It’s difficult to compare this trailer to anything else as it’s pretty much the only one like it on the market – but everyone wants to check it out, as we found out…
The Conqueror 440 falls under the category of ‘hybrid camper’ as the sleeping area and much of the storage is on the inside of the camper with the kitchen outside. The amount of space inside, once the roof and walls are extended upwards and outwards, is very spacious considering the small packed size of the 440.
The heritage of all the Conqueror campers is based on designs for the South African military. This is fairly obvious in the no-nonsense styling and rugged capability. Weight is kept down through the clever use of canvas doors on the storage compartments on the inside.
When I pulled up to make camp, another crew of 4WDers were about to set up their temporary home but decided to down tools and watch the entertainment of me setting up the 440 by myself for the first time. One even offered to time it for me… thanks mate!
Even though the pressure was on, the 440 set-up was surprisingly easy. From completely closed to fully set up, including beds, shower and kitchen, my time was 25 minutes. Not bad for the first time!
The Conquerors are tough straight out of the factory in South Africa, but when they arrive in Australia they are upgraded to rugged Aussie specs. The drawbar is replaced with a reinforced galvanised version, and the independent suspension is also upgraded with Dobinson coil springs and Tough Dog shocks.
The company is based in Brisbane with dealers and service centres around the country – so you can be pretty confident that in the rare case you need a service it won’t be too far away. Each model can be customised. The 440 that I tested was the ‘Cape York’ with a couple of additional options. One of these options was the Conqueror batwing L-shaped awning – which is a beauty as it’s freestanding with poles that drop down from the supports.
It would be best to add guy ropes if windy, but this awning is one solid bit of kit. It literally folded out in less than a minute, so no issue to stay dry if it’s raining when you set up. It even has two struts that roll up to create a peak in the roof, so rain won’t pool on the roof.
How do you get inside the 440? Where is the door? Behind the spare wheel, of course. This works neatly as the rear door is covered by the same L-shaped awning as the kitchen – keeping you dry and under the same roof going between the two.
Once the spare wheel bracket is out of the way, a two-part door is opened. The lower part forms the steps and the upper part forms a roof over the entry. The spare wheel folds out to the driver’s side and supports the shower (which is easy to deploy).
Just watch your head the first few times as you go up the two stairs. On the right-hand side is a large bed. This would be suitable for two adults or maybe three kids. Straight ahead is the main bed which folds and slides out over the drawbar. Access is a little low halfway down the bed, but opens up again at the front. LED lights are wired in over each of the beds.
There are plenty of zipped windows, all with midgey mesh; so there’s plenty of cross-flow ventilation. The test 440 had two electric fans mounted in suitable locations to get the air moving on those hot, still nights. An integrated cab heater can be optioned.
Storage inside is in four shelves with canvas doors as well as space under part of the side bed. The pantry can be accessed from both outside and inside at the same time – perfect for that midnight snack (fruit, of course).
Next to the door is the electrical control panel – complete with switches, fuses and battery monitoring system. This is easily accessed whether the 440 is set up or not. Above, the roof hinges from the front and lifts up so it feels like there’s plenty of space inside. Certainly good standing room for tall people.
If the weather outside was wet and windy, spending a few days inside would not be a problem as there are plenty of covered windows to view the landscape through. With a cabin space that’s a bit more than 3m in length when packed, the front, side and roof extensions create a space that is comfortable and practical.
Towing the Conqueror 440 was a breeze. At only 1,892mm wide, it easily followed the FJ down narrow tracks. The departure angle is great, and at under 2,100mm overall height the 440 had no problem with overhanging branches on tracks.
The Dobinson/Tough Dog independent suspension setup performed well on potholed gravel roads and rocky creek crossings. The spare wheel carrier even acts as an emergency stub axle, should you be unlucky enough to damage one. There are hi-lift jacking points in case you get badly bogged, again giving hints at the military heritage.
All the external access doors on the main camper are key-lockable, so when you are parked in town nothing will go missing. The access doors are solid and well-sealed against dust and water. An interior pressurising fan is located on the offside to ensure that dust is not drawn into the camper.
The kitchen is well appointed with room for a 90L National Luna fridge/freezer and a two-burner stainless steel stove. A hot/cold mixer tap is located above two plastic wash basins. Using wash basins rather than a fixed sink may seem a bit odd; however when the washing-up is done, the basins can be easily emptied away from the camper. A simple solution without the need for coils of hoses.
There are too many good features to go through here, but a few of the highlights are the cutlery and crockery drawers which have cutouts for easily replaceable items; the easily accessible pantry; and the shelves that fold down from the hatches. Other features worth noting are the good amount of storage on the driver’s side, the easily set-up hot/cold water shower, the easily operated rear stabiliser legs and the batwing awning (worth a second mention).
The Conqueror 440 is a distinctive-looking camper that seems to be a real crowd pleaser in the campsite and on or off the road. It is hard to compare the 440 to anything else out there in the market as it is unique in design while being a solid, rugged and reliable performer. The Conqueror 440 would suit a family equally well for a weekend or a six-month trip.
A good size for a family of 4 or 5
Goes anywhere your 4WD will
Ease of set-up/pack-down
Relatively light weight and small externally for the large interior space
The batwing awning is an option on the Cape York (but still get it)