In this story written by a Trayon Camper Owner, we hear about the travels of Trayon Camper #1076 named “Smokey”, in the words of its owner, Gary.

It highlights 11 key reasons why Trayon is the way to go when looking at touring Australia from his perspective.

Over to you, Gary….

Where the Adventure Began..

This was it. The first extended trip in “Smokey”, Our Trayon Camper, Number #1076. The plan was to set off from Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, make my way over to Perth via the coast road, and return back to Victoria via an inland route.

“Smokey” already had a number of trips under its belt, including trips to the desert, forays in the high country, and travels across the sand dunes. Slush, dust, bush and boulders, you name it, but never for more than a week at a time.

It was time for long trip, and I decided on Western Australia (WA). This extended WA trip was a dream come true, and many months in the making. Meticulous planning, logging of coordinates and bare-faced excitement were all part of the process. Alas, I couldn’t convince Barb to venture off into the Wild West with me, as she is a devout five-star girl!

In spite of “Smokey” boasting internal heating, a toilet, shower and annexe, Barb opted to go to Japan with our adult daughter instead. Poor choice, girls!

Well, let me tell you, the WA trip was an adventure indeed!

Looking back, there were many highlights, but I think Toolinna Cove on the Great Australian Bight near Calguna, showed the true mettle of “Smokey” the Trayon.

I’ll tell the story based around the ten (+1) reasons why “Smokey” was the perfect steed.

A Quick Video of Smokey’s Journey Off The Beaten Track


 

Now, let’s get started: 11 Reasons To Own a Trayon Camper

Number ONE – Storage Space!

Trayon Campers Testimonial

While packing for the two-month trip, I discovered the first key feature of a Trayon – I had about 3.5 cubic metres of storage space! That’s 4 domestic trailers of space in a unit only 2.2 x 1.98 x 1.2m! The food alone covered more than six weeks of sustenance, with pre-cooked, vacuum packed and dehydrated meals which I had prepared beforehand. Plus, 100 Litres of fridge space and 110 Litres of water was more than ample for extended bush stays.

Number TWO – Lightweight

Trayon Campers Testimonial

Trayon’s light tare weight gave me the chance to really load up while staying under my vehicle’s “Gross Vehicle Mass”, which is the maximum legal weight of my vehicle plus a full load. So load up I did! Win number TWO, without even getting out of the driveway!

Number THREE – Compact

Trayon Campers Testimonial

While taking the vehicle ferry from Sorrento to Queenscliff in Victoria, I discovered the third key trait of a Trayon, – its’ compact ‘piggy-back’ style. No trailer, no extra ferry fees! I saved about 80 bucks (and well over a grand when going to Tassie on a different trip!). I was only half an hour from home and the Trayon benefits just kept coming!

Number FOUR – Streamlined

Trayon Campers Testimonial

I had arrived a little late to board the ferry, and as a result was sent to the ‘reserve’ queue. The ferry could only efficiently carry so many vehicles over a certain height. While I slipped through first in my nice low Trayon (being standard car height and length), all the big rigs had to wait an hour for the next crossing!

Number FIVE – Low Centre of Gravity

Trayon Campers Testimonial

I had now hit the Great Ocean Road. What a spectacular drive! It follows the rugged Victorian coastline, with the ocean on one side and steep mountain rain forest on the other. The road is often very windy and narrow with frequent high winds hurtling in from the Southern Ocean. Here I discovered another of Trayon’s great triumphs. Its balanced low centre of gravity helped stick the vehicle to the windy road and cut through the powerful wind gusts. Only 100 kms into an 11,000 kilometre plus trip, and already up to Trayon benefit number five!

Number SIX – Toughness

The next leg involves the most harrowing experience of the trip – the track to Toolinna Cove in South Australia to explore the Great Australian Bight.

I hit Calguna in SA and asked the owner of the local roadhouse what the 100 kilometre track to Toolinna Cove was like. “Not many go there, y’know”, she answered. “You can’t get a trailer through and you need a good 4×4.” She looked out the window at my 2005 Rodeo carrying the Trayon and said with a hint of caution in her voice, “You should be OK in that.”

“How much water do you have?” she continued. I replied that I had about 90 litres all up. She nodded, “That should be OK….Good luck.” GOOD LUCK!!???” I thought.

Now, any sensible person would have read the subtext, but, insulated by ignorance, I set off on my merry way!

With the hand-written directions she had given me I hit the first 12 kilometres of gravel with relative comfort. Then, things started to get iffy. The gravel gave way to limestone rock….. it then became limestone boulders! Time for some serious offroading! Soon the boulders were hidden by the winding route as thick bush and she oak closed in on the track, reducing it to a path so narrow that the overgrowth was clawing viciously at the truck and Trayon.

Number SEVEN – Resilience

Trayon Campers Testimonial

There is no way a trailer would have made it through. It would be too bulky, and there would be no way to turn around, let alone try to reverse out. Occasionally, I encountered some smooth short stretches of clay pan and appreciated the brief respite from the battering.

There is no way a trailer would have made it through. It would be too bulky, and there would be no way to turn around, let alone try to reverse out.

I pulled the wing mirrors in to try to preserve them from the talons of the dense bush, but still managed to have them both ripped off! While retrieving the first of them off the track, I surveyed the rig to find a trail of water into the distance dripping from the Trayon. The bush had stripped the outside tap from the side of “Smokey”, and I lost 40 litres of precious water!

On top of that, the cover on the 15 amp plug was ripped off and I had also managed to collect a fair amount of botanical specimens in every nook and cranny, not to mention the severe scraping both Trayon and truck had taken.

Both driver and the rig had been subjected to some obscene shaking. No way any trailer would have gotten this far! Unphased, I pushed on. After all it was only another 65 kilometres to go…

After a harrowing four hours I reached the destination. Relieved, distraught and totally buggered, I set up camp in the most spectacular of places on the cliff edge overlooking the Southern Ocean.

I was now exposed to fierce south-westerlies. The vegetation was so battered by the ferocious winds, it didn’t even reach 100mm above ground. I could hardly find shelter behind prostrate shrubs.

Luckily, bush camps are where Trayon excels. You can set up in 10 minutes while others are fiddling with tents, banging in pegs or reversing oversized palaces into tight areas.

Luckily, bush camps are where Trayon excels. You can set up in 10 minutes while others are fiddling with tents, banging in pegs or reversing oversized palaces into tight areas.

Number EIGHT – Strength

Trayon Campers Testimonial

It soon became apparent that the Trayon had yet another hidden talent. She was built like a brick outhouse, and was stronger than Greek coffee! The high quality heavy Australian made canvas did not flinch in the face of nature.

Despite the rugged drive, nothing inside the Trayon came loose or broke. Trayon construction is so solid that the 10 year warranty may as well be 20! “Smokey” definitely took everything Nullarbor bush could throw at her, and I settled down thinking what else could possibly test her.

Trayon construction is so solid that the 10 year warranty may as well be 20! “Smokey” definitely took everything Nullarbor bush could throw at her, and I settled down thinking what else could possibly test her.

A distant rumble answered that question.

A thunderstorm was brewing to the south-west and bearing down at horrifying speed across the Southern Ocean. I sat fascinated as the elements provided an exciting, yet daunting, meteorological lightshow.

I had opted to leave “Smokey” on the tray and set her up with the annexe. This gives the Trayon the equivalent space of a 5m caravan. I hadn’t bothered to put the fly on and feared the worst, sitting on the edge of a precipice nearly 100 metre in height! Thundering waves crashed into the cliff face. Now, courage is for the foolhardy and I admit to cowardice. Panic reigned supreme. “Would the cliff give way? Would I survive the night? Would ‘Smokey’ stand firm in the tempest?” I wondered.

Now was the time to relinquish atheism! I prayed to every deity I could recall. Maybe someone answered! “Smokey” enclosed me with protection and kept me dry and safe. Nothing was going to hurt me while in her care. Hail to “Smokey” and Trayon!! Strong, resilient, stable and reliable. Better than a German Shepherd – and I didn’t have to register her! I slept soundly.

“Strong, resilient, stable and reliable.”

Next morning, I packed up to leave by another route of 80 kilometres to get to the highway. What else could possibly go wrong?!!?

Well, the track out was only 80 kilometres… but 90 percent of it was flat clay pan. It had now rained for the first time in nine months, and suddenly I had 80 kilometres of slippery mud to contend with. Of all the luck! In a desert, it rains for the first time since Adam was a boy and I cop 80 kilometres of sticky clay! The brief stretches of clay pan that had provided relief from the rubble on the way into Toolinna, were now a curse. The “All Terrain” tyres immediately filled with the greasy red mud, while deep ruts had punctuated the track with bog holes. Added to that was the insane serpentine nature of the track!

Who on earth cut this track? On the flattest part of the world’s flattest continent, there was barely 100 metres of straight going!

I was constantly turning the wheel to help the vehicle gain traction, but this caused aching shoulders and risked spinning me sideways in the mire. Exhilarating for some, maybe, but not for me. Fortunately (Ah! Good luck at last!), there was only low heath either side of the track, so I avoided trees simply because of their absence.

Eventually, opting to drive past the mud and cut my own parallel track through the heath, some three and a half hours later I hit the highway. Time to regroup! I aired up the tyres, kissed the black top. What else could go wrong? Try a puncture from traversing the heat! Thank you, Providence! Fortunately, it was a slow leak and I could limp along for 100 kilometres or so before lugging out the compressor. Somehow, the truck and Trayon had survived not just the bush and elements, but also me! I decided that Toolinna Cove was actually named in my honour. ‘Tool-in-a Cove’!

Number NINE – Low fuel consumption

Trayon Campers Testimonial

I fuelled up in the next roadhouse and checked the consumption. The truck usually delivers 10.5 litres per 100 kilometres as an unladen around-town conveyance.

I had just gone 200 kilometres, mostly in 4×4 on rough tracks, and still managed to keep the fuel usage to 12 litres per 100 kilometres!!! On good gravel and the highway while carrying the Trayon, I managed 11.6 litres per hundred kilometres. The Trayon’s light base weight of about 400 kilograms, and low profile against the wind, reduced fuel consumption quite significantly. Caravanners often laud getting 16 litres per hundred kilometres out of a similar 3 litre diesel tug. If they only knew…

I opted for a caravan park to recoup. The owner said I could wash my muddied truck and Trayon with the bore water. I not only got them clean but the large amount of mud had top dressed his lawn.

Number TEN – Stability

Trayon Campers Testimonial

Part way through the trip I came across a fellow traveller towing a large caravan. The road was gravel, but good going apart from some innocuous ‘whoop-de-dos’. It seems that his 4×4 utility had been brilliant on the flat black top, but the 2.5 Tonne plus weight of the caravan had challenged the chassis with the see-saw motion it caused on the little rises.

 The 2.5 Tonne plus weight of the caravan had challenged the chassis with the see-saw motion it caused on the little rises. The rocking had amplified the force of his caravan on the tug, so much so that it bent the chassis mid point! 

The rocking had amplified the force of the van on the tug, so much so that it bent the chassis mid point! Inside the van it looked like the last six days of the second world war. Fittings broke, items were strewn everywhere. Part of this problem is the inability to pack securely in a caravan, difficulty in balancing your load, and more challenge driving to conditions. Another part is inherent in caravan towing. Towing is fraught at the best of times. Lower sideways stability in cross winds, difficulty parking in confined spaces, jack-knifing in heavy breaking, tough reversing into campsites and stress caused by the lever interaction between the vehicle and the caravan on rough roads.

The most terrifying part is the damage a caravan can do to the tug. This incident proved all of that, if nothing else. This poor fellow had sixty thousand dollars and a dream holiday shot to pieces.

This poor fellow had sixty thousand dollar caravan and a dream holiday shot to pieces.

Not an issue with a slide-on like Trayon, though. The weight is distributed so that most of it is low and over or forward of the rear axle and presents a low sail area for crosswinds to affect. Result? A stable, safe and balanced vehicle.

Number ELEVEN – Australian made

I know I am singing to the Trayon choir on this one, but…. buy Australian made.

Apart from helping the economy, there are a host of sound reasons. Cheap imports have three big drawbacks.

  1. Dubious quality.
  2. Unreliable warranties.
  3. NO Backup service.

As described on the Trayon Forum, Trayon owners have a huge regard for the backup service they get. It borders on legendary. My own experiences have confirmed this. The patience, pride and attention to detail from the Trayon staff and their agents shows the confidence the Trayon ‘family’ of owners have in the company.

Trayon owners are loyal with good reason (they are also generous in their support for other owners). Trayon’s ten year warranty is amazing, but it is borne of the quality and devoted care that Trayon gives their product.

Trayon owners are loyal with good reason (they are also generous in their support for other owners). Trayon’s ten year warranty is amazing, but it is borne of the quality and devoted care that Trayon gives their product.

If all this sounds like a paid promo for Trayon, it isn’t. It’s just a result of a product which ticked all the right boxes after three years of patient, careful research.

I have never regretted the choice I made, and continue to be astounded by “Smokey” – and Trayon.

Good Trayon Travelling!

#1076