Shakedown Cruise Report
We picked up the Malayan on January 6 and returned home on February 5. During that time we drove 6468 miles in a great deal of different weather and road conditions. Scout has met our expectations and I think will be ideal for our future plans. A few observations.
It is a much more complex vehicle than our ERA. Particularly the electrical system. As I said earlier in the deciding on a vehicle section electricity is a bit of a mystery to me, so I have a lot to learn. Except for the water leak we experienced the first night that was quickly and completely corrected by Provan the other issues were electrical. However, they were small issues on the whole and easily corrected. We also used the Provan dealer in Redmond Oregon to take care of one problem and they did a great job fixing the problem and getting us on the road within 30 minutes.
The truck drives wonderfully. It is much less fatiguing to drive than the Sprinter was. It tracks very well and handles wind much better than I expected. We gave it a pretty good off road test on the River Road at Big Bend National Park in a variety of road conditions and it had no issues. For the trip we averaged 13.4 miles per gallon which is about what I expected. It is relatively maneuverable and we were able to park in downtown areas with no problems at all.
We did not get as full a test of the ability to cut ourselves free from hookups as we would have liked. The majority of the nights on the trip were below freezing, and only two of the nights could be classified as mild, (lows in the 40’s). One night the low was around 7 degrees, and several nights were in the teens. For that reason we spent more time on the grid than we planned. I am fully convinced that this is a true 4 season camper if we work one bug out, the grey water tank has a heater blanket that keeps it from freezing, but the valve to release the water freezes preventing dumping when temperatures are below freezing. The webasto diesel heater really puts out a lot of heat, despite the low temperatures we never set the thermostat at higher than 40% of the dial. The fan and motor do eat up a lot of battery, but when we did sleep without hookups we were able to fully recharge within 2 hours.
Over the course of the trip we became better at managing ourselves and our stuff. The size is perfect for the two of us, and the compromise between the smaller size of the LT and less space for stuff is something I think is going to work for us. I am also wondering if at least for North America we can do without the external storage box.
The quality of the materials in the Tiger have more than met our expectations, and despite some teething problems and a late delivery I am absolutely convinced about the level of craftsmanship and concern for the customer delivered by Mark’s team at Provan.
We spent most of our time without tight deadlines exploring in the Southeast, and it was enjoyable as it is the area of the country we have the least experience with. Some of the highlights were the Redneck Riviera, and the Muscle Shoals area of Alabama. We ran into some unexpectedly good museums and historic sights. After that we were a bit more rushed than we wanted to be due to some unexpected work that came my way. I wish we had one more day at Big Bend, and the Texas hill country, but I expect there are more trips to Texas in our future.
The Malayan attracts a lot of attention. We had over 25 people approach us at varying times during the trip to ask questions and take a look. We saw several people writing down the Provan website that is on the back of the truck.
I am convinced that the investment in the truck is a good one and will meet our needs if we push on to Europe and South America.