Aussie-made, and genuinely innovative – John ‘Bear’ Willis reckons the BRS Offroad Pursuit Platinum is here to shake up the camper industry.
Words and Images by John Willis
I have just been inspired to write this review after a social media debate with a fellow respected journalist about the misuse of the word ‘innovation’! It is certainly one of those words that is used far too frequently, but in the case of the new driving force on the camper trailer market, Newcastle’s exciting BRS Offroad, there is no better word. In fact, let’s throw in a verb or two – it’s exciting, stimulating, thrilling, and impressive to see such hi-tech innovation from our home-grown brains trust.
BRS came bursting into the hybrid camper scene a couple of years back, turning every head in the campsite. Their Pursuit quickly became the centre of attention, not only due to its new ideas, design and construction techniques, but because it was the first camper we had seen with ‘Cel-Fi GO’, a digital repeater that boosts reception, providing communications and entertainment in areas of low reception. Be warned, you too could become the focal point of any campsite with enhanced Wi-Fi availability! This Cel-Fi GO data antenna is just one part of the impressive list of standard equipment on the new Pursuit Platinum, as tested.
BRS originally introduced the Pursuit, but presents the impressive and fully featured Pursuit Platinum with all the bells and whistles. This one was owned by their SA agents Mike and Anita Pavey from The Dirt Off Road Campers, who presented their demonstration package for testing on a recent trip to Victoria. From the ground up, the BRS Pursuit boasts advanced engineering, kicking off with the magnificent Cruisemaster XT 2.5-tonne, level 3 independent air suspension that adds certain confidence both on the blacktop and in extreme off-road.
The bellow airbags also allow you to easily adjust the ride according to the weight and conditions, plus easy levelling when it’s time to pull up for the night.Speaking of weight, BRS have created a fully fitted hybrid with an incredibly light 1540kg Tare mass – that’s about the same as most forward-fold campers … or less! Furthermore, the ATM is an impressive 2500kg, allowing plenty of payload and the ability to tow legally behind most late-model mid-range 4X4s. She tracks true with BFG all-terrain tyres on 17-inch x 8 CSA alloy rims with 12-inch hubs and electric brakes.
Any trailer is only as good as its chassis and you’ll feel secure with the 150mm x 50mm x 3mm RHS A-frame, a hot-dipped galvanised structure that has fully engineered recovery points and the unquestionable Cruisemaster DO35 V3 off-road coupling up front. I particularly liked the rolled and gusseted chassis on the main side rails, giving me more confidence than butt-welded construction at the highest stress points. The undersides are very neat and tidy with nothing to get hung up or damaged even on the roughest tracks.
The Cruisemaster suspension provides terrific ground clearance and the 127-litre and 85-litre water tanks sit high and are well shrouded. The camper body itself is made in two main components. The lower sections and floor are CNC router cut, 3mm marine-grade alloy. The top cone is a single-moulded, hand-laminated composite fibreglass that’s toughened and insulated by 25mm closed cell foam and vacuum bagged with a hi-tech Italian inner skin (32mm overall). Combined, they form an exceptionally strong, lightweight and beautifully presented shell.
I don’t tolerate difficult or tedious products at all well. That is one reason why I like the Pursuit. For a start, you have immediate access to the pull-out fridge and kitchen on the kerb side, plus the huge storage facilities on the front and road side, and the spare wheel on the back. It’s just so simple to get inside with the keyless remote door and two-step electric Techno-Step that greets you like royalty! You can seriously be in bed for a nanny nap, or access all of the facilities for a cooked lunch stop, in seconds. In just a few more minutes you can assemble the pop-out ensuite and 2.5-metre awning for a truly comfortable campsite.
LET’S START AT THE BEGINNING
The overall aesthetics of the Pursuit Platinum are quite striking and very individual. It looks more of a streamlined lunar module than a hybrid camper. Its black Raptor-coated aluminium base supports the integrated white fibreglass gel-coat finish of the high capsule, and I guess if I’m to be at all critical, its clearance does create some overhead restriction in tight off-road scenarios. Yet with that said, the internal headroom is terrific for our towering new generations.
Out on the A-frame drawbar, we find a large tub housing twin 9kg gas bottles that will keep you fired up off-grid for an extended stay. A wet storage/firewood box is neatly tucked in behind with swing-away wings/jerry can holders that also serve well as stone screens. There’s even an external tap for kerbside access. The front of the main module has a pair of full width compartments for tent poles, fishing rods, longer tools, awning storage, etc.
The BRS Pursuit Platinum has refrigeration and cooking facilities both inside and out. Two external cooking options are available. A simple slide-out BBQ and fold-over shelf is standard, or a more comprehensive outdoor kitchen (+$1500). The test camper was fitted with the latter. It comprised of a large moulded slide-out fibreglass module, providing a terrific work space including twin-burner gas stove, a stainless steel BBQ, and a sink with hot and cold water. I guess one could say it’s lacking a separate utensils drawer.
Also fitted to our camper was a 60-litre Engel fridge, although a Waeco CFX95 dual-zone fridge/freezer is also available. A swing-over bench provides space for a few coldies or shelf to use when loading the fridge. The 2.5-metre awning glides on a sail track overhead and there’s plenty of external lighting, waterproof speakers for the Fusion interactive sound/DVD entertainment system, and premium Aussie Traveller double-glazed and insulated windows.
Out the back is a very easily accessed spare wheel on the rear cut-away departure angle, a small but strong bumper bar, LED trailer lighting and reversing camera. The extenda-style ensuite pops out of the rear of the roadside with a slide forming the base and gas strutted fibreglass door tilting up to form the roof. The slide-in canvas inserts are quite easily assembled but a drop-down arrangement may be worth looking at for the future.
Further forward on the roadside we find the lockable water tank fillers, another Aussie Traveller window, more external lighting and then a massive side storage compartment that securely locates the portaloo and keeps the electrical componentry easily accessible yet out of harm’s way. The impressive electronic systems include a 40-amp DC/DC charger/solar regulator incorporated with the massive 320W monocrystalline solar panels fixed to the roof. There’s a 1600W automatic transfer inverter/60-amp 240V charger so you can run the coffee machine and hair dryer, and it’s all powered by a 200-amp Enerdrive Lithium battery or 240V if you want to run a generator or you are in civilisation.
STEP INSIDE AND COME ALIVE
I don’t often use the word but the internal fit-out of the Pursuit is truly quite inspirational. This is where the high roofline really comes into its own, giving immense volume and head height, creating the opportunity for a very inclusive array of accommodation and facilities. When the weather turns foul you will be quite happy to tuck yourself in for a comfortable respite in the security of the shell.
The kitchen is simply a ripper! The Australian hardwood timber benchtop runs full width, incorporating a four-burner (3 x gas, 1 x electric) cooktop with grill and full-size stainless steel sink with drainer. There’s both a Shurflo filtration tap for clean hydration and a hot/cold mixer tap supplied by the 22-litre Suburban gas hot water system. The clean white gloss-faced cabinetry, which features premium soft-close mechanisms, has a multitude of storage for utensils, pots and pans, plus a flush mount 900W microwave. The light switches, 12V outlets, remote door control and water heater switch and indicator are just inside the doorway for safe convenience and the 240V outlets are in the attractive splashback.
Overhead is a full width fibreglass console housing the 21-inch HD TV, Fusion DVD stereo and two more speakers, rangehood with light, digital water and 70-litre grey tank indicators, thermostat controls for the 2400W gas ducted heater and air conditioner, omnidirectional aerial controls and Enerdrive battery monitoring system. It’s all very comprehensive but so spacious and attractive, plus the bonus of exceptional head room and slick finishes.
The ensuite is just terrific. It offers plenty of room to move, even for us big blokes. The shower runoff drains to a grey water tank to ensure suitability for all camping adventures and the enclosure also doubles as a private space for the porta potti. That’s really handy at night avoiding those pesky nudie runs and wet, dirty feet to get back into bed. Speaking of the bed, it’s a ripper queen innerspring mattress with the added bonus of a large skylight window overhead for star-gazing at night. Of course it has a blockout blind for sleeping in and its LED lighting surrounds form a quite unique and very inviting bedroom.
I particularly liked the storage hatches, power sockets and flat spaces next to the bed to keep all of your night-time supplies and nick knacks. There is another pair of large storages under the front face of the bed with a pull-out table and dual upholstered lounges either side, forming a handy convertible dinette. To top off the surprises there’s a 30-litre Waeco drawer fridge under each module – very smart, Team BRS!
The list of added extras is enormous, however some terrific features that make a house a home is the array of wireless lighting options, plenty of 12 and 240V outlets for all our modern gadgets, multiple hat/clothes racks and a very hardy but attractive six-layer epoxy floor that’s exceptionally easy to keep clean.
Now, if all of this doesn’t spell I-N-N-O-V-A-T-I-O-N in large capital letters then I don’t know what does. The BRS Offroad Pursuit Platinum hybrid camper is truly a breath of fresh air, blending a terrific mix of extreme off-road capability with function, comfort and facility for long-range adventure, or perhaps just a pleasant weekend escape.
A terrific, all-inclusive hybrid for a serious adventure
Australian-designed and made
Lightweight, strong and great payload
Comfortable, comfortable, comfortable!
Smart combination of accessories and features
Ensuite canvas just a little fiddly (but that’s getting very critical)
It’s a high unit in the bush but good head height and solid enclosure
SPECS: BRS Offroad Pursuit Platinum
Suspension: Cruisemaster XT 2.5-tonne, level 3 independent air suspension
Brakes: 12-inch electric
Coupling: Vehicle Components DO35 V3
Chassis: 150mm x 50mm x 3mm RHS A-frame fully hot-dip galvanised
Drawbar: 150mm x 50mm x 3mm RHS A-frame fully hot-dip galvanised
Body: Marine aluminium lower, composite fibreglass upper
Wheel/tyre: BFG all-terrain 17-inch tyres
Style: 17-inch x 8 CSA alloy rims
Length: 5700mm (hitch to tail lights)
Gas cylinders: 2 x 9kg
Water: 127-litre and 85-litre plus 70-litre grey water
Cooktop: Internal 4-burner (3 x gas, 1 x electric) plus grill
External: 2-burner plus “Sizzler” BBQ
Kitchen: Full inclusive internal and external
Battery: 200-amp Enerdrive lithium
Price from: $95,690 plus on-road costs
Price as shown: $96,540 (with stone stomper, large external kitchen, deleted Cel-Fi GO data antenna)
Manufactured by: BRS Offroad
More info: brsoffroad.com.au
Supplied by: The Dirt Offroad Campers
More info: thedirt4wd.com.au