THE ELLIS FORCE 220 CAMPER TRAILER REVIEW
Original, light and incredibly strong!
In a sea of clone camper trailers, it’s nice to come across a different take on the camping trailer concept. For a start, the Ellis camper trailer is manufactured in Australia with a one-piece fibreglass body – making it close on indestructible while keeping it light enough for a soft-roader to tow. With the body attached to the galvanised steel chassis, the Force 220 is certainly a force to be reckoned with.
When you’ve grown up in the UK, surfing the Bristol Channel on your own handmade surfboards, you would have come to expect your equipment to work. Moving to Australia in the 1990s, Paul Ellis made Western Australia his home. As an electrical engineer in the mining industry he saw much of the toughest terrain that Australia has to offer.
The long drive to Queensland from the Kimberly via the Top End crystalised what Paul wanted in a camper. It had to be light; able to withstand harsh corrugations; with capacity to carry enough food and water for extended travel. And so the F220 was born.
On the track
At a tare weight of 510kg it has to be one of the lightest camper trailers on the market. But it’s no lightweight when it comes to durability. The monoshell technology used to manufacture the single-piece structural body shell ensures its strength – which is backed with a five-year structural warranty.
Its overall length of 3,200mm and width of 1,900mm means that it will follow you through those twisty, tight tracks. The 120L water tank is incorporated into the body, sitting low and directly over the axle which helps give the unit a low centre of gravity. This makes it incredibly stable in those tricky off-road situations.
The suspension consists of eye-to-eye leaf springs with military wrap and nitrogen shock absorbers to smooth out the corrugations. The 45mm square solid axle with parallel bearings ensures the wheels keep turning, and the 10-inch off-road electric brakes are very effective.
When you get to camp, ‘quick’ and ‘easy’ are two words that are always welcome. The standard rooftop tent (with a double mattress) from Darche can be set up in minutes by one person. The Supapeg 270-degree awning with drop-down poles and square ends also sets up in minutes and provides plenty of coverage over the kitchen area and the eating/sitting space at the rear of the trailer.
The rooftop tent folds out on the driver’s side, with the kitchen on the passenger side of the trailer. The front slide-out holds the 45L Travelmate fridge; it also has a stainless steel food preparation area and slide-out arms for the wash basin. The tap supplies water after the water hose is easily connected via a bayonet point under the slide-out. The electric water pump is pressure activated and first needs to be turned on at the electric switchboard, then water is available at the turn of the tap.
The 180L food and cutlery storage is situated over the axle with the hatch dropping down to provide another food prep area. To the right of this is the stove slide-out below the 110L cooking utensils and appliance storage area. A two-burner gas cooker is supplied. The option of a regulator with gas bayonet is available to make gas connection easy. More food prep space is available on the cooker slide-out.
A place for everything
With the storage compartments being located on the sides of the trailer, the rear remains free to set up a table and chairs under the cover of the awning. On the driver’s side of the camper trailer are three more storage compartments housing some of the camping essentials. In one area is the 4kg gas bottle and optional gas regulator. The compartment above the axle opens to reveal a 260L storage area suitable for camp chairs, table and other bulky items. The forward storage area houses the 100Ah AGM battery, charger and switch panel.
At the front of the trailer is another storage compartment (225L in capacity). Above that is a firewood tray. All hatches are keyed alike to keep things simple. The spare wheel is located between the chassis rails below the front hatch, and it maintains the 380mm ground clearance.
This little camper trailer punches above its weight in both carrying capacity and convenience. It’s a lightweight unit but combines durability and ruggedness to make sure that it will be there for the long haul. The reviewed Force 220 with tent, awning, fridge, stove and gas fittings comes in at $25,500 for the complete package… perfect for those starting out and boasting the ability to serve faithfully on plenty of future adventures.
Low tare weight
Will follow any 4WD anywhere
Suitable for soft-roaders and rugged lifted rigs alike
Rooftop tent is suited to a couple (although you can upgrade to a family soft-floor tent)
Price: From $22,500 (as tested $25,500)