$45k+ - FINALIST
Packing up shop to do the loop? You've got plenty of options. Want to do it poking your spotlights down every stray track? Best be looking at the Lifestyle Reconn R2. It somehow mixes the setup of a caravan with the offroad ability of a camper trailer. It also punches in at 1600kg making it lighter than a fair few traditional campers. Lifestyle offer a stripped-down package so you can then spec it up to suit your needs perfectly, a novel idea, but one that's bound to catch attention.
It's not often you come across something unique in this game. There’s only so many ways you can package a bed and a kitchen in a trailer, and most of those ways have been done over and over again. The Lifestyle spin on campers isn’t a breath of fresh air, it’s a typhoon that’s come in and turned the idea of a camper on its head.
At first glance it’s easy to mistake the Reconn R2 for a sheep in wolves' clothing, but as you delve deeper into its construction and layout it becomes quite clear it’s a wolf in wolves' clothing, an angry wolf at that. Despite looking like an absolute behemoth, it only tips the scales at 1600kg, less than many hard floor campers. Likewise, it’s only a hair off 5.7m long, making it surprisingly nimble offroad too. Factor that with offroad suspension, and a chiselled jaw of checkerplate it starts becoming obvious the Reconn R2 can hold its own offroad. Despite all that it’s surprisingly liveable inside and out. The base camper is stripped down and quite affordable, allowing you to build it up to your specifications and budget. Electric openings, electric awnings, and your choice of en suite, bunk beds or dinette all give huge amounts of customisability.
BEST OF BOTH WORLDS
The Lifestyle Reconn R2 manages to achieve two things that are often mutually exclusive: it’s a super comfortable camper that is also genuinely capable offroad. That is to say, it’s light and relatively compact with excellent ground clearance and departure angles. The Reconn R2 is a pop-top style and the roof extension is a considerable height meaning the camper is sleek and streamline when packed away for aerodynamic towing that will save you money on fuel and make tight bush tracks a realistic prospect.
Lifestyle has put its experience in manufacturing truly offroad campers to great use on the Reconn R2. The strong 150mm galvanised steel chassis sits on independent trailing arm suspension with dual shocks and supports an innovative lightweight but sturdy body comprised of composite aluminium side panels and an aluminium roof – all fully insulated and supported by a galvanised tubular steel frame. These materials ensure the Reconn R2 is strong yet light, weighing in at 1600kg Tare – a realistic weight for serious offroad exploration.
There’s a DO35 offroad coupling up the front and a front storage boot shaped to deflect stones away from your towing vehicle.
Lifestyle prides itself on its dedication to Australian manufacturing, and the Reconn R2 is a classic example of how, when it comes to quality, you just can’t beat Aussie made.
John ‘Bear’ Willis
When you hear two judges at CTOTY walk away saying, “I’d buy that” you really need to take a second look. The good crew at Lifestyle are outwardly proud of their 100 per cent Australian-made offerings, and rightly so. The Lifestyle Reconn R2 is very liveable unit that will follow you into the wilds then accommodate you like royalty.
It's comfortable yet compact and well equipped with ample facility and storage – and it’s just so easy. It’s actually harder choosing your ideal campsite than it is assembling the camper. Once you are in place and stable simply roll out the front awning if required, press a remote and the insulated solid roof automatically lifts on a pair of 90kg-rated 12V actuators and scissor arms for immense internal height. Next, slide out the fridge from the front hatch and lift the lid for the kitchen and pantry, and you're ready for that beer or wine.
The gourmet kitchen is terrific with or without the optional swing-out barbecue mount. The enclosed space includes a twin-burner gas stove, stainless steel sink with mixer tap fed by the Truma 14L gas hot water system; tonnes of laminate benchtop, plus shelving and pantry racking. There’s even a compartment for pots and pans. The upwardly-hinged hatch shades the compartment at a wayside stop without needing the awning. Opposite the kitchen is a huge container for camping essentials like a portable table and chairs.
It is a bit of a step up into the van and you’ll need to duck your head on the way in, but the internal layout provides a feast of accommodation and facilities. Up front is a complete ensuite making the Reconn R2 attractive to many travellers. It has a grey water tank, shower and cartridge-style toilet and is realistically roomy for this compact camper. There’s more storage in cupboards and drawers and a very welcome little two-person lounge for access to the innerspring queen bed. There are plenty of functional lighting and power options and tonnes of ventilation from the soft awning windows of the pop-up.
The Reconn R2 is, in standard mode, a very self-sufficient camper, but if fully optioned it can be as good as it gets. The basic configuration of 200L of water (in two separate 100L tanks) is pretty good, but you can have an additional 100L if desired, and these can be plumbed as separate entities or together, or have the third as a grey water tank. Or you could have the separate 40L grey water tank, plus the 300L of fresh water! And they are all internal, so there is no worry about them being clobbered by some ground-bound boulder. Your water supply also stays cooler and airflow is greatly improved underneath, enhancing fuel consumption.
The electrical storage is also excellent. Basically it starts out at 2x120Ah of AGM, but there’s room for a third 120Ah battery, or lithiums. Sustaining this we saw a single 120W of solar panel on the roof, but this would ideally be extended by a couple more panels on the roof (there’s plenty of room up there) as there is no option for ideal orientation to the sun and avoiding shadows so you need extra to compensate.
The liveability of the Reconn 2, with that huge gourmet kitchen and its swing-out arm to support your Baby Q barbecue, is great, and that big queen innerspring bed internally and internal ensuite make for restful days alongside that billabong or beach away from civilisation.
The 5000-plus litres of storage means you can carry pretty much anything you’ll need to make any trip comfortable, and with the roll-out awning and auto lift roof you’ll discover just how comfortable life can be in the wilderness.
Suspension Independent trailing arm
Chassis 150mm galvanised steel drawbar-chassis combined
Drawbar 150mm galvanised steel drawbar-chassis combined
Body Aluminium composite panelling
Wheel/tyre 16in rims
Box size 1880mmWx2100mmHx4400mmL
Awning size 2120x3890mm
Gas cylinders 16x7in steel
Cooktop Twin-burner gas stove
Kitchen Inset with external access under a hard top roof and stainless steel sink
Battery 2x120Ah AGM
Check out all the action from CTOTY 2018 in issue #123 of Camper Trailer Australia magazine. Subscribe today for all the latest camper trailer news, reviews and travel inspiration.