Top end of town
Rough it in comfort with the 2013 Kedron Topender.
Kedron Caravans had a humble beginning as a caravan dealership many years ago, but has grown into a very successful caravan manufacturer, not to mention the equally-successful Gall Boys movie business. The businesses are directly connected, as the movie side of things developed from the Gall family going to extreme places and lengths to test Kedron’s products – and this is something that still continues today.
All of that goes a long way to explaining why our review caravan, the 2013 Topender, is built the way it is. The Topender has an aluminium-framed and clad body, built on a hot-dipped galvanised chassis. Although the drawbar uses 150x50mm rails, the actual chassis has tandem 100x50mm rails running the entire length of the van. Protection bars are fitted along the forward side of the van.
It’s not only the chassis that gets attention in a Kedron caravan. The walls are secured to the chassis using a Z channel recess in which they are ‘huck’ bolted (a collared bolt that has a circular thread which is clamped on) downwards and sideways. This process creates a very secure base to which the furniture inside is then glued and screwed for added strength.
Cupboards and pine frame structures receive an increased number of supports and the frontal frame structure of this 2013 model is also crafted from solid Tasmanian oak timber, as are the draw fronts and doors. These are mitred and have extra V-nailing to again improve the strength factor.
Designed to Kedron requirements, the Cruisemaster independent suspension has leaf springs, trailing arms and one shock absorber per wheel. The brakes are 12in and designed with flush plugs in case they get wet going through creek crossings.
Three polyethylene 100L water tanks sit between the chassis rails, two forward of the axles and one behind. On the drawbar, in addition to the gas cylinders and other common items, are two jerry can holders, an optional Fiamma bike rack and a mesh stoneguard. A Mchitch coupling gives the van a good deal of articulation.
At the front of the van, external storage consists of a front boot and a three-quarter tunnel boot with a slide-out generator at the other end. A quick look
at the weight ratings – Tare 2955kg and ATM 3500kg – reveals a sound load capacity of 545kg, which is handy because in addition to the external storage, the internal storage capacity in this front bedroom/ rear bathroom Topender is extensive.
In addition to the usual inclusions, there is a large cupboard between the dinette and bedroom, a large drawer under the bed, and drawers under the dinette seats.
A front-loading washing machine, often located in the bathroom, is fitted under the kitchen bench. This has the effect of increasing benchtop space but reducing kitchen storage. The flipside is a slightly smaller bathroom that’s nonetheless very functional.
All the essentials are present and accounted for in the kitchen: four-burner cooktop, stainless steel sink, microwave and a good-sized Waeco 215L fridge. The microwave is set lower than the surrounding overhead lockers – great for shorter people. There’s a moderate amount of benchtop space and general storage consists of a mixture of drawers, cupboards and overhead lockers.
On the opposite side, the dark leatherupholstered dinette, with tri-fold table, offers all the basics for comfortable seating and dining, plus underseat drawers and 240V and 12V sockets above the table.
The bedroom at the front of the van has large windows, but the external storage bins take up bedside space and reduce the under-bed storage. There are still all the expected items, such as the bed and wardrobes, corner cupboards at the foot of the bed and a flatscreen TV mounting point above. Even with the corner cupboards, there is enough room to walk around.
Like the rest of the van, the rear bathroom has been built ready to go, including a nearside shower cubicle with non-slip floor pattern, offside cassette loo with good elbow room, a generous amount of cupboard and drawer space, and a good-sized vanity cabinet.
Kedron put a lot of effort into equipping the 2013 Topender for self-contained living. Three 120Ah deep-cycle batteries supply the 12V capacity. They are charged by either a 40A mains charger,
Kedron Topender 20ft 2010 • $73,990 • QLD • (07) 3073 8202 Kedron Topender 25ft 2006 • $75,000 • VIC • 0437 771 580 Kedron Topender 21ft 2011 • $95,000 • QLD • 0418 744 644