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Blue Tongue Overland XR Series 2 2019 off-road review

Daily driver score

3.5/5

Adventure score

3.5/5

The camping world is so mad for forward-fold campers that it often forgets that, for a long time, the rear-fold, hard-floor camper were considered the 'In' thing.

That rings true for Sydney-based camper-trailer firm, Blue Tongue Campers, whose three hallmark campers are based on the forward-folding concept with an internal lounge. But it's the rear-fold, which quietly ticks along, almost in the background, which is still the most versatile, has the best storage and the best kitchen of the hard-floor campers. The Series 2 version has just been released so we took it out to see what's changed.

At a touch over 5 metres long the Overland XR S2 is market size for this style of camper. (image: Brendan Batty - campertrailerreview.com.au) At a touch over 5 metres long the Overland XR S2 is market size for this style of camper. (image: Brendan Batty - campertrailerreview.com.au)

How big is this camper-trailer? How much does it weigh?

Length5200mm
Width1990mm
Height1700mm
Weight (Tare/ATM/Tow Ball)1550kg / 2200kg / 180kg

The Overland XR S2 is 5.2-metres long under tow and 1.8-metres high. It's a finger under 2-metres wide, with the flip-over boat rack on the top. For it's size and level of equipment, it's a little on the heavy side, weighing in at 1550kg tare with 180kg on the ball. With a full load, it'll weigh 2200kg, so it can carry quite a lot of gear.

The XR S2 has plenty of room inside to move around and ample storage space. (image: Brendan Batty - campertrailerreview.com.au) The XR S2 has plenty of room inside to move around and ample storage space. (image: Brendan Batty - campertrailerreview.com.au)

How practical is the space inside?

As the lid becomes the floor, it's quite open inside the camper, with plenty of room to move around and space to do everyday things standing up, like get dressed, which is often more difficult in a forward fold, as there's not a lot of standing room inside them. There's also no stairs to climb getting in or out, as the hard floor is almost at ground level.

The tent seems quite well made. It's a 450gsm waterproof canvas with a tropical roof, windows all around the bed and three doors, one each side of the hard floor. Almost the whole passenger side can be rolled away, too, creating a giant opening into the camper, which offers a pretty good outlook on hot summer days at campsites by the beach.

There's no shortage of extra canvas, either. There are two awnings (although only one you'll use often, an ensuite tent and an optional kids room. The best of the awnings is the quick version, which is simply a rectangle of canvas that shelters the kitchen and only needs two poles to hold it up. A more complete awning, which also comes with walls and a floor, goes up reasonably easily, but it'd only be used if you were settling in for a week or more, I reckon, and then only if the weather was questionable. Its pitch has been improved over the Series 1, which had a flatter roofline and was more susceptible to pooling water. The ensuite room is gigantic – about the size of an actual small bathroom.

One of the biggest reasons to get a rear-fold over a forward-fold is the internal access to storage. As the rear-fold's is all under the bed, the four steel drawers make it easy to get to. Two of them are even accessible when the camper is shut, which just isn't the case in a forward-folding camper. A large, wide step makes climbing up into the bed easy, too. It has an innerspring mattress which is firm but comfortable and plenty big enough to spread out on if you are sharing it.

The Overland XR Series 1 was very well equipped electrically, maybe too well equipped. It was fitted with three 100ah batteries, which is not only a lot of extra weight, but that much battery takes ages to charge – if they were all flat, a day's driving probably wouldn't do it, especially if the car also had a second it needed to attend to. The Series 2 has dropped back to two batteries, which is far better suited to the camper and should easily be maintained by one of the optional 144W solar panel blankets. It can also be fitted with Redarc's Redvision, offering phone connectivity to the camper's electronics so you can not only monitor everything, but turn things on or off remotely.

The other side of the camper's forward storage is large enough to fit a generator or any other bulky camping appliance. As it can be accessed when the camper's open or closed, it's perfect for all manner of gear. A smaller box facing forwards is great for hoses and recovery gear or even a couple of jerry cans. Beware of loading this area up with too much really heavy gear, though, as the ball-weight's already on the heavy side. Fortunately, the camper has a flip-over luggage rack, which is ideal for heavier or bulkier items. Underneath, it can carry 155-litres of water in two tanks.

The bed is up high – as in all rear-fold campers – but it is very comfortable. (image: Brendan Batty - campertrailerreview.com.au) The bed is up high – as in all rear-fold campers – but it is very comfortable. (image: Brendan Batty - campertrailerreview.com.au)

What are the beds like?

There's only the one bed in the rear-fold and it's a slimline inner-spring mattress that's very comfortable. Like all rear-folds, the bed's up high, but a wide step makes it easy to climb in and out, and is hard to miss, even if it's dark.

There are windows all around it, so ventilation in hot weather is quite good, and the lighting is supplied via the long LED strip strung up to the tent bow above the bed head.

  • This camper's kitchen is the best of the range: well designed and easy to use. (image: Brendan Batty - campertrailerreview.com.au) This camper's kitchen is the best of the range: well designed and easy to use. (image: Brendan Batty - campertrailerreview.com.au)
  • This camper's kitchen is the best of the range: well designed and easy to use. (image: Brendan Batty - campertrailerreview.com.au) This camper's kitchen is the best of the range: well designed and easy to use. (image: Brendan Batty - campertrailerreview.com.au)

What's the kitchen like?

The kitchen is actually one of the camper's best features, although I didn't have to look far to see its inspiration. The layout mimics the function, if not the sophistication, of the kitchen in Kimberley Kampers – the gullwing storage doors are familiar, too. Still, it's the best kitchen in the Blue Tongue range thanks to the three sliding sections and oodles of storage compartments.

From the camper's main body, a stainless-steel kitchen slides out which has the sink and three-burner stove, plus storage for kitchen implements and cooking utensils. There's also an LED light on a bendy pole so you can point it where you're cooking.

Further forward, from the gullwing box, a large fridge slide can fit up to a 95-litre Dometic CFX fridge, while a third sliding section forward of that again, has a two-tiered pantry and stainless bench area that seems ready-made for cutting up the day's catch, or popping a barbecue on top of.

It's tall and weighty – on a par with rival rear-fold campers – but it's very stable when being towed. (image: Brendan Batty - campertrailerreview.com.au) It's tall and weighty – on a par with rival rear-fold campers – but it's very stable when being towed. (image: Brendan Batty - campertrailerreview.com.au)

How easy is it to tow?

The Overland XR is very stable under tow, which has a lot to do with its ball-weight. Weight to the front of a trailer improves trailer stability (although reduces braking and steering efficiency), so there needs to be a compromise. At 180kg, that's actually a reduction on Series 1, and although that's quite heavy for a camper trailer, is on par with other modern rear-folds, like the Kimberley Kamper.

Well and truly off-road ready, the XR has independent coil-spring suspension and dual shock absorbers, standard, as well as an AL-KO 360° ball hitch, so obscure angles on a rough track won't cause any trouble.

The camper is quite tall, thanks to the spacing of the suspension arms, so clearance will rarely be an issue – when level, the ride height suits a lifted four-wheel drive.

Alloy wheels and 265/75 R16 all terrain tyres fit the bill nicely, and as they're a six-stud LandCruiser pattern, they, and the two tonne bearings, are easy to replace anywhere you find yourself.

There are easier campers to set up than this one, but, like anything, you'll improve after a few trips. (image: Brendan Batty - campertrailerreview.com.au) There are easier campers to set up than this one, but, like anything, you'll improve after a few trips. (image: Brendan Batty - campertrailerreview.com.au)

How easy is it to set up?

The camper is reasonably easy to set up, although there are easier campers out there. The Overland relies on a cantilever top-rack, similar to those used by Kimberley and early Cub Campers, to give you the mechanical advantage needs to flip it over.

There's also a winch on the front, which hooks on and catches the camper at its high point so you can lower it down gently – without it, it comes down a little quickly, unlike something like most of the Australian-made rear-folds, which can just be flipped and dropped to the ground. It adds a bit of time to the set-up process, too.

There is some fiddling around with poles to get the camper taut and looking pretty for photos, but this doesn't take long and isn't difficult. On the other side of your camping stay, they need to be dropped again on pack-up. Again, this isn't something we see on a lot of Australian-made campers, most of which can just be flipped open and at most, only need pole or two to push out the back wall. It's represented in the price, though – the Overland XR S2 is about $20,000 cheaper than anything else of similar specification.

There are several accessories, including folding solar panels and more, available for it. (image: Brendan Batty - campertrailerreview.com.au) There are several accessories, including folding solar panels and more, available for it. (image: Brendan Batty - campertrailerreview.com.au)

What options are available for it?

Like all Blue Tongue Campers products, it can be improved with accessories, such as folding solar panels, hot water or even diesel room heating.

The set-up, which can be a bit fiddly due to the need for pole adjustment, is one of the few issues our reviewer can see with the XR S2. (image: Brendan Batty - campertrailerreview.com.au) The set-up, which can be a bit fiddly due to the need for pole adjustment, is one of the few issues our reviewer can see with the XR S2. (image: Brendan Batty - campertrailerreview.com.au)

Any potential issues with it?

The biggest issues are in the set up - there's quite a bit of adjusting of poles each time it goes up or down, which is not something I generally see on more expensive, or Australian-made campers. Also, the need to use a winch to lower the floor into place isn't what I normally expect, either. It is far less expensive than most Aussie rear-folds of similar spec, though, so take the good with the bad.

The Overland XR Series 2 isn't quite the perfect camper, there's a few little things in the set-up that preclude it from that. Still, at the price and with the features it gets as standard, it's a really good value trailer. It's comfortable, it'll handle off-road trips with ease, and it the kitchen is really quite good.

What do you think of this camper-trailer? Tell us in the comments section below..

 

Blue Tongue Overland XR Series 2 
Warranty5-year structural warranty, 1-year manufacturer’s warranty
SleepsFour
Water capacity (Fresh/Grey) 155L / n/a

 

$21,990

Based on new car retail price

Daily driver score

3.5/5

Adventure score

3.5/5

adventureguide rank

  • Light

    Dry weather gravel roads and formed trails with no obstacles, very shallow water crossings.

  • Medium

    Hard-packed sand, slight to medium hills with minor obstacles in all weather.

  • Heavy

    Larger obstacles, steeper climbs and deeper water crossings; plus tracks marked as '4WD only'

Price Guide

$21,990

Based on new car retail price

This price is subject to change closer to release data