Long ago in a galaxy far away, a small intergalactic trader is being pursued by a pirate starship. Taking ever-increasing damage to the deflector shields from the onslaught of photon torpedoes and, fearing the worst, the crew takes to the escape pod and blasts off towards a small blue planet.
It crash-lands in Batemans Bay, on the South Coast of NSW, where it is discovered by a bloke called Michael Hackett, who is toying with the idea of building the ultimate off-road. camper trailer. "Not a bad shape for a camper," he thinks.
Not really. But it almost looks like it could have happened that way.
With their aerodynamic design and space-age materials, Ultimate off-road camper trailers certainly look like something out of a sci-fi movie. With names like the Odyssey and the Enterprise, there could well be a little bit of intergalactic engineering in there somewhere.
But seriously, this is one very sophisticated piece of camping equipment and if you are a regular reader of this magazine you will have probably guessed by now that I am a bit of a fan of off-road campers.
Ultimate campers are eye-catchers not just for the advanced aerodynamic shape but for the vast number of features they pack into a compact package when it is all packed up and ready for travel. When it gets down to turning it into comfortable accommodation, this camper expands in all directions to become large, spacious, relaxing living quarters with every conceivable accessory. We’ll review the Enterprise, which is the top of the range.
The BF Goodrich mud-terrain T/A tyres were on heavy-duty off-road rims with 10" electric brakes for when that mug driver cuts in front of you at a red light, or a big red kangaroo jumps out in front of you. The chassis design is a combination of single draw bar and A-frame, fabricated from high-tensile Duragal steel, combined with independent trailing arms, Lovell's long-travel springs and Koni hydraulic shock absorbers. This gives the camper unparalleled clearance over rough terrain with a large departure angle. There is no place this baby won't go – if you can get your vehicle there, the Ultimate will follow.
It attaches to the vehicle with a Treg hitch and the jockey wheel and handbrake are built into the heavy-duty draw bar. The body, lounge area, galley and lid of the Ultimate are made of high-tech resin and fibre, giving an extremely high strength-to-weight ratio and allowing its unique curved design – much lighter than steel or aluminium.
Being lighter and more aerodynamic than other campers, at around 700kg, means it is exceptionally fuel-efficient and safer on the road when cruising. The spare wheel on the back of the camper, where you need it. Nothing is more frustrating than having to move a tonne of gear to get to the spare.
When you arrive at your destination there is plenty of comfort in the Enterprise. The list of standard features is amazing and the pictures will attest to this. It has an advanced LED lighting system, which has minimal draw on the battery so it’s longer between charges. There’s also fluorescent lighting, a fantastic galley with quality stainless steel stove, griller and sink.
All the internal bar work is powder-coated and there is a heap of cupboard space. The. lounge converts to a single bed with storage underneath, but the part I like the most is king size bed, two metres by two metres. Lack of sleep due to cramped conditions, particularly on hot, humid nights, can really wear you out and even with a bed this size there is still room for bedside storage pockets.
The 91-litre fridge runs on 240-volt AC, 12-volt DC or gas. The 83-litre water tank has a gauge to tell you when it needs a top-up. There is a 9kg gas bottle and an independent battery with an on-board charger.
The internal trimmings are all top-class with marine-grade carpet and quality fabrics on the lounge and curtains. This is more like a luxury cruiser than a camper – understandable when you consider the designer has had many years of experience building luxury ocean yachts.
There is an awning 2.5 by 4.0 metres that turns into an annex or sunroom for heaps of extra living area and there is even an annex that goes under the extended main bed to form an extra bedroom for the kids or friends.
This all sounds like a lot of gear for one camper but the great part is that it takes only a few minutes to set up the basic requirements and only a little longer to attach all the extras. Everything simply extends on struts and fits into place and it doesn't take a team of experts to achieve – it is designed to be a one-person job.
Storage is abundant, from cupboards in the kitchen to a massive front boot and four external lockers that will swallow up all you will need for a great holiday.
The double jerry can holder is extra-handy and there is even an optional wine cellar that can take up to a dozen bottles. A CD player and radio are set into the galley mouldings and there is a host of other inclusions, like Rhino roof racks so you can slide a boat onto the camper for travel, and an outboard motor mount as well. Access is excellent: None of those pokey, slippery little steps – fully moulded steps fold down to allow easy access in all conditions.
Really there are a host of other extras but there is only so much room in this magazine so check out the excellent website at www.ultimatecampers.com.au or call into the showrooms at 2 Kylie Crescent, Batemans Bay, phone 02 4472 9110. The Ultimate Enterprise retails for around $37,300 and the Odyssey, which has fewer inclusions, for $31,300.
The ‘space pod’ camper all ready to roll. Who would believe this will set up into a fully functional camp site complete with a wine cellar?
Fully set up, there is enough room for family and friends to take on the outdoors in comfort.
Check out the clearance and suspension: If you can get a 4WD there, the Ultimate will follow no matter what.
The Treg hitch point, handbrake and jockey wheel are all heavy-duty and nicely finished.
The kitchen, stove and griller are top quality and every item is built with an eye for detail right down to the CD player.
Did someone say they needed room? Check this out for storage space in the nose cone of the ‘shuttle’.
No cramped sleeping quarters here, that’s a king-size bed.
Access to the Ultimate campers is excellent.Reads: 999