The best of Aussie-style off-road camping from the 2019 Australian 4x4 Outdoor Expo
Australia is nearly the size of the United States, but has less than a tenth of its population, mainly dotted around the perimeter. It's a rough, rugged and beautiful country, and it offers some of the toughest and most rewarding camping on the planet.
The off-road industry is perenially strong in Australia, and has a style all of its own. Heavy duty, go-anywhere camper trailers and rugged hybrid caravans are the order of the day, with a few other ideas based around the well-known Aussie love affair with the "ute," or pickup truck. Here are our favorite picks from the Australian 4x4 Outdoors Expo in Melbourne.
The Humble Swag
When you ain't got much money or much interest in fiddling about with tents, the great Aussie swag is a quick, cheap way to sleep under the stars. Most come with a mattress, and they roll up into canvas bags you can chuck in most any car's boot. That's throw in the trunk for our American cousins. These are by 23Zero, but there are dozens of companies making them.
Darche's 4WD camping add-ons
Another way to get going quickly and relatively cheaply is to festoon your 4WD with pull-out and pop-up accessories. Darche hit the expo with a dazzling range of reasonably priced camping gear ready to turn any "fourby" into a multi-story outback hotel.
Patriot's Land Cruiser Desert Ops Supertourer
These retro colors are back in style, and if you can't pick up a good thrift shop polo-shirt from the 70s, the next best thing might just be this monster twin cab Land Cruiser conversion that Patriot's built specifically to haul its equally funky X1-N Desert Ops trailer below. Check out the full story here.
The monstrous CRZRVAN
So fresh the company doesn't even have a website yet, CRZRVAN (pronounced cruiservan) is making gigantic, super-heavy-duty hard-top caravans that look like they belong to a private militia on the outside, but are decked out in super-stylish luxury in the interior, as shown below.
Global Explorer 4x4, by Australian Outback Adventure
Take one Mitsubishi Fuso Canter light truck, spec it up with chunky 37-inch super single wheels and stick a luxury camper on the back, and you've got the Global Explorer, a gigantic two-person transcontinental tourer costing AU$181,400 (US$123,000). Interior photos in the gallery.
The Air Opus OP2 "inflatable" trailer
We've seen the Air Opus gear and its self-inflating pop-up canopy before, but it just doesn't get old – and the absolutely cavernous living space it creates has ceilings so high you can barely touch them. At AU$28,990 (US$19,660), it's a terrific option at the lower end of the mid range. Take a look at what this thing looks like inside:
Track Trailer's 2019 Zenith Mk.5
One of the more expensive trailers at the expo, the AU$76,720 (US$52,000) Zenith is a nuggety, aerodynamic and tough pod camper with extendable awnings, pop-out kitchenware and a fold-out entrance tent to give you a bit of hang-out space when the weather turns wet or hot.
Austrack's tiny Simpson rooftop trailer
Fold-out living accommodations up top, everything else underneath. The Simpson X is a super-tough, very compact two-person camper that comes fully set up with awning, water tank, fridge/freezer, hot shower, portaloo, solar power and gas cooktops for AU$17,990 (US$12,200.) Check the gallery for other similar options from companies like Stoney Creek Campers.
Isuzu's D-Max and MU-X concepts
A pair of monster off-roaders with 38-inch wheels, 7-inch lifts on the suspension and custom bodywork in the name of super-tough off-road cred. Check the MU-X below.
Tommy Campers' slide-on ute camper
Business at the front, party at the back. The great Aussie ute gets a super-neat camping accessory that sits in your backyard on legs when it's not in use, leaving your ute tray free for weekday activities. Then, when it's time to let your hair down and hit the great outdoors, you can back up and bolt the Tommy Camper on in minutes, to make a comfy and well-appointed camper out of any pickup.
Ultimate Nexus 360
A pricey bit of kit at AU$75,990 (US$51,500), the Nexus 360 builds on Ultimate's previous offerings to offer king bed comfort, sleeping quarters for as many as seven people, external cooking and BBQ, hot water, heating, carbon benchtops and a 360-degree awning all round, folding down into a super-compact, aerodynamic and funky looking package.
Alu-Cab's pop-top camper fitouts
For less than AU$10,000 (US$6,800), Alu-Cab will equip your 2007-onwards Landcruiser with a rooftop tent and 270-degree awning. Simple and effective.
There's a ton more in the gallery, jump in and enjoy the best from down under.