Camp freely with the Wedgetail Hawk

The drop-down rear panel makes room for a queen-sized bed.

Scott Heiman

At any time, weather can change unexpectedly. A steady rain can mean that we stay out longer than expected.

Meanwhile back at camp, everything you left out is wet… So, you’ll soon find if your swag is sufficiently seasoned, whether you fitted the fly on your tent correctly, or whether the tarp you erected as a camp shelter is taut enough not to pool water. Otherwise, you’re in for a damp night.

When this happens to you often enough, you’ll start looking for different hacks and additional gear to keep your kit off the ground; high and dry for all the right reasons regardless of season. But this process can start becoming tedious after a while. What works now may not fit your camping style in a few years’ time, particularly if your family circumstances change.

Darren Houston, who owns Wedgetail Campers, based in Broadmeadow, NSW, is a family man and a hunter. He’s also a fully-qualified electrician. So, having a long, hard think about what he wants when he heads out scrub, Darren decided to make a camper for budget conscious hunters and campers like himself.

Considering his life’s trajectory during the past decade, he wanted to design a camper that could suit the single tradesman and still meet the needs of his fledgling family when he starts to settle down. Importantly, he wanted to make a unit that would allow him to use his ute for work during the week, and for hunting on the weekends without a fuss, and without having to take out a second mortgage for something that can’t adjust to changes in lifestyle.

The Wedgetail Hawk meets this brief in spades – and more besides. As a completely modular slide-on camper built to suit any sized flatbed tray ute, the Hawk can alter progressively as your circumstances change – and will do so at a price point that will knock your socks off. Because, you can pick up a baseline model of the Hawk for just under $10,000.


Sizing it all up

The centrepiece of the Wedgetail Hawk is a bed box that is 1.8m wide, 1.1m long and 1m high. With the flick of a wrist on two locking toggle latches, the wall over the hitch drops down to create a dome tent which converts the space into a 2m x 1.5m bed area – perfect for the 100mm high-density foam queen-sized mattress that comes standard with the Hawk.

You enter the bed box from either side through gull-wing doors, much like those on a James Bond sports car. The doors themselves operate as handy awnings to keep direct light out of the sleeping zone while maintaining a cool breezeway for when you are ‘Back of Bourke’ or in the tropics. The openings are sealed with a midge screen mesh that fastens down with magnets, reducing the inevitable wear and tear caused by zips and clasps.

All external latches are lockable.
Free your hitch and fly like the wind with the Hawk.
LED bug-repellent lights illuminate a host of trappings.

The bed box is impressive, but there’s far more to the Hawk. While the bed box is essentially a ‘clean’ space, the 700mm wide 1000-litre utility box is the home for your dirties, tuckerbox, camp stove, fridge and whatever else you can’t leave home without.

Once you arrive back home, use an impact driver on the supplied crank handle to simply lift the camper off your ute-tray to use the ute for a tip run. Alternatively, remove the mattress and the bed box becomes a great storage space for tools. Being fully lockable, this cavity is also a nice place to temporarily store your valuables.

Now all this fits on a standard dual cab ute. If you have an extra cab, you can also add on the camp table draw system that is 40cm wide and 1.6m long. Very handy – and not just because it’s a useful table. You see, you can also store a spare tyre or water tank on top. Otherwise, if you have a single cab you could add a separate customised utility box to use as a dog box.

So, there you have it. A fully modularised custom-order choose-your-own-adventure camper available in 1.1m, 1.6m, 1.8m, 2m and 2.2m variants. And whichever option you choose, you’re set up in no time. Open the doors to the bed box, deploy the canvas dome, throw the bed together, remove the chairs, open the fridge and sit down. That should take less than 2-3 minutes. It would be longer to assemble many modern swags.

Magnetic midge screens are a nice touch.
Spare 12V jacks are handy for recharging kit or running a fan.
Store your chairs under the bed space to save them from the morning dew.
Store your chairs under the bed space to save them from the morning dew.

Built to last

The Hawk is lightweight, with a dry weight of 170kg (for the baseline option). So fuel costs won’t burn a hole in your wallet. Impressively, while it’s a featherweight, the Hawk is also built to last. The unit is made from 2.5mm marine grade aluminium with fully welded seams for strong bones. While you can buy all the modules of the Hawk separately, you can also order them welded together which creates even more strength.

And it’s not just the Hawk’s bones that are strong. The outer skin is coated with Speedliner with Kevlar KE 2000 fibre additive for superior strength. This means that, regardless of which mountain track you drive down or what tree you scrape against, the outer skin won’t scratch. It won’t fade either because it is UV stabilised.

The Hawk comes standard in charcoal. If that doesn’t suit you, Speedliner boasts 19 stock colours such as camo green and desert tan.

The MSA drop down fridge slide is handy next to the slide out table.
A TV and JVC HiFi are optional extras.
With an electrician at the helm of Wedgetail, you can be sure things are done right.

Add-ons… and offs

Being a slide-on camper, hitting the road with a Hawk frees your tow hitch. So now you can take a tinny away on the weekend to go fishing or crabbing. Or maybe you’d prefer a trailer with motorbikes or an ATV? And remember that it’s a cinch to remove the slide-on at camp if you want to free your tray for anything.

Another great feature of the Hawk is its modular versatility. While you can put your hands on a Hawk for as little as $10,000, there are plenty of options for after-market accessories down the track. Consider, for example, the living space you’ll obtain with twin 270-degree awnings with side walls. With an awning like this, you’ll be able to establish a camp kitchen, lounge area and a place for your mates to shake out their swags and stretchers. As your family grows the kids will need a place to sleep too. So don’t forget the rigidity of the Hawk’s all-metal and welded construction which means the roof has adequate load bearing to accommodate a rooftop tent.

Before you know it, you’ll have converted your tradie ute into a family camper able to accommodate four people on two queen-sized beds under a roof and still have space for mates and their swags. Now, who’s a happy little camper?



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