So after our little trip round Oz (yes we were stopped half way), we ended up in Mareeba FNQ as farmers. Thats another story. But one of the first things we did was to sell poor karen Camper, our beloved Goldstream Camper. Karen was good, no Karen was great, and served as very very well, BUT, there were no doubt a few times on our trips that we would be making decisions about where we would go, or what route to take based on if we thought Karen could handle it……. often we took the easier way, and still managed to break Karen a few times.
We loved Karen Camper, she was just a bit soft…
So when we decided to sell Karen it was because we wanted a camper that would never hold us back ever again. After the usual 12 months of Matt researching and talking to, inspecting, as many camper as possible, he came up with 2 options, a “Cameron Camper” or and “All Terrain Camper”.
After witnessing the set up of every type of camper imaginable whilst on our trip, it was very clear to us, that if it was not easy, quick, and involve the least amount of poles/pegs/ropes possible, it would become one of those campers that gets parked beside the garage never to be used again.
Again, it also had to comfortably fit all of us, and you know, there are a lot of us.
It did not need bells and whistles, as we have always found bells tend to break and whistles tend to waste valuable beer time requiring constant fiddling and tweaking, only for them to eventually break, just like the bells.
Being both these options are made down south, we didn’t like our chances of finding a good second hand one up in FNQ, but as luck would have it, an All Terrain came up in Laura of all places, so after some wheeling and dealing, we bought “Black Betty”
Introducing Black Betty
Kitchen and Annex
Queen Bed for us, and oodles of room for the kids
At this point I’d like to just point out a couple of things about the All Terrains that make them different.
- 1 night set up (no annex) requires NO additional poles, pegs or ropes, nada, zilch, zip, zero!
- It is built for lifted and modified 4WD’s, in fact even with the aggressive lift kit on the Prado, it still sits a bit higher then the car.
- These 100% made in Australia, every last bit (except for the little plastic kitchen drawers I believe)
1 night set up takes 10mins if that,
This thing is an absolute Tank, and there is no way it will stop us going anywhere. The whole thing is steel, there are no timber cupboards, no plastic fittings, no fancy pants add ons, just steel and canvas.
Black Betty will go anywhere Peter Prado will go!
One of the cool things about the story behind the All Terrains is that it basically came about from a family who enjoyed camping, but were constantly being let down by inferior camper trailers that were difficult to set up and use, so, HE decides to build a bullet (mortar shell) proof trailer, while SHE designed and created a practical, simple tent.
So what resulted is a trailer made by man with a tent made by woman. Trust me, it works.
Trailer: 100% aussie steel, 100% seam welded, everything over engineered, huge thick automotive door seals, solid 50mm square axle, simple leaf/shackle suspension (independent suspension is not all it cracks up to be, believe me), 2tonne genuine Trigg Hitch (not a Chinese knock off), mechanical override disc brake (electric brakes were the bain of my existence on our big trip). The trailer area is seperated into 2 parts, I’d say about 70/30. whilst I have to admit, this can sometimes be annoying because I cannot fit very long things in the trailer area, I soon realise how great a design this is once we have been camping at the beach, in the rain, for a week. The ability to seperate all the wet dirty stuff from all the clean dry stuff is a godsend.
Steel box up front, seperate box behind it, and then the big trailer area accessed from the back
Tent: No peg/pole/rope 1 night set up and the annex remains zipped on at all times, it just folds back over the tent and fastens to the other side with little velcro tabs (essentially means you have 2 roofs). For the annex set up, only 8 pole/rope/pegs are needed for the full annex, thats right, 8 poles is the FULL set up. All windows are true midge screen, and they all have a clear plastic layer on the outside so that you can actually still have light (i.e. all the windows open) during a storm/rain because the clear plastic layer is water proof. All windows can then be “shut” from the inside by zipping up a canvas layer inside, no need to go outside to drop a rolled up window down, PLUS, each window has a full sized canvas layer as the final outside layer as well that doubles as a little awning from each window if you like. There are big stitched pockets everywhere inside the tent (happens to be exactly 4, one each for the kids) for storage of books, iPad, headphones, teddy bears etc, along with a little table, full access to the front box, ventilation screens at the bottom, windows everywhere, and the pièce de résistance, a “moon roof”. Yeah, the entire roof above the queensize bed opens up so you can still experience sleeping under the stars, while knowing you have midge screen and zippered doors for the boogy man.
Windows and ventilation everywhere, and that moon roof!
Window flaps can all be set up as annex, with a few more poles of course.
The Kitchen is a beautiful, full stainless steel jobby, with meters of bench space, sink, 4 burner, great storage, cutlery drawers….everything in its right place, even with a sunroof!
She’s not perfect, we have made many changes to Black Betty to really make her our own, and to also address a couple of design flaws, which, the new owners of the business have actually addressed in the new models, but the basics still remain, that this is an unbreakable, simple, very comfortable Camper that we can highly recommend.
Gone are the rather flimsy “scissor” legs
Now Black Betty has long, strong, sexy wind down legs
Original poles on the right, the bent spigot was supposed to line up through a hole in the canvas to a hole in the steel frame for putting up the Annex. It never lined up.
So I used eye bolts and these nylon pole ends and now the annex take half the time to set up.
And it is a bit more stable
Heavy gauge Anderson cabling for battery charging
Led strip lights in both compartments in the trailer
Dual USB, ciggy plug and volt meter 3 way box at the end of the bed
New power outlets
The only way into camp sites like this, is with a camper that will not hold you back.