2015 Review: Tambo Rubicon

John 'Bear' Willis — 21 May 2015

Tambo is not new to the market but has made quite a comeback with a change of ownership injecting fresh new life. Make no mistake; this is the type of product that we are proud to call Australian. It’s tough, durable, dependable and easy to get along with. It won’t let you down when the going gets rough — just the thing to call a “mate”.


From the ground up, you will be pleased with what you see. She rides high on 16in Goodride MT tyres with alloy mags, and the terrific ground clearance will surprise you, formed from the 100x50x3mm chassis rails that extend from the drawbar to the back of the tub, plus extra height from the rugged Vanguard independent suspension. There are twin shock absorbers and coil springs either side of the trailer and 12in electric brakes with handbrake.

We took the Rubicon on some high country roads with steep rises and descents, as well as deep ruts and corrugations and, to be perfectly honest, I barely even noticed it was trailing behind, despite the ageing suspension in my old Land Rover Discovery. Our campsite on the banks of the Goulburn was at a former quarry which made it an excellent testing ground full of mullock heaps, ponds and assorted 4WD challenges. The Rubicon simply walked over every obstacle with ease even when I deliberately increased the testing angle on mounds so steep, the towbar was hitting the ground. She has a Treg offroad coupling out front to take the twisting and contorting load and I really liked the long drawbar that allowed excellent maneuverability with no signs of jack-knifing or dragging.


Out in front is an Anderson plug connection for direct power from the towing vehicle and plenty of 12V outlets both in and outside the unit. Both toolboxes have suitable automotive seals and compression locks. In between the tub and the rear toolbox is a great storage section capable of housing up to four jerry cans, or perhaps a push bike, rubbish or firewood rack.

Out the back the LED tail lights, gas and water quick-connect fittings and 12V plugs are recessed to avoid damage. There are also two wind-down stabiliser legs underneath. The tailgate hinges open to the left-hand side and the kitchen unit and the fridge/pantry unit slide out, side by side, on stainless steel tracks.


The kitchen is simple but effective with its Lido Junior two-burner gas stove and grill, separate utensils drawer, a pots and plates cabinet as well as an easily assembled bench extension with drop-in plastic sink under the manual cold water pump. The second slide has a cavernous pantry behind a 40L Ironman 4x4 12/240V fridge in an insulated cover. It is powered via a cigarette lighter-style plug so you can move the fridge into the vehicle if required, but take a little care as it can be easily knocked out when sliding the fridge back into the storage position.


The Rubicon has plenty of added storage in the front of the tub accessed by lockable doors on either side. This is where you can carry annexe poles and other long items as well as the bulk of your goodies. On the left-hand side we find a “safe” type locker above the wheel arch, lockable water filler, as well as a separate compartment for twin 4.5kg gas cylinders in the rear. There are a further two storage units on the right-hand side of the trailer and these are accessible even when the tent is fully erected via zippered sections. All of the doors are neatly folded without sharp edges and individually secured with compression locks pulling a dust-proof bond on the automotive seals.


All in all we found the Rubicon to be an exceptionally well-built Aussie offering with just the right amount of features and accessories to match the superb materials and construction. Best of all is the price! I have seen plenty of campers that offer a whole lot less than the Tambo Rubicon, for a whole lot more money.

What’s more, it’s a lucky camper — we caught some beautiful trout while we were “working”!


I liked…

  • Fridge, stove, water and power all in price
  • Ground clearance
  • Vanguard suspension
  • Extended drawbar
  • Canvas quality
  • Big storage capacity

I would have liked…

  • Recovery hitch
  • Detachable jockey wheel
  • Locking fitting on fridge power

Check out the full feature in issue #89 June 2015 of Camper Trailer Australia magazine.


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