Southern Land Campers PT 16: Review
Durability combined with attention to detail makes the new Southern Land Campers PT 16 a true offroader.
While the 5.48m (18ft) PT 16 is the bigger sibling – tipping the scales at 1900kg, 400kg heavier than the 3.66m (12ft) PT 12 – there are some parallels between these offroad pop-top hybrids.
DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION
The PT 16 shares these resemblances, but it’s a considerably improved model, with increased battery, fridge, water and solar capacities. The end result is double the battery power (two 100Ah), 60L of additional fridge space, 76L more water volume, and two 150W solar panels rather than the two 120W units fitted to the PT 12.
The hybrids are alike in body, chassis and suspension – a fully-welded aluminium frame supported by a heavy-duty (150x100x50x3mm) SupaGal chassis and Cruisemaster independent 2500kg-rated suspension, 12in electric brakes, dual shockers and springs. Southern Land welds the framework rather than rivets and uses nuts and bolts, not screws.
Internally, the PT 16 has a spick-and-span finish and features a fully-sealed aluminium floor with marine ply and timber-look. The stylish latte acrylic cabinets are custom-made, and the spacious, grey cushioned cafe dinette, which can seat five, is ultra-cosy. There’s also a fold-out table, and access to the under-seat storage is via a drop-down compartment. Under a section of the seating is the ducted heating.
Outside, the PT 16 has a large steel stone deflector, an external tap and two 4.5kg gas cylinders on the A-frame, mudflaps front and back, and two recovery points. There’s also a checkerplate guard for the hot water exhaust, which eliminates dust ingress, and an external Anderson plug allows charging from a portable solar panel.
Mounted on heavy-duty brackets at the rear are two jerry can holders and a spare tyre. While the PT 12 had a spare tyre winch mounted below the van, which is effectively a wind-up winch for easy removal and remounting, the PT 16 doesn’t have such a pulley system. But Keith, who established Southern Land Campers in 2008, can supply a ‘metal bracket’, operated by block and tackle, to assist with lifting.
The electrical suite on the PT 16 sees several enhancements, with the two Enerdrive 150W solar panels mounted on the roof, the two 100Ah AGM batteries, a 400W pure sine wave inverter, 240V Projector battery charger, 30A Ctek DC-DC battery charging system, Drifter electronic monitor (manufactured by Setec), five 12V and two USB outlets, water and power monitors, and general purpose outlets (four internal and one external).
In fact, like the PT 12, the 12V system in the van is well-configured and user-friendly, including conveniently placed external outlets. And it lights up like a Christmas tree! There are three ceiling LED lights, strip lighting above the external kitchen, bed-side reading lights, two external LED lights, strip lighting in the external pantry, an under-bed storage light, and a light-up entry handle.
For those times when you’d rather cosy up inside while you cook, the internal kitchen boasts a two-burner cooktop with a glass lid, a stainless steel sink with drainer, a Waeco 140L two-way fridge and plenty of storage courtesy of overhead cupboards. Opposite is a TV on the side wall, sitting on the bench above a cutlery drawer.
The PT 16 has the benefit of having both a simple internal kitchen and an external one, and we all know it’s nice to have the option! The external kitchen has a slide-out barbecue, which doubles as a two-burner stove and roaster, a stainless steel sink plumbed to hot and cold water, and a massive storage area for a fridge or generator. Above the slide-out barbecue is a small lift-up pantry with strip lighting – ideal for holding cups, sauce bottles, and other barbecuing essentials.
THE WRAP UP
The Pt 16 is designed with comfortable travel in mind, and fills a niche for buyers yearning the luxuries of a caravan with the accessibility of a camper trailer necessary for many of Australia’s more remote tracks.
HITS AND MISSES
- Larger battery, fridge, water and solar capacities than the PT 12
- Internal and external cooking options
- Fully-welded aluminium frame
- Internal toilet and shower
- No 12V powerpoints in bedroom
- Could do with a winch for spare tyre
- Air-conditioner and heater are not standard fittings
SOUTHERN LAND CAMPERS PT 16 SPECS
Weights and measures
- Overall length 7m (23ft)
- External body length 5.48m (18ft)
- External body width 2m (6ft 7in)
- Travel height 2.35m (7ft 9in)
- Internal height 1.49m (4ft 11in)
- Tare 1900kg
- ATM 2500kg
- Ball weight 190kg
- Frame Aluminium
- Cladding Composite
- Chassis SupaGal
- Suspension Cruisemaster independent
- Brakes 12in electric
- Wheels 16in offroad 265/75 R16
- and Sunraysia rims
- Water 206L
- Battery 2x100Ah
- Solar 2x150W
- Air-conditioner Dometic
- Gas 2x4.5kg
- Sway control Optional
- Cooking Two-burner cooktop
- Fridge Waeco two-way 140L
- Microwave Optional
- Toilet Thetford cassette
- Shower Fibreglass
- Lighting LED 12V
- Hot water Truma gas/electric
- Air-conditioner; ducted heater; reversing camera
Price as shown
- $85,000 (on-road, Vic)
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The full test appears in Caravan World #551 July 2016. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!