Words & Photos Gary Tischer
The Aussie-made Condamine Compact Camper could be the perfect solution for a comfortable post-Covid-19 off-road escape.
We’re finally starting to break the shackles of Covid isolation and heading out into the bush again so we though it would be a good time to look at the Condamine Compact Camper. After all, over all the months stuck indoors, you’ve probably got a bit too used to the comforts of home, like hot and cold water on tap, an inner-spring queen-sized mattress and a decent-sized kitchen.
Will you miss these luxuries when you go bush? You could always get a full-sized caravan with everything that open and shuts. Yeah… nah… a caravan would restrict where you can get to. That secret fishing spot and that super steep descent into your favourite campsite would not be suited to a caravan. What you need is a camper that is ready to hook up to the ute or wagon at the end of the week that will just follow quietly behind you until you arrive at camp. Which is precisely what the Aussie-made Condamine Compact Camper does.
While there are plenty of cheaper Chinese-made campers out there, when it comes to getting spares you may be leaving one of those on the side of the road for a long time if you suffer a breakage. But with Aussie-made components you are likely able to get going again pretty quick.
A case in point is suspension; it takes a hell of a lot of punishment on corrugations and potholes and in the unlikely event you have a problem with an Aussie-made camper, a couple of phone calls will have spares headed to you wherever you are over this big brown (occasionally green) land.
The Aussie-made Condamine Compact Camper fits the bill in terms of comfort and off-road capability. It’s light at 1050kg but can be loaded up to 2000kg.
From the ground up
The Compact’s suspension is made in Brisbane at Cruisemaster, which is well-known for its strong yet supple independent suspension setups. The wheel-stud pattern can be matched to your vehicle which means spares can be shared if needed. The highly regarded DO35 hitch is also from Cruisemaster. A spare wheel is mounted to the rear of the camper so it is easy to access but out of the way. Suspension and hitch are mounted to a solid Aussie steel galvanised chassis.
Condamine Campers are all designed with computer aided design (CAD) tools then manufactured to exacting precision in a SE Queensland. Each rivet hole and opening is laser cut and each of the panels fit together to provide maximum strength and maximum storage space. Many of the top off-road campers built in Australia are manufactured this way. The body is made up of multiple box sections and attached to the chassis. This style of design allows many of the innovative features found in the CC Compact.
Where to sleep?
The accommodation is built into the body of the camper providing seamless integration of all components including 12V access within the bed area. The large inner-sprung mattress rests within the accommodation under an insulated roof that is both extended and retracted with the help of scissor-lift actuators. On all four sides of the bed area there are large screened windows with internal flaps to keep out light and rain. At the front of the bed area is the door/window which is different to the majority of campers on the market at the moment.
Access to the bed area is via the front of the trailer. This is not the first time this has been done in off-road campers but this is the simplest and easiest design I have seen. All that is required to allow access once the roof has been extended is to detach the laser-cut step from the front storage box and attach it to the chassis rail. This is both simple, sturdy and safe. There will be an optional handrail for those who feel they require that for moving up the trailer. The size of the steps required is larger than a standard set of stairs but easily managed for most. As you can see from the video, three steps and a swivel and I’m sitting on the bed.
“But what if it’s raining?” I hear you ask. No problem. Prior to lifting the roof of the bed area, the 270° awning is loosely set up and then moves up with the roof. Re-adjust the awning and you have a roof to your kitchen and your bed-area entrance. It’s as easy as that. The SupaPeg awning is again both solid and simple, even though it looks a little awkward to a bystander as you set it up. I didn’t time it, but I reckon it took less than five minutes to set up the awning and extend the bed-area roof. And another 10 seconds to access the fridge and get a coldie.
What’s for dinner?
Cue the sounds of Dr Who’s Tardis as the kitchen extends. The bench/preparation area of this kitchen would be larger than that found in many city flats. There is a three-burner gas stove and a sink with hot and cold water in the main slide-out. These have tempered glass coverings for when not in use and limited splashing when they are. The hot water comes from the Girard tankless water heater installed in the large front storage box. And the water comes from the two 90-litre water tanks.
Storage? I don’t think I mentioned storage yet. There is loads of it… and best seen on the video as I easily get into the main storage area, which I have never been able to do on any other off-road camper.
This Aussie-built off-road camper has much to like about it, including the kitchen, the inbuilt accommodation, the storage and the weight. It probably won’t win an award for style with its boxy-but-functional design, but it will be there at the end of a demanding off-road trip, performing as well as it did when you set off.
Oh, and if the Compact isn’t entirely to your liking, check out the Condamine ATV we tested a few months back.
- No ladder required to access roof top tent
- Quality, all Aussie made
- The roof top tent design
- Not in everyone’s budget
- Retracting the roof could be easier
Check out the Condamine Compact Camper video below: