Sydney-based engineer and part-time motorcyclist Mark Nelsen was motivated to design the prototype Ambush Camper while towing a camper through heavy traffic on the South Coast of NSW. A few lads in a ute hauling trail bikes and swags pulled up next to him leaving the holidaymaker pondering how he could combine his two passions.
A solid 12 years, lots of ingenuity, engineering and money later, Nelson is ready to launch his Ambush camper into the spotlight with its unique approach to carrying motorcycles, pushbikes or a quad with ample comforts on board.
While toy haulers aren't new, what’s significant here is that this camper travels at 700mm – barely over knee-height.
In addition to its lithe dimensions, the camper has a Tare of 500kg and 750kg GTM, meaning you can tow it without brakes. Future versions of the camper are likely to be heavier, resulting in braked variations.
This camper rides on a 40mm beam axle and a seven-leaf slipper spring setup, but an independent trailing arm setup will lift its game offroad, where bike and quad enthusiasts enjoy their pursuits.
To minimise the trailer’s depth, two aluminium extrusions form the main chassis and frame. These interlock at the side and are sealed with silicon strips to keep out dust and water. This approach lowers the profile and the weight significantly, at a financial cost, but is according to Nelson as strong as his original 50x50mm steel chassis.
The trailer base is made from composite aluminium sheet and the top is a fibreglass composite panel with a laminate for the internal floor.
As the camper unfolds, you lift the top rear tent in a quick upward movement so that it snaps into position: no extra poles and a simple one-second lift of the one bar.
Internally, there is a double sized bed (1380x1850mm) that is unique. It’s an air bed that uses the snap-on fitting on the pump to inflate it in just 35 seconds and 5-10 seconds to deflate. This creates storage capacity for up to two chairs, bedding, pillows, canvas and poles on top of the deflated mattress in the space normally occupied by the bed.
At the front of the main body is a large aluminium storage box. As we saw it, this contained an optional Sizzler barbecue on a slide, with rotating mount to permit it to store away more efficiently.
Mark saw himself designing a transport system for camper’s toys, but he says some of the greatest interest he has had has been from older campers who love the auto opening and closing and light weight – it can be towed behind small four cylinder vehicles, even a quad bike – and who are keen to avoid having to climb onto a bed.
The Ambush Camper is at $28,850 list price (and $32,250 as we saw it).