COMPLETE CAMPSITE CAMPERS JABIRU REVIEW
When it comes to The Complete Campsite Jabiru camper trailer, roughing it is a thing of the past.
The name says it all - Complete Campsite. The 2013 Jabiru truly is a complete campsite, offering everything you need for a night away at the local camping ground, or several months in the outback.
The 2013 Jabiru we tested at Barrington Tops was a remarkable piece of engineering in so many ways and showed excellence in innovation from a brand that's been around since the early 1990s. Complete Campsite is indeed a market leader.
The softfloor Jabiru included the awesome Country Comfort gas hot water service and a shower that you can access from both inside and outside the tent, keeping nudie runs to a minimum.
For $34,800 you also get a full LED lighting system, a walk-up bed, a comfortable carpet-lined staircase, a huge amount of storage, a massive 80L Waeco fridge, dual batteries, a thermal blanket on top of the tent to keep the heat out, a queen size innerspring mattress and a bed protector bag that doubles as a swag on particularly cold nights. The list just goes on and on. Grant and Jodie from Complete Campsite have thought about their own family needs and built a camper to tick those boxes.
At 4.75m long and 1.85m wide, it's no small camper, but this doesn't impede its offroad performance. The benefits of the longer trailer body were noticeable in the Complete Campsite's standard 4m tent, with an internal floor space size of 2.3x2.8m suitable for most travellers. A larger option is available for bigger families. The tent is made from Wax Converters canvas with 15oz for the roof and 12oz for the walls. The tent frame is strong, square section DuraGal with little adjustment required. All punch points are lagged for longevity.
It should be said that the Jabiru had the best looking canvas of all our competitors. There were skylights in the annexe, nice big windows all round and it presented tighter than any other camper.
The DO35 tow hitch works a treat and is mounted to a big 100x50x3mm SupaGal drawbar. Further back, the chassis is constructed using 50x50x5mm SupaGal and the Zincalume body panels are a solid 1.5mm thick. The Jabiru chassis is treated with a Rhino Solarmax coating; a premium substrate that utilises a colour fast polyurethane spray to provide protection from abrasion, impact, corrosion and chemical attack. The underside of the trailer is also tar sprayed for extra protection.
Suspension on the Jabiru is a nine leaf eye-to-eye rebound system mated to a 50mm axle, 12in brakes and big 16in wheels. You can spec the stud pattern of the wheels to suit your preference.
Ground clearance is deceiving in the Jabiru; because it's a pretty long trailer it looks low, but in fact there's 550mm of clearance.
We pushed the Jabiru up our torture test which was full of roots, rocks, dirt, mud and grass and it handled the climb with total confidence. It tracked effortlessly over corrugations and at the end there was zero
The hot water is gas-fired from one of three 4.5kg bottles as standard, which means the electrics are simple but suitable. There is a 350W pure sine wave inverter, Anderson plug for DC charge, twin 100Ah batteries and a 12/240V charger, 12V LED lighting (some with dimmers) and plenty of power sockets including a USB, surge protection and fuse panel. Solar power and DC/DC charger are optional extras.
The kitchen is massive with a stainless steel bench extension, a three-burner gas stove, hot and cold water on a flip style tap and a removable sink. We loved the large amount of bench space and the practical storage.
We found lots of little added features that you wouldn't even notice until you needed them, like lights in the cupboards and a drainage system in the canvas floor of the ensuite. The 90L poly water tank is internally mounted, eliminating any concern of rupturing it offroad. It comes with a level gauge and can be fed by gravity in case of a power failure.
The weld quality, keyed alike compression locks, dust sealing and overall strength are outstanding. Even the huge toolbox on the drawbar is carpet-lined. There are lockable jerry can holders, an external tap for washing the sand off grubby feet and tonnes of storage including a lockable internal safe. All of this in a trailer weighing 1200kg tare.
Every time you enter the Jabiru you find a new feature you hadn't seen before, and that alone makes this camper an outstanding divisional winner of CTA's Offroad Camper of the Year 2013. Congratulations, Complete Campsite.
THE JUDGES' NOTEPAD
STUART JONES: The Complete Campsite Jabiru is an exceptional, comfortable unit. A smick, classy dish, it is the measure by which many are judged. The internal lighting is excellent, the bed bag is a great idea and I love the skylight over the kitchen. I really like the way the ensuite integrates with the tent; it requires no ropes, and doesn't look like an add-on at all. The kitchen layout is clever, and the pack away plastic tub improves its versatility. The Jabiru is the lightest in its class, which gives it a head start offroad.
NICK MANNELL: The Complete Campsite Jabiru is made to do the job well. Supplied with an inverter, hot water, two jerry cans and three gas bottles, it has just about everything to get you offroad and stay there in comfort. Add the optional extra water tank and solar and you're looking at a truly complete rig. Your gear is in safe hands, too. Everything is protected underneath and the dust sealing is exceptional. Fitting PVC to the walls to prevent water from soaking the tent is an awesome idea. I really like the Jabiru's presentation and appearance: this kind of attention to detail comes only with years of experience.
ANITA PAVEY: The quality of the Complete Campsite Jabiru really stands out. There are no tacked-on afterthoughts. The trailer is well finished with new locks and a white powder-coat, and the canvas is tight and well made. The ensuite is fantastic and it packs up in one go. The underbody is completely clean and fully tarred so that there's no snagging offroad, and the DO35 coupling's offroad performance is faultless. Bushability is good with the hot water system, three gas bottles, two batteries and an Anderson plug. The water tank is internally fitted - reducing the likelihood of encountering a puncture - although at 90L it is bit small.
MIKE PAVEY: The Complete Campsite Jabiru is very well built and has everything you need. I like the hot water, sink and shower, 7in innerspring mattress, quality kitchen, ensuite, fridge, dual batteries and inverter. There was no solar or DC/DC charger included in the package, but the thermal roof, LED lighting and ventilation helped minimise energy consumption. The internal water tank takes up very little space and its tank and hoses are protected from stone damage. The thermal roof packs with the tent, and the wider walkthough was developed in conjunction with the tent, incorporating long gas struts for ease of use. The Rhino Solarmax protection is a great idea. The build construction is excellent. The canvas is reinforced internally everywhere and the body is made from Zincalume sheet. The cord tent tie-downs help with setting up. All in all, a fantastic camper!
JOHN 'BEAR' WILLIS: The Complete Campsite Jabiru offers exceptional value for money and great general presentation. The quality workmanship, great choice of options and the good, strong chassis earned my respect - it looks rugged but it does it all. Loved the internal water tank. Although built in, the tank can be gravity fed to an outlet as required. Complete Campsite's approach to lighting and the use of the Rhino Solarmax coating are great innovations. This camper presented the tightest canvas in the line-up for 2013. The electrics are simple but suitable, the kitchen is terrific with great storage and tonnes of bench space and the access, slides and fittings are excellent. A beautifully presented package at a great price.
JUDGE'S PICK, JOHN WILLIS: Why is my personal favourite camper of the whole competition the Complete Campsite Jabiru? The simple answer is that quality is timeless and this rig presented a premium display from the groundsheet up. I actually asked the manufacturers why their canvas presented so much better than the rest, but all I got was a smile and a wink. The manufacturing quality of the entire unit is superb, and the layout just feels like home. I particularly liked the ensuite access; it makes very good sense to have the zippered doorway as part of the main tent. Complete's choice of componentry is exceptionally well conceived, without being over the top. The kitchen gives all of the necessities and is really easy to use with loads of stainless bench space. It's the attention to detail that makes all the difference - it even has a lockable safe. The bed enclosure/swag, the skylights and even the carpeted steps were all the right things in the right places, and ticked all the boxes for me.
Originally published in Camper Trailer Australia magazine #60, December 2012