State of the art design and metal forming techniques sure help.
Pioneer Campers is part of the giant Actco-Pickering Group that also makes TSB service bodies for working 4WDs. This fabrication specialist employs the latest CAD-CAM design software and up to date metal cutting and forming tools, giving Pioneer a head start on less equipped camper trailer makers.
Before the 2013 Pioneer Camper 'New Gen' range was envisaged an extensive research program was undertaken. The designers thoroughly examined the previous-model hard-floor campers, absorbed feedback from customers and dealers and combined this with the parent company Actco-Pickering’s 30 years' experience in sheet metal manufacturing.
The new generation Pioneer Camper design began with input from dealers and customers, who highlighted the need for the best features, with some of the comforts of home, but at a reasonable prices.
They also wanted campers that were durable enough to handle the Old Telegraph Track at Cape York and get back home safely.
Many hours were spent discussing and trialling different configurations, taking into account access, ergonomics, maintenance, weathering and integration with other features.
Much time was also paid to body construction, optimal material choices, longevity and, finally, styling.
An early design inclusion was the proved Pioneer independently-sprung trailing arm chassis that has served well over many years. Hundreds of previous-model Pioneers have travelled thousands of kilometres across the Outback.
Onto the chassis went CAD (Computer Aided Design) componentry that was compliant with desired GVM, ball-loading and centre of gravity criteria. These parts were then virtual-reality-tested for load performance capacity. A FOS (factor of safety) was applied to these parts, giving the final design the ability to handle three times the analysed load.
We haven't taken a Pioneer Camper for an extended test yet, but we checked out the company's manufacturing facility in Melbourne and close inspection of the model range indicates good fit and finish.
The factory would be almost every camper trailer maker's dream facility, with all sheet metal parts laser cut on tools that camper volumes alone probably couldn't justify. When we visited the plant there were around five times more TSB service bodies than campers under construction.
Today's New Gen range consists of the $25,895 Prospector, $29,925 Argyle, $33,965 Argyle SE, $39,735 Onyx and $46,875 Gascoyne.
The Prospector rolls on a beam axle with leaf spring suspension and all other variants have independent suspension. Equipment levels range from basic stove, sink, water tank and storage space up to twin battery electrics and charging , hot water system, large kitchen and stereo kit.
Ball weights for the Pioneer range start at 80kg and progress to 130kg.
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