Halen specialises in offroad vans but would be happy to build an on-road van if that’s what a customer wanted; they are, after all, a true custom builder.
That’s certainly true of the 6.15m (20ft 2in external) Bathurst we looked at, which features, among many other things, airbag suspension, 12in disc brakes, a 400Ah lithium battery, four water tanks, 450W of solar, a diesel water heater, a custom-built diesel tank, and even a dishwasher.
LAYOUT & DESIGN
The interior also has a pretty unique layout. The Halen team was keen to show you could have a sumptuous and sociable club lounge in a van with an internal length of 20ft. So, here, they’ve installed the club lounge at the rear with direct access to the rear entry door, a nearside kitchen, offside storage cabinet, rear offside corner bed and rear nearside corner bathroom.
There’s no getting away from the fact that this is a hefty van, particularly in this specification, with a Tare weight of 2745kg and an impressive load capacity of 755kg. It’s worth remembering, however, that your water tanks alone will eat up almost half of that weight. Halen has worked hard to balance the load evenly, placing two water tanks forward of the axle and two to the rear.
BEDROOM & STORAGE
In the rear offside corner sits the main bed, squeezed between the wall and the rear nearside corner bathroom. Yes, it looks on the small side for two people, and it wouldn’t be much fun to make, but it does allow for flexibility in the rest of the layout, so buyers can decide where their priorities lie. The side of the bed closest to the bathroom has a slim shelf and there’s a shelf overhead, as well. The bed lifts to reveal a decent storage space, as well as the diesel heater. The heater’s switch is conveniently located next to the bed, so you can heat the place up before crawling out from under the doona. While there are no overhead lockers along the rear of the van, there’s a whole row of them along the offside roofline.
Next to the fridge is the most unique part of this van’s layout – a large portion of the offside wall has been dedicated to a long bank of storage, with three half-height cupboards sitting below a huge expanse of free benchtop space. Whether you used this as kitchen prep area, a dressing table, a standing work desk, or for some other purpose is entirely up to you. One of the cupboards hides a full-size front-loading washing machine.
To the left of the entry is the L-shaped kitchen which features a Smev gas three-burner cooktop with glass lid but no grill or oven. In this case, Halen has sacrificed some kitchen space to make room for other amenities such as the lounge and bathroom. And why cook inside when you can cook outside, anyway? It’s worth keeping in mind, however, that this, like everything, can be customised. A small round sink with glass lid is the only other feature of the benchtop, leaving a decent amount of working space. The Omega dishwasher with stainless steel finish sits under the bench below the cooktop and is surrounded by a huge array of storage.
Opposite the kitchen, on the offside, is the 186L Dometic AES fridge, finished in brushed stainless steel, a waist-height cupboard with roll-up door hiding a small slide-out tray for a coffee machine, and a wide slide-out pantry with wire baskets below.
Hidden behind a frosted glass door is the combo bathroom cubicle. It’s a pretty standard affair with a bench cassette toilet, a flexible hose shower and a window. Outside the bathroom and adjacent to the kitchen is the vanity unit with small basin.
THE BOTTOM LINE
On first impressions alone, it was hard not to be impressed by the mighty Halen Bathurst, with its striking gold decals and colour matched tow vehicle – they made an imposing and distinctive pair. And, upon closer inspection, the Bathurst just kept ticking boxes.
The level of specification is almost unbelievable, the quality of finish exceptional, and the layout is a clever example of what can be achieved with a different eye for details. It’s by no means a small, light or cheap van – so if that’s what you’re after, this isn’t the one for you. But Halen’s commitment to custom building for individual customers means they’d probably be able to help you design one that is.
- Personal attention from small builder
- Level of customisation
- Amount of storage and large payload to go with it
I would have liked...
- A latch on the bathroom door
- A larger bed
- Drawers or access doors to under-seat storage space
The full test appears in Caravan World #537 May 2015.