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Blue Tongue Overland XF Lite Series 2 2018 review

Brendan Batty

26 Sep 2018 • 16 min read

It seems to come with the territory, that forward-fold campers are heavier than they need to be – and there are a few reasons for that.

Firstly, most are made in China and, to prevent any possible durability issues, they are made with thicker sections of steel. Secondly, it’s cheaper to build something heavy than it is to build it light. And, thirdly, impressive features, such as checker-plate front storage boxes and dual spare wheels, are heavy.

So, it’s refreshing to see a forward-fold, like the Blue Tongue Overland XF Lite Series 2, come in about 200 to 300kg lighter than most other campers on the market, without being completely stripped of features (although, surely that name ads a few kilos, it’s so long!).

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

Length5300mm
Width1900mm
Height1400mm
Weight (Tare/ATM/Tow Ball)1235kg / 1700kg / 120kg

The XF Lite S2 is not physically smaller than other forward folds like it. In fact, the main trailer body and front storage box has essentially the same dimensions as the heavier Overland XFS Series 2, Blue Tongue’s hallmark camper, although it lacks some of the standard add-ons, such as a swing-over luggage rack, dual spare wheels and a rear-mounted pole box.

By stripping back the draw-bar features, significant weight savings have been made. By stripping back the draw-bar features, significant weight savings have been made.

It’s also free of the enclosed front storage boot, so it weighs 1235kg empty, which is almost the same as the Cub Campers Frontier. It can carry around 470kg of gear, water and supplies.

It’s just over 5-metres long under tow, so not much bigger than an average box trailer with a long draw bar.

How practical is the space inside?

Because the tent’s main wall can be completely zipped away, the interior living area is quite inviting when the weather’s great (and because it can be zipped back, it’s pretty good when the weather’s rubbish, too).

The typical wraparound lounge is a great place to just relax as you look out over camp. The seat cushions are contoured for comfort and the backs are just high-enough to offer good support. The table in the middle is not fastened, so can be moved around easily, too. When under tow, it’s jammed in between the bed and the floor, so doesn’t move, if you’re concerned.

Camping shouldn’t be this comfortable. Camping shouldn’t be this comfortable.

A majority of the camper’s internal storage is under these seats, which makes it a little difficult to get to, which is a common issue with forward-fold campers – even the best of them – and one thing that really precludes them for being suitable for serious family travel.

There’s also not a large amount of internal standing room, as the table and dinette take up so much of the space.

What are the beds like?

The XF Lite’s main bed is large and comfortable. Its north-south orientation means no climbing over another person to get in our out, and there is a long LED strip light over the bed head, although no individual reading lights. It’s a high-density foam mattress that’s on the firm side, although an inner-spring upgrade is available.

The bed is simple, but large and comfortable. There’s good light and ventilation all around. The bed is simple, but large and comfortable. There’s good light and ventilation all around.

The dinette also turns into a bed, although due to the contouring of the leatherette seat cushions, it’s rather lumpy. If I was going to consider this as a family camper, I might also pack a tent for the kids, rather than bothering setting this up every night.

What’s the kitchen like?

The camper’s kitchen is very good. It’s a stainless-steel unit which slides out from a boot at the back of the camper and has a few bayonets and plugs for water, gas and electricity. It features a four-burner Dometic stove, stainless-steel sink and a handy fold-up drying rack.

Also, rather than have an overhead awning light, there’s a bendy-arm LED reading light which can be aimed at wherever you’re working.

There’s not a lot of storage in it, though, just enough for some cooking utensils, a few plates and other regulars.

This is quite an extensive kitchen, although the camper is light on pantry storage. This is quite an extensive kitchen, although the camper is light on pantry storage.

Forward of the camper’s door is the large slide for a fridge. It’ll easily fit a Dometic CFX 95, which is an optional extra, although plenty of other fridges of similar size fit on, too.

The box has a 12V fan to aid ventilation in hot weather. There’s also a second boot with a slide-out drawer and second-tier shelf, which is the obvious place for the pantry, pots and pans. It’s not a huge amount of space, though, so some of this will likely end up in the identical drawer on the other side of the camper.

How easy is it to tow?

Because this is a lighter-than-usual forward-fold it’s quite friendly behind the car. I towed it deep into a valley campsite on roads that were made more comfortable by low-range selection and it handled it all wonderfully.

The camper’s light weight makes it a breeze to tow, even off-road. The camper’s light weight makes it a breeze to tow, even off-road.

It has independent, coil spring suspension with dual shock absorbers, so the ride is very good on rough or smooth roads. And because it’s no wider and much lower than the car, it’s not affected much by cross winds or passing trucks.

How easy is it to set up?

One of the areas Blue Tongue has stripped weight from is the roof-lid and it’s now so light the winch is barely needed to pull it over. In fact, so telling is the reduced weight, there’s no second winch, which many of the heavier campers have on the rear.

Once the bed’s flipped, a few poles inside need to be set and the dinette rearranged. It takes less than 10 minutes.

Once the camper is set up, it’s simple, comfortable living no matter how long you’re at camp. Once the camper is set up, it’s simple, comfortable living no matter how long you’re at camp.

The awning is also reasonably easy to set up; it zips on and can then be set up by one person without too much hassle.

What options are available for it?

There’s a very long list of options for the XF Lite, although two upgrade packs take in some of the most popular of them.

The Escape Pack adds Blue Tongue’s diesel hot water system, diesel cabin heating and a Dometic CFX 95 fridge freezer.

The 95-litre fridge is a popular option and part of the Escape and Limited packs. The 95-litre fridge is a popular option and part of the Escape and Limited packs.

The Limited Pack replaces the Blue Tongue hot water system with the European manufactured Dometic Eberspächer version, then ads, on top of the Escape add-ons, an inner-spring mattress, Redarc BMS30 Battery management system and Redarc Redvision, plus a 144kW solar blanket.

You can also upgrade the hitch, fit inverters, GPS tracking, add a luggage/boat rack, amongst other things.

Any potential issues with it?

The only issues with this camper are those inherent in the forward-fold design. There’s not a lot of internal storage and very little around the kitchen. You also can’t access anything inside the camper while the camper is packed up, as the lid’s gas strut blocks the door.

Although the Overland XF Lite strips back some features, it’s done so thoughtfully. How often do you really need two spare wheels for a two wheeled vehicle, for instance. Very few of the missing features impinge on the camper’s ability to travel off-road or serve as a comfortable domicile at camp. If weight is important to you, this is a great camper at a great price.

How important is weight when you’re travelling off-road? Let us know in the comments section below.

 

Blue Tongue Overland XF Lite Series 2 specifications 
Warranty12 months
SleepsFour
Water capacity120L / n/a

 

Adventure score

3.8/5

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'