They say good things come in small packages, so it was little wonder that the diminutive 10ft Scorpion 'micro hybrid' that Rhinomax launched back in 2016 became their top seller. Now, the Scorpion has a big brother in the Renegade. Co-owner, Steve Punton, is quietly confident the Renegade will not only follow in the same footsteps, but dramatically surpass previous interest.
The team at Rhinomax aren't interested in being the biggest, they just want to be the best. Having said that, in January they moved to bigger and better premises on the Sunshine Coast. This new facility allows for everything to take place in the one location: from welding the chassis to building the cabinets. They'll even take care of servicing your pride and joy too.
I guess the biggest thing that these pop-top hybrids have got going for them would have to be the ease of set-up. With a long history of just rolling out the swag at the end of the day, I know myself that an easy set-up is paramount. To be able to pull up and have a warming fire lit before the minutes reach double figures is what I want out of a camping set-up.
While maybe not quite faster than a speeding bullet, the Renegade sure does qualify when it comes to quick, and easy, set-ups.
Find a level patch of earth, release the two roof catches and push the angled roof up. Unzip the curtains for added ventilation and raise the bed if you plan on eating inside and you're done. If you're unhitching from your vehicle, there's four wind down stabiliser legs to prevent any rocking. A 3.5m Thule awning can be extended over the outdoor area for protection.
Once that's all done, then it's time to put the billy on or knock up a bit of gourmet bush tucker. With the Renegade, you're in luck. The full size, slide-out kitchen found on the larger models in the Rhinomax range has been shoehorned to fit the smaller camper. And, it really is a beauty. Going against the grain of other slide-out kitchens, this unit runs along the length of the camper, minimising the amount that it protrudes into the undercover area. When the front tunnel boot has been opened and with the fridge slide opened, a convenient L-shaped kitchen is the result.
An expandable stainless steel prep bench, sink with plumbed hot and cold water, a three-burner gas stove, utensil drawer and two pantry drawers complete the kitchen package. The single external LED light has been conveniently positioned above and to the right of the kitchen to provide ample light when cooking.
External storage options can be found on the off side of the camper, with enough space behind the fridge in the front tunnel boot for a small generator, along with poles and maybe a fishing rod tube. An optional firewood basket is mounted on top of the boot, while a pair of 20L jerry cans and a lockable box for the twin 4kg gas bottles (for your cooking and water heating duties) sits in front.
Part of the main body proper, and filling the void behind the kitchen on the driver’s side is a cavernous storage compartment with space for your outdoor tables and chairs. If you opt for the fully enclosed annex or awning walls, then this would be the likely place to hide them away.
The electrical compartment is located behind the same hatch as the larger storage space, but within its own compartment. Inside you will find a 200Ah Lithium battery (upgraded from the standard 2 x 120Ah AGM units), Enerdrive 40amp battery management systems in both AC and DC varieties, along with all fuses and the 240V/12V changeover switch for when you find yourself at a powered campsite. Helping to keep you away from those pesky campsites for as long as possible are a pair of 160W solar panels on the roof.
A handy little feature of the design processes involved in the Rhinomax range, is that there is minimal wiring run through the composite panel, meaning that in the event of an electrical issue, trouble shooting and fault finding can be made just that much easier. The same goes for the water and gas lines.
Still on the off side, but at the rear of the trailer is the external access hatch for the portable toilet. Cleverly, this can be used from the inside, or for those longer stays, pop it in the external shower/ensuite. Speaking of the external shower, (complete with hot and cold water) it can be found at the very rear of the Renegade mounted behind the rear fibreglass pod that is hinged at the top. Just like setting up the camper, it's a case of releasing a pair of stainless clips and gas struts do the hard work for you. Four pegs in the corner of the shower tent (if you feel the need!) and you're done. A removable mesh floor allows water to drain and makes for an easy clean up.
If you're going to leap tall buildings in a single bound, that's all well and good. But what about the landing? You're going to need a bit of give in those knees. Underneath the heavy duty 150 x 50 x 3mm galvanised steel chassis, and luckily for you, the Renegade has some of the best 'knees' on the market. Well, they're not really knees, but the Cruisemaster XT independent coil spring suspension with twin shocks on each wheel sure do soak up the bumps and jumps when the going gets tough. Coupled with the DO35 hitch, there's not many places where this camper won't follow dutifully behind.
Of particular interest to myself when I'm crawling underneath vans and campers, is how the wiring, the water and gas lines have been run and protected. Especially when they are being touted as 'go anywhere, off road adventure machines.' Well, you'll be happy to know that the Renegade passed with flying colours. Wiring has been run high and out of the way and through chassis rails where possible. Gas lines the same, with convoluted split tubing giving a bit of extra protection and water lines following suit. I'm seriously picking nits here, but my only gripe is with the gas line at the rear of the camper. I know it's highly unlikely to get damaged where it is, but to me it looks like an afterthought. Everything else about the Renegade has been so well designed, and so well thought out, that this just doesn't fit in.
As standard, the Renegade comes with a 110L water tank, complete with an external creek draw pump. For getting further off the beaten track and to stay there longer, an optional 85L tank can also be fitted. Forward thinking has seen the second filler neck already fitted during the initial build.
The other big thing with this camper is the location of the spare tyre. With the external shower unit being fitted to the rear of the camper, it makes it very hard to fit the spare tyre there without first fitting a heavy duty rear bumper and swing away wheel carrier. All of these things add extra weight, as well as raising the centre of gravity. To counter this, the spare is underslung and located forward of the axle line and can be raised and lowered by way of a hand winch mounted on the A-frame. Having it underneath also removes the need to lift a heavy tyre up to waist height to mount on the rear of the trailer.
I know I've been going all DC Comics on you with my Superman references (sidenote: I just had to Google whether Superman was a Marvel or a DC Comic character. Lucky, because I was sure he was a Marvel man!), but as we step inside the Renegade, my mind quickly changes from one of wearing my undies over my pants to that of a blue British police box. I think you know where I'm going with that...
Borrowing its interior design from its baby brother, the Renegade features a north-south queen size bed that is hinged at the front and can be raised out of the way with the assistance of gas struts. This provides you with the 'day' mode and allows access to the internal lounge area, complete with swing-away table. The advertising brochure calls it a four seater, but I'm thinking you'd be getting mighty friendly with anymore than three adults sitting around inside. All bedding can be left in place, so converting it back to 'sleep' mode takes just seconds.
Running full width across the back of the camper is a bank of seven drawers (all with soft close runners) located beneath a laminate benchtop, complete with stainless steel sink and hot/cold mixer tap. Our test camper had the optional electric induction cooktop fitted, just in case the weather gets a bit too gnarly to cook dinner outside.
In such circumstances, it's probably also too gnarly to sit outside under the awning. Coming to your rescue is the stereo system (FM/CD/MP3) with twin speakers or the optionally fitted HD digital TV with fold-away antenna. Keeping your devices charged and at the ready, you'll find 12V accessory sockets located at the foot of the bed, as well as 240V, 12V and USB sockets above the bench.
For those that have a problem with packing light when heading away on holidays, more storage can be found under the bed with a pair of large, and deep drawers. Squirrelled away under the seat cushion on the off side is the 2000W Enerdrive inverter (1000W standard; upgrade to 2000W required when fitting induction cooktop) along with the 12V water pump and changeover valves.
As mentioned earlier, the portable toilet can be accessed from both inside and outside. Just remove the seat cushion and open the door to reveal your commode when nature calls.
THE FINAL SAY
Starting with a base price of $71, 990, the Renegade Hybrid isn't a cut price camper. It's a 100 per cent Aussie-made premium product, that utilises equipment from top shelf suppliers.Rhinomax campers are definitely at the pointy end of the market.
So, the question remains, did I manage to find the Renegade's kryptonite? Well, to be honest, I'm not too sure there is such a thing, but I'd love to take this camper away for a couple of weeks to try and find out.
ATM 2200kg (can be upgraded to 2500kg)
Suspension Cruisemaster XT All Terrain 2200kg independent coil spring suspension with twin shocks
Brakes 12in Electric Drum Brakes
Coupling Cruisemaster DO35 3500kg coupling
Chassis 150mm x 50mm x 3mm galvanised steel
Drawbar 150mm x 50mm x 3mm galvanised steel
Body 30mm insulated fibreglass composite panel construction (frameless)
Wheel/tyre 265/75R16 All Terrains on 16in 6-stud Alloy Rims (can be matched to tow vehicle as an option)
Style Hybrid camper trailer
Box size 3650 x 1970 x 2280mm
Length (hitch to tail lights) 5700mm
Kitchen External slide out with three-burner gas stove, stainless steel sink with hot/cold mixer
Battery 200Ah lithium
PRICE AS TESTED
Fit for intended purpose — 9
Innovation — 9
Self-sufficiency — 9
Quality of finish — 10
Build quality — 10
Offroad ability — 9
Comforts — 9.5
Ease of use — 9.5
Value for money — 8.5
X-factor — 9
Rhinomax Off Road Campers
Address 9 Kerryl St, Kunda Park, Qld 4556
Phone (07) 5338 7240