Proudly 100% Australian owned, SWAG is constantly refining and updating its camper trailers to better suit our conditions. Their latest compact hybrid, the SCT13-MAX is targeted at retirees with passion for the outdoors but a need for comfort.
KATH HEIMAN (CTOTY 2022 JUDGE)
SWAG is an Australian family-owned company that delivers imported campers while promising local componentry where it matters, and a firm hold on overseas quality control. SWAG has spent considerable effort in recent years to redesign its campers, embrace some new composite technologies for bodywork, and help reinforce market competitiveness.
The SWAG SCT13-MAX has its sights firmly set on the 55-plus age category and markets the SCT13 as ‘Cape Ready’. Inside, there are plenty of amenities to keep a couple comfortable and rested – whether for a weekend away, a month or longer. There’s a king inner spring pillow top mattress, a roomy ensuite, and an internal sink. While the dinette appears a little squeezy on first inspection, just fold the mattress and lift a lid to reveal a second cushion and backrest.
The pop-top roof was hard for me to lift, and – given its target audience - SWAG may wish to consider a different mechanism or electronic actuators. Notably, SWAG offers the SCT13 in either pop-top or hard-top configurations; the latter for users who are prepared to sacrifice a little fuel economy for extra ease.
While the SWAG SCT13-MAX won’t knock you over with innovations, Adam told us that the rig is continually being tweaked in response to customer feedback. And he’s well placed to ensure that specifications for change aren’t lost in translation given his partnership with a Chinese-born Australian ex-pat who operates as SWAG’s permanent eyes and ears on the ground at the overseas manufacturing plant.
The kitchen is functional with several features tailored to augment pantry storage space, increase work surfaces, and keep everything close at hand while you’re working at the stovetop. This includes a kitchen that folds against the bodywork rather than sliding straight out. While the bearings on the retraction mechanism were a little clunky to use, the layout has evident utility.
GLENN MARSHALL (CAMPER AUSTRALIA EDITOR AT LARGE)
Let’s start with the six-inch single-piece chassis that provides improved clearance heights than a two-piece chassis. The chassis is also hot-dipped galvanised for added durability. Lightweight and designed to be towed behind a Prado, the SCT13-MAX is geared for those who love to get off the blacktop.
The McHitch Uniglide hitch provides excellent articulation while the 21mm heavy-duty coils matched to the dual Monroe offroad shocks provide a more comfortable ride. Our tow test had us behind the wheel of a RAM 1500, let’s just say we didn’t even feel the SCT-13 behind us.
The body is protected from stone damage via the urethane coating, it is also a weight reduction when compared with checker plate. Automotive seals prevent dust from spoiling your time in the Outback and a single spare tyre mounted on the drawbar will get you out of trouble if you suffer a puncture.
The optional MAXTRAX are helpful if you get stuck at Inskip Point while the 5-year structural warranty offers peace of mind that the hybrid will survive the Tanami Road or an escape to The Cape.
Enjoy a hot shower after a long day's drive thanks to the Truma Ultra Rapid hot water system in the spacious combination ensuite and then a restful sleep on the king-size innerspring pillowtop mattress. The double-glazed windows all have midgee proof and blackout screens to keep out the bugs and enable you to sleep past sunrise.
An external shower with plumbed hot/cold water means you can wash the sand from your feet after a day spent relaxing on the beach. There is plenty of low-draw LED lights internally and externally although white light is the only colour offered so the bugs will be attracted to you at night.
Set up is quick and easy, similar to all the other hybrids on the market, although the rear foldout bed was one of the better versions I’ve seen. The gas strut-assisted roof was a challenge for Judge Kath to lift, something potential buyers should check with any hybrid.
The L-shaped stainless-steel kitchen was spacious and I like the way it increases the floor space, however, it was a little clunky when setting up and packing down. Adding a couple more bearings might solve this.
DAN EVERETT (CTOTY 2022 JUDGE)
The SWAG is a bit of an oddball when it comes to off-grid living. The water situation is a little lower than I’d like to see, 200L of fresh water in total just doesn’t go far when you’ve got a hot shower. Although an optional creek draw setup can offset that concern. There’s a decent 300W solar feeding into a 200Ah lithium, all running a 95L fridge. It’ll probably comfortably go around three to four days off-grid with that setup. Then there’s 18kg of gas on board just for the kitchen, and space to carry four jerry cans. Trading some gas and jerry cans for more onboard water and power would be a game changer.
The quality of finish was decent and around on par with what you’d expect from most of the big-name importers. The cabinetry was decent, and the paint and panel looked nice. The kitchen was the real bugbear for me though. The fold-out design is brilliant, but the fit and finish were pretty rough. The bearing system could easily jam and you needed to take the weight of the kitchen with one hand while popping a latch with the other. It was just indicative of a good idea and poor execution. Fixing a few issues like that would see it score higher.
The build quality overall was definitely a redeeming feature for the SWAG, a one-piece chassis from front to back may add to the nearly 1900kg tare weight but will certainly help with longevity. The box itself is all composite sandwich panel construction which helps with strength and low weight as well. It’s one of those features from high-end vans slowly trickling down into the budget offerings and does see the SWAG score higher than others.
While not the heaviest in the 13-foot hybrid class, you’re still towing a giant box off-road that’ll weighs over 2000kg by the time you fill the water tanks.
For two-up camping you get plenty of comforts, the inner spring king-sized mattress is great, as is the full insulation thanks to composite panels in the body. Hot water and a space heater are great, but the lounge was definitely designed with posture rather than comfort in mind.
TIM VAN DUYL (CAMPER AUSTRALIA CREATIVE DIRECTOR)
It is hard to beat imports on price but there are differences between the many versions of the 13-Foot hybrid on offer. Some, like SWAG, have a proud history of importing and finishing this style of camper here, in Australia, and with that experience comes knowledge of what works and what needs to be upgraded.
The SWAG SCT13-MAX is not the cheapest 13-Foot Hybrid like it but then it also comes with a branded (and reliable) Projecta BMS system complete with an inverter, a good amount of solar (300W), Monroe shock absorbers, NSK or Koyo bearings, a single-piece chassis, Australian supplied and fitted batteries and an actual king-sized bed. All up, to me, that adds a lot of value to the already aggressive price.
With the driveaway price of $67,990 including an Ultimate Off-Grid Adventure Pack upgrade that upgrades the batteries to lithium, ups the charger and inverter specs as well as adds more solar and a diesel heater, its decent value but it is still on the high-end of its competitive set with similar spec campers from other brands available for less.
What sets the SCT13-MAX apart are the little finishing details and the passion behind the brands' community. To me, the SCT13-MAX looks the part. The integrated branding in the protective capping on the leading edges and the massive graphics look the part and judging by the brands’ support online and the companies investment in organising musters, it's clear there is a passion behind in the brand.
SWAG SCT13-MAX Judges Rating
SWAG SCT13-MAX SPECIFICATIONS
Weights and Measures
|Height ||2.26m (Roof Down)|
|Chassis||Hot-dip Galvanised Single Piece 6”|
|Brakes||12” Electric Drum Brakes|
|Suspension||SCT Heavy Duty Independent Coil Suspension|
|Coupling||McHitch 3.5t Uniglide|
Accessories & Inclusions
|Battery||2 x 200Ah Lithium|
|Hot water||Truma Ultra Rapid|
|Fridge||SCT75ltr Dual Zone Fridge/Freezer|
|Water||200L Fresh, 120ltr Grey|
|Air conditioner||Truma Aventa|
SWAG SCT13-MAX price $67,990 (as tested)
Supplied by SWAG Campers
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