FIT FOR A KING

Sometimes itís better to ditch the swag and camp in luxury. Enter the Mountain Trail EDX Touring Edition.

WORDS DAVID COOK PHOTOS MATT FEHLBERG AND NATHAN JACOBS

GEAR MOUNTAIN TRAIL EDX CAMPER

Sometimes itís better to ditch the swag and camp in luxury. Enter the Mountain Trail EDX Touring Edition.

THE Mountain Trail EDX Touring Edition is a premium camper. If you want quality, reliability and a camper that is super-easy to use Ė and you have the budget to match Ė then this is it.

Prior to its launch in 2013, the EDXís engineering fees exceeded $200,000, with Mountain Trail investing a further $200,000 on CNC machinery just to build it. Letís take a closer look.

GEARED FOR CONVENIENCE

THE whole camper seems to have been designed for convenience. Setting up a rearfold camper is supposed to be easy, but the EDX is the best weíve seen. We watched as Mountain Trailís Heidi Edwards set up the camper on her own, including the kitchen, fridge/pantry and the awning, in three minutes and 40 seconds in steadily falling rain. A total set-up, with the en-suite, toilet and mesh floor under the awning, takes less than 10 minutes for one person.

But thereís more to this camper than functional convenience. The EDX is built similar to a standard automobile with replaceable panels and parts, an attractive feature for an off-road camper. In all there are more than 300 separate lasercut components. Everything is built to last, with metal components made from aluminium, stainless steel, Zincanneal or galvanised steel.

The chassis is 150x50x3mm with a 125x75x3mm drawbar, all hot-dip galvanised. The independent trailing arm suspension is Mountain Trailís own design, with replaceable stub axles, adjustable toe-in and -out camber and 12in electric brakes. Custom King Springs and Monroe shocks were also designed for the EDX.

The 16x8in six-stud wheels are equipped with 265/75 R16 all-terrain tyres and the spare is tucked under the chassis, with a Toyota Land Cruiser 100 Series spare wheel carrier to raise and lower it.

The camper has a stylish look, with its raked bodywork along the bottom giving a 30-degree departure angle. Thatís more than whatís offered on a Land Cruiser 200 Series, so if your car can

The Mountain Trail EDX Touring Edition is one classy camper Ė there is no other way to put it

make the transition, then youíd expect the camper to as well. Mountain Trailís Erok protection package stiffens the rear body edge and minimises damage to the bodywork by sharing imposed load with the adjacent chassis.

The body is made from 1.2mm Zincanneal steel bonded with Sikaflex and secured by concealed rivets for a stylish automotive outer finish. The camper we tested was finished in the standard white two-pack, but Mountain Trail will colourmatch to your tow vehicle.

LUXURY AND CONVENIENCE

THE most notable feature of the set-up and pack-up process is the auto opening and closing function. Press a button and the camper steadily opens, pulling out the canvas as it moves, which takes about 45 seconds. You can stop it at any point in pack-up mode to tuck in canvas, but thereís generally time to do whatís needed without interrupting the process.

The electric actuators inside the camper near the foot of the bed are synchronised by a factory-programmed parallel controller. Fourteen parameters control and monitor soft-start and close, amperage overload limits, pack-up and set-up speed and so on. You can disable the system and close the camper manually in a similar fashion to a typical rear-fold hardfloor.

The actuators are pre-programmed for 1000kg of push/pull on either side and are rated for 10,000 strokes before requiring a service.

The tent bows are square for strength and fixed at their usable length, except for one at the back of the tent, which swings up and is braced by two upright poles. This arrangement extends the tent further than would otherwise be possible and allows for a straight rear wall and a door thatís close to the bed, leaving plenty of room for bunks or a table across the back.

The flip-over floor is made from a German honeycomb composite material with fibreglass laminates on either side.

It weighs just 20kg and is finished with a quality marine-grade carpet.

There is an in-built step for the queensize bed across the back, making entry and exit a dream. The innerspring mattress has a full cover to protect against damp canvas if the weather has been unpleasant. There are reading lights and bedhead storage compartments with dual USB ports to charge a phone or tablet overnight.

Under the bed is a deep sturdy drawer with internal baffles that is accessible from outside when the camper is closed.

At the foot of the bed are the internal double-pole stereo, 240V outlets, 12V auxiliary socket, dual USB outlets and the upgraded 1000W pure sine wave inverter.

The cabin heater duct is next to the other side of the drawer.

Even the stitch-welded sections are laser-cut and keyed together to ensure the EDX is built with the same structural integrity throughout.

COOKING CLASS

THE stainless-steel kitchen is well designed Ė it slides out and the top flips over to provide a huge food preparation area. The whole structure is selfsupporting and automatically locks into place. The sink is large and the auto ignition three-burner cooktop will handle all your cooking needs. There are two large drawers and an enclosed storage compartment under the sink. Above the kitchen is a large LED touch-light built into the bulkhead. The end handle doubles as a towel rail.

There are two 240V powerpoints, a 12V auxiliary socket and two USB ports at the kitchen. Above the fridge is the full electrical heart of the trailer, with a Redarc battery monitor panel, six circuit switches and a water level gauge.

Water is carried in the 130L stainlesssteel tank with internal baffles underneath. The camper includes a threeway water valve for access to external water sources and connection of mains water if it is available.

Immediately adjacent are two roomy pantry drawers on soft-close slides Ė one 300mm deep to cater for wine bottles or similar, the other shallower for spices and condiments. Next to that is a fridge slide with an 80L Waeco fridge/freezer firmly locked into place by the custom-built fridge slide, which doesnít require tiedown straps.

All up, itís a very practical and wellequipped kitchen, which, being situated at the front, leaves a large area towards the rear for other undercover activities.

All storage bays are fitted with friction hinges that rest at the angle theyíre opened to, preventing the locker doors from swinging shut or opening Ė just another feature that improves the camperís functionality as a whole.

All doors have a double return folded edge with the return inner lip radius in the corners to match the pinchweld seals.

This method of construction ensures the camper remains dust-free, as it proved to be on this test.

Above the pantry and fridge is a stainless-steel Rhino-Rack channel bar system that allows you to fit Rhino-Rack accessories for carrying bikes, boats or whatever else you might want to transport.

The braced top of the camper is also strong enough to carry trailbikes, making it a versatile choice for those who enjoy getting active in the outdoors.

MOUNTAIN TRAIL EDX TOURING EDITION

TARE 1300kg ATM 2000kg SUSPENSION Trailing arm BRAKES 12in electric drum COUPLING DO35 CHASSIS 150x50x3mm hot dip galvanised DRAWBAR 125x75x3mm hot dip galvanised BODY 1.2mm Zincanneal WHEEL/TYRE 16x8in alloy rims with 265/75 R16 all-terrain tyres STYLE Rear-fold hardfloor WIDTH 1920x4000mm LENGTH (HITCH TO TAIL LIGHTS) 4950mm AWNING 6000x2000mm GAS CYLINDERS 2x4.5kg WATER 130L COOKTOP Three-burner KITCHEN Stainless-steel BATTERY 100Ah lithium PRICE $59,990

MEASURING UP

WHAT MAKES IT SO GOOD:

Quality engineering and finish All-Australian build Quick set-up Auto open and close function Superb kitchen

SELF-SUFFICIENCY

LIKE other aspects of this trailer, the enclosed toolbox up front is well thoughtout.

The one-piece unit is aluminium to keep weight down and is coated in Rhino lining, with mud flaps underneath to protect it against stones. Thereís a jerry can holder in the two outer bays, a diesel fuel tank for the hot water system in the right-hand bay, and two 4.5kg gas cylinders in the centre. The perforated aluminium floor makes it ideal for firewood, garbage, wheel chocks or any dirty or wet items.

However, the LED in the tub would probably be better fitted to the lid.

On the driverís side at On the driverís side at the front are three storage bays, with friction hinge-equipped doors. Thereís a heap of storage here for the supplied portable toilet, a generator, or anything else youíll need to make your camping comfortable and convenient.

Electrically, the EDX is well-equipped.

The once-standard dual 105Ah AGM batteries were replaced with an equivalent 100Ah lithium battery that charges from effective flat to full in 2.5 hours, while also shedding 50kg of weight. It is charged by the Redarc 30A battery management system (lithium version) with a DC-DC charger and MPPT solar regulator.

There is a huge inventory of lights for the EDX, with 11 separate LED for the EDX, with 11 separate LED units included, six of which are inside.

The main wiring harness is a complete sheathed electrically engineered automotive wiring loom, with Deutsch

connectors for a simple plug-andplay installation.

CANVAS ART

THE tent is Australian-made Dynaproof 12oz canvas, with thermal blanket insulation in the roof. A shower annexe, which attaches adjacent to the driverís side rear door, is made from a waterproof lightweight nylon, with a mesh floor and pockets for toiletries. It goes on with one zip, two poles and a spreader bar in two-tothree minutes.

There are two awnings available for the EDX. The Touring Edition comes standard with the touring awning, which goes up on three radiating aluminium spreader bars that brace against the body and two short uprights on the Ďpack rackí channel bar.

When packing up, the thermal blanket and the awning can remain attached to minimise work at the next set-up. A ground cover mesh is also included.

The Touring Edition comes standard with almost everything, including a diesel hot water system and space heater, shower, portable toilet, a lithium battery, the one-minute touring awning and provisions for a childrenís room.

For all the extras and luxuries included here, the tare weight of 1300kg is not excessive and, with an ATM of 2000kg, thereís a substantial load capacity of 700kg. The ball weight is 130kg, which is respectable for a camper of this size.

THE VERDICT

THE Mountain Trail EDX Touring Edition is one classy camper Ė there is no other way to put it. We could look at it and pick maybe a handful of minor areas where we might have preferred a different approach, but they are so trivial that they donít warrant a mention. Rest assured, if you have the money, the Mountain Trail EDX Touring Edition is a camper that will leave you well and truly satisfied.