on tHE roAD real read­ers liv­ing the dream



Some campers con­stantly search for their ‘place’ in the out­door recre­ational space. Are they out for the fish­ing, the fam­ily time, sight­see­ing or catch­ing up with friends? But when we met Lee Hutch­ings, it was clear the out­doors was all about the fam­ily and the surf. On his camp­site at Pretty Beach on the South Coast, the campers fo­cused uni­formly to­wards the shore­line and it was telling that Lee was in the wa­ter with his surf ski be­fore break­fast ev­ery day dur­ing our stay at this na­tional park camp­site. When he wasn’t in the wa­ter, Lee was sit­ting back and re­lax­ing with his daugh­ter and her part­ner camped in the ad­join­ing site.

Lee has en­joyed this style of recre­ational camp­ing for years. He is a die-hard surfer with a long­stand­ing love of surf clubs and fam­ily trips to the beach. With four kids, he and wife Frances had camped in vans since 1985 – start­ing out sim­ply with a 1982 Cole­man camper trailer be­fore in­vest­ing in a Jayco Pen­guin Out­back a cou­ple of years later. He de­scribed this change as be­ing to a “grand qual­ity can­vas” setup with the as­so­ci­ated crea­ture com­forts. As he said, the Jayco is “com­fort­able and easy”, and now the cou­ple are re­tired they’re re­ally capitalising on the op­por­tu­nity to en­joy the van as a “home away from home”.

While he clearly en­joys the Pen­guin, and it’s given him decades of fam­ily fun, Lee is aware of the po­ten­tial prob­lems with pop-tops. He’s had is­sues with ca­bles and the setup and feels it’s time to move on and look for an­other, although he hadn’t yet set­tled on other de­sired spec­i­fi­ca­tions. He did say, how­ever, he’s learnt not to “buy an offroad caravan if you don’t need it” – so we’re as­sum­ing that he’ll be following his own ad­vice when he re-starts his mar­ket re­search.

Re­gard­less of the di­rec­tion the cou­ple take, their main pri­or­ity to set them­selves up out in na­ture to en­joy in the fresh air and in close prox­im­ity to the surf will re­main.

As Lee told us, it’s a bal­ance be­tween camp­ing in com­fort and main­tain­ing sim­plic­ity. And we reckon that Lee and Frances will en­joy the range of op­tions that the camper mar­ket is now able to of­fer to meet their needs, 32 years af­ter their Jayco Pen­guin Out­back was built. From the in­tro­duc­tion of hy­brid trail­ers, to the evo­lu­tion in kitchen set-ups and be­yond, there’s a lot to think about. But with a com­pany such as Jayco pro­duc­ing a new RV ev­ery 12 min­utes (C. James, SMH, 20 Jul 2015), we’re sure that Lee and Frances will find their per­fect match with­out too much dif­fi­culty.

You never know it might just be a brand new 2017 Pen­guin that takes their fancy…

LEFT: Lee Hutch­ings uses his beloved 1985 Jayco Pen­guin Out­back to fa­cil­i­tate his love of beach camp­ing.

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