DRIFTA is an Australian company that has grown rapidly down under over the last few years and now has its sights set on introducing its camping and 4WD products into the European market.
These guys build everything from camp kitchens, 4WD drawers to very impressive and high quality off road camper trailers. We recently spoke to Jakob Schimanek Drifta’s European Manager to get the lowdown on how the company evolved and on Drifta’s European plans were going.
Jakob is originally from Germany and explained that he has known Luke, the owner and founder of the Australian based DRIFTA since 1995. Jakob explained that he was 10 years old at the time and was traveling with his family in the USA. Jakobs father is an adventurer and photojournalist and at the time was researching for an adventure book in the USA.
As a part of his adventures they hired horses to make a 5 day trip to the Canadian border and that’s how they met Luke.
Luke who was living in the US at the time just happened to be their guide and would take Jakob his Mum Dad and young sister on horseback and off the grid to the Canadian border.
Jakob remembered having a great adventure in the US and he and his family got on very well with their Ozzy guide Luke and over time this would lead to a strong friendship that would eventually lead to Jakob playing an important role in the company’s development.
Luke would eventually move back to his home-place in Australia In 2000 where he started designing building and selling portable camp Kitchens at camping shows all over Australia and by 2004 over 1400 kitchen units were sold. People in Australia were loving this quality new product that sung innovation and high quality workmanship and it would not be long before Luke was working 7 days a week in order to keep up with demand.
Over the years Jakob and his family kept in touch with Luke and in 2007 Jakob’s father decided to make another trip with the family to Australia. While in Australia they went to Gloucester in New South Wales to meet Luke and to see first hand the expansion of the Drifta HQ.
They would spend a couple of days catching up and reminiscing on their times spent together in the US. Jakob and his family were very impressed with how quickly Luke’s camping kitchen business had taken off Around this time Luke was employing 16 people and had big plans for the extension of the business.
Just a couple of years later ,in 2010 ,Luke started to build Drawers for 4WD vehicles and it was not long before the word spread about the quality of his 4WD drawers that had entered the European market.
In 2013 DRIFTA would start building high quality off road camping trailers where they introduced the DOT off road camper trailers into the Camping and touring market in Australia and similar to the success of the camp kitchens and the 4WD drawers the rugged looking off road DOT trailers soon started to get noticed in the very competitive Australian market.
The off road camping trailers would have the DRIFTA kitchens built in and a number of other innovative designs incorporated as part of the package. It was also in 2013 when Drifta started to sell the very impressive Japanese manufactured Snowpeak camping equipment. Things were starting to get very busy at the DRIFTA factory in Gloucester and that’s when Jakob explained that he decided to move to Australia from Prague and work with Luke and be part of the ever expanding DRIFTA story.
After 16 years in business DRIFTA now employs 65 people and is now the biggest company of its kind in Australia. Manufacturing camping trailers, camping kitchens, drawer systems for 4WD and vans, new canvas products and much more. With this rapid expansion in Australia the lads have now set their sights on Europe. DRIFTA is now registered in Czech Republic where Jakob’s family now live and they have now started to ship products to the Czech republic for distribution throughout Europe. The first products recently shipped from Australia to Europe include some 4WD drawers kitchens and the Snowpeak fire pits.
Jakob’s parents are now helping with the distribution while all communications are handled by Jakob in Australia. Jakob informed me that there will be many more Drifta products available in the future, so keep an eye on the EU website. www.drifta.eu So far a number of European customers have been expressing an interest amongst other things in the Drifta 4WD drawers. Jakob highlighted that they are getting a lot emails from Europe and now that Drifta have structures in place in the EU Drifta they can ship more orders as demand increases and as a result save on freight costs.
This is a company that we will be hearing a lot more about in here in Europe in the near future. These guys live and breathe Camping and 4WD adventures, it is very clear from talking to them that they are passionate about their Camping and four wheel driving and this comes across in the quality of the products that both design and build. These guys think about camp set ups in a very practical way, and from there experiences out in the bush they replicate their camping product ideas by building prototypes in the Drifta HQ, and they then test them in very harsh environments to make sure that when they make these products available that they are built to last.
Over the last three years the company has continued to expand in size and in the range of camping products they have on offer. Examples includes the development of the eye catching and rugged DOT camper trailers.The devellopment of a canvas bag making department and becoming agents for the UNIFLAME camping products in Australia. We will be covering more on the DRIFTA story so watch this space.