Explorex - Kimberley -5.4m van
With a tare of only 2040 kg, the Kimberly is the smallest and lightest domestic van churned out by Explorex but boasts of some heavy-duty specs. The chassis is hand-welded 4 inch galvanised steel, and the roof and wall frames are also of pretty sturdy make--galvanised steel tubes welded to the chassis for extra stability. The walls themselves are solid steel plates enabling the use of heavy doors, and the roof is a leak-proof single aluminum sheet. So confident are the manufacturers of their build quality that they offer an unprecedented 10-year structural warranty, making this macho van a very practical investment. The trailer is very good-looking, with shiny checker-plate protection on the lower third and white aluminum cladding above, sitting pretty on 16-inch alloy rims. The coupling mechanism is a premium Hitchmaster D035 coupling, ensuring that hook-up is a hassle-free process. The van makes quick work of potholes thanks to its 2800kg Cruisemaster independent coil set-up with dual shocks, lending it stability even on steep and winding roads.
For a 5.4 m van, the Kimberly is flush with storage space and cubbyholes to houseyou’re your camping essentials. A massive toolbox dominates the front of the trailer, flanked by jerry can holders on either side. Two gas bottles sit in front and as an add-on feature, a mini outdoor kitchen is tucked into the left front of the caravan, for days when you just want to soak up the sun and eat your lunch with a view of the outback. A stainless steel bushman barbecue slides out of its compartment and on the side, and next to it a sink with both hot and cold taps. The left side of the van also has a fold-out picnic table under a 13-foot awning, perfect to put your feet up and crack out a cold one or two, while enjoying music from the external speakers.
The single spare tyre sits on the rear above the integrated bumper, and the rear skid bar that runs around the width of the van adds to its suite of protection features against extreme terrain. However, the skid bar also tends to rake up muck while driving through slushy or marshy bits—something that the manufacturers need to consider modifying.
On the other side are a standard toilet cassette and a pipe for drainage—but no external shower, which would’ve been a fairly practical addition to an off-roader.
Don’t be fooled by the rugged specs of the Kimberly; there will be no ‘roughing it out’ on a vacation with this beauty. You climb two steps through a full size door to enter the van, and the spacious, airy and bright interiors are pleasantly surprising. A queen bed with spring mattress sits in front of the entrance, surrounded by shiny storage cupboards screwed directly into the steel frame on both sides and above the headboard. The bed lifts to reveal additional storage, making the bedroom a very space-efficient area.
The bed is fitted with reading lamps and LED light strips run along the ceiling. A 23-inch television is mounted on the wall, alongside speakers and a control panel that also has a DVD player with radio. A Dometic ceiling air conditioner ensures relief from the raging summer temperatures. The rig is self-sufficient when it comes to power with two 150W solar panels and a 30A regulator, enabling you to go off-roading indefinitely as long as it’s sunny out. Apart from the aircon, the microwave and the washing machine which need generator power, all other appliances and entertainment gadgets can run off the batteries. Multiple windows and a roof hatch ensures optimum use of natural light, making the small rig appear much roomier than it is.
The dining booth features plush leather covered- café style seating, with an extendable bi-fold table in between which stows away flat against the wall when not in use.
The kitchen contains plenty of counter top space, including a counter on top of the 110-litre Waeco fridge. A circular stainless steel sink is set into the counter, and has storage cupboards and drawers underneath it. The cooking range consists of gas burners and an oven-grill, and the 30-litre microwave has its own cubby above the fridge, making this kitchen equipped to churn out elaborate multiple-course meals even when camping in the wilderness.
A full wide door leads to the ensuite, which is fitted with a concealed top-load washer, a separate toilet and a full-height shower closet- pretty impressive for a small rig. A ceramic wash basin and plenty of storage cupboards and benchtop space complete the swanky bathroom.
The manufacturers of this van have focused on durability and strength without compromising on certain essential comforts, and have also kept the trailer customizable, with various layouts to choose from. The most notable advantage of the Kimberly however is its size—it can get through narrow roads that larger vans cannot and will not require a large vehicle to tow it, making it the perfect rig for adventurers keen to unravel the rustic charm of Western Australia.