It was the high roof, spaciousness, off-road ability, and ease of set up that inspired me to purchase the Air Opus for my debut trip around Oz.
However, as a solo female traveller who has never set up a camper trailer before, it hasn't been completely smooth sailing with the Air Opus.
Tip 1 – The Treg Hitch and making sure you put the jockey wheel down
The Air Opus comes standard with a Treg hitch which makes it amazing for towing. It handles extremely well on windy mountainess roads and off-road as well.
What it doesn’t do is give you any warning that you've forgotten to put the jockey wheel down. This may sound like an easy mistake, and maybe it is, but on a normal tow ball you have to put the jockey wheel down and prop it up in order to be able to drive away. With the Treg hitch, you don't. You can quite easily disconnect the car and drive away leaving the camper trailer to fall head first into the ground.
Recommendation: Place the jockey wheel down first before disconnecting your car. If you fail to do this, call your brother and get him to bring his front end loader over to help lift your 1.5 tonne trailer out of the dirt. If you don't have that, get a team of footballers to sit on the back end of the trailer while you prop it up.
Tip 2 – The Treg Hitch and coming loose while driving
I can't speak for every vehicle, however my standard tow bar on my Colorado z71 was too thin for the Treg Hitch used to connect the Air Opus. It resulted in the Treg Hitch car connection coming loose while driving. This also impacted the ability to reverse as the trailer was off kilter by the time I arrived at my destination.
Recommendation: Make sure the Treg Hitch car connection is flush against your tow bar. The best way to do this is head to Lower Beechmont, park your camper at one of your old army mate's houses who not only has, dead set, the best views in Oz but also used to be a mechanic, and mention you have a slight issue with your hitch. He'll then hand you a beer while he removes both the tow bar and the Treg Hitch and weld a perfect line to make it all sit flush (thanks Dan).
Tip 3 – Air Opus air compressor – make sure you turn the tap 'on'
Before you start your air compressor, make sure you turn the tap just above the compressor to the 'on' position. The compressor will automatically stop when the air beams get to 7psi, however it won't automatically stop if you press the compressor button with the tap off, and will blow a hole in your compressor pipe.
Recommendation: Turn the tap to the 'on' position when packing down the trailer and while blowing the air beams up. Only have the tap in the 'off' position while the camper trailer is in use. If you do blow a hole in the pipe, simply take the pipe out of the compressor, cut off the part of the pipe that has a hole in it and stick it back in.
Note: While you are fixing the compressor, the tent will most probably be deflated, so place your hair in a pony tail to avoid it getting stuck on the velcro on this inside of the tent (I can't stress this enough, it is super painful).
Tip 4 – Section off the Air Opus air beams while the trailer is in use
Close the connections from the main beam to the secondary beams while the camper trailer is in use. I find there is a fair amount of air leakage within these connections that is easily rectified by simply closing the connections while in use.
Recommendation: Invite your nieces over to trial the camper trailer and leave the connections open over night. When the girls wake up the camper trailer will be almost completed deflated and the girls will completely freak. Then pretend that this was in fact a deliberate joke and emphasise that you are indeed the most fun aunty and proceed to make them breakfast sheepishly.
Tip 5 – The Air Opus annex – Don't take on a solo trip
While I did set up & pack down the annex successfully by myself on at least two occasions, it was completely strenuous (and I had removed the windows (excess material) to make it lighter). There is as much material in the annex as there is in the tent itself which makes it heavy. It also takes up a lot of room in the camper trailer when traveling, leaving less room for doonas and pillows.
I found when blowing up the Air Opus, the annex pulled the tent down putting kinks in the air beams and made it necessary to go inside the tent and manually lift and shape the air beams to let the air get through. It was almost impossible to do this and quickly run over to turn the compressor on with just one person.
Packing up with the annex was hard as a solo traveller as well. It was possible, but I felt it got harder each time.
Recommendation: If you are travelling with one person, I would recommend leaving the annex at home, and using a car annex, or a portable gazebo, to cover your kitchen. If you are travelling with more than one person, use the annex. You need it so you can properly use your kitchen and fridge compartment, as well as entering and exiting the camper trailer in the rain.
Tip 6 – Air Opus Air Beam plugs – make sure they have been threaded correctly before finalising your purchase.
Four out of five of the plugs on my Air Opus camper work perfectly and are okay for me to take off and screw back on with only finger strength. One of them however, has been threaded incorrectly and I am unable to budge it. This is something that was picked up on in the store, however the sales guy opened it for me (with some struggles) and sent me away.
It's something that keeps getting a little worse, to the point where I had to leave it parked at the top of a mountain on a trip, while I went down to the closest city to try and find a tool that worked. I trialled a multi grip and a spanner but found it would smooth out the thread, and have instead settled on a pair of bent nose pliers. I can jab them into each side of the plug and rotate without compromising the thread.
Recommendation: If you can't do it in the store, you won't be able to do once you leave. Ensure each of the plugs are functional before leaving with your camper trailer.
Tip 7 – Store your blankets and doonas in the internal compartment not on your bed when in transit
While there are really handy straps to hold your linen in place when flipping your camper trailer closed, their really isn't enough room to squeeze it all down.
Recommendation: Take your doonas off your bed and place with the cushions in the internal storage space when travelling. Your sheets can be kept in place by the handy straps.
Tip 8 – Pack an extension cord for odd sized electrical equipment
There is one 240 volt outlet in the camper which can be used when your Air Opus is plugged into to a power source. The only issue is that it is placed in a hidey-hole that has a shelf about 1.5 inches below the outlet making it impossible to plug in, for instance, a MacBook Pro.
Recommendation: Bring an extension cord or an adapter that allows any shaped cord to plug in.
All in all it's a great little camper.
I have loved not needing to worry about poles and knowing that everything will be as it should be on set up,
It holds up to rain and wind. Still in the early stages of my trip I endured my first 5 day wet and stormy stint, with my Air Opus tent sans annex standing up to 50kph wind gusts. The canvas stayed dry inside despite not seeing the sunshine for 5 days straight and sitting in a mix of drizzle and storms.
There is two double beds which are not only great for having mates come join you on your trip, but offer an alternative place to rest when the sun is on your bed. The Air Opus has USBs & 12 volt points throughout the camper making it easy to pick a shady spot and work on your laptop, but maybe my favourite thing is the cross breeze between the two end windows, 3 side windows and 4 roof top windows. With the help of a small 12volt fan you can find yourself comfortable in extremely hot Queensland temperatures.