Drifta DOT 5 Equip: Review

By: Michael Borg, Photography by: Tony Rabbitte


Tough and affordable, the Drifta DOT 5 Equip is setting all-new standards in old-school camping.

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Let’s get things straight from the get-go; the Drifta DOT 5 Equip is not your average camper trailer. In fact, it’s barely a camper trailer at all.

So what is it, you ask? Well, the most accurate description would have to be a ‘camping trailer’. The main difference being it doesn’t have a tent permanently attached. But what this cracking little setup does have is loads of potential and an inherent ability to take you back to the good old days; you know, when camping was as simple as loading up with a enough camping gear for the whole family and nicking off for a few days or weeks at a time – oh, those were the days, eh? Yep, what this little beauty offers is pure versatility and a tonne of capability, so we’ve taken the liberty of strapping it to the back of an absolute beast of a 4WD to see how it fares.

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There’s nothing quite like testing a camping trailer out with 4in of suspension lift and 35in mud-terrain tyres, eh? Geez, talk about baptism by fire! Capability aside, if you’ve been thinking about stepping up into a well setup camper trailer, but still fancy your tent or swag, the Drifta DOT 5 Equip might just let you have your cake and eat it too! Let’s take a closer look, eh?

TALK SUITABILITY AND VERSATILITY

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Let’s face it; the Drifta DOT 5 Equip is not going to be everybody’s cup of tea. Truth be told, in many ways, it’s taken a step back in time compared to the modern campers. But, trust me, there are still plenty of people out there that love that old-school camping feeling, and the DOT 5 Equip has dead-set got it in spades. It’s perfect for those that already have all their camping gear stacked up in the shed, but just need a bit more ‘tag-a-long’ storage. It’ll suit young families right down to the ground, and, when it comes to group camping, it sure is a clear winner! Yep, this little ripper will suit a whole swag of people, and something tells me I’m just scratching the surface in this department.

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When it comes to versatility, there’s not much out there that compares. The secret to all this versatility is it doesn’t have everything built-in, which gives you the ability to swap and change your setup depending on the style of trip you’re doing. So the choice is yours: bring a few swags along, or chuck in the family tent. Better still, bring two tents! The cooking department is much the same, the hardest part is deciding what gear you want to bring with you. There’s enough room for stoves, grills and a heap of cast iron gear, but if you really want to get fancy make sure you check out Drifta’s range of Snow Peak gear.

OFFROAD ABILITY

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If the idea of a lightweight, nimble, capable and super-robust trailer sounds good to you, then this little beauty is going to be right up your alley. Weighing in at about 550kg Tare, it really is the featherweight of camping trailers, but with an ATM of 1150kg, it can carry its fair share of gear, too. Length-wise, you’ll find this setup is as nimble as they come – trust us, when you’ve got to hang dozens of U-turns on tight, overgrown tracks like we did you really get to appreciate its versatility! 

In terms of suspension and rolling gear, the guys at Drifta Camping and 4WD have kept it all nice and simple – a bit old-school you could say. We’re talking about the simple yet proven 45mm square axle complete with an AL-KO five-leaf military-wrap leaf spring system attached. The 10in electric offroad brakes will help give you plenty of control out on the tracks and the old trusty 16x8in steel rims come wrapped in 245/75 R16 Achilles mud-terrain tyres, which offer nice strong sidewalls and thick tread blocks for extra durability on the rough stuff.

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The DOT 5 Equip measures in at 1500x1200mm in size. A day on the tracks proves it’s overall ground clearance is more than adequate, but with some pretty impressive approach and departure angles your average 4WD will really struggle to find this trailer’s limits. As you can imagine, it’s built tough from the ground up, too, using 40x40mm square tube for the chassis, which is actually quite well designed might I add, and 100x50mm for the drawbar. What’s also inspiring is that Drifta has really put an emphasis on building a trailer using high quality Aussie-designed and Aussie-made gear, most of which is sourced locally. For example, the whole DOT series (Drifta Off-road Tourer) is made from all Australian-made SupaGal steel purchased from Austube Mills in Newcastle.

Little things like fully seam-sealed walls (Sikaflex) to keep the water out, or having greasable shackles as standard, ensure this trailer is equipped to go the distance.

THE WHOLE KIT AND CABOODLE

Now, I’ve got to be totally honest here, after a few days testing this rig out, I was getting pretty envious of the entire Drifta setup. You see, it’s not just the camping trailer that’s up on offer; the fellas at Drifta can offer you the whole complete turn-key camping package with everything from fold-out chairs to fire pits and everything in between. Seriously, if you’re just getting into the camping scene it’s definitely worth checking out their stuff! It really can enhance the whole camping experience.

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Now, to be fair, the DOT 5 Equip isn’t stuck in the Stone Age. It’s actually got a few modern knick-knacks included as standard, starting with the Aussie-made wraparound awning that has been finely tuned to match the dimensions of this particular camper trailer. It wraps right around (270° degrees), squares off at the ends and provides plenty of shade and cover. Drifta-made custom side walls are also available.

We used the renowned Oztent (30-second tent) on our trip, which proved a great bit of gear to use in conjunction with this particular trailer. It stores on the Rhino-Rack roof rack (optional extra) during transit, and can sit just under the awning when set up, which actually helps with water run-off when Mother Nature turns on the tears. It’s worth noting that using a basic tent also means you’ve got options when it comes to positioning it around camp. Tent-only based campsites become a breeze, and you can move it around to find the perfect spot.

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Storage wise, the world really is your oyster with this one. Drifta started out making custom storage drawers and kitchens for 4WDs and camper trailers, so you can just image the options available for the DOT 5 Equip in this department, eh? Our test camper included a slide-out fridge and also a separate slide-out storage drawer in the trailer’s tub. Up top, you’ll find the main storage box is practical in every sense of the word. The compartment doors are nice and wide and there’s nothing to get caught on, so you can access your gear quite easily. I’d probably customise a few little knick-knacks to perfect the setup just for me if it was mine, though. For example, the portable (fold-up) table sits within the top of the storage drawer, which is a super handy addition. Although, I would personally remove the stops, so that it could slide forward to become a handy bench for quick lunch breaks or similar. Each to their own, eh?

LITTLE LUXURIES

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In terms of accessories, the DOT 5 Equip has enough goodies to make camping comfortable. In fact, Drifta has really hit the nail on the head in terms of the perfect compromise between comfort and that true camping feel. It all starts with the 120Ah AGM deep-cycle battery, which powers up your fridge (optional extra), along with the little things like LED lights in the toolbox, twin 12V sockets and the gauges for water level and the volt metre. A Projecta 15A battery charger is installed and there’s a charge lead (Anderson plug style) hardwired to connect to your vehicle for charging.

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There’s even a water pump mounted in the side compartment, which is perfect for hosing off your feet or putting the fire out. Just in case there’s ever a 12V problem you’ll also find a manual water pump/ tap at the rear. Both water pumps are plumbed to the 80L roto-moulded water tank, which is underslung with durable brass fittings installed.

THE WRAP UP

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If you ask me, I reckon the DOT 5 Equip is a unique, admirable little setup. It’s genuine in its ability to tackle the rough stuff and lives up to the task of providing that much needed extra storage space in style. It’s versatile, capable and built to last, all of which just proves the guys at Drifta have designed and built this little beauty based on their own extensive experience. In fact, in a lot of ways it’s the perfect combination of old-school toughness and modern-day convenience.

Overall, you are getting a lot of bang for buck with this little gem; so if you’re after a good-looking and honest sort of camping setup, make sure you check out the DOT range from Drifta.

Heck, this thing just makes you want to go camping, eh?

HITS AND MISSES

Pros…

  • Basic and reliable
  • Impressive storage facilities
  • Very capable offroad

Cons…

  • Time associated with setting up an entire ‘camping’ campsite
  • Drawer legs fiddly to adjust

Check out the full feature in issue #109 of Camper Trailer Australia magazine. Subscribe today for all the latest camper trailer news, reviews and travel inspiration.