My, my, isn't technology a wonderful thing? The first camper-trailer I ever laid eyes on was parked on the banks of the Murrumbidgee up near Boambolo. It was basically a box trailer with drop away sides and an extended timber deck that attached to both sides. The bloke then pitched a normal canvas tent on top of his timber deck. In comparison with that old rig, the Australian Off Road Campers Eclipse looks like something out of the space age.
There seems to be something of a 'crossover' trend happening in camper-trailer circles these days. Basic camper fashions have been cross-pollinated with caravan styles and concepts to produce campers with much more practicality and user- (that means 'wife') friendly features. In the Eclipse you'll see those features blended in a stylish and practical way. And in terms of off-road capability, the Eclipse is a far cry from that old Boambolo box trailer.
The Eclipse has been built from the ground up as an off-road camper, designed for those 'tracks; vehicular; earth' markings you see on topographic maps - the ones that don't show up on the in-car GPS.
The Eclipse chassis is fashioned from powder-coated, laminated high-tensile steel and it rides on AORC independent trailing arm suspension with twin off-road shocks and 15 x 7-inch off road wheels. The coupling is a fully articulated DO25 off-road type rated at 2500kg.
The body is framed in welded aluminium RHS with aluminium external cladding and Duralite composite inside, with a 19mm ply floor. The Eclipse is a pop-top, with a scissor lift, dust sealed and with six stainless steel locks. A triple-lock security door is fitted, along with double-glazed windows.
Corner steadies are fitted to the four corners along with a swing-away jockey wheel, and a stainless steel mesh stone guard is fitted on the A-frame. Behind the stone guard is a bracket holding the spare wheel, with a gas bottle tucked in on each side.
At the rear is a pair of jerry can holders situated either side of a storage hatch that conceals an outside shower. A bathroom awning can be fitted at the rear for privacy if needed and you can plonk a porta potty in there if required.
A large Gunya-style awning is fitted, with poles, ropes and pegs and a neat section of awning that joins the side area with the bathroom at the rear, so you can access the loo in wet weather. There are two awning lights and an external 240V power point is also fitted.
Being an off-roader, it requires a good measure of camping independence. The Eclipse carries a 140-litre food-grade poly water tank underneath, with protective shielding. Power is supplied by two 100a/h marine deep cycle batteries with a 25-amp Ctek battery charger, and solar capability is an option.
The Eclipse has an external kitchen, fitted on a slide-out tray to the rear of the axle. This is fully stainless steel, with a three-burner gas cooktop fitted with a glass cover to add to the food preparation space. Alongside is a sink with a cold tap and there is storage space and splashback/shields incorporated into the unit. With the awning extended and that neat corner extension fitted, you can walk around the kitchen section to access the loo without getting wet in crook weather.
Inside the Eclipse, things are cosy but practical. The forward section comprises a set of storage drawers beneath a wide bench, with a vanity sink in the benchtop. Just inside the door is an 80-litre fridge/freezer that is easily accessed from the outside by the cook. LED lighting is fitted beneath pop-top level.
A narrow dinette section is to the rear of the entry, right at the foot of the bed. This is roomy enough for two and the dinette table is removable if necessary. There is additional storage space under the dinette seats.
The queen-sized bed occupies the rear section, with LED lights above the bedhead and flanking windows with blinds and curtains for privacy. There is a mass of storage space beneath the bed, between the battery area and electrics fitted on and alongside the wheel arches. One interesting option in the Eclipse is a bunk set-up that fits above the main bed. This is a clever option if you have a couple of kids in tow.
All the internal lighting is strip LED, and further light and air is provided by the screened windows in the pop-top skirt.
The Australian Off Road Campers Eclipse is a very clever and practical 'crossover' style off-road camper. It has all the features and accessories you'd need to get well off the track for an extended camp, and plenty of creature comforts built in.
Yep, the Eclipse is a world away from that old Boambolo camper.
Caravan+RV magazine, issue 13, October/November 2009.
The Eclipse is one serious off-road camper, but with some of the benefits of a caravan. It's a very well designed rig.
My only real gripe is the size of the dinette. It's a little squeezy, but that's purely an available space issue.