A large part of the camper-trailer lifestyle is comfort and convenience.
Jayco, a brand long associated with caravanning and camper-trailer adventure in Australia, has built a reputation as a company which has pretty much nailed down that formula through its seemingly never-ending model line-up for different purposes at different price-points.
We took a Jayco Swan Touring camper-trailer, an on-road leisure vehicle, to a coastal campsite to see what it was like.
The Swan is the biggest of Jayco's current camper-trailer range but it never looks bulky or cumbersome. (image credit: credit: Brendan Batty / campertrailerreview.com.au)
How big is this camper-trailer? How much does it weigh?
Weight (Tare/ATM/Tow Ball)
1134kg / 1434kg / 95kg
The Swan Touring camper-trailer has traveling dimensions of 5365mm long, 1660mm high and 2240mm wide. It has a tare weight of 1134kg.
When opened, its full length extends to 6505mm, 4340mm (in the body) and the interior is 2070mm high. Those are a lot of numbers to try and get your head around, but the most important aspect to note here is that, again, it is not, from the outside, an oversized monstrosity but interior space has been maximised.
Jayco reckons this camper-trailer “easily sleeps four adults and two children, with an option to sleep two more children on a convertible bed”. I'll be the judge of that.
How easy is it to tow?
This camper-trailer sits well on the tow ball and, at 1134kg tare weight and with a low travelling height, it’s easy to tow. (image credit: Brendan Batty)
This is not a massive unit but at 5365mm long (including drawbar), 1660mm high, 2240mm wide and with a tare weight of 1134kg it’s not the smallest camper-trailer on the market either but it is currently Jayco’s biggest camper-trailer.
The on-road Swan Touring sits nicely on the towball (with 95kg download). It has a hot dip galvanised Endurance Chassis riding on a beam axle with leaf springs.
It’s not high-sided or bulky so it towed well behind the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport I was driving – smooth and easy to control.
I drove through sections of road signposted with ‘high wind warning’ and this Swan’s feathers were never ruffled.
However, ground clearance – especially the approach and departure angle – is a slight issue on the Touring, with the camper’s alloy struts scraping on a fairly innocuous entry to our campsite. Fair enough, this camper is not designed for off-road or even dirt-track trips, but it could at least be set up to better negotiate a minor dip such as that.
If you’re thinking of doing any sort of off-roading, opt for the Outback version.
How easy is it to set up?
It’s a simple process to get the Swan opened up and ready for your holiday. (image credit: Brendan Batty)
Pretty simple, even for the camper-trailer novices among us.
You unclip four latches near each top corner of the trailer’s body, then remove the winder handle from the camper’s rear storage compartment, put that in position and start winding.
The roof of the camper slowly lifts as you wind until the support bars at each corner are at full lock-out. You may want to wind it back a touch just to leave some play in the canvas sides for when you’re setting up the bedrooms.
Then roll each bed platform out from the body of the camper and put the bedroom struts* in place to keep those rooms aloft. (* You’ll find those struts underneath each supplied mattress.)
Pull the canvas ends and sides down and over the edge of the bed and secure in place with velcro strips.
Climb inside – after you’ve unlocked the camper’s steps and pulled them into position – and grab the interior ceiling poles for each bedroom (again hidden under the mattress, but this time inside the camper) and use those to stretch the bedroom ceiling out and fix them in place in the slots provided. This can be rather difficult if you’ve already stretched the canvas taut from the outside, so get out and loosen it a bit on the back and sides and that way you’ll make fitting the ceiling strut in place in each bedroom so much easier.
Then all you need to do is lift the pantry up from its travelling position (horizontal) to vertical, organise the couch cushions, put up the awning (if you get the urge) and have a celebratory beer.
How practical is the space inside?
The kitchen has that distinctive Jayco touring-friendly lay-out. (image credit: Brendan Batty)
There is plenty of room and it’s well used.
The interior is 2070mm high so unless you’re an NBL player you shouldn’t have too much difficulty living in this for extended periods; I wasn’t ever in danger of stooping but I’m about 175cm tall.
As you enter, the front bedroom is to your left beyond the wraparound club lounge. There is storage underneath the bed and that couch can be turned into a bed if you’ve optioned up for the bed converter base.
As you pivot to your right, along the wall from left to right, there’s a Dometic 90-litre fridge, sink with pop-up tap, kitchen bench, stove top (with a microwave – standard on the Swan – below), pantry, rear bedroom, table and bench seats (a space which can be converted into a bed), buffet table, and storage space just to the right of the entry.
There’s overhead LED lighting to help with night-time activities.
It’s an open area that feels easy enough to live in for a bit.
What are the beds like?
The beds are comfortable enough but the plywood bases are vulnerable to the elements. (image credit: Brendan Batty)
The front bed is 1460mm wide; the rear one is 1310mm wide – so draw a short straw and see who gets the smaller bed.
The innerspring mattresses seemed comfortable enough but the bed bases are unsealed ply board and we found a patch of moisture on a corner of the rear bed’s base.
The bedrooms have curtains that can be moved across for privacy and zippered windows that can be opened for more ventilation, but with mesh screens to keep mozzies etc out.
A safety net can be clipped in place on the rear bed to prevent a child, sleeping in bed with mum and dad, from toppling out onto the floor.
The converted beds, which result from using the club lounge and dinette areas, don’t appear to be the comfiest of options and perhaps should only be used sparingly or as a punishment for naughty children … or adult.
What’s the kitchen like?
If cooking's your thing then you should be fine with what the Swan is fitted out with. (image credit: Brendan Batty)
The kitchen has, as mentioned, that Dometic 90-litre fridge, four-burner stove, bench-top and stainless-steel sink.
It’s a functional area. Bonus: there’s an 82-litre water tank underfloor.
What options are available for it?
We’d opt for the Swan Outback, a bush-ready version of the on-road Touring. (image credit: Brendan Batty)
Options for the Touring version include roof racks, 120 watt solar system, roof-mounted air-con.
If you were thinking about doing any off-roading you should opt for the Swan Outback ($30,490) with more ground clearance, 100AH battery, checker plate down the camper’s sides, as well as Jayco’s own independent coil-spring suspension set-up and more.
Any potential issues with it?
Adjust your driving style to suit the camper-trailer you're towing and you should be fine. (image credit: Brendan Batty)
Ground clearance is a slight issue on the Touring due to those bulky alloy struts eating into the space on the camper's underbody when it was towed through a slight dip, a gentle bitumen entry point to a campsite at very low speed.
We also found a small section of moisture-affected ply on the corner of the rear bed's base.