Outdoors

Camping rough: The best off-road campers from the Australian 4x4 Outdoors Expo

Camping rough: The best off-ro...
The best offroad campers Australia has to offer
The best offroad campers Australia has to offer
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Patriot Campers X2
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Patriot Campers X2
Patriot Campers X1 Grand Tourer
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Patriot Campers X1 Grand Tourer
Patriot Campers X1 Grand Tourer
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Patriot Campers X1 Grand Tourer
Patriot Campers X1 Grand Tourer
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Patriot Campers X1 Grand Tourer
Patriot Campers TH610
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Patriot Campers TH610
Patriot Campers TH610 - with some fun wheels in tow
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Patriot Campers TH610 - with some fun wheels in tow
Patriot Campers X2
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Patriot Campers X2
Ford Ranger PXII
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Ford Ranger PXII
Ford Ranger PXII decked out with ARB off-road gear
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Ford Ranger PXII decked out with ARB off-road gear
Can you spot the Iveco truck beneath that camouflage?
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Can you spot the Iveco truck beneath that camouflage?
Yamaha YZX1000R side by side
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Yamaha YZX1000R side by side
Inside the Yamaha YZX1000R side by side
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Inside the Yamaha YZX1000R side by side
The legendary Yamaha Tenere
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The legendary Yamaha Tenere
Australia's Air Opus camping trailer is more rugged than the Air Opus launched in other markets. This off-road-ready version is now finding its way to the US market as the "Outback"
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Australia's Air Opus camping trailer is more rugged than the Air Opus launched in other markets. This off-road-ready version is now finding its way to the US market as the "Outback"
All the mod cons - Air Opus shower attachment
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All the mod cons - Air Opus shower attachment
Forget poles - the Air Opus camping trailer inflates in 90 seconds using an onboard compressor
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Forget poles - the Air Opus camping trailer inflates in 90 seconds using an onboard compressor
Forget poles - the Air Opus camping trailer inflates in 90 seconds - overall setup time takes around 7 minutes
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Forget poles - the Air Opus camping trailer inflates in 90 seconds - overall setup time takes around 7 minutes
Inflation complete - the Air Opus camping trailer 
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Inflation complete - the Air Opus camping trailer 
Air Opus camping trailer - pull-out 4-burner stove
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Air Opus camping trailer - pull-out 4-burner stove
Roomy interior - the Air Opus camping trailer
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Roomy interior - the Air Opus camping trailer
Air Opus camping trailer - sleeping space is located at each end of the trailer
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Air Opus camping trailer - sleeping space is located at each end of the trailer
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The Goodyear BHO3 concept tire generates electricity by converting heat and motion into current as the tire rolls
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The Goodyear BHO3 concept tire generates electricity by converting heat and motion into current as the tire rolls
The Goodyear BHO3 concept tire generates electricity by converting heat and motion into current as the tire rolls
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The Goodyear BHO3 concept tire generates electricity by converting heat and motion into current as the tire rolls
The RAM 1550 Rebel is powered by a 5.7L V8 HEMI engine
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The RAM 1550 Rebel is powered by a 5.7L V8 HEMI engine
The Ford Mustang in Tickford trim
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The Ford Mustang in Tickford trim
Spirit by Mars Campers
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Spirit by Mars Campers
The Rover by Mars Campers features an inbuilt floor
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The Rover by Mars Campers features an inbuilt floor
Darche tents swamp this Toyota Prado
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Darche tents swamp this Toyota Prado
Darche roof-top tents display at the Melbourne 4x4 Expo
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Darche roof-top tents display at the Melbourne 4x4 Expo
Rebel X RAM Concept truck
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Rebel X RAM Concept truck
Rebel X RAM Concept truck
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Rebel X RAM Concept truck
The Johanna by Lumberjack Camper Trailers features a forward folding floor
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The Johanna by Lumberjack Camper Trailers features a forward folding floor
The streamlined Ultimate Xterran camping trailer combines rugged construction below, including a galvanized chassis and independent suspension, with a cozy pop-up tent up top
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The streamlined Ultimate Xterran camping trailer combines rugged construction below, including a galvanized chassis and independent suspension, with a cozy pop-up tent up top
The streamlined Ultimate Xterran weighs in at roughly 1,875 lb (850 kg)
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The streamlined Ultimate Xterran weighs in at roughly 1,875 lb (850 kg)
The Nexus is Ultimate Camper's latest camping trailer and its flagship
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The Nexus is Ultimate Camper's latest camping trailer and its flagship
The all-new Nexus has an upgraded interior versus other Ultimate camping trailers
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The all-new Nexus has an upgraded interior versus other Ultimate camping trailers
The Ultimate Nexus interior includes a leather couch and king-size bed
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The Ultimate Nexus interior includes a leather couch and king-size bed
A carbon fiber countertop adds to the Ultimate Nexus' high-end look and feel
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A carbon fiber countertop adds to the Ultimate Nexus' high-end look and feel
Inside the Ultimate Nexus
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Inside the Ultimate Nexus
The streamlined Ultimate Xterran
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The streamlined Ultimate Xterran
With the Nexus, Ultimate launched a new option: an indoor Sony projector system for watching movies and videos at camp
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With the Nexus, Ultimate launched a new option: an indoor Sony projector system for watching movies and videos at camp
Gecko Campers roof-top tent and pod
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Gecko Campers roof-top tent and pod
Gecko Campers pod
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Gecko Campers pod
Gecko Campers pod
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Gecko Campers pod
Gecko Campers pod
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Gecko Campers pod
Gecko Campers innovative set-up at the Melbourne 4x4 Expo
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Gecko Campers innovative set-up at the Melbourne 4x4 Expo
Stoney Creek Campers SC-FF model
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Stoney Creek Campers SC-FF model
Stoney Creek Campers SC-FF model
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Stoney Creek Campers SC-FF model
Track Trailer introduced the Firetail last year, a special edition made to celebrate 18 years of its rugged Tvan trailer 
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Track Trailer introduced the Firetail last year, a special edition made to celebrate 18 years of its rugged Tvan trailer 
The Track Trailer Firetail features a special look and savings on popular premium options
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The Track Trailer Firetail features a special look and savings on popular premium options
Track Trailer 2017 MK4 Tvan
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Track Trailer 2017 MK4 Tvan
Track Trailer 2017 MK4 Tvan
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Track Trailer 2017 MK4 Tvan
Inside the Track Trailer 2017 MK4 Tvan
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Inside the Track Trailer 2017 MK4 Tvan
Shown here in top-tier Murranji trim, the 2017 Track Trailer Tvan MK5 is the latest iteration of the Tvan, bringing improvements like a higher roof and quick-lift deck
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Shown here in top-tier Murranji trim, the 2017 Track Trailer Tvan MK5 is the latest iteration of the Tvan, bringing improvements like a higher roof and quick-lift deck
Gathering storm clouds and a slippery ramp didn't stop the Cam White Pro BMX team from putting on a show
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Gathering storm clouds and a slippery ramp didn't stop the Cam White Pro BMX team from putting on a show
Gathering storm clouds and a slippery ramp didn't stop the Cam White Pro BMX team from putting on a show
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Gathering storm clouds and a slippery ramp didn't stop the Cam White Pro BMX team from putting on a show
Gathering storm clouds and a slippery ramp didn't stop the Cam White Pro BMX team from putting on a show
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Gathering storm clouds and a slippery ramp didn't stop the Cam White Pro BMX team from putting on a show
Inflatable Nassau canoe
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Inflatable Nassau canoe
Kawasakis of the water-going variety featured as part of the boating display
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Kawasakis of the water-going variety featured as part of the boating display
JV Marine world 530 Freestyler
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JV Marine world 530 Freestyler
JV Marine World YF7600
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JV Marine World YF7600
2017 Malibu MXZ speedboat
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2017 Malibu MXZ speedboat
2017 Malibu MXZ speedboat
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2017 Malibu MXZ speedboat
The seating lounge aboard the 2017 Malibu MXZ speedboat
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The seating lounge aboard the 2017 Malibu MXZ speedboat
A very different kind of off-road vehicle: the Australian-designed Swoosh snow sailer
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A very different kind of off-road vehicle: the Australian-designed Swoosh snow sailer
We've chatted with Swoosh pioneer Charles Werb and will have a full article on his contraption and Antarctic adventures soon
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We've chatted with Swoosh pioneer Charles Werb and will have a full article on his contraption and Antarctic adventures soon
The best offroad campers Australia has to offer
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The best offroad campers Australia has to offer

Australia is a rugged place, and that makes for some of the most rugged camping conditions you'll find anywhere in the world. It follows that the local market boasts some of the sturdiest off-road camping trailers out there. The cream of the crop were gathered at the National 4x4 Outdoors Show in Melbourne this weekend, and New Atlas ventured there for a closer look. From the innovative Air Opus to all but unbreakable Patriot trailers, here's our selection of the best the show had to offer – plus a few notable extras from the world of camping, boating and beyond.

Patriot Campers tires you out and puts a pillow under your head

We last saw Patriot Campers a few months ago at Overland Expo in the US, where it's focused on bringing in its hard-nosed small trailers. Here in its home market, it has more than just the compact X1 and X2 box trailers, offering massive toy haulers-cum-campers that just scream "off-road fun!"

Patriot Campers TH610
Patriot Campers TH610

We looked at Patriot's TH610 a few years ago, and it's even more impressive in person. The trailer includes an X1-style camper box up front with a 5.6-foot (1.7-m) bed behind it for resting your favorite toys. Available equipment like a boat loader and outboard motor holder provide more flexibility in what toys you invite along for the ride. Built-in deck stereo speakers and a "man cave" with swing-out BBQ make the TH610 a whole lot of fun at camp. It starts at AU$59,990 (approx. US$47,370), and the model in the photos is optioned up to just over AU$65,000.

Track Trailer goes MK5 on the Tvan

One of the most recent camping trailers to find its way to the pages of New Atlas, the Track Trailer Tvan MK5 introduces some seriously smart improvements over its predecessor without losing any of its towable battering ram charm. New to the trailer are its higher roof, Skyward Lift-Up Deck, quick awning and removable Fusion Stereoactive Bluetooth sound system. Providing structure and strength are the hot dipped galvanized chassis, military-grade suspension, and steel and aluminum body.

Shown here in top-tier Murranji trim, the 2017 Track Trailer Tvan MK5 is the latest iteration of the Tvan, bringing improvements like a higher roof and quick-lift deck
Shown here in top-tier Murranji trim, the 2017 Track Trailer Tvan MK5 is the latest iteration of the Tvan, bringing improvements like a higher roof and quick-lift deck

The Tvan MK5 gives campers the option of popping the liftgate in back and being in bed behind four hard walls in under a minute or dropping the hard floor, deploying the rear tent, and enjoying a larger interior with both hard and soft sides. Standard and premium kitchen options give chefs of all stripes the tools they need to make savory backcountry gourmet creations. Solar power comes standard.

Much like an automobile, the Tvan Track Trailer comes in four different trims, starting between AU$52,990 and AU$76,900.

Mars Rover explores worldly and otherworldly limits

An easy winner of "best trailer name," the Rover from Mars Campers is a very different style of Mars Rover made for a very different style of exploration. On the ride, this rugged little box tows over all kinds of rough, off-camber ground thanks to its hot dipped galvanized chassis, independent trailing arm suspension, twin gas shocks and 16-in alloy wheels. The included roof rails and mounting points help it shoulder a load.

The choice of "hard floor" versus "soft floor" trailer may not ring bells with consumers in other markets, but it's a major decision for Australian trailer buyers, and Mars sums up the advantage of the hard floor quite well: "One of the most common points of contention for people who aren't enthused by camping in a camper trailer is that they don't get to enjoy the same level of comfort that they do at home or in a caravan or hotel room. Hard floor camper trailers aim to alleviate this objection by providing a hard floor off the ground and all the comforts of home, including running water, fridge, cooktop and more."

The Rover by Mars Campers features an inbuilt floor
The Rover by Mars Campers features an inbuilt floor

Like the Track Tvan, the Mars Rover is a hard floor camper, its winch-assisted fold-out rear deck sliding a floor below your feet. So instead of stepping out of the queen bed and onto bumpy canvas, your feet are treated to a warm, level floor that looks fit for a living room. Mars says the main tent takes just 5 minutes to set up, while stringing up the full awning ups that to closer to 30 minutes. Other Rover features include a slide-out kitchen with three-burner stove and sink, an expandable 100 Ah battery-based electrical system, a 125L water tank, and available solar panel and stereo system. The floor is hard, but the soft poly-cotton canvas sides and simple layout make the Rover the cheapest camping trailer on this list by far, starting at AU$15,490.

Ultimate Campers earns its name

The Nexus is Ultimate Camper's latest camping trailer and its flagship
The Nexus is Ultimate Camper's latest camping trailer and its flagship

We looked at Ultimate Campers' new Nexus a few months ago, and in Melbourne we got to have a closer look around. The Nexus rides to camp on a burly Duragal steel chassis and trailing arm suspension system before popping open into an elegant sleeper with king-size bed, leather couch and full kitchen. Available features even include a carbon fiber countertop and laser projector system.

The all-new Nexus has an upgraded interior versus other Ultimate camping trailers
The all-new Nexus has an upgraded interior versus other Ultimate camping trailers

If the Nexus' AU$73,500 price tag scares you off, Ultimate offers a number of models below it, featuring the same rugged chassis construction and watertight body. The company also had the AU$58,900, mid-level Xterran on display in Melbourne. While the Xterran's overall feel and materials aren't as comfy or stylish as the Nexus', the model does include comforts like the king-size bed and kitchen with dual-burner stove, sink and 110L fridge.

Opus blows up your campsite

Like Patriot's X1 and X2, the Air Opus is an example of a tough, Australian-market camper with global appeal. In contrast to the Air Opus models initially prepared for markets like the UK and the US, the Australian-market Air Opus introduced earlier this year is built atop a tough, off-road-ready platform with galvanized chassis, independent coil spring suspension and off-road tires. With its reinforced lids and built-in racking, it can haul all kinds of toys to camp.

Inflation complete - the Air Opus camping trailer 
Inflation complete - the Air Opus camping trailer 

Instead of making you deal with cranks and pole systems, this convenient pop-up uses a push-button inflation system to blow up into form in just 90 seconds. The Air Opus trades out the traditional Opus indoor kitchen for an outdoor slide-out with extra-roomy four-burner stove and sink. The refrigerator mounts on a separate slide-out. Inside, there's sleeping space for up to six and a cozy wraparound couch.

Opus was advertising a "Ready to Roll" package price of AU$28,990 at the show, which includes optional extras like a second 100 Ah battery, inflatable annex and dual-80L water tank set-up. An "Outback" model based on the Australian-market Opus is making its way over to the US as both an inflatable and regular pop-up trailer.

Head on through to our gallery for a look at more of the highlights from last weekend's National 4x4 Outdoors Show.

2 comments
Wolf0579
If people really need all that stuff... you should just stay home, and not adversely impact the wilderness, and the animals that live there.
ljaques
I was impressed with Patriot X1 last year, and I like the Tvan even better, all compact and nice. Well, that was before I saw the prices. (Scratch off that pair of skivvies. Pinched a buttonhole in the back, I did.) But when I saw the Malibu boat priced at more than I paid for my HOUSE, I couldn't keep in the ironic laughter any more. That settled things on which new RV I would buy. Yup, you guessed it: a covered hammock/sleeping bag with mosquito net. No mortgages, no loans, or nuttin'.