Model: Walk up Deluxe
Falling asleep under the southern sky at night would have to rate as one the great joys of Aussie bush camping.
It’s that experience – as well as a long-established reputation for off-road dependability that is giving All Terrain Campers their edge in the highly competitive camper trailer market.
Any first time camper buyer could tell you you’re in for a bit of a shock when you start looking because of the sheer number of brands and models on offer.
The usual industry count is somewhere above 300. They range from multi-national companies who fully import, through to blokes who’ve devised their own dream camper in the backyard shed and have now gone commercial.
Ian and Danielle Roberts fall somewhere in the middle in terms of size. They are actually the second-generation of owners of the business with a 15 year history of manufacturing in Sydney’s north west.
They pride themselves in the level of Australian content and are one of just a few companies to target the ‘extreme off road’ end of the market with light-weight soft floor campers.
The Roberts bought the business just over a year ago, their decision swayed by its good long reputation for off-roaders.
They’ve completely refreshed the range, while sticking to the goal of keeping the campers as ‘all Aussie’ as possible.
They see this as giving them a quality edge at a time when the budget end of the market is being squeezed by mass-produced imports from China.
Ian says of all the major components, only the PVC is imported, because there is no longer anyone making it here.
The canvas comes from the Hunter Valley and assembled by long-time employee Greg Kay -a sail maker by trade. His three decades of experience is evident in the workmanship.
Each camper sold is made to order and can therefore accommodate a range of option according to the individual buyers’ needs.
The Walk Up Deluxe is light and breezy with seven windows in total, built to either zip up or down, depending where the breeze or the sun is coming.They’re all screened with midge proof mesh – and there are canopies or annexes above all the major windows that open up outside, providing protection from sun and showers – and a virtual all-round veranda rather like a country homestead.
The annexe at the back measures 4.3 by 2.4 m and with the kitchen at one end would serve well as the main living area. Best of all you have a choice of how you want to configure the zip up wall and whether you want PVC, canvas, mesh or a combination of all.
There’s a further two ‘under floor’ vents that zip open along the underside of the trailer to let cool air in from beneath. On the hot day we set up camp, the interior temperature dropped five degrees when we opened up these little beauties.
Then there’s the All Terrain ‘pièce de résistance’ – or at least it is for those who like star gazing.
Over the bed is window number 7, a sky roof to let you fall asleep under the stars – and catch a great breeze in a tropical night.
They don’t claim to have the only one in the industry, but thanks to Greg’s aforementioned stitching skills, they do claim to have the only one that doesn’t actually leak in heavy rain.
As well as a full queen-side bed over the trailer itself, there’s plenty of room in the adjoining fold-out room for two more singles.
Since taking over the company, Danielle takes pride in offering a few of what she describes as ‘women’s touches’ in an industry full of products designed by blokes for blokes in mind.
These include simple but thoughtful accessories like hooks to tidily hang away jackets, towels or lights, a laundry bag that conveniently hangs inside the trailer and a bedside shelf that can double as a cutting board.
It’s easy to overlook such touches, but they’re obviously important in a competitive market when women often have the final say on a purchase.
It was demonstrated on the day we visited as a young Sydney couple took delivery of their camper – the fourth to go out the doors that week in the pre-dry season rush.
For the Curtis family it was their second such purchase. They’d covered many miles with their first camper trailer and were in the market for something better that could go further.
They were attracted to All Terrain by its reputation for durability and the fact they could make changes – in their case, a rack to accommodate four family bikes.They made no bones about the fact it was mum Barbara who was driving the purchasing decision.
“Coming from South Africa originally I have more of a background in camping, so I was into it more to start with, but the whole family love it now,” she said.
Chatting to us about how she was swayed by the quality canvas and off-road durability, Barbara didn’t even bother to mention the kitchen, which is equally impressive.
It boasts a commercial grade stainless steel with Thetford 4 burner gas cooktop, sink with electric pump and mixer tap.
The unit slides out the rear and safely hinges to the left, so you can pull up while travelling, keep well off to the safe side of the road and cook up a lunch.
It’s yet another feature that shows the level of thought and care that goes into the design and build of All Terrain Campers, which is comforting to know when you’re making an investment of this size in an outback adventure package.
All Terrain Campers: www.allterraincampers.com.au