CAMPING - CAMPER TRAILERS
Conqueror has managed to pack an enormous amount of storage space into the UEV-345’s three-metre body length. It replaces the previous UEV-360 and promises good family camping.
The UEV-345 is a soft-floor camper that packs generous storage space into a short but tall towing package. Like all Conquerors the structure is CNC-cut and shaped sheet steel that’s electro-plated and epoxy-coated. Body joins are glued and screwed and chassis beams are hot-dip galvanised.
Running gear includes Treg poly-block coupling, solid beam axle, leaf springs and shock absorbers, and 10-inch electric brakes.
Conquerors are well accepted for their clever use of storage space, with innovations that include soft-pack sleeves for crockery and cutlery, and wine bottle racks that prevent breakages when travelling over rough roads.
The UEV-345’s storage space is made user-friendly by eight large lidded bins and numerous soft pockets.
Standard equipment is generous as well, including three aluminium wheels shod with 245/70R16 off-road tyres, quality National Lunar fridge/freezer, 105AH deep cycle battery, 240V/12V battery charger, twin 75-litre water tanks (total 150L), huge 2.1m x 2.1m bed (larger than king size), 12V power outlets, LED lighting, ground sheets, shovel, axe, military-grade, rip stop canvas tent and vinyl awning.
Te soft-floor room has ample space for a set of bunks for the kids, plus the bonus of an elevated king-sized bed.
The work spaces are larger than those in many camper trailers, helped by the fact that with the tall side-access doors fold down to form bench tops. Even the base model comes with a signature mini bar.
Options are a stone guard and a magnetic, military-grade electrical connector.
Weights are on the low side, broadening the range of possible tow vehicles: tare 900kg, ball weight (empty) 30kg and ATM is 1500kg.
It has been specifically designed as a lightweight unit easily towed by mid-size vehicles, with compact length and good clearance.
The UEV-345 Escape is a premium model that features additional specifications and upgrades, including a DO35 coupling, nosecone and dual 4kg gas bottles. The UEV-345 Escape also comes with a gas hot water unit that that connects to a shower and the kitchen. In addition to the awning, cutlery, crockery and glassware that come standard, this model also boasts the Conqueror BBQ grill, a portable stove and a fridge/freezer.
The Conqueror UEV-345 can be set up for an overnight stay by a couple in only two minutes, but for family sleeping the set up time is nearer 20 minutes.
For a prolonged stay, with the optional L-shaped large awning deployed you’d need around 40 minutes.
Opening up the camper proved easy enough, thanks to gas-strut assistance and the bed floor is restrained simply by chains that limit its travel. The soft-floor ‘room’ measured about the same size as the giant bed space, making ample room for a pair of kids’ bunks. Under-bed space incorporated a secluded ‘cocktail bar’ with wine storage and counter space.
Ventilation was aided by bed windows that could be opened and closed from within the camper, by the simple expedient of pulling ‘up’ and ‘down’ draw strings.
The kitchen space was larger than that in most campers, because the tall right hand side door folded down, forming a benchtop with ample room for a portable stove. (Conqueror doesn’t fit a stove, reasoning that people have their own cooking style preferences.) The dropped-down door revealed a huge pantry area and the camper’s rear door raised on gas struts, exposing the fridge, on its slide. Washing up was made easier by a rack that held a pair of plastic sinks.
We loved Conqueror’s BBQ plate that stowed neatly in the spare wheel well.
At a RRP of only 25 grand the Conqueror was judged excellent for longer-stay, family camping.
The downside with Conqueror trailers is their sheet-steel body construction. Our long-term test experience is that rust can become a problem unless maintenance
is planned – even in Alice Springs.
Now superseded by the UEV-345 the UEV 360 is still available in the used-camper marketplace. It was designed primarily for a touring couple, or for a couple with kids who can sleep in an optional add-on tent section.
For a couple wanting an overnight home on the track the UEV-360 can be set up in a couple of minutes, by raising the hard roof, clipping rolled-up canvas side extensions to a pair of spring-steel bows and zipping on a rear privacy panel. Sleeping four requires the add-on tent to be connected to the back of the trailer.
For longer-duration camping the UEV-360 can be ordered with a side awning that covers the kitchen area, or with an L-shaped awning that covers the rear
as well. All awnings are made from PVC rather than canvas, making them much more compact and allowing stowage in ‘sausage’ bags on the camper side
and back panels.
Conquerors are built in South Africa, but are given the Oz-compatibility treatment when they arrive at Conqueror Australia’s Queensland HQ. Off come the
standard mechanical brakes, coil springs and dampers and on go King Springs, Koni shocks and AL-KO heavy duty stub axles, bearings and off-road electric
Trailer electricals, including lightweight deep cycle batteries, are also Australianised. The stub axles can be specified to a length that ensures wheel track matches that of the towing vehicle.Thus packaged, Conquerors have completed many thousands of kilometres of on and off road testing under Australian conditions.
Conquerors are distinguished by their mainly-metal construction, using a combination of steel and aluminium parts. Time consuming shaping of panels to
confer strength is used instead of the cheaper and heavier panel on frame method. Where aluminium and steel co-join the connections are insulated by neutral materials or pre-powder-coated holes.
The UEV-360 derives its model number from an overall length of 3.68m. Into its compact shape the UEV-360 squeezes a 74-litre fridge freezer; 90L water tank; two 100AH batteries; Tregg coupling, marine-style control panel with charger, tank monitor and circuit breakers; double bed; hard-roof; large table; generous roll-out kitchen; storage cupboards and drawers; and gas bottle and jerry can holders.
Storage racks are provided on top of the fridge box and the hard roof and these are designed to use military-type, clip-on, tie-down rings.
On and Off Road
Our test vehicle was a brand new UEV-360, optioned with an L-shaped awning, National Luna fridge/freezer, BBQ-plate, camping table, LED strip lights, various canvas utility and storage bags, gas bottles, jerry cans, bush tools, electric water pump and an under-bed drawer, adding around six grand to the base price of $29,300.
Coupling the UEV-360 to our tow-test vehicle, a LandCruiser 78 Series tray back, was a doddle and the nose height matched the Toyota’s tongue perfectly. Ball weight ranges from around 80kg, depending on fridge and storage rack loads.
With only a full water tank and not much cargo on board the UEV-360 towed very easily behind the ‘Cruiser’s big V8 diesel and there was very little to-ing and fro-ing transmitted through the coupling. AL-KO’s latest brake package certainly has some grabbing power, so we backed off the Redarc brake controller to suit.
Rough roads and tracks showed off the Conqueror’s independent suspension to best effect, with the trailer bobbing around much less than the ‘Cruiser’s lively leaf-sprung rear end.
Manoeuvring the UEV-360 was a tad tricky, thanks to a short drawbar that ensured minimal cut-in on tight bush tracks (an optional longer bar is available), but we soon adapted to the need to ‘catch’ trailer movement quickly when reversing. Conqueror’s stabiliser legs act as corner posts when they’re retracted, so it was easy to judge the trailer’s nether region position.
On the Beach
After a drop in tyre pressures the Toyota/Conqueror combination made light work of very soft, windblown sand and we scooted along the high-tide mark with few engine revs on the clock. At our desired post we backed up to the vegetated bank and set up camp.
Step one was to check out the ease of an overnight set-up – roof up, bed extended, canvas rear panels clipped on, rear wall zipped in, kitchen rolled out, table erected, stove in place and coldies in hand – accomplished in about five minutes.
The hard roof carries the hefty spare wheel and tyre up with it, but spring-assisted rams do all the hard work. Next, we put up the L-shaped awning in the teeth of a strong nor’ east sea breeze, using the steel poles provided and that added around 15 minutes.
A quicker set up would have been to erect just the side awning, without zipping on the L-shaped bit. The fact that Conqueror’s awnings are attached to the vehicle panels overcomes the main difficulty of attaching an awning to a camper.
This job is usually such a pain that most owners don’t do it unless they’re camped for a week or so. Conqueror’s PVC material certainly made awning handling a lightweight task, compared with lifting canvas sheets that size. Waterproof characteristics aren’t an issue, but we do wonder about long-term durability: time will tell.
With all-metal work surfaces and table the UEV-360 kitchen area should certainly prove durable, but we imagine most owners will use cutting boards to spare
the powder-coat finish.
Lighting all around the trailer was made easy by the provision of six 12V Hella plugs and a 240V outlet.
Sleeping in the UEV-360 isn’t a problem and access is made simple by a clip-on ladder. The awnings provide excellent campsite cover and can be supplemented
with zip-on walls, for additional weather protection.
Packing up was an easy job, provided two pairs of hands rolled the awnings away. The main downside with used Conqueror units is their sheet-steel body construction. We know of several units with rust issues, even in Alice Springs.