It’s a process they call Campomatic!
Words & images Mark Allen
Turning dreams into a reality can be easier said than done. Many a camping outfit makes claims of getting the set-up job done in the blink of an eye. Most such claims, I find, are hogwash! Not so with a Campomatic camper-trailer though; these beauties have indeed rejuvenated my hopes of being able to have camp set up in a relaxed and easy manner to allow more time for life’s finer moments.
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So easy, in fact, that I was walking around this hard-floor rear-fold Campomatic camper-trailer thinking there must be more to do. What had I missed or what had I forgotten to tighten… but nup, nothin’; not another thing to do other than sit back, relax and take in the scenery. I liked it!
Once the optional boat loader was deployed to the side (on gas struts), and the top rack and hard floor (again with the aid of gas struts) flipped to the rear, the only thing left to do was to set the awning if I needed it. A feature I thought was exceptional (partly because it makes set up easy, plus it ensures a neat-looking canvas every time) is the internal spring-loaded aluminium bars that extend to the correct position without need for adjustment – hence the aptly-named Campomatic!
Packing up is just as effortless, which makes this unit a great investment for either a retired couple or an option for female campers to easily take away solo or make camp (instead of needing boofy blokes to manhandle heavy and awkward alternative systems). Ideally suited to two people, or perhaps throw in a couple of kids, the Campomatic Ranger XTC offers everything one could wish for while hitting either dirt roads or the most difficult and remote goat tracks of Australia.
Lock-up storage boxes galore allow plenty of easily-accessible gear to be loaded onto the drawbar and within the rear drop-down hatch. All doors have pinch-weld automotive-style rubber seals to ensure rain and dust stays out; and every door also features multiple locks to ensure the lids actually seal evenly… and they’re all lockable, providing excellent security.
For those keen fishos, the side-opening boat loader features six gas struts to ensure ease of use and allows the boat to lay flat on the ground beside the camper without having to untie a single knot to remove it. The outboard motor (up to 15hp) is safely and securely carried within a dedicated storage box with a 100kg rated slide-out drawer. The design of the loader also allows extra gear to be carried under the boat – a great hidey spot that generally goes unused. An optional folding boat trailer also fits under here, which is ideal if you’ve set up camp and want to launch your tinnie from its own dedicated trailer.
If you’re not taking the boat away, the loader still allows for plenty of extra storage in something akin to a rooftop storage bag – just remember to pack it securely as it’ll get flipped upside-down when opening the loader (or, of course, the whole loader can be easily removed from the trailer).
A 9kg LPG bottle, space for two jerry cans, a hand water pump and a built-in upright eutectic Waeco 65L fridge/freezer round out the gear mounted in and around the chequer-plate-lined aluminium-skinned wedge-shaped front box – which is angled to deflect stones away from the trailer and not back at the tow vehicle. This wedge shape partially helps negate the need for a dedicated stone guard and allows the tow vehicle to jack-knife without touching the box – great for reversing into tricky campsites.
A step rearward on the passenger side sees a full-width slide-out compartment that houses an impressive stainless-steel kitchen, complete with four burners, griller, sink, washboard, storage and a large fold-out table that is ideal for food preparation. All of this can be easily cleaned. Fold-down individually-adjustable legs ensure a steady foundation for the whole kitchen and allow the cooks to do their thing in safety at meal times. There’s even an outdoors 12V pressure-switched cold water tap and a 12V power outlet to make transition from home to campsite all too easy.
Accessing the fridge or knocking up a culinary delight can be done trackside without setting up the canvas, or under the zip-on side awning when the whole shebang is erected.
If you should need to access luggage while on the road, the rear flip-down hatch allows access to two slide-out drawers without needing to set up the tent. Gauges and switches also reside in here to keep track of what’s going on with the electrical system, which is based on twin 80-amp deep-cycle batteries that can be recharged in four ways – solar, 240V battery charger, generator or by your vehicle’s alternator when driving. All wiring for all charge methods is included.
Being a hard-floor camper, there are adjustable-height legs on the rack which becomes the floor – this allows for pitching on uneven ground without the canvas walls being either baggy or too tight.
Campomatic utilises its own (unique) engineered design of independent trailing arm suspension, complete with coil springs, shock absorbers and restraining straps. The design appears extremely well built with cross-trailer and for/aft bracing to ensure the suspension system doesn’t twist the frame or allow the axles to become misaligned during suspension cycling. Each axle/wheel can be aligned separately to ensure true running and even tyre wear; and the wheels feature 10-inch electric brake drums.
The dedicated and integrated off-road chassis is fully galvanised and sees the drawbar extended to become the chassis and run right through to the rear of the trailer. All chassis bends are laminated (with a second skin), ensuring strength and durability. Another clever use of generally wasted space is within the rear chassis cross member; it has a lockable opening to store all the tent poles. Clever indeed!
A 120-litre water tank is located to the rear of the axle, as are two drop-down stabiliser legs. The stainless-steel swing-away spare wheel carrier is a work of art and utilises a locking mechanism more akin to the trucking world. Once unlocked, the carrier safely props into the ‘open’ position so as not to allow accidental closures while at camp.
Up front, a polyblock hitch takes care of most off-road angles and the braking system is electric with mechanical override as a backup/alternative for those without electric brakes. A handbrake ensures your Campomatic doesn’t wheel itself away unintentionally. Rims are 16-inch steel, while tyres are off-road orientated 265/75R16s – and the same goes for the rear-mounted spare.
The canvas is a high-quality Australian-made 12-ounce WCT (Wax Converter Textiles) material, with large side and front zip-on awnings as standard and annexe walls available as an option.
From our short use of the Campomatic, it appears to be extremely well designed and manufactured. It offers excellent two-up luxury camping and utilises all top-notch materials. It’s a camper trailer that exceeds most ‘tent-on-wheels’ offerings and certainly will look the part behind any 4WD on any track; regardless of whether it’s one of those remote bone-jarring goat tracks or a smooth-graded gravel road not far from home. You can be sure a Campomatic will make your camping experiences easy and relaxed.
While it does take more effort to have camp ready than opening the door of a full-size caravan, the Campomatic camper-trailer does indeed allow extremely fast and easy set-ups.
Now… it’s time to check with the boss for an early mark so we can get away from the daily grind even faster! That would really be livin’ the dream, eh – less work, more play!
Model: Ranger XTC SS
Body length: 4.7m
Opened length: 6.54m
Tare weight: 930kg
Towball weight: 90kg
Price: $35,850; boat loader is an optional $2750, side annexe kit to transform the awning into an enclosed room with windows is $3595 and folding aluminium boat trailer is $2350 (also comes with its own polyblock coupling). Solar tropical roof is $1050; the Quick Awning is $880; extra canvas storage box fits to wedge box ($1150); and canvas bed bag is $470.
- Limited internal storage
- A hand winch would make set up/packing easier
- Not a family camper, with limited space for kids
- Tough, unique suspension
- Kitchen and bench space
- Aussie-made canvas
- Drawbar storage