Blaze your own trail

This big 2014 ‘Blazer holds a few sur­prises in store.

Motorhome & Caravan Trader - - Front Page - Clock­wise from top: The 2014 Trail­blazer is one big unit!; all the comforts of home at camp; ex­ter­nal shower, per­fect for clean­ing off dust and sand; plenty of fea­tures around the out­side; fully in­de­pen­dent coil spring sus­pen­sion. Words Philip Lord Pics E

Cast­ing an eye over this 2014 Ma­jes­tic Trail­blazer will change your mind about lux­ury vans. Even years later, there are not too many vans like this on the Aus­tralian mar­ket.

The Camp­bell­field, Victoria, fac­tory has been build­ing vans for around 15 years now and it made a big and colour­ful state­ment with the big Trail­blazer – you won’t mis­take one for any­thing else. This van was a pop­u­lar fi­nal­ist in Car­a­van World’s 2014 Best Aussie Vans event.

For many peo­ple, car­a­van­ning means hard-to-use cook­ing fa­cil­i­ties in the same area as the sleep­ing quar­ters. The Trail­blazer not only has an in­ter­nal kitchen, but also an in­cred­i­bly com­pre­hen­sive ex­ter­nal kitchen on the near­side rear, the likes of which is rarely seen on a car­a­van.

This out­door kitchen is re­cessed into the side of the van and is ac­cessed by a large, top-hinged door. Inside, you’ll find a moun­tain of good­ies, in­clud­ing a sink, slide-out Swift Slim­line cooker, Waeco fridge, two above-bench cup­boards, a dou­ble pow­er­point and the mount­ing point for the LCD TV.

There is a small amount of spare bench space next to the sink, but you could also use the ad­ja­cent pic­nic ta­ble for food prep.

Un­der­neath the kitchen is a low-rid­ing check­er­plate stor­age box, and fur­ther to­wards the front of the van are two un­der-chas­sis bat­tery boxes and a gas bay­o­net. Up front, there’s also a full-width tun­nel boot with large open­ings, a slide-out on the near­side and a slide-out check­er­plate stor­age box on the off­side to al­low eas­ier ac­cess to stored items.

On the off­side, there is an­other check­er­plate locker flank­ing the lower side and two more bat­tery boxes. On the off­side, at the rear, is a sealed stor­age locker that looks ideal for gen­er­a­tor stor­age. Just above this stor­age locker is the out­door shower, while at the rear of the van, the tubu­lar bumper holds not one but two spare wheels.

There’s also a check­er­plate box on the A-frame

to hold the two 9kg gas cylin­ders. The com­po­nents un­der­neath the Trail­blazer, such as the wa­ter tanks, are well pro­tected with check­er­plate while the plumb­ing and wiring is mostly tucked up out of harm’s way.

One of the Trail­blazer’s sig­na­ture fea­tures was its com­pressed air brak­ing sys­tem – th­ese are a real boon and makes the whole trailer brak­ing ex­pe­ri­ence far more so­phis­ti­cated. The brakes ease on and off, rather than switch­ing like a light switch, as is the case with many elec­tric drum brakes. The sus­pen­sion is a Cruise­mas­ter fully in­de­pen­dent coil spring de­sign.

IN THE CABIN

The 2014 Trail­blazer fea­tures far more neu­tral tones inside than it does out. The com­bi­na­tion of beige cup­boards and off-white walls and ceil­ing works well to show off the neat, spa­cious in­te­rior lay­out.

The en­trance door is to­wards the front near­side and, as you step in, the is­land bed is to your left and on the near­side wall is the kitchen, while the fridge sits op­po­site on the off­side, just ahead of the dinette. To the rear is the en­suite bath­room. And what a bath­room it is...

THE BATH­ROOM TO END ALL BATH­ROOMS

There is so much room in there; it puts some house­hold bath­rooms to shame. While the room

is an un­usual shape, it of­fers a mas­sive amount of prac­ti­cal space.

A huge bank of cup­boards on the near­side wall of­fer hang­ing space and stor­age shelves, com­ple­mented by the lock­ers above the van­ity and one cup­board be­low.

The front-loader wash­ing ma­chine un­der the van­ity unit, the Thet­ford cas­sette toi­let on the off­side wall and the sep­a­rate shower cu­bi­cle com­plete the pic­ture. This all works well, with per­haps the ex­cep­tion of the door to the en­suite – it ap­pears to be an opaque glass, alu­minium frame shower door that is per­haps a lit­tle flimsy for the job as the main en­suite en­trance door.

EASY LIV­ING

Mov­ing back out to the main liv­ing area, the kitchen bench on the near­side wall is a rea­son­ably gen­er­ous space to pre­pare food. The deep sink and large do­mes­tic drainer would make clean­ing up that bit eas­ier and with the cover down over the cooker, there’s loads of space to get ev­ery­thing prepped and ready.

The mi­crowave is set up high within the lock­ers above – it’s not an ideal po­si­tion given you can’t eas­ily man­age hot liq­uids from that po­si­tion.

The café-style dinette with tri-fold ta­ble is fine for a cou­ple, but if friends join you, it’d be a bit tight. In fact, the dinette feels a bit small over­all, as if per­haps the com­pro­mise for that huge en­suite was a tighter din­ing space.

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