Behind the Brand: Patriot Campers

Sam Richards — 20 February 2020
Camper catches up with Justin Montesalvo at Camper Trailer of the Year 2020 to find out what's new at home and overseas.

The X3 has been a long time coming. The Patriot team first prototyped the idea in 2015. But it was pushed to the background as the business grew; the Queensland company were more focused on perfecting the X1.

The focus has always been on sustainable growth, Justin Montesalvo says, but now, with the introduction of a camper with internal living space, “We are ready to take on more market share.”

It is more than business sense though, it’s personal, too. As Justin’s life changes, so do the campers he and the team produce.

“Everyone who knows the Patriot story knows I only produce products that I require,” he says. “If the passion is not there, then I don't make it. But when we do decide to do something, to make something, we put everything behind it.

“With the X3, the passion is there. The family has taken the next step. The kids are older, the dynamic has changed. The boys don’t want to sleep in the tent with mum and dad anymore. The incorporated extra sleeping area in the interior is for Mia.”

The X3 seen on the Gold Coast is the third prototype. The first two were tested extensively in real world environments and the third, after the competition, took on a 5,000km journey through Outback NSW. The chassis and suspension has an even longer history than that; it’s the same as that of the X1, so it’s been tested throughout Australia, Europe, the US and Asia.

Between the competition and now the team have been gearing up the factory with a new production line and by the time we go to print, X3s will be being constructed along its length.

Life keeps on changing and so, Justin says, “New models are not off the table in the future. Innovation is at the core of the business.”

Justin also touched base on some of Patriot’s international expansion. They’ve recently opened a store in Mongolia that can service China and Russia. And their forays into the US continue. Their American dealer is in Oklahoma, just north of Dallas, Texas.

“In the US, the market is smaller and more competitive per capita,” Justin says. “The market is somewhat based on mass production over there. For us, it’s about changing the mindset, demonstrating the value for money.

“It’s an upcoming market in the US. The notion of camping — overlanding as they call it — has historically been boutique, niche. But I think within the next 5 to 10 years, it’s going to be one of the dominating industries.”

While they could have opened more US dealerships, Justin says they want to focus on brand equity and only to work with like-minded dealerships. In 2020, Patriot might open on America’s West Coast, working with new dealerships there.

All of this exploration has exposed Justin and the family to some wonderful natural destinations. Justin was kind enough to share a few of his favourite spots in different countries:

  • USA: “Moab in Utah. You could be on another planet. It’s very technical terrain, slick rock, very barren, it puts campers to the test. Honourable mention also to the Alpine Loop in Colorado.”
  • Mongolia: “My favourite memory is a trek along Russian border at 13,000ft, looking into Russia. Mongolia is the most sparsely populated country. The landscape changes every day. It’s like something out of a Nat Geo movie.”
  • Australia: “Of all the places we have been in Australia, my favourite campsite is still our local campsite in New South Wales. We’ve done Arnhem Land, the Kimberley, the north coast of Queensland, and still it’s our favourite.” Justin laughed at this point, then added: “I’m not going to say where it is, but I have shown it before on Patriot Games.”


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