Jeep Rubicon towing Kimberley Karavan offroad caravan in Idaho USA

Posted by Bruce Loxton

Nov 7, 2014 5:31:00 AM

Jeep Rubicon with Kimberley Karavan off road caravan 3 resized 600This Jeep Limited Edition (Rubicon) is owned by an Idaho (USA) customer. What's exciting is the matching of the Jeep with the Karavan. The customer has it prepared to carry the weight. Here are some comparisons:

The Jeep has 35inch tyres and although these can be fitted to the Karavan, we delivered it with 33inch tyres. Its a tight fit for the spare wheel underneath but it does make it. The customer may changeout to the larger tyres at a later date.

The Jeep has an electronic "anti-sway bar" disconnect, the Karavan has a manual "anti-sway bar"manual disconnect. The anti sway bar on the Karavan is important as it has air suspension and Kimberley feel that without an anti-sway bar, any air suspension could be a safety risk in the event of a slow leak on one side.

The Jeep has traditional suspension whereas the Karavan has, as discussed, air suspension. So the Karavan height is adjusted to match the hitch height and this is close to the the lower range of the air springs. With the air springs set low, the Karavan drops down on the highway saving fuel. One thing is certain and that is the drag on the Karavan will be much less than the square fronted profile of the Jeep!

The Karavan comes with an on board compressor and air storage tank with easy to adjust paddle valves so the Karavan can be adjusted to be level when setting up camp.

The Jeep is fitted with the front winch which can also be used to recover the Karavan. There are 2 rear recovery points in the Karavan at the chassis and these are certified for a total pulling mass of 4500kg or 10,000lbs.

The height of the Karavan is more than the Jeep, but with the air-suspension, we lowered the travel height down to about 40mm over the bump stops and this dropped the height difference to about 8inches or 200mm. The 35inch tyres on the Jeep and the lifted suspension raise it a little more than the standard height.

The width of the Jeep is 1.87m and that of the Karavan is 1.88m so the Karavan will follow and go through any space the vehicle can pass through. No special mirrors are needed but the customer added some "clipon" mirrors.

The wheel track of the Jeep with these wheels which have a 10mm positive offset is close to 1580mm and the Karavan with the zero offset wheels is 1570mm. So the wheels will follow directly in in the tracks of the vehicle.

The wheelbase of the Jeep is 2.95m and the distance from the Karavan wheels to the rear wheels of the Jeep is 3.6m making it a great balance. Reversing will be dead easy as the Karavan has the revolutionary reverse option fitted and the vehicle can sit at 90 degrees and pirouette the Karavan around in a perfect circle.

The hitch height was perfect for a level towing profile on the highway. The Jeeps clearance was around 12inches, the Karavan is more than this.

Finally the tare weight of the Jeep is 1,990 kgs with the hardtop. The Karavan is 1,690kgs as shipped.

Jeep with Kimberley Karavan offered caravan in USAThe brakes on the Jeep are all disc with a hydraulic assisted brake booster. The Karavan also has hydraulic assisted brake booster on disc brakes. The parking brake on the Karavan is the Kimberley one touch without the hassle of levers and mechanical wires. In fact there are no mechanial wires nor electrical wires underneath the Karavan at all.

The wading depth on the jeep is estimated at 3ft. There will be some water crossings we are told. The Karavan will "lap this up" and could go deeper. The big issue is raising the trailer plug connector or isolating it to avoid any electrical short to the vehicle. the Karavan has a thermal cut-out in the unlikely event water gets into the trailer plug wiring. It will automatically re-set after the crossing.

The big differences start with the electrics: firstly the batteries. The Karavan as delivered had 240 Ahrs of Lithium batteries and the vehicle had traditional lead acid style of battery. The 240Ahrs of Lithium weighed only 30kgs whereas the AGM (or lead acid) equivalent would need to be 480 Ahrs as they can only cycle to 50% of capacity; and this would weigh 120kgs. The Lithium is a great weight saver.

super thin solar panels on roof of offered caravanThe Super Thin Solar on the Karavan roof was putting out 8.5 amps in the later afternoon sun with fairly full batteries. The 2 fridges on board were consuming between 5-9amps as they were cutting in and out with their duty cycle. One fridge is outside and will be used mainly for lunchtime goods, especially salads and will be set so the lettuce and tomatoes dont freeze! If solar was added to the Jeep it would be no where near the 330W on the roof of the Karavan. The Karavan can have up to 540W in the eco-suite model with the additional solar on the rear. The Super Thin Solar is also only 10% of the weight of the glass panel equivalent; so again a great weight saver.

smart touch system for offorad kimberley kamper resized 600The Jeep has limited electrical capacity measurement. The Karavan has a touch screen smart meter system for both the energy and the water tank measurements. This Smart meter shows the power produced by the solar system and that used by the 1800W pure sine wave inverter on board as well as all the 12v devices like the water pumps and the fridges. Both of the 2 fresh water tanks AND the grey water tank are measured.

The Jeep had an impressive array of LED lights all round. The Karavan is also all LED lighting with impressive overhead and outside dimmable LED lights.

Overall this is a great adventire combination. The onboard toilet will accomdate those people who want all the on board creature comforts of shower and toilet inside whereas the outdoor kitchen will let the "outdoors" gourmet cook feel right at home. It comes complete with a "Weber", sink with hot and cold water and a drawer fridge. Lets not forget the outside speakers for the sound system.

offroad caravan outside kitchen with fridge

The Karavan was fitted with a Queen size inner spring mattress which was heated underneath with Kimberley's membrane heater that runs off the solar during the day.

Where is the fine line between Authentic camping and an Oasis in the Bush? Download this free eBook on Design for Comfort with Caravans and Camper  Trailers covering Water, Heating Air-conditioning and more!


Topics: off-road caravan, air suspension, suspension, offroad caravans, Jeep, Rubicon

Subscribe to Email Updates

Posts by Topic

see all

Recent Posts

The Kimberley Blog

The Kimberley Karavan, a lightweight folding off road caravan that can go anywhere. Kimberley Karavans are unique with their internal shower and toilet, comfortable internal seating and luxury finishes.