Imagine you are on the camping road trip of your lifetime in your new ute with a Trayon Camper on the back exploring the remote regions of Australia. Then suddenly you have an accident. Thankfully, no one is hurt, just a bit shaken.
Sadly though; your vehicle and camper have been significantly damaged. You get word from your insurance company that the vehicle is a write off, but what about the Trayon Camper?
Well, this article will detail what happens to the camper in the event of a major incident like this. Is it repairable, or do you need a replacement?
The Trayon Camper Design Methodology
Trayon campers are produced with an aluminium frame, aluminium exterior skin, and fiberglass steps and flip roof.
The reason we do this is because it allows for repairability and gives the camper great flexibility. We DO NOT weld the aluminium frame. When you weld aluminium together you lose a lot of its molecular strength as mentioned in our article on how to choose a slide on camper.
Welding vs Flexibility: Our Engineering Methodology Taken from Aviation Industry
Welding also increases rigidity to the frame. When you put something on the back of a ute tray and go off-road; this can actually be a bad thing. You want the camper to have flex.
It’s the same with aircraft engineering. Aircrafts need to have an element of flexibility when it has to go into the atmosphere at high speeds. It has to deal with a lot of external forces both compression and decompression plus stresses on the wings all while remaining lightweight and strong.
Have you ever seen the wings of an aircraft when they are taxied? The wings kind of hang there in self-support, but once it’s up in the air and it’s carrying the weight of the aircraft upwards, flexibility is key for safe flight.
For this same reason flexibility is an integral part of Trayon’s Design. To allow for the natural stresses and forces exerted on the camper while offroad, we don’t weld our internal aluminum frame. This also gives us the unique ability to remove sections of the frame and replace them as needed, without major reframing or cutting required.
In the Event of Catastrophic Damage, Is a Trayon Repairable?
So, we know a Trayon is repairable using our non-welded design but what about in the case of catastrophic damage, not just a fender bender?
Let’s talk about complete vehicle rollover, or some other incident, that damages the Trayon Camper very badly. Sadly, these types of freak accidents happen now and then.
We have been around since 1994 and in that time we have seen a few of these types of accidents.
Rollover Incident #1: Full Repair
One such accident I recall some years ago involved a Toyota Hilux with a Trayon Camper on the back.
The vehicle was traveling on the normal bitumen going down a hill and lost control. They slid into the road barrier then flipped over the barrier and rolled down the hill.
No one knows for sure but the vehicle and the Trayon Camper separated on the first or second roll over and the vehicle continued to roll while the Trayon continued to slide further down the hill.
The HiLux was a complete write off, the tow truck hoisted the Trayon back up the hill and onto the truck. The Trayon was returned to us straight away and the insurance company approved the repair.
The Camper was repaired and as I recall, we put a new roof on it, a new sidewall on the driver’s side, and frame repair on the inside, done.
That camper is still out there, still being used to this day.
Rollover Incident #2: Full Repair
Another rollover incident that I recall some years ago happened at a T intersection.
I believe the people were T-boned by a car and subsequently the vehicle rolled over.
The camper was returned to us. It was a Trayon Dual cab model. We completely rebuilt the front section so we had to disassemble the walls, rebuild the internal frame and square it off.
That Camper is back out there now, fully repaired, still living the Trayon Adventure life.
Of course there’s a limit to everything. I’m not sure we’ve seen a limit of repairability yet, but I’m sure it will be there at some point in time.
As of today; it hasn’t happened yet.
Extruded Aluminium and Glue
So why is it possible to repair a Trayon camper after catastrophic damage? It’s because we DO NOT weld our internal aluminium frame.
In fact, there’s not a single aluminium weld in the structure of the camper. We don’t even have aluminium welding capabilities in our factory on the Sunshine Coast, QLD.
The whole camper is built using aeronautical engineering/ aircraft construction mentality. We use extruded aluminum and we use adhesives and rivets to hold the whole structure together.
This allows you to effectively remove the rivets – break the adhesion line, and then repair what needs to be repaired.
A lot of people think that all glue is the kind of glue kids use to stick paper together. But we use a very specialized glue. It is super strong. This is a similar glue to what is used in high end sports cars like the Lotus Elise. Rather than using bolts and welds, the Elise uses a high strength glue and rivets to bond key components of the chassis together.
So yes, it’s super strong glue. It’s far from your everyday average glue.
So when we have to remove an aluminum side wall during the repair process, we literally have to tear it off. The good thing about using aluminium is that it is recyclable, so it gets recycled and a whole new wall goes on. Done.
Benefits to Upgrade & Retrofit your Trayon Camper
This non-welded aluminium design enables repairability in the event of major damage, but one of the side benefits of this design is that it also allows for easy upgrades and retrofits.
This means you can add to your Trayon Camper. You can personalise it and make it your own with the appropriate features for the lifestyle you want.
As long as the internal frame is not interfered with (structural integrity) you can have quite a lot of fun using a Trayon Camper as your adventuring canvas. This is most evident when we have our bi-annual Trayon Muster, where we gather as many Trayon Campers together as possible for a weekend of camping fun – the modifications are always numerous and intriguing.
Yes, a Trayon Camper can most likely be repaired in the event of major damage from a road incident. Just make sure you are appropriately covered by insurance.
This is due to the Trayon Campers proven lightweight, non-welded design which has heaps of side benefits including withstanding the rigors of the Australian outback and the ability to add upgrades or retrofit other accessories.
We have customers who have been out there using their Trayon’s over the roughest terrain Australia has to offer, for 27+ years and they are still going strong. As we write this blog, Trayon #011 (the 11th Trayon Camper ever made) is currently for sale on the second hand market at more than twice the price it was when it was new back in the year 1996. It has been upgraded and added to by the loving owners and now it is looking for a new home to continue its adventure-filled life, making valuable memories for its owners.
Trayon Campers’ reputation, build methodology aided with the repairability and the retrofitting ability is resulting in higher resale values for Trayon Campers compared to similar campers out there. Even after 25 years of use – Trayon number 11 can sell for more than twice the price it was back when it was new… the proof is in the proverbial pudding.