CAMPING - CAMPER TRAILERS
In a world of mainly look-alike camper trailers, it’s always great to see a different design and the Melbourne-made Kerfton Camper is certainly that.
The Kerfton unit employs a ‘clamshell’ design, which brings back memories of a Cape York trip OTA did, back in the 1980s. We can’t remember the maker who asked us to test this now-defunct small trailer, but we do remember that the gas bottle that we’d stupidly put inside the clamshell bodywork leaked.
Corrugations eventually rattled the stop cock open and the resulting plume of LPG was ignited into a yellow fireball by a tail light spark when we tapped the brakes at the top of a jump-up.
The clamshells tore open in the blast, sending clothes and blankets to drape over nearby beaches. It was one of those incidents that’s funny afterwards. Anyhow, we roped the clamshell body shut every day and continued our odyssey as planned.
Since then, we’ve always had a fondness for clamshell bodies.
The Kerfton Fouray Camper
We’re pleased to report that the twin 4kg LPG bottles in the Kerfton Camper aren’t stowed inside the bodywork, but have their own, vented locker!
The patented Kerfton design is built on a conventional, hot-dip-galvanised steel chassis and independent trailing arm suspension – fortunately with only a pair of shock absorbers, not the fashionable four.
The clamshell bodywork is in moulded FRP and styled to match the shape of the most likely towing vehicles, which is a streamlined, rounded form, not the squared-off, angular design of most campers. The standard gelcoat is white, but that can be painted to match the towing vehicle livery, if required.
In front of the clamshell panels is a storage ‘boot’, with lockable side door access. The boot roof is reinforced, to allow the stowage of firewood.
The Kerfton unit is quite compact for a four-bedder, measuring 4.3 metres OAL when being towed and only 4.8 metres when set up. Height is 1.7 metres when packed up and 2.7 metres with the roof tent erected. Towing width is 1.9 metres and set-up width, 3.6 metres.
Tare weight is around one tonne, depending on selected options and the unladen ball weight is a sensible 100kg. Aggregate trailer mass is 1.6 tonnes, making it a relatively easy load to tow.
The standard water tank is a 63-litre size, mounted behind the axle, but an optional choice is that tank mounted ahead of the axle an an additional 63-litre or 84-litre tank behind the axle. That balanced location should have little effect on ball weight.
Electric brakes – 10-inch standard and 12-inch optional – are fitted inside 16×8 steel wheels, but aluminium wheels are optional.
The camper body opens easily, starting with the rear tailgate that drops to become a staircase, with wide, well-spaced treads and risers that mimic building stairs. The next action is to swing to both sides the kitchen module and the fridge carrier that has a useful drop-down work table. The fridge carrier can stow up to a 78-litre chest fridge.
We like the stainless steel kitchen sink module that sits flat on any surface and can be carried away for washing-up at a campsite kitchen or for emptying. Gas for the two-burner cooktop and water are permanently plumbed-in, so there’s no need to hook up hoses and bottles.
With the kitchen and fridge modules swung out of the way it’s easy to walk inside the camper and install the various spreader bars that hold the tent in place. Fortunately, most of the framework folds with the tent, so is captive. We were concerned that tent erection might be fiddly and time consuming ,but the company’s video below shows how easy it is.
The 10mm-thick innerspring queen bed and 50mm single foam side beds can be left made-up when the camper is packed away.
The interior space has nearly two metres of headroom and can be used as an indoor dining area for up to six people, using the supplied camping table and your own camp chairs. There’s standard strip lighting, a 12V power point, four USBs and a diesel space heater is optional.
A 120Ah AGM deep-cycle battery is standard and a second is optional, fed from the car electrical system via a 12v charger.
Other options are comprehensive: external shower outlet; canvas awning with poles; canvas annex; 240V/15A mains charger; solar-compatible charger; 240V wiring and outlets and 1500W inverter.
As at July 2022 the base Classic vehicle had a RRP of $49,849 and the Elite was an additional $7819. The Elite package included: aluminium wheels ($800); handbrake ($320); dual 63-litre water tanks with gauges and plumbing ($580 – 63+84, $80 extra); diesel hot water and space heating ($5050); shower outlet ($250); additional battery ($500) and 30A battery manager ($1900).
Options in addition to the Classic and Elite levels included: 185mm extended drawbar ($150); 1500W inverter ($2100) and 240V outlet ($480).
The Kerfton Fouray Camper is an innovatively designed camper trailer that looks ideal for family touring. Set-up is quick and accommodation is user friendly,
Pricing is keen, given the standard inclusions and the vehicle’s ease of use.
We’ve asked for a test unit to evaluate more closely, but we’re in the queue, behind eager customers!