With the words of Jawa's owner John ringing in my ears, “I want you to use it. Find out what works and what doesn't and then tell me”, we took a right hander and pointed the Trax 10 Series II up one of the infamous power-line tracks in the Sunshine Coast's Glasshouse Mountains.
These tracks have it all. Deep ruts, wombat holes, rocky ledges and if there has been rain about, traction sapping clay, muddy bog holes and some nice big puddles.
When John told me to use it, I hope he didn't mean I had to clean it as well!
THE BACK STORY
After spending 35 years in the north-west of Sydney running a large automotive repair shop, John and Karen Perry took a sea change and moved to the Sunshine Coast in late 2018.
With camping in their blood, they visited Jawa Camper Trailers in December 2018, to purchase a Trax 12 Hybrid after its success in CTOTY 2019. During the sale process with former owners Jay and Wayne, they found out the business was for sale. As they say, the rest is history.
By February 2019, Jawa Camper Trailers was their new venture. So much for kicking back and taking it easy! To say that they have taken to it like 'ducks to water' would be akin to saying that 'most Aussies don't mind a beer.'
Keeping it in the family, their son Matt, and daughter Emma, along with her husband Scott, have joined the business.
Recently, they have moved their operations a little further south, from Maroochydore to Caloundra, and set up a new showroom with several of their models on permanent display. Out the back, the workshop and fitting bays are a hive of activity.
John and Karen are big on listening to customer feedback, and in a little over twelve months have implemented plenty of changes into the business and their campers. After a couple of chats with John, I can be pretty sure this attitude won't change.
HITTING THE ROAD
Normally, when us reviewers head out with a new camper, we'll take along a representative of the company to help us out for the day. They'll do the driving while we ask questions. They'll set everything up while we take the photos. They'll tell us all about the camper, its features and benefits, while we take notes to refer back to when sitting in front of our computers, tapping away on our keyboards.
While this enables us to do what we need for our reviews, sometimes — just sometimes — we don't get the full picture. We don't get to deal with a door that opens the wrong way and gets in the road, or a fitting that really should be on the left, not the right.
Not so this time. For this review, after we were given a quick rundown in the carpark of Jawa HQ, we were thrown the keys of the brand new Trax 10 Series II and sent forth into the Sunshine Coast Hinterland for a long weekend.
That was followed by three days and two nights using the Trax 10 as if it was our own. Dragging it around, up and down all manner of roads and tracks. Living out of it, sleeping, and even bathing in it. Yep, you read it right, but more about that later.
There's no doubt that when you first lay eyes on the Trax 10, you can tell this hybrid is destined to tackle off road tracks. From the aggressive mud terrain tyres to the powder coated checkerplate on the lower section, this is a camper with dirt in its DNA.
The compact size of the Trax 10, with the '10' giving us its body length in feet allows this diminutive package to follow dutifully behind the tow vehicle through tight and twisty tracks.
With the look of an offroader we had to make sure we gave the Trax 10 a solid going over in the rough stuff. At one stage during the offroad testing I called down the handheld to my wife who was piloting our ute to, “Drive the worst line!” While this always makes for better photographs, it also allows me to really see what the limits are.
Just between you and me, let's say we managed to find those limits.
It wasn't bad, except for maybe the jockey wheel taking a bit of a beating.
We found that the McHitch offroad coupling, does a damn good job when articulating through holes and ruts. We found that the aluminium checkerplate shrouds do a damn good job of protecting the stainless steel water tanks. And we found that the checkerplate around the lower sections and the truncated rear corners do a damn good job in preventing and minimising body and panel damage.
Also doing just what it is meant to do under the Trax is the suspension. Whilst it's a pretty standard set up, with independent trailing arms, coils springs and a pair of shockers on each corner, the team at Jawa have upgraded the shocks to Drivetech Enduro units.
After a couple of hours longer than I was originally planning on spending playing around on the tracks of the Glassies, we finally made our way back onto the bitumen before heading further north to Cooroy and our camp for the next two nights.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. After a big day, when you pull into camp, the last thing you want is a setup that takes forever. We are a simple couple, so when we head away, we like everything to be as simple as possible.
This is where these hybrid campers come into their own; quick set up times and not having to struggle with canvas tents, poles and guy ropes.
After you've found your spot, leave the Trax 10 attached, or disconnect from the tow vehicle, pull on the hand brake and wind down the stabiliser legs on each corner.
Then it's simply a matter of unclipping the four over-centre latches, folding down the entry step and heading inside via the caravan style security door complete with insect screen. Once inside, grab on to the big handles located at the front and back on the ceiling and give a big push upwards.
Hey presto! You've now got a heap of head room and the vinyl skirt, between a one-piece fibreglass roof and aluminium composite panel walls, has four large windows with fly screens to allow maximum cross-ventilation and natural light to flood the interior.
Moving outside and to the rear of the camper, it's time to remember back to your childhood arts and crafts lessons, when you folded pieces of paper into a swan.
Just like paper origami back in the day, the Trax 10 has its own take on the concept. With a push here, a pull there and a couple of folds thrown in for good measure, the rear of the camper grows in length by 3 feet in a matter of seconds.
With the rear section folded out and locked into place, the full expanse of the interior of the Trax 10 is laid out before you.
Down the back, the two-piece innerspring mattress folds out to create queen-sized sleeping quarters. On previous models, this two-piece mattress was a bit of an issue for customers, but John and Karen have gone to great lengths to source a new mattress and I can honestly say, they are onto a winner. John kindly gave us a bamboo mattress topper as a trial, but I don't think you'll need it!
At the foot of the bed on the offside, you'll find a large storage cupboard, as well as a large drawer for all of your clothes. There's more storage across the front of the camper, however, most of this space will be taken up by pantry items, as well as a small basin with hot and cold water and a mirror.
There's a bit of wasted space here. A little shaving cabinet with mirrored door fronts would be a lot more practical, while providing a great place for your toiletries.
Now to the final piece in the puzzle. Hiding behind an opaque door in the front driver's side corner is the combined shower and toilet. To think that you can fit a queen bed as well as an ensuite inside a 10 foot shell and not feel cramped is pretty darn impressive.
Inside, there's a Thetford cassette toilet and shower fed by a Truma hot water system. Perhaps more impressive than the shower itself is the 6-inch long stainless post suspended from the ceiling. This little post allows you to position the shower rose in such a way that you can wet the top of your head and shower as you would at home.
Keeping with the theme of making sure everything is quick and easy to set up with minimal fuss, a 3-metre long awning is manually deployed providing much needed shade and protection from the elements. Top marks here for having the awning extend all the way over the kitchen area.
If the weather does turn particularly nasty, or you need extra space to throw down a stretcher bed, the Trax 10 comes complete with a fully enclosed annex.
For all the gastronomic gurus out there who love the outdoor lifestyle, you'll be pleased to know that you have been well catered for. First up, a full stainless steel slide-out kitchen incorporating a four burner gas cooktop with massive windshields will get the billy boiling and the snags sizzling.
There's a couple of drawers underneath for your cutlery and utensils, as well as an extendable servery area. Hot and cold water is plumbed directly to the sink, and a pair of conveniently located gas fittings at the rear of the camper allow you to hook up the cooktop and a portable BBQ at the same time. Located above the sink is a drying rack which you can also use for your herbs, spices and condiments when cooking.
One thing that this kitchen does lack is an external pantry or any real external storage for that matter. I mentioned this to John when we dropped the camper back, and he let me know that it's on the drawing board.
Up the front, a big fridge slide is home to an 80L EvaKool fridge/freezer but for those that think that bigger is better, a 95L unit can be shoehorned into the space.
A couple of super bright LED lights provide more than enough illumination under the awning. In fact, they were so bright we turned them off and just used the LED stalk light at the kitchen when sitting around the campfire!
I know that when I'm planning a trip, I look at the distances between restock or resupply points and how long I could possibly stay living off the grid. With the Trax 10, your biggest issue is probably going to be food storage, unless you get that 95L fridge.
Even with the on-board shower and toilet, the 180L of potable water is going to last for several days. If you happen to be in a sensitive environment or a national park, the Trax 10 also comes with a 60L grey water tank.
As far as the electrical side of things goes, there's 200Ah of battery power hiding under the bed as well as a 40A Enerdrive DC/DC charger. When parked up at camp, 300 watts of roof-mounted solar panels will keep those batteries topped up nicely, while a 1000W inverter supplies 240V power through a pair of power points inside.
THE FINAL WORD
Coming in at $36,800 for the standard package, the Jawa Trax 10 Series II pop-top hybrid camper is a fantastic little unit that would suit the travelling couple or even solo adventurer.
While the model we took out on test had the upgraded 'Mega Pack' which included the Truma A/C unit, 22-inch Digital TV, the EvaKool fridge and Enerdrive charging system, it still only takes the RRP up to $40k. That's a fair bit of kit in anyone's language, and I'm sure it is one that will find its way into plenty of households.