This trailer might not win first prize in a beauty contest but because it’s so multipurposed it will have more than enough fans.
NEXT ADVENTURE AU 1
Over the past few years the offroad trailer and caravan market has grown in leaps and bounds, and it can take up quite a bit of your time if you start researching which model will fit your needs.
When you start comparing models it becomes obvious that they are all more or less the same. With regards to off-road trailers, all of them have a big, closed body and doors that open to the top or bottom, somewhere inside is a kitchen, and on top of the body is the rooftop tent. Actually, they all look the same and all serve the same purpose: You camp with it and when you’re at home the trailer waits patiently underneath a canopy until the next camping weekend.
Still, there are few, if any trailers on the market with which you can camp, transport your garbage, and help your first-year move into res. Battista Errera, owner of Next Adventure Lifestyle Campers, saw a gap in the market and came up with the AU 1 trailer.
In its most basic form the AU 1 is essentially a box on a chassis, with wheels and a spare wheel. From here you can add extras to suit your wallet and your needs without giving up the multipurpose functionality. You can, for example, add a tent, a nosecone, water tanks and a kitchen unit.
You will also definitely turn heads when you travel, because the AU 1 doesn’t look like any other trailer on the market. >
Pitch your tent
The trailer is equipped with a standard rooftop tent that’s mounted onto a steel frame. This frame is as big as the load bin and stands on four hydraulic jacks. The jacks operate under 12 V power and you can lift the tent up to 190 cm. You can also stop it at any height between the lowest (140 cm) and highest adjustment. Before you start pitching, make sure the tent is on the lowest adjustment, otherwise you’re going to struggle to reach everything that needs to be loosened. To remove the cover over the tent you have to start at the trailer’s stern. The cover is kept in place by a rope that’s stitched to the side of the cover and that folds in under the base of the bed. Lift the flap on the side off the tent and loosen the ratchet to give the rope slack. Now walk around the trailer, from corner to corner, and lift the cover out from underneath the bed base so you can completely remove it.
To open the tent you first have to unclip the ladder that lies over it on the left side of the trailer. Two U-shaped clips with springs keep the ladder in place on the bed base. Pull the clip away from the ladder and it will swing out towards you. To reach the ladder you have to stand on top of the trailer’s fender and stretch over the Eezi-Awn canopy, which is rolled up inside its case. Now walk to the right side of the trailer and swing the ladder out towards you. On this side the ladder is fastened to the base of the bed with hinges. The ladder has two sections that slide over each other to make it shorter or longer. The same kind of clips used to keep the ladder in place on the bed base on the other side prevents the one side shifting away from the other. There are three holes on the one side of the ladder where the clips can lock it into your preferred height.
To unfold the tent you have to pull the ladder towards you so that one half of the bed base folds open, also towards you. The ladder now swings down and rests on the ground. Now stretch the canvas tight over the tent with eight spring-loaded steel struts. Simply push the straight side of the strut into the tube that’s fastened to the base of the tent and bend it until the other side hooks through the eyelets on the flap.
If you’re afraid of heights and you don’t want to climb too high up the ladder, you can keep the tent on the lowest adjustment. If, however, you don’t want to struggle to reach the trailer’s packing space, you will have to lift the tent to the maximum height. Now you can adjust
the ladder to a height and angle that’s comfortable for you.
The tent is 230 cm (l) x 134 cm (w), and a sponge mattress (6 cm thick) covers the floor area. There is a window on each side and a door on the side where the ladder is. The back of the tent can open completely but you can’t climb in or out here. The doors and windows have mesh to keep bugs out.
The frame of the load bin (240 x 136 x 50 cm) as well as the chassis is made of angle iron and treated with a powder coating. The sides and rear flap are made of fibreglass and finished off in a camo motif. It really makes you want to drive into the bush.
The load bin is big enough for 24 ammo boxes. If you don’t need that many, you can easily fit three bikes next to each other, or a quad bike or even a smallish dirt bike. The height of the tent from the floor is 90 cm. You can fasten everything using the eight eyelets (four on each side) that’s bolted onto the floor. But you’ll have to the lift the tent platform a bit higher to fit in underneath. The tent will then stick out over your car’s roof and give some wind resistance when you drive. Inside the bin, up front, is a fibreglass cupboard of 125 x 34 x 50 cm. Just like the nosecone, the inside of the cupboard is divided into two. It’s a great place for camping stuff like a gas stove, tarps and awning. Towards the rear, on the right, is a fire extinguisher.
The rear flap is as wide as the entire trailer and rests on two U-shaped steel support brackets that are welded onto the chassis. At the top it’s kept in place by steel brackets on both sides of the flap. The flap opens up completely to the bottom where it rests on the ground and you have easy access to the load bin. The rear flap is also removable simply by lifting it off the brackets. There are two extra brackets on both sides of those that the flap rests on. This is where you fasten the ramp for you to push your quad bike into the load bin.
In the middle, underneath the flap, is a steel plate with holes that’s bolted onto the chassis – just the place for a bike rack. You can also add a tow bar and tow up to 500 kg. Next to the tent, at the rear, is more packing space (75 x 156 cm).
The load bin has a tonneau cover like a bakkie.
An A for effort
The Adventure’s A-frame is just shy of 2 m long. The nosecone is right at the back on the frame, against the body of the trailer. In front of the nose cone sits a 5 kg gas bottle in a lockable container. The A-frame has a steel plate over it stretching from the gas bottle to the coupler. This extra packing space is ideal for a bag of wood or two. (Just keep in mind the nose weight before you load too much wood on here. – Ed) In front of the gas bottle is a spirit level. The sturdy jockey wheel makes it easier to push the trailer around on the grass, and in front at the coupler is a Brad Harrison plug with wiring if you want to charge the battery while driving. The trailer is unbraked, but you can order one with an optional braked axle with a capacity of 2 t. >
The load bin is big enough for 24 ammo boxes. If you don’t need that many, you can easily fit three bikes next to each other.
Pack it in
The large nose cone (130 x 50 x 59 cm) is made of fibreglass and is split into two sections on the inside. The lid is kept in place by two lockable clips. Be careful not to knock yourself on the chin when you open it; the two gas struts that open it are fairly stiff and the lid jumps up quickly. You can remove the nosecone from the A-frame but you’ll first have to remove the fridge and disconnect the electrical box’s wiring.
This box is in the smaller left-handside cupboard in the nosecone. There is a deep-cycle battery in a National Luna power box, a smart battery charger, a solar panel’s load control, and a Brad Harrison plug for the solar panel. The 220 V electrical box next to the battery has three sockets: one for the fridge, one for the battery charger, and an extra one.
The small black electrical board hosts three circuit breakers (lifting of tent, lights and power sockets, and two USB sockets – 5V 1 A and 5V 2.1 A).
On the test model the electrical connection was on the left outside the nose cone. The space between this and the front corner steady is too narrow for the coupler’s lid to open up completely – so it’s quite a struggle to get the plug in.
In the cupboard on the right-hand side is a 55 ℓ ice chest. There is no wasted space here: the National Luna fits in snuggly but there is enough space on the side to grip the handles if you want to lift it out. To the right on the outside of the nosecone is another waterproof 220 V domestic socket and a Hella plug. The licence disc holder and air inlet for the fridge is also located here.
A canvas awning stretches over the A-frame. Unfortunately it doesn’t help to keep rainwater off the nose cone.
Where will we find water?
On the right in front of the axle are two 20 ℓ water tanks side to side fastened to the body. The tanks are not connected to each other. Each tank has its own tap and you can remove the one tank. The filling hole is at the back of the tank, right in front of the fender.
Behind the axle is a jerry can in a lockable container, and the stainless steel table is stored in the middle underneath the tent platform.
The kitchen is in front of the axle on the left side. The kitchen cupboard is aluminium and is split in two. The left-hand side cupboard has a door that pulls down and that hangs on two chains. This surface is 73 cm above the ground and it’s not a convenient place to cook food. Rather put your cooking equipment and utensils on top of it and cut your veggies on the table. Inside the cupboard, right above the bottom, is a small shelf that hangs on chains and that can fold up if you want to put something like a bottle upright. Above the shelf is a spice rack with space for nine round spice bottles. The upright cupboard on the right has a swing door that opens to the right. There is one shelf inside where you can put a smallish pot or some of your groceries.
The two-burner gas stove that’s stored inside the cupboard in the load bin fits neatly on top of the kitchen cupboard. You’ll have to fetch the gas bottle in front at the A-frame and position it next to the trailer when it’s time to connect it to the stove.
Above the kitchen, at the bottom of the tent platform, is an LED light that you can change to white, red or yellow. On the side of the trailer, about the whole length of the side panel, is an Eezi-Awn canopy that you have to remove from the aluminium cover. The canopy is positioned away from the tent so the section above the kitchen is open and everything gets wet when it rains.
In case of emergency
The Adventure’s spare wheel is on the left-hand side of the trailer, right behind the axle. The trailer has 215 x 15” tyres and the spare wheel is full size.