Black Series Dominator Modifications - How to Make an Off Road Camper Trailer Livable Long-Term
Dreaming about a trip around Australia? Purchased your 4WD vehicle and off road trailer? Ready to hit the open road, but wondering how to make a camper trailer livable long-term? We hope you find a few tips on Black Series Dominator modifications useful before you start your journey, wherever it may take you!
Check out this post to see the modifications we made to our Nissan Navara before starting our road trip.
Black Series Dominator modifications
Frosted LED lights w/ dimmer switch
The inverter, extra battery, and solar panel allows us to work on the road. Our Kings solar panel pumps enough through on a sunny day to run the fridge and charge whatever needs charging. The inverter does take a lot of juice, but as long as we do a long drive every other day it keeps us charged up.
The stock wiring isn’t the best in the Black Series Dominator. We hard-wired the fridge as it was having lots of issues getting disconnected and not getting enough power. Yay for learning how to solder!
The LED lighting is way too bright. We installed a dimmer switch which helped, and also got a frosted light bar to help diffuse the light.
Flipping trailer hitch
Door hinge switch
PVC pole holder on boat rack
Tropical canopy flapper stoppers
The guy we bought the trailer from had the water heater but never hooked it up. You can connect hot water to the kitchen sink, but we just use it for showering. Bobby installed it on a side door for easy access. We bought a pop-up shower tent to use when there are people around, but there’s nothing quite like a remote bush shower to make you appreciate life on the road!
One of the side compartments doesn't open when the fridge drawer is out. Since this compartment is the most convenient spot to keep cooking gear, it doesn't make much sense. Bobby read on a forum that people were switching the hinges (so the door flips down instead of out to the side), so he did the same.
To hold the awning poles (and any fishing rods you might be bringing along), a PVC pipe holder is easy to install.
Our bike rack was $100 from Supercheap Auto. Usually people purchase an extended hitch pole to attach the bike rack, but Bobby was able to modify the back spare tyre holder to create a more secure option.
New mattress (Clarks Rubber)
Small vacuum cleaner
Probably one of our most useful purchases for the trailer has been a 12V ceiling fan. We bought one from RTM for $35 and it’s been keeping us cool in the shade with the windows open, even in 38 degree heat. We also purchased a clip-on directional fan if we need it. These all plug into the 12V charger and can run off the batteries for hours at a time.
A pop-up gazebo from Anaconda has been our favourite purchase when it’s super hot or raining. It goes up quickly, covers the kitchen or the fridge, and leaves room for a few camp chairs and a table. We’d recommend buying a side wall because the rain rarely comes down straight! If it's raining we tie the wall behind the kitchen to block the wind and make for easier cooking.
The most random useful thing we brought along? A small, rechargeable hand vacuum for easy cleanup.
Want to know where we bought more of our accessories? Check out this post.
Usually you use a winch to unfold the trailer, which is a bit clunky. Bobby is strong enough that with a little help, he can just grab the whole thing and pull it over, so we haven’t used the winch in ages.
We'd highly recommend ditching the rock hard mattress that comes with the Dominator. Since we switched to a better (and slightly taller) mattress, the straps holding the mattress down don’t stay clipped. This means the mattress shifts while the trailer is being closed and then opened. To solve this, move the mattress over to the living room side before closing.
We sold our canvas awning, which was super heavy. It also took an hour to set up! If you’ll be using the trailer for a 2 week holiday and not moving, this awning is worth it. If you’ll be moving every few days like we do, get a pop-up awning and your life will be much easier.
Additional recommended gear
We already had a ton of camping gear, as Bobby worked as a trekking guide for many years and I spend a lot of time in the outdoors. We’d recommend always having a tent as a backup shelter, especially if you take just the ute out exploring, leaving the trailer behind.
Some gear we’d recommend purchasing (but we already had):
Rooftop storage bags
Backup shelter and cooking gear
Sleeping pads and bags
Propane stove and cooking gear
What we love about the Black Series Dominator
There is a lot to love with this trailer.
Off road capability and durability
Has a bedroom and living area
Sleeps 4, with 2 sides that can be separated into rooms with a zip-up divider
Plenty of storage
Spending time outside but still having inside protection when we want it (shade, mosquito screens, etc.)
Some thoughts if you're considering purchasing something similar:
The Black Series Dominator is a beast. We've had this thing bouncing along behind the Navara on some crazy corrugations and hefty potholes and it hasn't complained. The most we've rattled apart has been one screw on the pull-out kitchen which was easily fixed. The only maintenance we've done after 6,000kms is having the wheel bearings greased.
The living space is comfortable and spacious enough for at least 4 adults to comfortably hang out and play cards, unless you have long legs (sit in front of the door!).
This trailer looks compact but it's heavy. Make sure you have something rated to the proper towing capacity.
The boat rack is nice for added storage, but you have to move it every time you set up or fold down the trailer. If you won't be carrying lots of gear, might be worth finding a trailer without this feature.
We love that the trailer is easy to set up and it's pretty sturdy, but it's not as soundproof or tough as a hard-sided caravan. If you'll be staying in lots of places near the road or places it's super windy, you might want to think about something that's not made of canvas.
When it rains, we have to wait for the trailer to dry off before putting it away. If you're anticipating camping a lot in wet places, just be aware that you'll need some extra time for drying, or may be stuck folding away something that's soaking wet. The one time we put away a soaked trailer plus the full canvas awning, it took us 3 days to get everything dried out.
Back to that red dirt... We're currently exploring the Red Centre of Australia, starting with some of the incredibly scenic parks around Alice Springs. Wish us luck!
Comment below if you have any tips for Black Series Dominator modifications. We hope to see you on the road with your own camper trailer setup, or whatever keeps you on the road!