Reviews

LIKE A SOLAR ECLIPSE, THE AOR ECLIPSE WILL MAKE YOU STOP AND LOOK

But is an outdoor shower worth the extra room inside?

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Australian Off Road (AOR) is a company that has always moved with the times, continually updating its line of hybrid campers. This provides consumers with products to suit their changing needs.

Starting with hard floor camper-trailers around 18 years ago, the AOR range as morphed into hybrid campers with an increasingly sophisticated range of options.

The new Eclipse has got some solid AOR DNA and bridges the gap between the Odyssey and the Quantum. It is built on the same chassis as the Quantum, has an outdoor shower set-up similar to the Odyssey but has the ability to sleep two adults and two children with the option of bunks.

 

OUTSIDE

The AOR hybrids have a distinctive, chiselled look with their angular fronts and rear. This is by design to reduce wind resistance and increase fuel economy for the tow vehicle. The body is made of composite panels that provide strength, insulation and reduce weight. With on overall length of 6.4m, the Tare of the Eclipse is only 1740kg.

At 1950mm wide, the Eclipse will follow your 4WD down tracks that others may not. The chassis is constructed from Supergal high-tensile steel with a full length 150mm x 50mm drawbar that is powder coated. The quality DO35 hitch connects it securely to your tow vehicle. When you are travelling west of the Great Divide and out on the real outback roads and tracks, the type and number of brands of campers and caravans that you see diminishes. AOR is one brand that I have seen in many of these out of the way places.

Steve Budden, the founder and owner of AOR, actually uses his campers on his trips
into the bush and outback. Through doing this, he personally tests how they perform in real-world situations which helps in the continual innovation of AOR models and their features. There is a culture of rigorous testing and optimal implementation with a focus on reliability within AOR.

The Eclipse is built to be taken off-grid with 300W of solar on the roof, 240Ah of AGM batteries and 140 litres of drinking water. The external kitchen is an option that many people will take up, as outdoor cooking is what we do. The outdoor kitchen set-up includes a three-burner stove, hot and cold sink, plenty of bench space with extra storage and two bayonet fittings for gas, while the 3.9m x 2.2m roll-out awning will provide shade and rain protection over the outdoor kitchen.

All AOR trailers use the same twin-trailing arm independent coil suspension with 12-inch electric brakes. This suspension has proved itself in thousands of trailers through the roughest of outback roads and tracks. The nose cone provides a large external hatch running the full width of the camper, which you could use for a second fridge and/or generator.

The outdoor shower cubicle sets up in seconds as it drops down from the pod on the rear of the Eclipse. The hot and cold taps are accessible through a zippered section and the shower rose is easily attached to a fitting on the rear of the trailer. A light and 12V outlet are also available when the shower pod is opened but covered when closed and travelling. The shower pod is also great as a change room or place for the porta-potty.

 

INSIDE

By taking the shower cubicle outside, a lot of space is freed up inside. The extra room (compared to the Quantum) is utilised for the internal kitchen, bench space and storage. Personally, I like this design for the extra internal space. The fridge holds 130 litres in a fridge/freezer combination and the fridge door can be set so that it’s easy to open through the entry door if cooking outside.

The lack of indoor shower allows more light and air in through the open, meshed windows above the L-shaped kitchen. There are plenty of well-labelled 240V and 12V outlets for powering all those electronics when off-grid utilising the 1000W pure sine wave inverter.

In day mode, the queen-size, six-inch inner-sprung mattress lifts up to allow four people to sit at the table that fits between two comfortable seats running on either side of the camper. If there are more than just a couple travelling in the Eclipse, there are optional bunks that can be fitted to provide additional sleeping for two children.

Located under the bed are large shallow storage areas suitable for all the clothes required for a long trip. Below these are another two pull-out drawers and there is additional storage both beside the bed, and at the bedhead. On either side of the bed are large windows to allow more ventilation and to enjoy the outside view from bed.

There are plenty of individually switched LED lights for the night, with the batteries and fuses being easily accessible under the dinette seats. In the entry area opposite the fridge is the Redarc BMS 30, switches, water tank levels and optional Webasto heating control. The interior of the Eclipse feels open and light with plenty of options for breezes and views.

 

VERDICT

The Eclipse is for those outback travellers who want more room to move inside and don’t mind an outdoor shower pod. Coming from a company that has been around a long time and continues to shine in a changing market, the Eclipse will retain its value if you ever feel like upgrading to something larger down the track. Like the rest of the AOR range, the Eclipse should prove to be very popular.