Cub Brumby Review

David Cook — 18 April 2019
Camper saddles up and rides the new Brumby away into the sunset.

Like all bar one of the Cub models, the Brumby is a rearfold design. The whole camper can be erected and packed up single-handed – I did it without a lot of sweating and swearing – and has pretty much everything you’d need to be comfortable and secure a long way from civilisation, or in an urban campground in a resort area.

Like all good campers, the Brumby sits on a sound chassis and drawbar, in this case a pre-galvanised 50 x 100mm structure that continues from the hitch to the rear crossmember. It sits on a bolted-in independent trailing arm suspension, with Rox shocks, coil springs and 10in electric drums. It’s a combination that worked well for us, whether we were towing along sand, up a steep dirt track, across a paddock or along a four-lane highway.

The whole package rolls on 17in black alloys with 265/65R17 Goodyear all terrain rubber, though the spare is a steel rim unless optioned up.

The front of the camper attaches via an AL-KO offroad ball coupling (Cruisemaster DO35 or Trigg hitches are optional) and hand brake combo, with an AL-KO removable jockey wheel. The stoneguard is a very well designed and executed item, which laces with shock cord to three metal hooks on each side of the camper and, by running back along the side from the front face to the fridge box, provides excellent protection for the items which sit behind.


THE HORSE'S BACK

Behind the stoneguard are two 4kg gas bottles and two jerry can holders, along with the winch for the Cub Ezy-Wind system, for opening and closing the camper, and a hand water pump. A mesh floor in this area would create a great area for the carriage of firewood, wheel chocks and other “dirty” items.

The front of the body has an enlarged fridge box in the checkerplate aluminium that, in many ways, is the marker of a Cub camper. The kitchen side has a slide to mount your fridge (up to a 75L WAECO or an 85L EvaKool), with a gas strut to hold the door upwards in a vertical position, with an Anderson plug internally to provide power. The fridge space is vented through to the storage area behind but otherwise has no ventilation to the external environment, something that may be problematic in seriously hot weather, though both WAECO and EvaKool have advised that the space does not require venting.

The area opposite the fridge space is a carpeted storage bay that is big enough to carry a lot of extras, from a generator to spare canvas, as well as the second fire extinguisher (the first being in the kitchen) and the included customised jack. This latter inclusion is a great item, and all Cub campers come with one. Given the dramas involved in trying to find one that will work with your camper, they should be standard across the board in all campers.

There is an optional carry rack available to mount to the top of this box.

The main body is manufactured from zincanneal steel, with a two-tone metallic meteor grey two-pack paint finish on a primer base, and with two coats of clear for a sparkling finish. The guards are no longer done in metal and are now a moulded poly-plastic, which is lighter and allows better wheel clearance.

The body is 2200mm long by 1700mm wide and folds out easily, courtesy of that (now silent) Ezy-Wind opening and closing system. Opening is simply a matter of undoing four overcentre clips on the top, winding out the winch to release the strap, giving the lid a little boost with one hand to allow the gas struts to do their work and then winding out the winch as the top opens up. When it has rotated over until it will go no further – when the two halves of the rear body wall are in contact – undo the four corner clamps holding the rear floor legs to permit them to drop into place, step inside and push out the rear tent bow to its limit, push the inner pivot point of the entry side pole up above the door and lock it in place and insert the two rear uprights under the end of the bow. Now connect the 12 bungee loops and two rear press studs on the tent skirt. Done!

It seems a long list but we watched a few owners at the brand’s 50th anniversary gathering last year do this in just over two minutes, individually, and in less time when there were two people involved. Cub officially claims a three minute set-up (without the awning).

The awning extends from the rear of the opened camper to about level with the stoneguard, a distance of 5180mm, and is 1920mm wide and supported on five uprights with eight spreader bars. It is a little complex to erect, though not overly taxing.

The three spreader bars running from the Brumby’s tent to the four front poles all attach with Cub’s unique system of a velcro strip on the inner end and a matching velcro patch on the tent. It’s a simple and very effective arrangement.

The awning roof can travel while remaining attached to the camper tent, saving you the effort of having to zip it on and off each time. If you want to remove the awning and reattach it you’re really going to need a step ladder.

All the poles travel in a 100mm poly pipe carrier across the top of the rear of the body, and it was good to see reinforcing inside the screw-on lid to prevent the poles from bashing their way through the plastic.

The canvas is impressive, with excellent stitching and a wrinkle-free fit, thanks to Cub’s in-house automated canvas cutting set-up. The canvas (10 ounce roof, 8 ounce walls) is all-Australian Wax Converters Dynaproof material.


ON THE INSIDE

Internally, there are three large windows above the bed, each with midge mesh and internal covers. Opposite the rear door under the awning is a zip-out window (or an optional doorway if ordered) and a large rear window. Both the front and rear windows have external shades to extend the footprint a little further and keep heat away from the interior, though you’d need occy straps or extra poles to make the most of these.

As an option, the whole side of the tent above the kitchen can be zipped-out and rolled-up for an outdoor feel while you lie on the bed, but it might expose your bedding to cooking smells if the breeze is in the wrong direction.

Access to the interior might prove awkward for some as the step-up is about 200mm, so a lower step might prove helpful for older knees.

The tent does not have a tropical roof as standard; yet it’s something we’d suggest is pretty necessary for very hot or cold days and nights, doubtlessly helping to make the interior a bit more bearable. Make sure you tick this as an option.

The bed is a 100mm medium density double (2100 x 1350mm) foam mattress but does not come with the embroidered Cub cover and pillow covers, as seen in the photograph a few pages on, as these are not generally available to the public. An innerspring mattress is optional.

Next to the bed are reading lights and a double USB charging point on each side and plenty of room for the personal items we all find handy at night (torch, glasses, reading matter, etc.).

The bed lifts easily to reveal a large storage area, which is only imposed upon by the two 100Ah AGM batteries (the second as part of the Adventure Pack fitted). These are fed off a Projecta 25 amp DC-DC charger – which also handles solar input via an MPPT regulator - and a Projecta mains charger. There is a 15A mains input and a double 10A mains outlet adjacent to the batteries, below the dual 12V outlets. Power from the tow tug’s alternator is delivered via 6B&S cable, a welcome lift above the 6mm cable so often choking chargers. The electrical read-out and water tanks gauge are located on an aluminium panel, along with the four circuit fuses and the mains RCD safety switch, behind a hatch opposite the kitchen.

The rear floor of the camper is coated with vinyl – easy to keep clean in the bush – and is plenty big enough to take a couple of sleeping bags or bunks for the kids, though I’d like to see the end of the centre eyebolt for the Ezy-Wind strap shortened to avoid the risk of minor injuries.

The Adventure Pack brings with it a second 80 litre water tank, which mounts under the floor where the spare normally would be located. This has to then be moved to a swing-away rear arm, which must be rotated out before opening can take place.


UPDATED KITCHEN FOR OUTBACK FEASTS

In spite of all the rest, the biggest feature of the 2019 Brumby – as with all the new Cub campers – is the kitchen. 

Gone is the previous model’s long, narrow pantry drawer alongside the slide-out stainless steel bench. In comes a new wider (700mm wide by 1380mm long) bench, offering plenty of prep area around the two-burner Dometic cooker and the stainless steel sink. On the new kitchen there’s also what is known as a “rigidised” stainless steel top. This textured finish stainless greatly diminishes any signs of scratching (thus retaining that new sheen), softens glare and reduces friction, and is widely used in the catering industry as it reduces the chance of bacteria living in serious scratches, such as those made accidentally by a knife. It is used by only one other camper manufacturer these days.

There is an LED stalk light that mounts next to the cooker, where its central location works well to illuminate cooking or washing up, and a 12 volt plug on the camper wall above the kitchen for either of the supplied LED light strips which come as part of the package. Also included is a well designed wind guard, which slots in around the cooktop to reduce heat loss, and a neat little bottle opener built into the end of the bench.

The electronic water supply makes for a more convenient time in the kitchen, even if it does tend to use more water. Interestingly the tap is a mixer item, even though there is no hot water system; however, if desired, a separate water line can be run to the opposite side of the camper and a customer can fit their own hot water system.

Under the kitchen bench are two large (540 by 270mm) drawers on the rear side and two smaller (420 by 330mm) sized drawers on the front side. A small hatch provides access to the gas and water plumbing lines which attach in a small hatch under the fridge box. On our review camper there was a matching pair of plug-in points on the driver’s side, which enables use of the gas and water for a pop-up shower tent.

Travelling underneath the kitchen is a 900 by 260mm side shelf which clips on above the side wheel and provides additional handy bench space. Ours was finished in normal stainless steel but future campers will be done in a similarly textured stainless matching the kitchen bench.

In its basic form the Brumby weighs in at a comfortable 890kg and has an ATM of 1400kg. With the added weight of the Adventure Pack and its full water tank, the weight load rises by 143kg, though this is still well within the capacity of just about any tow vehicle, including most, if not all, softroaders. The ball weight of 126kg, when empty, provides for a comfortable towing experience.

There is a long list of other optional extras, from canvas and/or mesh walls and a draught skirt, REDARC 30 amp battery management system, alternate colour packs, boat loader, fridge box drawer set, EvaKool fridge, rear utility rack carrier, override disc brakes and more.


CONCLUSION

The Cub Brumby is a very good entry point – or perhaps even an upgrade – for those seeking an Australian-built true offroad camper. It’s light, well equipped, well finished and ticks all the boxes, with just a couple of the optional extras (tropical roof, a few awning walls for around the kitchen area, and some or all of the Adventure Pack items). The Brumby is good value for money at $32,560, as tested, and compares favourably with some campers at higher price points. What it lacks in polished luxury detail it also lacks in price, making a worthwhile trade-off for those who are budget conscious.

It gets a thumb-up from Camper, and we’d be more than happy to take one away on a short or long-term trip to just about anywhere. 


SPECS

TRAILER

Tare 890kg

ATM 1400kg

Suspension Trailing arm independent

Brakes 10in drum

Coupling AL-KO offroad ball

Chassis 100 x 50 x 3mm Duragal

Drawbar 100 x 50 x 3mm Duragal

Body Zincanneal, front box aluminium

Wheels 6-stud 17in alloy (steel spare)

Tyres 265/65R17 Goodyear Wrangler

Style Rearfold 

DIMENSIONS

Body size 1700 x 2230mm

Length 4370mm

Awning size 5180 x 1920mm

ACCESSORIES

Gas cylinders 2 x 4kg

Water 160L

Cooktop Two-burner Smev

Kitchen Stainless steel with zincanneal drawers

Battery 2 x 100Ah AGM

Options fitted Second 100Ah battery, second 80L water tank, rear swing-away arm and spare wheel carrier, second utilities connections point

PRICE AS TESTED

$32,560


ENQUIRIES

Cub Campers

Address  23 Loyalty Rd, North Rocks, NSW 2151

Phone 1300 226 746

Email sales@cubcampers.com.au

Online www.cubcampers.com.au