The first Active Campers model to roll off the production line at the new premises in 2012 utilised the silhouette of his father’s pop-top design with an adjusted floorplan to enhance functionality. This camper came to be known as the Optima, but it is the Vantage, with greater head room and a larger-than-expected bed, that reigns as Active Campers’ flagship model.
CONSTRUCTION & DESIGN
Compatible with all single, extra and some dual cab utilities, the Vantage features extendable sleeping quarters, a shower-toilet combo and an internal kitchen.
The camper’s footprint is small enough to set-up at some campsites designed for tents or even, where permitted, on the side of the road. It is then simply a matter of opening the door, pulling down the aluminium ladder and activating the electronically operated pop-top roof and you’re good to go.
Once inside, the Vantage feels surprisingly spacious, despite the modest dimensions, largely due to the sleeping quarters being located above the cab, increased head height and the adjustable interior. What’s more, the area is easy to keep clean thanks to the respectable 1.3m³ of divided storage and lockable cupboards throughout.
Many tray-top campers rely on internal layouts that change according to use and the Vantage achieves this in unexpected ways. For example, even though the queen-size bed is raised, you can still convert it to a king-size bed by dragging out the slide-out table stored under the bed. In this configuration, the table can still be used for preparing and serving meals or, alternatively, it can drop down to create a second bedspace for an unexpected guest. Although, strictly speaking, this makes it a three-berth camper, the internal dimensions are probably not large enough to attract families.
Perhaps even more surprising is the full-height shower and toilet combo set within the camper entrance and walk-way, which you section off with a dividing wall. The shower is plumbed to an 85L tank and a 14L hot water system that operates both on gas or electric supply.
The kitchen and dining area is designed for a couple with just a bit of extra room for guests — or suited to two if the bed is set at king size. The bench and table heights are fit for purpose and all models have an 85L Isotherm upright fridge. Having a gas room heater fitted into the built-in seating and storage area also makes for pleasant dining in cooler conditions.
The increased bench space in the Vantage is a bonus. While all models also have easy access to power around the entire cabin, a three-burner gas stove in the Vantage is a definite upgrade from the two-burner found in the Optima.
THE WRAP UP
While space efficient, at the end of the day, the Vantage is best suited for couples — both young professionals and empty nesters. The company knows this market and pitches for it well, providing strong and comfortable slide-ons that are easy to operate and make getting outdoors simple.
Coming from a hands-on family business, the Vantage can be customised on request beyond what’s on the options list. The Vantage’s choice of materials and adjustable interior maximise efficiencies and comfort belying the relatively lightweight 500kg tare. What more can I say? The Vantage has a certain something, or what the French call “je ne sais quoi”.
HITS & MISSES
I would have liked…
- Standard outdoor fittings
- Child’s bed on opposite wall
- Options list as standard
Check out the full feature in issue #88 May 2015 of Camper Trailer Australia magazine.