Comfort, capability and a super simple setup are the three main attributes that I, personally, look for in a camper trailer. So, when I got the go ahead to test the all new forward fold Dingo from Skamper Kampers, I was like a kid with a chocolate cupcake — pretty damn excited! While having a luxury camper in this price range is completely new territory for the guys at Skamper Kampers, they say it’ll impress anyone looking for a tough, feature-packed and comfortable camper for under $20K.
DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION
How a camper sets up and packs back down can be the difference between a stressful trip away and a stress-relieving one. The tent flips over pretty easily thanks to the detachable hand winch, but I found having to crawl over the bed and lounge to install and adjust the internal poles a bit of a pain in the you know what. Plus, there’s a heap of fiddly stuff such as zippers and press studs that are all part of the set-up process. Despite being a bit fiddly, it’s still very much a one person job.
When it comes to setting up the awning, the main problem is the camper sits up extremely high. So, Skamper Kampers has utilised a hoop design to make it easier to attach the awning poles, but you’ll still do it pretty damn tough if you don’t have a step ladder. Plus, that extra ride height means it takes all day to wind the stabiliser legs down without a 12V drill. All in all, it’s not overly hard to set-up — just a bit fiddlier than you would expect.
The Dingo is no lightweight camper. With a Tare weight of around 1360kg plus all my gear, I can tell you right now, my poor old Troopy did it pretty tough on the steep hills! However, the 12in electric brakes do their job perfectly and I found the Dingo to be a super capable bit of kit once you get used to the weight. It’s got great overall ride height, exceptional ground clearance and an admirable departure angle and, with the McHitch offroad coupling, it’s a capable unit indeed.
The Dingo’s got a full aluminium slide-out kitchen complete with a good-sized stainless steel sink, and a quality three-burner gas stove from Dometic. However, there were a couple of little cosmetic issues — if you don’t keep the kitchens’ spring-loaded locking pins pulled back, the metal pins poke out the side and jam into the campers’ body when you close the kitchen up. Plus, the wiring for the stove light will inevitably get damaged the instant you forget to unplug it before sliding the kitchen back in.
On the bright side, there’s adequate space to prepare food thanks to the extendable slide-out bench, and the available storage drawers are user-friendly. Overall, the kitchen seems to be quite functional and of decent quality. You’ll find the fridge slide is large enough to accommodate Godzilla himself, and there are two gas bottle holders on the drawbar for long term self-sufficient camping.
THE WRAP UP
If you’re driving a smaller under-powered 4WD then this camper simply isn’t for you — it’s just too big and heavy. However, if you’re after a value-for-money, go-anywhere camper that’s ready to rumble, the Dingo is definitely one to check out. Is it perfect? Nope. Is every single component of the highest quality? I can’t say that it is. But after really putting this camper through its paces and being blown away by its offroad capability and comfortable setup, I reckon, for under $20K, this camper offers a truck load of value for the average Aussie family who just wants to get out there.
HITS & MISSES
- High ground clearance
- Internal lounge/two beds
- Compact layout for tight camping spots
I would have liked…
- Full length storage rack for canoes, etc., instead of half length
- Lower Tare and ball weight
- Pre-adjusted internal poles for a quicker set-up
Check out the full feature in issue #88 May 2015 of Camper Trailer Australia magazine.