Silversun is a relatively small, Brisbane-based manufacturer of lightweight caravans. Up until now, the manufacturer’s vans have been aimed squarely at the on-road market, but a recent development, the Shockwave, is definitely an offroad product.
However, Silversun has resisted the temptation to produce a super-heavyweight van; instead it’s applied some of the techniques learned in the production of its on-road vans.
DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION
The van’s body construction has a significantly European approach, using 30mm fibreglass composite panels. Having a polyurethane insulated core with fibreglass sheeting on both sides offers the triple advantage of strength, light weight and good insulation. One-piece panels also make for much better water sealing.
A bit more conventional are the Dometic double-glazed acrylic windows and the Aussie Traveller security door. The Thule Omnistor awning, which covers the entry door area, is on the short side due to the van’s body shape.
What is surprising on this van is the external storage capacity. There is not one but three tunnel boots. The front one does contain the slide-out kitchen but the other two offer plenty of storage space, certainly enough for the Weber barbecue that was stored in the van I looked at.
To my eyes, the slide-out kitchen looked a little basic – I’ve seen plenty of very functional ones on camper trailers – but the Silversun team did tell me they are working on a better design and I’d certainly prefer one with a cooktop, because there isn’t one inside the van.
With a body length of 4.27m (14ft), you would expect a compressed layout inside the van and that is exactly what you get. Up front is a north-south bed but, given the width of the van, there is no room to walk around on either side. A large, versatile cabinet with wardrobe hanging space, shelves, 110L fridge, microwave and a kitchen pantry fills the mid-offside area. That leaves space for a small dinette by the entry door, a rear offside corner bathroom and a kitchen bench filling the rest of the rear wall.
Although it might sound a bit cramped, it is completely livable and a considerable amount of white (walls and ceiling) offsets the grey cupboards and improves the perception of space very nicely.
Like the bodywork, a bit of attention has been paid to getting the weight out of the cabinetry. It’s all built using 15mm laminated balsa core plywood and comes in five different woodgrain finishes. All the door/drawers handles are easy to grasp for those with arthritic fingers.
As noted above, the bedroom is mostly filled by the 2.03x1.53m (6ft 8in x 5ft) bed. It sits fairly high because of the tunnel storage underneath but that does mean there is plenty of cross-flow ventilation from the windows on either side. In addition, there is a Sirocco 12V fan for when you don’t have mains power and an Aircommand Sparrow roof-mounted air-conditioner for when you’re plugged in.
It’s a bit tight around the dinette but the Lagun swivel-mounted table can be pushed back into the sideways facing lounge when its not being used. It’s a fairly small lounge but there’s enough room for two if you are prepared to be friendly.
Most of the kitchen bench in the rear wall is devoted to storage space – a large double cupboard, three drawers, a floor locker and two overhead lockers. There isn’t a cooktop, just a stainless steel sink and drainer. Available space might be a problem but I reckon if you wanted one, a sink/cooktop combo unit would fit in well.
With the space available, the bathroom has to be a combo unit; a shower and toilet in the same cubicle. A classy looking shower hose fitting is mounted on the front wall, leaving the rear wall for the cassette toilet. That’s mounted higher than usual because of the lower rear wall profile but there’s a step for easy access. A full-height wall mirror can be used inside or outside the bathroom cubicle without too much trouble.
There are plenty of electrics in the Shockwave. Clearly designed for remote travel use, it comes with two 120Ah deep cycle batteries, two 140W solar panels, LED lighting and a 25A battery charger. For easy access, more from the outside than in, the control panel for 12V circuits, hot water heater and battery monitoring, is fitted to the end of the lounge seat by the entry door.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The Shockwave offroad caravan might be lighter and a little smaller than some of its contemporaries but there’s no doubt about its intended purpose – some serious offroad travel.
It’s certainly it’s been well appointed for that purpose and Silversun has put some serious work into getting its weight down.
The interior space is relatively small but the van offers all the expected features and, for someone who doesn’t want to tow a heavy van along rough bush tracks, it’s a very attractive proposition.
- Relatively lightweight offroad caravan
- External storage capacity
- Good capacity electrics
- Well put together
- Suits both inside and outside living
- Lack of kitchen cooktop
- Small fridge
- No 12V/5V USB charger outlets