The Pioneer Argyle will have you stopped, set up and relaxing for an overnight stay in less than five minutes, but it also has the rugged construction to get you safely to a remote destination. You can opt up and spend more on palatial campers with all the frills, but this layout gives me everything I need in a reliable camping companion. The Pioneer Argyle could well be called the “little ripper”. She’s relatively lightweight yet heavily constructed and will quickly become your best mate on the road, not your foe.
DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION
The running gear will take you on that long outback trek safely and get you back home again, still loving your new best mate. Up front is a Treg offroad coupling with seven pin plug plus an Anderson plug. The Argyle has Al-Ko hydraulic override brakes for flexibility with 10in electric brakes available as an option. The override brakes are more than suitable in all but the most difficult scenarios, and generally give trouble-free service due to their simplicity. I was pleased to see a fully removable, swing-up combination 8in pneumatic jockey wheel, showing real attention to detail.
The Argyle’s fold-over action is quick, easy and far from strenuous, assisted by both internal and external gas struts. Its raised floor living space gets you up off the ground with a solid base that helps keep the dirt, dust and creepy crawlies at bay. The set-up time is very fast and easy with less than five minutes to set up for an overnighter, and probably around 10 minutes if you want to peg and stake out the 4.9x2m outside awning. There is only one adjustable support required at the rear of the trailer as the floor steadies the camper when folded out on its own adjustable legs if you park up on uneven or rocky ground.
At the front of the main body is an enclosed jerry can holder and woodbox-style enclosure. It is capable of carrying three jerry cans but is also an excellent place to store timber, wet awnings or even wetsuits due to its perforated floor (it will get dusty in there, though). Either side of the container are foldaway compartments with the passenger side unit containing a 9kg gas cylinder and a manual water pump. The panels are all Rhino-coated for abrasion resistance, eliminating the need for a stoneguard and allowing quite good articulation for difficult manoeuvring.
Next comes a massive storage container that can be accessed via doors on either side of the trailer. You could fit a small fridge on slides, if you so desire, or customise it at will – it’s a big area with plenty of load space. Underneath is another pair of 70L lockable compartments for wet storage. Every trailer comes with the facility to retrofit or opt in a boat loader, but this was not fitted on our demo unit.
Further back on the passenger side, but still in front of the wheel base, is a strong, sensible, yet simple, slide-out kitchen. The gas and water are serviced by Quick Connect fittings to the stainless steel sink and optional Smev two-burner stove (standard unit has a wok burner). There’s a cutlery drawer on the end and a further slide-out preparation bench to the side. The housing compartment has a fire extinguisher mounted inside as well as an LED work light on the flap and 12V electrical outlets. The electrical supply is serviced by a single 110Ah AGM deep-cycle battery charged through the Anderson plug, 100W NARVA VSR charger or via an optional regulated solar panel if opted. There is also a 240V outlet on the side. The driver’s side has a lockable water inlet for the 60L stainless steel tank. The unit can be opted up to 150L capacity if required by the customer.
The Pioneer Argyle has large tent doorways on both sides, as well as a large rear access. Pioneer offer an optional ensuite and kids’ room that simply zips easily in place.
Inside, the camper is light and airy when opened up, or snug and secure when the strong winds blow. The standard unit has a tapered wall to the rear of the tent on the fold-out section or there is the option of a square end which provides extra headroom and requires just one extra bow to extend in the set up process.
I really liked the easy two step access up to the bed — there’s nothing worse than stumbling around in the middle of the night, especially when you have bad knees! The bed has a double dual layer foam mattress supported by a slatted base that springs up, revealing yet another large storage space under the bed. This storage area can also be accessed from the rear boot when the trailer is closed for easy packing. With a Tare weight of 820kg and an ATM of 1500kg, you can bring along all of your toys and knick-knacks along for the ride, too!
The Argyle has plenty of lighting including courtesy and dual bedhead LEDs, step light, as well as a 12V isolator, cigarette plug and USB outlets for charging the electronics.
To complete the package, the Argyle comes complete with a 2m front awning that can be folded back into the main body for transport. A 2.4m option is available but must be removed for travelling — not my cuppa tea. If you need some extra load capacity, the roof of the camper has strong racks, ideal for the water toys and extra gear your mates with lesser campers can’t carry.
THE WRAP UP
Pioneer campers are a produced by a long-standing, progressive and fully Australian engineering company based in Dandenong, Vic. While Pioneer Campers has Western Australian heritage, the current owners have been producing the product range for around four years, and had a vast redesign of the entire range only a few years ago.
They currently only make premium quality hardfloor campers that are backed by a gutsy five-year warranty. This guarantee proudly displays Pioneer’s true devotion to the product, their faith in production quality and their commitment to a long list of satisfied clients.
The Pioneer Argyle is certainly a good looking Australian with the guts and endurance to match. What a little ripper!
HITS & MISSES
- Construction quality
- Good storage and payload
- Aesthetically pleasing
- Sensible combination of accessories
- Sensible combination of accessories
- Australian made
- Five year warranty
- Swing down and removable jockey wheel
I would have liked…
- I would pay for a sliding fridge option and an extra battery
Check out the full feature in issue #90 July 2015 of Camper Trailer Australia magazine.