SLIDE-ON CAMPERS

JACKSONS CARRY ME CAMPER

This familiar camper's business structure changed and so has the design and construction.

 

The Carry Me Camper business changed hands and there are considerable improvements in this reliable design.

Sandy and Phil Candy sold their Carry Me Camper business to Marg and Wayne Jackson of Jacksons Australia/Jacksons 4x4 Accessories. The deal was done in late 2014 and the Jacksons have made many product upgrades since.

Jacksons has been building the camper boxes for many years and Candy Canvas is continuing to produce the tents.

The most radical change to the construction of this popular slide-on range is that the camper construction is now all-aluminium, resulting in significant weight savings over the previous all-steel construction. However, strength hasn't been compromised.  

The Tailgate model has undergone a major transformation, now incorporating a fully sealed, suspended tailgate, providing a large entry and dressing area, with access to under-bed clothes storage drawers.  

Other improvements include much greater jack stability on all new campers and walk-in models now have integrated access steps.

Changes to the jack heads significantly improve stability when the camper is off the vehicle. The new style jacks are now a standard feature on all campers.  

Both of these developments can be purchased as a retrofit kit for existing campers.  

The fridge tilt slide now comes with gas strut support. There are also several other electrical, charging, solar options for the campers and a new kitchen is under development.

The Jacksons are continually adding optional extras; particularly in the electrical and charging area.
 

Off-road evaluation

Our evaluation Carry Me Camper fitted neatly on the aluminium tray of an Isuzu D-Max Space Cab Ute. 

Like most extended and crew cab utes the Isuzu D-Max Space cab rides on medium-duty leaves that strike a compromise between load carrying and ride quality. With the Carry Me Camper loaded with full fridge, water tank and camping gear the D-Max looked fine for on-road running, but not ideal for where we were going.

This wasn’t a problem for Isuzu Ute Australia who immediately slotted in a set of Lovell Engineering-sourced, heavy duty rear leaves that instantly restored ride height.

One criticism we’ve made about previous Carry Me Campers is that it’s been necessary to climb a full-height ladder to access the bed.

On the Walk-In model this problem has been neatly solved by the provision of an entry area at the foot of the bed, accessed by a short ladder that needs to reach only to the ute’s tray height.

As with previous Carry Me Campers since the late 1990s the Walk-In has a simple, flip-over bed section that forms the roof of the living space beside the camper when it’s opened.

The underside of the lid/bed base has rolled-up canvas sides that drop down to form a private space, in conjunction with a zip-on end wall, or can be left open for fresh air. The zippers are fat, rugged types.

In the case of the Space Cab version we tested there’s a short overhang over the cab roof and it’s obviously longer in the case of crew cab versions.

The extended cab module has two large lift-up side doors and two smaller ones aft. The large doors double as sun shades and rain shelters when open, making a lunch stop on the road side quite comfortable in most weather conditions.

The doors allow unrestricted access to the storage areas, the cooker, sink and fridge, while the smaller rear doors provide access to the body jacks and other stored items.

The Walk-In model is the top-shelf offering from Carry Me Campers and came with tent, ladder, mattress, poles and pegs. On top of that the test unit had the full electrical kit – voltmeter, 80AH deep cycle AGM battery, 240-12V battery charger hardwired, 47-litre fridge/freezer on a slide, three power outlets, two 12V lights and a wandering fluoro light with lead, 55-litre water tank, stainless steel pantry, metho stove and space heater.

 

Living With the Walk-In  


Set up on heavy duty rear springs the D-Max/Carry Me Camper tipped the scales at 2.90 tonnes, with full fuel and water tanks.

Fuel consumption worked out at 11.3L/100km overall, for around 10,000km of bush travel, including off-road work and highway cruising at 110km/h. That’s excellent.

Handling and manoeuvrability were judged OK, although a set of heavy duty shocks all around wouldn’t have gone astray.

Setting up the camper was a doddle and the Walk-In crew was ready for an afternoon aperitif in about five minutes, every day. Packing up took a little longer, because folding the soft cover over the tent was a tad fiddly.

Our crew was particularly impressed with the ability to get at everything without having to move other stuff and they loved the flexible tap hose, rather than the restricted range of a fixed tap.

Although initially wary of the Origo metho stove they soon adapted to it and found it and the accompanying Heat Pal stove/room heater very easy to use.

The bed was comfortable; if a little cool during one night near Alice Springs when the mercury went to minus three degrees! An under-bed insulation pad works well in these conditions we’ve discovered.

We had a problem with the large side door catches wearing holes in the rubber dust gaskets, but the reason turned out to be door handle holes wrongly aligned on this particular unit. It was an easy fix.

With the latest utes having 4WD-wagon-like safety equipment and traction aids a ute with a Carry Me Camper on its back is a great combination for long-term Outback touring.

The ability to leave the Camper on its free-standing legs allows the ute to be used for work at other times.

 


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