Managing Director Justin and the team from Patriot build campers that are, in Justin’s words, “unstoppable”, and he’s extremely proud of the fact that “no-one tests them like we do”. What this means is these 100 per cent Australian made campers are built for anything you can throw at them. This country has some of the toughest tracks in the world and it’s in these conditions that the X1 feels right at home.
The X1 is targeted towards families of two adults and two kids who enjoy remote adventures. The zip on single-pole kids room provides heaps of room for a couple of stretcher beds, or for couples, the floor of the kids’ room can be removed to become a private ensuite shower room.
The camper itself is built tough, is compact and lightweight, with 950kg dry tare, making it easy to manoeuvre by hand when packing it for the next adventure. This camper is also ready for remote off-grid camping from the get-go. With the hardcore chassis and body, the X-Cruise suspension and DO35 hitch, plus the two 150Ah batteries managed by the REDARC Manager 30, RedVision TVMS and 1000W inverter, and plenty of water, crossing the Simpson or tackling the Anne Beadell would be a breeze.
The team at Patriot have developed a new awning and awning walls that have reduced the weight and space they take up by more than 50 per cent. Made from a material called Hexocore, which is lightweight yet 20 per cent stronger than canvas and comes with a 50 plus UPF rating, the awning covers 270-degrees at the rear plus 180-degrees at the front, and I can attest it was certainly cooler under this awning on the day that we judged it.
The Patriot X1 has always earned top marks with me, essentially because what you see in their campers is pretty much all developed by Patriot — there are over a hundred design registrations on these campers, protecting unique structural, design and usage ideas that have come out of Patriot’s factory. Every year Patriot wheels out the X1 for Camper Trailer of the Year, and every year it’s bristling with refinements, new ideas and better ways of doing those things, and this year was no different.
The X1 would be amongst the most refined campers on the market, thanks to an intense development program over a long period of time. With a five-year structural warranty it is well backed, and with dealers in every state other than Tasmania, potential purchasers are well supported by outlets.
At $57,000 as seen, the price is not unreasonable for such a finely-tuned and highly evolved camper that in every single area brings the best of the industry to your camping. The only question you need to resolve is whether your needs coincide with the overall design of the Patriot X1.
And the X-Factor? The big take away from any detailed examination of the Patriot X1 is the finely balanced standard of fit-out. Most campers will have their strengths and their weaknesses, but I really struggle to find any area of weakness in the X1’s design or execution. There will be some who want more comfort — an internal ensuite, TV or bed which doesn’t have to be accessed by any climbing — and that’s fine. But if you like the idea of a small, light, compact and feature packed camper then if you’re not at least looking at a Patriot, you’re doing yourself a big disservice.
Patriot X1 campers are manufactured to keep up with their owners’ thirst for adventure. The X1 is fitted with Patriot’s hallmark Cruisemaster X-Cruise air bag independent suspension which is integrated into the camper’s hot-dipped Rigilite chassis. This construction fuses steel and marine grade aluminium making the camper light (at 975kg tare), highly durable and ready to deal with the toughest conditions. The underbody is coated with Raptor, with checkerplate bash-plates and no exposed conduit to snag on rough terrain. The 90kg ball weight is testament to the X1’s excellent weight distribution. With a steep departure angle, and tiny dimensions (3.75m long, 1.8m wide, 1.8m high), the X1 is ready to rumble in undulating and close country.
Rugged on the back-tracks, the X1 offers plenty of comfort and amenity after the sun goes down. Under the 270-degree awning, the compact galley is logically set out and well-appointed. While the Weber slide is located over the drawer bar, separate from the rest of the kitchen, this configuration offers space between the chef with the knives, and the cook with the tongs, and for that reason alone may be a welcome feature for many buyers.
Inside the Dynaproof side fold soft-floor tent, there’s a gel-top King size pocket spring mattress accessed by a handy custom staircase with an in-built handrail. The one-pole zip-on kids’ room is sizeable and would comfortably accommodate a couple of teens. A great feature is the heavy-duty PVC floor of the main tent and the kids’ rooms which are both unzippable. Leave them in, and you’ve got a dry, clean space for luggage and bedding. Leave one or both out, and you can keep your dirty boots and other toys inside under cover, and even take rinse inside if the lay-of-the-land permits. While it would have been good to see a few more windows, the Patriot team assured us there’s enough airflow to keep everyone happy.
Patriot markets the X1 as unstoppable, and it’s easy to see why. Leave the blacktop and this rig will follow you as happily as a loyal dog and will leave less capable campers languishing in its wake.
TIM VAN DUYL
Justin and the team at Patriot do testing like no one else. We’ve all seen the hugely entertaining Patriot Games, but it is not all fun and games — it's also R&D which is taken very seriously and is part of a three-instance evolution process.
If the warranty team, or Justin, hears of a great idea or concern three times, it's programmed into the next builds. It’s called the Kanban system or continuous improvement, and although all the rage in big business like car manufacture, it’s not often seen here in ‘Straya — why the management lesson? To give you some context on why there are both Rhino and Raptor coatings on different leading edges of the X1. Rhino is more absorbent to stones flicking up from the car, but its softness also means it’s more prime to pealing than Raptor, so the X1 gets Raptor on things like the chassis but Rhino on the leading edge of the front bin.
You do not get this level of build quality consideration in and it’s a prime example of listening, learning and initiating ideas to make better designed and finished campers. This is just one example by the way and only a small part of why Patriot was our winner for Best Build Quality this year.
It goes further when you learn about why the chassis is folded and the benefit of the cut-outs down its length; not only does it reduce weight, it adds rigidity without making it so stiff it’ll pass stress onto the superbly finished top half.
Oh yeah, the top half. Did you know Justin’s passion for Australia and quality has led the team to use powder coat made in Melbourne, another one of dozens of winning details? There is not enough room to talk about the quality of Patriot, you need to see one yourself.
Taking quality into the bush, you need to back up the bark and Patriot do well again. I have mentioned that a lot of buyers are drawn to spec battles. Who has the highest amp-hours, capacity and wattage? The thing is it’s more important to be able to find and filter water and to capture solar power than to just be able to hold it and it is here where I think the X1 could do better. There is no solar as standard, though the superb Redarc TMS has an input for it, and there is no lift pump for the 155L water tank. These are both things you can buy or build yourself, but I’d like to see them considered in the base model to really take the X1 to another level off-grid.
Suspension Cruisemaster X-Cruise 1.6T dual shock airbag
Brakes 10in electric drum
Coupling D035 V3
Chassis/drawbar Rigilite hot dip galvanised
Body Aluminium powder coated
Wheels 16 x 8in PCOR alloy 1250kg
Tyres Maxtrek MT 285/74R16
Style Soft floor offroad
Travel size 5490mm (L) x 1900mm (W) x 1600mm (H)
Interior height (roof raised) 2200mm standing area, 1100mm (slide end bed), 900mm (main bed end)
External body length 4200mm
Footprint when fully set up 7100mm x 4300mm
Awning/annexe footprint 2400mm x 6000mm
Body size 1850mm
Awning size 2000 x 8000mm
Gas cylinders 2 x 4.5kg rings
Cooktop Dometic twin burner with grill
Kitchen L-shaped with sink, hot + cold water, Rimex stainless steel
Battery 2 x 150Ah gel
Options fitted: GME-XRS UHF; MaxTrax front box mount; Tech Pack - Redarc RedVision TVM, X-Cruise airbag suspension, Redarc 1000W pure sine wave inverter; Lifestyle Pack - additional gas bottle holder, tent awning sail kit (set of 2), kids’ room; Essentials Pack - Dometic 53L fridge/freezer and anderson plug, BBQ swing away Weber Baby Q, X1 PCOR wind break wall kit, Ampfibian.
PRICE AS SEEN
Phone (07) 5597 0638