Thursday, April 25

Kimberley Kamper Platinum

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It was a couple of years ago now, but I never actually wrote about my experience of a Kimberley Kampers Platinum over a week-long trip to Mungo Lakes National Park in Western New South Wales, so for lack of a better introduction, here’s my belated review of a Kimberley Kamper.

Very little has changed with the Platinum product in the intervening years, except that where the Platinum was the top-of-the line camper, it’s now pretty much the standard fare and the features that made it platinum now just make it a Kimberley. A lot, however, has changed at Kimberley itself. Since then the company has waded through financial dramas deep enough to see it in voluntary administration, have the company’s former director resign and its new owner invest significant time and money into, firstly, making it the company profitable again, and secondly, rebuild the fine Kimberley name that has cemented it as one of the three most desirable off-road camper trailers on the market (the others being the Tvan and the Ultimate – each represent a different take on the genre, and each are arguably trendsetters at the top of the game – but that’s a subject for another article).kimberley kampers platinum

On this trip, which I travelled with the Platinum, former Kimberley Kampers dealer and all-round top bloke Peter Hands travelled with a Kimberley E-Series and Todd Cannock, the current owner of Kimberley (although I’m not sure he was at the time), towed a Kimberley Kamper Limited Edition, we left Sydney and travelled south and west to Hay before making our way into Mungo National Park. After our time there, we headed back home, camping on the banks of the very flooded Murrumbidgee River. The whole time we were completely self-sufficient.

Behind the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport I was driving, the Kimberley Kamper is quite good to tow, although it certainly isn’t forgiving of a vehicle with soft-rear suspension. The dynamics of the KKs front gull-wing kitchen and storage areas means its ball-weight is around 200kg+, so the comfortable, road-going suspension of the Paj never really stood a chance. At least it never struggled for power.kimberley kampers

All Kimberley Kampers are now fitted with independent air-bag suspension with a high-capacity monotube shock absorber, although it was only the Platinum’s that were on this trip. It’s a spectacular suspension system that’s paired with power-assisted, hydraulic disc brakes, can be raised or lowered to suit the terrain (or to level out the bed at camp) and has more travel, is lighter and can handle loads better than the coil spring counterpart. In the latest Kampers, the shock absorbers are even fitted with a temperature gauge so that they can be periodically monitored to ensure they’re not being overheated. The Kimberley’s wheel track and stud pattern can even be tailored to match that of the tow-vehicle, and that even extends to vehicles with odder stud patterns like Range Rovers and Volkswagen Amaroks.

Any $60,000 camper trailer that was hard to set up wouldn’t be on sale very long, so it’s not a shock to find that the Kimberley is simple to erect. It’s actually something that the forward fold camper trailers will never have over the hard floors as there’s just so little weight in the floor and the roof-rack acts as a lever to pull it over without a fuss. Once the floor is out it’s as simple as pushing a few poles into place and opening any of the windows you want open. The bedding can stay in place and the awning can remain zipped on, too, which makes things easier.

Kimberley use an Australian Wax Converters canvas for its tents. It’s a 275gsm weave, which is lighter than most of the imported camper trailers, but certainly a product that’s proven its worth. The tropical roof is standard, which helps keep the tent cooler in hot weather and the windows are large and fitted with midge-proof screens.kimberley kampers

There’s an inner spring mattress inside, and that on a lift up bed base. Storage is easy to get to, and while the camper I tested was fitted with about 200ah worth of AGM batteries underneath the bed, the latest campers have 200ah of lithium batteries standard. It shaves about 70kg of weight from the camper. The standard solar package has also been upgraded – now there’s a 70-watt super-thin panel standard, whereas the camper I had only got 25watts fitted to the gullwing door.

A real highlight of the Kimberley package is the kitchen. Rather than just a single slide-out, as is common with many campers, the Kamper’s kitchen is so extensive it needs three sliding sections. One, which slides from the campers main body, is a large stainless steel preparation area and sink, which itself has a slide-out breakfast bar. Another sliding section has the fridge, although Kimberley is offering an upright fridge in the modern Kampers, which is far easier to get things out of and organise, even if it’s not as efficient to pack. The third sliding section is the large pantry and two seperate cookers. The unit I tested had a marine barbecue and large wok burner, although the barbecue could be replaced with a two-burner stove. It’s a very easy kitchen to use because it has everything and everything is close at hand. There’s no need to walk to the other side of the camper to access the fridge, or anything like that. kimberley kamper kitchen

There’s little to dislike about the Kamper product, although for many, the price can be a little hard to swallow. Between you and me, I’m not sure Kimberley is really concerned. I have always found it strange that it’s mantra is one of technological wonder, but persists with the Tregg off-road coupling, which although it’s reliable, is a pain to hitch up, sometimes. I’m actually not sure what’s used now, as none of the companies media mentions it, all the pictures on social media don’t show the hitch and it’s too late at night to call them. I’m taking one to the Big Red Bash in a few weeks, though, so check back for the update on the new product then.

Have you got a Kimberley Kamper? Tell us about it in the comments below? 

 

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2 Comments

  1. Hi Brendan, my wife Alison and I own the camper you feature in the article above, having bought it from Pete shortly after you guys returned from the trip to Mungo Lakes. It’s an awesome camper, which has been on smalls trips to the Snowy Mountains and NSW South Coast, and 3 month hike last year through outback Queensland, across the Gulf to Cape York, and back home to Canberra. We traveled thousands of k’s on outback roads, and Phoenix (our camper’s name) didn’t let us down. We changed the marine BBQ for a two burner stove, which along with the wok burner is a better cooking package (our opinion) than the BBQ and wok burner. In addition to the 25 watt solar panel fitted to the gullwing door, we have 270 watts of portable solar which includes the standard 120 watt package from Kimberley and a simple to use (very effective) 150 watt solar blanket. The adjustable suspension is brilliant, and Phoenix travels fantastically behind our Prado. Cheers, Paul

    • Hey Paul, that’s really great to hear. I’ve also just got back from two weeks in another Kimberley – still just as good. Thanks for the note!

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