Patriot Campers on Weight and Design
Camper trailers are a popular choice for long overland trips and offroad travel, due to their light weight and manoeuvrability. With the modern trend towards more gear and more must-have inclusions, we talked to Justin Montesalvo, Director of Patriot Campers, about how they keep weight under control.
How important do you and the team at Patriot view weight in the design of a camper?
“Weight is such an important factor when it comes to designing a Patriot Camper, because it directly impacts where you can go and what you can take with you. We want our customers to feel as unrestricted with their offroad travel as possible. For this reason, overall weight, weight distribution and storage configuration are at the top of our list when we’re designing and refining our camper trailer models,” says Justin Montesalvo, Director of Patriot Campers.
What are your thoughts on the trend towards more accessories and lifestyle inclusions in modern camper trailers, and how it affects towing weights? What are some of the must-have items that customers are asking for these days?
“Modernising camper trailer designs and options is a good thing in our book, as long as these new requirements are balanced with weight reduction techniques. Over the years we’ve added many new features and options to our camper trailers, but we’ve never lost sight of the overall weight goal and have consistently worked in the background to engineer in weight saving measures — especially in the body and chassis — for the lightest possible camper trailer without losing any of its offroad ability. Because of this, the weight of our camper trailers has managed to stay about the same, even with all the new inclusions. If you’re committed to weight saving and not restricting where your products can go, you can make both work.”
Specifically for long-distance overland touring, especially with limited weight allowance, what do you think should be left behind?
“We manage the weight in our camper trailers by positioning the heaviest items in the centre and down low into the chassis, to allow for a lower centre of gravity for improved balance and performance while towing. We certainly don’t leave anything behind on a trip. For us, the design of the storage space paired with the lower centre of gravity means that we can take most things with us. Luckily for us, I don’t think we’ve ever felt like we’ve needed to leave something behind.”
What would you recommend that someone never leaves on a trip without?
“Especially for long touring trips, a dual lithium battery set up is essential. Batteries are some of the heaviest components in your camper trailer, and you can get a more efficient charge out of a lithium battery with weight savings of up to 100kg (rough weight difference between two AGM or GEL batteries vs two lithium batteries). If you need to save some weight, lithiums are the biggest no-brainer.”
What kinds of materials and design techniques does Patriot use to keep a camper’s weight under control?
“There are two ways that we address weight in our camper trailer designs. One is an intelligent design layout, which manages the weight distribution by spreading it low and across the centre of the unit, allowing for plenty of storage space and extra stability while towing. The other method is through our materials. We use a fusion of steel and marine grade aluminium in our chassis, for strength where you need it most, and weight saving aluminium where possible. The lightweight, powder coated aluminium body panels also play a major role in the reduction of weight in each Patriot Camper.”