By James Raia
Australians make cool stuff on wheels. Handsome? Maybe not. Efficient, rugged, state-of-the-art? Definitely.
Part cargo trailer. Part tank. Or maybe an homage to Mad Max movies. It’s the new, smaller version of the AOR (Australian Off Road) Sierra square drop trailer. It’s the Sierra ZR, a simple, made-to-your-preferred-specs cargo hauler. It works and feels like an entry-level, off-road camper. Its base cost is about $19,000, about $8,000 less than its bigger sibling.
“We know that many campers start off small and have their own gear loaded up and ready to go,” said an AOR spokesperson. “With the ZR, almost everything is optional – you can option up or bring your own roof-top tent, awning, fridge, BBQ and more.”
The ZR [in Australia it’s pronounced “Zed R”] has the same width and length as the standard Sierra, but it’s shorter before the addition of the roof-top tent.
The futuristic machine’s similarity to a military vehicle isn’t lost on the manufacturer. It describes the sleeping area as a “secure bunker.”
For its dimensions, the Sierra ZR is robust. It’s 74 inches tall, 77 inches wide and weighs 1,875 pounds.
While basic, the Sierra ZR is a trailer at its efficient best. It’s fully wired with a 150Ah lithium battery, inverter, solar hookup and FinScan touchscreen BMS with accompanying mobile app.
The ZR’s passenger-side storage turns an unassuming sidewall into a large kitchen ready to prepare a meal for the entire campground.
The long hatch door drops open to double as a worktop, providing access to the pantry, utensil and dishware drawer, and long slide-out sink with worktop for a portable camping stove.
The taller cabinet just toward the front packs a dual-level slide-out holding a fridge/freezer up to 60 liters and accommodating a BBQ grill. The ZR kitchen doesn’t include any of the appliances themselves, but it provides the foundation of an organized, well-equipped outdoor kitchen.
Other available AOR options include a drop-down shower room, wraparound awning in place of the standard pull-out kitchen-side awning, and an additional 140-liter water tank.
For more information, visit Australian Off Road.
James Raia, a syndicated columnist in Sacramento, Calif., offers a weekly automotive podcast and electronic newsletter, both available via free sign-ups on his website: www.theweeklydriver.com. He can be reached via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.