Review: Aussie Swag Ultra D
We test and rate the Aussie Swag Ultra D, a contender (over $45K category) in Camper Trailer Australia's 2014 Camper Trailer of the Year awards.
AUSSIE SWAG ULTRA D REVIEW
If there is a pinnacle to climb, a desert dune to cross, a swollen river to brave, corrugations to conquer or a muddy track to confront, then you would be mighty thankful if you were towing one of Australia’s foremost camper trailers, the Aussie Swag Ultra D.
There are obvious reasons for its success, and the major component is uncompromised quality. The Ultra D is an outstanding piece of engineering in anyone’s language. It’s tough, strong, ultimately practical and extremely good looking. The finishes and materials are superb and the layout and design have evolved over 28 years of production.
It also has an amazing list of features to help you survive comfortably on any rugged Aussie outback adventure, with the power, fittings and facilities to keep you warm, cool, dry, fed and refreshed.
STRENGTH AND CONSTRUCTION
We just love hardfloor campers, not only for their ease of assembly, but for their ability to keep you high and dry, and away from creepy crawlies. It’s nice to step out of the elements and onto an easily cleaned solid floor.
The trailer is immensely strong, with a 125x75x6mm angle iron drawbar that provides easy bolt-on ability without weakening the structure. You simply won’t bend the Ultra D. The componentry and body are aluminium, stainless steel and hot-dipped black steel that is manufactured then galvanised to maximise longevity. Many other trailers simply use Duragal and touch-up cuts and welds.
Aussie Swag manufactures its own independent trailing-arm suspension with bolt-in/bolt-out stub axles, pedders coil springs and off-the-shelf shockers for easy replacement should the worst happen in the middle of nowhere. There are premium mickey Thompson tyres and electric brakes, and Aussie Swag even goes to the length of importing its own NZ-made swing-up jockey with a greaseable bearing because it isn’t happy with most commonly available items.
Aussie Swag developed the slide-out, swing-around kitchen way back in 1996. The company says it doesn’t slide, it glides without clang or rattle. our illustrious editor Emma Ryan said: "The Ultra D’s kitchen is nothing short of impressive. It has an ingenious design that pulls out and swings around to easily click into place alongside the trailer’s body, optimising space and access. With a stainless steel sink, extra bench space and a trailer-wide, insulated and LED-lit pantry drawer, this kitchen gets it right, down to the last detail."
There’s a four-burner Thetford stove complete with a grill, and in the camper on test Aussie Swag provided a premium 90L National Luna fridge/freezer with individual thermostats, as well as a Webasto diesel hot water and internal heating system. All the hot/cold componentry and the large pantry drawer are individually insulated for greater efficiency and reduced power use. You’re unlikely to run out of water with 130l capacity in the rear, and a further 65l up front. Water can be separated with individual pumps and tanks, and there’s the capacity to pump direct from an external water source.
The Aussie Swag isn’t short on power, with three 105Ah premium east penn batteries that can run be right down without damage. You can refresh them quickly with a massive 60amp charger and 20amp Dc-Dc alternator plus solar panels with regulator. There’s also a huge 1600W pure sine wave inverter with auto-switch mode for mains power, and all the power is controlled via a visible battery management system.
The high-quality Australian canvas tent and annex fold out quickly, and the awning needs no fiddly spreader bars. It has vents to avoid condensation and a tropical roof to keep you cool and dry. Inside you find what Emma called a "quabble bed". It’s bigger than a double but not quite a queen.
There are tons of storage options, mostly from a huge drawer under the bed that can be accessed on easy slides or by lifting the whole bed on its gas struts. The Aussie Swag Ultra D has many, many more accessories, but what impressed our judges most was the overall quality and attention to detail.
By all means, it is a premium product demanding a premium price, but you get what you pay for in a camper that will certainly see to all your offroad and on-road needs for many years. Aussie Swag has proved itself over 28 years —and that alone speaks more words than we can ever write.
To discover the Aussie Swag Ultra D's final score, be sure to check out Camper Trailer Australia magazine #73. Why not subscribe today!
AUSSIE SWAG ULTRA D RATING
STUART JONES: These are the best campers in the country and I’d be a happy bloke with any of them in my drive way, but if I had to pick, it’d be the Aussie Swag for me. It’s the little things that you notice on the Ultra D. everything fits perfectly together, slides smoothly and is beautifully finished. Aussie Swag’s attention to detail is nothing short of staggering. Little things like having wind shields on each of the four burners make life at camp that much more pleasant. I wouldn’t want for anything with this baby, jeepers, this year’s model even came with vista blinds! It also has arguably the most comprehensive "sparky" set-up of all the campers on test. It’s expensive yes, but has proven great resale. You could pull up anywhere in comfort for a long time in this camper, it’s a real bottler.
JOHN "BEAR" WILLIS: This unit is certainly among my top choices for an extended offroad sojourn. There’s a sensible quality and terrific features, with ideas refined by 28 years of experience. I loved the vista screen. The power set-up is sensational with that big inverter and national Luna fridge with individual thermostats. And it’s a good-size footprint for a hardfloor. I give it 11/10 for an exceptional finish and magnificent presentation! I really don’t know how the spec can be bettered — electrics are sensational, the kitchen’s a ripper, bed is good, storage is aplenty, gas and power all terrific.
It certainly costs a lot of money, but it is at the pinnacle of its class with plenty of high-quality fittings, features and accessories.
DAVID COOK: Aussie Swag has always been a conservative company, sticking with one basic design: the hardfloor rear-fold camper. but its willingness to continually upgrade the quality, finish and features marks it out as being at the top of its game.
All the little details are ticked. This camper is built to a standard, not to a price. The all-Aussie canvas and YKK zips are the best available. The installation of the Webasto hot water in an insulated box to reduce cycling and heat loss is typical of the care taken with all fittings — nothing is simply added, it is adapted.
The narrower construction keeps the camper well within vehicle dimensions for bush travel. Aussie Swag sticks with a KISS policy and it all works so well with minimal effort. The tent set-up is simplicity itself, merely needing to be flipped over with no tensioning of spreaders or placement of poles.
EMMA RYAN: What a camper! If you’re looking for the ultimate escape mobile for your once-in-a-lifetime trip, this camper has got to be right at the top of your shortlist. Its brilliance comes from years of constant, gradual refinement.
As for self-suffcieny, it’s got more batteries than a toy store at Christmas, backed up by solar, and an efficient, lasting water system to boot. I cannot find a flaw in any finish or fitting on this camper, try as I might. I love the little details, like the textured chrome that’s uniform across the kitchen and fridge and the canvas "blankets" for the internal poles. They all contribute to the overall sense of quality and luxury on this camper.
The quality of construction is also flawless, and is the fruit of 28 years’ worth of experience and fine-tuning on the part of Aussie Swag. I haven’t tested the theory yet, but I reckon this trailer is bomb-proof. With every comfort you could need while camping, and many you simply want, the Ultra D is as good as camper trailers get.
Call to enquire: (07) 3881 1903
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