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Signature Elite X camper 2021 review

Signature Campers is one of the newer players on the market. It launched around 2017 specialising in compact expedition trailers, but quickly found a need for larger, more comfort-orientated forward-fold campers.

Mark Nesbit, who had turned up to buy just one camper trailer, recently bought the  whole company, but before that had happened, I'd said the Elite X was one of the best forward-fold camper trailers on the market (here), so wanted to make sure I was still right. Mark's done some work on the design and spec, so here's what I think of the latest models.

The whole company was recently bought by Mark Nesbit, who had turned up to buy just one camper trailer but walked away with all of them. Before that had happened, I'd said the Elite X was one of the best forward-fold camper trailers on the market (here), so wanted to make sure I was still right. Mark's done some work on the design and spec, so here's what I think of the latest models.

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

The Elite X is the biggest of Signature’s forward-fold camper trailers. The Elite X is the biggest of Signature’s forward-fold camper trailers.

As far as forward-fold campers go, this is a bigger one. To pack more in, make it more comfortable and usable, the company has bulked up the dimensions over the more on-road focussed Elite. It measures 5.5m long and rides along behind the car at 2.08m wide and 1.58m high.

It weighs as much as a medium-sized caravan at 1720kg, but has a respectable load capacity of 600kg. Expect 160kg on the ball before you've loaded it with your gear.

Length5500mm
Width2080mm
Height1580mm
Weight (Tare/ATM/Tow Ball)From 1720kg/2320kg/160kg

How easy is it to set up?

There's an inherent simpleness to the design of a forward-fold camper, and so set-up usually boils down to this two-step process – flip over the lid; make adjustments to the tent. The Elite X is no different in this regard, although that second ‘adjustment' step does leave you with a bit to do.

Each of the tent's frame poles needs to be extended out and packed down again when you're done camping. Spreader poles are also added in to keep it nice and taught at all times. It means there's a little bit of climbing around on the bed and lounge area when you get to camp. It's a far cry from the well-engineered simplicity of the Cub Frontier, but on par with other campers in this price range.

  • Signature Campers' Elite X forward-fold camper trailer is built for comfort and ease of use. Signature Campers' Elite X forward-fold camper trailer is built for comfort and ease of use.
  • If you need extra space, there’s lots of extra canvas to set up. If you need extra space, there’s lots of extra canvas to set up.

The flip is nice and easy, and although you could use the winch to help, I didn't need it. The gas struts do most of the heavy lifting, and two people will easily be able to push it over, while one person shouldn't have too much trouble. The winch is needed only at the extreme ends of the process – pulling the bed flat, or pulling the lid closed.

The tent has a full suite of extra canvas including awning, annexe walls and even an attachable ensuite room. They might not always be needed, but great to set up over Christmas when you're not planning on moving very much.

How practical is the space inside?

  • It’s a nice open living area, plus there is some storage for clothes. It’s a nice open living area, plus there is some storage for clothes.
  • It’s a nice open living area, plus there is some storage for clothes. It’s a nice open living area, plus there is some storage for clothes.
  • Leather lounges are a nice touch. Leather lounges are a nice touch.

The Signature Elite X is great inside. I can see that thought has gone into solving some of the inherent problems with this style of camper – namely a lack of internal storage options for everyday items, such as clothes. Typically, there's not a lot of internal storage in forward-fold campers, because the lounge sits on top of the wheel-arches and the slide-out kitchen usually fills the void under the rear lounge.

But in the Elite X, two cupboards have been built into the foot of the bed, opening out into the living area. There's enough space for him and her to pack a camping wardrobe, and it's easy to get to, as there's no need to lift seat cushions or climb around tables to get to it. There's another small cabinet on the driver's side at the bedhead, which is often filled by a hot-water system.

The living area is an attractive proposition, though. Lazing around the table (which is one of the sturdiest I've come across in a forward-fold), with the main window open over camp is quite pleasant and adds a level of comfort to camp many of us never expected under canvas.

What is the bed like?

  • The main bed is queen-sized, while the lounge transforms into a second bed. The main bed is queen-sized, while the lounge transforms into a second bed.
  • The main bed is queen-sized, while the lounge transforms into a second bed. The main bed is queen-sized, while the lounge transforms into a second bed.

The Elite X has a queen-sized mattress of 160mm thick Dunlop Posturefoam. It's comfortable enough, but nothing special. 

Large, thick straps are integrated into the bed-base so that the mattress and all the bedding can be strapped down when packing up so that it all stays in place once the lid is flipped.

I like that all the windows surrounding the bed have weather awnings on them, and all the screens are midge proof. It means you can leave them open, even during steamy northern storms.

The lounge converts into a bed pretty quickly. Simply lower the table and rearrange the cushions, and another few bodies can sprawl out in the gigantic space that's left. It's probably not a great solution for family camping, but great if you need an extra bed every once in a while.

What's the kitchen like?

  • The stainless steel kitchen slides out from the back of the camper. The stainless steel kitchen slides out from the back of the camper.
  • The stainless steel kitchen slides out from the back of the camper. The stainless steel kitchen slides out from the back of the camper.
  • The stainless steel kitchen slides out from the back of the camper. The stainless steel kitchen slides out from the back of the camper.
  • The Elite X has a larger fridge slide than the Elite. The Elite X has a larger fridge slide than the Elite.
  • This slide-out pantry is a great feature. This slide-out pantry is a great feature.

One of the most significant advantages of the Elite X upgrade is the improvements made to the kitchen and its surrounding storage. The slide-out unit features a four-burner gas stove with a large windshield, plus stainless-steel sink and plumbed hot and cold water. A handy spice rack folds up from on-top of the sink and is held in place by an over-centre latch.

What I really like, though, is the pull-out pantry storage, forward of the camper's door. This is an upgraded feature on the X, and it makes the space between the camper and the fridge box so much more useful and easy to organise. The fridge box on the X is also slightly bigger, meaning a few extra fridges will fit.

How easy is it to tow?

  • The McHitch makes it easy to hitch… The McHitch makes it easy to hitch…
  • Off-road suspension is ready for anything. Off-road suspension is ready for anything.
  • And if anything does happen, you can recover it easily. And if anything does happen, you can recover it easily.

The Signature Elite X is a great camper to tow, although its weight is noticeable. It rides on heavy-duty independent, coil-spring suspension, and the dual-shocks have been engineered in Australia to make sure they're up to the job. A nice piece of reassurance is the well-known Cooper Tires' ATS all-terrain tyres (265/75R16) on alloy rims.

The Elite X also gets a hitch upgrade. The company has opted for the easy-to-use McHitch EzyGlide coupling so that no matter the terrain you're camped on, it's simple to hook the camper back up.

Forward-fold campers are often a little heavy on the ball because of where you need to put the wheels, but Signature seems to have the balance sorted on this model.

What options are available for it?

  • Leather lounges are a nice touch. Leather lounges are a nice touch.
  • You can upgrade from this basic electrical management system. You can upgrade from this basic electrical management system.

Given this is a top-spec off-road forward-fold of the line-up, it's very well featured, but there's always room for personalisation.

The lounge cushions can be upholstered in faux leather (as pictured), or if you really want all-weather comfort, $2700 extra will get you diesel cabin heating. Never wake up cold again.

Each of the electrical and battery-management systems can be upgraded to Enerdrive-supplied parts. You can also easily fit lithium batteries.

Any potential issues with it?

There are no obvious design issues with this camper trailer, and apart from being heavy (as a lot of forward-fold trailers are), it seems pretty solid.

I do think Signature could work on the tent design to make it easier to set up, but as it is, set-up isn't a massive problem for this camper.

Overall, the Elite X marries some of the forward-fold's best attributes (internal comfort, ease of set-up, great kitchens), but overcomes some of the worst features of the design (internal storage, ball weight).

There's a lot of features on this one that I'd really miss if I bought the lower-specced Elite (no X), so this is my pick of the line-up, and still one of the better forward-folds on the market.

Warranty

5-year structural and 12-month limited manufacturer's warranty

SleepsTwo to six (but mostly just two)
Water capacity160 litres
Cost$23,990


Find out more about the Signature Elite X at signaturecampertrailers.com.au

Daily driver score

3/5

Adventure score

3/5

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'