2016 CTOTY: Pioneer Onyx

Michael 'Borgy' Borg — 15 February 2016

Offroad touring in Australia can be brutally demanding on the equipment, and I don’t need to tell you how a mechanical failure, no matter how large or small, can put a dent in all your fun. That means choosing a camper that’s not just tough, but proven, is vital for anyone who seriously wants to see the best of Australia. You’ll also want something that’s comfortable but easy enough to set up and operate so it doesn’t become a hindrance rather than an asset to your trip. That’s exactly where the Onyx from Pioneer Campers comes in.


For any long-term trip to be enjoyable, a camper trailer’s setup process needs to be easy. The team at Pioneer Campers has taken that to the extreme and basically made the Onyx set itself up. Okay, so maybe it doesn’t do absolutely everything, but it definitely takes the manual labour out of the setup, that’s for sure. In fact, we opened and closed this camper in pouring rain, and it was up there with the easiest of the lot! It’s a fairly fail-safe design for a full electronic setup too, and by that I mean there are several backup methods of operating the camper manually if required. Despite the main tent flipping over on its own, there are a few poles inside that need manual adjustment. While it doesn’t take long, it’s a bit of a let-down with the simplicity side of things, in my opinion.


The team at Pioneer has gone above and beyond to make this a comfortable camper for those longer touring trips. The Onyx has all the sought-after features, but it’s also got the practicality to go with it. Little things such as a provision for a Weber Baby Q, or even just a touch light at the kitchen, makes all the difference. The kitchen has loads of storage, a cutlery drawer and separate bench space for its two-burner stove and sink.

When it comes to choosing a bed, you have the choice of either an innerspring or quilted foam mattress. Plus, there’s even thought up a spot for a sleep apnoea machine, too!

The Onyx comes with a diesel hot water system, but if you want the ensuite you’ll have to fork out a little extra, which comes as a surprise given the calibre of this camper. In saying that, it means you’ve got the choice between full canvas or one of those cheap but lightweight pop-up jobs.

There’s also the option of having a full reverse cycle air-conditioner fitted as well, which is something you don’t see every day in hardfloor campers.


The kitchen is another smart design. It’s as solid as a rock, and is as simple as sliding out the main kitchen unit and swinging the stove to the side, which saves a heap of space under the awning. The awning will take you roughly 15 minutes to erect, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a stretch to erect being so high up!


The Onyx is tough as guts, as comfortable as a Hilton hotel and, more importantly – it’s proven. But if that’s not enough, its stylish lines and superb manufacturing quality make it one of the best looking campers on the block, and we all knows what that does for resale value.

In fact, while we’re on the topic, the team at Pioneer goes to great lengths to ensure the resale value of your next Pioneer is never compromised. So there you have it, the Onyx offers everything you need in a luxurious offroad camper, and it does it in style!



  • Electric opening, with several manual back-up methods
  • Extremely well built and finished off
  • Provision for sleep apnoea machine


  • Simple electric opening, but still has several internal poles to adjust and set up
  • The awning needs to be detached before packing up, and is quite high to reach

Check out the full feature in issue #98 March 2016 of Camper Trailer Australia magazine. Subscribe today for all the latest camper trailer news, reviews and travel inspiration.


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