CAMPING - CAMPER TRAILERS
Hard-floor campers are easy to set up on any reasonably level surface and make the quickest overnight set-up possible. The Fraser is Complete Campsite’s top-shelf, hard-floor camper trailer.
Complete Campsite’s hard-floors are available across a broad price range and the Fraser sits towards the top end, with a RRP of $49,450. That’s a fair amount of cash, but the tag includes all the bells and whistles: there’s hardly an option list necessary.
The downside of its size and all the kit that can pack into the Fraser is an aggregate trailer mass up to 2000kg and a ball weight of at least 140kg. That means a pretty solid towing vehicle, such as a largish 4WD wagon or a ute. If that box is ticked it’s time to have a close look at the Complete Campsite Fraser model.
The Fraser is built on a chassis that’s welded to a central sheet steel tub and to a drawbar that can be supplied in standard or extended lengths. In the interests of weight reduction the folding hard floor, cupboard doors and bins are formed from aluminium sheet.
A Vehicle Components independent coil-spring suspension is fitted, with single shock absorbers each side and the standard coupling is a Vehicle Components DO35 Mk II unit. We’d suggest a much simpler poly-block coupling.
Standard braking is via 12-inch electric drums and three aluminium road wheels, shod with off road tyres, are also standard. The spare wheel mounts on a side-mounted swing-away carrier that also serves as an electric winch mounting for the hard floor folding system.
‘A place for everything and everything in its place,’ is a useful camping maxim and the Fraser makes it easy to do just that. Sheltered by a stone shield is dedicated space for twin jerry cans and 4.5kg gas bottles, plus a small tank with sight glass that holds diesel for the hot water and room heater systems. Behind them is a top-opening tool box.
Sandwiched between the main tub and the toolbox is a storage compartment fitted with strut-assisted lift-up doors and slides for a 60-litre Engel fridge (Waeco optional), double pantry drawers, optional Honda generator and standard Weber gas BBQ. This compartment has sturdy roof rails and a checker plate upper surface, making it easy to stow items on top.
Nice touches include a folding shelf at the end of the fridge slide, giving you somewhere to put items you’ve plucked out of the fridge; and the lower pantry drawer is deep enough to accept standing wine bottles.
The tub has a kitchen slide-out on the near side, with the added advantage of a 90-degree swing, locating the all-stainless-steel kitchen along the side of the body, rather than poking out at right angles to it. The module includes twin drawers, bench space at each end, a large sink and three burner stove with lift up glass lid that increases bench space when the burners aren’t in action and acts an anti-splatter shield, protecting the side of the camper and the tent.
There’s a gas connection point adjacent to the kitchen, so it’s not necessary to move a bottle into position and a 12V socket at the end of the kitchen, ready to accept the LED strip lighting lead.
On the off side of the camper tub is an access door to the electrical system modules: circuit breaker panel, battery condition monitor, inverter and 12V and 240V chargers. The system integrates with the petrol generator and 120W mono-crystalline solar panel kit that are provided with the Fraser. The solar regulator has Anderson and battery-clamp terminals. Adjacent to the electrical panel is a shower outlet, with hot and cold taps.
At the rear of the camper is door that allows access to the under-bed drawer, so a change of clothes is easy, without the need to open the camper and clamber inside.
Opening the tent could hardly be easier, thanks to powerful gas struts that raise the floor section, pulling the tent open. Angled legs that extend to level the floor have feet with tent-peg holes, but we didn’t find it necessary to peg down the floor section.
With the floor fully opened the tent erection is complete, other than for the need to fit a pair of corner posts to tension the back section of the tent. The hard floor area has ample space for a pair of kids’ bunks, or a small dining setting.
The standard bed is a queen-size innerspring, with zip-closing canvas cover, ensuring no dirt or condensation from the tent can get into the bedding when the tent is folded.
Standard kit with the Fraser is a highly reflective, insulated roof that’s said to work more effectively than a canvas tropical roof. We checked out the interior after the tent had been sitting in strong sunshine for an hour and it was quite cool inside.
An awning is also supplied and it can be flicked back over the roof when not needed. Unlike many awnings it can be left in place and folded with the tent, without any ‘cramming’ being necessary.
The awning isn’t difficult to erect and one person can do the job in about 15 minutes; two people can halve that time. Galvanised steel poles and spreader bars are heavier than aluminium ones, but are much more robust. The poles store under the fridge and pantry slides. When tensioned correctly the awning was wind resistant and wouldn’t need guy ropes and pegs unless there was quite a blow.
With the tent erected and without the four support legs and awning in place the Fraser was surprisingly mobile. Using the ratchet jockey wheel supplied it could be manoeuvred through a wide arc, making it easy to change the view or screen the kitchen area.
Our test vehicle wasn’t provided with optional walls, but with them it’s possible to have quite a private home in the bush. However, it did have a zip-on en suite that erected quickly over the shower connection, with private access through one of the tent’s side doors.
A lot of thought has gone into the Fraser’s fit and finish. We loved the clear plastic strips that overlay the tent zippers and, cleverly, they can be positioned to lie over each other in two directions, effectively rainproofing the zippers, even against wind-driven rain. Small awnings over the doors also keep drips at bay.
The bed base is slatted, for extra comfort and raises on gas struts to reveal a roto-moulded water tank, with integrated baffling. This secure area is also home to batteries, electrical connections and plumbing. With the bed lowered the sliding-kitchen cavity is insect-proofed by under-bed panels, so it’s not necessary to close the kitchen at night to keep creepy-crawlies out of the camper interior.
Packing everything away proved a simple exercise, with the tent and floor folding operation aided by a small electric winch. This unit works from a small remote control, so winching and tucking can be done by one person.
The Complete Campsite Fraser is a beautifully made, carefully thought-out hard-floor camper. It isn’t cheap, but has everything you need to couple up and go, provided you have a suitable tow vehicle. We’d like to see the Fraser designed with a lower ball weight, expanding the number of potential tow vehicles.