When it comes to choosing a new camper trailer, there’s no shortage of options available. Some campers use aluminium bodies, others use steel or fibreglass, but there are not too many manufacturers out there that can boast their campers are made from recycled plastic. Yep, that’s right, plastic!
The guys at Stockman Products have brought a plastic camper trailer to the market. It all started when they built an everyday 6x4ft box trailer using plastic to form the main tub, and have now expanded into the world of camper trailers as well.
If you haven’t already guessed it, the guys at Stockman love to think outside the square, so you can bet your bottom dollar they take the innovation side of things pretty seriously, too. With that in mind, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited to run through their Kwik Kampa 2 Xpedition camper trailer, supplied by Sydney Pod Trailers, with a fine-tooth comb. So, let’s take a closer look at what makes this unique little camper really tick.
DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION
When somebody says their camper trailer is made from plastic, it’s only natural to be a little sceptical, but let’s break it down a little and take a look at the benefits a poly tub brings to the table. The first thing that comes to mind is the fact that plastic doesn’t rust, so you know the tub of this camper trailer will be around for a long time. After all, you’d be hard pressed to find a plastic tub rusting away in the paddock like some old school box trailers, now wouldn’t you?
The second benefit is, contrary to popular belief, plastic can be super tough and insanely durable. We’re not talking about your average run-of-the-mill $10 jerry can type of plastic; this stuff is built to go the distance. It’s 6-8mm thick, and feels solid to the touch. Plus, plastic is quite light compared to steel. In fact, the poly trailer on its own, without the tent, only weighs about 320kg unloaded, and we all know less weight goes a long way in terms of increasing capability, improving fuel economy and placing less strain on your vehicle in the long run.
The other side of the coin is, if you were to damage the tub badly enough, panel beating it back into shape is not an option, although replacement tubs aren’t all that expensive, and the chances of writing off a tub like this are very low.
The leaf-sprung suspension is matched perfectly to the trailer — it really does soak up minor bumps nicely. Being super light means you don’t really feel the camper dragging behind you like a battleship’s boat anchor, but it also means it likes to bounce a little more than usual when you hit a pot hole a bit too fast.
When it comes to creek crossings, the tub is fully moulded and sealed, so there’s no joins or seals for water leak inside the tub, except for the tailgate. The departure angle is pretty good too, especially when you consider the actual trailer sits fairly low to the ground, so steep river bank exits don’t pose much of a problem.
Being an innovative bunch at Stockman Products, their camper design is a little different to anything else on the market. It’s a softfloor rear-fold camper, and uses a hard pod top to keep the tent protected during storage. To set it up, lift the strut-assisted lid, and pull the tent out the back, which is also assisted with several struts for ease of use. It’s about a 60-second job to pull out the Kwik Kampa tent and doesn’t require much physical effort compared to most softfloor tents, thanks to the struts.
The tent isn’t made from your average canvas either. In fact, it’s not canvas at all! It’s made from 8oz WeatherMax 80, which is basically a rip-stop nylon and polyester blend. It’s much lighter than your typical canvas tent, but doesn’t come cheap. While it’s a heap lighter than canvas, the main reason for using this material is its resistance to mould.
The one thing I noticed is the tent doesn’t like being set-up if you’re parked on a less than perfect angle. If the track slopes away, there’s not much slack in the tent’s sidewalls and you’ll find it pretty difficult to peg down if the tent floor doesn’t reach the ground properly.
The awning also takes a little getting used to. It’s actually a great little design once it’s set-up as it covers more ground and offers much more shade than most other awnings, but God help you if you forget the step ladder, or try to set it up for the first time in the dark! Not that any real camper would do that anyway, now would we?
THE WRAP UP
The Xpedition is a great little camper for the solo traveller or a couple looking to intersperse overnight stops with multi-day stays. It’s one of the very few campers you can tow comfortably with a smaller tow vehicle and has the get up to last the distance. It’s not a hardcore offroader, but it will does exactly what it’s meant to do and then some – and that means getting you to those great little campsites so you can relax and enjoy.
HITS & MISSES
- Rust-proof design
- Light to tow
- Great tent ventilation
I would have liked…
- Larger internal living space
- More storage space
- Shock absorbers to help control the bounce a little better
Check out the full feature in issue #90 July 2015 of Camper Trailer Australia magazine.