A fancy swag
You’ll find the 2011 Aussie Swag Ultra E is a little more luxurious than its rough namesake.
The 2011 Aussie Swag Ultra E is far more luxurious than its rough namesake
The 2011 Ultra E was designed to be a selfsufficient touring unit, an off-the-shelf camper with literally every little thing you need to travel comfortably in the bush. So to give it a good run in some really rough country, we took it out on the Gibb River Road – the perfect testing ground.
There were two variations of the 2011 Ultra, the ‘E’ and ‘G’. The ‘E’ had an electric hot water system and generator, while the ‘G’ came with a gas hot water system and extra solar panel and was built for people spending time in national parks where gennies aren’t allowed.
Some say that you should do things right, or not at all. And the Ultra is an example of a camper built to that same exacting philosophy. All of the components, from electrics to bedding, are of high quality. There are no shortcuts, the finish is impeccable and you’d be hard pressed to find one out in the bush with any modifications, which says a lot.
We came across a couple further down the Gibb who had been travelling in one for six months, and asked them what they would change. They looked at each other, then shrugged their shoulders.
The 2011 Ultra utilises a hot-dipped galvanised chassis with 100x75x6mm steel. That’s serious strength. The body is steel, too, and the independent trailing arm suspension system complements this trailer’s offroad pedigree perfectly, while the 16in tyres help with clearance. Electric drum brakes come standard and a Treg coupling finishes the running gear. The Ultra is built right, from the bottom up.
The home comforts on the Ultra are what separate it from other campers. The convenient kitchen lets you cook next to the camper (in the shade) and also opens up the space under the awning. The stainless steel pull-out unit comprises a Thetford four-burner stove with grill, sink and drainer with mixer tap and storage. A fold-out cutting board bench on one side gives you more working space, while a massive splashback and wind guard protects your canvas and gives you somewhere to store spices and utensils close to hand.
Above the kitchen is a long slide-out pantry drawer, and next to that is the fridge slide, with another massive fold-out stainless bench. This holds a huge 80L Waeco, which is great as a combo fridge/freezer. You won’t find many camper kitchens better organised.
With a fridge that big, electric water heating, lighting everywhere you need it (most of it LED), a 700W pure sine inverter and everything else that people like to plug in, you need a serious electrical system. Here’s where the 2011 Ultra sings.
A full 240V straight to shore system is included,
along with the aforementioned 700W pure sine inverter. Four 12V sockets are located around the camper. There are even bedside reading lamps inside.
All this is powered by twin 105Ah batteries, which would get you through two or three days in the bush unaided. But when you include the 130W solar panel (mounted to the front of the trailer so you can charge on the go, but fully removable so you can camp in the shade and still charge your batteries), Honda EU20I and 60A Xantrax battery charger – you have a system that could keep you running for months. And the finish, connections, and wiring are all top notch. There is a voltmeter on the solar regulator, which will give you a reading on the batteries, but it would be nice to see a more interactive meter in the system as well.
Sleeping arrangements in the Ultra are pretty straightforward. Most of the storage is in a huge drawer under the bed, which is easily accessible without opening the camper, via a large hatch. The queen-size mattress is made from high density foam with egg-crate foam on top. A handful of storage bins down the side of the bed are good for keeping bits and pieces. The hard floor is big enough for a couple of camp cots, if you don’t mind things a little tight.
Additional storage on top of the kitchen box is available, with a rack and dust-proof storage bag, good for storing extra canvas like awning walls. The top of the camper also has a wire rack that you can pile stuff on, as long as you’re willing to pull it off before setting up.
The canvas is all Australian Wax Converters and you can leave the twin awnings attached when closing it up. Four poles are required to set up the kitchen side awning, which takes about 10 minutes from the time you pull up. The end of the camper has a massive mesh window that can be completely opened up to let in air on hotter evenings.
THE BOTTOM LINE
There is little to fault with the 2011 Ultra E. It’s a classic example of a hard floor camper trailer built right, from the ground up. At $52,700, as new in 2011, you certainly aren’t getting all of that quality for free, but it’s pretty easy to trace where those dollars are going.
Above: There is a rack for storing things on top of the camper, as long as you don’t mind taking them off before setting up. Right: The fold-out bench next to the fridge is very practical.