ARE FORWARD-FOLD CAMPERS TAKING OVER?

 

We take the EzyTrail Stirling GT out for a weekend to see if this style of camper really is the way of the future.

If you haven’t seen a forward-folding trailer before, you’re about to see something pretty impressive. Unlike a traditional hard floor where the floor folds rearwards off the bed, a forward-folder has the bed coming up off the ready set-up dinette and it ends up sitting over the drawbar. It’s a great design and offers a ready-to-go lounge/eating area/double bed where a rear-folder would have just a bare floor. In fact, I’d have to say it’s a more efficient design than a rear-folder… and I love those things.

 

However forward-folding trailers are not without their drawbacks either. But we’ll get into those in a minute.

For images and the full Unsealed 4X4 experience, CLICK HERE.

 

The trailer we picked up was an EzyTrail Stirling GT. This is up towards the top end of what EzyTrail produces, and at first glance you sure do get a lot of bang for your buck. For 20-odd grand you get a hard floor, quick to set up trailer that has all the top-shelf inclusions such as independent coil suspension, four-burner pull-out stainless BBQ/kitchen, fridge slide, ample storage, external speakers and even a TV! If this got any closer to ‘glamping’ there’d be a complimentary spa and shiatsu thrown in.

After 1,000km or so with this trailer, we got a pretty good idea of what it’d be like to live with one of these things long-term.

First off, it towed nicely with our Prado tow mule easily able to stay at the speed limit on the freeway. However, you wouldn’t say it was overly light. At 1,600kg it’s not really suitable for anything smaller than a mid-sized 4X4; but then you do have to consider the inclusions – of which there are plenty – and the sheer beefiness of the thing. The frame is constructed from depleted-uranium-density 4mm thick hot-dip galvanised steel for starters. That’s thicker than your average 4X4 rock slider… so while it has plenty of strength and corrosion protection you have to wonder if anything would really be lost if they dropped the wall thickness down a millimetre or two. The boat rack is again made from heavy steel, and is without a doubt a perfect setup for those who get as much enjoyment from being on the water as they do on land; however it is still extra weight, and may be worth unbolting if it’s not needed.

 

Towing off-road we noticed that the poly-block coupling actually seemed to be doing more work than the suspension – with the limiting straps on the trailing arms having only about an inch or so of slack at ride height. EzyTrail tells us that the suspension is adjustable, though. So this may be something that can be tweaked. The twin gas shocks look the business, but for serious trips I think I’d rather swap them out for quality single shocks that are aligned a little better, but that’s me…

 

Getting the trailer set up for camping is a doddle. Simply hook up the front winch and wind the roof forward over the drawbar. Roughly 30 seconds later you’re ready to push up the internal hoops and click the spreader bars into place. The whole thing takes about 90 seconds. Pro tip: Wind out enough slack on the rear winch and hook it up before you unfold the camper. That way, when it comes time to fold her back up, you simply wind it closed rather than having to loop the strap over the top of the camper. We found out the hard way.

 

The interior is spacious, with 18m2 of floor space – which is impressive no matter how you swing it. The U-lounge is comfy and versatile – becoming a dining area, a couch or an extra double bed for the kids. There’s plenty of storage under the seats as the dual 100A/h batteries are accessed there too. One thing we noted was that the bracket for the panel support, which allows it to become a bed, was quite sharp.

 

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Comments

  1. I’m looking for a hard floor forward folding camper – saw a MDC and a Black Series Dominator yesterday. What are the verdicts on these products?

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