CAMPING - CAMPER TRAILERS
The Ambush Camper is a unique, power-erecting, rear-fold camper trailer that’s designed to carry motorcycles or a quad bike, while providing tent accommodation for singles, couples or families.
Canvas can be ‘camo’ patterned or plain
Well-respected east coast distributor Camperact introduced this Australian-made camper to the market at the Sydney 4WD Adventure Show that opened at Eastern Creek on 8th September, 2023.
At launch, the Ambush Camper was offered in on-road or off-road specification, with the main differences being suspension, wheels and tyres.
Both specifications had the same extruded-aluminium bodywork, electric power-fold hard floor, storage bin, Australian-canvas tent and ’bush toy’ carrying deck, with ramps, tracks and tie down points.
The concept of a toy-carrying camper trailer has been tried before, but not with such compact dimensions and certainly not with the ease of a powered opening system, in place of the usual ratchet winch arrangement.
The Ambush powered opening system relied on a patented arrangement on each side of the camper, with electric actuators and a double-link design that included a ‘secret’ ram cylinder. Very strong, machined billet-aluminium brackets were proportioned to carry the considerable loads imposed by a rear-lift design.
Another highlight for us was the design of the air suspension on the off-road model. This air/leaf design was virtually scaled-down version of the trailer suspensions used on nearly every semi-trailer, B-Double and ‘dog’ trailer in Australia.
Leaf springs bolted to a square tubular axle and air springs sat above the attachment point, with angle-mounted Bilstein shocks being the axle. This arrangement has been proved to give excellent ride quality and inbuilt anti-sway properties, because the bolted together leaf springs and axle work like a transverse anti-sway bar.
In our opinion and that of every global vehicle maker, it’s a much better arrangement than the common trailing arm suspension used by many camper trailer and caravan makers in Australia. No modern car or 4WD manufacturer uses trailing arm suspension.
Our brief introductory walk-around confirmed Ambush’s claim for power erection of the tent in around two minutes, but, as with all tent-based camper trailers, fitting the standard awning was a much longer process that would normally be done only for stays longer than overnight.
The tent featured nine midge-proof meshed windows and doors; a composite hard floor; queen-sized air mattress and LED lighting.
Air mattresses can allow cold creep in from below, so a clever option provided was a 12V electric blanket!
The low height of the load deck limits the volume of the camping body that has to accommodate the folded tent and bows, so thin mattresses are better than thick ones. The camper we inspected could also fit folded camping chairs on top of the bedding, but a thicker foam mattress would mean those chairs would need to go inside the tow vehicle.
The $44,000 basic on-road model had a launch specification that included a 200-litre front storage bin; 55-litre water tank; leaf springs and 205/65R15 tyres; wheels with Holden or Falcon stud pattern; 10-inch electric brakes; on-road DO35 coupling, Australian-steel, zinc- and powder-coated chassis; 70 Ah lithium battery; DC/DC charger with solar input; 350W inverter and 1200kg aggregate trailer mass (ATM), with claimed 120-170kg towball weight.
The off-road model came with the above kit, plus variable-height air suspension; 265/75 R16 off-road tyres; off-road DO35 coupling; Dometic three-burner, slide-out kitchen, in lieu of two-burner Ambush kitchen; 95-litre capacity fridge slide in lieu of 60-litre slide capacity; 100Ah lithium battery in lieu of 70Ah and 1400kg ATM, with claimed 160-200kg ball weight.
Claimed payload capacity was 500-600kg for the on-road model and 600kg for the off-roader, but that was obviously dependent on any added options. The load deck was set up to carry one, two or three motorbikes, or a quad bike, or compact side-by-side.
Options included an additional 55-litre water tank; the fridge of your choice; additional 100Ah lithium battery; two-burner Ambush kitchen in the off-road model; crockery and cutlery set; tropical roof; annex; spare wheel and tyre; and different trailer couplings.