In 2019 Patriot rewrote the book on hybrid campers. We’d all assumed a hybrid was a hard-walled, hard-roofed camper with the comforts of a caravan to go with the go-anywhere capability of a camper trailer — the best of both worlds.
Patriot decided that wasn’t the only way to carve up the pie and hit the market with its X3, a canvas-topped camper that folds out much like one of its X1s but with the internal fittings from the caravan playbook — table, seats, coffee maker (optional, though most customers tick the box), floor space, heating, and so on.
Whether you choose to accept the X3 as a hybrid or not is actually irrelevant — it’s still equipped with that high grade standard of engineering and design which marks Patriot campers. And it will still appeal to couples or those seeking adventure with a heightened level of comfort that is not normally available in such campers, and that’s made it one of Patriot’s leading sellers.
As with the X1, the innovation in this year’s version of the X3 is less than in Patriot campers from past years because of the need to consolidate production in the face of the challenges of COVID-19 in mid-2020. Nonetheless, there is the new Dometic 20,000BTU cooktop (though this is a bought-in item and not exclusive to Patriot, it does follow company development of an essentially similar cooker, but the Dometic product saved the effort of having to gear up for its own production).
That great Hexacore SPF50-rated awning — with all its advantages and features — is still as good as ever, and the rest of that radial awning with its magnetic locators for the poles in the radial arms, centre tabs to extract them, ropes pre-attached in pockets, only one spreader bar necessary (which has its own unique mount behind the awning), repairable knuckles, reflective top for coolness, mould and fade resistance underlines how never being satisfied that good enough was as good as you could be can lead to the best in quality.
Add in the more functional storage around the kitchen from the relocated drawer, the GME XRS radio to stay in touch with those around your camp and newly-accessed storage behind interior seats and the X3 sustains Patriot’s reputation for never sitting in the shade.
The Patriot X3 is perfectly designed for off-grid camping. The power management is sorted with the REDARC RedVision system and the 2 x 150Ah gel batteries can be charged using the unregulated solar panel or AC power when at home or a caravan park. A 240V circuit is integrated into the camper and connects to the 1500W REDARC pure sine inverter. A Webasto unit provides heating in the tent and is plumbed to the kitchen sink and shower outlet. Water is available, stored in the 75L and 55L poly tanks. A Dometic two-burner stove includes a grill, and it connects via a bayonet fitting to one of the two 4kg LPG bottles that must be removed from its storage and hung on a hook near the stove. A concern is the steel spare tyre being a space saver, as it’s not something I’d like to use on a remote desert track.
This high spec’d camper from Patriot provides luxury camping in even the most remote locations. Justin from Patriot expects perfection when it comes to the finish of his campers and can spot a flaw from a mile away. The ladder that integrates into the roof rack is height-adjustable and provides a second entry point into the camper while the rear step entrance has been improved from past models. Rhino coating has been applied to all the vulnerable sections on the camper as further protection to the stone guard and the roof section is coated with Raptor. The awning walls are easy to distinguish as they match the colour coding tags on the awning and being made using 80gsm Hexocore has reduced the weight and storage space of the wall kit. The body of the camper is pressurised via a front vent that forces the air through an automotive filter and prevents dust from entering.
The 200 x 50 x 3mm chassis is constructed using patented Rigilite that has been laser cut to a tolerance of ± 0.01mm and then double-dipped galvanised. The drawbar is also extendable to suit the tow vehicle. Even the custom hinges are powder coated stainless steel. Patriot's custom work with Cruisemaster has shaved a massive 40kg off the weight of the X Cruise suspension. Built strong but extremely lightweight, the X3 has a quality finish and build.
Patriot has earned a reputation as an exemplar for innovation among Australian adventure camper trailers. And it’s clear that Patriot’s creative juices continue to flow. With the X3, ingenuity sprouts forth from every nook and cranny. Whether it’s recent design modifications to the awning poles to allow adjustment without unpegging, the discrete mounting bracket for spare poles behind the awning, the redesigned stepladder integrated into the Exorack, the heat-resistant ‘bar mat’ above the kitchen galley, or the storage locker for wet crockery next to the sink, the team’s zealous attention to detail and thirst for improvement is self-evident.
The team have also modified the X3’s vent and filter system to better pressurise the cabin in transit to prevent dust ingress. A particularly welcome development is the inclusion of a CB radio. While the antennae should be repositioned to help maximise radio range when the camper is deployed, the CB is a smart addition given the vagaries of mobile reception outside of metropolitan areas. It provides a communication option that could make the difference between a bad day in the bush and a serious survival situation.
More broadly, the X3 stands out for its patented Hexocore awning. Revealed to the judging team at CTOTY 2020, this mould-resistant, silver-lined, UPF 50+ rated, anti-fungal and waterproof fabric claims to be half the weight, eight times more breathable and 20 per cent stronger than standard canvas. The Hexocore product remains a potential game-changer in the camper industry and we can’t wait to see what other applications the Patriot team finds for it.
At $70,990, the X3 is a serious investment for a camper that, at its essence, offers a side-fold box trailer configuration. And there is a menu of optional products available for the X3, some of which — like solar and a fridge — are routinely provided standard in other, lower priced campers. Lithium batteries are an upgrade but the 1500W inverter and Redvision TVMS are yours to enjoy in the listed price. Ultimately, the issue of value for money boils down to who you are, and what you’re looking for in a camper. If you’re an adventurous couple who like hitting the backtracks on the weekend while keeping your gadgets locked and loaded, the Patriot X3 offers a quality engineered, Australian-built, go-anywhere camper that may be just what you’re looking for.
TIM VAN DUYL
People who haven’t seen an X3 beside an X1 may struggle to realise they are not too far apart in size and bulk. The X3 is marginally wider and a bit longer but weighs only around 125–150kg more than its littlest brother. Why raise this? Well, we had a Ram 1500 to tow with and they feel like they can slow the rotation of the planet when you give them some jandal. So to give you context, yes, you can tow the X3 with more typical ute or SUV — it is light, it is compact, and it is built tough.
The CTOTY X3 has Patriot's excellent XCruise suspension. It has a clever design that reduces un-sprung weight; the same idea is used in the PCOR the wheels fitted to the X3, so wheel-hop and unruly bounce is a thing of the past making for a smooth tow even in the bouncy, root-lined tracks around Port Mac.
The X3 is the first Patriot with internal living space, a big pivot from the original designs. With it comes an emphasis on comfort best seen in the quality of the leatherette used on the lounge, the depth and quality of the mattress and on little touches like the pop-up powerpoint and optional coffee machine. The X3 has a soft heart inside the metal shell.
Towing the X3 is no issue — it’s narrow and sits high off the ground — but what about setting it up? The fibreglass tent cover is bespoke to Patriot, as is the tent itself, and opens on actuators so that’s simple. And the awning? Like all Patriot supplied ones, it uses alloy supports and featherweight Hexacore material that makes rolling it out and adjusting it super easy. The layout is designed for easy access to everything from the fridge, which can be reached from inside the camper, to the fold-down kitchen and pantry and the massive volume of storage all round.
The X3 is not just user friendly, it’s considered and tough but brings a new level of comfort that will appeal to a wider range of people than the traditional Patriot buyers. This can only mean we’ll see more Patriots in the outback, Cape and places where you need a reliable and capable camper.
Suspension: Cruisemaster X-Cruise™ 1.60T Dual Shock Airbag Suspension
Brakes: 10” Electric Drum
Coupling: D035 V3
Chassis/drawbar: RIGILITE™ Galvanised Chassis
Body: Aluminium Powder Coated
Wheels: 16x8” PCOR Alloy wheels 1250kg
Tyres: Maxtrek MT 285/74/R16
Style: Hard Floor / Fold Out Off Road Camper Trailer
Body size: 1850mm
Awning size: 2000m x 8000 mm
Gas cylinders: 4.5kg ( Not Supplied )
Water: 155 Litre
Cooktop: Dometic Twin Burner w/ Grill
Kitchen: L Shaped with Sink, Hot + Cold water, Rimix Bench Top
Battery: 2 x 150AH
Coffee Lift Mechanism
Front Sail Kit
REDARC Semi-Fixed Slimline 80W Solar Panel
Additional Gas Bottle Holder 4.5kg
Dometic 53L Fridge/Freezer & Anderson Plug
BBQ Swing Away
Weber Baby Q
X1 PCOR Wind Break Wall Kit
PRICE AS TESTED
Phone (07) 5597 0638