Cub Kamparoo - Offroad Mods for 12-yr-old Trailer

transalper

Explorer
I picked up this Cub Kamparoo in 2004. I love this little camper. It has treated us well and endured many long dusty trails. For years I've wanted to upgrade the tires and I finally pulled the trigger. I went with a simple lift with 3" blocks, massive 14" rims, and 27" all terrain tires. Behold the Mighty Cub:





 

transalper

Explorer
It's more cute than cool. :) This is the small version that isn't available in North America any longer as far as I can tell.

This trailer has been very reliable. It's been as far east as Maine and west as the Tetons. The only repairs needed were one set of wheel bearings. And the lighting/electrical is due for replacement.

I did a quick search and found the review I did of the Cub. All the photo links are dead, but here's the text just for fun:

Kamparoo Cub Review
07/06/05

Too many cold, wet, uncomfortable nights in the tent motivated my wife and me to adopt a new approach to family camping. We decided it was time to upgrade to something "off the ground." Our criteria were:

- Sleeping for 4
- Enough room for two adults and 2 kids to hang out in during a rain storm
- Compact, light weight, and easily storable
- Off-road capable (not extreme 4x4 stuff but multi-day backcountry trips)
- Rapid set-up and take-down
- Comfortable

We considered roof top tents and a variety of off-road trailers. After a month or so of research and valued advice from the crew at 4wdtrips.net, we decided on the Kamparoo Cub. The Cub is made in Australia and there are only two distributors in North America. Fortunately for us, one of them is located only two hours away from relatives in PA.

We picked up the '04 Cub in November of 2004. We added an awning and folding stabilizer legs to the order. Price after tax was around $3,800. For more info on the Cub and other Kamparoo models, check out www.cubcampers.com.au, www.kamparoo.com (Canada), and www.outbackkamping.com (US).

We've prepared this review after using the Cub on four trips. Overall we are very pleased with the Cub and look forward to our next outing. My wife actually asks when we're going to go camping now. :) The true test for the Cub will be over time, so consider this report a living document.

spearhead.jpg (29415 bytes) Our Favorite Campsite in WI
privatebeach.jpg (30899 bytes) The Cub on Lake Superior, Michigan UP

The Cub - An Overview
The Cub is a small, flip-over camper trailer. This style is very popular in Australia. They are very uncommon in the US and are much lighter and off-road capable than a typical pop-up camper. The Cub is a very basic model that is really just a canvas tent and bed with wheels. It is leaf sprung and doesn't come with shocks. The rack can hold 400 pounds of stuff. The underbed storage has enough room to hold a camping table, the awning, and a few misc items.

Kamparoo Cub Specifications

Body Length 6' 6"
Open Length 13'
Width 4'8"
Weight 500 lbs
Wheel Size 13"
Spare Wheel STD
Galvanized Steel Body STD
Deluxe Awning Optional
Zipper Door(s) Both Sides
Under Bed Storage Well STD
Mattress / Bed size Deluxe 4'2" x 6'3"
Windows c/w Mesh 4
Zip Open Plastic Windows STD
Canvass Window Awning Flaps STD
Adjustable Draw Bar height STD
Roof / Boat Rack Dip Galvanized
Body Moldings STD
Suspension Leaf
Hitch 1 7/8"
Electrical Connector 4 pin

On the Road
The Cub pulls very easily. We barely notice it's there most of the time. We haven't seen any negative impacts on fuel economy with our 3.4 L V6 4Runner.
kamparoo-1.jpg (40089 bytes) cubreadytogo.jpg (22146 bytes)

Off the Road
While this trailer is not Rubicon ready, it is more than capable for most backcountry trips. It pulls fine on gravel roads, although the leaf springs offer very limited travel. The stock tires give a good amount of ground clearance. Switch backs are always a little challenging with trailers, but because the Cub only weighs 500 lbs, it can be easily lifted and moved on the hitch. We've taken the Cub on hundreds of miles of dirt roads and so far no dust has contaminated our bedding. Mainly because it's so light, it seems to float on the sand and gravel beaches of Lake Superior. For enhanced off-road ability, corner armor, a better hitch, and larger tires would be very nice.
offrd_tow.jpg (76144 bytes) leafsprings.jpg (29727 bytes) offrd_beach2.jpg (24073 bytes) offrd_tilt.jpg (68276 bytes) lift.jpg (29502 bytes)

Set Up
Set up is very, very fast. All you really need to do is find a spot, attach the stabilizer legs (or flip them down if you have the folding legs), flip it open, and secure the ring of snaps at the base of the tent. You need a relatively flat space of around 5' X 13' to get the bed and floor level. Your bedding is stored in the Cub, so it's ready for sleeping as soon as the snaps are secured. Set-up takes less than five minutes or so. The awning zips to the Cub and uses three poles for support.
take_down_legsfold.jpg (45993 bytes) take_down_legs.jpg (35354 bytes) set_up_snaps.jpg (26365 bytes) set_up_windows.jpg (27151 bytes) camp_2.jpg (46570 bytes) gratiotbeach.jpg (24734 bytes) cub-05-open.jpg (37563 bytes)

Living in the Cub
When flipped open, the upper level has a padded mattress and the bottom level is a linolium floor. In other words, parents up above and kids down below. Both areas are 4'2"X6'3", which is equal to about two full-sized beds. The mattress is a moderately-firm 3" foam pad. We use two sets of sleeping bags and keep them in the Cub at all time. We also get to use full-sized pillows when camping! The kids get thermarest mattresses and sleeping bags. The dog sleeps in the back of the truck.

Ceiling height is around 7', so there's plenty of room to stand and . In bad weather, the floor space is large enough for a small table and two chairs. The edge of the bed serves as a bench seat. So Uno or Skip-bo for 4 is always an option.

We've been through two rain storms in the Cub and stayed dry. No high winds yet, but I suspect it would do fine.

The one flaw we've discovered so far is the seal at the base of the doors - there is none. The bottom of the door just rests against the edge of the floor. One morning my 9-yr-old's feet were hanging outside the Cub. A couple mosquitos found there way into the Cub that night.

bed-k.jpg (29113 bytes) Sleeping quarters
kidsonfloor.jpg (22315 bytes) Can you find the two sleeping children in this picture?
coffee.jpg (22588 bytes) Sorry about the ugly mugs
doorgap.jpg (15828 bytes) The gap at the base of the doors can let in mosquitos - this is not good in the midwest

Take Down
Take down is a bit more involved because the tent has to be tucked carefully to avoid pinching the canvas in the sides of the trailer. Also make sure you clean out all the sand and debris on the floor or it will end up on your bed. We learned that one the hard way.
take_down_flip.jpg (34408 bytes) take_down_tuck1.jpg (34468 bytes) take_down_tuck3.jpg (39129 bytes) take_down_rack.jpg (44633 bytes) take_down_latch.jpg (32869 bytes)

Modifications
I've added a Pelican 1650 to the tongue for waterproof storage, third wheel, and ABS tube for awning pole storage.
pelicanwheeltube.jpg (34643 bytes)

Planned Improvements
Hanging gear loft for nightime clothes storage
Better door sealing - I have some ideas that should work
Larger tires for better ground clearance
Improved suspension
Treg hitch
Bicycle racks
Corner Armor (may not be necessary after lift/tires)

In Closing
The Cub is a comfortable, light-weight, camping trailer. It keeps us off the ground and in the boonies. I still get to use my tent for backpacking and motorcycle camping, but for back-country family camping, the Cub suits our needs so far - assuming I can keep the mosquitos out.
sunset2.jpg (19536 bytes)
 

Outtahere

New member
Hi Transalper, I too have a Kamparoo Cub and have been trying to think of a way to seal the bottom canvas doors at night.

I decided against velcro. It will get dirty/clogged, the industrial strength style doesn't have industrial strength adhesive to use to attach to the aluminum...

I thought of attaching a long stainless steel piece on either side of the floor below where the canvas will hang, then somehow installing earth magnets at various intervals in the canvas hem.

What ideas have you come up with? And did you execute on them in the past year?

Thanks!
 

alia176

Explorer
Hi Transalper, I too have a Kamparoo Cub and have been trying to think of a way to seal the bottom canvas doors at night.

I decided against velcro. It will get dirty/clogged, the industrial strength style doesn't have industrial strength adhesive to use to attach to the aluminum...

I thought of attaching a long stainless steel piece on either side of the floor below where the canvas will hang, then somehow installing earth magnets at various intervals in the canvas hem.

What ideas have you come up with? And did you execute on them in the past year?

Thanks!
Are you trying to minimize drafts or do you have an escape artist of a pet?
 

transalper

Explorer
I never executed the plans! After a few years i realized it wasnt a real issue for me. And now my kids are in college so dont sleep on the floor of the kamparoo anymore. :)

If i were to do it now, i would do something very simple, like a strap with quick release buckes that holds the door flap to the rack or something like that.
 

alia176

Explorer
I'm not sure about Outtahere but I certainly have an escape artist I'd like to keep in our Kamparoo, any suggestions?
In the past, I've zipped the door all the way down, then brought in the extra flap inside the kamparoo. This isn't advisable during a rain event as the water will find its way into the Roo. On the floor, I usually keep a small rug for wiping off the feet. After the flap is inside the Roo, I'll slide the rug over so that it's 1/4 of the way up the flap and acts as a pseudo barrier, mostly to keep out the cold draft. However, this may deter the escape artist, who knows!
 

Outtahere

New member
Sorry for the delayed response. I must not have notifications set up correctly.
Anyway... I'm somewhat new to camping and want to cut down on the possibility of something (small critter) wondering into my Kamparoo at night. I too zip the doors completely, pull the material in and then place my duffel bags on the material. But I'd like something that feels a little more tight/secure.

Yes, I'm a bit of a wuss in the outdoors at night. But I love off roading and my friends are always organizing trips combined with camping. I bought the Kamparoo because I got tired of being on the floor in a tent.

Thanks!
Outtahere
 

Outtahere

New member
Oh Transalper I forgot to ask: Did you have to modify the rack (part that touches the ground) after installing the taller rims/tires? The height difference looks greater than the maximum distance that the feet on the rack can be extended.

Thanks again,
Outtahere
 

transalper

Explorer
Oh Transalper I forgot to ask: Did you have to modify the rack (part that touches the ground) after installing the taller rims/tires? The height difference looks greater than the maximum distance that the feet on the rack can be extended.

Thanks again,
Outtahere
Yes, I did need longer feet. But I already had an extra set of longer feet that came with the Cub because I also got the fancy folding support legs.
 

Outtahere

New member
I didn't know about the extra long feet option. Good to know. Mine is a 2002 that I purchased used. Extremely basic other than having an awning.

Thank you for the details.
Outtahere
 

uncleogre

New member
Transalper
Please excuse the intrusion but old Cubs never die.
I inherited a late 1980s Cub Supamatic from my brother. Didn't like the canvas so modified it in the style of a Track Trailer TVan with a hard top and rear door /deck. The back got an Oztent to cover the hole.
It rides on 16 inch wheels with 32s to match my Nissan.

Stuart
Gairdner.jpg
 
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