The phrase ‘extreme offroad’ is frequently bandied around when it comes to camper trailers. It conjures up images of far-flung adventures in rugged locations, but it’s not always necessary to go that far to enjoy the great outdoors. And while buyers may associate manufacturers with their top-of-the-range offerings, there are plenty of builders who produce semi-offroad and on-road campers as well.
There are many good reasons to choose a semi-offroad camper; often they’re lighter and designed in a less aggressive way, which usually means less steel, making them more affordable and lighter to tow. That’s why Emu Camper Trailers designed its aptly-named SUV Semi Off Road. It’s tailor-made for a small SUV, a vehicle many Australians use as their daily drive, but it would tow equally as well behind a number of sedans.
DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION
In many ways, the SUV Semi Off Road has a simple setup. It’s a side-fold, softfloor design with a steel body, drawbar and chassis comprising the hot dipped galvanised ‘tub’. The chassis is made from 50x50mm RHS box section and the drawbar has slightly larger rails at 70x50mm. To balance costs, the tub is manufactured in China, while everything else, including the suspension, is assembled in Australia from a mix of local and imported components.
Inside the main tent, the PVC floor keeps things nice and dry and flaps are provided on either side of the trailer to give access to the trailer sides. I noted that the ladder to the bed has nice wide steps that are very kind to bare feet. The bedroom area itself has a zipped canvas door, the innerspring mattress measures 2100x1680mm and, like many camper trailers, the bed base can be lifted from the outside to give access to the trailer (provided no-one is in the bed).
Our review camper came with Emu’s Explorer 15 Quick Erect tent which measures 2600x2300mm, but the larger 18ft Homestead 18 Quick Erect is also available.
Setting it up is quite easy when you watch someone else doing it… I jest, actually, as the team at Emu (who designed the tent) has given the process some thought. Once you remove the cover, you pull it away from the side with the centre upright poles partially erect. There’s a bit of adjustment required from inside but once you’ve got the knack, it doesn’t take long to get organised, especially for an overnight stay. Two people could have it nailed, tropical roof and all, in less than 15 minutes.
The stainless steel kitchen bench is hinged on the nearside of the rear tailgate. It comes with a stainless steel sink, a large storage area under the bench and a bench extension. A cooktop is optional and it’s a basic but practical setup, which is easily adaptable to your needs.
THE WRAP UP
The Emu SUV Semi Off Road is a basic trailer for travellers on a tight budget with an extensive list of options available that ranges from a boat rack and brakes to an ArkPak or a water pump for those with more sophisticated tastes.
Some buyers will prefer an offroad camper because they think they might need it. But for those of us who seek something simple for lightweight travel, the Emu SUV Semi Off Road
fills the basic family holiday camper niche very well indeed.
HITS & MISSES
- Lightweight trailer
- Simple to set up
- Budget price
- Windows in tent
- Built for purpose
- Plenty of options
- No grommets for the cables
- No insect screen on trailer access flaps
Check out the full feature in issue #100 May 2016 of Camper Trailer Australia magazine. Subscribe today for all the latest camper trailer news, reviews and travel inspiration.