RICK NICHOLLS AND Brett Nicholas have been keen campers all their life and offroad enthusiasts for just a bit less. They are both engineers and when they decided their business needed to change direction they started building something for which they had a passion: camper trailers. The Brix Z Camper is the result and it is certainly a unique design.
The trailer is built on a fully galvanised chassis with a drawbar that is 3600mm long, from towball to axle centerline. This means the trailer is very maneuverable, easy to reverse and that you will be able to open your car boot, no matter how big the door. The loss of departure angle that comes with a longer drawer is mitigated by the airbag suspension.
This suspension setup is of the guys' own design and works like a charm, allowing you to adjust the height of both sides separately at the press of a button. Plus you have a built in tyre compressor at your fingertips. It has replaceable 60mm axles, so the trailer wheels can be matched to any tow vehicle's track or bolt pattern.
But the uniqueness of this trailer lies in the bonded and welded marine-grade aluminium body and the way in which it opens. The top of the trailer lifts from the front and is supported by two posts, and a metal frame beneath this lifts from the back and is again supported by two posts. This creates a surprising amount of room above the innerspring queen bed, and it goes up in a minute or so, giving an insulated hard roof.
Then you lift the rear canvas out over the tailgate and pull it out on the ground behind, step in through one of the side doors and lower the tailgate, which has an inbuilt step, then assemble the bow which supports the end of the tent and secure with two guy ropes. Finished.
The tent has three large screened windows at the rear and three around the bed. The floor area provides room for two kids' beds or a table and chairs, with doors at the front for easy bed access.
When collapsed the trailer body is 1500mm tall, with lots of storage under the bed and 200mm above it to carry all manner of items.
Brett and Rick both have families, and figured they wanted the ease of a hardfloor setup with a softfloor's storage capacity. It had to have room to sleep a couple of kids and provide a high level of fitout. And their solution is a mix of pop-top, hard floor and soft floor.
If the Brix Z Camper has one primary selling point it's the ease of set up for basic camps. Within five minutes you can have a very livable site. As with all camper trailers, if you want the whole annexe with walls then it will take longer.
The awning comes in two pieces; an L-shaped one that zips around the front of the tent and along the offside, and another that zips across the back and joins up with the other, in the process acting as a tropical roof for the tent. This has to be removed when packing up, and it will require a set of steps because of the height of the roof, but with all that storage room it shouldn't be a problem, especially seeing as you end up with a massive covered area of 2x8m.
The stainless steel kitchen unit pulls out of the front of the offside. There's a sink with an electric tap and a four-burner Spinflo with a grill. The storage for your pots and utensils is an open fronted cupboard under the work space, with the guys advising you to carry cutlery in a cloth roll, as they feel a drawer is not an efficient use of storage space.
The kitchen also comes with a pull-out pantry drawer on the rear and a 60L ARB fridge/freezer on a slide in front.
The trailer comes equipped with an excellent electrical system. Based on two 100Ah AGM batteries, it offers pretty much everything you could ask for (see comparo for details), including a 120W solar panel affixed to the roof. Lighting includes an LED interior light and two LED reading lights in the roof.
The camper comes equipped with an 82L water tank and gauge and one of the options is a second 60L tank at the front.
Outside it's finished in grey two-part polyurethane paint, and inside it uses Rhino Lining for its wipe-over practicality. The roof is adorned with Rola roof racks, so you can carry your favourite toys.
The Brix Z Camper comes at a time when the budget end of the market is feeling the squeeze from cheap imported products, but this camper costs $39,500 as tested, with a three-year warranty, and is clearly aimed towards the more discerning buyers. It promises durability and comfort, with a high level of fitout for the price. If you're looking to shell out that amount of dough then I would definitely advise you to have a look at this camper trailer.
Brix Z Camper
Suspension: Independent airbag
Brakes: 10in electric drum
Price (as shown): $39,500
Contact: Brix Campers, 2/10 Sturt St, Smithfield, NSW 2164, (02) 9632 2388, http://www.brix.com.au/
Source: Camper Trailer Australia #51