You know a product is hitting the mark when it’s the name on the lips of the opposition. Conqueror Australia seems to hold the title at present and little wonder — its innovative style has captured the imagination of the Australian camping community. Conqueror campers have an unashamedly military demeanour, not only in their colour scheme, but also in their rugged quality.
I must admit my first impressions of the Conqueror manufacturing style left me with a few questions. There are a lot of nuts, bolts and rivets in the complex constructions, but having now had considerable experience with the range I can proclaim: they’re tough! The fasteners are simply a locating and tensioning mechanism that work with the unit’s polyurethane adhesives. These not only give the unique trailers immense strength, but also allow just the right amount of flexibility and afford complete dust protection.
We gave the UEV330 — as well as most of the vast Conqueror range — a full workout on the beautiful beaches and hinterland tracks between Noosa and Double Island Point on Qld’s Sunshine Coast. This is a magnificent part of Australia, with mile upon mile of open sandy beaches dotted with numerous creek crossings, rocky outcrops, shady foreshore campsites and some rough, semi-tropical forest tracks.
The 330 had a big reputation to live up to with its slightly bigger brother, the UEV345, taking line honours in its class at last year’s Offroad Camper of the Year awards. Their Meccano/Transformer-like constructions are jam-packed with individual features, accessories and storage. Compact is the word!
Although designed and partially constructed in South Africa, the Urban Escape Vehicle (UEV) models have an ever increasing amount of Aussie input courtesy of the hard-working Conqueror team in Brisbane.
The crew at Conqueror Australia live and breathe 4WD and offroad experience. A quick visit to the factory shows the depth of knowledge of not only its campers, but the range of customised vehicles that tow them. It’s fair to say the Conqueror Australia team provides its own extreme product development.
NUTS AND BOLTS
I simply cannot believe how many goodies are packed into such a small unit. The UEV330 is only 3328x1784mm from go to whoa, and it has a low tare weight of 600kg. You barely know it’s behind you no matter the conditions. However, it has an enormous loading capacity with an ATM of 1500kg on a Vehicle Components 50mm square, two-tonne axle with 10in electric drum brakes and greasable seven-leaf springs with shock absorbers.
Wheels and tyres can be varied according to customer requirements, but the test rig had 16in Bridgestone Dueler All Terrains on a neat set of alloy mags. These carried the load effortlessly across the soft and the rough.
Up front we find a handbrake, removable jockey wheel, Treg coupling and Anderson plug as standard, and the main chassis centres around a bolted, full-length 150mm C-section galvanised frame. The bolted construction also allows for a little flex to reduce fatigue.
Under the trailer we find twin 55L water tanks with individual fillers. These give the trailer a very low centre of gravity and the entire base is shrouded with stoneguards.
The compact design supports plenty of features. Up on the drawbar we find twin gas-bottle holders in front of the forward storage container with shovel, grass slasher and axe holders, as well as twin jerry-can mounts and aluminium checkerplate stone protection.
On top is a neat luggage/firewood rack and if you open the dust-proof side door out slides a 74L National Luna fridge/freezer. Inside most doorways, we also find canvas pocket storage for all of those many nick-nacks.
The military may need plastic ammunition boxes for their own purposes, but for the recreational camper they provide terrific dust-free storage. Simply fold down the large passenger-side door and you find twin ammo boxes on slides, as well as a sliding pantry, glass/mug racks and other multi-use caverns commonly known as the liquor cabinet. The horizontal door becomes a large bench because, of course, we all need more bench space!
Open the vertically hinged rear door and out pops a large L-shaped kitchen complete with twin basin containers and a twin-burner Smev stove. There are all sorts of holders including a utensils drawer and individual racking for cups and bowls, plus even more pantry storage and bench space as well as a cold water outlet as standard. Hot water is available as an option.
Still in the rear compartment we also find a handy slide at head height where the trestle table is safely stowed between camps.
Below is the heart and soul of the electronics package, with Ctek charger, twin batteries, inverter, individual circuit breakers, twin 240V outlets, a cigarette lighter and 12V outlets.
The rear of the UEV330 has enclosed LED trailer lighting, a pair of slide-down stabilisers, spare wheel and tyre and hi-lift jacking points as well as a pressurising fan to keep any dust out while travelling. You can actually see some of the panels pop slightly when the fan is turned on.
The tent folds out easily from the top on the driver’s side of the trailer. It reveals a queen-size 2.1x1.8m bed that is high on top of the trailer itself and accessed by a simple ladder generally stored on the bed while travelling. It’s not a huge tent but it’s certainly big enough for a couple on an extended trip or the family for a few nights.
Conqueror uses a military-grade rip-stop canvas. It isn’t as heavy as many of our high-quality homegrown materials but it’s certainly very suitable and lightweight. The roof gives plenty of protection from the sun and rain with a heavy-duty PVC material bonded to the canvas for insulation. It also has a PVC floor with handy little hangers for airing the base and cleaning the floor before packing.
There are plenty of weatherproof windows with midge mesh screens and a doorway each side of the tent, but most windows only have exterior awnings. There is a large window on the end of the tent with a flap that will become extra shade in the summer heat.
Inside the tent is access to the driver’s side of the trailer, where we find sliders for an optional extra fridge and tonnes more storage.
The tent framework is simple and easy to use. If you are setting up camp for an extended period there are further awnings covering almost the entire camp area, but for a simple overnighter the basic UEV330 can be erected in minutes.
On and off the road the Conqueror UEV330 is an absolute winner, and you can be sure it’s here to stay with all parts being electro-galvanized and epoxy coated, in addition to the hot-dipped galvanised chassis.
It tracks beautifully through the sand and mud and is more than suitable for smaller vehicles and 4WDs in more extreme challenges. Don’t underestimate the value-packed, compact design — this camper ticks all of my boxes for a mobile, highly manoeuvrable, tough and efficient offroad escape machine, with plenty of creature comforts. I may not be moving an army but, my troops agree, it’s a Conqueror!
- Compact design
- Plenty of features and accessories
- Low centre of gravity – towability
- Construction technique
- Ease of use
- Large L-shaped kitchen
- A place for everything and everything in its place
I WOULD HAVE LIKED
- Internal window awnings
- To own one!
Originally published in Camper Trailer Australia #67, July/August 2013