Pioneer Argyle: Review
The Pioneer Argyle is a no-frills hardfloor camper, perfectly suited to the job at hand.
There’s nothing worse at the end of a long day on the road than being confronted with a difficult setup for an overnight stay. What was that famous quote from one of our esteemed politicians? ‘Life wasn’t meant to be easy’! The crew at Pioneer Campers totally disagrees with such rubbish and builds a range of campers to prove that life on the road with a camper trailer can be as simple as snap, crackle and pop.
The Pioneer Argyle will have you stopped, set up and relaxing for an overnight stay in less than five minutes, but it also has the rugged construction to get you safely to a remote destination and home again. You can opt up and spend more on palatial campers or vans with all the frills, but this layout gives me everything I need in a reliable camping companion. The Pioneer Argyle could well be called the ‘little ripper’. She’s relatively lightweight yet heavily constructed and will quickly become your best mate on the road, not your foe.
LAYOUT & DESIGN
I must admit that when it comes to campers, I have a personal preference for the hardfloor variety, and while the Argyle is one of the lesser-optioned Pioneer models, it is still a very classy presentation. The Argyle’s fold-over action is quick, easy and far from strenuous, assisted by both internal and external gas struts. Its raised floor living space gets you up off the ground with a solid base that helps keep the dirt, dust and creepy crawlies at bay. The setup time is very fast and easy with less than five minutes to set up for an overnighter, and probably around 10 minutes if you want to peg and stake out the 4.9x2m outside awning. There is only one adjustable support required at the rear of the trailer as the floor steadies the camper when folded out on its own adjustable legs if you park on uneven or rocky ground.
At the front of the main body is an enclosed jerry can holder and woodbox-style enclosure. It is capable of carrying three jerry cans but is also an excellent place to store timber, wet awnings or even wetsuits due to its perforated floor (it will get dusty in there, though). Either side of the container are foldaway compartments with the nearside unit containing a 9kg gas cylinder and a manual water pump. The panels are all Rhino-coated for abrasion resistance, eliminating the need for a stoneguard and allowing quite good articulation for difficult manoeuvring.
BEDROOM & STORAGE
Next comes a massive storage container that can be accessed via doors on either side of the trailer. You could fit a small fridge on slides, if you so desire, or customise it at will – it’s a big area with plenty of load space. Underneath is another pair of 70L lockable compartments for wet storage. Every trailer comes with the facility to retrofit or opt in a boat loader, but this was not fitted on our demo unit.
I really liked the easy two step access up to the bed – there’s nothing worse than stumbling around in the middle of the night, especially when you have bad knees! The bed has a double dual layer foam mattress supported by a slatted base that springs up, revealing yet another large storage space under the bed. This storage area can also be accessed from the rear boot when the trailer is closed for easy packing. With a Tare weight of 820kg and an ATM of 1500kg, you can bring all of your toys and knick-knacks along for the ride, too!
The Argyle has plenty of lighting including courtesy and dual bedhead LEDs, and a step light, as well as a 12V isolator, cigarette plug and USB outlets for charging the electronics.
Further back on the nearside, but still in front of the wheel base, is a strong, sensible, yet simple, slide-out kitchen. The gas and water are serviced by Quick Connect fittings to the stainless steel sink and optional Smev two-burner stove (standard unit has a wok burner). There’s a cutlery drawer on the end and a further slide-out preparation bench to the side. The housing compartment has a fire extinguisher mounted inside as well as an LED work light on the flap and 12V electrical outlets. The electrical supply is serviced by a single 110Ah AGM deep-cycle battery charged through the Anderson plug, 100W NARVA VSR charger or via an optional regulated solar panel. There is also a 240V outlet on the side. The offside has a lockable water inlet for the 60L stainless steel tank. The unit can be opted up to 150L capacity if required.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Pioneer campers are produced by a long-standing, progressive and fully Australian engineering company based in Dandenong, Vic. While Pioneer Campers has Western Australian heritage, the current owners have been producing the product range for around four years, and had a vast redesign of the entire range only a few years ago.
They currently only make premium quality hardfloor campers that are backed by a gutsy five-year warranty. This guarantee proudly displays Pioneer’s true devotion to the product, its faith in production quality and its commitment to a long list of satisfied clients.
The Pioneer Argyle is certainly a good looking Australian with the guts and endurance to match. What a little ripper!
- Construction quality
- Good storage and payload
- Aesthetically pleasing
- Sensible combination of accessories
- Australian made
- Five year warranty
- Swing down and removable jockey wheel
I would have liked…
- A sliding fridge and an extra battery are both options I would like available
The full test appears in Caravan World #541 September 2015. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!