Patriot break down the door with their new X3, a side-folding camper with internal living, made for family touring. Built on the well-known chassis and suspension of the X1, this camper blends that toughness with an abundance of luxury — think diesel heater, coffee machine, and internal fridge access. Paired with superb electrical connectivity and the introduction of internal living space, this head-turner rightfully took the cake in our Over $50k category. On top of this, it was recognised with two subsidiary awards: 'Best Build Quality' and the 'X-Factor' award.
The Patriot team’s renowned thirst for ingenuity created a buzz around the X3 camper at this year’s Camper Trailer of the Year event. There are probably few, if any, campers on the Australian market that receive as much attention to detail during manufacture as the Patriot. The X3 is no exception, with several innovations revealed that promise to get Patriot’s loyal customer base as excited as a dog with two tails. Pitched as Patriot’s version of camper with internal living, suitable for small families (with one kid) or families with teenagers who have outgrown the family tent, the X3 could also be described as a highly capable offroad camper of compact size, quality engineering and rugged credentials that will take you wherever you want to go, for as long as you want.
For such a compact camper, the X3 squeezes in a remarkable number of features to support off-grid adventures. These include two 4.5kg gas bottles, 300Ah of Gel batteries, 130 litres of water and 2,000 litres of storage, which should be enough for a couple or a small family with optional swags. To help control all of this is a REDARC TVMS and a 1500W inverter — simples. We’re told the for-sale model of the X3 will have two solar inputs and come with a semi-fixed solar panel which can be removed and positioned in the sun.
Weighing in at 1,120kg Tare and with an ATM of 1,600kg, there’s plenty of scope to load up and hit the back roads for extended periods. The integrated awning, constructed from Patriot’s lightweight patented Hexocore material, claims to be 20 per cent stronger than canvas and eight times more breathable, while also being UPF 50 rated and anti-fungal. With its 270 degree spread, this awning promises to support an outdoor lifestyle protected from Mother Nature’s unpredictable antics.
When the city is far behind, the X3 is bristling with offroad capability. This camper comes with X-Cruise Airbag Suspension, which is a Cruisemaster set-up exclusive to Patriot and which integrates into the hot dipped Rigilite chassis. This suspension is designed to complement the camper’s lightweight construction while providing the durability needed to deal with the toughest terrain. The Rhino coated underbody is complemented by a checkerplate bashplate for added protection. The chassis fuses steel and marine grade aluminium to minimise weight without compromising strength. All this is supported on a pair of PCOR 16” wheels and 33” Mud Terrain tyres as standard. Which is perhaps a bit of overkill for such a light unit, unless they match your 4x4. There are two recovery points at the rear — along with a rear hitch to attach your bike rack. Anything else can be fixed to the Exorack system.
The result is a remarkably easy tow that promises to manoeuvre as nimbly behind a Jeep as it did behind the hulking Dodge RAM that pulled this compact X3 around the REDARC Camper Trailer of the Year test track. Sporting a large departure angle, and measuring just 3.75m from hitch to rear, the X3 will happily go where your 4x4 can.
TIM VAN DUYL
Look up innovation in the dictionary and you’ll read about Patriot. This is the company that brought lightweight, truly capable campers to the market and then set about making life at camp easier, safer and more comfortable.
The big innovation for the Gold Coast team is the move to a camper with internal living space. The X3 has a compact lounge that will seat the family and will also convert to more bed space. It has dimmable, four-zone remote-controlled lighting and even the option of a coffee machine that rises up from between the lounge and bed. Don’t think it's just a side-fold; there is typical Patriot magic inside, like access to the fridge and diesel heater (for water and the tent space).
The X3 we saw needed a second set of hands to guide the roof as it folded out, but during the competition Justin mentioned that before production they’d be making it easier to open, such that it can be done by one person. The awning has gas struts to help raise it, its poles are attached to its arms and it is a simple one-person swing-out. The staircase is strut assisted and when packed up, it is compact and easy to tow. Inside, the mattress is on the bottom half of the lid so your bed is ready to go once the top is popped. The kitchen is a masterpiece in its lay-out and functionality. There is a spot for everything right down to the trademark wet-locker in the rear third quarter.
This is the first Patriot with an internal lounge. Let that sink in. The team at Patriot have always had a mindset that the camper was an extension of living outdoors, a place to eat, sleep and to carry your toys. They have always excelled at giving owners a comfortable place to relax, like under their in-house designed and built 270 degree awnings, but now you have a fully sealed lounge area. This is new terrain and they’ve entered it boldly and successfully.
Patriot is deservedly back in the winner’s circle. The X3 represents a new direction for the hugely successful company, but the recipe of what made every one of the other Camper Trailer of the Year-winning Patriots is still there: innovation, a tough and quality build, and simple set-up. But the 2020 winner also gives you a place to hideaway with a book and fresh coffee — a slower pace from the fast-moving company.
The Patriot X3 is an impressive bit of kit. When discussing the intended market with Justin (company owner and founder) he stated that this was his version of an internal living camper designed around his family and lifestyle now that the kids have grown out of the main tent. The X3 may not suit larger families, but Patriot says it’s not intended to. The X3 has no dedicated internal sleeping space for kids other than the convertible bed space; outside, you can have optional swags for independent youngsters. In my view the X3’s market could also be described as DINKs or Grey Nomads looking to downsize in order to reach parts of the country that are inaccessible with a big camper or caravan.
The X3 bristles with quality components including the REDARC RedVision TVMS and 1500W inverter, 300Ah of Gel Battery, and PCOR wheels; you can expand this even further with an array of options like a Weber barbecue and a coffee machine. These six products alone are worth around $6k. And that’s not to mention the rivets with a 7 tonne shear force, the chemical bonding, and quality of welding that all hold the camper together. The X3 marries an impressive array of capabilities and utilities in a compact package.
But quality components, while notable, aren’t where I think the X3’s ‘X factor’ is anchored. For me it’s Patriot’s jaw-dropping approach to design and intellectual property. Justin advised us that Patriot holds 21 registered patents, designs and trademarks and has a further 21 pending — some of which are utilised in the X3.
Even during judging Justin generated a new concept, rang the office design team and asked them to run some functionality testing. An hour later, the team rang back to advise that they’d cemented the design. Justin’s response: “Patent it. Now!”
Among the impressive array of Patriot products, the Hexocore material on the 270 degree awning is a game changer that I reckon we’ll see far more of, very soon. Why? Because it claims to be half the weight, eight times more breathable, and 20 per cent stronger than canvas products. Plus it’s mould-resistant, silver lined, UPF 50+ rated, anti-fungal… and waterproof.
When all’s said and done, the key question is whether this rig’s worth the $69,990 price tag? At its purest form it’s a box trailer with a side-fold. But looking closely it’s a ‘Transformer’: there’s more than meets the eye. This is an Aussie build that’s manufactured entirely on the Gold Coast (with the exception of the canvas). This means that you’re paying for Aussie ingenuity with Australian labour and standard of living costs. So, it’s worth asking yourself: “how much is it worth to me to support Australian industry?” The answer will depend on how ‘Patriotic’ you are.
Patriot’s X3 sustains the company’s reputation for quality engineering and finish, from the hot dip galvanised chassis through to the chemical fastening and the structural aircraft grade rivets (over 600).
The colour scheme extends the possible options, with silver, blue, green, graphite, and white allowing you to express your personality. All forward facing panels are finished in stone resistant Rhino coating.
Internally there’s comfortably upholstered cushioning and remotely controlled and dimmable soft lighting. It’s all a long way from the purely functional X1.
The eminently well-designed Cruisemaster X-Cruise suspension with its linearly aligned dual shocks is retained and the patented Rigilite chassis with its marine grade aluminium lateral members is familiar ground for Patriot aficionados. The bodywork retains the all-aluminium construction of the past.
The drawbar is interchangeable up to a 200mm extension, fitted with a DO35 coupling. At the rear are two rated recovery points directly tied through to the hitch.
The fold-over top is fitted with Patriot’s new Exorack system which interfaces with almost all known commercial racking systems, giving you a wide range of options for carrying bikes, kayaks, canoes, jerry cans and more.
Patriot has even designed its own global patented awning fabric, known as Hexocore. Officially listed with a UV rating of 50+, it actually goes up to an unofficial 80. Its silver undercoating assists in reducing heat transmission by 5 degrees and its weight of 180gsm is half that of Coolabah canvas. The awning structure has the poles built in for easy storage and set-up, and ropes remain attached and stored in included pockets.
Patriot has again changed the definition of a camper trailer through a radical rethink of what a hybrid camper can be. By modifying a proven design they have been able to continue with the maximum usage of known and perfected components while introducing a wide range of new uses for that blueprint.
Despite the capacity to include an additional sleeping place internally, or to attach the optional kids swag, this is, in my view, a camper for two. Sure, the kids would be comfortably accommodated, but like all of its forebears, the X3 is really built to give you unparalleled access to the remotest of locations. The X3 does so not just with security and the assurance that you have all the basic necessities, but with a level of comfort you couldn’t previously find in such a lightweight and condensed package.
Ball weight 120kg
Suspension Cruisemaster X-Cruise Airbag
Brakes 10" Electric
Coupling Cruisemaster DO35
Chassis/drawbar 100x50x3 hot dipped galvanised Rigilite
Wheels/tyres PCOR 16” wheels, 33” mud terrains
Awning size 12.6 metres squared
Overall length 3.75m
Body size (travel) 2.8m (L) x 1.85 (W) x 1.75 (H)
Interior height (roof raised) 2m
Gas cylinders 2 x 4.5kg
Water 130L, Webasto HWS, Webasto shower
Kitchen/cooktop External kitchen stove & Weber slide-out kitchen with 75 litre dual zone Dometic
Battery 2 x 150Ah Gel, REDARC RedVision TVMS, 1500W inverter
Options on review model BBQ swing away ($999); 75L Dometic dual zone fridge ($1,790); Extended drawbar ($399); Utility slide ($399); Additional gas bottle holder ($289); Pop-up cafe ($990, storage area is standard); Coffee machine not supplied by Patriot Campers.
PRICE AS STANDARD
PRICE AS SEEN (WITH OPTIONS)
CAMPER STAR RATINGS
|David Cook||Tim van Duyl||Kath Heiman||Scott Heiman|
|1. Fit for Intended Purpose||9||7||4.5||5.5|
|4. Quality of finish||9.5||8||9||8.5|
|5. Build quality||9.5||8||9||8.5|
|8. Ease of use||9.5||6||8||8|
|9. Value for money||9||6||4.5||6|
Address 1 Activity Crescent, Molendinar, QLD 4214
Phone (07) 5597 0638