From the Gec – ko
At Caravan & Outdoor Life magazine, we pride ourselves on being the first to know about any new, exciting and innovative products that enter the market. When we recently met Keith and Alison Teubes of Gecko Offroad, we realised at once that their novel luxury design was definitely worth a place in the ‘new product’ spotlight.
From the get-go of our meeting with the dynamic team from Gecko Offroad, it was enthusiasm, enthusiasm, enthusiam. Here’s a couple who quite simply love caravaning and the lifestyle that comes with it. It’s Keith and Alison’s passion, combined with a critical eye developed over many years of travelling and holidaying in caravans, that is the beating heart of their off-road caravan business.
What is Gecko Offroad?
Gecko Offroad CC is a company that manufactures luxury, multi-terrain caravans. Each unit that is designed, manufactured and engineered has 30 years of camping and caravaning experience behind it, covering everything from extreme off-road expeditions to easygoing family weekend breakaways. On the roughly 120 000 km they’ve travelled over these 30 years on various road surfaces, the team from Gecko have put several products to the test.
‘We often discussed how great it would be if we could somehow “condense” our big caravan for trips to remote areas, but still be able to use it for our long stays at South African resorts,’ says Keith. After visiting countries such as Namibia, Botswana and Mozambique, as well as travelling extensively through the rest of Africa, the couple set about creating their ideal caravan, and this is what they came up with.
The Gecko Offroad is the first luxury multi-terrain caravan: it’s suitable for tar, gravel and off-road conditions. Aptly named after the highly mobile lizards the couple encountered in Namibia and Mozambique, the caravan, like its reptile counterpart, can roam pretty much anywhere. With a GVM of 1500 kg and a tare of 1050 kg, the Gecko fits comfortably into a towable weight range. The design is based on a braked axle and steel galvanised chassis, and boasts leaf springs (combined) and Gabriel Safari shock absorbers, perfect for bumpy corrugated roads.
The van has three external and internal 220 V sockets, so you won’t need to agonise over the competing interests of hairdryer and electric razor, and the 12 V CTEK charger will keep everything you need powered up. The Gecko runs off of a 105 amp-hour deep-cycle battery, and the design also incorporates a 12 V fridge-freezer socket, a 12 V exterior Caralight, two LED bedside lights and six additional lights in the shower, seating area, door, pantry kitchen and front loadbox.
The bed is 1940 mm long by 1830 mm wide; this comfy space is fixed, so you won’t need to spend any time on manoeuvring or rearranging. The interior also offers an L-shaped bench seat with removable table, ideal for those rainy day puzzles or family card games. The sliding window (with insect screen) above the seating area offers a panoramic view of the outdoors; after all that’s the bit we enjoy the most, right? The 15-litre Hansen gas and 220 V geyser is connected to the shower, vanity mixer tap and kitchen unit mixer tap, so you won’t need to endure that classic camping nightmare, a cold shower, or hours of scrubbing your crockery in chilly dishwater.
And there’s the unique selling point of the Gecko Offroad: the onboard shower! The built-in shower cubicle (1910 mm floor to ceiling) provides hot and cold water, so gone are the days of trekking, flip-flops, tooth brush and toothpaste in hand, to the campsite ablution facilities: you have everything you need right inside, onboard – a first for off-roaders in South Africa. No bathroom is complete without a loo, and the fixed Dometic chemical toilet fits the Gecko brief perfectly.
The unit has plenty of storage space, a spare wheel (which fits neatly into the spare wheel carrier), a tent side awning in a neat travel bag, two jerrycans, two 3.5 kg gas bottles, two 70-litre water tanks and a full accessorised pantry. The pull-out kitchen is kitted with two wash-up basins, a tap for drinking water (cold), a Dometic two-plate gas stove with glass lid, space for an 80-litre National Luna fridge-freezer and a crockery drawer with a 16-piece melamine crockery set.
What? You say you want more? Well, the team at Gecko have gone to great lengths to leave nothing out, and have mounted a cutlery bag that holds a 16-piece stainless steel cutlery set plus four steak knives, with space for additional utensils, on the door of the van. The utility storage drawer, which is accessed from outside, is ideal for camping chairs, cooler boxes and other bulky outdoor items. Add to all that the emergency triangles, spare wheel spanner, outrigger jack, wheel spanner and wheel chocks, and we think it’s safe to say that Gecko Offroad have gone above and beyond the call of duty to create your perfect caravan.
We’re still waiting to see how this baby handles our performance test, but with so much on offer in design and functionality we just couldn’t wait to draw your attention to what is clearly set to be a prime contender in the off-road caravan market.