Goldstream RVs have a particular air of premium quality and the Taylor family’s Wing 3 Off-Road has all the bells and whistles.
I’ve had enough experience with these units to confidently state that they are a cut above the rest and a good mate when the going gets rough.
Your purchase of a Goldstream RV will mean your entire family can travel in comfort, cleanliness and confidence wherever your heart’s desire. But, be warned, your kids will be the lively ones after a good night’s sleep while the others will be wiping the bugs out of their ears and scratching their insect bites.
Good choice, Max – can I borrow it next weekend?