Camper Trailer of the Year 2021: BRS Sherpa

Various — 22 April 2021
This innovative second-generation BRS teardrop shows how far Camper Trailer technology has come

GLENN MARSHALL

Score: 80.5

The team at BRS Campers may be small, but the operations are certainly growing and a lot of that comes down to the mindset of owner Ben Souter. I mean who else turns a teardrop camper into an offroad camping machine? The BRS Sherpa is built as rugged as it looks and the attention to detail in the construction is hard to beat. 



The Sherpa is built with comfortable long-distance remote travel in mind, and it delivers this in spades. It has a unique design that breathes strength, top quality suspension and plenty of gear to ensure you can be comfortably self-reliant on your adventure. The cabin is the main sleeping quarters while the BRS Rooftop tent is perfect for the kids or for when you’re in the doghouse. The other option is to make the rooftop tent your sleeping quarters and turn the cabin into a comfortable lounge area — the BRS could even become the perfect offroad office for someone like me. There’s a well-designed kitchen at the rear with dual fridges, and loads of pantry storage, a heater and hot water combo that will keep you warm and clean. With easy access to the ensuite shower tent from the cabin, the comfort levels are top-notch. The Sherpa certainly fits the brief for what it’s built to do. 

The body consists of a lower section made using 5083 marine-grade aluminium and an upper section that's a one-piece 20mm thick honeycomb material sandwiched between fibreglass, joined to make the cabin. The shell then sits on a 150 x 100 x 4mm centre beam that runs the full length of the chassis with an aluminium sub-chassis that looks more like ribs but also provides a solid backbone. Having electronic rotary latches on the large entry doors allows keyless entry, with an internal manual override which provides added security when camping. Using marine and chippy experience, Ben has come up with a design that has revolutionised the way a teardrop camper should be built to withstand the harsh Australian conditions. 


KATH HEIMAN

Score: 70.5

The BRS Sherpa has serious offroad credentials. Underneath, the 150 x 100 x 4mm hot dipped galvanised centre beam with its aluminium ribs look like they were inspired by a deep-water dweller from the Jurassic era. The Cruisemaster XT suspension with King Springs is a tried and tested combination for BRS. 

At just over 2m wide, 5m long (including 2.4m draw) and enjoying an impressive clearance and departure angle, this nimble camper is itching to get down and dirty. For buyers planning to take this rig to the full range of places that it’s capable of going, steel rims might be a better option than alloys. 

After a long day adventuring, the BRS Sherpa offers a welcome space to recharge your batteries and enjoy the great outdoors. Under the Alucab 170-degree awning, the galley kitchen is thoughtfully designed with decent headroom, a Dometic two-burner stove and a handy pull-down pantry for dry goods. The dual 30L Isotherm fridges can be set one for freeze and one for cool if required. Common to many tear-drop style campers, food preparation space is at a premium and it would have been good to see additional small work surfaces incorporated into the design. The external shower is heated by the Wabasto hot water system and the big shower annexe provides access straight to the camper. 

Inside the main cabin, the BRS Sherpa provides a sleeping space reminiscent of an escape pod from the USS Enterprise. The unique cushion backs at the head of the Dunlop high density queen bed mattress add extra comfort. The massive door hatches, protected by midge screens, ensure plenty of ventilation. The twin internal 12V fans help to keep the air moving and there’s heating from the Wabasto system to keep you warm on cold nights. 

Up top, the Alucab roof top tent offers a 50mm Dunlop high density foam mattress which should do the trick for lighter users. It’s a long way up so less-mobile buyers, or those with younger kids, may need to consider how they use the two sleep spaces and how best to achieve set-up and pack-away. 


TIM VAN DUYL

Score: 86

There are some really clever ideas in the Sherpa that help its Self Sufficiency score. The use of twin Isotherm fridge drawers allows an owner to only cool what they need, saving precious power, and the use of an efficient Wabasto diesel water heater reduces the reliance on sometimes hard to find LP gas.

The Isotherms can get as low as -12 degrees, a proper deep-freeze, and we saw a low 2.4A of draw with both full and set to 4 degrees at idle. 

On the sleek rooftop tent is 200W of solar cells that feed through a complete Enerdrive BMS and 125Ah Lithium battery. The system has a 40A DC charger, as well as a 20A AC system for when you find yourself in a holiday park. 

Water is cleverly housed in a bladder tucked up and shielded behind and above the axle. It's a good place for the weight when full. The use of a bladder means you cannot reliably run an in-tank gauge so the team fitted a flow gauge with readout at the kitchen — simple and smart. 

In terms of construction, using a two-piece clamshell is unique to campers and I think genius. By having reduced the amount of panels to effectively two, possible dust ingress is limited to hatches and the doors while strength is increased. Ranging from 16 to 20mm thick, the fibreglass shell and doors are tough, with the shell getting its rigidity from an alloy exo-skeleton bonded from the underside to the top. The alloy used is all 5083, high magnesium, marine grade. All CNC cut, it's a work of art and wraps around the shell to give it rigidity plus doubling as roof-rack mounts, skid plates and integrated handholds and steps.  

Underneath, the BRS is all business. Cruisemaster XT suspension with twin G35 shocks, overboard for the low 1600kg ATM. The chassis features a full-length main beam of 150 x 100 x 4mm RHS steel that supports the frame and honeycomb floor. In the living areas, the mattress is household quality and the tent uses Weathermax 8oz canvas. It felt great and was well stitched.


DAVID COOK

Score: 82

The Gen II version of the Sherpa sustains the value for money which saw it win its segment of CTOTY at Mudgee in 2019. There is nothing cheap about the Sherpa, and the evolutionary development of the camper has improved it in lots of subtle and not so subtle ways — the new construction ideas around the side of the body, the snazzy new stone guard, longer drawbar, new door hinges, new water tank and fittings, new kitchen drawer and pantry, new cooker and gas bottles, modified jerry can holders, new rooftop tent, new front storage box, new water/space heater, new fridge drawers, shrouded door seals, bigger shower tent and a whole lot more. 

The Sherpa comes with three years of structural warranty and at a price as seen of $74,990. That’s for a camper that’s equipped well above the base so the price reflects the standard of fit out, and there is plenty of room to move in terms of the final delivery and how much you will have to shell out. Do your homework.

And the X-Factor. The Sherpa is where the traditional concept of the teardrop, once fashioned from plywood and a beam axle, meets the 21st century, with its tech-driven precision and brash in-your-face functionality. 

When I look back to what I wrote about the Sherpa after those days at Mudgee I find myself again using words like ‘tradition’ and ‘brash’ because this second generation camper still has that feel of a groundbreaker. You get some serious offroad capacity to go with a functional camper with enough comforts to soften the harsh edge of any outback adventure.


SPECS

TRAILER

Tare 1140kg

ATM 1600kg

Suspension Cruisemaster XT Freestyle trailing arm dual shock independent

Brakes 10in electric drum

Coupling DO35

Chassis/drawbar 150 x 100 x 4mm hot dip galvanised central beam

Body 5083 marine aluminium monocoque/20mm honeycomb fibreglass

Wheels  17 x 8in CSA alloys LC6 pattern

Tyres 265/65R17 all terrain

Style Hybrid/teardrop

DIMENSIONS

Body size 1700mm x 3000mm

Length 4600mm

Awning size 3745mm x 3204mm

ACCESSORIES

Gas cylinders 2 x 4kg

Water 140L stainless steel

Cooktop Single-burner gas

Kitchen Rear fold-down

Battery 125Ah lithium

Options fitted Rooftop tent; lithium battery

PRICE AS TESTED

$74,990

ENQUIRIES

BRS Offroad

Address 2/40–42 Kalaroo Rd, Redhead, NSW 2290

Phone 0428 276 197

Email info@brsoffroad.com.au

Web brsoffroad.com.au

Tags

Camper Trailer of the Year 2021 BRS Sherpa Technology Port Macquarie Finalist Couple's trailer Offroader