There’s a wait of four to six months for a new Aussie Swag camper, but buyers aren’t complaining. DAVID COOK explains why.
A wise man once said that success lies with doing what you love and doing it the best.
It is at the core of some of this nation’s great success stories, and forms the basis for the pre-eminent position of Aussie Swag campers in the rear-fold hardfloor camper trailer market.
Aussie Swag was one of the earlier players in the camper trailer business, starting in 1985, in Alstonville, in northern NSW. Noel Fernance and his wife Julia had been caravanning and camping for most of their married life and hit on the idea that a tent on a trailer seemed a good combination. Noel became aware of the concept, which he says was developed in Denmark under the name Combi-Camp in the 1940s.
Aussie Swag campers aren’t really built for people who want to go camping in caravan parks on the weekend. These trailers are built for those who seriously want to go off road in security and comfort.
The waiting time for an ordered Aussie Swag varies between four and six months, which speaks to the reputation of the brand.
“We know it costs us customers on occasion,” Noel says, “but we won’t take short cuts. It’s not easy to get skilled people who can do the standard of work you want in production, and even then they have to be trained to the actual job at hand. We’d rather focus on doing the best possible job with the skilled people in our crew rather than trying to rush and sell campers simply for the sake of it.”
Aussie Swag campers are in the all hardfloor/rear-fold format, meaning the top of the trailer folds over to the rear and forms a hard floor up off the ground behind. It’s a concept which is relatively quick to set up – about a minute to this stage – as the unfolding floor pulls the tent behind. From there it’s essentially a matter of setting up the awning, if needed, and pulling out the kitchen.
Aussie Swags are built on a very strong hot dip galvanised chassis, with a trailing arm independent suspension with removable stub axles that are rated to 2000kg, providing for a huge 650kg of carrying capacity. There is a 195L 9mm thick poly water tank that eliminates any need for a steel stone guard.
The all-Australian made canvas tent houses a bed for two, with reading lights and hard wired roof light. A tropical roof automatically erects for added thermal protection and there’s an all weather roof vent to allow hot air to escape. The 2.1 x 5.2m side awning covers everything down the passenger side, from the rear door to in front of the kitchen, and there is a smaller awning for the driver’s side for added protection. Both awnings can remain attached for ease of pack-up and set-up. Optional kids’ rooms can be added.
There are also a range of alternatives to weather proof the awning living area, including a draft skirt for beneath the bodywork, a kitchen infill for above the kitchen/fridge area, end walls and several options on outer walls. A shower tent attaches alongside the driver’s side front box, fed by a diesel hot water system. The electrical system is a feature, with three Deka Intimidator RV AGM batteries supplied by a 60 amp mains charger, DC-DC charger for the alternator or, in the case of the Ultra D model, a removable 140 watt Kyocera solar panel. For those days when you’re camped up and need to run that mains appliance, given that you have 315 amps of storage, there’s a huge 1600 watt pure sine wave inverter.
Hard floor campers are often limited by storage, but the Aussie Swag has plenty in hand. There’s a huge 320L slide out drawer beneath the bed, which can be fully accessed through the tailgate at any time. There’s space on top of the bed for those large flat items like a fold-up table and chairs, a roof rack above the kitchen box, a storage rack on top of the camper and a storage compartment opposite the fridge box (which in the Ultra model also houses the shower and water pumps).
The kitchen has always been one of Aussie’s key features, as it rotates to lie alongside the body of the camper to give a lot of extra room under the awning. It is all stainless steel in construction, with a full sink and four-burner cooktop and griller. Above the adjacent fridge box is a huge 1530x 440 x 170mm slide-out stainless steel pantry drawer. With the added fold-over shelf on the outer end of the fridge slide and the handy condiments tray and tool shelf above the sink there is plenty of bench space.
The fridge slide will handle up to an 80L Waeco. All up the Rover LX weighs 1300kg, with the Ultra model weighing 1400kg, all having a 2000kg GTM, with ball weights of 130kg and 170kg respectively. Aussie Swag offers two models, in each of which the trailer is the same, with only the level of optional fitout varying.
The more basic (if you could call such a well-equipped and classic camper “basic”) Rover LX is priced from $48,700. The Ultra D comes with a diesel fuelled version with Webasto Thermo Top E dual diesel hot water and space heater as well as an 80L Waeco fridge/freezer, the 1600 watt inverter, 140 watt solar panel, some additional walls and panelling for the awning, aluminium mesh on top of the roof rack, two loose LED light strips and an optional gas space heater.
Prices start from $59,400.
Aussie Swag campers aren’t cheap, but they are up there with the best. These campers have been three-time winners of Camper Trailer of the Year and command a steady resale value. They won’t let you down.
High quality and standard of fitout
Great electrical system
Plenty of storage
Only the price
Link: Read the full review in Issue #13