REDARC Camper Trailer of the Year 2019: The Best in the Business

Aaron Flanagan — 24 January 2019
In the final weeks of 2018, Australia’s best offroad campers were put to the ultimate test over nine action-packed days. Now, the results are out.

We often forget why it is we endure the hassle of going offroad, away from the crowds, to places of quiet peace and beauty. 

If it’s these things we value, why do we place such emphasis on the suspension, build-quality and effectiveness of the hitch systems of campers? Why do we rate the capability and efficiency of off-grid power generation and storage systems? Why do we peg the kitchen, tented roof and cleverness of storage options so highly?

Going offroad requires both 4WD and camper to be a well-balanced combination of engineering and design characteristics. Solid engineering to counter the challenging and variable terrain often encountered offroad, and thoughtful design to ensure the camping experience, once the track is conquered, becomes memorable for all the right reasons. Granted, the-time-the-roof-gave-way-in-the-middle-of-the-night is likely a powerful memory too, but only in hindsight.

Having confidence in the mechanics of your camper — that it’s strong, robust and, ultimately, comfortable — allows campers the ultimate peace of mind. It grants them the luxury of making the most of their time out where they want to be: way off the beaten track, centred in nature.

This could be by the coast on a beach with no real name, with no proper lead-in track. It could be halfway up a mountain, a break in the treeline providing a natural vantage point from where to view a majestic valley below. It could be anywhere. That’s the magic of knowing, with confidence, that your offroad setup will do what you were told it’d do when you bought it in the first place.

Providing guidance on making this key decision — about which camper suits your particular purpose — is the reason why we present the annual running of REDARC Camper Trailer of the Year. 


OUR MODUS OPERANDI

As off-grid, offroad camping becomes more popular, naturally enough, product that aims to satisfy offroad-camping hunger is produced to meet demand. It’s simple bush economics.

Sometimes, the rush to meet demand, if it becomes urgent enough, means quality and design considerations are not given enough time to mature. Think of a fine oak-barrel-conditioned bourbon, aged patiently in a dark cellar for 10 years, or more. Drink too soon, and, well... we all know what happens. Beelzebub herself takes up residence inside the confines of the cranium. Leave to mature for the full 10 years, however, and you’re invariably treated to a smooth, smooth ride. So Ron Moon tells me, anyway.

Of course, at Camper, we keep a keen eye on issues like this. That’s because, similar to brewers of top-shelf beverages, we’re committed to providing the best advice on the best campers the world has to offer. It’s why a huge whack of our annual production resources go into reviewing the latest and greatest campers available in the marketplace. 

We independently assess and review every camper featured in our pages. Our reviewers operate and assess independently, completely free of commercial direction. This is the mantra to which this magazine operates, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, year in, year out.

 

WHY INDEPENDENT REVIEWS ARE IMPORTANT

Our reviews are produced with potential camper buyers front of mind. Week after week, our editorial team brief our review journalists with variations of this simple yet essential theme: “What do people want to know before they commit to buying a camper?” 

Customers want to know the truth, free of any commercial skew. To avoid commercial skew, we ensure that it us, the editors, who organise the review schedule and commission the reviews. From an editorial perspective, it’s the quality and accuracy of the review that matters above all. Organising our review content this way ensures our readers are presented with the most accurate camper reviews possible.

Ultimately, our reputation relies on the quality and independence of our journalism. And to us, our reputation is everything.


REDARC CAMPER TRAILER OF THE YEAR, EXPLAINED

Every year, Camper produces about 48 camper reviews. 

Organising the logistics behind each requires the combined efforts of our entire team. Once the editors have commissioned the review, our extended team help our review journalists make contact with the camper manufacturer, organise transport, cover their costs and provide all sorts of assistance in order to get the review in the can. Oftentimes this involves getting a writer and a photographer to a remote part of the Aussie bush. 

One of the primary considerations of eligibility for entry into REDARC Camper Trailer of the Year is being reviewed in the pages of Camper during the course of the year. It’s only through the stringent scrutiny process of an in-magazine review that we are then able to evaluate who is eligible to enter. From the 48, the editors make a call and invite a number to participate in REDARC Camper Trailer of the Year.

A massive consideration is the selection and briefing of the judging panel. Similar to the in-magazine review process, our judges are commissioned by the editors and are, in an identical way to how we operate during the year, free of commercial direction. Their brief is produced by the editors and the editors have full oversight on their deliberative processes. They communicate through the editors and file their verdict to the editors. In this way, the veracity of their findings is properly supported.

But above all else, we hope our efforts lead to more carefree time spent outside in nature among family and friends. 


RESULTS


Ron MoonJohn WillisDavid CookAli MillarTotal
UNDER $20,000
Austrack Simpson X62
85.5
90
80.5
318
Skamper Kampers Dingo Pup60
838878.5309.5
$20,000-$35,000
Bluewater Macquarie648692.585327.5
Wild Boar Tuff Grunt Elite64839184322
$35,000-$50,000
Metalian Parthian70849185330
Jawa Trax 1260808776303
Mars Saturn 135777.580.574289
$50,000 +
BRS Sherpa769393.597359.5
Patriot X1-H74899896.5357.5
Zone Expedition Series7380.58882323.5
BEST HYBRID IN SHOW
Jawa Trax 1260808776303
Mars Saturn 135777.580.574289

Tags

ctoty ctoty 2019 camper trailer of the year event camper trailer mudgee industry skamper kampers austrack wild boar bluewater mars jawa metalian patriot brs zone

Photographer

Anna Shepherd, Matthew Williams, Dean Marzolla & Julia Togotzes