With the new Generation 3 forward fold camper trailer V2 Kakadu from Swag Camper Trailers in tow, we arrived at our location in the Brisbane Valley for a day of rigorous testing.
As the fog started to lift, we got a good look at this shiny silver camper trailer for the first time.
Best we set this forward fold camper trailer up and have a good look all over it before we subject it to the mud and ruts later during our off-road testing.
Table of Contents
FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF THE V2 KAKADU FORWARD FOLD CAMPER TRAILER
First thing that I noticed about this latest offering from Swag Camper Trailers was, that it had plenty of ground clearance and that typical nose down attitude of most forward fold camper trailers.
It also looks like most other forward folding camper trailers on the market, with the big stone guard up front and the twin spares hanging off the rear.
One thing that did concern me initially, was the amount of rear overhang the V2 Kakadu has. This reduces its departure angle significantly. Something to keep an eye on when we get it onto the tracks later.
SETTING UP THE V2 KAKADU
It didn’t take us long to find a great little spot down by the river to set the V2 Kakadu up.
With the sound of the water running over the rocks, we unhitched the camper and quickly levelled it up thanks to the four stabiliser legs on each corner.
Opening up this forward fold camper is the same as all other forward folds on the market.
You’ve got two choices: use the winch, or use two people.
I was taking the pics, so the winch was used to open up the tent during our test and it really is super easy.
Attach the hook at the end of the webbing strap and start winding the winch handle which is located on the drawbar.
Something that I have always had an issue with when opening a forward fold camper trailer is how, when the top reaches the tipping point, it quite often slams down, catching out an unsuspecting user.
To eliminate this problem on the V2 Kakadu, Swag Camper Trailers have used higher-rated gas struts (2000Nm). Now, you have to winch the tent all the way open, which may take a little longer, it’s far safer.
With the tent all opened up, the 14oz canvas tent needs to be erected. Gas struts in the corners keep the steel end hoops in place while the final support poles are tensioned. Tensioning of the poles is super simple too thanks to oversized locking mechanisms.
A canvas tropical roof sits high above the main tent canvas, allowing for plenty of ventilation.
Overall, the entire setup process is trouble-free.
EXTERNAL LIVING WITH THE V2 KAKADU
The V2 Kakadu has you covered for all of your outdoor requirements and comes standard with two canvas awnings.
The first, is the touring awning which is just perfect for quick overnighters.
For longer stays, the full annexe can be deployed and is what you see pictured in this article. The benefit of the annexe is that you can fully enclose your outdoor area with external walls and a draft skirt. This provides maximum protection from the elements.
The touring awning can also be attached to the offside of the camper. This provides even more protection and undercover floor area.
When it’s time to pack up camp, you’ll be happy to know that either of the canvas awnings can be left attached to the main tent and packed up for travel. This makes pack up, and then setting up quicker.
For washing away the dirt and dust of the days adventures, the V2 Kakadu comes equipped with a portable ensuite shower tent and a Country Comfort gas hot water system.
THE V2 KAKADU KITCHEN
When you go camping, a lot of time revolves around the kitchen. Well it does if you come camping with us!
If you’re the same, the full stainless steel slide-out kitchen set up on the V2 Kakadu won’t disappoint.
The four gas burners have been recessed down low, and the winds shields aren’t just there for show. Quick release gas fittings can be found on the rear corners of the camper trailer. For light just where you need it when cooking, an adjustable LED light on a bendy stalk is tall enough to reach over the wind shields.
There are also another two LED lights mounted to the side of the camper for additional light.
While the gas cooktop may be well thought out, the final touches were let down by sharp and unfinished edges. Especially around the recessed burners. A rolled edge would be much better in this situation.
For a camper trailer, the V2 Kakadu does offer up quite a decent amount of preparation space. There’s a fold-down picnic-style table off the side of the camper, as well as the cover from the stove which flips over to become a stainless steel bench.
A full, U-shaped kitchen is created when the pull-out pantry box and fridge are opened up. This gives you complete access to all of your food and cooking needs.
The fridge slide features a clever stainless steel fold-down table. Just perfect for when you are getting food and drinks out of the fridge.
Something a bit different was the sealed and lockable pantry box. Leave it closed and latched to keep the ants out. Put a padlock on it and it keeps the kids out of your wine stash!
EXTERNAL STORAGE ON THE V2 KAKADU
Typical of most forward fold camper trailers is the lack of available external storage space. The V2 Kakadu is no different with the kitchen taking up the rear and the fridge taking up most of the front boot. Fortunately though, there is still enough room behind the fridge for a portable BBQ or generator, which is accessed by a large door on the off side.
Still on the offside, a hatch opens to reveal a drawer just perfect for the supplied hot water system, hoses and fittings. Next to this another small hatch is home to the master control panel of switches, water gauges and the battery monitor.
Tucked in behind the twin spare wheels is a full-width storage box. This box has openings on both ends as well as a full-width lid for easy access. This space is just perfect for those longer items like poles, fishing rods or even your golf clubs.
On the A-frame, there’s an aluminium checker plate box, perfect for pegs, ropes or your tackle box. Surprisingly, it can still be opened a little with the camper all set up.
For something a little out of the box, the V2 Kakadu also sports a pair of externally accessed internal storage spaces. They are located above the pull out drawer on the off side and the pantry box on the near side and allow access to the internal storage space below the foot of the bed.
This allows you to pack your clothes, pillows and bedding before you leave home without opening the camper. Then when you return home, it’s just as easy to unpack them.
INSIDE THE V2 KAKADU
The layout of forward fold camper trailers doesn’t really change from one model to the next. Or even from one manufacturer to the next.
Likewise, there hasn’t been a global shift with the V2 Kakadu, as it still has the queen-sized bed up the front and a rear lounge/dinette that can be converted to a double-sized bed for the kids if required.
During the day, the wraparound lounge, finished in ‘easy to clean’ automotive leather can be left set up, ready for a spot of relaxing at a moments notice.
Thanks to the panoramic outlook that the V2 Kakadu provides with both sides of the camper opening right up, you really do get a feeling of letting the ‘outside in.’
If you are staying in the one spot for longer, by fitting the touring awning to the driver’s side, will provide additional protection if the weather turns bad.
Clothes storage can be found under the bed, while extra storage is located beneath the lounge seats.
OFF-GRID CAPABILITIES OF THE SWAG CAMPER TRAILERS V2 KAKADU
An off-road forward fold camper trailer has to have a decent amount of off-grid capacity for me to even think about calling it an off-road camper trailer.
There is no use in having a camper with all the bells and whistles if it hasn’t got enough power and water to keep you off-grid for as long as possible.
So, is the V2 Kakadu a true off-road camper trailer?
You shouldn’t go thirsty with the V2 Kakadu. Over two stainless steel tanks, you’ve got 170L of potable water on board (1 x 130L and 1 x 40L). Both tanks are protected by aluminium checker plate shrouds.
As an extra, the V2 Kakadu also has the provision to carry two 20L jerry cans on the drawbar. This gives you a possible 210L of water storage.
Located beneath the dinette seats are 2 x 100Ah deep cycle batteries. While deep cycle batteries are considered old technology in 2020, if you know their limits and look after them properly, they will look after you.
If you’re running nothing more than the EvaKool G75 Dual Zone fridge and LED lights, these batteries will provide you with a couple of days of usable power.
If you do want to bring your camper trailer into the 21st Century and install a couple of lithium batteries, just have a chat to the team at Swag Camper Trailers. Just remember that you’ll also need to install extra items like a DC to DC charger for example.
The batteries are charged in transit via the Anderson plug on the drawbar. If you’ve got access to 240V, the supplied Projecta P1600 16A charger will top the batteries up.
To keep those batteries fully charged when at camp, the V2 Kakadu comes standard with a 160W folding solar panel and regulator. While on the test, we had the optional upgrade 200W solar blanket with MPPT regulator feeding in the amps.
No chance of running out of gas for a couple of weeks with the V2 Kakadu. Up front on the drawbar is storage for two 9kg gas bottles.
OFF-ROAD ABILITY OF THE V2 KAKADU
With all the hard work done, it was now time to pack everything up and test out the credentials of this off-road forward folding camper trailer.
Thankfully, pack up is pretty simple too, so we were hitting the tracks in no time.
To make sure we ticked most boxes, our off-road testing consisted of a water crossing, a bit of mud, a few puddles, a couple of over-grown tracks, stretches of smooth river rock, gravel, ruts and a few holes.
While not extreme, it was reminiscent of typical conditions that any Aussie adventurer may find themselves up against at one time or another.
Thanks to a well-matched independent trailing arm suspension system consisting of coil springs and twin shocks, decent ground clearance provided by the aggressive 265/75R16 Mud Terrain tyres and the Al-Ko XO-360 off-road coupling, the V2 Kakadu performed well.
As mentioned earlier, the departure angle will need to be considered in more extreme off-road situations, so if possible, use a spotter.
FINAL IMPRESSIONS OF THE SWAG CAMPER TRAILERS V2 KAKADU
Swag Camper Trailers goal of making the Generation 3 V2 Kakadu a ‘turn-key’ package, is pretty close to the money. All the basics for a great time away camping are there. You only need to add your clothes, food and gas to get out there.
With a drive-away price of $23 990 (ex QLD), you’re getting a very well-specced forward fold camper trailer at a very competitive price.
Get out there and enjoy!
The Swag Camper Trailers V2 Kakadu gets 4 out 5 Battered Akubras!
V2 KAKADU STANDARD FEATURES
V2 KAKADU PRICE
About the Author:
Hi, I’m Matt. I camp, four-wheel drive, explore the outdoors and get paid to take photos.
I’m happiest when I’m doing all four at once.
Occasionally, I’ll even tap out a couple of words on my keyboard.
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