4×4 Touring Setup – Full guide
To dual-cab, or not to dual-cab…..that is the Question!
We are often asked by Trayon speculators and future customers, intent on exploring the far reaches of the Outback, “what sort of ute should I get to carry a Trayon?”
There is a big variety of brands and models available these days, so it’s important to find the one with a touring 4×4 setup which best suits you.
What Do We Mean by ‘4×4 Touring Setup’?
Specifically, in this article we mean the the type of cab, tray and chassis combination.
We cover the three main ute 4×4 touring setups which are used to carry Trayon campers. They include:
- Single Cabs
- Extra Cab / Super Cab / Club Cab / Space Cab / Freestyle Cab etc. and
- Dual Cabs / Twin Cabs.
And we focus on mid range four wheel drive vehicles (i.e. Toyota Hilux, Nissan Navara, Mazda BT50, Ford Ranger, Isuzu D-Max, Mitsubishi Triton etc.). Large four wheel drives (i.e. toyota Landcruisers, Nissan patrols and Mercedes G professional) are a different 4×4 touring kettle of fish. We aren’t recommending any specific brands in this post; we’ll let the brand debate rage on elsewhere!
A Trayon will deliver you proven toughness, flexibility, comfort and reliability in the Australian Outback, regardless of the vehicle brand or 4×4 touring setup you get.
But which “Cab” 4×4 touring setup is right for you, and right for touring this great land?
How Can This Article Help You?
Ultimately, this article will help you decide what you want to pair with a Trayon to get the most out of your 4×4 touring setup…..a single cab ute, extra cab ute or dual cab ute. Interestingly, most people seem to have a preset opinion that a dual cab is the way to go.
Sure, if you have a big family with older kids, and want to use the ute as your main around town vehicle for work and shopping, then you can’t beat a dual cab. But as you will see in this article, it’s not always best option for every scenario, particularly in 4×4 touring situations!
What’s The Difference Between These 4×4 Touring Setups?
To begin, let’s just clarify what kind of vehicles are covered by single cabs, extra cabs and dual cabs. The key differences are in cab space and tray length. We’re assuming you’re looking at tray backs, not styleside tubs, because you need a tray to mount a slide on camper on for maximum touring convenience. Check out our article on why you’d choose a slide on camper over a camper trailer.
So here’s the key differences between these 4×4 touring setups:
Single cabs involve a cab which fits two people. All the different vehicle manufacturers call this configuration the ‘single cab’. The cab only has two doors, and the tray is usually 2400 or 2500 mm in length.
Dual cabs are exactly what they sound like, a double sized cab to fit double the number of people (in some cases +1 more). The cab will have four standard doors (the back doors are usually smaller than the front). All vehicle manufacturers refer to this configuration as the ‘dual cab’. The larger cab results in a shorter tray, usually 1800 mm in length.
Extra cabs are somewhere in between, and often the cause of confusion. Most vehicle manufacturers have their own special name for the extra cab (i.e. Toyota’s extra cab, Nissan’s king cab, Mazda’s freestyle cab, Ford’s supercab, and Holden’s space cab). For the sake of maintaining sanity, we’ll stick with extra cab throughout the article.
An extra cab is basically one and a half single cabs, with enough room to squeeze two extra passengers in behind the front seats (….just). Most newer models have four doors like a dual cab, but the back doors are far smaller and sometimes pivot open from the rear, not the front (i.e. sometimes called suicide doors).
Some older models don’t have back doors at all, and rear passengers have to enter buy squeezing through the gap behind the front seat, like a little two door coupe / hatch.
Extra cab trays vary in size between 1950 mm and 2200 mm in length, depending on the dealer’s stock options. Generally longer than a dual cab, and shorter than a single cab.
Is There Any Difference in Features and Comforts?
These days, not really. All your different makes, models and configurations come with the modern features and comforts like auto, diff lock, cruise control etc..
Once upon a time, your single cabs and extra cabs were much more basic, or should we say, work specific, and dual cabs were the only models with urban style creature comforts. But these days, four wheel drive utes of all kinds are much more common in the urban world, and thus have a good mix of off road features as well as creature comforts.
What is the Most Common 4×4 Touring Cab Conundrum?
The most common difficulty we hear about, regarding which 4×4 touring setup to go for, is between the extra cab and dual cab. Both vehicle configurations have been increasing in popularity for years, because they appear to offer the ‘best of both worlds’ option.
They can be taken off road (how far depends on what running gear they have), and they have the extra cab space to be used as a ‘round town’ family runner.
Which 4×4 Touring Setup is The Most Popular at Trayon?
This may come as a surprise!
Here at the Trayon factory, around half of all of our slide on camper orders are manufactured for extra cab utes. Considering that there are three main ute configurations available, that’s pretty significant.
The extra cab is the most popular configuration for a Trayon in Australia, as well as our overseas branches like Trayons slide on camper Europe.
Let’s breakdown the pros and cons of each ute configuration, and how they pair with a Trayon, to demonstrate why this is.
4×4 Touring Setup Comparison
Each different 4×4 touring setup has consequences for the following:
- Which type of Trayon camper you can carry
- Passenger space and travel comfort
- Camping comfort
- Storage space; and
- Off road performance.
While this comprehensive guide to 4×4 touring setups will demonstrate why the extra cab is the most popular Trayon partner, it doesn’t mean the extra cab just automatically ‘wins’. You need to consider the benefits in light of your needs.
Sure, one configuration may be better for day-to-day use, but what if you plan on going off road camping road alot? On the flip side, maybe another configuration will prove the best Outback expedition vehicle, but provide less day-to-day convenience.
For example, if you only have the grandkids in the back seats 5% of the time, then is a huge amount of cab space really worth it?
Let’s find out.
4×4 Touring Setup Comparison 1: Passenger Space and Travel Comfort
This is step one, because there is no point looking at other aspects if you can’t fit your regular passengers in a comfortable way.
Here’s some considerations;
- Single cabs generally won’t fit more than two people….legally.
- Dual Cabs will usually be able to squeeze in five people, like sardines. Four is more realistic, and the back seats are normally pretty comfortable.
- Extra Cabs can generally take a total of four people. That’s two extra people in the back, although not comfortably (and it will be a bit cramped for anyone over, say, 6”10). This is because they’re not full blown seats, but still great for kids up to the age of around 10.
Warning: To stuff any adults in the back of an extra cab for longer than two hours drive may warrant an uber! Leg room is very small.
Also, bear in mind that with an extra cab or dual cab, you can put the front seats back so the passenger can have a nap; not an option in single cabs. The cab rear wall is right against back of the seat.
So Which Cab Suits You?
Before putting any option on the chopping block, what you need to ask yourself is, “how important is extra passenger space?” For example:
- How often are you going to carry more than two passengers?
- Are you doing an epic road trip involving long hauls, or staying within a two hour radius of home?
- Will you need space for an extra furry member of the family?
Taking all this into account, here’s our recommendations:
- Never more than one passenger who doesn’t care about comfy travel naps = Single cab
- Never more than one passenger, but they like a good travel nap = Extra cab or dual cab
- To bring your family’s furry mate along on holidays = Extra cab or dual cab
- More than one passenger on occasion, but not for very long distances (or they’re under the age of 10) = Extra Cab or dual cab ( Dual Cab UTE Camping Setups )
- Frequently more than one passenger for longer distances = Dual Cab.
4×4 Touring Setup Comparison 2: Trayon Models and Layouts
The tray length of your vehicle is the biggest influencer of what Trayon model you can get.
Remember, the standard tray lengths for each ute configuration are:
- Single cab = 2400 mm to 2500 mm
- Extra cab = 1950 to 2200 mm
- Dual cab = 1800 mm.
Tray lengths can be altered, but to keep it simple, we’ll explain this section using these standard dimensions, and discuss tray alterations later in the article. Most people don’t want to modify a brand new vehicle anyway. You’re just better off choosing the right one from the outset!
The important point is, your 4×4 touring setup will determine which Trayon models available to you, which then drives what Trayon camper layout you have. This also has a range of other flow on impacts we explain further into the article.
Trayon Models Overview
Here is a quick run down of our cornerstone Trayon class 2 camper models on offer:
- The 1980
Importantly, 1980 name does not reflect tray length requirements, they reflect width.
We also offer a class 1 camper called ‘Traymate aluminium ute canopies’. The differences between camper class is explain in our recent article explaining exactly what is a slide on camper.
Trayon Models Explained
We’ve been fitting Trayon campers on trays of 2100 mm since the early 2000’s, and it works a charm. They can slightly overhang the rear of such a tray, but it’s no issue, we just make use of different attachment points. The only thing to note is that it can overhang the tow hitch, but there is still 300 to 400 mm gap, so there is actually very little impact!
The 1980 model: At 1980 mm wide, and 2200 mm long, it is made to suit wider single cab and extra cab 4×4 touring setups (e.g. Nissan Patrols and VW Amarok etc.), ideally with a tray length at least 2100 mm. The Trayon 1980 can also go on most mid range utes like the Ford Ranger, Toyota Hilux etc, it just overhangs the sides ever so slightly and this is also something we have done for a very long time. Some people prefer a bigger camper inside and hardly even notice the slight side overhang.
The Dual-wide model: The dual-wide model is the same width as the 1980 model (1980 mm), but is only 1800 mm in length, to suit all dual cabs 4WD utes, with a standard 1800mm long dual cab tray.
The Traymate: This is a different, more simplistic class of camper. It can be feature customized to drastically reduce the price tag, while retaining Trayon’s extremely high quality. It is basically our budget camper range based around a strong aluminium canopy and a high quality roof top tent with two queen beds!
All Models Are Extremely Lightweight
Trayon class 2 models for standard utes range between 410 Kg and 465 Kg, which is lighter than any other camper you will find offering the same facilities and comforts. We are one of the lightest campers on the market, much innovation and engineering has gone into maintaining that.
The Traymate (a class 1 camper), in its simplest form, is a staggering 175 kg!
Trayon Camping and 4×4 Touring Comforts
For each class 2 Trayon model (e.g. 1980, dual-wide), there are three different models you can pick from to suit your desired level of facilities and camping comfort:
- The Standard
- The Deluxe; and
- The Diesel Deluxe.
You can check out the differences by ordering a Trayon brochure.
Traymate campers are highly customizable and the facilities depend on what you want.