Making the transition from tent to camper trailer was a no-brainer. Twenty years camping with tents, tarps, stretchers, sleeping bags, gas cookers and of course the old Esky full of ice meant our set-up time often felt like half our holiday was gone before it started.
Our penchant for extended touring drove the desire to have less time setting up and more time enjoying the tranquil surroundings we began finding ourselves in more and more.
However, the decision on the type of camper was never going to be easy. In fact, the more we looked, the more daunting that prospect seemed to be. We knew we wanted a camper trailer that we could take off road. We thought we wanted a hard floor camper – just because! Then came the camping show … and confusion reigned.
Many months and many shows later, we settled on our list of camper trailer requirements which finally led us into the showrooms of Cub Campers and before long, a new Tiger Cub was born.
Since 2010, our camper trailer has travelled the length and breadth (well, almost) of the country. Here’s a quick rundown on some of the gear we had built into our Cub Camper, as well as some extra camping gear that keeps us comfy on the road and ensures we’re set up in next to no time.
We chose the Supamatic Escape model, which we then optioned up with a number of Cub’s accessories.
Starting from the bottom up and wanting good off-road capability, we opted for a galvanised chassis and independent coil and shock absorber suspension. We also matched the wheels to the Prado – a decision that effectively gave us two spares in case of a puncture to the camper or the vehicle. We then added an 80-litre water tank, which was an upgrade from the standard 60-litre.
Inside the camper is pretty standard with a queen-size bed and loads of under-bed storage. The only downside is the need to have the camper open to access the under-bed storage, but an optional extra is a right-hand side access door – something I regret not adding to my original camper spec. We then added a deep-cycle battery to ensure we could be as self-sufficient as possible, powering the LED lights and the fridge.
On the outside, we had the standard stainless steel roll-out kitchen with sink and two-burner stove and we optioned that up with the side-by-side roll-out stainless-steel pantry, which carries all of our condiments for self-sufficient culinary excellence. We left the awning standard to ensure we have the quickest set-up possible.
Up the front is two 4kg gas bottles, two jerry can holders and an upgraded stainless-steel checker-plate fridge box which carries the fridge on the left-hand side with a huge storage area on the right for tools and spares. The Trigg off-road hitch mounted to the drawbar gives plenty of articulation for tight off-road adventure, and the Cub stone guard was also added to deflect the little stone missiles kicked back from the vehicle when off-road.
With our kids generally sleeping external to the camper in swags, this gives us plenty of room inside and out. Occasionally on a wet night they might return to the nest, but it’s an easy set-up for the three kids on the hard-floor section of the Cub.
For a family of five, we’ve found our little Supamatic ‘Tiger Cub’ to be terrific value for money and a really well built, fast getaway camper which enables us to take off for a short weekend or month with ease.
ARB 47l fridge
It fits perfectly into the Cub fridge box and slides in and out with millimetres to spare. Frozen and vacuum-sealed meats will keep for weeks with the fridge set at 2C, which we find optimum for keeping our food and drinks cool without draining the battery too quickly.
A terrific little Aussie invention originally built from old gas bottles, our OzPig has seen some pretty amazing country, cooked some spectacular meals and kept us warm on cold nights. You can use it with timber or an optional heat bead basket. This is one of my favourite bits of camping gear.
HillBilly cook stand and
There’s nothing better than food cooked over an open fire, and again one of the best little Aussie inventions is my ‘spike’ cook stand and frypan from Hillbilly Camping Gear. The stand can hold a billy, a camp oven or the frypan and cooks a terrific bacon and egg breakfast.
As I’ve mentioned a few times, camp oven cooking seems to add an extra ‘secret’ ingredient that can’t be replicated in other forms of cooking. Whether it’s curries, scones, roast dinners or dampers, learn to use a camp oven and you’ll never leave home without it.
After many years in the cheap and cheerful $12 chairs from the local hardware store, we’ve recently picked up a few slightly more comfortable and robust Oztent Goanna chairs. Quite simply, they’re just comfy when falling asleep around the camp fire at night.
With bench seats that click into the underside of the table, this little setup offers a flat, lightweight and sturdy table which is quick to pack up and lies flat in the under-bed storage of the camper.
Sea to Summit X Plates and Bowls
Packing neatly is always a challenge, but these folding plates and bowls mean we can easily stack five of each under the sink in the camper. Made from food-grade nylon and silicone, they’re another terrific little Aussie invention from Sea to Summit.
Getting the kids into swags from an early age gave us plenty of flexibility in deciding on a camper trailer. But more importantly, the kids now love them and they’re able to set themselves up in some pretty damn cool camping spots. We use a couple of different Roman Swags and my eldest boy Connor reckons he’s spent over five months sleeping in his and it’s still going strong – not bad at 15.
Rolled up inside the kids’ swags are Roman sleeping bags. With a comfort rating of -5C and in the cocoon of the swags, these sleeping bags have kept the kids toasty on many a winter’s night.
Words and images: Unsealed 4X4’s Tim Stanners