The Alpine 13 is a stunning example of a couple's Hybrid Camper done well. With no excuses in its build leading to a massive payload and excellent insulation and the best appliances, it is the kind of camper trailer anyone looking to do a lap of the land should seriously consider.
TIM VAN DUYL (CAMPER AUSTRALIA CREATIVE DIRECTOR)
When the Alpine 13 rocked up to CTOTY 2022, everyone knew it meant business. Pulled behind a lifted 79 Series, the stunning white sides of the pop-top, just, well, popped in the bright Coffs Harbour sun. Pulling up for a chat, Brian Johnston one of the founders beamed too. His open smile hid a serious nature but not his can-do attitude which was appreciated by our hard-working team but enough about the people. What's good about the Apline 13?
Even though it looks a bit like a pop-top your parents might have had decades ago, it's vastly different from the poorly insulated and floppy-chassis campers of the past. That starts with the innovative composite panels that make up the body and frame of the 13. Using thick, foam-cored and fibreglass-skinned single-piece panels is something we’ve seen a bit in caravans but not so much in campers. The benefit of them is that they are ridiculously good at insulating from heat and cold, they are light and because they are rigid and thick, they can be self-supporting meaning this camper doesn't actually have an internal frame saving construction time and weight.
The way the team at Alpine works with a varied supplier set also impressed me as it adds to the total package. Fitted with top-brand appliances and gear to make life on the road much more comfortable while being underpinned by a tough chassis and the best camper suspension available today, the Alpine 13 feels like it nails its brief to be a comfortable couples touring camper. The massive payload afforded by the light body and heavy-duty suspension helps too.
If you’re looking for a camper to tour, something you’ll park up for days at a time and experience with your partner or loved one, the Alpine 13 hits the nail on the head.
GLENN MARSHALL (CAMPER AUSTRALIA EDITOR AT LARGE)
The Altitude Alpine 13 is proudly manufactured in Maryborough, Queensland and you can see the quality in the build. With a base price of $79,990, this is great value for money for such a high-end hybrid. The list of standard features is considerable, and you could certainly take this off-road and off-grid camping while being self-reliant and self-contained at this price.
If you are after a little more luxury and extra off-road ability, the options list is extensive. The hybrid we judged had $27,980 worth of extras that added value and comfort and made it a high-end product. I’m talking lithium batteries, powered roof lift, Cruisemaster XT Air with holding tank, heating and cooling, dust reduction and much more.
Would I spend more than the base price if I owned an Alpine 13? Maybe some bits and pieces, but you would still have an extremely capable hybrid without adding a thing. I would certainly be adding lithium batteries, as these days I believe AGM batteries are outdated and offer so little compared to lithium.
The second was the clever addition of some aluminium channel behind the length of the awning mount. This simple inclusion provides a waterproof seal between the camper and the awning and channels any water away from the body of the camper.
DAN EVERETT (CTOTY 2022 JUDGE)
At around 1700kg tare weight the Alpine is actually surprisingly light for a hybrid of this stature – most of its competitors here are going to weigh at least 3-400 kilos more and that’s going to give the Alpine a definite edge off-road. You can see that when towing as well, it effortlessly followed behind the tow-tug without complaints or any noticeable sway. Our trailer was optioned up with BFG tyres and Cruisemaster air suspension which definitely help, but don’t overcome the sheer size of the thing. Unfortunately, off-road ability is almost always the opposite of comfort.
I feel pretty confident in saying this. If you’re travelling as a couple, this is the nicest camper at CTOTY 2022 to be inside of. It was simply stunning, spacious, and airy, the bed was beautiful and there was plenty of space to move and live inside even with the included ensuite. The angle of the front does mean that you lose a little effective length in the bed, unfortunately, but if you’re under 6ft you won’t notice it or go with the full-height option, not the pop-top. This van was optioned right up too which meant easy-to-use heating, air conditioning, and both internal and external showers.
For ease of use, there are a couple of pros and cons here. The electric opening roof and internal layout mean you can pull up and get into bed without doing anything really. The folding kitchen layout is leaps and bounds ahead of others, and the shower actually accommodates people taller than 5ft which is unusual to see. I did find the optional Supapeg awning cumbersome to set up though. The coverage is fantastic but the standard rollout would be easier for people with crook knees or backs to set up. The bed is also quite high so sore hips or knees may need a step to get in.
KATH HEIMAN (CTOTY 2022 JUDGE)
Alpine is an Australian company with a laser focus on Australian-made manufacturing combined with Australian and quality overseas componentry. And this is obvious in the rig’s excellent finish and build. Looking underneath, there’s none of the ‘dangly’ exposed wiring or cabling that’s often evident in imported campers. Instead, the underside is remarkably tidy and dominated by flat surfaces and properly enclosed cables and hoses. Looking beyond the fully galvanised 3x150x50mm chassis that extends the full length of the body and drawbar, the one-piece 30mm resin honeycomb floor offers strength at a fraction of the weight of more traditional options.
The Cruisemaster XT airbag independent suspension, incorporating Firestone airbags, shows the Alpine 13 means business when it comes to quality componentry from the ground up. The intrinsic quality of the Alpine 13 continues above ground level. And the side panels are a great case in point. They comprise a honeycomb of high-density foam sandwiched between fibreglass, offering weight savings and excellent insulation.
Up to the waistline, the panels and front storage areas are protected by Speedliner, a spray-on protective polymer. While more difficult to apply at point of manufacture, this product is virtually bulletproof. And the same can probably be said for the 250kg rated fridge slide. Indeed, all slides operate smoothly, including the bearings on the side fold kitchen. The quality 3-burner Dometic stove is the centrepiece of a well-thought-out and functional kitchen. A Truma gas/electric hot water system tops thing off.
When you head off the grid, the Alpine 13 has the goods to keep you outdoors longer. With an 800kg payload and plenty of ways to fill it, the Alpine offers heaps of versatility for off-grid adventures. These include the 96-litre MyCoolman fridge, 140-litre water storage supported by Alpine’s own 6mm underslung poly water tanks, 2 x 4kg gas bottle holders, as well as ample free storage spaces inside and out. When you’re set up enjoying the serenity, the 30amp REDARC BMS, with switches well displayed above the kitchen slides, make it easy to keep on top of the power being produced by the 2x 120ah deep cycle batteries (lithium optional) and 2 x 200-watt Electrolux solar panels. Particularly welcome to see, the kitchen is plumbed into the 85-litre grey water tank meaning there’s no reason to ditch your filthy water into the ground beneath your camper, your neighbour’s annex, or the local waterway.
ALPINE CAMPERS 13 JUDGES RATING
ALPINE CAMPERS 13 SPECIFICATIONS
Weights and Measures
|Chassis||3x150x50mm high-grade Australian RHS steel, chassis hot-dip galvanised|
|Body||Structural foam composite|
|Tyres||BFG 265/75 R16|
|Brakes||12” Electric Drum Brakes|
|Suspension||Cruisemaster XT with Air upgrade with Holding Tank|
Accessories & Inclusions
|Battery||2 x 120Ah Lithium|
|Chargers||30A REDARC BMS system|
|Solar||2 x 200W|
|Hot water||Truma Water Ultra Rapid Gas/Electric|
|Ensuite||23 Zero External Tent|
|Dust prevention system||Dometic DRS|
|Water||240L Fresh, 85L Grey|
ALPINE CAMPERS 13 price $107,970 (as tested)
ALPINE CAMPERS 13 price from $79,990
Supplied by ALPINE CAMPERS