When you are looking at buying an off-road camping trailer you could be forgiven for throwing your hands up in despair and walking away from the whole exercise, the range on the market is just that diverse. There is something for everyone available at every price range, from the weekend warrior who needs a base camp in the state forest on a budget to the do all and end all that will set you back the price of a small house.
Then sitting in the middle is the BRIX Z Camper.
Founded by Rick and Brett over six years ago, they set out to use their experiences in fabrication and program management, along with their passion for travel to make an off-road camper that would handle the hardships of the Australian bush.
The Z Camper comes in three specification levels. Starting with the Z Camper G @ $29,900, then the GL @ $34,500 and finally the GX @ $39,500.
For our week long sojourn on the NSW South Coast we had the Z Camper GX.
Before I start getting into the nitty gritty of the GX I will point out that even if you opt for the G spec Camper you are getting a bloody good trailer for your money because the basic chassis and body don’t change throughout the entire model line up, only the comfort levels do.
We will start at the ground and work our way up.
The Brix range runs on 16″ steel rims wearing 265/75/16 All Terrains however if you supply matching wheels and tyres from your tow vehicle they will happily fit them. The lower grades can be customised to suit the wheel track of your tow vehicle if so desired though this is standard on the GX. The entire range also has 12″ electric drum brakes with a separate hand brake as standard. The spare is mounted on top of the drawbar or toolbox if fitted.
Brix have gone with an independent airbag, twin shock per axle setup witch to me is an awesome bit of gear but maybe that’s just my heavy vehicle background showing. But more on that later. The axles are rated for 1600kg giving the GX a 550kg payload, more on the lower spec models. The GX comes standard with a quality compressor plumbed into the airbags.
The chassis is made from hot dipped galvanised RHS for longevity, strength and its light weight properties. They also come standard with a stone guard and Mc Hitch off-road coupling, however any approved coupling of your choice can be fitted.
The body is made from marine grade aluminium utilising welding and construction grade fasteners and bonding agents to combine with the chassis to form a strong but light weight unit. To top it off its coated in two pac polyurethane.
The slide out stainless steel kitchen is simple to use with built in sink and four burner cooker and grill (good for making toasties on the run). Water is supplied from an 82L water tank with electric pump and water level gauge that can be optioned with hot water if you wish. Two 4.5kg gas bottles are fitted to the draw bar and are internally plumbed to the cooker. There is also a 40L pull out pantry next to the kitchen, just right for those little things you use when cooking.
In the front 610L toolbox is quality 60L fridge/freezer that is standard on the GX and an option on the GL, mounted on slides.
The whole shebang in the GX is powered by two 100AH AGM deep cycle batteries (1x 70AH on the GL) with charging taken care of by one of three options. There is the Anderson plug, C TEK mains charger or the 120W solar panel mounted to the roof all controlled by a C TEK smart charger. On a side note, seeing as the test vehicle didn’t have Anderson capability, we went the whole week using only the solar panel to run the whole camp setup with no major voltage drop from the battery monitor. There are also two 240v power points if power is available. The test unit was fitted with multiple Merit plugs as well as cigarette style sockets. There were quality USB plugs along with a dedicated I PAD charge point.
The reason these trailers get their Z moniker is apparent when you set them up. The roof lifts up in two stages to form the aforementioned letter then the canvas section pulls out to give you extra room. The main section houses a Queen size inner spring mattress that was comfy but again if you want a specific Queen sized one you wish is their command.
Underneath the bed is a cavernous 740L storage area that has been fitted with a polyurethane spray liner, but is best left for stuff you only need once you are set up as it is hard to access when the tent is packed up. The foldout section is large enough to accommodate a queen size mattress or in our case single and port-a-cot. This can also be customised to suit your individual needs i.e. more rooms or larger floor space.
All canvas is high quality, Australian made and sewed together on site. There are two doors with mesh and complete 360 degree views and ventilation via windows with mesh. On top of the bed there is also 405L of space, perfect for the camp chairs.
On top of the bed are two LED lights individually switched along with another at the foot of the bed.
If you are stopping for a while like we did you can also put up the awnings. These cover three sides of the unit from the coupling around the gutter side to the rear tent with generous coverage for alfresco eating even with the sides down (it bucketed down two afternoons).
As I mentioned earlier there is a solar panel mounted to the roof. As well as this the Z Campers come standard with heavy duty roof tracks and can be optioned with heavy duty ROLA cross bars. The test unit had two bike carriers and a canoe/kayak mount. Needless to say we put the bikes on and managed to strap the young fellas bike in behind the stone tray before the gas bottles.
Setting the Z Camper up is best done with two people but can be done on your own although the second stage is a bit on the heavy side by yourself. To set up the canvas this is where the airbags and compressor come into their own, jack the chassis up to the correct height for the tailgate to sit flat, drop the support legs and jockey wheel then lower the bags and your done. The tent poles are easy to erect, peg out the base and in under 10 minutes your ready for bed.
The Z Camper towed like a dream. You don’t feel the bumps and this is one of the reasons I love airbags. Another is that it is easy to adjust the suspension to suit different loads so the trailer is always at the optimum ride height. Airbags are also very hardy. In all the years I’ve worked with them they would expire from age before damage. These are all reasons why heavy vehicles use them.
Over all I was very impressed by the whole setup (even more so the wife, loved the kitchen). Being a small locally owned and operated company, the team at Brix can customised their trailers to suit your needs. I’ve already mentioned some of the options they can change to suit you, just let them know what you would like and they can incorporate it into the package.
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