Altitude Campers Alpine 1400: Review

By: John 'Bear' Willis, Photography by: Alison Kuiter


Setting the pace for offroad capability, everything about this hybrid camper is built for simplicity and high country style.

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When it comes time to really start living, to leave the mundane behind and start exploring this huge land with all it has to offer, then you need a very accommodating and trusted friend behind you. An ideal companion would be the all new Altitude Alpine 1400 Hybrid camper, a pinnacle of state-of-the-art tourers.

Altitude Campers have always moved with the times, and the times are demanding hybrids. This is a camper for the serious couple who want to get to "off the beaten track" destinations where caravans simply can’t go. A hybrid is a crossover — it’s not strictly a camper trailer, but it’s not a caravan either, and it allows you so much flexibility. Hybrids are generally very comfortable and easy to set up. Who wants to spend an hour setting up a camper on arrival at a unique water hole, beach or dream campsite? And who wants to struggle with fold overs, tent pegs and mammoth awnings? Not me — give me the comfort and instant accessibility of a hybrid any day!

Queensland’s Altitude campers are moving quickly into the realms of the popular hybrids, and the all new Alpine 1400 is an almost ideal companion for a couple. There are options for the kids as well but it’s not this unit’s primary purpose. Its design criteria was based on mature campers who enjoy some creature comforts, demand premium accessories, recognise the necessity for plenty of storage, and perhaps most importantly for many travellers — the Altitude Alpine provides the privacy of a complete internal bathroom.

IT STARTS DOWN LOW

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You’re going to need a solid, dependable chassis and running gear to tackle the challenges of our great country. Whilst our camper was a pre-production model, the full kit now has a solid 150 x 50 x 3mm galvanised drawbar/chassis continuing all the way through (A-frame drawbar and full box section galvanised chassis)to provide the rigor needed on those offroad and corrugated challenges. Add to this the unquestionable quality of Vehicle Components Cruisemaster XTX independent trailing arm suspension with twin gas shockers, camber and toe-in adjustment, 12in offroad electric brakes, Yokahama all-terrain tyres with nice black alloy mags; plus terrific ground clearance and recovery angle. It all adds up to the fact that you’re good to go just about anywhere your 4x4 will take you.

There’s four wind-down stabilisers, engineered recovery points, an accessory mounting cleat, and out in front there’s an ARK fully adjustable and tilting jockey wheel, Vehicle Components DO35 off-road coupling and an Anderson plug for powering off the vehicle.

The Alpine 1400 features big capacity, plenty of payload and storage options, drawers, cabinets, wardrobes, external and internal compartments and a place for everything in need of storage space. The spare wheel is mounted on the rear and there is also a 140 litre water tank with the option for a second giving you a whopping 280 litre water carrying capacity.

WE’VE ARRIVED

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After challenging that extreme mountain climb, long corrugated road or even just the highway bitumen it’s nice to know that you will be set right up and comfortable in a matter of minutes. Simply secure your position for a stopover, or perhaps just leave it connected to the car for a lunch break or quick overnighter. All you need to do is hit the button on the remote and the roof automatically pops open allowing great ventilation from the soft sides and fly-screened windows as well as terrific insulation from the fibreglass composite roof. Note: the remote is optional.

I was pleased to see that Altitude has stuck with the simplicity of a portable side step as the inbuilt models usually hang that low they are wiped out on the first bit of disagreeable terrain. It only takes a minute to wind out the overhead awning. Access to the kitchen and fridge is simple. The stainless steel kitchen slides out then pivots parallel to the van sides and the fridge slide pulls straight out revealing the optional 85 litre EvaKool dual zone fridge/freezer. It’s all done in a jiffy. All that’s left is to fold out a chair and grab a bevvy, and you’re camping!

All of that took less than three minutes!

LET’S COOK

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The kitchen’s a wee ripper! It pulls out on premium quality slides and then easily pivots 90 degrees in line with the van itself. It features a 3-burner Smev stove complete with wok burner, a stainless steel sink with hot/cold running water, a pair of utensil drawers and a fold out stainless bench either side. Our demonstration unit was a prototype model and with that one of the benches actually precluded the door, but that will change for full production.

In the same compartment as the kitchen, we also find a pullout pantry drawer. It’s quite large but not in the huge proportions we are now seeing on some campers. All of the external hatches are premium quality with strong dust and water proof automotive seals and lockable compression locks. You will need to carry a fold out table and chairs as there’s not much bench space to prepare a meal.

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Out in front of the trailer is a large "tool box". It houses the diesel hot water system if selected over the Truma gas unit fitted as standard, plus there’s twin jerry can and 4.5kg gas bottle mounts plus the fire extinguisher. It’s an aluminium box with a black "rhinocoat" style finish that is protecting it, and the van, from stone chips and road scars.

There’s a nice big "Euro-style" tinted window either side of the Alpine 1400 that opens outwardly and includes sliding internal flyscreen and block out awning options. It adds to the ventilation aspect as well as providing a view out over your picturesque campsite from your bedside.

On the driver’s side of the van we find a matching pair of hatches that open to a large storage compartment in the front, and the electronics cabinet beside it complete with two 120 watt AGM batteries, the 240 volt switchgear with twin outlets and water tank indicator. The 12 volt circuits are controlled by a Redarc 1230S2 Manager that is conveniently mounted in the internal wardrobe complete with the Fusion Bluetooth headset and a gang of toggle switches for lighting and power options. Power is also sourced from two 150w Solar panels mounted on the roof.

SET TO IMPRESS

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Stepping inside the Alpine 1400 Hybrid you will feel immediately at home. The layout isn’t uncommon but highly functional, welcoming and comfortable. The trim is light, open and clean mostly in gloss white with some grey laminate feature panels, timber-look laminate floor and fawn faux leather settee.

As we step up through the rather large doorway and security screen we find a generous sized storage/multi-function area with a vanity style bench complete with sink and hot and cold mixer. There’s ample bench space for an indoor stove or perhaps even that optional coffee maker that nowadays seems so popular. It features seven large drawers topped off with more enclosed cabinets overhead. There’s also good lighting and a pair of speakers for the sound system.

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The bathroom fits well into the back corner and is surprisingly roomy even for big blokes like me in the seated position. It has a very friendly shower rose with detachable head for flexibility, and cassette style toilet all neatly finished and very functional. I might add that it is also very well vented due to the soft sides and windows from the pop top. In front of the bathroom is an upright narrow cabinet that I would find very convenient for "pidgeon hole" type storage of a multitude of travelling items that need to be close at hand, like torches, iPads etc. Leave out a few shelves and it could well be a narrow wardrobe. It does somewhat restrict movement in and out of one side of the two person dinette, however, its purpose outweighs any minor access difficulties particularly as the table is on a flexible mount. You will just love the comfort of the thickly upholstered cushions at the end of a hard day on rough tracks; or perhaps to enjoy the morning news over a cuppa and brekkie before facing the world.

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You will feel like royalty on the queen size inner spring mattress that has plenty of room either side to store your phones, reading glasses and water containers before turning off the individual reading light for a good night sleep. If it’s warm, there’s a 12 volt fan for added comfort assisting the terrific airflow around the interior of the camper.

Oh, did I mention that there’s even more storage drawers under the seats, and a huge cavity under the bed.

THE TURTLE'S SHELL

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The shell of the Alpine is made from a structural fibreglass composite with gloss inner and outer surfaces and an insulation sandwich. It is very strong, great looking, easy to clean, lightweight and keeps the unit and its occupants cool in summer and warm in winter.

THE WRAP UP

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This is a compact yet very accommodating camper that has real appeal to those who want ease of use combined with overall comfort in a realistic towing weight. It has a Tare weight of 1750kg and an ATM of 2600kg allowing you plenty of payload for the water, food, fuel and accessories for extended journeys. It is suitable for towing with mid-to-large 4WDs and the pop-up roof combined with the aerodynamic cutaway front should make for reasonable towing economy.

When I sit down and weigh it all up, the Altitude Alpine 1400 is an adventurer that I wouldn’t mind travelling with. It is a comfortable companion that will serve any long distance tourer very well and will make extended journeys a breeze. Altitude are currently releasing their brand new range of hybrids starting with the Accent 12, the Alpine 14 as tested, plus the Summit 16 and Pinnacle 18. They really are reaching new heights at Altitude!

HITS AND MISSES

Pros…

  • Easy setup
  • Off-road capable
  • Great layout and functionality
  • Comfortable
  • Sensible packaging

Cons…

  • Up there in the price range but full of features.

SPECS

TRAILER

Tare 1750kg

ATM 2600kg

Suspension Vehicle Components Cruisemaster XTX Independent trailing arm with coil springs and dual shock absorbers each side

Brakes 12in electric

Coupling Vehicle Components DO35 offroad coupling

Chassis Full box section galvanised

Drawbar 150x50x3mm galvanised A frame

Body Double-side structural foam/fibreglass composite

Wheel/tyre 265/75x16in all-terrain

Style Alloy mag

DIMENSIONS

Box width 2050mm overall

Body Height 2400mm (travelling height roof closed)

Length (hitch to tail lights) 6500mm overall

Tent size4800mmx2400mm wind-out awning

ACCESSORIES

Gas cylinders 2x4.5kg brackets only

Water 1x140L poly tank

Cooktop Smev 3-burner

Kitchen Stainless steel kitchenette, sink, pressurised hot/cold water, 2 x drawer, and LED light, folding benches

Battery 2x120 AMP AGM

PRICE AS SHOWN

$86,500

Check out the full review in issue #125 of Camper Trailer Australia magazine. Subscribe today for all the latest camper trailer news, reviews and travel inspiration

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