Able to serve multiple purposes, the new model Wedgetail camper trailer comprises a standalone work trailer with a luxuriously appointed slide-on unit that bolts on top. And, from what I can see, the heavy duty track bed out-muscles those so-called HD factory trays for single or extra cabs.
Fine-tuning the slide-on to fit on to Wedgetail’s own trailer seems simple enough, but it required significant research to get it right. Now there are many units on the road, several more in production and various interested parties negotiating for their own.
DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION
The trailer comes in two lengths to suit your preferred touring style. Our test trailer was fitted with the longer 2m drawbar, which simplifies reversing and maximises storage upfront for items such as motorcycle racking or toolboxes, with the help of a hitch receiver beneath the crossbar.
The optional 1.5m drawbar improves ramp-over and departure angles, leaving enough room for jerry cans, storage boxes or bike racks. The chassis on our review model was finished with black powder-coat but it is also available hot-dip galvanised or coated with rubber spray.
A Treg polyblock was fitted up front (other options are available) alongside an Anderson plug. The wires leading to this looked a bit exposed for my liking, though I was assured this was to meet our deadline and is normally fed within the 100x50x3mm RHS drawbar.
Freestanding, the camper is very stable and has survived, fully opened up, a category two cyclone in this form. This, of course, isn’t recommended by Wedgetail, but speaks volumes for the unit’s inherent strength. The four supporting legs are each rated to 1500kg, for a total of 6t, and can be cross-braced with telescopic galvanised steel bars. The legs travel beneath the fridge tray.
The top flips over with the assistance of a winch, by manually operation or with a cordless drill. Full setup takes around eight minutes, but the kitchen is independent of the process and is accessible within just 30 seconds.
The setup involves lowering the rear storage bin to form the floor at the back, removing the contents, installing the steps and handrail, winching over the top (with the help of gas strut) so that it folds over to form a roof above the kitchen and create a bed space above.
Pack-up takes about 10 minutes, and can be done by one person, freeing your travel mates to clear up breakfast for a hastier getaway. With the shower forming a component of the camper unit this adds no time to either end of the process, and there are no muddy/dirty/grass covered parts to be stowed away either.
Although the bed is self-supporting on two 600kg breaking strain cables, dropping the two support legs under the bed will provide extra support. It’s then a matter of lifting four spreader bars in place and adding four other numbered poles to give shape to the rear of the tent.
The tent is surprisingly roomy, with its queen-size bed, complete internal kitchen and eatery, and shower/toilet area to go with the exterior kitchen and living options.
The innerspring mattress weighs just 22kg (down from 33kg) thanks to the removal of one outer layer of foam and a breathing layer. It is strapped to the fold-over top, and comes with a full canvas cover to keep the mattress away from damp canvas and cooking smells. A 100mm gap between the mattress and the outer walls provides room for rolling the inner window covers and there is full sitting room height on the bed at even its lowest point of the ceiling.
Access to the bed is off the bench adjacent to the internal cooktop, and this is easily reached via a fold-down step at one end.
Condensation is minimised with the hard walls containing 25mm of insulation, a self-erecting tropical roof and honeycomb insulation in the panel below the bed. A space heater is available as an option for comfort in the coldest climate.
High all-round windows — 2.9m at the peak — keep out the heat and offer good cross-flow ventilation and fine midge screen. The one above the eating nook has a clear plastic covering for illumination when it’s blowy and an external awning so that it can be opened when it’s wet.
The shower’s slatted floor ferries water to a 35L grey water tank to safeguard against limits imposed by some national parks. The portable toilet unit slides through an access panel from the storage area behind and there’s also external access for emptying the contents.
Internally, there is a two-burner gas cooktop and sink for when unpleasant external conditions (weather, flies, mosquitoes, etc) leave you hunker down inside. There is fridge access through a hatch and access to all storage areas, plus a small two-person dinette. All access hatches are shielded to prevent liquids or small items falling into the spaces beneath.
Beneath the sink, optional D-lugs allow for a 2kVA generator, and an area dedicated for secured storage. Access to the water pump and water/space heater is through an easily accessed panel held by four screws.
The hard wired ceiling LED light strip, actuated by a remote, is a gem when setting up in the dark and the two LED bed lamps can be orientated according to your sleeping position.
THE WRAP UP
Like its slide-on brother, the Wedgetail Camper Trailer is a finely crafted piece of camping gear. Still in its early stages of development, it needs small touches like a front platform for a quad bike, or racks for a couple of trail bikes to complete the picture.
At $12,500 for the trailer, plus the four storage tubs at $440 each and $59,200 for the top spec camper unit, it isn’t cheap but it can serve as a work vehicle increasing its affordability and overall appeal. And, with an eight-month back order, the trailer will no doubt be as successful as the slide-on.
HITS & MISSES
- Quality of finish
- Flexibility of front drawbar area
- Internal living space
- Huge load carrying capacity
- Adaptability of separate trailer
I would have liked…
- Limited options for the kitchen
- No mudflaps under the stoneguard
- Not particularly aerodynamic
Check out the full feature in issue #91 August 2015 of Camper Trailer Australia magazine.