Bailey Rangefinder Comet

By: Cameron Officer, Photography by: Cameron Officer


Bailey Rangefinder Comet review Bailey Rangefinder Comet review
Bailey Rangefinder Comet review Bailey Rangefinder Comet review
Bailey Rangefinder Comet review Bailey Rangefinder Comet review
Bailey Rangefinder Comet review Bailey Rangefinder Comet review
Bailey Rangefinder Comet review Bailey Rangefinder Comet review
Bailey Rangefinder Comet review Bailey Rangefinder Comet review
Bailey Rangefinder Comet review Bailey Rangefinder Comet review
Bailey Rangefinder Comet review Bailey Rangefinder Comet review
Bailey Rangefinder Comet review Bailey Rangefinder Comet review

MCD checks out the Bailey Rangefinder Comet

Ah, that reliably brilliant Kiwi summer. Sand, surf and above all, sun.

Okay yes, I’m being utterly facetious. Once again, this season, as December faded into January, we were reminded that the ‘proper’ summer weather—the sort of stuff you see in advertisements for ice cream—seems to come much later than it used to. Ironically, it usually turns up at about the same time the kids go back to school. Christmas and New Year’s touring time though? Not a chance.

So with summer adventuring in mind, in my opinion, the lighter and brighter your caravan’s interior, the better. Because if you’re on the road over the festive season, chances are you’ll need all the natural light you can get in some of Aotearoa’s premier sunny spots. Otherwise, you’ll be giving the house battery a darn good workout.

Enter the light and bright Bailey Rangefinder Comet—the just-arrived top shelf edition of this Aussie manufacturer’s well-respected model offering.

WINDOWS ON THE WORLD

The Comet is as good as it gets within the Rangefinder lineup. You only need to run a finger down the lengthy standard specification list to have that confirmed. But for me there’s a distinct less-is-more equation at play here, too; nothing to do with the Comet’s feature set, more to do with the walls-to-windows ratio. Less wall panelling and more double glazing make the Comet a winner for the summer season.

The view looking from the kitchenette amidship back towards the front of the caravan is the most rewarding. Step in and turn around to face where you’ve come from; the view is framed through seven individual windows (eight if you count the door). It makes for a light, bright, and inviting interior that extends from the primary living space back towards the sleeping quarters.

BAILEY-RANGEFINER-4

The aforementioned kitchen is a bright workspace, augmented with plenty of cupboard space above the bench. The 185-litre, three-way fridge sits tidily opposite, while above the microwave cubby and recessed three-in-one mini grill, the Comet’s tapware and benchtop materials speak of top quality options.

The dining/breakfast table is freestanding and can be placed wherever required, meaning meals can be enjoyed inside or out if the summer weather allows for the latter without needing to be wrapped up in Ranulph Fiennes-approved thermal wear.

SLIDE SHOW

Not only does the Bailey Rangefinder Comet provide a nice, bright environment whichever way the weather might turn, there is also plenty of space inside, thanks to this model’s fully-automated, mechanised slide-out.

The slide-out is configured around the queen bed, which is positioned in an east-west format. Keep your finger on a button inside the main entry door and a robust motor eases the slide-out into position, creating comfortable walking space past the foot of the bed to the bathroom at the rear.

Built into the wall opposite the bed-end is neat hideaway stowage for a retractable flat screen TV. The cabinetry also features a built-in speaker panel and cupboards at either side, which will prove handy for DVDs, books, games and other ‘indoors in summertime’ stuff.

Like the kitchen, the bathroom is notable for both high quality features and plenty of storage.

In addition to the separate shower, vanity, and ceramic toilet, the Comet also comes with a standard 2.5kg capacity washing machine hidden out of sight.

MEASURING UP

A few issues back, I took a look at this caravan’s sibling in Bailey’s Rangefinder lineup, the Nebula. Until the Comet arrived, the Nebula was the range-topper-in-residence and—minor detailing aside—it’s really the Comet’s slide-out that separates the two. In fact, you’ll need to look closely at both Rangefinder options if you’re wishing to play in this field, as there are pros and cons inherent in each layout.

The queen island bed at the back of the Nebula, for example, means the sleeping quarters can easily be sectioned off from the main living space. You can’t do this with the centrally-located queen bed in the Comet, although the slide-out gives you much more room by way of compromise.

Both caravans are almost lineball in every dimension, although the Comet is slightly shorter externally (8120mm versus 8500mm). Again though, the Comet’s slide-out arrangement more than makes up for the shortfall with extra configurable width.

BAILEY-RANGEFINER-3

Both caravans share the same interior heights, but the Comet builds on the Nebula’s already-impressive carrying capacity of 500kg by another 100kg.

Interestingly, Bailey refers to the Comet as a 2+2-berth as opposed to a four-berth like the Nebula, despite both models relying on the deployment of the U-shaped sofa up front for third and fourth occupants. Perhaps with the centrally-located queen bed in the slide-out, the manufacturer envisions the Comet as more of a grand touring option for couples rather than families. Another difference between the two models is the rollout awning system. The Nebula remains affixed to the body of the caravan at the base of its extendable legs, while the Comet features a newer system (by Dometic), which has the legs swing out from the caravan body independently. I suppose the idea is to provide a wider shade area, although my first impression is that it’s a bit more cumbersome than the Nebula’s system, requiring two people to deploy. Practice would no doubt make perfect here though. Just add sun, right?

Like the Rangefinder Nebula, the Comet is constructed on a tough DuraGal steel chassis and features fibreglass impact-resistant body panels, impact-resistant bumpers, and corner mouldings and Grade III high-density thermal insulation; handy for those balmy early-January evenings.

VERDICT

The Comet represents another heavy-hitter from Bailey. Local distributor TrailLite really push the quality aspect in their homegrown motorhomes. So, it’s perhaps no surprise they’re backing a premium brand such as this when it comes to their entry into the ready-made caravan market.

The Comet is a class act. The price of entry won’t suit every budget, but it certainly shines brightly. You can see the quality from the moment you enter, and even in the depths of a ‘great Kiwi summer’, you can see everything you need to inside, thanks to perhaps the most light, airy, and spacious caravan interior on the market right now. 

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