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Photos & Video: Incite Images
With the Cub Drifter you and your family can experience luxury camping in some of the hardest-to-reach off-road destinations.
You may have heard of the Cub Drifter before. After all, this iconic camper-trailer nameplate first hit the tracks back in the 1970s, and the model was in production right through to the 1990s. And with two large beds, it was little wonder the Drifter was popular with families.
Today the Cub Drifter has been reintroduced, and this new version is claimed to be the only 100 per cent Australian-made double fold camper on the market; that’s Aussie steel, Aussie canvas and Aussie construction.
The Cub Drifter you see here starts at $48,990… and then you add the options, of which there are plenty. But let’s start with the basics…
What is it?
The Cub Drifter is a double-fold camper built on a separate chassis that’s manufactured from galvanised steel. It has an independent suspension system with coil springs and it runs twin dampers on each side.
All up the Drifter is 5510mm long and 1940mm wide, with a modest towing height of just 1710mm. The test is slightly longer overall thanks to an optional drawbar extension of 400mm. Tare weight is listed at 1453kg, so you won’t need to re-mortgage the house to buy a Dodge Ram or Chev Silverado to tow the Drifter, and tow ball weight is listed at 144kg.
The steel body of the Drifter exudes a form-follows-function appearance, with flat surfaces, straight lines, geometrical door openings, and exposed hinges and handles. It might look industrial, but I reckon this adds to its visual appeal when hitched to the back of a 4X4. There’s generous space on the drawbar for a pair of 4kg gas bottles and two jerry cans behind a sturdy stone guard, as well as space for a full-width storage bag up top.
Take a look under the Drifter and you’ll see it offers generous ground clearance and all its underbody components are nicely tucked up and out of the way. The specific example we’re looking at here is also equipped with an optional ‘Xtreme Off Road Pack’, which includes 265/70R17 Goodyear Wrangler MT/R Kevlar tyres (including spare), a Cruisemaster D035 tow hitch and increased ATM (from 1900kg to 1950kg). It also has optional bash plates under each water tank.
If you get into strife off-road, you’ll be pleased to know there are a pair of rated recovery points at the rear of the Drifter that can be used with an equaliser strap.
The steel body of the Drifter offers loads of generous storage areas. Starting up front on the nearside of the camper there’s a full-width storage area with a 1400mm-long drawer that’s ideally suited to pantry duties. Above this drawer is a cavity for storing long items such as awning poles and the like, and this area can be accessed via doors on either side of the camper body.
Behind the next door you’ll find a 95L dual-zone Dometic fridge/freezer mounted on a slide. There’s a temp sensor in the cabinet that houses the fridge so you can keep an eye on the ambient temperature through the camper’s Redarc RedVision system.
That Redarc RedVision setup is located behind a door at the rear offside, and it allows monitoring of temperatures, battery levels and water levels, and control over electrical equipment such as lighting, fridge, water pump and sound system.
Behind the Redarc equipment are a pair of 200Ah lithium batteries proving a generous 400Ah of battery capacity all up.
Under the body are a pair of water tanks; one is a 100L tank and the other an 80L tank, and these can be topped up through separate filler points on the offside of the camper body. You’ll also find a 240V AC power inlet on the offside to charge the batteries at caravan parks, and an Anderson input to charge the batteries from a solar panel or blanket.
Up the front of the offside is the shower outlet, with plenty of space to set up the Smarttek Ensuite shower tent… and hot and cold water, of course.
Opposite the fridge cabinet, there’s another massive storage area, and on this camper there’s an optional slide and optional drawer. It’s a great place to stow items such as the awning and smaller accessories such as the shower hose.
The camper set up
You’ve probably noticed the webbing strap over the top of the Drifter, as well as the winch up front, and these components are key to setting up the camper. The process is quite simple and only takes a few minutes. It goes like this:
- Unhook the webbing strap at the rear and pop open the securing clips around the camper.
- Wind in the webbing strap using the winch handle until the front of the camper is completely open.
- Pop up the rear of the tent section slightly, open the door and enter the camper.
- Push open the rear tent section from inside and put your body weight on the rear bed.
- Exit the camper and pull the rear tent section completely open and secure to camper body with supplied straps.
- Walk around camper, secure elastic straps all the way around base of tent section and insert window-awning stays.
That’s it… unless, of course, you want to affix the supplied awning as well.
The tent section is manufactured from high quality Wax Converters canvas and no, the camo finish is not mandatory. In fact, you can order pink camo if you want! Or just go for the standard monotone grey finish if camo is not your thing.
The Drifter features a pull-out stainless steel kitchen just to the rear of the doorway. It slides out to reveal a sink, a three-burner gas stove and an extendable work-bench with fold-down supporting legs. Once in place there’s generous bench space and a pair of drawers for storing kitchen items such as crockery and cutlery. There’s also a handy 12V LED work light, and an extra shelf that simply slots into the side of the camper body. Yep, there are plenty of places to rest a coldy (or a cuppa) while you’re whipping up a meal.
The tap on the kitchen sink has decent pressure and the pump provides a water flow of 10L/min, while the gas stove comes with wind shields so it can be used in all weather conditions. If it’s raining, you’d obviously set up the large standard awning off the nearside of the camper and, if the weather is really crook, the Drifter also comes with standard side and rear walls.
Step inside the Drifter and you’ll wonder why they didn’t call it the Tardis; there’s more interior space than you’d think possible.
At the pointy end there’s a queen-size bed, down the blunt end there’s a double-size bed and in the middle the seats and table can be set up with cushions to sleep two more people. Yep, that’s a sleeping capacity of six people all up.
The table pops up out of its lowered position by simply depressing a button with your foot, and then it can be manoeuvred into just about any position you want, with seating around three sides. Oh, and if you like the look of those seat covers, the camper tested here is optioned up with Italian leather. I told you this was luxury camping!
There’s dimmable LED strip lighting in the roof of the camper and the beds feature reading lights with inbuilt USB ports for charging accessories. The queen mattress has been optioned up to a pillow-top item, while the double is an innerspring number.
With generously sized windows the Drifter offers plenty of flow-through ventilation, and the window awnings provide plenty of shade. Oh, and if you’re worried about getting cold at night, don’t; there’s a gas heater hidden away under the seats. This is also the location for the hot water system, the 2000W Redarc pure sine wave inverter and the wi-fi router.
A wi-fi router, you say? Of course, to allow you to connect as many devices as you want when in range, or to wirelessly connect to the Fusion sound system when you want to pump out some Spotify tunes from you phone or tablet. There’s also generous storage inside the camper, with several storage boxes under the main bed for clothing and the like.
As we mentioned, the Cub Drifter has a starting price of $48,990, but the unit were looking at here is equipped with a huge number of optional extras. They include:
- Drawbar Upgrade (extended by 400mm)
- Xtreme Off Road Pack (Includes 265/70R17 Goodyear Mud Terrain Tyres x 3, Cruisemaster D035 Hitch, ATM Increased to 1950)
- Jockey Wheel Clamp on Drawbar
- 2x Rear Utility Storage Boxes
- Redarc 2000W Inverter
- Reverse Camera with Furrion Vision S & 5-inch Display
- KitSphere Mobile WIFI Router and GPS
- Slide and Tray for Driver’s Side Storage Box
- Top Drawer for Driver’s Side Storage Box
- Truma Vario Gas Heater
- Redarc BMS30 Redarc RedVision TVMS
- LED Awning Light
- 3 x LED Sensor Lights
- Fusion Stereo
- Front Box Cargo Cover
- 2 x Water Tank Protectors (1 for each tank)
- 2 x 200Ah lithium (Sphere) batteries
- Upgraded Rear Mattress to Innerspring
- Upgraded main mattress to Pillow Top
- 2 x corner cushions for dinette area
- Smarttek Ensuite shower tent
- Thermal Blanket
- Side Shelf
- Draught Skirt
- Leather Seat Cover Upgrade
- Storage room under rear bed
- Camo tent upgrade
- Internal Front Canvas Window
- 2 x Internal Front Canvas Window & Zip
- 2 x 12V Fan
Thats a lot of accessories, and they bring the price up to $71,458 as tested, but you can add as few or as many options as you want. Check out the Cub website for details.
Time to go
As you’d expect, packing up the Cub Drifter is simply a reversal of the setup process… and yes, it’s quick and easy. On my first attempt, I reckon I had everything packed up and ready to roll in around 10 minutes, which is not much longer than it takes me to pack away my swag and camp bed.
Perhaps it’s time I thought about an upgrade…
Body length: 3680mm
Towing height: 1710mm
Towing length: 5510mm
Open length inc. drawbar: 6510mm; plus 400mm with drawbar extension
Tare weight: 1453kg
Ball weight: 144kg
ATM: 1900kg; 1950kg with Xtreme Off Road Pack
RRP: $48,990 (base price); $71,458 (as tested)
Warranty: 5 years on canvas, suspension and chassis
Website: Cub Drifter