Roadstar make absolutely beautifully crafted caravans and their Safari Tamer is no exception. It looks big, bold and tough from the outside but once you walk inside, you enter a stylish, modern, well appointed apartment riding on big 16" off road wheels. It is everything we wanted in a caravan and more.
The story began back in 2014 when I went on a trip with the MySwag Victorian forum members to Yackandandah. I met a couple who had a Roadstar Safari Tamer and I was extremely impressed with it. The quality of the interior, fit and finish as well as the well constructed exterior really impressed me. It got me thinking about travelling for extended periods of a year or more and whether or not our van at the time would be suitable.
Don't get me wrong, we loved our River Eliminator. It was exactly what we wanted at the time and it would have been perfect for an extended trip of a few months or even more, but when you go away for 12 months, you start to think about all the extra things you'll need that you may do without for a short time, but are essential for longer periods. That means storage and lots of it and the River was a little short on convenient storage options. It wasn't really lacking for space but it was all in a few big lumps whereas the Roadstar has more spread out storage spaces and seemed to use up all available space very efficiently.
It is also amazing how much extra space 3 additional feet in length can make. The River was only 17 feet long inside and made do with a combination shower and toilet. The Safari Tamer is 20 feet long and the shower and toilet are separated into a full ensuite at the rear. It creates a lot more living space in the kitchen and dining areas with an associated increase in storage areas.
A bit of research also confirmed that Roadstar considers sealing the van a very important part of the construction. Many vans seem to leak water into the interiors and the walls as a result of poor sealing. Roadstar uses a specially developed sealant from Europe that is extremely effective and long lasting. The video of the sealing process on their website is very compelling.
So, after talking to Kylie about the Roadstar I saw, we went to the local dealer to have a look. Well, Kylie fell in love instantly with the Safari Tamer and the decision was made to upgrade. We later went to the Melbourne Leisure Fest show and took advantage of the discounts on offer.
Our Safari Tamer is the same 20 foot layout with the offset kitchen and cafe' style lounge design. Its a classy layout that uses the available space really well. We went with the aluminium frame option just to reduce weight and increase strength. We also upgraded the solar capacity to 450 watts on the roof with the ability to add another 100 watts as an external panel giving a total of 550 watts to charge the 200 ah batteries. This is essential as the fridge in this van is a Vitrifridgo 12v unit. We also fitted a bigger 1800 watt inverter just to give us a bit of extra 240v capacity while free camping. We learnt our lesson with heating this time and fitted a gas ducted heating system which is absolutely fantastic and heats the van quietly and efficiently. We also added a Webber Baby Q on a slide out to the front tunnel boot. The last option we fitted was a grey water tank to supplement the standard 3 x 100 litre water tanks so we can take advantage of roadside stops for overnight accommodation. Other than those mods, the Safari Tamer is pretty much as Roadstar make it which says a lot about the thought that has gone into the design. There's not a lot lacking in the standard configuration.
One of the major changes to the Safari Tamer in recent years is the move away from the continuous hot water system to the Swift 28 litre hot water system. While relying on a tank, it is made from stainless steel which should bode well for longevity and low maintenance. It is extremely efficient and produces a plentiful supply of very hot water. Its miles ahead of the old Suburban system we had in the River and from all accounts a huge improvement in reliability from the previous continuous system.
One of the key criteria I have for a good caravan (or any other RV for that matter) is that it must be a comfortable place to sit inside for an extended period of time. You can have all the off road ability or accessories you like but if you get 3 days of constant rain and you're stuck in the van for the duration, you want to be comfortable and the Safari Tamer delivers this in spades. The seats in the lounge are extremely comfortable and have plenty of room. The interior colours are light and provide a real sense of space. The comprehensive internal LED lighting package can be set for any occasion. The recessed LED strip lights in the ceiling and at floor level are a nice touch.
Outside lighting is also well catered for with 3 LED flood lights under the awning and 2 round flood lights for the front and rear storage areas. Very convenient indeed.
Storage is the big thing with this van. Every bit of space seems to be taken up with storage of some description and its useful storage too. The big aluminium checker plate boot at the front houses a slide out for a generator as well as a big separate area for all those dirty items. The large full length tunnel boot is gal lined and has good LED lighting. At the back is a huge tall storage locker that goes right up to the ceiling and is perfect for storing outdoor chairs, tables, clothlines and other bulky items that you need immediate access to on a regular basis. Inside all the upper edges have storage cupboards for storing smaller items. There's a decent under bed storage area. The kitchen has a good mix of drawers and deep cupboards and the ensuite has a generous linen press for storing towels and bed clothes.
Other items that I like that we had on our previous van were a good entertainment system with LED TV that can be mounted outside by accessing the connections in a recessed compartment, the DO-35 full off road towing hitch, additional high mounted brake lights, rear vision camera system, dual spare wheels and 4 x jerry can holders.
All up we have been very happy with the Roadstar Safari Tamer. Everything has worked perfectly and it has met every one of our expectations.
For more information about the Safari Tamer from Roadstar visit their website.