Photography: GG van Rooyen
Abri van der Merwe, owner of Radical Tops since 2009, is an avid camper.
Every holiday Abri and his family head to an ATKV resort with their Nissan Navara V6 and Sprite Swing caravan. It was during one of these camping holidays that an idea was born.
“I saw these campers arriving with their normal road-going trailers behind their cars. Then they started unpacking, pitching tents, putting up side-screens – and it was obviously a time-consuming exercise. Some people took several hours to set up camp. That’s when the idea of a multi-purpose camping trailer was born,” he says.
Radical Tops was already producing a fibreglass trailer called the Future Trailer. This sleek, modern and lightweight trailer can be colour-coded to the tow vehicle, and features a load capacity of 550kg.
But it was never intended to serve as base for a camping trailer. So Abri, a mechanical engineer by trade, set to work designing an all-new trailer, also tapping into his vast experience as camper.
The final result is the Adventure – a lightweight fibreglass trailer made especially for weekend campers. Weighing in at only 360kg (without any accessories fitted), and made from fibreglass that rides on a state-of-the-art and independent AL-KO rubber axle (with a 1,6-ton rating), the Adventure also boats several unique features in this crowded segment.
Besides the independent suspension set-up, the large trailer features a capacity of up to 5000 litres.
“The space inside the trailer allows, for instance, contractors who work in remote areas to store their equipment inside the trailer and lock it away while they sleep in the tent on top of the trailer,” says Abri.
A mattress is also available for this area, so it can be converted into a separate “bedroom”. The length of the “bed” varies from 1,8m to 2m, depending on the size of fridge that is mounted in the nose section.
The unit featured here is fitted with an 80-litre Snowmaster fridge/freezer, and Abri has added a deep-cycle battery system. This allows for about 48 hours of back-up power in remote areas.
You also get three 220V power points, the power inlet plug, and two interior lights. A 120-litre water tank (using a gravity-feed system), a cabinet with cutlery for four people, and a two-burner gas stove are standard.
There is a built-in clothes cabinet and a unique feature is the small safe, mounted inside the trailer.
A custom-designed Taurnimock tent is mounted on top of the trailer. It was designed for the Adventure and, depending on the customer’s requirements, can be supplied with a variety of extras, in various configurations and sizes. The tent pictured here is the smaller version, retailing at about R8500.
Can this trailer go off-road?
“Yes, certainly,” says Abri. “We specifically designed it so that the wheels are as wide as those on a typical double cab bakkie or SUV. Although this particular trailer is more road-oriented, we can fit a 10cm suspension lift and bigger off-road wheels if that is what the customer wants.”
For off-road applications the spare wheel, which is usually mounted underneath the trailer, can be fitted to a bracket on the front nose, increasing ground clearance.
The Adventure trailer is available in a choice of eight colours – and these were originally available for Mercedes-Benz’s Unimog. So you can choose between options such as “Curry Yellow”, “Yellow Orange”, “Lorry Green”, “Sap Green”, and “Sand Coloured” – to name a few.
“We chose the Unimog’s colours as the paints and colours are more resilient against scratches. They also give the trailer a unique look, compared to all the beige and white options out there,” says Abri.
Radical Tops has invested heavily in time to test the new Adventure, making sure it is ready for commercial applications.
“We have tested the trailer over a variety of surfaces and at a range of speeds. At 160km/h, for instance, it is extremely stable. And it is really impressive in sand, too.”
But Abri says the Adventure’s trump card is the ease-of-use of the tent and the other gear.
“It takes about 15 minutes from parking the trailer at a campsite to the point when everything is set up – and you are ready to open that first cold one, and relax,” he says.
The basic Radical Tops Adventure trailer retails for R58 500. However, this excludes accessories such as the tent, fridge, deep-cycle battery and additions for off-road purposes.
The trailer is also available as a luggage trailer in the form of the Transporter, retailing at R33 200 – in the colour of your choice.