It almost seems patriotic to spend time on a long white beach, the raw surf beating its own rhythm, a coastal wind murmuring as you share lunch or cast a line.
That was the ‘true blue’ experience I shared recently with Patriot Campers while tagging along on a trip to North Stradbroke Island near Brisbane, Qld.
Hitting Stradbroke Island’s 32km Main Beach with the full range of Patriot Campers toys in tow after a 45-minute vehicle ferry crossing, we could see the beautiful long white beach was ripe for exploring.
While Main Beach is not the hardest beach to drive, it’s deceptive. In fact, at first glance, it looks ideal for the 4WD newcomer, but don’t be fooled. A mix of sand conditions can leave you thinking you’re on a cream-coloured, multi-lane highway when, in the next minute, you’re up to your axles in a great sandy pit. The trickiest spots, quite predictably, are at the entrance to the beach and at the entrances and exits to each of the camping areas, sprinkled along most of the beach in behind the sand dunes.
The Patriot X1 – twice winner of CTA’s Camper Trailer of the Year – hit Main Beach on North Stradbroke Island with plenty of promise. And while we trawled the surf gutters along Main Beach, trying to pop out a good brace of whiting, it sat up amongst the dunes, looking for the entire world like it was made for the beach.
Although time, tide and thunderstorms didn’t allow us to try out either the Polaris or the jet ski on tow, there was plenty on offer with swimming, fishing and picnicking among the many highlights for me.
All but one of the 200 Series LandCruisers furnishing our adventure were converted into Patriot Campers Supertourers, for an increase in carrying capacity.
With Toyota’s standard 4.5L V8 turbodiesel capable of producing 650Nm of gut busting torque at around 1600rpm underpinning the mods, the tourers have ample chutzpah to pull through the most belligerent sand.
The trucks are available for purchase and are extended by 650mm in collaboration with Creative Conversions with minimal sacrifice in agility, for a tray length at just over 2m. This proves to be handy as they can then be fitted with clever storage boxes to maximise touring comfort.
Scouring up and down salty beaches plays havoc with trailers and trays turning them into rusty eyesores in no time, so Patriot Campers improves upon their longevity by using marine-grade aluminium for the trays and a coloured powder-coat finish.
The lightweight aluminium also keeps the trays’ weight manageable.
TH610: TWO FOR ONE
When you’re planning to rattle along the beach, any beach, sometimes you’re faced with choosing between towing your favourite toy or the camper trailer. Or left agonising on who’s going to take which car to tow the camper and what’s going to happen with the jet ski or buggy.
Well, the answer to that conundrum in our convoy was a camper and toy hauler combo officiously-named the TH610. The TH610 on test had plenty of capacity for good-sized toys like a Polaris RZR 1000, with a family-friendly tent, kitchen and a hot water shower.
Patriot Campers will also customise the clamps and tie down points according to the toys you want to carry.
TH470: DEDICATED TOY HAULER
Also plugging along Main Beach was the first dedicated toy hauler in the Patriot Campers range: the TH470. Although future iterations will likely see it morph into a fully-fledged camper-cum-toy-hauler, for now, it’s a toy hauler with a large storage box up front and a very usable 3x2m deck that’s ideal for a jet ski.
The storage includes a 70L water tank, a 60L fridge and long-lasting 120Ah battery with Redarc DC-DC charger as standard. That made it quite a reasonable beast fit for a day at the beach.
As we jaunted down the beach and around difficult tracks it was clear the haulers were following the Toyotas with ease. That was probably due to the 350mm ground clearance and coil independent dual shock suspension doing a first class job.
X1: READY TO CAMP
The next in our convoy line was a 200 Series Toyota hauling the latest version of Patriot Campers’ X1. The X1 is enjoying its second year as reigning champion in CTA’s Camper Trailer of the Year awards.
The latest version has a wider chassis with pumped out guards for even better offroad capabilities, which incorporates a step for easier access to the top of the camper. There’s also an extended shower hose for access to hot water at the sink. More tweaks are on the cards for this year’s awards so stay tuned!
Storage-wise, it surprises. Just when you think you’ve got this compact camper sorted, it seems there’s another storage box, a neatly designed slide-out kitchen, or generous awning to discover.
However, with all the comfort bells and whistles, and first class build quality, for my money the X1 ‘bedroom’ space including headroom is better suited for a weekend away than long-term touring. But clever design means the setup time is not too long, so before you know it you’re off to drown worms in the surf.
Check out the full feature in issue #94 November 2015 of Camper Trailer Australia magazine. Subscribe today for all the latest camper trailer news, reviews and travel inspiration.