If style is what sets your pulse racing, then this new breed of gravel-roader – the Okto Gravellor – is just for you. Based on the award-winning Okto (winner of Best Caravan stand at the recent 4×4 Expo show), the Gravellor has the exact same floorplan. The only difference being, it has been given a dose of steroids, beefed up for trundling down dusty, potholed country roads for camping in exotic and exciting places.
Mind you, it would be equally at home gracing the lush, green grass lawns of an upmarket caravan resort as it would looking out from the base of the stark, gigantic granite Bloedkop campsite in Namibia’s Naukluft park.
What sets the Okto apart from other caravans is interior space, of which there is considerably more. What many people may not know is that this pop-top roof not only lifts up higher than most other pop-top caravans on the market, but that it is also wider.
To get this feeling of airiness, the pop-top roof locates much closer to the side walls, so there is less of a ledge on the lower roof line. This, coupled with an increase in roof height, creates a noticeable feeling of interior space. Using the Cabana layout means that after a day’s driving, there is a comfortable island bed up-front beckoning you to relax and take a nap.
The design team responsible for the Okto Gravellor have a long history and experience in building this type of caravan. There is no wood in the body construction, rather, new composite materials including aluminum and fiberglass, which offer greater strength and have been selected for durability. And, unobtrusive side protection bars are in place under the front chassis to protect, as well as give a tough-guy image.
This is further enhanced by the fact that Okto immediately recognised the need and opted for a galvanised chassis, so important if one is going to be anywhere near the seaside. Side body panels are pre-baked aluminium, while the front and back are moulded fiberglass.
The graphics and finishing touches, such as the subtle use of durable checker plate and black steel wheels further identify this as a gravel-roader.
The designers have also included a front travel blanket for stone damage protection as standard equipment, but, and that should be a big but, the onus is still on the towing vehicle being equipped with the best possible mud or stone flaps. The importance of travelling at lower speeds, conducive to rear tyres not kicking up too many stones, is clear.
As has become the norm, there is a front end slide-out kitchen with a twoburner gas hob for outside cooking and food preparation.
The chassis and axle of a caravan are like the foundation of a house, if you get that wrong, you have a problem.
The Gravellor uses an imported German chassis, which is claimed to be lighter but stronger than normal.
Caravan and Outdoor Life visited the factory when these chassis were being developed for use in South Africa and Australia, the latter arguably the country with the longest roads and often badly corrugated, thanks to cattle road trains.
The galvanised, modular chassis is punched and, for the very technical, the punched hole has a strengthening lip, making it almost impossible to bend at that point.
The axle is rated at 1 800kg, but Okto have decided to homologate this at 1 700kg, so there is a comfortable safety margin for a 465kg payload capacity.
This would require a tow car with a license or Tare of a minimum of 1 700kg, regardless of you using all that packing weight.
The Gravellor has a length of 5 880mm and width of 2 362mm, while the height with the roof open is 2 130mm.
There is a choice in tyres, in these pictures the Gravellor has 15-inch wheels with matt-black steel rims and at the time of writing a more aggressive choice was being looked into.
It has a 192-litre, 12V fridge, a microwave, two-burner gas hob in an outside kitchen, hot and cold running water with a 220V/gas geyser, outside shower cubicle, 75-litre built in storage tank with a handy level indicator, 105a/h battery, Victron Intelligent charging system, a remote for all the lights, reinforced cupboard and locker hinge mounting points, 12V solar connection, outside USB and 12V Hella points, braai-wood rack on the A-frame and a large front nose cone.