Slide-on campers, done right, can be the ultimate in mobility, simplicity and convenience. The Aussie-made Wedgetail WTC, weighing 750kg and costing $75,000, aces the brief with grace. With an airy, spacious interior, a queen sized bed, an internal shower and toilet, a simplistic side-fold action, and the ability to jack up the camper and drive on out, there’s a lot to love about the WTC. The Wedgetail was jointly recognised as the 'Most Comfortable' camper at the event.
Wedgetail won the slide-on category of Camper Trailer of the Year back in 2015, and here we are again. Wedgetail campers continue to impress with their features and extensive options list. This slide-on has its sights set squarely on active couples and the retiree market and this shows in the overall functionality of the camper, including its finishing touches.
The Wedgetail is a lot more than a nest for empty-nesters. A heavyweight in its class, the Wedgetail’s perfect travel partner is a muscular tray back ute, happy to shoulder a load. Alternatively, fit the unit to a Wedgetail custom trailer, or have it retro-fitted to your own. This sort of flexibility is normally only found in the gym!
The Wedgetail promises endless nights under the stars with a level of amenity normally reserved to towed campers and caravans. Inevitably, as a slide-on, there’s a unique level of dependency between the Wedgetail and the rig that carries it, and with a fully specced weight of 750kg, this is no featherweight.
That said, with the right rig underneath it — most probably one with a suspension upgrade — the Wedgetail enjoys features that will happily support several days off-grid. To name a few, there’s a 125Ah lithium battery partnered with 200W of solar, two 4kg gas bottles and a 90 litre water tank joining a Truma hot water system.
Inside, Wedgetail claims to have the most storage and living space for its class and there’s an undeniably roomy feel to the interior’s configuration. Life in the great outdoors is supported by a comfortable 150mm queen sized mattress set within an airy canvas space that provides a bird’s-eye view of the surrounding country, perfect for nurturing a back-to-nature frame of mind.
The quality construction has this slide-on prepared to survive punishing conditions on the road. The high quality seals and pressurised interior work together to prevent dust ingress. With a lower profile than many others (1.22m above tray, folded), the Wedgetail tucks in nicely behind the driver’s cabin and doesn’t pose an obvious target for overhanging branches on narrow tracks. And if you happen to take a scrape, the Wedgetail is sturdily constructed on an aluminium welded frame with 1.6mm aluminium side-panels, featuring checkerplate storage compartments.
Mounted on a suitably capable rig, the Wedgetail offers a highly manoeuvrable set-up that can handle a range of track conditions, perform turns in confined spaces, and make reversing simple in a way that’s just not possible when towing. With the risk of ‘track fear’ minimised, there’s little standing between you and this country’s endless horizons. Whatever your reasons for travel, the Wedgetail characterises the go-anywhere style of camping that excites weekend warriors and overlanders alike.
TIM VAN DUYL
The Wedgetail screams innovation even if the idea of a slide-on has been around for a while. The demountable solar panel, the washing line tucked away under the folded roof and the intricate details around the fridge and barbecue slides are all top-notch, and were only some of the clever ideas on display. The stand-out for me though is the packaging, especially the internal shower and toilet zone.
A full internal shower and toilet in a fold-out camper is something I never thought I’d see. The design relies on a few poles to tighten the canvas but it's simple enough to be able to use roadside if you need an emergency stop. The big benefit of being able to shower internally is not having to trudge through the dust or mud outside, but it also completes the secure feeling of having your own space. Inside the Wedgetail, you have a lounge, a great bed, a decent kitchenette, plenty of storage and now your own place to wash; it’s the complete package comfort-wise.
The 150mm inner sprung mattress will be loved by all, as will the great cross-flow ventilation the all-around midgee-screened windows and openings provide. If the weather packs in, there are storm shields for the main windows. With access to the fridge and a two-burner stove and sink inside, you could outstay most storms in total, dry comfort.
Bar one locker, all of the storage in the Wedgetail is accessible from both inside the camper and outside. There is space for wet gear, a good pantry and tool storage, plus the aforementioned fridge slide. Being well-equipped is essential, so it pays to be proactive and check your ute’s weight limits. A lot of modern utes, like the Ranger, have a limited payload, so if you’re planning on mounting a Wedgetail, you may benefit from having, or need to have your GVM upgraded before hitting the road.
One of the big issues with campers and their ease of use is the number of poles required to set up the canvas. Thankfully the Wedgetail only has 12. Partly thanks to the side-fold nature of the body and partly due to clever design, not having too many poles makes set-up a lot quicker. There is a lot of canvas to handle so it will take a few uses to get the hang of it, but (without removing the ute from under the camper) I expect about a 30 min set-up time; and that includes swinging out the barbecue and grabbing a cold one from the handy fridge.
If you wanted to pull the ute out to duck to the shops or go exploring, the four electric legs make life super easy. You simply power them down until the camper is off the tray and drive on out. They also double as stabilisers when still attached and do a great job for what is a tall set-up.
Wedgetail’s market is predominantly couples with no kids looking to free up their hitch to tow a boat, or folks who are sick of hauling larger campers or caravans and want a ‘Tiny House’ option to support them in the Great Outdoors. Whether you travel with a boat bigger than the average rooftop tinnie, or plan to camp in remote areas where clearance is an issue or where towed campers aren’t recommended or permitted, the Wedgetail offers options that others don’t.
Wedgetail’s market edge starts with its lay-out. This is perhaps the most compact slide-on on the market and it is specifically built for backroad conditions. With its low profile and sturdy construction, the Wedgetail is at home in the scrub, while being squat enough to drive into a supermarket carpark for resupply without fear of shearing off the roof.
Talking of supplies, you won’t have to skimp on them as the Wedgetail is loaded with stowage options. This Tardis has seven external storage compartments, all (except the gas bottle) accessible from inside the camper. With a swing-fridge, swing-barbecue with hockey stick burners, and enough room for a jazz festival inside, this small unit is ready to dance.
If you’re looking for an X Factor, take a look at the modularised design of this slide-on. The removable solar panel on the roof can be redeployed on the ground once you’re set-up at camp. The awning is interchangeable on each side. And the pièce de résistance is that the internal frame of the Wedgetail has remained constant over the company’s ten year history. So every model ever made can plug-and-play any upgrade generated over the last decade. With a whopping 12 year structural warranty, and unlimited owners, it’s this sort of customer focus that builds loyalty and faith in the Wedgetail brand.
To get one out of the showroom, a base model Wedgetail will cost you $49,990 and have a 420kg Tare — or $75,000 for the ‘all singing and dancing’ version reviewed here, which weighed in at 750kg. Add in the $4,000–$7,000 cost of a GVM and brake upgrade (but remember that many rigs used for towing would probably benefit from these upgrades too). Then make your choice about how much you’re prepared to pay for a quality, all Australian-made product. Wedgetail are a local team with a reputation for quality construction, who have a strong customer focus and who know their market well, even down to their customer’s preferred style of tray back ute (BT50 or 79 Series). With a Wedgetail fitted on a capable rig, you’ll have all you need to spread your wings and fly.
When we start talking about quality of finish, we’re entering this Wedgetail slide-on’s area of strength. The outside is finished in a version of the paint used as a base for ute liners. It comes without the thickeners but is super tough and extremely scratch- and chip-resistant. In the past the colour choice was white, white or white, but has now been extended to white, matte black, silver or grey, and these can be applied to hatch doors while having the body in one of the other colours.
To ensure the outside remains as clean as possible there is a large padded vinyl front body liner to resist the worst stones.
The whole camper is assembled on a fixed jig right up to the stage of the fitting of the external panels and internal furniture, so that clearances and tolerances are tightly controlled and consistent.
All walls and the roof are heavily insulated for limitation of impact from the external environment into the camper interior.
The Wedgetail is constructed with varying thickness laser-cut external aluminium skin to suit the requirements of the panels in order to keep weight down, one of the most significant factors in slide-on design. The design has remained basically the same since the camper’s inception, in 2009. But like all good campers, Wedgetails have continued to evolve at a steady rate, with constant fine-tuning paring kilograms here, grams there.
The Wedgetail remains at the top of the slide-on market in Australia, thanks to an unremitting commitment to being the best. By pursuing this policy Wedgetail has always had a long list of customers prepared to wait anything up to 18 months to get their camper. The Aussie brand’s campers have greater internal room and more comforts than almost any other, and come with a standard of design and engineering that is unmatched in its class.
Chassis 60 x 40, 40 x 40 and 50 x 25mm RHS aluminium
Body Marine grade aluminium and fibreglass
Style Side-fold slide-on
Box size 1895mm wide
Travel height 2300mm
Tent size 3400 x 3600mm
Annex 3000 x 2200mm
Interior height (roof raised) 2600mm
Gas cylinders 2 x 4kg
Water 90L, 12V pump
Hot water system 14L Truma gas and 240 volt
Cooktop Compressed laminate external kitchen with three-in-one Marine barbecue, plus internal Cramer two-burner
Fridge 85L fridge/freezer
Toilet Thetford Porta potti 165
Shower Inside and outside accessed shower rose
Battery 125Ah lithium, 200W solar
PRICE AS SEEN
CAMPER STAR RATINGS
|David Cook||Tim van Duyl||Kath Heiman||Scott Heiman|
|1. Fit for Intended Purpose||8.5||7||8||7|
|4. Quality of finish||9||8||8||7|
|5. Build quality||9||8||8.5||8|
|8. Ease of use||8.5||8||7||6|
|9. Value for money||8.5||6||4.5||5|
Address 29 Teralba Road, Broadmeadow, NSW 2292
Phone 0458 130 106