Leo or Conquest s - some advice needed?





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  1. #1
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    Jul 2007
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    Default Leo or Conquest s - some advice needed?

    I have an caravan but looking at changing to a off road trailer purely for varsatility. Saw the DW Leo and Conqueror Conquest at the Getaway show this weekand and need some advice.

    Seems quite pricely but I think a wise investment in the end though. I have heard some stories of dust problems on the DW. Anyone have any documentation or knowledge of website where I can read up on reviews of these two models.
    I have 2 small kids 4 & 6 we go off the beaten track every now and then but will probably stick to caravan parks most of the time. I drive a 2004 Grand Cherokee 4.7L. Any advice will be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
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    George
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    Hi, below info on Conquest which I drafted for someone else some time ago – so sorry if it is long and maybe some you are not interested in, but hope it will give you some info to help make decision….

    I went through the same exercise and looked at all possible trailers over a period of more than a year and at the end decided on the Conqueror Conquest. I have since used it for approximately 12 000 km and 58 nights (making camp 25 times), and is very happy with my decision.

    Let me say at the onset that I do not think that one/ any trailer in standard format is / will be ideally suited to you’re personal preferences, and I concluded that you need to choose the one which has the best potential to adapt to your needs. And therein lies the crux, as you need to decide on what you want out of the trailer. There is nothing inherently wrong with any of the trailers available.

    I have used a couple of camping / traveling options in the past, and based on my personal experiences and subsequent preferences, my main consideration was first and utmost its ease of setting up and breaking camp and access to equipment without having to unpack half the stuff. I thus want to spend minimal time in making/ breaking camp, and therefore need to live out of the trailer without having to unpack it.

    Others included: flexibility in use, adequate accommodation for a family of four, good weight to packing space ratio (not overly weighty), the option to keep the trailer packed as far as possible for a quick trip, good build integrity.

    My design/ equipping considerations for choosing the conqueror conquest is therefore (you have looked at the conqueror and I assume you will be able to follow my descriptions/ reasoning):

    In terms of overall structure, the trailer has the best weight to packing space ration of any trailer I know of. Many trailers have features which penalize them weight wise: the outside kitchens on heavy duty swingers and the elaborate use of marine ply for the kitchen layout, and which must really add a lot of its weight. The trailer tent of the conqueror is also directly on top of the trailer roof, and does not (sans the fold out section) require any additional fitted platform to accommodate the tent – hence another weight saver.

    I also like the principle of bolting an clueing the trailer together - allows for maximum flexibility of the structure, other than welded joints with resulting stress and possible failure due to it’s inherent inability for flexing. I like the odd 1,5m length of drop down side doors for a working surface. Its back door (and spare wheel) flips up and out of the way. Other trailers back doors opens to the side, and always end up in ones way. I also like the electrics up front in the nose cone, accessible (have put my own very cheaper system in). The position of the DB box at e.g. at the back of some trailers I think is problematic in terms of access – especially when load bay is packed.

    The Jerry cans rest securely on part of the A-frame. With others it hangs from the front doors. I have not heard of problems here, but the weight of full cans must put some stress on the hinges. I like the twin water tanks of conqueror, adequate capacity (if needed) at 180l and if one tank gets damaged/ polluted, you have another tank left. The tent pole (for large canopy) container between the water tanks is also a huge plus.

    The trailer tent is roomy and spacious, and is pure quality. And most importantly, you can put it up without the aid of additional poles/ aids. It is same as RT. Sometimes I don’t even put pegs in. Some trailer tents requires that you build part of the frame from separate poles and have to use guy ropes to get the tent functional. It also does not have the sloping side like others which limits the inside living space quite a lot. Had plenty of driving rain on trips, and no water (or dust for that matter) in either tent or trailer. I prefer the tent set-up where you sleep over width/ across trailer – no need for one to crawl over a partner to access or exit the bed. The ladder is in center of bed to help with this, and the ladder also does not stick out at the top of the bed like others which make access/ exit cumbersome having to climb over the top ends of the ladder which sticks out over the bed area. Also safer (open side at feet only) if falling off the bed may be a problem – especially with young kids.

    And the bed – at 2,1 x 2,1 is just fabulous. With small kids, and for quick sleep over, or for security reasons in wild, the whole family can sleep there and save you the trouble of making additional beds. We have done this many times with 2 and 5 year old and its comfortable.

    Also, after enough practice, I can put up and take down the trailer tent all on my own. (Two makes it a bit easier) The trailer tent dust cover is also large enough to carry all sleeping gear up there with ease – we pack in there (apart from its own mattress and ladder) one double and two single duvets, six pillows, the fitted sheet, as well as the children’s two high density sleeping mattresses (about 5cm thick each). With some you struggling to close up the tent with awning pieces permanently attached, and you need to remove any bedding inside. BTW, also put some hikers mattresses under the trailer tent mattress (trailer roof is metalsheet) – helps a lot for warmth in winter.

    You have the flexibility to put up either the tent only (one night sleep overs or adequate other shade/ protection) , or add a large canopy which covers the whole trailer and some 2m around it (great for extended stays – keeps the whole trailer and immediate surrounds cool and dry), or alternatively only the awning over the kitchen (when you need protection from sun or rain during short stay. I have also adapted the kitchen awning to add on to the large canopy to maximize covered living space during extended stays. I also have made up some neat shade cloth to enclose the perimeter of the canopy area – it gives protection against wind, sun and privacy when needed. It is, however, not as enclosed/ claustrophobic as the solid canvas option from the factory.

    With the canopy or kitchen awning up to protect from rain/ dew, you can open the tent panel at the kitchen fully (incl the mesh). This is wonderful (especially when hot) and we do it when possible – it’s as if you are sleeping outside.

    Regarding the packing space: Here you can customize the conqueror in terms of accessibility to the point where most other trailers just cannot compare. My acid test is to be able to stop next to the road – open the trailer and make a cup of tea and sandwich without having to unpack/ look for things.

    For instance, some has an elaborate kitchen which actually waste space, maybe clothing drawers on other side, and at the back usually just a big open space which you must treat as a luggage trailer to stack stuff – result – you need to unpack some/ everything. Some again has openings and loading spaces of which its size and design will limit me to the point of frustration. Back to the kitchens – the design type kitchens use dedicated spaces which forces you in many instances to use certain appliances and/ or just so sizes. Some also use close cell packing stuff – this can only become messy and dirty and break over time. The Conqueror kitchen, in comparison, use minimal space, and its accommodation allows for packing arrangements to suit the preferences of any wife.

    Back to the packing space of the Conqueror: I have taken both packing frames on each side of the trailer to optimize ease of use. . The 4 crates in the packing system on the kitchen side are packed with pots, pan, kettle and percolator, kitchen ware like plastic bags, the stuff for dish and cloth washing etc, and the other two with food stuff. The 4 crates on the tent side are packed with the towels, extra bed sheets, extra warm cloths and medical supplies.

    I have made a shelf for the space left in the middle between the two packing systems, and put here (accessed from the back) a windbreak, some spider chairs and the hikers mattresses.

    The most inaccessible space is below these packing frames. This I have solved as follows: Under each of these packing frames – against the inside wheel ach, I have put two deep ammo box’s with a cut-away facing you (thus two side-on on each side) – the contents of these “drop-bins” (as I call them) is then accessible from the outside through the cut away (and gap between packing frame and door opening) – without having to remove these boxes to get access. (you have to remove the factory fitted cargo rails on inside of wheel arches to make all fit). If the cut-away is too small for the item to be packed/ retrieved, you simply pull out the ammo box directly above in packing frame to lift the item through this open floor space. On the kitchen side we use these as the pantry for the heavy food stuffs. On the tent side we use these drop bins for extra fleece blankets and shoes. (For the sake of better weight distribution I usually also add the stock of beer, liquor and soft drinks here).

    The left over space beneath the packing frame, and between the deep ammo drop-bins, takes exactly (side-on) two high-lid ammo boxes. And these are the only two crates that you cannot access directly without having to unpack from the back space. (thus no fridge at back - see later). The one at the front (most inaccessible) I use to put in spares and stuff that you may need but are unlikely to use – changes are you will not need to retrieve this crate. The one at the back is a DIY box (to fit left over space) and carries my (washing machine) braai drom and inside this the braai grid, black pots, braai utensils, fire lighters, etc etc. You will only need this when you make camp, and then no fuss to access.

    Regarding the fridge space: I don’t think the fridge is a good idea at the back. It blocks access to the back, and fitting the slide with its rails intrudes on the sensible use of the space behind it. My freezer stays in the vehicle, but I have also used the space that you access through the kitchen side front door to accommodates a 40l size fridge – preferably a Engel, as the end-side opening of this units door is best suited for this space. Here, it is also very close at hand to kitchen area. Guess you will also be able to put it on a slide. (I have put two strips of aircraft type cargo rails in to secure the fridge).

    At the back, in place of the traditional freezer space, I put the bulky stuff like porta-potty, ground sheets, canopy, kitchen awning, shower cubicle and shower appliance, and spider chairs). It is nice to have an open space to pack bulky items like these. And once removed, you can access the two crates in the center below the packing frame with relative ease

    On the tent side of trailer: I have omitted the useless factory cupboard, and put in its place a Elva mesh wire rack system with 4 basket/ drawers – fits and works perfectly. So each member of the family gets its basket to pack its cloths – I put it in trailer and there it stays – you live out of it, no unpacking of clothing bags etc.

    My table – a six feet which folds double in middle – is stored upright between the front of the packing system and the fridge/ cooler and clothing basket system. Access easy through kitchen side front (fridge) door, and can take it out any time I may need it.

    Also on tent side, I have also omitted the traditional bar unit they put here at back (same place as kitchen unit). IMHO, this unit is a waste of space. Here I have duplicated the kitchen unit and we use it as the “bathroom cabinet”. It takes all our toiletries, as well as odds and ends like head torches, reading books for nighttime reading, etc. I believe they now have a factory bathroom cabinet option in place of the bar unit.

    With the total packing setup as described above, I do not need to tie anything down – everything is snug and secure enough – this was tested more than once!

    Everything stays packed – all we need to pack is the cloths and food – exactly the same as you would go to self-catering accommodation. We have e.g. dedicated sleeping gear, and a bath and swimming towel each, which stay in the trailer (washed and pre-packed after each trip). We even have a full set of toiletries for each pre-packed - you usually needs to use this just before leaving home, then you need to pack it or worst it stays at home. Only other exclusion is the medical crate. We have one fully packed with whatever we need. This we use at home too, comes a trip, we take the whole crate from home and slip it into its dedicated slot in the packing frame of trailer. At the end of trip, when we get home late, we take out the clothing baskets, the perishable food stuff, and the medical crate, and the rest can stay for whenever we have time to sort out and make ready for the next trip.

    This trailer is large and has lots of packing space. I have however not decided on this trailer to use this space to pack too much stuff – minimum comfort is the guiding principle, but the packing space was chosen because it allows me to pack in luxury fashion – meaning dedicated spaces for goods. I do not have to cram the goods all over the place to get it in and end up looking all over to retrieve it.

    Last consideration – I will not tow a large and heavy trailer without brakes. Even if it is for that once you will need it. They are priceless in cost – I am absolutely convinced that mine already saved me from sure disaster once.

    You can have this set-up for around R70k (just drop the elec system an install your own), very competitive with the others.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    Ya, at the show, i looked at the Desert Fox and Conquerer... man, i must say, i always liked the desert fox... but after talking to the guys for a long time, i realized i like the Conquerer a lot more...

    the conquerer is designed really well, not only from a camping perspective but from a technical design as well. (ie the punched support beams), hidden tent pole storage space, separate water containers, sturdy doors and clamps...

    I also like the wheel arch placement on the conqurer, the desert fox always seems so front heavy... i know its made to pack heavy at the back... but thats not the way i pack...

    Also, what is nice on the conquerer, is the use of automotive rubbers, this means for R150, you can easily replace all of the rubbers if the old ones start to perish...

  4. #4
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    With all the technical stuff already mentioned , I'm going to keep it short and sweet. Personally, I will take the Conquest. I have two friends, one with Conqueror and the other with DW. Have experienced both on various trips and that is my reason for my choice. Just a pity I don't own one myself
    [B]Johan Prinsloo

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Default Leo or Conquest s - some advice needed?

    Thanks a lot guys for the advice. Thilo you have addressed all my issues and put my mind at ease a lot. I must say that I also chatted with the Conqueror guys for a long time and I think they really have their act together. Also the price advantage is very sygnificant on the Conqueror. I have read some other threads on the forum which suggest that the DW have some dust/build quality issues.
    Although stailess steal is probably the way to go I think that when one looks after your kit it will last a life time.

    I will check out the market for some good condition used models or just order according to personal specs.

    thanks once again for the advice guys!!

  6. #6
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    Ja ja stainless steel is forever. How long do we plan on living.

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    I own a Desert Wolf Lynx and previously posted a thread about the dust issues. I was furious about the dust and DW was furious about my post. Hennie from DW and I had a long hard meeting that eventually ended well. He did assure me that the dust problem on my DW was the exception and did commit himself to solve it.
    And I did agree that I might have been too harsh on them regarding bad service.

    DW is currently stripping my Lynx to the chassis and rebuilding. You've got to give them credit for that.

    I had a good look at the Conquerer and I think it's a great trailer. But so is the DW. And many others. Each with it's own advantages and disadvantages. You just need to choose the one that suites you the best.

    On my DW I like and cannot do without:

    1. DW's Creative Canvass for the tent are very light and though. The material allows light through so the tent is not dark during the day.
    2. All your kitchen stuff is within reach as the kitchen and food drawers are all behind the same door. Awning that covers the kitchen is great, you can cook and get your food and utensils in rain or bad weather.
    3. The awning that covers all round the trailer. Time consuming to pitch but it's great to have everything in the shade. We take it off if we are only pitching for one night.
    4. Stainless Steel. No rust, no paint that chips. If you wonder what stones do to a trailer, take it to Namibia.
    5. Build quality are excellent, as strong as any other.
    6. Side access with each bin having its own door. Mine has got three on a side. I've divided my stuff, soort by soort, and have easy access to everything.
    7. Side opening doors. I do not like the fold down type.
    8. In my humble opinion still the best looking trailer on the market

    If only I could have:

    1. Automotive rubbers on the doors. I still think they will seal better that the DW rubbers.
    2. A waterproof tent once the awning is off. DW is currently testing a smaller awning that will pitch easier for those one night stopovers.
    3. Cheaper accessories. Everything is made from stainless, a lot of it simply unaffordable for my minute budget.

    My advice:

    1. Do not, unless you have a lot of money that you don't mind spending, buy a full house from the start. Rather add on as you get to know what you need and what you van do without.
    2. Some extras you can make/install yourself e.g as mentioned power unit etc. I made a very nice dishwashing rack that hangs on the back door. Cheap.
    3. I also prefer my freezer in the vehicle and not in the trailer.
    4. Also the water, its in the back of the bakkie. I do not want to overload the trailer, rather distribute the weight between vehicle and trailer.

    I don't think you will make a mistake with any of the leading brands. In the end it boils down to what you prefer as far as weight, build quality, layout, tent, extras, back-up service and looks.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helenus View Post
    He did assure me that the dust problem on my DW was the exception
    Helenus, unfortunately I think there are a couple of DW owners who would love to disagree with that statement.

    And what about the Alko coupler baseplate ( stainless off course ) which is tearing loose on the welds in the front of the A - frame ? Not referring to yours but to the friend's of mine's DW who went to Bots in July
    [B]Johan Prinsloo

  9. #9
    Batman Guest

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    Wiv i see you live in Pretoria but dont bring the Conqueror to the coast the rust just eats it away down here.

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Batman View Post
    Wiv i see you live in Pretoria but dont bring the Conqueror to the coast the rust just eats it away down here.
    I live at the coast and after two years have no problem with rust. Spots where the epoxy paint has been stripped by a flying stone does not show rust after considerable time lapse - it's all electro-galvanised. But then, if you do not look after your stuff anything will go south.

    Btw, what I do not like about s/s is that it gets bloody hot when standing in the sun.

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