Broadwater Campers Fraser: Review
Does the family friendly Broadwater Fraser live up to its name?
From glitz and glamour to great surf, Queensland’s Gold Coast is a 57km seaside playground with a little something for everyone.
With that in mind, we took Broadwater Campers’ latest model, The Fraser, for a trial run along the bit of coastal real estate known as The Spit. The Spit is a pleasant day spot that extends into the Seaway beyond Main Beach and is ideal for fishing, boating and relaxing. And when a northerly is blowing, the word is it’s not a bad spot for surfing either.
DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION
When it comes to setting up the forward-fold camper, it is reasonably easy as it includes a tent winch to pop it over. And putting up the tent isn’t too bad, thanks to gas struts and accessible slide-out poles, although you do need a degree of dexterity. We found ourselves having to lay on the bed to push the poles back and up into place.
Construction wise, the chassis and drawbar are galvanised steel. I feel marine grade aluminium is a better choice for sand-work, but Mark Trew, owner of Broadwater Campers, said the company couldn’t see the benefits in the extra cost, when a thorough clean after a weekend of sand driving will minimise corrosion. Consequently, the entire trailer is galvanised steel, including the walls and floors. In spite of this, the camper comes in with a respectable Tare weight of 1000kg and an ATM of 1800kg, which, with careful loading at the front, means many modern SUVs will be able to handle the load.
The kids’ bedroom is arguably the most versatile section of the camper as the bedding can be rearranged to form a comfy dining area complete with a lift-up table. An internal stairwell means you lose a bit of space, but the camper’s box construction provides room for storage under the bench seats/kids’ beds. The annexe comes with removable walls when the need for privacy gives way to the desire to allow the great outdoors in.
The main tent, tropical roof and the annexe are all made of 14oz close-woven canvas. This is reasonably weighty but the close weave means better longevity, greater durability than lighter canvas and superior waterproofing.
Of course, getting out and camping means enjoying the night-time also. Four well-placed LED strips fixed to the tent uprights provide adequate lighting for reading or just sitting around and yarning.
The ability to enjoy the evening breeze is essential to a good camper trailer experience. The Fraser has this sorted with ample large windows with quality weather shields on the outside and privacy blinds on the inside.
A big day on the beach might leave you wanting a warm soak outside but unfortunately, the test camper didn’t have any showering facilities. That’s not a big crime in a camper trailer, however, if all you want is a weekend away.
As a lover of well-made camp food, I consider the kitchen to be very important and the one on the The Fraser has all the right sort of gear.
That being said, a good camper kitchen also needs ample food storage and an acceptable space for cooking and preparation. The stainless slide-out kitchen provides a sink, small preparation area and a Smev three-burner cooktop for searing your catch or a juicy piece of steak. The slide-out fridge holds most the chef’s pantry but I would have liked to have seen more in the way of pantry storage.
It would’ve been nice to have the fridge closer to the cooker, especially if you’re a rampant gourmand dicing up masterful cuisine in a culinary fury, but the presence of a centre stairwell and axle offset towards the rear meant it couldn’t be done.
THE WRAP UP
We stayed until sunset when a twilight glow fell across the Gold Coast, The Spit and the Broadwater Fraser. And, somehow, this budget camper, ideal for young families eager to break away from the hurly-burly had found its place in the purview of the glamour strip.
The ability to option higher specs that include portable solar panels and inverter makes this camper a worthwhile consideration in a competitive entry-level market.
HITS AND MISSES
- Easy to set up with good headroom
- Good sized annexe
- Quality hitch and suspension
- Lacking solar
- Poor placement of the fridge
- Limited storage
Check out the full feature in issue #96 January 2016 of Camper Trailer Australia magazine. Subscribe today for all the latest camper trailer news, reviews and travel inspiration.