When it comes to designing and building offbeat vans, you can depend on Melbourne’s Van Cruiser to go the opposite direction to the herd. It’s in the DNA of founder-builder Enzo Gnocato, who brought us the striking range of brightly-coloured caravans, the Shelby Ford Fastback-inspired oval-shaped camper and a tough polyethylene tub camper. Now he’s gone well off the beaten track again with a new sportsman’s toy carrier, designed for those who want to play hard in the bush.
LAYOUT & DESIGN
As is, the solid-capsule hybrid provides you with a large all-weather sleeping lounge – with cooking and showering relegated outdoors. The solid roof will also support a rooftop camper or James Baroud pop-up bed capsule if you prefer to use the interior as secure storage. It’s really a blank canvas: think 1970s Holden Sandman panel van on steroids and you’ve got the idea.
Rooftop panels delivering 200W of solar power, twin 105Ah AGM batteries, a slide-out kitchen, a Vitrifrigo 60L compressor fridge, an awning and a fresh water tank come standard. A boat rack, body bars, a second tyre, a second water tank and a hot water service with an external shower were among the options included in the price, as reviewed, but there are many more to choose from. And given the choice of external storage configurations, I expect no two Outlaws will be the same.
Being a new concept and a prototype at that, it was easy to offer constructive criticism, but Enzo batted everything we noted with impressive confidence honed from years of bucking RV industry trends.
When I noticed that access to the lower level of wall-to-wall cupboards was restricted by the high-density foam queen-size mattress, Enzo said he’ll bottom hinge the doors or leave them as open front storage areas. He also plans to fit the fridge in a larger opening than the one on review, as it was impossible to open out the door to 90°. And he said he’ll also give thought to the placement of the external showerhead, which was hard to access from behind the optional second spare wheel.
The Outlaw has a great kitchen that slides out of the rear nearside flank, with a standard Thetford four-burner cooktop and a stainless steel plumbed sink – both with hinged glass lids. And there are plug-in sockets for hot and cold water and gas conveniently placed underneath.
It is really well-protected up front and underneath from stone damage and stump-staking. I believe most adventurers would feel confident taking it anywhere their 4WD would haul it.
There are 12V sockets everywhere, inside and out, and there is lots of storage space, including a full tunnel boot.
It’s actually really comfortable inside, too, if you can live without standing. In fact, looking at the Outlaw it’s easy to imagine a carefree life outdoors, with the Aussie Traveller double-glazed windows affording a cool cross-breeze as you wait for the right waves at your favourite surf break.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The Outlaw is a true offroad, live-in hybrid with a base price of $36,990 and coming in, as reviewed, at just under $40,000.
With its tough, minimalist construction, plenty of optional equipment and go anywhere capability, the Outlaw is a refreshing new take on a canvas-free, off-the-grid tourer that I can see winning plenty of fun-seeking friends, and with close to 800kg in load-carrying capacity it will haul a few toys off the beaten track, too.
HITS & MISSES
I would have liked…
- Access to lower cupboards is tricky
- The wood rack is optional rather than standard
- No connection for a portable solar panel
- Optional rear shower hatch could be better located
The full test appears in Caravan World #541 September 2015.