Loft campers are coming, and there’s nothing we should do about it. They make a heck-lot of sense really, especially for those who want to carry a bit of extra gear, bring along some comforts, but don’t really want the bulk or excess of a full-bodied camper trailer. The concept seems to have come out of America, but has been embraced by notable entrants including Drifta, Patriot and Pod, all of who have a different take on the idea.
One of the most recent entrants into the market is Signature Campers, which over the last 12 months has carved its own little niche as a loft-camper specialist. It’s got three campers in its range, two of which are based on the loft concept, alongside a more traditional forward-fold camper trailer. I got to have a good look over the simplest of the three, the Deluxe, at the recent Mid-North Coast Caravan Show.
The Signature Campers Deluxe is all action. The camper is narrow, squat and light, built for rougher off-road trips and quick stops, rather than extended family vacations to the beach. It’s unashamedly for two, if you buy it with the roof-top tent, or as a sophisticated storage trailer, if you don’t need the accomodation. With independent, coil spring suspension designed in Australia and shock absorbers from the USA, it’s a pretty rugged package.
For lack of better description, the camper trailer is divided into four storage areas. At the front there’s a modest storage box with a lifting lid and space for two jerry cans and two 4.5kg gas bottles behind protective steel panels. All this is doubly protected by an angled mesh stone-guard.
Along the passenger side, there’s the camper’s kitchen, which includes a slide-out stove and sink unit and three other large compartments for the pantry and cooking gear storage. Two of them have sliding drawers, while the main kitchen unit also has a large pull-out section.
The largest of the storage areas is at the back of the camper and with its large slide, is the most obvious place to fit a fridge up to 910 x 450 x 545mm in size. which is usually around 80 to 90-litres (a Dometic CFX75DZW is 887x472x495, for example). This compartment is ventilated, and has power to it.
On the driver’s side, another three storage compartments that would be ideal for keeping general camping gear sorted. It’s the compartmentalised nature of the campers that is so attractive – really. We’ve had large, off-road trailers for storage available for a long time, but being able to sort everything into its own place makes things far easier at camp – that’s why we all have storage drawers in the back of our four-wheel drives, right?
The accomodation is simple – it’s a roof-top tent, much like every other roof-top tent you’ve every seen. It folds out and has a ladder you climb up, with windows and doors and a mattress inside. Even better, you can buy the camper without the tent and use the racks on top for storage, if you want. Cleverly, there’s an extending bracket for an awning, so that there’s shelter over the kitchen area.
The camper’s light, too, especially when compared to most other camper trailers on the market; just 840kg with everything fitted, and only 80kg on the ball when there’s nothing in it. However, it’s probably not as light as it could be. The Pod Rooftop Camper is about half its weight, although without the sophistication of storage areas. I’d love to see a 100kg or so dropped from it, if it were possible. The camper retails for $13,850 if you don’t need the tent, or $14,450 if you do. Find out more here.
Still, It’s a simple concept that’ll go a long way. What more could you want?
What do you think of the loft camper concept? Let me know in the comments below