A camper trailer without bed extensions. Now that’s something very different from Jayco, Australia’s largest manufacturer of recreational vehicles.
Jayco builds the Penguin camper trailer to accommodate a niche couples’ market.
The benchmark for setting up campers has always been Jayco’s easy winding system. Up popped the roof, and then it was a simple matter of pulling out the bed extensions that created so many sleeping berths.
The Penguin is even simpler than the conventional Jayco camper as there are no ends to pull out. It can be set up in less than 30 seconds!
For a couple, the Penguin provides the best of both words – it has excellent living space, because the entire camper is contained within the trailer superstructure, which is 3.96 metres (13ft) long and it has the comfort and ventilation a camper provides.
Unlike solid-walled campers, which in effect can only provide tent-like head room, the Penguin’s roof section is completely raised, allowing standing room throughout. The addition of overhead cupboards in the ceiling also efficiently utilises this space.
Under tow, at just 1.6 metres (5ft 3 in) in height, it has the same low towing profile as other models from the Jayco camper trailer stable, that eliminates wind resistance. Boat racks can be fitted to the roof. The overall towing length is 4.9 metres (16ft)
The entire camper is contained within the configurations of the trailer, 3.96 metres (13ft 8in) long x 2.13 metres (7ft) wide, and that includes a double bed, which fits along the front of the camper. The bed length is almost 2 metres (6ft 6in) and the width a comfortable, spacious 1.37 metres. (4ft 6in).
The layout allows for easy, comfortable touring holidays.
The kitchen opposite the door incorporates a sink, griller-stove and a three way refrigerator with top controls. There is good cupboard space under the bench, and plenty of storage space in a large locker under the double bed and in lockers under the two facing dining seats. A hinged wardrobe is easily locked into place to provide additional storage.
The under-bed locker is easily opened as there is a gas-pressurised lifting arm. The locker can also be accessed externally through a lockable hatch door.
The dinette can be converted to a child’s bed.
Another plus over solid-walled campers is that the Penguin is so bright because all four tent-walls have wrap-around fly-screened, zippered, transparent vinyl, which is slightly tinted to stop sun glare. The vinyl windows are easily opened by the zippers, allowing the outdoors indoors, creating plenty of ventilation. Conversely, the camper can easily be blacked out by double-sided curtains for a good night’s sleep.
The Penguin’s superstructure is built on an aluminium frame and is fitted to the galvanised Jayco light-weight, super-strength Millennium chassis. It has a solid beam axle with leaf spring suspension and wheels, fitted with Dunlop light truck tyres, which are set in galvanised wheel boxes.
The Penguin is fitted with electric brakes and ALKO corner stays.
There is a 60 litre water tank and 9kg gas bottle.
At just 830kg the Penguin can be towed by most family sedan, though it is important to check tow ball weights with a Jayco dealer to ensure that the overall tow vehicle-camper rig complies with towing regulations. The Penguin costs less than $15,000.
The Penguin is also proving popular when converted to one of Jayco’s Outback range of campers, to be towed by a 4WD in Outback conditions.
The extras that transform the Penguin to an Outback model, including larger chassis members, shock absorbers, an underslung axle for greater ground clearance, water tank guard, off-road wheels and tyres, will add approximately another $1,500 to the price as well as an extra 150kg to the overall weight.