If you were looking for a reliable, rugged and simple family camper trailer on the second hand market, it’d be hard not to consider a Cub Drifter (in fact, we recommend just that, right here). They were built from around 1975 through to the turn of the millennium as a rugged, off-road equivalent to the more-staid Jayco campers, and I’ve seen them in nearly every corner of the country, still in active use. Cub stopped building them, though, when its direction focussed on rear-fold campers, which at the time, were considered the premium choice for discerning off-road tourers. Fashions change, though, an what’s old is new again as more people want the live-in comfort of lounges and dinettes at camp.
Cub has resurrected the humble Drifter, this time with an innovative double-folding design that sets it apart from every other double-fold camper on the market, and in a package that’s not only lighter that most other similar campers on the market, but is also a 100 per cent Australian made camper, using Australian steel and canvas.
The Drifter II shares a lot of design cues with the Cub Frontier, because it’s almost built within the same body. The most significant difference is 100mm higher walls required to accomodate the second fold and extra canvas. That’s part of what keeps the weight down – most other double folds have longer, wider bodies (compare the Blue Tongue Overland XF S2 with the XD S2, for example), which while adding interior room and comfort, also ads weight and bulk. The Drifter II is only 160kg heavier than the Frontier, for a total tare weight of 1390kg.
On the road it is 2000mm wide, 1750mm long and adds an extra 5500mm to your vehicle’s length. It’s chassis is built in-house from Australian steel, then hot-dip galvanised for longevity. Cub was previously building its own independent suspension arms, but have recently made the move to AL-KO Enduro systems, likely because the quality is high and there’s a great range available to suit different situations. Plus, it’s Australian made.
Like the Frontier, it is the most simple of its kind to open. Unlike other double-fold campers which have a lid that joins in the middle to fold out forward and back, the Drifter II’s forward fold sit over the rear-fold when packed, in a more compact arrangement. It’s similar to the forward-fold, rear-slide models from the likes of Stoney Creek, I suppose, but easier to use. The front lid is winched over, much like on the Cub forward-fold, and a simple push of the rear fold opens it up. There’s no internal poles to adjust or tension – it all just works.
The downside of the smaller body, is that there’s less room around the dinette if there is a family of four or more living inside it, but my guess is that people will be prepared to make that sacrifice. Plus, people were happy with that much space in the OG Drifters. The good news is, the main bed lies in north-south orientation, so Mum and Dad don’t need to climb over each other to get in and out (or maybe that’s bad news, just remember, there’s kids up the other end…). The rear bed is smaller, and east-west oriented, but at 1.37m wide, younger kids could lay any-which-way without drama.
We’ll write up a more detailed review and report when we get to go camping in one, but give this is an extension of the very impressive Frontier, we’re inclined to think it’s a quality off-road camper with a lot of good adventures in front of it. Find out more, for now, at cubcampers.com.au. Its starting price is $45,990.