Meet the Queensland couple who built their dream camper trailer and suddenly found themselves with a business.
By David Cook
It’s not often newcomers to any field hit a home run at their first attempt, but Justin and Sarah Montesalvo’s successful move into the camper trailer business two years ago was a dream come true.
Both are keen campers and were away bush whacking in North Queensland when they started designing their dream camper.
They wanted something secure and light with great storage, good ground clearance and plenty of off-road capability.
Returning home they started work on a prototype and before it was finished someone fell in love with it and offered to buy it. They started another and the same thing happened again. When it happened a third time they realised they were on to something.
The company now called Patriot Campers hit the ground in 2013 and by the end of the year their X1 camper was named Camper Trailer of the Year. They won the coveted prize again in 2014.
So what’s behind the hype? The X1 rides on a tough hot dip galvanised chassis. All components are precision laser cut and engineered for maximum strength and minimum weight. All up, the Patriot X1 weighs just 790kg compared up around a tonne for other comparable off roaders.
One of the great features of the Patriot is its cross-country functionality. It rides and high, with 550mm of ground clearance.
A good food prep space is they key to outdoor living and the X1’s kitchen runs down the entire passenger side. A fold down stainless steel bench is complemented by the pull-out fridge with cutlery drawer, stainless steel sink and work bench.
One downside is there’s limited room for a decent sized fridge, with 60 litres the maximum capacity.
On the other side of the camper is another drop down door revealing plenty of storage and the battery compartment. At the front is a storage box Sarah refers to as “the man cave” – it can carry a generator, chainsaw or other tools. All compartments are lockable.
At the rear there’s a drop-down door which can be used as an outdoor table. Storage is plentiful including a space for fishing rods and awning poles.
The sleeping arrangements are very much an offroader’s package, with a LED light-equipped rooftop tent on top. The bed can be either a double or a full king -size in a tent or for a single traveller the James Baroud hard shell is an option.
Exit and entry is via a ladder on the driver’s side of the trailer and this space can be set up as a canvas-walled underfloor room, creating another sleeping space. So while most hard-nosed offroad campers are designed only for couples, the Patriot has room for kids, making it family friendly as well.
There’s a quick set-up awning that can be equipped with full walls giving a complete shelter to bunker down in the worst of weather. The total set-up time, without walls to the swing-around awning, is about 15 minutes.
Given its tough offroad reputation, you’d think 25-45 year olds would be Patriot’s main buyers, however Justin and Sarah says grey nomads and families are the biggest customers.
Patriot promises a five-year warranty on all structural components (they can’t extend manufacturer’s warranties on fitted components, such as stove or batteries). That’s as good or better than you will find anywhere in the market today.
Depending on your chosen fit out, the Patriot’s starting price is around $33,000. I think its pretty good value for money.
Visit patriotcampers.com.au for more info.