For those that don’t know me, my name is Brendan Whitecross. Amongst being a player for the Hawthorn Football Club, I’m a huge outdoor enthusiast: boating, camping, fishing, 4×4 – anything outdoors and I’m there! 2015 is an exciting year for me, with a return to the football field after consecutive knee reconstructions, and off the field I’m extremely excited to be teaming up with Jayco to blog my family adventures in our new Outback Work ‘N Play Toy Hauler!
Blog 1: Testing out the New Jayco Outback Work ‘N Play Toy Hauler
Like many young families, our world changed for the better 18 months ago with the introduction of little Cody. My fiancé Kelly and I, have always been avid campers, packing up the car with swags, chairs, a fridge and the dogs in only a moment’s notice. Camping has never been just sitting around for us either, we’d take bikes, water sports kit, fishing gear and of course the 4 wheel drive, but with only 1 or 2 nights free at a time during the football season, a quick setup has always been critical.
However, as we packed for our last end of season trip in October, we realized the inevitable had happened… our camping routine was gone, and we’d been taken over by a toddler!
What used to be a 30 minute job to pack the car, had all of a sudden become a two day event, packing the car many times over. While we pride ourselves on being ‘light packers’, we knew there was a problem when we had to call a dog sitter for our two Kelpie’s, who’s seats in the car had been taken over by Tonka trucks and plush toys. Sadly, we’d become one of ‘those families’ you see driving up the Hume highway, car packed so tight you can’t’ work out if they’re moving house or going on holidays… and not to forget the huge amount of time it now took to set all of that up once at camp!
So after a four week touring holiday, with grueling setups and packing, we went looking for other options and came across the Work ‘N Play.
The Work ‘N Play was a clear winner for us with its extremely flexible rear garage area and caravan features. While a camper trailer seemed to be the next logical step, we found there was no time benefit in setting up a trailer vs our tent, plus we’d only have one ready-made bed, and still need to pack most of the same items. The other key factor was that we could no longer tow our trailer, meaning a number of activities wouldn’t be possible.
So finding the Jayco Work ‘N Play was the ultimate solution for our active family. From a caravan perspective Kelly was all for bringing a little ‘glam-ping’ into our lives. The front half of the van boasts all the luxuries of a top of the range caravan with a double bed, kitchen, microwave, large fridge, indoor and outdoor showers, toilet, aircon / heating TV, sound system, indoor and outdoor speakers, hot water –the list goes on.
However it’s the rear ‘garage’ area that is the incredible part, with an open space to carry and tie down a range of toys such as motor bikes, canoes, fishing or water sport gear, bicycles and anything else your camping adventure might need. Once unloaded the garage becomes even more flexible, with a lounge and table that can be setup for day use, and the option to house up to four bunk beds for night. In fact with a toddler and two dogs, the flexible bunks mean we can have a lounge, dogs inside and also a porta cot setup until the little one is big enough for a bed – not to forget they can sleep up to 6 people which is hugely impressive on its own.
So after an exceptional purchasing and delivery process with Jayco, including a 2 hour detailed walk through, we picked up our new Work ‘N Play and took it on its maiden voyage on NYE to see family in Warrnambool. The van towed easily behind our 4×4 and packing was simple – food straight in the van, bikes in the back, a bag of clothes each and dogs had had their seats back! Setup was less than 10 minutes, meaning we didn’t have to battle a bored toddler, and in fact he was more than happy to sit and watch a DVD while we setup the van.
As you can see, we packed the bikes too which were easy to load and great for riding around my Aunt and Uncle’s farm – especially to and from the dairy sheds as I helped my cousin milk cattle twice a day. Warrnambool is a terrific spot to visit with a vast range of outdoor activities available by the sea or in the Dairy Country. Although it was dry this time of year Hopkins Falls is a favorite spot of ours with BBQ areas, fishing, and if you’re lucky you can observe the small eel’s migrations in late spring.
Although it wasn’t a bush or touring holiday, it was great to test out all the features of the van. With temperatures varying from 20 to almost 40 degrees, we were thankful to have the heating and aircon, plus the huge awnings at the front and rear of the van for shade. With lockable cupboards, draws, and the stove / taps out of reach, we have a child friendly environment for Cody – and our two dogs that often sneak into a camp kitchen to try and find food to snack on.
While I’m back in preseason training now, I’m lucky to have short breaks through the season, where as players we can relax and spend time with our families. I look forward to sharing the vast range of places we have scheduled to visit in our new Jayco Outback Work ‘N Play.