The Jayco Expanda is a great concept that effectively gives you the best of two worlds – a camper trailer and a pop-top caravan. For an increasing number of travellers it’s the pick of the vast Jayco range and it would also be our choice.
As the bed (or beds, depending on the model) drop down from either end and don’t intrude on interior space when folded, you get more ’bang’ for your body length ’buck’ than a conventional pop-top, while the canvas-covered beds retain the airy ’camp out’ feel of a camper trailer.
Jayco’s Expanda range
The range starts with a stumpy 12ft 6in 12.37-1HL model with a single drop-down rear Queen-size bed and extends through another 10 models to the range-topping 20ft 18.57-7 HL model, which comes with two drop down Queen-size beds and a full ensuite shower/toilet.
For couples, the smallest Expanda with a full ensuite is the 14ft 10in 14.44.3HL that comes with a single Queen-size bed and weighs in at 1423kg, making it towable by a big six cylinder sedan or a ’soft-roader’ 4WD.
A beauty of this format is that with the rear bed, you can leave the rig hitched for overnight stops on your way to a holiday destination, while the interior and galley are accessible at all times on the way so you can make a quick ’cuppa’, access the fridge or make lunch without any set-up.
A major improvement for all models in the Expanda range introduced last year was the fibreglass ’hard lid’ (HL) cover for the fold down beds which protects the canvas from heat and rain and means that you’re not folding soggy bed ends after overnight rain.
Expandas come with a simple pull-out awning, while the option list includes reverse cycle air conditioning (fitted in the foam-sandwich wall so it doesn’t add to overall height), a microwave and deep cycle battery.
Like all Jaycos, Expandas can be ordered with an ’Outback’ kit that gives you a stronger chassis, more ground clearance, some body protection from stone attack, droop-down ALKO jacks, and offroad wheels and tyres.
This gives you the freedom to venture down unmade roads, tackle moderately rough terrain and even entertain shallow creek crossings, although Jayco warn that the kit is designed to get you further off the beaten track where the Jayco can serve as a ’base station’ for further exploration, rather than being a full off-road caravan.
Jayco Expanda Like
- Space efficient
- Simple to set up
- New Hard Lid bed covers
- 14.44-3HL model with ensuite is the pick for couples
Jayco Expanda Dislike
- Outback models need more stone protection
- Underslung spare wheel vulnerable