Before this review trip even started, I should have known that things were going to take a little longer than usual. I'd been in weekly contact with Tony Taylor from Hard Korr Campers since the 4th of January trying to organise this review. From shipping delays and strikes on the docks of Melbourne, to caravan and camping shows along the east coast, not to mention the level of demand that Hard Korr are currently experiencing, it was hard work trying to get a camper to take away for a day of testing.
We persevered, and on a glorious autumn day I met Tony and Cam at Beaudesert for a run-out to a property near Rathdowney “around 30 minutes away” according to Tony.
TOWING THE LINE
The drive took a little longer than 30 minutes. We even dipped into New South Wales — luckily there were no border closures. The good thing about this drive was that it offered up the ideal opportunity for me to assess how the HKC-4000X behaved behind the Triton dual cab.
With a Tare of only 1050kg and an ATM of 1650kg, this camper definitely falls into the lightweight category. As such, a big 4WD isn't required to tow this camper. Highway speeds, secondary country roads, and the twists and turns of the Mt Lindsay Highway were handled with aplomb, and the camper felt rock solid behind the Triton.
With all those twists, turns, ascents, and descents as we approached the property, it was no wonder that there was a distinct smell of brakes in the air as we hit the dirt and our first photo opportunity — the 10” trailer brakes were definitely getting a workout.
On the dirt, through the creeks, and among the barely-there tracks at the back of the property, the camper followed dutifully behind. The Al-Ko off-road hitch did its job as expected. This hitch, rated to 3.5 tonnes, utilises the standard 50mm ball — meaning that a second hitch is not required when towing the camper.
With a hitch to rear bumper length of only 4m — I learnt that's what the '4000X' of the HKC-4000X stands for— it's a nimble package on the tight tracks when manoeuvrability is of the utmost importance. However, this short length also means that reversing can become a little bit trickier.
When your camper company is called Hard Korr, you had better hope that the product backs up the name — especially when the time comes to hit the rough stuff.
As already mentioned, it's short and lightweight, which are big ticks in the offroad column. The articulating hitch is another.
What about the suspension, chassis, rolling stock, and everything else found underneath an offroad trailer?
Let's start with the suspension.
As with most campers on the market these days, the HKC-4000X runs a twin shock, coil sprung, independent trailing arm suspension set up. The shocks are 65mm big bore gas shocks to minimise fade over long sections of corrugations, and a simple double reinforced nylon webbing limiting strap ensures the coil springs don't pop out of their seats.
One aspect of the trailing arms that I really liked is the bash plate welded to the bottom. In especially rocky environments this could mean the difference between getting hung up and potentially causing some damage, or sliding over the top with nothing more than a few scrapes of the paint work.
These bash plates also have an extra level of importance due to the slightly lower ride height and clearance of the HKC-4000X, mainly because of the use of 235/75R15 tyres wrapped around 15” black alloy rims.
On the old scale, a 235/75R15 tyre comes in at just under 29” — and when compared to a lot of other trailers out there that run a 265/75R16 (or just under 32”) tyre, the HKC-4000X gives away an inch and a half of ground clearance to a lot of its competitors.
When quizzed as to why the use of the smaller tyre and rim combination, Tony answered “It's to keep the overall height down for a lower centre of gravity and so it can fit inside a standard garage. Additionally, the kitchen also ends up being at a more convenient height.”
Good to see was the use of a protective tube for the electric trailer brake wiring run along the top of the trailing arm and waterproof Deutsch plug connections.
For a trailer that comes in low on the scales, it has a pretty beefy chassis. The 150 x 50 x 3mm hot-dipped galvanised chassis runs the full length of the trailer, from A-frame to rear bumper. Incorporated into the rear bumper are a pair of recovery points — essential for any offroad travel — as well as a 50mm receiver hitch rated to 125kg.
I was thinking that this receiver was a great spot to put the bike rack with a couple of pushies, but apparently there is a Hard Korr customer out there somewhere with a dirt bike hanging off the back!
Elsewhere underneath, it's a very tidy affair. The 100L stainless steel water tank is positioned forward of the axle and is fitted with an aluminium checker plate shroud. Sharp edges have been protected with pinch weld and show an attention to detail.
Pipework and wiring are positioned high out of the way of any potential harm, except for the water lines that run on both sides of the chassis to the kitchen and the front hand pump, which run on the outside. Don't expect to see these here for much longer, though — a design change is imminent.
Hanging out down the back of the camper — and I do mean hanging down — is the single spare tyre. While easy enough to get to and lower on a dirt road, it wouldn't be so easy if you got a flat in a serious offroad situation. A better idea may be to borrow the rear mounted swing away idea from the larger Overlander GTS Hard Korr Camper.
Up top, the camper body is fabricated from 1.8mm zinc anneal panel that has been put through a '3 coat paint system' that is finished off with a hard-wearing 2-pac baked enamel.
All the doors feature dual compression locks and automotive rubber seals to eliminate dust and water ingress to the numerous storage lockers located around the trailer — and numerous lockers there are. All up, there is approximately 2350L of storage, from a large box underneath the roof top tent to fold down hatches incorporated into the front stone shield come tool box.
A great feature is the lighter weight drawers that can be opened single-handedly thanks to a handle that connects both locking mechanisms. On the heavier duty slides that can be found in the full width tunnel boot and on the fridge slide, an extra travel lock has been fitted to prevent additional wear and tear.
When you own an offroad trailer like the HKC-4000X, there's a pretty good chance that you won't spend your holidays seeking out caravan park after caravan park. You'll want to get away from the rat race and 240V power outlets.
Instead, big sky country and remote destinations will likely be more your thing.
To do this, you need battery power, gas, and water. We've already covered that there's a heap of storage, and we'll cover that more when we get to the kitchen. As for water, there's 100L underneath and there's a couple of 20L jerrycans located behind the stone guard on the off side. 140L of water is going to go quite a way — just make sure you keep those hot showers nice and quick.
While not fitted to the camper on test, I have been informed that a portable HWS will soon become part of the standard inclusions on the HKC-4000X.
On the near side behind the stone guard is the 9kg gas bottle; 9kg is a lot of gas, but just make sure you check it before heading off on a big trip.
Hard Korr built its name around electrical and lighting, so you would expect the electrical system to be top notch. Twin USB and 12V sockets are littered around the camper so your small appliances should never run out of charge. LED lights are also located in the doors of storage lockers and beneath the awning.
One lighting feature that stood out to me was the multi-function reverse lights of the camper. Not only do they do what they were designed to do — turn on when reversing — but the Hard Korr crew has modified them into a pair of broad beam camp lights. Operated via a switch panel inside the rear fridge compartment, these lights offer a soft light that illuminates the rear of the camper and surrounds.
All of this lighting and power comes from a pair of 100Ah AGM batteries that are charged via a 50A voltage sensitive relay (VSR) connected the tow vehicle through an Anderson plug.
Depending on the tow vehicle, a DC/DC charger may be required to be fitted to the camper, with the team from Hard Korr happy to advise.
The camper comes fitted as standard with a 15A 'lithium ready' solar regulator, but doesn't come standard with a solar panel. I would've liked to have seen this included. A solar input point has been pre-wired to the rear of the camper.
IN THE KITCHEN
After unfurling the massive Darche 270° + 180° awning, it's time to check out the kitchen setup on the HKC-4000X.
Up front, a pull-out slide is home to the optional Weber BabyQ. Once the pull-out kitchen has been opened into place, the BabyQ can be set up on the fold out preparation bench.
The kitchen consists of a Dometic two-burner gas stove and a stainless steel sink plumbed up and ready to go. A cutlery/utensil drawer pulls out from beneath the stove.
A handy addition to the prep bench support arms are laser cut hooks — just perfect to hang the BBQ tools on for quick and easy access so that stray snag doesn't roll off into the dirt.
There's a heap of drawer/pantry space, but the drawer above the kitchen can only be fully accessed if the stove is not in use. A handy LED flood light provides a heap of light to the cooking/cleaning areas and complements the tri-colour LED strip light mounted under the awning.
THE BOTTOM LINE
For me, this camper has a lot of positives. Light weight and offroad ready are just two of these. It's also got a heap of storage and a decent list of standard inclusions, but I'd like to see a solar panel or blanket included in that standard list to put the icing on the cake.
For those looking at getting into their first camper, or upgrading from an older model, the HKC-4000X is at the budget friendly end of the camper trailer spectrum with pricing starting at a whisker under $31K. For that $31K, though, you still get a lot of camper.
Oh yeah — if you ever find yourself going for a drive with Tony, always double check the destination and just how far you're going first.
BIG! Darn big!
Yep, that's the easiest way to describe the bed on the HKC-4000X.
The roof top tent (RTT) that sits atop this camper comes in at a whopping 2400mm long x 1800mm wide. That's bigger than my bed at home. And the 65mm thick mattress isn't too shabby either.
Considering it's proportions, the RTT is a breeze to set up thanks to the gas struts inside the tent that assist in the opening of the tent. Simple pole tensioners inside the tent remove any slack from the rip stop nylon material.
Midgee proof screens cover the large windows, and thanks to the oversized tropical fly which provides ample coverage over the windows, they can remain open in even the most inclement conditions.
A twin USB socket is located at the head of the bed to ensure your phone is charged for the next day, while a 12V cig socket provides the power for the LED strip light.
For those taking the family camping with them, the tent comes with a zip on annex, complete with full PVC floor, which is just perfect for a couple of stretcher beds for the kids.
Ball weight 125kg
Suspension Independent coil suspension w/ twin shocks
Brakes 10” electric drum
Coupling AL-KO Offroad Ball Coupling
Chassis 150 x 50 x 3mm hot-dipped galvanised
Body 1.8mm zinc anneal w/ 2-pac baked enamel
Wheels 15 x R Hard Korr Custom Black Alloy rims
Tyres GoodRide MT 235/75R15
Style Compact RTT
Body size 4050 (L) x 1830 (W) x 2050mm (H)
Towed length 4050mm
Awning size Darche 270° + 180°
Gas cylinders 1 x 9kg
Water 100L S/S tank + 40L jerry cans
Hot water service Country Comfort
Cooktop Dometic two-burner
Kitchen Slide-out w/ Dometic two-burner, sink and bench space
Battery 2 x 100Ah AGM
PRICE AS TESTED
Hard Korr Campers
Building 9, 83 Burnside Road. Stapylton qld 4207
Phone: (07) 3801 8332