Could it be … a camper with all the spaciousness of a caravan?
WORDS AND IMAGES GARY TISCHER
Hybrid campers are making a big mark on the camping/caravan market. We want the size of a camper but the amenity of a caravan. Not too much to ask, is it? Easier said than done? Hold the phone, the Condamine Camper is one hybrid that has hit the mark.
In its towing mode, the Condamine Camper is only as wide as a Prado and about the same height. When it is set up, it has a huge amount of space inside. Room for two adults and two big kids, and it’s got an internal shower and toilet. Its huge awning covers the cooking area with enough room left for wet weather ball games.
With the amount of space afforded when set up, you might think that there is no room when packed down to carry all those other things in the camper that turns your stay into a holiday. That would be a wrong assumption, as there is a huge amount of storage for everything including a second fridge and plenty more.
Space for gear and space for living is the biggest thing that I noticed about the Condamine Camper. It’s the clever design that allows both these elements at the same time while having a dry weight of 1500kg.
Technology Instead of Tears
These days it doesn’t have to be a case of building it many times to improve on the design. Computer Aided Design (CAD) allows a skilled user to design in 3D, test against many parameters and then build a camper that has already gone through engineering stress testing before putting rubber to road.
This is the case with the Condamine Camper. It is also the case with airplane design and many other items and vehicles we use today. Condamine Campers has started from the ground up and designed a hybrid camper that would work for a family of four travelling around Australia, whether it be for an extended period or just a weekend here and there.
Sophisticated ruggedness it what you might notice first about the Condamine Camper. There are no windows exposed in travel mode and it is not obvious what the packed unit becomes. Think of a flower before it blooms … but one made of aluminum and steel. Have a look at the set-up video (above) and you’ll see what I mean. I had the wide-angle lens on the camera but I didn’t realise how much the camper was going bloom … I mean expand. The set-up is only about a 20 minute exercise once you know what you’re doing.
The heavy-duty hot dipped galvanised chassis sits comfortably on Vehicle Components’ XT independent suspension so it tracks where your vehicle does over the roughest of terrain. All the structural components, apart from the composite roof and bed-base, are laser-cut aluminum panels folded which link together with great accuracy to provide great strength.
The well-appointed kitchen with its three-burner stove, sink and large amounts of food preparation space sit below the 7m x 2.5m awning. There are awning walls as options and the whole awning can be enclosed should you wish. The MSA drop-down fridge slide is easily accessible, as are many slide-out and static storage drawers. When you are looking at campers, see if you can access all storage with the stove working. This is certainly the case with the Condamine Camper.
The kitchen area is easily accessible in travel mode. On the drawbar is a large storage area used to store jerry cans, water heater and gas bottles. It also doubles as a stone deflector. On the driver’s side is perhaps the most surprising feature of the Condamine. It’s an ensuite with a metal floor, flushing toilet and plumbed hot/cold water that is at floor level with the rest of the camper.
The kids’ bedroom extends out the back of the camper and is large enough for two full-size camp beds with room in the middle. If you are not taking the kids, this would be a perfect spot to sit and enjoy the view without being interrupted by the bugs. This room doesn’t have to be extended for overnight stays without kids. The main bed is above the main storage area and accessed by a short ladder. The benefit of the Condamine is that the whole family sleeps off the ground and can use the toilet without having to venture outside. Great if you’re in croc or snake territory.
When on the main inner-sprung queen-size bed, there is ample room to sit up and take in the views through the meshed windows on all sides. The insulated composite roof is mounted on and raised by four electric actuators that are operated with a remote – nice and easy. There is even more usable space at the end of the main bed. Lighting is throughout the internal living spaces and the storage spaces as well.
The battery system utilises one 100AH AGM battery, which I would upgrade as an option. There is a 200W solar panel mounted on the roof so this will aid in recharging the battery if not moving.