DINGO ULTIMATE REVIEW
DINGO ULTIMATE REVIEW
By: Matt Williams
The Skamper Kampers Dingo Ultimate camper appeals to a wide audience and excels at towing and functionality.
On picking up the camper from one of Skamper Kampers’ showrooms at Slacks Creek, QLD, the first thing that struck me was the physical size of the Dingo Ultimate. At 5.6m from tow hitch to tail-lights, there is no disputing that this a big unit. It’s also no lightweight, weighing in at 1680kg dry, up to a max of 2200kg. To handle the weight, the camper sits atop a one piece 100mm x 50mm x 4mm galvanised chassis, which is kept under control by fully independent suspension with twin shocks and coil springs.
Skamper Kampers got the team at The Ultimate Suspension to exclusively design the springs and shocks for the Dingo Ultimate. Being a locally sourced product means that if you ever need to get a replacement, you shouldn’t have too much trouble. The 12in electric brakes and 265/75R16 mud tyres wrapped around black steel rims complete the running gear.
Pointing to the fact that this camper is designed for offroad use are the twin rear recovery points, along with a five-year structural warranty on the chassis. All the plumbing (gas and water) has been run internally, reducing the risk of anything getting snagged by a stray rock or branch when you’re out the back o’ Bourke. The 140L stainless steel water tank doesn’t miss out on the protection either, being housed internally at the rear of the camper.
The underslung spare tyre could potentially trip this camper up in some serious offroad situations, but even it sits up pretty high and is partially protected by the suspension arms.
The drawbar is home to two jerrycan holders, bringing your effective water storage to 180L. A couple of 4kg gas bottles also reside behind the checkerplate stone guard, which supply the on-demand hot water system and cooktop. A clever design feature of the stone guard is the hinged outer wings, making it a lot easier to remove/change a jerrycan or gas bottle.
Allowing for maximum articulation and keeping you well and truly attached to your tow rig is the McHitch 3.5t 360 Off Road Coupling, twin safety chains and a manual handbrake. There’s also a 7-pin flat connector and Anderson plug up front for charging the batteries while driving, a twin-wheel swing-away jockey wheel and water connection for the ensuite shower.
CAMPER TRAILER SET UP
If you don’t have to disconnect from your vehicle, you can be ready for bed in under 10 minutes. Unclip the six over-centre locking latches and fold the gas-strut-assisted floor forward, lower the swing-down steps to get inside, adjust a couple of internal supports and you are ready to hit the sack. If it’s a bit windy, or you’re running solo, the forward- and rear-mounted winches will come in very handy when setting up or packing down. The Dingo Ultimate camper trailer also comes standard with two separate annex setups.
First is the lighter, quicker option, for those overnighters when you might need a bit of shelter over the kitchen area. This can be set up with only three poles and a couple of guy ropes. Second is the heavier-duty annex, for when you want to base yourself at one camp for an extended period of time. This second annex also has the option of adding walls, floor and skirt to fully enclose the outdoor area. An ensuite tent also attaches to the front wall to complete the picture.
All the poles and spreader bars are steel, which does make them a little bit heavier than their aluminium counterparts, but they make up for it with their strength, durability and serviceability. The tent has a permanently attached tropical roof, helping to keep the camper cool on those hot days, while providing additional rain protection from torrential downpours.
DINGO ULTIMATE INTERIOR
As you’d expect with this large camper trailer, there’s plenty of room inside.
First up, you’ve got a queen size innerspring mattress that can be separated from the rear section by way of a canvas divider. Access is made just that little bit easier by way of a folding step at the bottom of the bed. The U-shaped dinette area in the rear easily seats six and converts quickly and easily into a double bed.
Skamper have opted to go with easy-clean leatherette over fabric cushions, which is the sensible option in my opinion. Keeping with the ‘let’s keep it practical’ approach, the floor is hard wearing vinyl. Of particular note are the storage compartments beneath the seats. Typically constructed from particle board or MDF, those in the Dingo Ultimate are powder coated steel, which increases overall strength and means they aren’t affected by atmospheric conditions.
Ventilation and protection from the elements are provided by large windows which feature midge-proof mesh screens, each with its own external awning as well as an internal canvas lining.
Four canvas pockets, two for each sleeping area, are also provided for small items like a torch or your mobile phone (which you are using purely as an alarm clock!).
POWERING THE TRAILER
Hidden beneath the rear seat is the power plant for the camper: twin 100Ah batteries. There are also 12V and USB sockets allocated around the dinette for your charging needs. Illumination is provided by two LED strip lights at the front and rear of the camper, with the forward light having its own switch, meaning that you don’t have to get out of bed to turn the light off. A courtesy LED light for the stairs is also provided with its own switch.
Looking after all that power is a CTEK DC-DC D250SA Charger. This is supplied via the Anderson plug on the draw bar whilst driving, or from the additional solar input Anderson plug. This camper doesn’t have many optional extras, as pretty much everything is included, however, solar panels are one of the options.Our test unit had a 160W panel that kept the batteries topped up during our four-day stop at the Big Red Bash.
Along with the DC-DC Charger, there is also a 240 CTEK charger as well, for when you pull into a caravan park for the night. Completing the 12V/240V package is a 375W Victron Pure Sinewave Inverter.
Located above the kitchen is the master control panel, and I couldn’t think of a better place for it. It contains both switches and fuses for the fridge, 12V power to the camper, water pump, camp lighting, additional 12V socket and USB charging ports. There’s also the controller for the on-demand hot water system, battery monitor and fresh water level indicator. Having everything together and it such a central location is a great idea.
DINGO ULTIMATE KITCHEN
Typically in forward-fold campers you’ll find the kitchen at the rear of the camper. Not so with the Dingo Ultimate. After listening to customer feedback, the design team pushed the kitchen forward of the axle next to the fridge compartment and pantry drawer, creating a U-shaped design, meaning that your food, cooking and preparation areas are all within arm’s reach.
The stainless steel slide-out kitchen comprises a three burner Dometic stove with Piezo ignition, two cutlery drawers along with a deeper pot drawer, a sink plumbed with on-demand hot water and an LED light. There’s also a slide-out servery and a fold-down support leg for the kitchen. Although the cooktop features a sunken design and a single wind break, on those windy days you really need the extra wrap-around windbreaks common on other campers. The location of the fire extinguisher on the opposite side of the camper to the kitchen also had me scratching my head.
Who said that forward fold campers have limited storage? Everywhere you look, there is another hatch or door. There’s obviously the large area at the front for the pantry and fridge compartment, but that is matched on the road side by an equally cavernous hole that fits both annexes, walls, ensuite and a couple of camp chairs.
Out the back on the offside there is a large drawer that runs underneath the rear seating area, allowing access from both inside and outside. Next to that is the pole storage compartment. On the road side, a full-width drawer makes a perfect spot for a few fishing rods or even a couple of golf clubs.
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