CAMPING - CAMPER TRAILERS
The BRS Sherpa is a great eye-catcher, but at around sixty grand is at the top end of the ‘teardrop’ camper trailer market. We took one away for a test.
The Sherpa we tested came straight from a well-known camper trailer award event, where it picked up a gong. That surprised us, because we found several problems with this prototype vehicle that you’d think the camper trailer award judges would have spotted.
The most obvious problem was an incorrectly fitted awning bracket. There were also rusting door hinges that turned out to have been made from the wrong material.
There were also signs of dust and water entry in the rear compartment. The makers were apologetic and fixed these issues before our test.
Along with the prototype glitches BSR also replaced the removable jockey wheel with a fixed, swivelling ARK Extreme Off Road 750 dual wheel.
Our evaluation Sherpa was kindly lent to us by the NSW dealer, Camperact.
Accommodation and storage
The Sherpa offered a luxurious sleeping area that doubled as storage space when travelling.
Padded bed heads encouraged LED TV viewing in the sack, but there was no interior seating space.
Also, reclining foot space for tall people was limited by the cupboards at the foot of the bed.
Remote-control, electrically operated side-opening doors allowed easy entry and exit and meshed door openings provided cross ventilation, supplemented by small opening ports.
A travelling couple wouldn’t need more than the foam queen-sized mattress, but two kids can be accommodated in an optional roof-top Alu-Cab unit. That roof-top unit mounted a 200W solar panel that would otherwise mount on roof rails.
The Sherpa was designed for outdoors living, with the rear section opening up to reveal two 30-litre drawer fridges, a drop-down storage unit and a canting drawer.
There was no installed stove, but plenty of space to stow a portable two-burner unit.
The awning was an Alu-Cab Shadow type that swung around from the side to cover the rear section.
Off the right hand side, above the door opening, was a folded shower/toilet enclosure. Optional was a whole tent assembly, to convert the Sherpa into a ‘base station’.
Up front was a large, lidded bin that contained the cabin heater and hot water system, a 125Ah lithium battery and 12/240V charging units.
That bin was flanked by two 20l jerry can holders.
Water storage was in a 200L bladder that stowed inside a body void, not hung underneath.
Nuts ’n’ bolts
The BRS Sherpa was built on a central square-tube ‘spine’ chassis, with tubular outriggers that mounted Cruisemaster trailing arm, coil-sprung suspension, with ‘mandatory’ twin shocks on each wishbone. Air suspension was an option.
Wheels were CSA Raptor 17 x 8 aluminium spoke, shod with 265/65R17 BFG KO2 rubber. Standard was the latest iteration of the DO35 coupling.
The bodywork was welded double-skin aluminium sheet, with a composite FRP roof. The doors were honeycomb composite FRP, with plexiglass windows.
We had some concerns with the door seals that, by design, were very soft. On our test route they didn’t allow any dust inside, but it was disconcerting to be able to push a hand between the body and the doors.
On and off road
The Sherpa’s styling and pricing made us search for the appropriate tow vehicle and we settled on a Range Rover Sport Hybrid. Upwardly mobile couples looked like the target market we thought.
The Sherpa tipped the scales loaded at 1600kg and towed beautifully behind the Rangie. It handled rough gravel and lumpy bitumen roads with ease and followed the Sport anywhere it could go off-road, with some reservations.
Trails that the Sherpa didn’t like were those with overhanging branches, because the awning projected forward of the bodywork, inviting damage should branches get caught between the awning and the body.
Setting up the Sherpa for an overnight stay was easy enough, but roof tent access required some agility. We’re not convinced that the awning would withstand strong winds!
The BRS Off Road Sherpa was a robust design, with eye-catching styling and state of the art electrical system and inclusions. However, it was at the top end of the ‘teardrop’ camper trailer scale and offered sleeping-only interior space.