Since the first Patriot Camper was introduced to the public in July 2013, the Queensland-based trailer manufacturer has built an enviable reputation for groundbreaking design, quality and near unbelievable off-road capability.
There are essentially three models in the line-up: the entry-level X1-N starting off at $39,990; the X1 which adds six grand to the bottom line; and the X1-H which is the top-of-the-line model. We’ve also heard whispers that something else is brewing at Patriot’s manufacturing plant. Maybe it will be an ever grander version of the X1 … or maybe something entirely different.
This isn’t my first exposure to the Patriot brand – I first saw the range in 2015, again in 2016 at the Overland Expo in the USA, and then had the opportunity to travel with the then brand-new X1-H for a week or so in 2018.
Picking up this unit from Camping Adventures in Carrum Downs, I was delighted to see that it was in a sparkling blue colour instead of the more traditional black or white they normally come in. With the camper behind a Hilux we headed bush in the mountains around Walhalla.
The X1-H is compact and light – overall length is 3.3m and it weighs 1000kg less dry. With a payload of more than 600kg you can cram a lot of gear into the 2000 litres of available storage space, but our test unit was lightly loaded for this run into the hills. With a rated ATM of 1600kg you can tow this camper behind just about any 4WD, and hitched up to an off-road capable vehicle like a Land Cruiser or a Wrangler, you’d have an almost unstoppable remote-area touring combination.
The X1-H’s galvanised interlocking Rigilite Hybrid chassis is unique in that it uses aluminium in non-supporting and stress-free places to help keep the overall weight of the camper down. The body of the camper is made from aluminium for the same reason.
With just 2.5m separating the tow coupling from the centre-line of the axles, it’s a track-following, sharp-turning trailer that sticks pretty darn close to the path of the tow vehicle, which you soon notice on tight, twisty tracks. The clean tow bar (not an A-frame) with its DO35 coupling allows you to pull some very tight turns without the towbar interfering with the tow vehicle’s bumper or body work, which is handy if you’re forced to back up and turn around.
The Cruisemaster X-Cruise Independent Suspension was equipped with optional airbags on our test unit, although coils are standard fare. The setup features twin shocks and is an absolute beauty.
Combined with the 16-inch rims and 33-inch Mickey Thompson tyres, there’s heaps of ground clearance and articulation, along with a 40° departure angle for when you’re in the rough, challenging stuff.
The kitchen is positioned on the nearside (passenger side) of the camper and pulling up for a brew is easy thanks to the drop-down door that exposes a two-burner stove and a couple of large drawers, which can be used for cutlery and everyday food items.
The control panel for the Redarc RedVision system, which includes the compressor control to level the air suspension, is also located in this compartment. Right next door is a pull-out fridge slide and sink setup, so everything is handy and close by whether you’re pulling up for a quick snack or a bigger meal.
The stove, while a good quality stainless steel unit, is pretty basic, with no wind protection, which is a bit of an oversight in a camper that covers all the other bases so well. Still, giving this Patriot a bit more cooking credibility is a Weber Baby Q barbecue mounted to a swing-out stand in the front boot of the camper. There are a couple of gas-bottle holders on each side of this front boot that are tucked in behind protective covers and these are designed to accommodate 4.5kg gas bottles.
Behind the swing-away tyre carrier at the back of the trailer is a very large storage area complete with a roll-out drawer to aid access to the multitude of gear you can carry there. A couple of small doors on each side, essentially located behind the wheel arch, are good for carrying wet gear or muddy stuff such as recovery straps and the like.
Notably, the rear bumper comes with a couple of strong recovery points if you ever need to pull the trailer out of a bog or soft sand hole. The rear bumper also has a hitch receiver designed to carry a bike rack or the like.
On the driver’s side of the trailer are a couple of compartments offering more storage, as well as the spot for the inverter we had fitted (an optional extra), while the front compartment carries the gas hot-water heater, and this is easily connected to a hose that can feed the kitchen or a shower.
The air vent here (used to pressurise the interior and keep dust out) has a paper filter on it, but Patriot has gone one step further than most manufacturers by also adding a drain tube to whisk away any water that tries to invade the interior of the camper.
Power-wise, there are a couple of 12V 135amp/h Gel batteries controlled by a Redarc Manager30 charger. A solar panel on the roof will keep the batteries charged when off the grid, while a 240V input will do the same when you are in a caravan park.
There’s a couple of USB and 12V outlets to charge devices and, as well as the RedVision system, our test camper was also fitted with a 1000W full sine-wave inverter. In all it was a bloody good electrical setup.
The real attraction of the X1-H that sets it apart from others in the Patriot stable – and from all other camper trailers – is the unique hard-roof tent setup. Undo a couple of latches, stand back and press the remote key and the roof lifts up. It takes less than a minute for the roof to reach its final position and then you simply grasp and pull the tent frame out which extends the walls and verandah of the tent.
The floor and its access ladder (a work of fine engineering design and manufacture) is then folded out, the ladder set up and then the exceptional gel-top pocket spring mattress is folded out from its travel position.
In all it takes two to three minutes to set up and you really don’t need to do anything more for overnight stops; although, you might want to peg the tent down for some added security in windy conditions. You can quickly add side walls (standard fare) for a spacious change room and extend it even further with an optional kids’ room, taking set-up time to around 10 minutes.
Befitting such a camper, and one that proudly wears its ‘Made in Australia’ badge, the tent material and fly wire used throughout is the best Aussie-made material you can get. There’s no cheap crap here.
One thing you’ll immediately notice when you climb up onto the comfy bed is how roomy the tent area is – it beats most other rooftop tents hands down – and there is much more headroom as well.
The hex-pattern roof lining of the hardtop helps insulate the tent from sound and the elements, while an LED strip light illuminates the area at night. A large louvred window at the head of the bed opens to improve airflow in what is, when all the windows are zipped open, a very airy tent anyway.
If you are camping in cold conditions (Tassie readers take note) you can add an optional diesel hot-water and tent-heating system that pipes warm air into the tent area to keep you snug as a bug when its snowing outside.
Around the other side of the camper, a 270° awning is quickly and easily swung into place, providing ample protection from the sun and/or rain when you’re in the cooking area.
This camper is designed for the adventurous four-wheeler and is capable of going anywhere you care to tow it. Sure, any trailer can tend to act like an anchor at times, but this one will do it less than most and will follow you faithfully wherever you want to go.
With the camper’s 155 litres of water (in two tanks), two batteries and a good-size solar panel, along with a reasonably sized fridge and a heap of storage space, the X1-H provides all the essentials to live comfortably off the grid so you can stay at remote camps for a week or longer.
While it doesn’t come cheap, with a starting price of $52,990 and topping out at around $65K depending on options, the X1-H is one of the best Aussie-designed and -manufactured campers on the market. You’ll be the envy of many of your friends and with a five-year structural warranty you’ll be able to lead the pack, anywhere, for many years to come.
Patriot X1-H specifications
HEIGHT (AT TRAVEL): 1750mm
WIDTH (EXTERNAL): 1850mm
LENGTH (OVERALL): 3300mm
BALL WEIGHT: 120kg (unloaded)
DEPARTURE ANGLE: 40°
STORAGE SPACE: 2000L
BODY: Self-supporting aluminium shell
CHASSIS: Rigilite Hybrid Chassis
ROOF: Hexocore composite powered tent lid (remote controlled)
TENT: CS3 Integrated tent + change room
SUSPENSION: Independent Cruisemaster X-Cruise airbag suspension
BRAKES: 10-inch electric drum brakes
WHEEL/TYRE: 16-inch alloy/33-inch Mickey Thompson MTX-P3
FRESH WATER: 155L (1x85L; 1x70L)
BATTERY: 2 x 135amp/h gel
ELECTRIC: Redarc Manager30; Redarc RedVision TVMS
SOLAR: 1 x 140W roof-mounted panel
HOT WATER: Smarttek gas heater
GAS CYLINDERS: 2x4.5kg
COOKTOP: Bromic S/S 2-burner and grill; Weber Baby Q barbecue (opt.)
FRIDGE: 50L Waeco CX50W (opt)
LIGHTING: LED throughout
PRICE: $52,990 ($60,544 as tested)
Patriot Campers HQ:
(07) 5597 0638; www.patriotcampers.com.au
Camping Adventures (Vic):
(03) 9708 2946; campingadventuresoz.com.au