Time to Roam Magazine Issue 9 - June/July 2014 - Page 33

| tried + tested camper review Karl Geddes and Andrew Walter Blue Tongue Campers, the creation of Karl Geddes and Andrew Walter, in the southern Sydney suburb of Kirrawee, was launched to provide the market with the pair’s best efforts in camper trailers. When they began, five years ago, they started with all-Australian manufactured campers, but found themselves swimming against an economic tide. Customers wanted all local materials, but many baulked at the extra $5000 for local canvas and so the range of Blue Tongue campers began to feature locally made trailers with imported tents. This kept the price down, allowing Blue Tongue’s range of moderately priced side-fold softfloor campers to offer a range of extra features in the basic trailer with livable canvas. The business was running along happily, but faced with a rapidly evolving market, Karl and Andrew recognised that they needed to offer something new, with a wider range of options in both basic layouts and features. Developing a totally new camper design is expensive and time consuming, or there was the option of buying in finished trailers from China. The latter course was settled on, and two totally new campers were ordered, with the first just landed: a rear-fold hardfloor and a forward-fold design. Karl and Andrew have very definite opinions about build standards and protecting Blue Tongue’s hard-won reputation for quality was obviously paramount. While it is still early days in their relationship with the overseas workshops, they have already made great strides in resolving the sorts of issues that make customers look warily at some imports. The forward-fold camper has been named the Overland Grande, and is based on an Australian-developed design in which the top of the camper body folds forward, not back, with the bed coming to rest on the front of the camper and the rear half being devoted to a lounge/storage/additional sleeping area. To facilitate the opening and closing processes are two winches, one at the front and one at the rear. To open the trailer you simply back off the front winch strap, fold over the front storage box’s top firewood/luggage rack, extend out the front winch on its post, undo the six clips arou