Mike and Anita Pavey unveil their new camper destined for the Canning Stock Route in 2021.
Back in 2006, we financed our first new off-road camper, a Track Tvan Mk2 Canning. It was a big step at the time, shelling out for a camper that promised to take our adventures to the next level in terms of capability, comfort, and ease of use. And it did just that!
Being able to follow our four wheel drive everywhere, we were able to travel in comfort and take advantage of the stress free travel that only a quality camper provides. It had a well sorted chassis and suspension to massage out the bumps; a comfortable bed, insulated from the elements; good storage, with room for additional fuel or water for remote travels; an easy use slide out kitchen; an awning without too many poles for shade; and importantly, compact and light weight dimensions.
Initially, we joined a four wheel drive club and travelled with the safety of others. But progressively as our confidence grew, we explored further and further afield, at times unaccompanied by another vehicle.
Travel became our new hobby, exploring destinations both close and far from home. We linked up with couples who had similar travelling aspirations and funnily enough they too had Tvans.
We purchased travel guides and made plans to visit areas of interest. At the time, we lived in Victoria, and with the high country on our doorstep it became our favourite go-to destination. Narrow steep winding tracks were easy pickings for the Tvan and four-wheel drive.
In 2008, we were introduced to the Editor of Camper Trailer Australia to pen a travelling yarn on the Big Desert region in Victoria’s west. This was to be the first of many contributions to a wide range of camper trailer, caravan and four wheel drive publications.
After each trip, we’d catalog the photos and record our notes for future contributions. This only fuelled our fire and the desire to travel more.
In 2011, we cut loose from the rat race to travel around Australia and visit all the iconic off road destinations that 4 weeks of annual leave can’t justify: Cape York, the Kimberley, Pilbara, Simpson Desert, Top End, the south coast of Western Australia and more.
In a trip that can only be described as ‘epic’, we experienced life on/off the road for 13 months. We discovered some beautiful bush camps, met some life-long friends doing the same, explored new frontiers, and etched unforgettable memories that will stay with us forever: crossing the Pentecost River in the Kimberley with the Cockburn Ranges in the background; standing next to the sign at Cape York referencing the northern most point of Australia; and our group photo on top of Big Red in the Simpson Desert with members of the Tvan Forum are just a few of the highlights.
Looking back, it seems as though we’ve come around full circle, with many larger RVs passing through our garage doors since, yet we find ourselves once again drawn to the appeal of the Tvan; the camper that spawned our love for remote travelling. And as such, we’ve just taken delivery of a new Tvan.
It’s a Mk5 Tvan Zenith, a 20th anniversary model with many new key additions.
It’s a stark contrast to our original Mk2 and a reflection on how far the camper market has progressed. And while it has retained its wedge-shaped lines, it’s grown. It’s marginally taller, wider and longer. Better storage and high-end features all add to the appeal.
One of the key upgrades we’ve opted for is Lithium batteries. If you’ve had the pleasure of using Lithium, it’s changed the way we camp. The batteries charge much faster, able to absorb as much charge as you can feed into them. And you gain much better utilisation out of each charge. A single Lithium battery performs like two standard deep cycle batteries and recharge time is halved.
We’ve gone for the single 100Ah Revolution Lithium battery, with the 2nd battery wiring configured from the factory, so we can easily add a second battery if needed in the future. Working well with Lithium, we’ve upgraded the DC DC charger to a 50A Redarc unit (doubling the size of the standard charger), to help with touring trips, quickly recharging the battery as we troll from once camp to the next.
For comfort, we’ve added the pocket spring mattress upgrade offering better support. The Zenith comes with diesel heating and hot water, dual fans, twin skylights, and big windows to bring the outside in, so comforts are plentiful.
Other additions include the integrated drawers under the bed to improve access to the storage area and maintain an upmarket look. And the roof mounted storage nets provide easy access to extra gear.
Outside, we’ve matched the hubs, suspension and offset to suit our Ranger Raptor with 17 x 8 CSA Raptor rims wrapped in 33″ Cooper tyres, to provide improved puncture resistance and an extra spare for the car if required.
A custom Evakool ED65 dual zone fridge freezer keeps our food fresh, and slots in neatly under the pantry, with a modified lid opening to better suit the awning.
For extended adventures, the second water tank and creek draw work hand in hand for quick showers to keep us fresh, happy, and healthy.
Our front storage box has power and venting on both sides, on the occasion we want to run with more than one fridge or perhaps carry fuel for longer trips. A removable 440mm high shelf in the storage box on the driver’s side and a lockable jerry can compartment on the passenger side also provide additional storage utility, the latter to lock away rubbish from the kitchen and keep away scavenging animals.
Minimising road rash, a Stone Stomper protects the camper and vehicle from rebounding stones.
Completing its attractive lines, a pair of Black Maxtrax are mounted on the rear deck, matching the other Zenith highlight trims. The Maxtrax mounting pins carry two sets of Maxtrax to ensure a quick and easy retrieval in times of need when touring.
Size does matter, and we expect the Tvan to lap up our extended outback escape planned for 2021, as we meander through some of WA’s most remote desert tracks, COVID willing.
To book an appointment to inspect a Track Tvan or see the Pavey’s Zenith, contact the store HERE.