CAMPING - CAMPER TRAILERS
The Pod Camper range is one of the few offerings in the Australian camper tailer marketplace that is designed specifically for lightweight camping. Many camper trailers are too heavy and have far too much ball weight for towing by SUVs and small 4WD wagons.
We’ve been trying to get hold of a Pod Camper test trailer for years, but our requests met apparently deaf ears until recently, when the specialist camper trailer dealer, Canberra-based Camperact, opened new doors in Narellan, south-west of Sydney and took on the Pod Camper agency.
Camperact very quickly arranged a test trailer for us and also showed us the full range of Pod Camper options.
The test trailer was an All Roada, fitted with a roof-top tent. The All Roada isn’t the full off-road job the Extreme model is, with its independent suspension, but has a sturdy beam axle and leaf-spring suspension layout. The test vehicle was also fitted with a pair of telescopic dampers.
Like the original Pod Camper the All Roada model featured a lift up plastic lid and plastic tub. Inside the tailgate was a full-length storage drawer and a full-length roll-out kitchen. On top of the racks was a spacious roof-top tent.
The beauty of the entire Pod Camper range is lightweight construction, allowing them to be towed by virtually any vehicle and without the need for a braking system.
As such, towing behind our OTA Suzuki Grand Vitara was a breeze, even up and down the very steep pinch between the NSW towns of Moss Vale and Wollongong. It also rolled across our off-road fire trail test circuit without touching anything.
We reckon the All Roada model is ideal for towing behind any SUV and the Extreme will cope with anything even a hard core 4WD can tow it through.
We didn’t find the roof top tent model very easy to live with. Even as an overnighter, where the tent section needs to be zipped to the section that folds over when the tent is opened, erection was time consuming and we don’t think it would be an easy job for two people in the rain, or in strong wind.
To form the full family tent, with a large zip-on annexe, poles, spreaders and pegs, requires a step ladder and around a half-hour’s assembly time.
Clever touches include a water tap that simply clips into place when the kitchen is rolled out and a collapsible silicone tub in place of a space-robbing pressed metal sink.
It would be OK for a family-based camp that was set up for a week or more, but we know there are two options for quicker camp setup in the Pod Camper range.
The Base Camp 2.7 model is available on the All Roada or Extreme tub. It has no plastic lid, but a soft cover over a large, side-opening tent and queen-sized bed. Setting up the basic tent is easy and there’s an additional zip-on room as well.
The original Pod Camper arrangement is the Kwik Kampa that’s now in its second iteration. In this layout the bed and tent are set longitudinally and the kitchen rolls out sideways from a forward bin. A clip-on awning covers the kitchen.
The Kwik Kampa has a rapid setup, but the tent space isn’t as voluminous as the Base Camp model’s.
The genius of the Pod Camper range is how it manages to accommodate quart-sized tent spaces into pint-sized containers. Pricing starts around 15 grand.