River Eliminator Off Road Caravan – ‘Mick’

After our last trip to Northern Australia in the camper, Kylie put her foot down and said she was sick of canvass. We were travelling with her parents who had a Coromal 505 Seeka off road pop top which went pretty much everywhere we went without any issues. I figured happy wife happy life.

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Everything about the Eliminator is engineered to last. The high checkerplate all round, the rubber matting on the front, even the gas bottle holders were more robust that what most owners would need. This is one tough caravan.

We were looking for a very specific design that being a single axle off road van with a cut away rear end similar to the Coromal the in-laws owned. We wanted a shower and toilet and the whole setup needed to be suitable for extended outback touring. We looked at heaps of other brands but the River was as close to the perfect layout as we could find at the time. The only real compromise was a combo shower and toilet. The staff at Caravan Court and River could not have been more accommodating in customising the van to our needs although there really wasn’t much we needed to do as practically everything we wanted was standard.

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You get a lot of steel for your money with River caravans. The chassis is very strong, the control rider suspension has its own subframe and even the rear bar looks the business. The rear dovetail means it has stacks of clearence for serious off road work.

Some of the features and options fitted are:

  • 160w solar and 200ah batteries with Plasmatronics PL-20 controller.
  • 700w inverter with remote control and battery monitor.
  • Strong G&S chassis with control rider suspension and extended triple drawbar.
  • Raised bed height to accommodate second fridge and extra storage.
  • Raised side steps with trap door storage.
  • Metal draw runners and piano hinges thought the interior.
  • Updated ATM for additional cargo capacity.
  • 180l water capacity.
  • Huge, gal lined front boot.
  • DO-35 hitch.
  • Wheels and tyres matched to the Patrol.
  • 4 x Jerry can holders.
  • Reverse camera.
  • LED lighting throughout.
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While we had to make some compromises with the interior layout, it still offered plenty of space and was a pleasant place to be in. The bed height was raised to accomodate a 50l Waeco fridge.

The weight is pretty heavy for a single axel and I was aware of that when we bought it. I certainly wouldn’t want to go any bigger that’s for sure. So far it’s been absolutely fine. It actually tows better with a full load. We do have to be careful about how we pack so as to maintain sufficient weight over the towball but so far that hasn’t proved to be an issue. The front boot is huge and we have most of our heavy stuff in there. We have gone on a bit of a weight reducing exercise recently by turfing some unnecessarily heavy items that we weren’t using.

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Even though the kitchen was small, it uses the available space well. The top drawer on the left is actually an extendable workbench. The combination shower/toilet never presents us with any problems. In fact it is quite spacious.

The biggest issue with towing it is it is so high off the ground, driving into anything resembling a head wind really knocks the socks out of the Patrol’s fuel consumption. Again, if I was so worried about fuel consumption, I wouldn’t have bought the van in the first place…! It averages out in the end. We get anything between 16 and 20l/100ks travelling at about 90-100kph.

The only mods to date include a light under the bed, a shower curtain in the shower/toilet, concealed GPS tracking system and a DNOTV sign on the back. Nothing else.

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For such a big single axel van, the River Eliminator towed beautifully and always sat perfectly balanced behind the Patrol. It never gave us a single moment of concern.

 

 

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8 thoughts on “River Eliminator Off Road Caravan – ‘Mick’

  1. Just found your blog, it is quite interesting.
    We like your caravan and Tow. We have had a 2.5 t Kedron 16′ single axel XC3 since Sept 2015 and so far have been towing with a Pajero. All legal, but like your comments about your 3.0l Nissan we have decided to upgrade our tow and have a GX LC200 on order for delivery in Sept/Oct. We really like our Kedron and plan to do a lot more bush travel. We did 10,000km of caravanning since last Sept.
    The comments about off road towing a largish van resonate with us, we have moved from a 1.2t Avan pop up to a full height 2.5t Kedron and are still finding our limits off road. Your comments about your LC200 also hit home.
    We will follow your blog with interest.
    Regards
    Terry

    1. Hello Terry and welcome to our blog.

      Glad you found some information here that was useful. We are trying to make the site about practical caravanning and hope to share as much knowledge as we can with our fellow travellers.

      Kylie will be extremely jealous of your Kedron. We have often looked at them and have been impressed with their design and strength. We also love the Gall boys videos.

      We have a 4 week trip planned for September so will hopefully be able to post up more stuff while on our journey. We’re heading to Stradbroke Island and Kempsey with lots of stops along the way. We need to start to push ourselves freecamping to see how long we can go with our setup as it is. So far its been pretty good on the short trips we’ve done.

      You wont be dissapointed with the Cruiser. They are a lovely vehicle and as good as it gets for towing a big load. Our Safari Tamer is close to 3.5t fully loaded and the Crusier tows it with ease.

      Hopefully we will catch up on the road some day.

      Safe travels

      Marty

  2. Hi Marty,
    Came across your blog as my wife and I were researching info on the River Eliminator 2015 model we are looking at purchasing. We’re upgrading from a 17 foot no shower or toilet caravan. You blog is interesting and informative on many levels and obviously the positive experience with the River is galvanising our decision to purchase. I was wondering if your van came with a Waeco compressor fridge? My question is how much solar do you find suitable to maintain power while free camping for a number of days.
    The River has 2 x 120amp AGM batteries onboard, but is only solar panel ready. Also if you have any further info to share or questions or clarifications we should ask the dealer that would be appreciated, particularly anything you wish you knew about the van or fittings that you only became aware of later.
    My wife Rosie and I will continue to follow your blog with much interest as we prepare for our big venture around half of Oz in 2017.

    Happy and safe travels
    Graham and Rosie

    1. Hello Graham and Rosie

      Welcome and thanks for your kind words. Glad you have found the site informative.

      When we bought the River, we had no prior knowledge of them at all. We actually had our hearts set on a JB caravan but when we saw the River, we could see that there had been some thought given to the construction and design. They were also extremely accomodating when it came to finalise the deal.

      It was our first caravan and I think in many ways we were very lucky buying the River as there wasn’t a lot about it that we regretted we didn’t do beforehand. Everything worked from the outset and nothing gave us any problems. The only fault we had was a faulty safety switch which they replaced immediately.

      Ours was fitted with a Tetford 3 way fridge. The small Waeco 50l under the bed was an idea we came up with. The standard fridge only had a very small freezer so the Waeco could function as a freezer. We also used it instead of the three way when doing quick trips for the weekend. I believe River now provide the space and power for the fridge under the bed as standard but you need to supply the fridge itself I would think.

      While we never had any problems with the 3 way fridge, I do believe the compresssor fridges are the way to go, but you need decent battery capacity and plenty of solar. 2 x 120ah AGMs would be sufficient for most situations. You will need around 400-500 watts of solar panels to be able to keep up with the fridge’s power use. We now have 3 x 150watt panels on the roof and a plug for an external 100 watt panel. We have gotten 3 days of power out of this system while camped in a very shadded camp ground in the middel of winter in Victoria. I was pretty happy with that. I anticipate that in the more sunny north of the country in warmer times, we should be able to go on with just battery and solar power for an indefinate period. That said we do carry a generator as a backup as I need a CPAP machine at nights and dont want to get caught short of power.

      We have found water is the biggest limitation when free camping. The River had 2 x 90l water tanks and, if we both had showers every morning, we would be lucky to get 2 days out of them. Being frugal with water, we could extend that to maybe 3 or even 4 days but that’s about the limit. Our current van has 3x90l tanks, one dedicated to freshwater. We are yet to put this fully to the test.

      About the only thing I would reccommend you do when discussing is ensure they give you the fullest weight capacity (ATM) as possible. The standard 400kg may not be enough. Also make sure they seal up where the plumbing passes through the floor. Prevents any dust and water from entering. I’d also consider asking for a Swift 28l hot water system instead of the Suburban unit. Lastly make sure you have sufficient power points and 12v outlets to suit your requirements.

      That’s about as much as I can think of. River are pretty good. You should get a good run from them.

      Let us know how you go.

      cheers

  3. Hi, Thanks for your review!
    We are looking at the River Vans as an option and am wondering if you have had any issues with roof/sky light/window leaks at all?

    1. Hi Kendy

      We never had a single issue with leaks in the River. There were a couple of points where plumbing went through the floor in the back of the cupboards that could have been sealed up a bit better but that’s about it.

      It was a very well made van.

      Hope that helps.

      cheers

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