Sunland Patriot 186: Review

By: Malcolm Street, Photography by: Malcolm Street

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Sunland Patriot OPENER

With single beds and a lighter design, the Sunland Patriot 186 is breaking barriers.

From the outside, due to the location of the wheel axles, the Sunland Patriot 186 looks a bit like someone just chopped a bit off the back. But the good news is that achieving its length of 5.6m (18ft 6in) was a bit more sophisticated than that. The van also looks like it sits quite high, and that’s due to its unique chassis construction and the need for good ground clearance in an offroad van.


Where the chassis departs from the more common box-section, hot-dipped galvanised arrangement is that the main chassis structure is made of structural aluminium alloy, with the drawbar and the sub-frame that supports the suspension made from hot-dipped galvanised steel. The alloy components look like someone has bored a number of holes in them, but that’s actually just a simple technique for retaining strength while reducing weight.

By comparison, the drawbar looks remarkably simple with just two 9kg gas cylinders, a mesh rack and the usual towing gear, including a Hitchmaster DO35 hitch. There is no storage box, which are sometimes found on Sunland caravans; instead, there’s a front tunnel boot which provides the external storage space. And the spare wheel is located out of sight under the mesh rack.

Quick-drop Al-Ko corner stabilisers are fitted on all corners of the van, which rides on Cruisemaster independent suspension, fitted with coil springs and shock absorbers.


The one-piece, foam-cored fibreglass floor panel is designed to be an integral part of the caravan’s strength and it’s immune to the normal degradation that can occur with timber ply floors. Being one piece means there’s no joins between sheets, which stops any ingress of water from below the caravan. Additionally, the adhesives used are permanently flexible polyurethane-based to allow movement between the floor and main chassis structure.

One of the benefits of the punched holes in the chassis rails is they can be used for the water piping and electrical conduits, and a look under the van proves that everything is neatly strapped up out of the way. Above the floor, the frame is aluminium like the chassis but without the holes, as is the external cladding (fibreglass composite cladding optional).


I liked...

  • Van weight and length
  • Interior look with stepped ceiling
  • Single bed design
  • Good-sized kitchen
  • Sophisticated electricals

I would have liked...

  • To have the keys for longer


Weights and measures

  • Overall length 7.64m (25ft)
  • External body length 5.6m (18ft 6in)
  • External body width 2.49m (8ft)
  • Travel height 3.03m (9ft 9in)
  • Internal height 1.96m (6ft 4in)
  • Tare 2100kg
  • ATM 2500-3000kg (optional)
  • Ball weight 140kg


  • Frame Box-section welded aluminium
  • Cladding Aluminium
  • Chassis Hybrid punched alloy and galvanised steel
  • Suspension Cruisemaster independent coil with shock absorbers
  • Brakes 10in electric
  • Wheels 15in alloys
  • Water 190L
  • Battery 1x100Ah AGM
  • Solar 155W
  • Air-conditioner Truma Saphir ducted
  • Gas 2x9kg
  • Sway control Optional (Dexter or Al-Ko ESC)


  • Cooking Dometic four-burner, grill
  • Fridge RME8555 190L
  • Microwave Camec
  • Toilet Dometic ceramic bowl cassette
  • Shower Separate cubicle, fibreglass
  • Lighting 12V LED
  • Hot water Gas instantaneous

Options fitted

  • Fibreglass sides; leather upholstery;
    single beds; top-loading washing machine; gas water heater; SEL-X toolbox; extra tanks and filter; external shower; Akril kitchen splashback; Next G antenna; two solar panels;
    two lithium batteries

Price as shown

  • $95,201 (Qld, base price from $79,990)

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The full test appears in Caravan World #540 August 2015. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!