RhinoMax don’t muck about. Although only manufacturing campers since 2011, they’ve quickly established a singular reputation for making genuinely offroad, super comfortable, hybrid-only product. Their campers are bold and striking, featuring clean go-faster design lines, immediately obvious departure angles and high ride clearances. Everything about them screams, ‘outdoor adventure’.
Camper, keen to learn more about how RhinoMax happened upon their distinctive range, recently caught up with Director, Andy Dean.
“I was a keen mountaineer as a child and young adult, so for me the camping experience back then was, and remains to this day, all about a lightweight and simple experience in the outdoors — an escape from everyday distractions,” Andy says. “These days, I love the outback camping experience, far away from the crowds, where I can look up into the stars, sat around my fire with a glass of wine, surrounded by family.”
And this is where making campers enters the fray. Like many manufacturers of campers, Andy and his business partner, Steve Punton, decided to build a product that aligned closely with inspiration they’d derived from past expeditions, but also one that captured their enthusiasm for the future.
Andy and Steve studied the offroad habits of intrepid Aussies for two years before laying out their vision for RhinoMax. Andy brings engineering know-how to the partnership; he’s a Rolls Royce trained engineer with a proven track record in military, civil and industrial turbines. Steve handles the business and strategic side, with more than 30 years experience delivering industrial solutions for a whole host of clients.
“As friends, we formed RhinoMax as an engineering solutions provider servicing the Australian power generation industry,” Andy explains. “A love of camping and outback travel led us to design campers which suited our requirements but pretty soon the success of our campers had us focussing all our energy into this area.”
RhinoMax quickly hit the mark, taking out a top gong at Camper Trailer of the Year 2015, their careful planning paying immediate dividends. What’s the secret? Is there a production mantra that RhinoMax stick to?
“The modern life we lead, with all its complications, has made escaping for some quality time with friends and family trickier. Technology has become a norm in our everyday lives and we feel the average family finds it difficult to leave all this behind,” Andy explains.
RhinoMax decided to focus their efforts building lightweight easily-managed hybrids that allow effortless travel into hard-to-get-to remote areas.
“All our campers are centred around power and water system capability that allow for extended periods off-grid but, fundamentally, also with the kind of modern comfort and convenience to which we have all become accustomed,” Andy continues. “A real home-away-from-home for those who don’t want to rush back to the rat race, but at the same time, are over shirking on security and comfort.”
It’s maintaining the delicate balance between adventure and completely over-the-top luxury which Andy sees as key to RhinoMax’s design and manufacturing ethos. It’s a knife’s edge dance, navigating a perfect course between feeling a connection with the outdoors, such as you’d gain with a simple tent and sleeping bag set-up, and that of wanting for nothing but, as a result, ending inside all the time, shielded from the essential essence of being in the outdoors.
“I’m about to embark on a motorcycle swag adventure,” Andy told Camper. “I appreciate the simplicity of traditional styles of travel, but after a few days removed from my home comforts I begin to understand that this experience (motorcycle swag camping) is not for everyone.
“A hybrid camper allows you to bring those comforts along while still allowing a quick, easy and effortless experience. Power, lighting, shower and cooking facilities make extended remote travel a breeze and lets you concentrate all your energy on the experience itself.”
That’s not to say RhinoMax have hit on the perfect offroad, offgrid camper design. Andy acknowledges things never stay the same and that RhinoMax will always have one eye on the future when it comes to designing and manufacturing new models.
“Let’s be honest, we all love the outdoors because it brings us closer to nature. There is definitely a growing focus on the environment and the impact we have on it. Government and local councils are all focusing on how to protect what we have now, and the power of their advocation is certainly being felt.
“The way we travel will change, but the places we want to visit will remain the same. Saying we’ll build a green camper is an easy statement to make, but the industry will need to provide solutions; that’s a given. This future focus will likely influence everything, from methodology of manufacture to the footprint the traveller, our customers, leave. But this is cool because, ultimately, we’ll all be working towards securing the experiences we enjoy now for our children’s children.”
So what of these future design ideas? Any insights for our readers, Camper asks?
“Fuel efficient, lightweight designs that are still capable of withstanding the Australian roads we love so much. Completely self-sufficient power systems able to meet the ever-increasing demands of the everyday adventurer,” Andy answers without hesitation.
And it’s this assuredness that suggests RhinoMax are an outfit who not only extract feedback from customers and camping enthusiasts in general, but efficiently use this information to refine and update their product.
“Engaging with the customer from the very start to create a bespoke product designed just for them, one that fits their years of particular camping experiences, is massively satisfying,” Andy explains. “Alternately, so too is guiding a newcomer using our own personal years of experience to build the perfect camper that’s just right for them. Having them trust us to develop and build a camper just right for them.”
What of the potential in perhaps exporting RhinoMax’s unique Australian made, Australian designed campers overseas?
“Rhinomax, from its inception, has been focused on providing a quality product for the Australian market – we don’t want to be the biggest, we want to be one of the best – if not the best!” Andy says. “There certainly is a demand for hybrids, like ours, overseas. However, it’s not currently on the Rhinomax radar.
“The last decade has seen a lot of changes in the industry, with people and product coming and going. Rhinomax have always focused on quality. This, together with our ability to matter-of-factly diversify and customise our products means we’re able to meet the ever-changing demands in the Australian market.”
RhinoMax have only just begun. That’s good enough for us!