REVIEWED: SKAMPER KAMPERS DINGO

Do you really get what you pay for with the Dingo from Skamper Kampers, or is it a case of just looking good on paper?

 

The old saying ‘you get what pay for’ often rings true. From mobile phones to bath towels and everything in between, there is generally a reason why affordable products are ‘affordable’. But who is to say you need the very best mobile phone or bath towels, when something cheaper will happily and easily do the job? When we saw the Dingo forward-fold camper trailer from Skamper Kampers, we have to admit to being impressed at the levels of standard inclusions offered for quite a reasonable price tag. We’re talking under $20,000 for a well-optioned forward-folding camper. On paper, it looked to be a winner, and in the flesh it really is quite attractive to look at too. But in the real world (and not a specs box on a website), will it actually perform the tasks you want it to?

For images and the full Unsealed experience, CLICK HERE.

 

INSIDE THE CAMPER

Amazingly, thanks to the forward-fold design, setting the Dingo up is really rather quick and easy. Simply unfasten the buckles on the sides and rear, let the gas struts assist flipping the tent forward, and adjust a few poles inside. It is that simple. Things get a little trickly when it comes time to set the awning up for the first time – but after doing it once you will have it licked (and the same could be said for most camper trailers). The interior layout is fantastic, with a couch and table area on the right that converts into a bed, and a large queen-size mattress to the left. LED strip lighting has been included throughout the camper, and it works very well too. Ventilation is excellent also, with the ability to roll up nearly every canvas wall on the tent. This also provides a commanding view while relaxing on the internal couch, not that we were relaxing during this review … honest, boss! It would be good to see more storage inside though, just for little things like toiletries and books etc. There is some space in the boxes under the couch area for blankets or towels, but a little more storage will never go astray. Otherwise, the interior of the Dingo is a nice place to be.

 

WHAT ABOUT OUTSIDE?

The first thing I noticed was how heavy the Dingo is. Weighing in at close to 1,400kg, you definitely know the Dingo is behind you. But, it tows quite well for such a behemoth. If anything, the weight means there is actually some decent quality steel in this unit. One thing I loved about the Dingo was how much external storage has been offered. There are external cupboards and hidey-holes all through the trailer – meaning you can store plenty of gear from the outside. The kitchen operated without issue; although it was slightly frustrating to have to remember to unplug the light over the stove before rolling it away as you would damage it otherwise. The fridge slide on the front is simply massive – and you won’t have a problem fitting a decent-size fridge in there – however without a full tank of water in the rear (acting as ballast) you will quickly realise how much weight is over the trailer’s drawbar. Not a major issue, just something to be aware of when towing.

 

WHAT LURKS BENEATH?

Skamper Kampers pride themselves on including a full-frame one-piece chassis under the Dingo. This is bent into shape, meaning no cut and shut techniques are employed – resulting in a stronger platform. And we have no reason to dispute this claim. One thing we didn’t like though, was the independent suspension. Again, it looked great on paper, but when you take a closer look, it just doesn’t work very well. I noticed that, while driving along a beach, the sidewalls on the (Chinese-made) Cooper tyres were expanding and contracting on every bump. This is to be expected while running reduced tyre pressures, but not to the degree experienced. And it was easy to find out why. There is a limiting chain fitted to the suspension arms that prevents the suspension from drooping so much the coil dislodges, or a shock absorber is maxed out and damaged. In theory, this is a good thing and something all camper trailers of this variety employ; but this chain was tight even on level ground. So, zero ‘down travel’ is offered by this suspension. There is also about 5mm clearance on the bump stops so it has no ‘up travel’ either. Why go to the effort of offering independent suspension, without taking the time to make it work properly? This would be an easy fix (and something the Skamper Kampers people admitted to being aware of after mentioning it to them) so hopefully it will be sorted by now with a longer chain and correctly matched shock absorbers (if required).

 

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Comments

  1. Thanks for your candour. We are total newcomers to camper trailers, having only rented a Pioneer for a recent week, and we’re looking forward to the Melbourne show next week where we hope to find one to buy. Although not having actually seen one I’m impressed with the Dingo but know that my partner will be looking for reasonable interior storage so the heads up is valued. Your mention of weight is also valued. We shall work all that you report into our considerations and are grateful for your report.

    1. Hi John,
      I’m just curious if this is the John that we met at the Ballarat show yesterday?
      We’re looking forward to taking our Dingo out when we get it!

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