Red Rock Wanderer 12 Off-Road camper trailer review
The Red Rock Wanderer 12 improves access to the camper trailer's bed without compromising towing performance.
It will come as no surprise if the name Red Rock Campers rings a bell - the marque's formidable Wanderer 9 Off-Road Extreme created a stir in 2010 when Camper Trailer Australia gave one away. The camper offered families an affordable way to get off the beaten track.
Red Rock Campers continues this tradition today, manufacturing all of its trailers at its Campbellfield facility north of Melbourne. Owner David McCormick is the vice president of the Caravan Trade and Industry Association of Victoria (CTIAV), the voice of Vic's camping and RV industry, responsible for organising many of the local shows. His involvement in the association puts camper trailer camping at the forefront of the industry's mind and keeps him abreast of all of the best practices in RV engineering and design.
The company has spent 12-years producing quality, value-for-money camper trailers.
THE CAMPER TRAILER
The Wanderer 12 is a well-built side-fold trailer with a few unique qualities. Walk-in designs have propagated across the soft-floor segment, but David's step-up design improves bed access in a standard trailer without impacting the camper's price or girth. The step folds down from the nearside front compartment, which doubles as a storage locker for shoes.
The trailer is built around a 2130x1220mm (7ft x 4ft) trailer box, incorporating a 100x50mm RHS drawbar, 50x50mm chassis and a 1.9mm steel sheet body, all using Duragal, etch-primed with four top coats of paint for longevity.
Riding on the drawbar, you'll find a poly-block coupling, handbrake, Anderson plug, stone guard, spare wheel and a 300L alloy checkerplate lockable tool box fitted with a thick pinch weld automotive seal. Inside there's a 120Ah battery, Ctek 240V charger, basic switch panel (with kill switch to prevent any internal lights switching on in transit), and room for a fridge. Options include a second battery, inverter and a 12V Ctek charger.
The trailer body is suspended on a 45mm axle, using a seven-leaf rebound spring set. The 15in offroad wheels and tyres are fitted and electric drum brakes help to wash off speed. Water is supplied by a shielded 62L tank plumbed to the kitchen and all pipework is neatly routed and secured to the far chassis rail. A second 62L water tank can be optioned for extended touring.
The trailer features very few external adornments other than the standard gas cylinder storage rings, water filler, single jerry can holder, and LED tail lights. With the trailer cover secured, the whole bed base pivots open, guided by gas struts, and provides excellent access to the trailer tub, which is lined with soft-feel marine carpet. Maintaining the high-quality finish, the bed base wears a charcoal veneer.
The quality touches continue at the rear, with a powder-coated tailgate kitchen sporting a three-burner Smev coooktop with glass splashback, a stainless steel sink and hand pump, with cupboard storage underneath.
Bench space is as you'd expect for this design with a fold-out shelf, aided by the glass splashback when the stove is not in use. Snap-lock gas and water fittings are fitted all-round for convenience. The look and feel of the kitchen is excellent for this price point.
Red Rock uses 14oz ripstop canvas on the walls and a reflective 14oz tri-coated canvas for the roof. The canvas work is done overseas, but the tri-coat reflective paint surface underwent three years of testing for fade and wear resistance in the Australian climate before making it to production.
The tent design incorporates its own feature set with eight windows and two D-shaped doors - something a little different from the common six-window setups. Blinds are fitted on both sides of the windows, minimising any disturbances if a storm comes through on a summer's night. The extra windows offer greater flexibility for ventilation and privacy.
For a 12ft family tent, setup is blissfully easy. With the first fold of canvas pulled off, unzip the front window to allow air to flow through. Flip the bows off the trailer and peg the floor down. Once inside, progressively extend the end bow into the tent, side by side, to give the canvas some shape. Then drop the bow legs to the floor anchor points, fit the two corner poles and attach the ridge line pole on each side.
Internal comforts include a high-density foam queen-sized mattress (optional innerspring), twin LED strip lights on the vertical bows and curtains to separate the sleeping areas. The 12ft tent provides plenty of room for the kids' bedding and general storage.
A full awning is fitted over the kitchen to the rear and along the full length of the tent. A mesh floor and a full wall kit are provided as standard and a PVC floor (secured by hook and fastener tabs) is available as an option. A second awning extends a further 2.4m to provide an additional covered area when you're using the full wall kit.
A ridge pole kit lets you set up the annexe without pegs when you are forced to camp on hard ground, though we chose to set-up the annexe with guy ropes and pegs instead.
The Red Rock Wanderer 12 Off-Road is well positioned among other Australian-made trailers. Although the tent is imported, the quality is impressive, as is the thoughtful design, all backed by a three-year warranty. Red Rock also provides a 24/7 phone support line to assist buyers around the clock should they strike trouble.
Evaluated in standard form without options, the trailer's only minor niggles are the modest water supply and the fridge compartment's isolation of the from the kitchen. But at least an additional water tank can easily be optioned.
At $16,500 (as tested), the trailer is well priced with everything you need to get right off the bitumen for a while, with a solid construction, power supply, lights, water and a functional kitchen.
WET WEATHER TOW
Our test drive included an exploration of Vic's Lerderderg State Park, about an hour west of Melbourne, during a typical winter's day - with ongoing drizzle.
The trailer performed faultlessly on the wet forest tracks for the duration of the test. The suspension was supple, soaking up the potholes and corrugations, and the brakes performed well during the slippery descents.
> The general fit and finish
> Functional, attractive kitchen
> Three-year warranty
I WOULD HAVE LIKED
> More water capacity as standard
> Fridge closer to the kitchen
Originally published in Camper Trailer Australia #57, September 2012