CAMPING - CAMPER TRAILERS
At OTA we purposely avoid testing caravans, because we reckon there are enough people doing that. However, we do like to check out the cross-over van market, typified at the top end by pop-top, single-axle units like Ezytrail’s Parkes 15 Mk2.
The attraction of the Parkes unit for young families is the almost impossible combination of king-sized bed, fully enclosed bathroom and kids’ bunks with their own storage drawers – all in a single-axle van that’s only 2.5-metres high when being towed and rated for off-road use.
We know of some issue with previous Parkes models that were produced in China and enhanced by Australian finishing touches. That broad description is still accurate, but the new chassis and suspension are much stronger and local enhancement has progressed.
A simple, strong, oscillating AL-KO off-road, ball receiver is standard.
Ezytrail is standing behind its latest Q-steel, hot-dip-galvanised F5 chassis with a lifetime warranty and the Ezy-Rider trailing wishbone suspension has been engineered in conjunction with suspension specialist Pedders. Standard wheels are 17-inch aluminium, shod with 265/70R17 off-road tyres.
The rear-mounted, outside, roll-out kitchen remains, but is now topped with folding lids that convert the sink and stove into a flat-topped stainless steel table. The Mk2 also features a standard interior two-burner cooktop as well, because it’s not always sunny.
The Parkes’ signature fold-out master bedroom has been enhanced by the inclusion of better- insulated walls and a thicker mattress. Operation is still the same: easy fold-out once the two spare wheel carriers are folded out of the way.
The water storage system continues with twin 120-litre tanks: one ahead of the axle and one behind; and there’s an optional 75-litre grey water tank. The poly water tanks are protected from damage by checker-plate shielding.
Gas and electric hot water is standard, as are three 100A/h deep-cycle batteries. Diesel heating is optional.
There are external slides for fridge and generator, and an optional upright interior fridge, surmounted with a microwave, is available. A Dometic awning is standard.
There are ample 240V, 12V and USB outlets provided.
The Ezytrail Parkes MK2 looks like an ideal, compact, family cross-over van, but it’s heavy, at a tare weight of 2330kg, without options fitted. It wouldn’t be difficult to go over its 2900kg ATM rating – ball weight plus axle weight. The empty ball weight is already 180kg, before you fill the tanks, put anything in the van, or a fridge on the slide.
We’d advise caution when packing the Parkes for a trip – particularly the load that goes into the front storage box. Ezytrail almost proudly says you can put two 9kg gas bottles and four jerry cans in there: that’s 120kg, if you use steel ‘jerries’.
Most of that storage box weight goes straight onto the towball, so we’d recommend using the storage box only for bulky, light freight.