Camper Trailer of the Year 2016 Finalist Skamper Kampers Dingo Hard Floor
Stunning views from inside and a family-friendly layout are highlights of the Dingo Hard Floor, Skamper Kampers’ great value offroader.
For $20,000, there is plenty of trailer in the Skamper Kamper Dingo package. And when all packed up behind your 4WD, it’s a good looking rooster, too. Aimed at buyers from many demographics, I see this forward-fold unit most appealing to empty nesters looking for personal space on the road, or young families where the whole brood needs to be under the same roof.
DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION
The ergonomics of this trailer, with the kitchen at the rear, really works for me. It allows the cook to be in the middle of the action for those times when you need eyes in the back of your head. From the same spot, you can handle kitchen duties, keep an eye inside the trailer if you have toddlers, chat to those at the dinette, and see what is happening outside around camp. Yes, there’s a walk back to the fridge when you forget the butter (or need another frothy or bubbles top up) but you’ll need to make compromises on any trailer and this layout is a pretty good option.
The slide-out kitchen is a complete stainless steel unit containing a three-burner Dometic cooktop with a sink and tap plumbed to an electric water pump fed by 150L of water on board. There is extra food preparation bench space that slides out from the end. For a quick stop, it’s all self-supporting, but there is a drop-down leg for longer stops or when the wind picks up. There are two 12V outlets by the gas outlet and a handy fold-up 12V LED that lets you see exactly what you are doing when working in the kitchen. When packing up the kitchen, you’ll need to remember to unplug the LED, as well as the gas lines.
Setting up for a quick overnighter takes only a few minutes, with the full annexe setup requiring another 15-20 minutes. The set up process is assisted by a wind-out winch but there are fiddly press studs involved. Not a deal breaker for me, but the windows have awnings held up by short poles, and they require little more work to get yourself ready to camp.
Entry to the camper is via permanently fixed and well thought-out steps that fold down from the rear of the door. The first thing you notice as you step inside is a six-seater dinette that sets itself apart from many other campers. While there are some who won’t like it, there will be many who’ll love this setup. It’s surprisingly roomy, with the entire judging panel comfortably accommodated during judging. The table height has been raised by 50mm which has made a big difference to the comfort levels.
Lots of options are now yours: you have a dining table, cards table, a lounge out of the weather or from a bug infestation and, for a quick overnight stop, you can drop it down to make a second double bed for the kids or to simply use as a place to retire for some ‘me’ time. Otherwise, you can remove the table to place the porta-cot for those with toddlers. It gives good internal living space for a trailer and is at a height that offers great vistas when opened right up. When the bugs and flies get too much, it can also be closed up with entry provided via a zip-operated door. A bug-resistant yellow LED for inside and over the kitchen would be a good optional upgrade for me.
Given the nature of the forward fold, there isn’t a heap of storage inside and what’s there can’t be accessed when it’s all closed up. The only internal storage is underneath the dinette seats, which I would keep for those things you need to take but only rarely use like blankets or jackets. You can also throw your bags on the floor during travel.
An ensuite zips on to the front wall of the annexe where you can have a hot shower, courtesy of the portable gas unit provided, or some private space for the portaloo, which is a critical part of the around-Oz trip for many travellers. Its position will appeal to some that like to have all the goings-on in one area, but others may prefer to have the shower or dunny set up behind the trailer, out of sight.
On the A-frame, you have a heap of big storage options on each side, including a large fridge slide and pantry. It can carry two 20L jerries and even comes with room for two 9kg gas cylinders (wow!). On the flip side is the spot for your porta-potti and even more storage.
Out on the tracks, the Dingo looks as though it would survive a few knocks but its turning circle is limited and its weight needs to be accounted for on sand and on steep descents.
Overall, it’s a good all-round package for $20K but it won’t appeal to all given its limited internal storage. Whether you like a dinette or not will be the deciding factor for many.
HITS & MISSES
- The value and inclusions offered in the $20k package
- The ergonomics of the kitchen setup
- The dinette setup
- Lots of poles make setting up for extended stays a bit fiddly
- Dinette setup (I’d need to take it away to make up my mind)
Check out the full feature in issue #97 February 2016 of Camper Trailer Australia magazine. Subscribe today for all the latest camper trailer news, reviews and travel inspiration.