The hard-top Mitchell Hybrid by Pioneer Campers was first released in 2015. Its solid off-road performance coupled with spacious design and lightning fast set up soon earned it a respectable position among Australia’s best off-road camper trailers. So, what would happen if the Pioneer fleet wound up under the same manufacturer’s roof as legendary off-road RV brand, Trakmaster? You only need to look at the Mitchell camper in its latest iteration to arrive at the answer: good things would happen – but only where necessary.
Parent company Gason, a Victoria-based metal manufacturer, took a measured approach to its 2018 acquisition of the Pioneer range. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” tells part of the story.
At the same time, Gason saw opportunities in the Pioneer Mitchell Hybrid to make subtle yet significant improvements. Incorporating a more dynamic suspension system designed by Trakmaster, and replacing the water tank with a lighter version are just some of the upgrades that have made a great off-road camper even better.
External body length: 2.9m
Overall length: 5.3m
External body width: 1.95m
Travel height: 2.05m
Internal living space: 4.5×1.85m
Unladen Weight: 1576kg
Who it’s for
With its recent fine-tuning under Gason’s expert guidance, Mitchell is built to push the limits of off-road adventure. Travellers looking to hit the dirt and live off-grid for up to a week at a time will appreciate the ample storage space, fuss-free set up and comfortable, spacious layout, as well as its extreme off-road capabilities. Importantly, the homegrown design and build is based on Pioneer’s 21-year history manufacturing campers specifically for Australian outback conditions. Input from its sister brand, Trakmaster, and Gason’s own experience in caravan building, serves to bolster this performance.
Inclusion of the Trakmaster Trak 2 independent trailing arm suspension is the most significant upgrade. The new trailing arm is not only lighter than the original system by 5kg apiece, but also stronger and has adjustable offset to optimise performance for different tow vehicles and conditions.
The old stainless steel 120L water tank has also been replaced with a seamless plastic tank that’s tough as nails while being over 20kg lighter, and the original black pod is now white to better reflect sunlight and, in our minds, improve its aesthetic appeal.
Mitchell stays true to its original focus on fast, intuitive set-up. After unclipping and unfolding from the rear, popping the roof, putting the internal support poles in place and securing the quick awning, set up can be counted in minutes even on the first go.
With the pop top taking the cabin’s headroom to 1030m, the sleeping quarters feel especially spacious, and the hard top certainly adds a welcome sense of security. Upsize with optional extensions to the main hard-floor canvas tent, such as a kids room and ensuite, and you’ve got an impressive five-room set up for larger families.
This rig has storage by the truck load. Just to name a few of these hidey-holes, you’ve got easy-access storage beneath the queen bed, a wood box in the nose plus room for three jerry cans and the two included gas bottles, and above that, another large lidded storage box. Also noteworthy is that the lid of this box is home to the 80W solar panel, which allows you to move it around and maximise exposure to the sun.
There’s plenty of room to prep and cook within the stainless steel slide out kitchen, half of which swings to attach to the camper’s side. It features a two-burner gas stove, sink and cutlery drawers. There’s also a two-drawer slide-out pantry and separate rollout compartment designed to hold a portable 80L fridge, or serve as additional storage.
Well-placed cabin windows with removable fly screens ensure excellent airflow without risking unwelcome visitors, while the inner spring mattress and hot water on tap (thanks to a gas hot water system) comes pretty close to replicating home-like comfort.
You’ll find power outlets and LED lighting in all the right places, and supplementing the 80V included solar panel with a portable panel is advised if you want to push the unit’s power supply to more than a week off the grid. Solar input and battery charging is easy to regulate and monitor thanks to the Redarc 1230 Battery Management System.
To have unrestricted off-road access with the promise of a hot shower and a hard roof over your head at the end of the day is the dream scenario for many Aussie adventurers, and we can understand why. This model gives you all that in a form that, by all accounts, is also a dream to tow. And with the bonus of Trakmaster’s superior suspension, there’s no better time than now to seriously consider the Mitchell Hybrid as your new home away from home.
There’s a lot to say about the revamped unit – and tonnes of optional extras to ask about – so if you’re after an upmarket yet tough-as-guts offroad camper, we’d recommend hitting up the guys at Pioneer Campers to answer all your burning questions.