I was moving up in the caravan-review department. I’d been promoted from towing the nifty little Sprite Tourer SP caravan to towing its bigger brother, the Sprite Tourer SW. I had towed the smaller SP on two long trips for the magazine and had appreciated its simplicity and quickness of set-up; within minutes I’d had a comfortable home-from-home. I wondered what lay in store for me with its bigger boet, the Sprite Tourer SW; it requires a tow vehicle with a GVM of 1 450 kg or more, while the lighter smaller SP needs a tow vehicle of 1 370 kg.
But where does the Sprite Tourer range fit into the caravanning spectrum? The most important difference, in my opinion, is that although they are termed ‘gravel roaders’ and supplied with 15” wheels, these units aren’t designed to go where the tougher Safari models (the Xplorer, Xcell and Xcape) can go. So don’t think you can take the Tourers down Van Zyl’s Pass. However, places like the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park with its corrugated roads, as well as good gravel farm roads countrywide, are fair game for the Tourer range. These gravel-roaders blend the conventional caravan with some of the features of their bundu-bashing cousins.
The Sprite Tourer SW is a tough and uniquely South-African Caravan. It has an outside kitchen/galley which includes a food and crockery cupboard, so your living is basically done outside, under the protection of the side-awning. However, in really bad weather − or if the lions are sniffing at your braai − you can move to the indoor dinette. This dinette table folds down to make a three-quarter bed, too. The good-sized fridge/freezer is inside the van; in a caravan park with 220 V power supply, you simply plug in your caravan.
If you’re going to live off the 12 V deep cycle battery, then on a fully-charged battery you may get two days usage, depending on the ambient temperatures, the coldness of the fridge, what the battery is used to power (lights, charging cell phones etc) and − especially – on the age of the battery. You might be pushing your luck if you use it longer than this, so look at adding solar panels for lengthy bush stays. I decided to tow the SW out to the Strandskloof Caravan Park on the other side of Gansbaai. From Gansbaai, taking in as many good gravel roads as possible, I headed back − to camp on a farm between Greyton and Riviersonderend. I thought that would make a pretty fair test of the caravan.