Caravan manufacturers often come up with unusual names for their van. Take, for instance, the Crusader Musketeer Athos. The ‘Athos’ bit, in particular, piqued my curiosity but when I asked Australian Motor Homes’ Justin Pisaruk (who handles the Crusader range), he told me Athos is a character in one of the Three Musketeers novels. The oldest musketeer, Athos was also known as the most noble and handsome. Obviously I didn’t read those books when I was younger but someone at Crusader must have!
LAYOUT & DESIGN
Contemporary colours are used in the interior – white for the walls and ceiling, black for the upholstery, and glossy grey for the cupboard and locker doors. Large LED ceiling lights, a roof hatch and a large window area combine to create a light and bright interior.
With the internal layout the way it is, there is neither a conventional front boot nor front tunnel storage; instead, a right-through storage compartment is fitted across the rear and should be large enough for all the outdoor essentials.
In addition to the tinted acrylic windows and Camec security door, the nearside wall has an awning, two external lights, a picnic table and 240/12V sockets plus a TV antenna connection.
BEDROOM & STORAGE
At the rear, the island bed measures 1.85x1.35m (6ft 1in x 4ft 5in) and has a fairly standard bedhead of side wardrobes and overhead lockers. However, in place of bedside cabinet shelves are neat little compartments which have been built into the lower part of the wardrobes. This means there’s no cabinets protruding into the walkway space, which is a boon. Large windows on either side of the bed give good natural light and ventilation.
The 190L fridge sits between the bathroom and the dinette. It’s set off the floor with cupboards above and below. Making up the rest of the kitchen is the bench opposite with a four-burner cooktop/grill and stainless steel sink/drainer. That leaves a bit of room for benchtop working space at both ends, plus two cupboards, wire basket pantry, two drawers (one cutlery) and a floor locker. Like the rest of the van, piano hinges are fitted to all the doors.
Above the kitchen bench, the microwave sits next to the overhead lockers, however, it is set at a slightly lower level, making it much more user-friendly. At the rear end of the overhead lockers, a flatscreen TV is swivel-mounted and can easily been seen from either the bed or the dinette.
The cafe-style dinette opposite the kitchen could seat four people but the wheel arch under the tri-fold table really means it’s more comfortable for two. Under the table is a small, two-door cupboard, and there are 240V and 12V sockets and LED reading lights above.
For the most part, the full-width front bathroom looks much like it would if it was in the rear. The shower cubicle sits in the front offside corner, the cassette toilet on the opposite side and a vanity cabinet, including a top-loading 3kg washing machine across the front wall. One difference of note is created by the angled front wall of the caravan. In what would otherwise be dead space, Crusader has fitted a double tier of overhead lockers. They are not overly large but small storage areas can be quite effective. It would be nice to have a small window above the loo but the awning arm makes that difficult, unless a sliding window is fitted.
THE BOTTOM LINE
In many ways, the Crusader Musketeer Athos isn’t that much different to most other caravans on Aussie roads but, by turning the time-honoured front bedroom/rear bathroom layout on its head, the van has a completely different look and feel. That’s not a bad idea in a market where so many vans look the same, and the Athos still has a very user-friendly arrangement.
- Towing weight well-suited to a mid-sized vehicle
- Slightly different layout to usual
- LED light fittings
- Low microwave
- Bathroom storage
- Van profile
- Wheel arch under the table
- No front boot
- Front water tanks will change the ball weigh
The full test appears in Caravan World #542 October 2015.