CAMPING – CAMPER TRAILERS
In this section we assess the different camping options available. Your chosen style of camping can affect what vehicle you purchase and what other gear you need. We can’t keep up with the myriad brands and models now available, so we’ve chosen representative trailers.
The Ambush Camper is a unique, power-erecting, rear-fold camper trailer that’s designed to carry motorcycles or a quad bike, while providing tent accommodation for singles, couples or families.
After more than two years of development, Cub Campers has released C16, L16 and H16 off-road ‘caravans’.
You may not have heard of Blaze Trailers, but you’ve almost certainly heard of Triple M aluminium ute and truck bodies that have been produced in numbers totalling over 700,000 units, for nearly 50 years. Blaze Trailers is a trailing equipment arm initiative, reflecting three generations of family involvement.
Building on the original Drifter’s success and drawing inspiration from market demands for double-fold camper trailers, Cub Campers has released the Drifter II. The Cub Drifter six-berth family off-roader was launched in the 1970s and continues to evolve today. The GT version was launched in 2023.
At first sight we thought ARB’s Earth Camper was the latest iteration of Track Trailer’s Tvan, but it’s not. ARB is now in the camper trailer business.
Pioneer Campers was taken over by Track Trailer – makers of the famous Tvan – in 2020. The Verve is a derivative of the original 2015 Pioneer Mitchell cross-over van, with input from Track’s engineering
This South Australian manufacturer produces three levels of camper trailer specifications: tent-tops for your box trailer; the Commando camper trailer and the top-shelf Conquest.
Cub’s Escape has been one of its staple rear-fold campers since 2016. It’s a popular off-road Cub model for couples or families wanting more room to move and has been significantly upgraded.
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.
At OTA we purposely avoid testing caravans, because we reckon there are enough people doing that. However, we do like to check out the cross-over van market, typified at the top end by pop-top, single-axle units like Ezytrail’s Parkes Mk2.
Forward-fold campers occupy less ground space and provide a dinette area – just like a small caravan. Cub’s model is truly off-road compatible as well.
The Cub Scout is one of the lightest forward-fold camper trailers on the market and as close to 100-percent Australian-made as you can get, Cub claims.
Stockman has been producing well-engineered, Australian-designed, compact Pod campers for more than 15 years. The company’s latest product offers rapid set-up and pack-away.
Camperact plans to unveil the latest product from BRS Offroad at the Canberra Caravan, Camping and Lifestyle Expo on the 25th October 2019. This is a limited edition release from BRS Offroad that extends the Pursuit Platinum range.
The T4 replaced the Topaz cross-over camper trailer in early 2019. It’s a beautifully Australian designed and built unit with a customisable interior, but this individuality comes at a price.
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.
Track Trailer’s Mate is essentially a Track camper, without the teardrop camper bodywork on top. Instead, the Mate has a box-trailer tub, with an optional pull-out storage drawer, customisable flat panels and storage spaces.
Jayco’s 2019 CrossTrak hybrid camper is aimed at off-roading couples, with low ball weight and tare weight, yet generous payload.
Australia’s number one caravan and RV manufacturer with over 43 years’ experience, Jayco, has launched its inaugural tent-trailer range: JTrak.
This brand has been around for a few years now and seems to have a loyal following. The model range covers the whole camper trailer spectrum, from soft-floor shorty to forward-fold models.
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.
Melbourne-based Opus Camper Trailers has released a joint China-UK-Australian product that is said to be the world’s first self-inflating camper. The canvas roof section is fitted with ‘air beams’ that are electric-pump inflated, to form a camper trailer tent, without the need for booms and poles.
Designed, engineered and extensively tested in Southern Africa the crossover Kavango incorporates Australian componentry that has been tested here – notably independent coil-spring suspension.
Some hybrid and crossover camper trailers make the mistake of being too bulky to fit on many bush tracks, but the Pioneer Mitchell crams a lot of features into a small package.
The Discovery Hybrid is a 4.3-metre (14ft) pop-top camper that is designed to offer the benefits of a caravan with the agility of a camper trailer.
Outback Travel Australia is proud to be associated with a venture to design and construct a camper trailer that’s purpose-built for wheelchair people. The first such product is now doing sterling service for Jol Fleming and his crew,
This company is well known for its high-quality slide-on campers, but the latest release is a Wedgetail factory-designed and built trailer that can mount any of the Wedgetail slide-on variants.
The Ultimate approach to camper trailer design was unique and the brand had a loyal band of followers, before the company was placed in liquidation in October 2018. The OTA Team has put one through a long-term evaluation.
Although the 2014 Quokka is dimensioned like a camper trailer and weighs about the same, it has ample interior space and payload capacity to carry two dirt bikes.
Trayon is best known for its tough but lightweight slide-on campers and the company also uses its slide-on as the basis for a modular camper trailer. It features one of the best suspension designs in the market.
Pioneer Campers is part of the giant Actco-Pickering Group that also makes TSB service bodies for working 4WDs. This fabrication specialist employs the latest CAD-CAM design software and up to date metal cutting and forming tools, giving Pioneer a head start on less equipped camper trailer makers.
The Patriot X1 camper combines a galvanised steel chassis with aluminium body panels and a roof-top tent, for a dry weight from 700kg, making it one of the lightest campers in the marketplace.
The Expedition is Camel’s top model and is one of the best soft-floor camper trailers in the market. The trailer is Australian-made in Brisbane and comes with a leading five-year warranty.
A hard-floor camper keeps the main living area out of the dust and mud, but it can be a business packing a hard-floor camper away when it’s time to move on. Mountain Trail has solved the problem with electric opening and closing, letting one person do the job.
Conqueror has made a name for itself as the producer of tough, steel campers that can take a bush hammering. The UEV-490 Evolution is the company’s top-shelf model.
Vista RV campers are ‘crossover’ designs that blend camper trailer and off road caravan characteristics. These revolutionary vehicles are built in Melbourne, with a very high degree of Australian content. We’ve also tested one in severe outback conditions.
Cub pioneered the flip-top, hard-floor camper in this country and has expanded its range to suit virtually all budgets. The new Supavan Stockman is top of the line and comes with all the bells and whistles you’d want in a 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.
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 fourth generation Tvan was launched in 2016 – the 18th year of manufacture of this revolutionary camper.
Market Direct Campers arrived on the scene in a similar way to that of other low-priced camper trailer importers, but MDC has developed new models and incorporated more local kit.
The highest-specified camper trailer in Outback Travel Australia’s Camper Trailer Torture Test was Kimberley’s Kamper Platinum edition and it also carried the highest price tag, with a RRP of $50,660. We lived with the Platinum model for a month and assessed whether it was worth the asking price.
Cub popularised the flip-over, hard-floor camper design and now has a host of imitators. The Brumby is a true go-anywhere camper, as our testing has shown.
Challenge soft-floor campers are built around a basic trailer platform, to which a long list of equipment and options can be added, so it’s possible to customise your trailer to best suit your needs.
We started organising the OTA Camper Trailer Torture Test almost a year before and we chose a variety of off-road camper trailers for the final six. We towed with two Pajeros, two Challengers and two Tritons.