This week, the Motorhome & Caravan Show, at the NEC, saw the show debut for Safari Trailers & Campers, and the entry level offering from Echo 4×4 Centre; the Echo 4, an innovative trailer tent model, originating from South Africa. Other models in the UK range include the Echo 5, Echo 6 and flag ship model, the Kavango. The company does produce smaller models (Echo 1 – 3) but they aren’t, currently, imported into the UK by Safari Trailers & Campers.
According to the Safari Trailers & Campers company web site; “The ECHO 4 is an extreme off-road camper and a step up from the conventional off-road trailers. With enhanced features, such as ample storage, dust sealing, water capacity and weight distribution, this trailer is a reliable addition to the 4×4 enthusiast. This rugged off-road trailer is known for its comfort and its ease in towing, making it one of the ultimate campers to suit ANY wilderness adventure. Tried and trusted, the ECHO 4 remains a favourite for the serious outdoor explorer”.
Not too much to add to that, I don’t think.
The Echo 4 is a two / four berth trailer tent. Like all of the Safari range, it is top end, both in terms of price, but, also, in terms of quality and attention to detail. The whole tent opens out from the trailer, leaving the main double bed in place. This creates a spacious living area to the left of the camper (looking at it from the front). To the right, is the kitchen area. This can be protected from the elements with either a short awning canopy, or a full length, two metre canopy, as seen in the picture above.
One of the great things about the Echo 4 is that its accommodation is modular. The main living area, itself, can be adapted and extended, using a series of velcro attachments. The basic unit comes with the Add-A-Room extension included. This annex will sleep a couple of adults, or three children. It is, also, possible, to add a large toilet compartment on to one of the side doors, using the same velcro type attachments.
The kitchen is typical of this style of trailer, but comes with all required fittings and accessories, as well as a load of dedicated storage.
The Echo 4 is an extremely rugged design, built with the intention of off road usage. It features a hot dipped zinc galvanised chassis, electro galvanised body and military standard rip stop canvas. Folded, the trailer is 133cm long, 104cm wide and 90cm high. When opened up, on site, it extends to 371cm long, by 180cm wide and 153cm high. The trailer, itself, weighs 445kg.
The list of items included with the unit is comprehensive, to say the least, and is covered below, however, it does come with a pretty hefty price tag, of £13,495, including VAT.
Review / Appraisal
Initial reaction is that this is one cool trailer. It is designed for off road use, and it has that rugged look you associate with this style of trailer. The trailers are built by Echo 4×4 Centre, in South Africa, and imported into the UK, by Safari Trailers & Campers.
The basic trailer is unhitched, and wheeled into place. It is then opened out, leaving the bed in situe on the top of the trailer, with living area to one side, and kitchen area to the other.
The bed, itself, is very elevated, and can only be accessed via a ladder inside the main living area. Once in the bed, however, the views can be quite exceptional, with a window on three sides, and elevated position.
Underneath the bed is a wealth of storage space, which is extremely well organised, and can be accessed from either the kitchen side, or the main living area side.
The bed, itself, even, comes with a fitted sheet and matching pillow cases.
There is, also, a table / work surface on each side, and a number of well organised drawers (six per side). The living area has a built in ground sheet, and is well insulated, for colder nights. The Add-A-Room annex adds additional sleeping space for two adults, or three children, and attaches to the end of the living area. There is, also, an optional add on toilet compartment, which attaches to the side of the living area, if required.
On the other side of the trailer is the kitchen area. This can be covered with the shorter canopy, for cooking only, or the larger, two metre canopy for a little extra sheltered space. The kitchen, itself, is very comprehensively equipped, although cooking and washing facilities are quite basic (as is, often, the case with trailer tents of this nature).
The kitchen unit is, actually, contained within the main trailer unit, and, simply, pulls out from there. It is comprised of comprehensive storage, with accessories, a cooker, and washing up bowl, with drainer. The cooker is, simply, a two burner gas hob, with wind shield, and the ‘sink’ is a plastic bowl which drops into a frame at the side of the kitchen unit, in much the same way as the Camp-let models do, however, in this case, the Echo 4 has the added advantage of a matching slot in drainer, as well, but not a tap running directly into the ‘sink’. Where this model really excels is in the utensils it includes, and the dedicated storage provided for them.
In the picture, above, from left to right, we have the main compartment door, with cutlery rack attached. Next we have the first four storage drawers, with compartments for cups, glasses, plates etc, work surface with cooker over, two further drawers behind and sink / drainer to the far right. There is, also, a power management unit behind the cooker. Whilst the cooking and washing facilities are, somewhat, basic, the list of cooking equipment and utensils is pretty comprehensive, and includes; 6 Plates, 6 Side Plates, 6 Bowls, 6 Mugs, 6 Whisky Glasses, 4 Wine Glasses, 6 Knifes, 6 Forks, 6 Table Spoons, 6 Tea Spoons, 6 Steak Knifes, 1 Bread Knife, 2 Smaller Knifes, 1 Bottle Opener, 1 BBQ Tong, 1 Salt & Pepper Set, 1 Cutlery Bag and 4 750mm Bottle Holders.
There is a compartment for a fridge, two jerry cans, as well as a gas compartment and 100 litre water tank, with tap. There is an on board mains and 12V system and gas locker. There are, also, 3 LED lights, and, in the living area, there is what is described as a; ‘vanity compartment’, which includes a number of additional drawers and a series of hanging compartments, with mirror.
One thing this year’s Motorhome & Caravan Show did confirm is that there is a definite trend toward the more rugged ‘adventure’ style of trailer tent, particularly the demountable ‘tent on a trailer’ style, like the new Trigano Qztrail Quest 500, Quest 700 and Zenith models. The Echo 4 takes this to the next level. Although styling and equipment levels are very different, the Echo range appears to be very much targeted towards the Holtkamper type of customer, insofar, as it is at the top end of the price bracket, but with build quality, performance and design to match that price tag. Also, like the Holtkampers, it has one raised, fixed double bed, with further berths being provided by way of ground level annexes. Cooking and washing facilities are basic, but attention to detail is high and this model will be equally at home on the camp sites of the UK, as it will on the plains of South Africa. With a very rapid basic set up time of under 10 minutes, it will, also, appeal to the Combi-camp and Camp-let market, as well, albeit with a somewhat higher price tag.
The Echo 4×4 Centre Website has more details on the entire Echo range. In the UK, however, there are, currently, four models being imported, by Safari Trailers & Campers, of Huntley, Scotland. You can find out more about these, on their company web site. For a brief walk around video of the Echo 4, taken at this week’s NEC show (they are still there until Sunday) take a look at our Youtube channel, HERE
Don’t forget, for more discussions and advice, we now have our own Facebook Group, so feel free to check that out, as well.