Update, December 17, 2012
Armadillo Campers has advised of the several changes to this model (highlighted below) since this review was first published.
NO MAN IS AN island. And neither is any camper trailer, entire of itself. Each design shares certain elements with every other camper, or a few. Because they are all solving the same problems, it stands to reason that they would end up looking similar. But occasionally, a builder comes up with something that looks like a lot of trailers on the market, but seems to be approaching the problems from a completely different direction.
Armadillo Campers' Arma-X looks, at first, like most premium box trailers, but when you dig into the list of specifications and the final price tag, you realise some real lateral thinking has gone into this camper trailer's design.
For starters, it isn't for the person who already has everything and is just looking for a basic trailer and tent setup. The Arma-X has pretty much everything you need to hit the road built in from the start, with a few luxuries thrown in for good measure.
These days people want to have a shower when they are on the road. More and more trips are turning into widening arcs around Australia that last for weeks instead of weekends. In the past, the only way you could get a shower was to check into a holiday park every couple of days. Now more and more manufacturers are offering hot showers on camper trailers. The Arma-X utilises a Duoetto 12V/240V hot water system coupled with a 1500W inverter to provide constant hot water on the road. The ensuite is a basic Coleman shower tent that sits under a rear awning on the main camper tent. It's an affordable, effective way to have a shower and not worry about muddy feet back in the tent.
The camper itself is built for those far north adventures we all dream about. The galvanised chassis runs on Al-Ko's outback springs and 16in rims with 10in electric brakes. The body is powder-coated zincanneal with plenty of checker plate highlights. Up front the coupling is either Al-Ko's new offroad coupling or the Ozhitch, both rated to 3.5 tonnes, and a 10in jockey wheel.
To power all of the finer things in life, the Arma-X has a pretty decent 12V system including two 105Ah deep cycle batteries, Anderson plug, Ctek charger, 120W folding solar panel and 1500W pure-sine inverter. While the Duoetto hot water system will definitely draw a bit of juice, the included solar panel helps offset that loss considerably throughout the day
Out the back of the camper is a gas strut-assisted tailgate steel kitchen. With a two-burner stainless Smev cooktop that slides out, stainless sink with hot/ cold taps and slide-out bench, there's enough room for most meals, though a little more bench space would be nice.
A stereo system is mounted here in the kitchen box. And since most people spend their time at the camper under the main awning, this is the spot for listening to music.
There is LED lighting in the annex and inside the tent, and you get a full set of mozzie and midge-proof screen/ awning walls with this camper. The bed is a queen size innerspring mattress.
All of the canvas is top quality Wax Converters Dynaproofed 12oz or 15oz [15oz on the roof and 12oz on the walls]. We did have to zip on the awning roof, but that's a small matter compared to the amount and quality of walls and canvas you get included in the price of this camper, at $22,990 drive away [Armadillo advises it's worth $27,990]. They even throw in enough shade cloth floor for both front and rear awnings.
Inside the 10ft tent, there's a massive drawer that is great for storing clothing on the road, as it is individually sealed from the rest of the storage. Another storage space on the offside is big enough to carry your generator securely.
Nothing about this camper redefines camping itself, but the way it offers quality fittings throughout, an honest approach to building an offroad camper and a few neat ideas along the way have really piqued my curiosity. I can't wait to get into one of these for a longer trip and see what living in an Arma-X is like. In the meantime, you'll rarely find this many options in a comparably specified offroad trailer without cutting corners somewhere.
She's a real beauty [the manufacturer adds that this model is built not just for the far north, but is "full off-road capable" as well].