$45k+ - WINNER
Justin and Sarah have almost become as big a part of Patriot's image as its campers, so it's no surprise their larger than life attitude has found its way into their top-tier X1. The X1 has a whole raft of upgrades this year literally from the suspension up, but the winner is still the vehicle control unit. Being able to turn the lights on and off from the campfire would have saved RVers countless stubbed toes and spilt beers. Seriously impressive stuff from some of the most passionate people in the industry.
If I asked an artist to depict me in camper trailer form everything I love about camping, the drawing would look just like a Patriot X1. This is my style of touring. Filled with innovation including a sexy new tent complete with foolproof single pole kids' room, the icing on the cake is the brand new Redarc TVMS system, fitted first to the Patriot, where just about every function of the camper can be operated from an app on your phone — short of needing to make yourself a cuppa.
Patriot has earned itself a reputation for building some of the toughest and most genuinely offroad camper trailers in the country. With a state-of-the-art manufacturing process and a drive for improvement that prevents the brand from ever resting on its laurels (or ever resting at all, it would seem), in 2018 we saw an X1 that has done things differently from the ground up.
That starts with the suspension; designed by Patriot Campers in conjunction with Vehicle Components, the new X-Cruise standard on the X1 features airbags, allowing the driver to adjust the ride height to suit the terrain and providing easy levelling at camp.
The 2018 X1 features Patriot’s new Rigilite Hybrid Chassis built from galvanised steel and aluminium, which has allowed for a 40kg weight reduction from the previous model. When it comes to legitimate offroading, the lighter the better, and the X1 as tested weighs in at 940kg Tare with 1600kg ATM for a massive payload. This can be capitalised on across eight storage compartments, all of which are pressurised to ensure the X1 is 100 per cent dustproof.
The X1 has rear recovery points if you get stuck, and runs the new DO35V3 offroad hitch from Vehicle Components. This camper is compact with excellent departure angles and is proven to be just about unbeatable across the toughest terrain you can throw at it.
This latest generation of the Patriot X1 retains all the features that made it among the most self-sufficient campers on the market and goes further — adding to all those credentials. Still in place are the super-tough durability, lightweight dimensions, voluminous storage, precise and impeccable engineering and the flexibility in fitout, all of which help you get to a remote location in the best possible manner. Then the self-sufficiency features help keep you there.
The water storage has been increased from last year’s 140L to a better 150L, thanks to extra room underneath created by the new suspension design that puts the twin shocks behind each other rather than side by side. And the water travels in a 9mm poly tank rather than the older stainless steel structure to avoid fracturing and cracking.
The twin 120Ah AGM batteries (lithiums optional) are now sustained not only by the great Redarc BMS30 battery management system but monitored and controlled by the fabulous Redarc TVMS that helps integrate the electronic system and gives you complete control through a mobile phone or tablet app.
The gas capacity remains at twin 4.5kg bottles for the slide-out twin-burner stove but the new wind guard keeps the heat in around the pots and not blowing away.
The tent is one area that Patriot has wrestled with over the years; never happy that it imposed what they figured was too much labour. The latest iteration appears that it may have resolved the doubts. This QuickPitch version, dubbed the CS3, takes just two minutes to pull off the camper and erect and the kids’ room extension is equally efficient, requiring just one additional pole and rope and peg, and like the two possible extensions for the radial awning, can stay attached for quick pack-up and set-up.
John ‘Bear’ Willis
Patriot’s brainchild Justin Montesalvo is the first to admit that comfort was never the major design criteria for the rugged little Patriot X1. This is the tough Aussie battler that was set up to challenge the hardcore of offroad Australia. It was always small, neat, compact and jammed packed full of life’s essentials, and still is! However, the creature comforts have evolved, along with the rest of the highly successful camper.
The basic rooftop tent, or area for swags, has now given way to a terrific CS3 QuickPitch integrated tent. It has taken a while to get it right but the job's now done. Same, same with the ladder to get to the huge bed, it is now a very comfortable and innovative collapsible staircase. The softfloor Aussie Wax Converters tent folds out easily and packs up in a jiffy. Plus, I really liked the new teepee style kid’s room showing yet again the progressive thinking in this great product. The new bat-wing style and tent awnings enclose the outdoor living area protecting us from the hot sun, or maybe a winter snow. All in all the added indoor and outdoor living space is very homely.
I can’t imagine a life without music and the recent addition of the Fusion StereoActive portable, waterproof unit is a big plus. Patriot is one of the leaders in the game of technology and electrical power is a major component. It all starts with twin 120Ah AGM batteries and is charged and delivered through the all new plug and play Redarc TVMS system complete with its 4in high definition screen that not only allows full control of your charging inputs and delivery to lights, fridge, water storage and pumps, compressor, and inverter but can be wirelessly controlled from your smartphone or tablet.
There’s a stainless steel slide-out sink and storage unit on the fridge slide, plus a fold-away mount for the Weber Baby Q; a further twin burner stove on slides in the pantry and electrical control area. There’s even a Webasto diesel tent heater/hot water service to stay warm and refreshed.
BETTER AND BETTER
If you haven’t heard of the Patriot X1 by now you must have your head in the sand. The company has positioned itself as the biggest and baddest in the offroad camper segment with its no-nonsense range of campers, larger-than-life personalities, and constant state of refinement. Year in and year out Justin and Sarah turn up to Camper Trailer Of The Year in their latest wild creation, with a completely overhauled X1 in tow, and this year was no different. Behind Justin’s 6x6 LandCruiser was a Pacific Blue X1 GT chocked full of new features.
From the outside, there have been few major changes to the X1 since it debuted, but the current iteration is no-doubt the best. At just 940KG the X1 GT is one of the lightest campers on the market, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Through all its iterations the X1 stays roughly the same weight, with more and more gear fitted. It’s due in no small part to the Patriot teams constant hunt for weight savings. Countless hours have been poured into everything from the chassis and suspension right through to the pop-up awning mounts to make them as light as possible, without ever compromising strength. Twenty-seventeen saw the specs list and ease of use both improve, with a bunch of new tech, a quicker setup tent, and a heap of revisions underneath. If you’re punting an X1 to the local campgrounds you’re just not doing it justice.
Suspension Vehicle Components X-Cruise
Brakes 10in electric drum
Chassis Rigilite Hybrid Chassis built from galvanised steel and aluminium
Drawbar Galvanised steel
Wheel/tyre LT285/75 R16 Mickey Thompsons MTZ P3
Box size 1700mmWx750mmHx2280mmL?
Length 3320mm (+360mm incl. rear swing arm & tyre)
Tent size Main tent 10.3m3, ?1750x1900mm ground floor; ?multi-room 5.6m3, ?2000x1900mm ground floor\
Gas cylinders 2x4.5kg
Cooktop Two-burner gas stove
Kitchen Stainless steel slide-out sink and storage unit on the fridge slide, plus a fold-away mount for the Weber Baby Q
Battery 2x120Ah AGM
PRICE AS SHOWN
Check out all the action from CTOTY 2018 in issue #123 of Camper Trailer Australia magazine. Subscribe today for all the latest camper trailer news, reviews and travel inspiration.