This is a van that you really can take offroad to get to that special spot away from it all, and then stay off-grid for an extended time in comfort.
Two things are needed for this to be possible — plenty of power and plenty of water. This Spinifex NomadiX Premier has these in bulk. With 415L of fresh water for showering/washing and a separate 83L for drinking water, you don’t need to wait for rain. The solar input is 1160W, which feeds the 400Ah of lithium batteries, and there’s a 3000W inverter to run everything including the aircon. Need I say more.
Spinifex Caravans has been around for about 16 years and is based in south-east Queensland where it manufactures its vans from the ground up. Customers fly in from as far away as Perth to visit the factory where they will spend the best part of a day going through all the design features of their particular van. There are some starting layouts, but each customer will have different needs, and these are incorporated at the design stage — the brochure even has scale drawings with internal layout features you can cut out and move around the layout diagram before you even get to the factory. A simple idea, but really useful for the customer.
Spinifex have a good range of quality assurance processes that ensure the utmost quality of their vans. Once the design has been agreed on by the customer, the van is built onsite from the chassis up — this includes jigs to ensure that each chassis is manufactured to exacting precision. They are built from 350-grade Australian BlueScope steel and are then hot dipped galvanised.
Supporting the strong chassis is Cruisemaster XT independent Airbag Suspension with twin heavy duty shock absorbers and level 4 air control. Once you have used airbag suspension you will never go back. Arriving in camp and levelling the van is easy with airbags — no more blocks and chocks to contend with to get it level.
The wheel offsets and stud pattern can normally be matched to the tow vehicle, with the wheels being fitted with 285/70R17 BFG KO2 tyres. It’s the small details that matter so it's fitted with great tyres from the start. The front of the chassis sports the Hitch-Ezy 5 tonne offroad coupling. This is a quality bit of kit and works simply, easily and safely, which is what you need when hitching the van to the vehicle.
Mounted onto the top of the chassis is the one-piece composite insulated floor panel. This forms the base for the rest of the build. Walls are created using full interlocking aluminium C-channel with 3mm ply attached forming the internal walls. This creates solid attachment points for all of the internal cabinetry.
The wiring is run throughout the walls using nylon bushes, and the wall cavity is insulated with custom shaped solid insulation. The outside cladding is heavy duty one-piece core matt reinforced fibreglass wall and roof panels. As the van is built, photos are taken of the all the detail including wall wiring and structure which is provided to the customer. This is invaluable if they ever want to add additional features after the van is completed.
Windows are double glazed, tinted and have midge proof screens so you can let in the light and breeze without the bugs. The door is triple locking with crimsafe and midge mesh to keep out both the bugs and undesirables. Built into the roof is an antenna for a GPS tracker and a service odometer. The odometer will give you the distance travelled by the van rather than relying on guess work to book in the van for a service — yes, caravan suspension needs servicing otherwise you risk a ceased bearing somewhere down a distant track.
The seven poly water tanks are located under the van protected by stone guards. Five of the tanks are for freshwater for washing, one is for drinking, and another is for grey water. Emptying the grey water tank is made easier with an extendable hose that is accessible from the side of the van — not having to crawl under the van is a win in my book. There is a tap on the drawer bar perfect for washing hands after any dirty work.
On the Outside
With solar panels becoming ever more efficient, there is room for 1160W to recharge even the hungriest of batteries. From a bird’s eye view, you can see that the roof has been left as clear as possible to allow for a maximum number of solar panels. With this much solar recharging available, running the Truma soft start air conditioner will be more than possible off-grid on a sunny day, as the panels will put more back into the batteries than the air con draws on days like this. Now that is truly off-grid living!
There is an Oyster automatic satellite system with a Vast Box that will allow you to catch up on the State of Origin match or other essential sporting or movie event, even in the most remote outback. Two antennas sit above the door, one to catch any radio waves and the other to capture any phone signal to feed to the Cel-Fi-Go unit to boost mobile reception. There are two ventilation hatches on the roof at the rear to vent the ensuite and bunk area.
The Aussie Traveller Sunburst rollout awning provide a good amount of shade and rain protection along the length of the van. This is a particularly good quality awning with three curved rafters to ensure no pooling of water when it rains. There are also anti-flap kit to help when its windy and soft covers that protect both your head and the awning legs. The padded covers wrap around the awning legs while travelling or setup.
On the drawer bar at the front is a large storage box perfect for wood on top, a second fridge on a pull-out slide on one side and room for a generator for cloudy days on the other. This slide has a couple of tied down points built into the slide out tray. The attention to detail is excellent.
Moving forward from the storage box, there are two 9kg gas bottles which are plumbed into the van. Two jerry can holders sit next to these. A 10L fuel tank is securely mounted to the solid stone guard. Instead of a jockey wheel is a Cruisemaster Slide Stand. I was dubious of its inclusion until I saw it in action. When hitching the van back onto the vehicle, it was just a matter pushing the drawer bar with your leg and the slide easily slid across the grass to locate the hitch.
On the driver’s side, there is a large storage hatch, a lockable filling point for each of the five water tanks and a drop-down door revealing a hot/cold outdoor shower. There are two more hatches with one being at the back of the fridge for ventilation that can be close completely to stop dust ingress and the other as access to the water heater. Toilet cassette is on the other side of the van although there is a SOG vent to drivers side.
The left hand side is where the main entry door is located forward of the wheels in this configuration. To the right of the door are the air bag controls for levelling the van in camp. Also located here are 240V points, radio controls and tv points. To the left of the door is a slide out gas stove with a gas bayonet close by. There is also room for a BBQ on this slide-out. The large awning covers this whole area making it the main outdoor living area.
Living on the Inside
With plenty to like on the outside, what is it like inside? As you enter the van, the main bed (pocket spring bamboo mattress) is on the left, with storage, lights and power at the head of the bed and storage above. Straight ahead is the table and seating for four in an L-shaped leather pillow top lounge/dinette. There is even a footrest if you want to stretch out. There are loads of usb charging points as well as more 240V outlets so no-one will miss out on charging their device.
This kitchen is well appointed with range hood, microwave, Swift 3 x gas and 1 x electric cooktop. The cooktop is recessed and covered by a laminated preparation bench when the cooktop is not in use. The deep stainless steel sink has a three way mixer tap above it providing hot/cold and drinking water which are on different systems so there can be no contamination. Complimenting the kitchen is the 285L Bushman compressor fridge/freezer.
In a cupboard above the laminated benches are the controls for the radio and electrical systems. Should you ever have any problems with this, remote access via Wi-Fi can resolve any issues in real time by the staff at Spinifex in QLD. You do need to be in phone range for this to work, but is a great feature.
This van had a double bunk configuration at the rear of the van. This and the ensuite area are partitioned from the kitchen/living area using a concertina door. Each of the bunks have their own usb, fan and reading light as well as each having a window. This would certainly be very comfortable accommodation for a couple of kids. Between the bunks and the shower is a full height storage area consisting of hanging space and deep drawers perfect for clothes, toys and footballs.
The ensuite can be partitioned off from the bunk area with a curtain or concertina door. In this van, a curtain was used and seems the most functional choice. The Thetford toilet with ceramic bowel suited the area and in this van, the 3kg front loading washing machine was mounted above the toilet which freed up more space for storage. The shower had a skylight/vent above and was light and airy. The vanity basin was large with storage above and below.
The whole interior of the van had a light feeling and it would make a great home away from home on those long or short escapes.
With an aggregate trailer mass of 4500kg, a larger towing vehicle would be required. The brakes are 12in electric/hydraulic discs which will definitely pull the van up when needed. The tow vehicle on the test day was a Toyota LandCruiser 200 Series and certainly had no problem towing the van with a tare of 3040kg.
The Bottom Line
The Spinifex NomadiX Premier is a premium caravan, and did not disappoint with its high attention to detail. The whole package was well thought out, designed well and put together to create a high quality van that will retain its value long into the future. It will take you and the family to more places with the ability to stay longer.
VALUE FOR MONEY 8/10
“Loads of inclusions that you didn’t even think about.”
“It's heavy, but will tow well behind the right rig”
SUITABILITY FOR INTENDED TOURING 8.5/10
“Designed for off-grid, offroad touring”
BUILD QUALITY 9.5/10
“Excellent attention to detail.”
“Everything you need for the family for an extended time.”
“Fitted with a pair of gas cylinders, decent solar panel capacity and grey water tank, the van is certainly good for a few days of remote travel.”
CUSTOMER CARE 9.5/10
“Any repairs will be organised where ever you are”
“Some great innovations included.”
“An excellent quality van that doesn’t need to shout about it”
SPINIFEX NOMADIX PREMIER 20.6
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES
Body length 6.25m (20ft 6in)
Overall length 9.2m (30ft 2in)
Width 2.45m (8ft 1in)
Height 3.1m (10ft 2in)
Payload 1460kg (calculated)
Ball weight 250kg
Chassis Hot-dipped galvanised
Suspension Cruisemaster XT
Coupling 5000kg Hitch-Ezy
Brakes Electric/hydraulic disc
Wheels 17in alloy
Water 5 x 83L fresh, 1 x drinking water, 1 x 83L grey water tank
Battery 2 x 200Ah Lithium
Air-conditioner Truma Adventa
Gas 2 x 9kg
Cooking 4 x gas, cooktop and range hood
Fridge 285L Bushman Compressor
Ensuite Shower, vanity and toilet
Hot water Truma gas instant
WiFi Yes, throughout the van and can be extended to outside
Van odometer Yes, based on gps distance travelled
Van tracking GPS monitor
Television 32in smart tv
Slide out kitchen
Rear storage box
Additional 460W solar