On the Trails: Shake Down

Anita and Mike Pavey — 25 November 2021
It’s time to put the T4 to task

Whether it be good planning or good luck, about twelve months ago we placed an order for a T4 Rhapsody hybrid, and it’s a good thing we did. Lead time on new campers has since pushed out to over eighteen months, so we’re fortunate to be ahead of the curve.

Earlier this year, we mapped out some dates that could work for our first escape, a shake down trip to orient ourselves with our new rig — COVID-19 dependent. Being SAbased has worked in our favour, as we have been free to travel, at least in our home state.

Initially, our plans were to head to the northern Flinders, exploring the local gorges. The idea of escaping to our favourite stomping ground around Coffin Bay at the foot of the Eyre Peninsula was also flagged. However, in the end, we opted for a bush camping escape at the Murray River National Park, near Berri. Within a three-hour drive of Adelaide, it would be less about driving and more about relaxing and getting to know our new camper.

On the road, despite measuring around 6.6m end to end, the T4 feels nimble, thanks to the engineers at Track, having created a superb chassis and running gear.

The Rhapsody is one of few campers supplied with a full owner’s manual to help with the orientation process and explaining how to operate everything, from setup to pack up, and everything in between. Importantly, there are many photos to help with the comprehension.

There’s supplementary documentation for all the accessories fitted, including the breakaway system, fridges, stove, toilet, sink, battery management, inverter, anti-sway system, heater, hot water, rangehood and lithium batteries — a few good sessions of reading.

After perusing the documentation, we downloaded the Redvision management system to our phones, to monitor the camper’s vitals from locations other than standing in front of the head unit inside the camper. Redvision controls the switching of internal and external lighting, central locking system, water pump, fridges, 12V accessories, the operation of the electric roof, as well as monitoring water levels, batteries, solar, battery load, and more.

The Redvision master switches control other functions, so it takes time to become familiar. For example, the rangehood is on the Fridge circuit and will not operate at home unless the fridge is on; not so much an issue for travelling, but helpful to know all the same. The electric corner pantry utilises under bench storage and is raised and lowered into place, operating off the Systems circuit, as does the heater and water pump.

With our water tanks filled, the plan was to get a feel for our range based on typical water usage for drinking, dishes, cooking, and showers; helpful information to obtain before embarking on a remote adventure.

We measured the ball weight using a portable Hayman Reese scale, which showed around 210kg, a little light-on, so we altered our load accordingly. With water tanks impacting ball weight when travelling, our plan would be to empty the rear tank first.

Our first few days revealed perfect spring weather, with clear sunny days and cool nights. But then the cloud set in for overcast days, punctuated with rain. On the upside, we had an opportunity to play with the heater. Error codes were displayed initially, and before resorting to the manual, we were able to troubleshoot the issue, locating a gas valve that was switched off.

Our decision to fill the roof with solar panels was also rewarded, as despite running two fridges, we had plenty of power, even with the overcast conditions. The first day, we used our portable solar blanket to supplement the roof panels, but as we became familiar with the input, we didn’t bother, as there was plenty of solar generated.

We had a good play with the awning, experimenting with extended mesh panels for greater shade, and our awning tie down kit proved valuable in the blustery conditions. That said, an anti-flap kit is on the shopping list to give the awning even greater stability.

Overall, it was very enjoyable trip, splitting our time at two different locations. The takeaways were an understanding of the electrical system, both inputs and outputs; practice with loading and easy access to our most used equipment; and even learning the capacity of the toilet cassette.

And better still, we had a week-long escape to do nothing other than relax by the river. Now to plan our next escape!

See you on the trails. 

Getting a feel for the T4 Rhapsody on a week-long trip by the river


Regulars Column On the Trails Shake down trips T4


Anita and Mike Pavey