Hero Camper On The Road Review
Written by ANTHONY KILNER
The Body Work
Fibre-reinforced polymer (FRP) panels are specifically manufactured for the Ranger in full-piece sections and glued and screwed together, creating a solid and weatherproof body. The thermal insulation is so well done it can hold the warmth in winter and keep it cool in summer, which is perfect for our Aussie conditions. The floor is 50mm thick, while the walls are 38mm and the roof 32mm thick.
According to the factory information on the website, this system is impervious to moisture, mildew, fungus and bacterial growth. FRP is up to 70 per cent lighter
than steel with an exceptional strength- to-weight ratio. It can withstand major impacts with negligible damage, and impact will not cause permanent deformation. There’s a lot to like about this Ranger body.
An access door on either side of the camper features a window for light and ventilation and for added light and ventilation a roof hatch is also fitted. On the driver’s side wall extending out to surround the door area is a privacy tent section that locks into the roof. Unfortunately, this was left out of the camper when we took it away for the review, so no pics. A manual Thule awning is easy to use and
has a complete blind system for inclement weather. This blind can be put up in seg- ments which are handy to suit a range of weather conditions.
One groovy thing about this camper is that the taillights, brake and indicators are all a part of the moulding on the back. This creates a neat, futuristic look without the need for ugly taillights built into the back tailgate.
There are two recovery points on the rear, and wide mudguards allow easy step- up to the curved ladder on the driver’s side providing excellent access to the roof rack. The spare tyre is mounted on the passenger side on a straight, ladder-style frame- work for easy access.
A chequer plate lockable storage locker is located at the back of the mudguard on each side. A larger locker on the front A- frame is where the optional gas bottle can be fitted. On the driver’s side of this front locker is a smaller locker that houses the diesel fuel tank for the heater.
Lift the back tailgate of the Hero and the kitchen is right there and it looks like the goods. Black aluminium drawers of various sizes are located under a stainless-
steel bench top with an integrated sink and tap system.
On the back wall are rails to hang utensils and bags, while a 240V twin cooktop is portable which makes cooking flexible and storage easy, creating more useable bench space if needed. A single cooker is also available. There are 240V outlets, and LED lighting provides plenty of light for night-time cooking.
Under the three slide-out aluminium drawers on the left side is an Airtronic 2kW diesel heater. A slide-out 22-litre electrical compressor fridge is fitted in the middle drawer with a lift-out divider. While
tall items such as a bottle of milk or wine can’t stand it’s handy for smaller items and cans! A slide-out door on the right side ex- poses a 30-litre water container. This will be changed to a 50-litre tank in the near future.
This is definitely a minimalist design that is functional. It would mean having a second fridge in the car and perhaps some food storage boxes for longer trips that could be secured on the kitchen bench or in the bed area or a Thule pod on the roof while travelling.
A full awning that covers the kitchen and allows enough room for a small table and chairs is great when set up and makes a massive difference for all-weather touring. It’s a bit fiddly to set up although with practice would become easier.
For such a simple look, many super cool things are going on inside the Hero. The floor space is the bed with a double bed-sized heavy-duty memory foam mattress. At the rear, there are two roof- mounted cupboards for storage, a small shelf and a slide-out shelf or Smart Bunk as it’s called.
This Smart Bunk, rated up to 60kgs, is set up with a mattress for a baby or two to sleep on, and a removable fabric section acts as a retaining wall to stop them from falling out. We decided it would also be an excellent space for small to medium-sized fur babies to sleep!
The heart of the fantastic electrical system is in the nose, behind two fold-down
cushioned walls that form the bed head. This section contains a 12V 200A/h Lithium battery, DC/DC charger with built-in MPPT system, a 125w solar controller package, a 1500w inverter that runs everything, plus all the required fuses and safety gear. A standard on these units is a Hero Camper air-conditioning unit. It’s a specie system that makes off-grid camping very easy.
All the lighting is dimmable and control- lable from a mounted unit near the driver’s side door with further controls inside the boot kitchen. There are charger ports and 240-volt power points, and everything is easy to access and use, including a re- mote to control the lighting. It’s a flashy system, for sure!
The mechanicals on the Hero are very straightforward. The gal chassis from ALKO has a 50mm ball coupling, jockey wheel and drop-down stabilising legs at the rear. 10-inch electric brakes and a Tor- flex independent suspension with a shock absorber fitted to smooth the ride. West- lake Radial SL 369 AT tyres, 265/65R17s, are provided on flashy alloy rims.
The van comes complete, as seen, with only a few options for the Ranger. These include an additional portable solar panel kit, a gas bottle for an external BBQ (no gas is fitted to this camper), a rooftop tent and a bike rack.
There are three colours to choose from: light and dark grey and Hunter Green. All the colours are on-trend and make a statement.
There’s a lot to like about the stylish simplicity of the Ranger. Having a great outdoor kitchen makes touring life easy. I can understand why single people or a couple would enjoy the Hero Camper for long weekends away or some touring fun with a Kayak or two, maybe a bike and get out in the great outdoors!
The Ranger as tested retails for $49,990 ex Melbourne, and when you consider the tech involved, it makes it an overly attractive buy. The Hero would be a great start for anyone looking for a teardrop style camper.
Tare: …………………………………. 982kg ATM: ………………………………. 1300kg GTM: ……………………………… 1170kg Axle group capacity: ……….. 1350kg Ball weight: ………………………. 110kg Load Carrying Capacity: ……. 300kg Overall Length: ………………4778mm External Body Length: ……3420 mm External Body Width: ……..2300mm Internal Height: ………………1300mm Travel Height: ………………… 2320mm