I have a bit of a soft spot for hardfloor and crossover hard-shell camper trailers. These styles are easy to set up on any reasonably level surface, which makes a real difference when you find yourself arriving at camp close to sundown.
Complete Campsite's hardfloors are available across a broad price range and the Fraser sits towards the top with an RRP of $49,450. That's a fair amount of cash, but the tag includes all the bells and whistles - there's hardly an option list necessary.
The flipside to its size and all the associated bling is that the Fraser has an aggregate trailer mass of up to 2000kg and a ball weight of at least 140kg. That means you'll need a pretty solid tow vehicle, like a large 4WD wagon or a ute. If those boxes are ticked it's time to have a close look at Complete Campsite's Fraser.
The Fraser is built on a chassis that's welded to a central sheet steel tub and to a drawbar that can be supplied in standard or extended lengths. In the interests of weight reduction the folding hardfloor, cupboard doors and bins are formed from aluminium sheet.
A Vehicle Components independent coil-spring suspension is fitted, with single shock absorbers each side and the preferred coupling is a Vehicle Components DO35 V2 unit.
Standard braking is via 12in electric drums, and three aluminium road wheels shod with offroad tyres are also standard. The spare wheel mounts on a side-mounted swing-away carrier that also serves as an electric winch mounting for the hardfloor folding system.
STORAGE AND LAYOUT
'A place for everything and everything in its place' is a useful camping maxim, and the Fraser makes it easy to do just that. Sheltered by a stone shield is dedicated space for twin jerry cans and 4.5kg gas bottles, plus a small tank with sight glass that holds diesel for the hot water and room heater systems. Behind them is a top-opening tool box.
Sandwiched between the main tub and the toolbox is a storage compartment fitted with strut-assisted lift-up doors and slides for a 60L Engel fridge (Waeco optional), double pantry drawers, optional Honda generator and standard Weber gas barbecue. This compartment has sturdy roof rails and a checker-plate upper surface, making it easy to stow items on top.
Nice touches include a folding shelf at the end of the fridge slide, giving you somewhere to put items you've plucked out of the fridge, and the lower pantry drawer is deep enough to accept standing wine bottles.
The tub has a kitchen slide-out on the nearside, with the added advantage of a 90º swing, locating the stainless steel kitchen alongside the body, rather than poking out at right angles to it. The module includes twin drawers, bench space at each end, a large sink and three-burner stove with lift-up glass lid that increases bench space when the burners aren't in action and acts an anti-splatter shield, protecting the side of the camper and the tent.
There's a gas connection point adjacent to the kitchen, so it's not necessary to move a bottle into position. A 12V socket sits at the end of the kitchen, ready to accept the LED strip lighting lead.
On the offside of the camper tub is an access door to the electrical system modules: circuit breaker panel, battery condition monitor, inverter and 12V and 240V chargers. The system integrates with the petrol generator and 120W monocrystalline solar panel kit that are provided with the Fraser. The solar regulator has Anderson and battery-clamp terminals. Adjacent to the electrical panel is a shower outlet, with hot and cold taps.
At the rear of the camper is a door that allows access to the under-bed drawer, so a change of clothes is easy, without the need to open the camper and clamber inside.
Opening the tent could hardly be easier, thanks to powerful gas struts that raise the floor section, pulling the tent open. Angled legs that extend to level the floor have feet with tent-peg holes, but we didn't find it necessary to peg down the floor section.
With the floor fully opened the tent erection is complete, other than for the need to fit a pair of corner posts to tension the back section of the tent. The hardfloor area has ample space for a pair of kids' bunks, or a small dining setting.
The standard bed is a queen-size innerspring, with zip-closing canvas cover, ensuring no dirt or condensation from the tent can get into the bedding when the tent is folded.
Standard kit with the Fraser is a highly reflective, insulated roof that's said to work more effectively than a canvas tropical roof. We checked out the interior after the tent had been sitting in strong sunshine for an hour and it was quite cool inside.
An awning is also supplied and can be flicked back over the roof when not needed. Unlike many awnings it can be left in place and folded with the tent, without any 'cramming' being necessary.
The awning isn't difficult to erect, either. One person can do the job in about 15 minutes, while two people can halve that time. Galvanised steel poles and spreader bars are heavier than aluminium ones, but are much more robust. The poles store under the fridge and pantry slides. When tensioned correctly the awning was wind resistant and wouldn't need ropes or pegs unless there was quite a blow.
With the tent erected and without the four support legs and awning in place the Fraser was surprisingly mobile. Using the ratchet jockey wheel supplied, it could be manoeuvred through a wide arc, making it easy to change the view or screen the kitchen area.
Our test vehicle wasn't provided with optional walls, but with them it'd be possible to have quite a private home in the bush. It did have a zip-on ensuite that erected quickly over the shower connection, with private access through one of the tent's side doors.
A lot of thought has gone into the Fraser's fit and finish. We loved the clear plastic strips that overlay the tent zippers, which can be positioned to lay over one another in two directions, effectively rainproofing the zippers even against wind-driven rain. Small awnings over the doors also keep drips at bay.
The bed base is slatted for extra comfort and raises on gas struts to reveal a roto-moulded water tank with integrated baffling. This secure area is also home to batteries, electrical connections and plumbing. With the bed lowered the sliding-kitchen cavity is insect-proofed by under-bed panels, so it's not necessary to close the kitchen at night to keep creepy-crawlies out of the camper interior.
Packing everything away proved a simple exercise, with the tent and floor folding operation aided by a small electric winch. This unit works from a remote control, so winching and tucking can be done by one person.
It isn't cheap, but the Complete Campsite Fraser has everything you need to couple up and go - provided you have a suitable tow vehicle. We'd like to see the Fraser designed with a lower ball weight, expanding the number of potential tow vehicles.
All in all, the Fraser is a beautifully made and carefully thought-out hardfloor camper.
- Ease of set up and pack away
- Generous awning size
- Insulation, light and ventilation
- Excellent standard equipment list
- Top kitchen and bed arrangement
I WOULD HAVE LIKED
- Lower towball load
Originally published in Camper Trailer Australia #59, November 2012