Years ago, my Dad and I fished the creeks and estuaries around Hinchinbrook Island on trips from Brisbane and Townsville. In fact, I caught my one and only barra in a tributary of the Herbert River on one such pre-Christmas trip. Mangrove Jack, salmon and trevally also fell victim to our angling talents.
So, whenever I hear the name Hinchinbrook, it brings back great memories of long days in the North Queensland sun, chasing a few fillets in the tinny with Dad. At the end of the day, we'd head back to Lucinda and have a couple of tinnies of a different sort at the Lucinda Point Hotel. Good times.
As a result, when asked to review the new Hinchinbrook from Broadwater Campers, I was already in a pretty positive mindset. However, in a world of camper trailers being named after epic Aussie 4WD locations, the name did intrigue me a little.
ALL HAIL THE HYBRID
Arriving at the Gold Coast Headquarters of Broadwater Campers, the reasoning behind the name quickly became apparent. Strolling through the large range of forward-fold campers Broadwater also offer, the penny dropped.
Brampton. Hayman. Lindeman. Hamilton. Fraser. They are all beautiful islands off the coast of sunny Queensland. Unfortunately, though, you can only tow a camper on one of them.
The Hinchinbrook DB13 is the newest addition to Broadwater's model line-up, a move to test the waters with a hybrid option.
When asked about the move to hybrid campers, owner Mark Trew said that they had noticed a shift in the market recently, with more campers wanting ‘quick and easy’ set up and pack down, especially for those with young families. He also said that some of their older demographic were looking to downsize from a full-size caravan, back to a nimbler hybrid.
Enter the Hinchinbrook.
Mark imports two variants of this 13-foot hybrid specifically for the two markets mentioned above. The DB13 (which is the focus of this review), which features double bunks for the growing, younger families, and the E13, which sleeps two, but has the internal ensuite.
TIME TO TEST
With showers and storms forecast for our day of testing, we hitched up and hit the highway to a secret South-East Queensland testing facility. Would you believe me if I told you I could hear the hum of the M1 from our location?
With an on-test tare of 1980kg, the dual-cab Navara had no issues merging into the fast lane on the freeway or pulling the Hinchinbrook up and down gravel tracks. We may have found the suspension travel limit of the tow vehicle during our test, but the camper followed dutifully behind, with the McHitch 3.5t offroad coupling articulating well over the rough stuff.
An ATM of 2500kg is well within the limits most vehicles that will want to pack this hybrid up and hit the tracks, and the 520kg of payload should allow you to take all that you need.
BUILT FOR THE BUSH, OR THE BEACH
Following a pretty standard line when it comes to imported Hybrids, the Hinchinbrook is underpinned by a heavy duty 150 x 50 x 4mm galvanised chassis and A-frame.
There are plenty of additional cross-braces and supports for the water tanks, suspension components and the like underneath as well. Body deadener spray has also been applied to the entire underbody for extra protection from the elements.
Independent trailing arm suspension with twin shocks and coil springs help to keep the camper on an even keel, while 265/75R16 mud terrain tyres provide offroad traction. Stopping power is by way of 12in electric drum brakes.
Up top, the aluminium composite panels over a fully welded aluminium frame offer a clean finish as well as providing insulation from the elements. Black powder coated aluminium checkerplate around the lower section completes the tough, offroad look we are accustomed to seeing.
A pair of recovery points at the rear of the camper are there for when a bit of help is required, while tubular steel rock sliders help limit damage to the front and rear corners during more extreme offroad endeavours.
QUICK TO THE POINT
After a short foray through the bush, we scouted out a fairly level spot of ground to set the Hinchinbrook up. After a couple of rocks were located to chock the wheels, the handbrake was cranked on, the trailer unhitched, and the stabiliser legs deployed.
With the clouds above us threatening to open at any time, we were happy knowing that in a couple of minutes, the Hinchinbrook would be set up and ready for whatever the weather gods had in store for us.
First up, the spare tyres are lowered to allow access to the rear sleeping pod. The rear hatch lifts up, the two walls swing out and the base lowers to increase the length of the trailer by around a metre, which allows for a king-sized bed. Simple stainless-steel slide bolts keep everything in place.
Move inside via the manual fold-down steps and pop open the gas strut assisted roof by way of front and rear mechanisms. Being fully manual removes any chance of an actuator failure and not being able to get the roof open. At the rear of the camper, fold the innerspring mattress over into the rear extension, fluff up your cushions and you're just about done.
Last but not least, the Hinchinbrook comes equipped with an electric awning for a bit of shade, or as we were soon to find out, a dry spot out of the rain. If things get particularly bad, or you were staying in the one spot for a while, the Hinchinbrook comes standard with an annexe to fully enclose the outdoor area.
Heading away for a spot of camping with the Hinchinbrook definitely doesn't mean you’ll forego a dash of comfort on your travels.
As already mentioned, there's the king-sized bed with an inner-spring mattress. While the fold in the middle could be an issue to some, a simple mattress topper can alleviate this problem. Or, as Mark suggested, you can sleep in an east-west orientation thanks to the virtually identical length and width dimensions of the mattress.
For the kid/s, there’s a permanent elevated single bunk, as well as a dinette that quickly and easily converts to a second single bed. When making use of the internal dinette, the top bunk folds up out of the way and is held in position by gas struts.
Big, double-glazed windows, complete with block-out blinds and insect screens, provide heaps of cross-ventilation. Additional windows in the PVC skirt of the pop-up section are also screened to maximise air movement inside the camper.
If that's not enough (and you happen to be camped with access to mains power), the Hinchinbrook comes direct from the factory fitted with a Truma Aventa reverse-cycle air conditioner.
Internal space has been well utilised, with plenty of storage options, from wall cupboards, floor units and even under the dinette seats. Externally, storage is provided by a large tunnel boot at the front and drawer storage at the rear.
Cooking duties are taken care of by the pull-out stainless-steel kitchen located towards the rear of the camper on the passenger side. All the usual suspects are there, a Dometic three-burner gas stove, hot/cold tap, stainless steel sink, cutlery drawers, spice rack, dish drainer and an extra prep/server bench.
What it lacks however, is good lighting over the cooktop. Speaking to Mark, he has advised me that this will be taken care of in future production models, with a stalk-type, adjustable LED light being utilised for targeted lighting where needed.
One thing I would love to see on these types of hybrids is external pantry storage. I'm sure with a bit of thinking and clever design layout it wouldn't be too hard to manage. It would sure beat having to go back inside the camper every time you needed something else when cooking.
Up front, a massive fridge slide will easily play home to fridges up to around the 100L size, giving you heaps of cold storage for extended trips away.
Keeping the clan clean comes by way of an external shower and if privacy is an issue, there's also an en suite shower tent as part of the kit, which attaches to the off side of the camper via a sail track. Thanks to the Truma gas/electric hot water system, you'll never have to worry about a cold shower ever again.
Rounding off the list of standard inclusions is a 24in combined TV/DVD player which has mounts both internally and externally, as well as a AM/FM/CD/MP3 player with external marine speakers.
Getting away from civilisation and staying there is generally what it's all about. With that in mind, the Hinchinbrook is a solid performer without being spectacular.
The model on review packs away 150L of drinking water split between a 100L and a 50L tank. There's also a 100L grey water tank. Future models will feature 200L of potable water and a 50L grey tank, which will help extend your off-grid endeavours.
The electrical system has a pair of 100Ah AGM batteries at its heart, which are hidden beneath the bottom of the bed, along with the Victron DCDC Charger and MPPT solar controller that regulates the power supplied by the 300W of roof-mounted solar panels.
Littered throughout both the inside and outside of the Hinchinbrook DB13 are 14 (yep, you read that right!) USB and 12V charging sockets. No chance of your phones, tablets or other devices going flat here. Add to that, there’s also a 2000W inverter fitted as standard and several 240V power points inside the camper.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Suiting a young family, the Broadwater Hinchinbrook DB13 comes with all the options, no more to add and no more to pay. That's including the air conditioner! For $38,990 you get it all, minus the fridge (which most people have already anyway). All you need is to add your food, water and clothes and hit the tracks and start creating wonderful memories with your Hinchinbrook.
Tare 1800kg (as tested — 1980kg)
Payload 700kg (as tested — 520kg)
Ball weight 180kg
Suspension Independent suspension with coils and twin shocks
Brakes 12in electric drum
Coupling McHitch 3.5t
Chassis 150 x 50 x 4mm galvanised RHS
Body Aluminium frame
Cladding Aluminium composite panel
Wheels 16 x 7.5 alloy rims
Tyres 265/75R16 Kendor MT
Body size 3900 (L) x 2180 (W) x 2555mm (H) w/ roof-mounted A/C
Towed length 5760mm
Awning size 2700 x 2000
Gas cylinders 2 x 9kg
Water 150L fresh water (1 x 100L + 1 x 50L); 100L grey water
Hot water service Truma 14L gas/electric hot water system
Cooktop Dometic three-burner gas cooktop (external)
Kitchen Slide-out stainless steel with Dometic three-burner, sink and bench space
Battery 2 x 100Ah Ritar AGM
Solar 2 x 150W
Options fitted 95L fridge/freezer
PRICE AS TESTED
695 Pine Ridge Rd, Biggera Waters, QLD
P: (07) 5594 9533