A hard hitter, the Metalian Maxi piqued our judge's interest at Mt Warning, with its low weight, modest price and ability to battle it out with the best of them on the back tracks. Serving a specific point in the market, Metalian delivered a camper that can keep you and the crew well equipped far from civilisation. After something tough to help you discover new horizons? Here it is. However, the Metalian Maxi also proved itself to be a comfortable family camper.
TINY BUT MIGHTY
The Metalian Maxi is a unique trailer in its attempt to address a market for those seeking the maximum possible camper in the smallest package. There is a lot packed into a small parcel here, and at a relatively low price, considering what comes with it. It includes a fridge/freezer, gas bottles and a huge awning set-up. The kitchen on the passenger side is well equipped and roomy, with plenty of bench area and storage nooks and space. The 90L National Luna fridge/freezer is right there next to you and you get a full set of crockery and cutlery included, all stowed in individual pockets. As is the case with most South African campers, the inside of almost every door is a sea of pockets for small item storage.
Access to the rooftop king-sized bed is via a clip-on ladder that might be somewhat daunting for older users, but there is plenty of room, and the overhead sky window is a neat touch. The lack of lighting in the bed area was disappointing though. There is a huge rear storage bay with three roomy drawers, each rated to 180kg, as well as more storage down the driver’s side. The instant gas hot water system and ensuite which opens directly into the tent is well set up.
Establishing camp is relatively easy, despite the huge awning, as the wing extensions for the awning can be easily zipped on before the tent goes all the way up.
PACKS A PUNCH
There’s a pervasive mentality in the camper trailer industry that bigger is better. Thicker steel, more cross members, additional bracing, more shocks. It’s a mentality that has seen weights sky rocket and offroad performance suffer. It’s the main reason the Metalian Maxi was high on the judges ‘must-see’ list. Its uncommon monocoque construction method does away with a traditional chassis underneath the body, instead using the body itself as the strength as well as mounting points for the suspension. Likewise the suspension is a rudimentary leaf spring arrangement. While it won’t offer the responsive spring rate an independent set-up will, it’s a tried and tested system that keeps weight down, and frankly is probably what most tow vehicles will be running anyway.
Its diminutive size and tiny 960kg Tare weight make it easily manoeuvrable offroad, with half the weight holding you back compared to larger offerings. Underneath is relatively snag-free with the water tanks tucked inside the body, although it would be good to see the handbrake cable tucked up closer too. The body is powder coated inside and out, with stout latches on all the doors and hatches and plenty of components like the gas bottles hidden away inside vented compartments. There’s no stone guard, although with the camper so close to the tow vehicle there’s not much room for them to flick up either. The demo model we saw showed signs of wear and tear on the tent. Time will be the real judge of the Metalian Maxi in Aussie conditions, but from what we’ve seen it ticks all the boxes.
HIT THE ROUGH ROAD
When considering a camper designed for serious offroad adventure, you shouldn’t settle for less than an excellent capacity for self-sufficiency off the beaten track. The Metalian Maxi exudes rough-and-tumble cool and was not designed to sit in a caravan park, so it’s little wonder it can sustain itself – and you – for extended periods.
It has an enviable power set up, with twin 130Ah AGM deep cycle batteries charged by a 10A three-stage charger and a 12A DC-DC 12V charger. This is supplemented by a 150W solar mat and 270W solar regulator. There’s reasonable lighting at the kitchen and in most compartments, but additional lighting at the bed including a couple of bedside reading lights would be a nice inclusion.
Water capacity comes in twin 70L stainless steel tanks mounted in the body of the camper to avoid potential damage on the tracks. There’s a gas hot water service plumbed through to the kitchen and shower, fed by twin 4kg gas bottles, and a water filter comes standard.
Incredibly, the Metalian Maxi contains 2800L of usable storage, so you’ll find a place for every piece of gear and toy you need to make life more comfortable (and more fun!) on those extended bush sojourns. There’s a system of adjustable drawers to keep it all tidy – the configurations of which can be changed to suit your load – and these are each rated to a whopping 180kg.
John ‘Bear’ Willis
The world of the rugged compact camper trailers just got a lot bigger with the new Metalian Maxi offroad battle wagon. This military inspired, rugged individual comes to us from the wilds of South Africa and is jam-packed full of innovative features from across the globe.
Its capacity and inbuilt features combined for a low Tare weight of only 960kg fully optioned, including unique leaf spring suspension and tough monocoque construction that is superbly adapted to our extreme Australian environment. The Metalian is full of innovation, not only in construction technique but in materials, fittings and accessories that are all premium inclusions. This is the first camper we have seen fitted to a 3CR12 stainless steel chassis and combines terrific storage, a big tent footprint, a 90L National Luna stainless steel fridge, Smev stove, hot water system and dual 70L stainless steel water tanks and flexible options to build your perfect travelling companion.
Make no mistake, this is squarely aimed at extreme offroad adventurers, but comes in at a very realistic price considering the long list of fittings. Any serious offroader with exploration trickling through their blood stream will rate the Metalian as extreme on the X-factor, yet it is just as well adapted for a weekend cruiser for a family getaway.
Tare 960kg (Fully optioned)
SuspensionAL-KO Solid axle (two tonne) with Eye to Eye 1500kg leaf springs with twin shocks
Brakes 12in AL-KO offroad electric
Coupling DO35 offroad coupling
Wheel/tyre17in black alloy rims with 265/70 R17 Maxxis BigHorn MT tyres
Style Roof top tent/soft floor tent
Box size 2100x1550mm
Length 4100mm (touring configuration)
Tent size 2100x1800mm
Gas cylinders 4kg bottle
Water 2x70L stainless steel tanks mounted inside trailer
Kitchen Drop down two-burner Smev stove, 90L stainless steel National Luna fridge/freezer, 2x130AH AGM batteries
PRICE AS SHOWN
$35,990 Fully optioned (Prices start at $31,990)
Check out all the action from CTOTY 2018 in issue #122 of Camper Trailer Australia magazine.