REVIEW: MISSION TRAILERS
You may not have heard of it, but this camper trailer may be just the thing you’re looking for.
For images and the full Unsealed 4X4 experience, CLICK HERE.
A lot of camper trailers these days are all about including things that make your bush accommodation nicer than some apartments I’ve lived in over the years. Things like microwaves, TVs, air-conditioning and espresso machines are all well and good; in fact, they could be the difference between you and the family getting out into the bush once a month or getting out there once a year. Some people just enjoy having a certain amount of decadence on hand no matter where they are. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
However there are those of us who don’t need that sort of thing, and actually find enjoyment in getting back to the simpler side of life by camping out with as few luxuries as possible, and as far from civilisation as it gets. Such folks don’t need (or miss) things like popcorn makers, electric ovens and spa baths. They like to have a capable and comfortable camper trailer, with everything they need and nothing they don’t. These are the people who Mission Trailers are aimed at. And y’know what? After spending a few days living out of the South African built camper, it kinda redefined minimalist soft-floor trailers for me.
Y’see, these things are not what you’d call short on inclusions; but there’s nothing superfluous. There’s no hair-straightener or vibrating shiatsu bed, just basic, quality gear completing a trailer that you could quite easily spend several months in while doing the big lap (in fact, Mission Trailers told us of one family who have been touring in theirs for over a year straight without a drama). All in an extremely compact size, lightweight package with plenty of in-built versatility.
The Mission Trailers story is quite an interesting one. Apparently there was a bloke in South Africa who built the prototype purely because he liked to get out and explore the Savannah, and because he had the skills to make one from scratch. The product was pretty damn good, and Aussie Bruce Bennett thought he’d import one for personal use. That was several years ago now, and that original trailer is still going strong. Bruce and his mate Daniel Fluckiger spent a fair amount of time talking about how they’d improve the trailer if they were doing it themselves… and they ended up going back to the original manufacturer with a vastly updated design including an all-new tent and internal appointments. The pair now import the Mission Trailer that you see in the images before you. It’s on its second incarnation and the guys reckon they’ve got it dialled in pretty sweetly.
And it’s hard to disagree. The ethos hasn’t changed since day one – this is built for adventure first and foremost; if you can get there, so should your trailer. And the strong but simple build quality gives you the confidence to drag it over just about any track. Let’s start with the frame. It’s actually made out of a special grade of stainless steel that is exceptionally strong, but not as brittle as traditional stainless… so it will allow the rails to flex without cracking. Not to mention protect against corrosion, so there’s no reason you won’t have this trailer in 20 years’ time. The coupling is an ultra-heavy-duty unit from ARK that allows full articulation but still works off a traditional ball mount – so there’s no need to swap out your hitch.
There’s nothing flashy about the beam axle and leaf springs: It’s a basic setup and it just works. Fancy independent suspension may be nice, but given the Mission’s light weight and compact dimensions, it’s simply not needed here… and from first-hand experience, this tows just as nicely as the big dollar units.
As for set-up and pull down times, it’s way easier than I expected. Simply remove the zipless dust cover that’s held in place with Velcro, drop the two rear support struts, pull the floor down from on top and pull the tent up and over. Two internal fold-down poles and two snap-lock supports later, do a couple of zips up, bang a few pegs in place and you’re done. From pulling up to putting your head on the pillow would take less than five minutes. Packing up is essentially a reversal of the set-up process. It does take a couple of minutes longer to get the canvas folded up and the cover back in place, but it’s still a quick one-person job and fairly intuitive. The cover is also oversized, able to take the full amount of canvas (more on this in a sec) meaning there’s no having to stretch it over and hope it’ll all fit. In case you’re not picking up what I’m putting down here, this is probably the easiest soft-floor to set up and pack up I’ve ever used.
As for touring options, the purchase price includes a variety of possible configurations. If you’re doing a quick weekend away you can have the tent simply fold out and act as an awning. Staying a little longer? Zip the walls and floor on to make an enclosed family room that could easily accommodate a couple of air mattresses for the kids (which is how we used it); or, if you’re staying in one location for a few days, you can attach the mammoth awning that turns this little trailer into the Taj Mahal. The guys tell me it takes them about 20 minutes to attach the awning, which is really pretty reasonable given how much undercover area you get once she’s up.
Everything else is included as well. You get a top-of-the-line National Luna 50L fridge, proper AT tyres, sealed storage drawers, fully set-up stainless kitchen with a two-burner stove and a full cutlery and dishes set… you could literally pick up your trailer, stock up on food and head for the Kimberley because it’s ready for anything straight out of the box. I really found this to be a strong selling point, as it’s all too easy to spend an extra few grand on top optioning some trailers up to your tastes. With the Mission, it all comes as standard… although the guys tell me you can customise it when you make your initial order if you have particular needs.
To be honest, there’s really not much I can think of to add. There is plenty of storage, as much undercover space as you could need, LED lighting and an innovative kitchen setup. There’s even an included solar panel and stainless table that slide out from under the tent – a brilliant use of the available space, I reckon. The 105A/H battery can be connected to the tow vehicle via an Anderson plug and can be topped up by the solar panel when at camp, and there are 12V outlets at each corner.
The weight is nice and low, too. At just over 730kg, one of these units can be pulled along by just about any 4X4; and the ball weight is a scant 45kg – so towing is an absolute breeze. And as for the price point, at sub-$30K I reckon you get a hell of a lot of trailer for your money. Oh yeah, it also comes with a huge 5-year manufacturer’s guarantee. Geez, low price, low weight, quick and easy set-up and pull downs and everything (yep, the kitchen sink is in there) included? I get the feeling we’ll be seeing more and more of these out on the tracks before long.
SPECIFICATIONS: MISSION CAMPER
|Chassis||3CR12 stainless steel|
|Coupling||ARK off-road coupling|
|Rims and tyres||16in steel wheels and AT tyres (plus a spare)|
|Suspension||Solid axle, leaf springs, HD shocks
with 10in electric trailer brakes
|Inside||Double bed, family room and extended living area|
|Water tank||80L stainless|
|Weight||733kg tare with 767kg load capacity|
|Price as tested||$28,600|
For more information, head to: missiontrailers.com.au