Conqueror Commander S: Camper Trailer 2015 Finalist
This rugged South African camper combines solid design with caravan comforts.
The Conqueror Commander S is a sturdy and well-appointed camper that has been positioned as a more affordable version of the brand’s popular UEV-490. To do this, Conqueror has stripped away many of the included options, leaving it up to the buyer to "add things on".
Design & Construction
To chase a price point of under $50,000, the Commander S has remained exactly as it came out of the factory in Africa, other than for its Australian electrical and gas fit-out.
This means it has 10in mechanical brakes, a 50mm ball hitch, a single 4.5kg gas bottle and minimalist 6mm cable from the Anderson plug connection to the vehicle. Unless you want to take it away and perform additions or modifications yourself, there is, at the moment, no option to change these features — that will come later in 2015, says Conqueror.
That aside, the Commander S is a well-built and tough camper, with a lot of features to make you want to sit up and take note. The beautifully engineered chassis is hot-dip galvanised and the trailing arm suspension will take you pretty much anywhere. Notably, the suspension includes a sway-bar, a feature not often seen in camper trailers, and that speaks to the need to control a higher than usual centre of gravity.
Tare is 1350kg and ATM is 1800kg, giving you 450kg load capacity.
The kitchen is well-appointed with a two-burner stove, 90L National Luna fridge and plastic sink/drainer set-up dropped into the end of the bench. Crockery is all supplied in a cut-foam holder, but in this form uses up considerable space, occupying a single deep and otherwise roomy drawer.
There is a dinette at the rear that will comfortably seat four and this can be converted to a double bed and left made up if desired. There is a lot of storage space around the walls which is quite segmented being broken up into 11 smaller spaces, two of which access the side pantry shelves from the interior, all closed by canvas doors with zips. The fridge can also be accessed from the interior.
The large shower room is on the driver’s side, with hand basin and plenty of storage and shelving. Water storage is 120L. There is a gas instant hot water system, but the one gas bottle must be disconnected from the kitchen to use for showers and vice versa, which may not always be convenient.
THE JUDGES’ Wrap Up
The lower price (than the UEV-490) brings this size camper into the reach of purchasers who couldn’t justify the extra $20,000, but the shortcuts to achieve this leaves the van with its limitations — it is neither fish nor fowl.
A very rugged design in the chassis and the body, with quality laser-cut components and excellent welding, form the basis of what is, essentially, a good camper trailer. The fan-pressurised body is good to ensure no dust gets in, although if the reported 2A draw is right, this is a solid tax on an electrical system with only 6mm cable to the batteries. The ball hitch is an offroad limitation but, it has to be said, it coped well on the 4WD course at Broken Hill.
Conqueror has a good name, so resale value would be good. The lack of certain items — second gas bottle, offroad hitch, solar (optional), wiring to the Anderson plug and lack of a DC-DC charger — can be dealt with and retrofitted by the owner after purchase, although at some cost. Conqueror’s decision to make these features available on its soon to be released 2015 model indicates the recognition of the need for these items in order to make this a much better package.
Check out the full review in issue #84 January 2014 of Camper Trailer Australia magazine. Subscribe today for all the latest camper trailer news, reviews and travel inspiration.