March 2019 is a very big Milestone for Trayon Campers, and to explain why, we need to turn back the clock.
Twenty-five years ago, it’s March 1994, and a new kid just moved on to the ‘slide on camper block’. For 50 years previous, the slide on camper market had been stalling, producing caravan style units, ever larger and ever heavier. These old campers were suited to the rough and tumble of no fuss vehicles like the Holden Kingswoods and Valiants, which could carry almost anything along the bitumen. It was normal to see an oversized camper sitting on the back of a kingswood.
While these old campers packed all the conveniences of a full home on wheels, they weren’t suited to the rugged destinations that the new-age 4WDs of the early 90s could reach. The camper industry was calling for something new, something lighter, stronger, and overall more practical that still included all the home on wheels features. There was a niche waiting to be filled, and it was the perfect opportunity for a small, family owned blue collar business called ‘Trayon’ to show the world what they were capable of. Through a combination of trade skills, industry knowledge, a wealth of off-road experience, and technical know-how, the Trayon empire was born.
Twenty-five years ago, from humble beginnings, Trayon took the off road camper industry by storm. It is now the most experienced class 2 slide on camper manufacturer in Australia. As a result, Trayon have helped revolutionise the way we travel Australia on and off the bitumen. Together with other key players in the camper industry, Trayon have created a lifestyle, and contributed to the flourishing off road scene we all enjoy today.
Over the past 25 years, Trayon have grown into an industry stalwart for many reasons. For example, they are (to name a few):
In an age of space-age technologies and materials, 3D design programs, and an off road camper customer base hungrier than a lion, the camper manufacturing competition is fierce.
New camper companies spring up from nowhere, looking to tap into Australia’s obsession with pristine wilderness and the need to access it with a set of wheels. How is it that a humble camper, designed and engineered so long ago by a new blue collar, family owned Australian business has maintained the lead?
Here’s a few key things which has helped keep Trayon firmly centred on the map.
Despite the many other impressive campers being produced both in Australia and abroad, Trayon has a key edge. Spec for spec, they produce the lightest class 2 slide on camper available!
Weighing in at less than 370-390KG dry-weight (unladen), Trayon slide on campers can be carried almost anywhere, while the structural integrity is up there with the best. For this reason, 25 years ago, Trayon blew the off road camper industry wide open. And it is for this reason still that Trayon continues to be the the first choice of many customers seeking to explore the beauty of the Australian Outback, and survive the rigours that come with it.
Trayon has achieved this by employing a constant search for weight reduction, and use of the strongest, most lightweight materials on the market.
Trayon have an internal policy to develop continual weight saving technologies and materials to streamline the base design. Bit by bit, kilogram by kilogram – Trayon endeavors to continually make their campers lighter.
This is critical in creating carrying capacity for the huge list of optional extras, add-ons and upgrades that can be added to a Trayon. This means that you can pack a Trayon with all the new mods available while staying within the carrying capacity of your vehicle.
An example of Trayon’s most recent weight reducing tactic is the implementation of a new fibreglassing technique. While there is minimal fibreglass on a Trayon to start with (in fact it’s just the fold down step door and the flip over roof lid), this new technique has proven to reduce the components’ respective weights by approximately one-third!
The old technique involved applying the fibreglass in layers by hand. Hand laying created large variation in weight (between 7 and 9 kgs) due to the human element in the resin application process. With the new technique, the human element has been removed, ensuring the exact same amount of resin is applied to each and every item, giving them consistency in weight.
And, by reducing the potential number of air gaps and bubbles, it also results in much more strength. After extensive testing, the new technique is being applied across the entire Trayon range.
Trayon uses in depth industry knowledge to ensure incredible weight to strength ratios are achieved. For example, Trayon builds its campers primarily from aluminium but doesn’t have a single aluminum weld in the entire structure. This allows for maximum flexibility and retains the aluminum’s molecular strength to avoid weld cracks or stress fractures.
If you weld aluminum, its molecular strength is reduced by almost one-third! Weld it again, and there goes another one-third. This is why you should be wary of campers with welded frames and why Trayon have used their weld free aluminium design to great effect for so many years.
Not only are Trayon slide on campers extremely light weight and strong, they come with everything needed for long adventures in the rough. For the past 25 years, each slide on camper has been, and still is, designed and built with the essential conveniences mind, for example they contain:
In an era where the majority of off road campers are manufactured overseas and customers being left in the dark about it, Trayon has stayed true to its origins.
Since 1994, every slide on camper driven out of the workshop is 100% Aussie made. Aussie made, designed, owned, managed, and very proud of it! Our Australian made campers are now world renowned!
For this reason Trayon has teamed up with the ‘Australia Made’ campaign to provide a clear example of what Australia made products can deliver. They are officially certified and licensed by the Australia Made Campaign:
Owned, managed and run by the van der Walt family; Trayon Campers is also an official “Family Owned Australian Business” as part of the Family Business Association of Australia:
The last quarter century of Trayon’s development and success would not have been possible without the many partnerships developed with other leaders in the off road, automobile and manufacturing industries.
These partnerships have given Trayon Campers a wealth of opportunity to test appliance prototypes in the real world, and identify the best setups for their customers. These partnerships include companies like:
These companies delivered Trayon groundbreaking technology, for example the latest internal heating systems and super efficient energy charging and storage set-ups. These kinds of products are now being used by countless other companies in the Australian caravan and camping industry, and even worldwide!
Another key factor making Trayon a top choice is its groundbreaking platform design, based on a range of key principles.
Trayon slide on campers are based on the same platform camper concept, design, layout, build methodology and materials as they were back in 1994. The reason for this is that this design is still unbeatable for a ute back camper. The main principles required for an off road worthy slide-on camper include:
An advantage of maintaining a consistent design over the last 25 years is that all of our customers have the option to retrofit their Trayon with most of the latest technology we add to our newest models.
In a world full of consumerism and a throw away mentality, Trayon sticks to the old school approach of making something right, and keeping it relevant so you don’t need to upgrade or move on. There’s no need to sell your 2004 model to buy the 2018 model so you have all the new features. You can simply upgrade your older Trayon with some of the newer appliances, functions and features.
But, just because Trayon stick to the proven reliability of its 1994 slide on camper platform, doesn’t make it outdated. Trayon is also in a continual cycle of innovation, research and development.
Trayon got their platform right many moons ago, which means they can focus the little things which make off road camping more comfortable. Take the the much sought after Trayon Outhouse Double for example. It’s a retrofittable fold out ensuite enclosure attached to the back wall of a Trayon Camper.
Upgrades, optional extras and add-ons are always being developed by Trayon for their campers and the cycle will never stop. Currently they are working on a retrofittable electric conversion for their camper legs – watch this space!
Trayon is now the only slide-on camper company in Australia that builds their products in Australia and officially exports them overseas to an established redistribution branch. While Trayon started exporting way back in 2005, it wasn’t until 2013 that an official global presence was established through the Trayon Europe branch.
Trayon Europe was set up in Switzerland, and began shipping campers from the Swiss branch to other neighboring European countries hungry for the practical toughness delivered by Aussie made off road products. In no time, Trayon slide on campers were bouncing through the snow capped mountains, rolling hills and lush green pastures of Germany, Netherlands, France , Italy and the UK region. Trayon’s slide on camper manufacturer in Europe has proven a roaring success!
With recent further exports to New Zealand and even North America – Trayon is fast becoming a global authority on light-weight slide-on campers for off-road use.
Trayon Campers is the only slide-on camper company that offers a turn-key service to their customers that have already purchased a Trayon Camper but is yet to source a vehicle.
Using their extensive knowledge of the motor vehicle industry with their understanding of things like payload capacities, upgrade possibilities and accessory fitment – Trayon can source a new vehicle of your choosing through their fleet-buy broker at most likely a cheaper price than what is normally available from dealers.
They can set it up with off-road suspension and whatever else you require (bullbars, spot lights, GVM upgrades, roof racks etc) while arranging for the right tray to marry up with your camper after it comes off the production line.
All you’ll need to do is jump in the driver’s seat and turn the key, hence the name “Turn-Key”
This makes things so much easier for the customer when it comes to:
Trayon can do all that for their customers once a camper order has been placed making life that little bit easier.
The Trayon ethos is to ensure customers have every piece of relevant info they need about their campers, their vehicle/camper setup, and off road travel, at their fingertips.
They have taken an extremely active role in educating the public on everything slide-on camper related, through years of experience and expertise. New articles like this one are researched, written and published on a monthly basis to help guide and support customers wanting to know more.
Everything from vehicle reviews, to off road travel articles, and even guides on what type of slide on camper would suit your situation best. It is all geared to ensure customers have the best experience possible, and continue to enjoy their Trayon home away from home for years to come.
From a dream started in 1994, Trayon has come a long way. With a track record that speaks for itself, and a reputation that outshines the rest, the future possibilities are endless!
It was a groundbreaking year, 1994.
Among other things, the first ever playstation gaming console was released, a strange two-wheeled one-manned vehicle now known as a segway was patented, and a little movie called the Lion King captured the hearts of just about every kid on the planet.
But 1994 was a good year for the big kids, too. The kind of big kids who enjoyed the real finer things of Australian life, like camping, off-roading, and exploring the huge variety of stunning landscapes this ancient continent offers. Why was 1994 so good, you ask?
Because Trayon was born.
And since 1994, Trayon have been leading the Australian made campers market from the fore.
With a combined qualified trade skill set of cabinetmaking, building and motor vehicle manufacturing, the Trayon team focused on developing and engineering a slide on camper that could take on the rigors of the Australian Outback, while offering their owners comfort and ease of travel.
The slide on camper market at the time was stalling. Sure, some great comfortable units were being produced, but no one could work out how to pack a slide on camper with all the comforts (and weight) of a caravan, while meeting the needs of rough Australian roads.
It was time for a slide on camper revolution. The comfort was there, but the relationship between the camper and the vehicle was not. This was the focus of Trayon in the early years. Making sure the slide on camper worked in perfect unison with the underlying vehicle, to produce two units working as one.
In 1994, the perfect blueprint was cracked, and neither Trayon, nor their customers, ever looked back.
Explaining how Trayon found the blueprint will take a trip down memory lane.
Back in the day, you would load up the ol’ Kingswood ute with six Tonnes of gear, and take it wherever the ‘ruff as nails’ Holden would allow you to go. Back then, not a single person would bat an eyelid as a Kingy sped past full to the eyeballs with camping gear, back tyres skimming the wheel arches! Vehicle running gear and weight carrying limitations weren’t even on the radar.
These were the days of the old ‘bush basher’ principle. You’d point the old Holden in the right direction, and it would just get the job done. If you ran into some troublesome country, you backtracked, re-pointed the nose, and away she went!
However in the 80’s and early 90s, with the advent of more specialized yet affordable off road vehicles, bush bashing evolved in to the more modern ‘off roading’. People began tackling more difficult terrain, more frequently, in order to reach those previously unreachable destinations. While vehicle capabilities increased, in many cases, vehicle resilience and longevity went the other way. These new vehicles could go anywhere, but load them up, and they were no Kingswood. And to throw a spanner in the works, when these new off road vehicle broke, you couldn’t fix them in a flash like the vehicles of old.
While vehicles had evolved (or devolved, in a way), slide on campers did not. People were still attached to the big bulky caravan-like slide on campers which sat comfortable on the Kingy’s back, and manufacturers kept delivering them.
For proper off-roading, and to reach those previously unreachable spots, the whole slide on camper concept needed some serious re-thinking. The new design needed to cater for a different set of principles; not only to allow you to traverse difficult terrain, but also to alleviate the stresses placed on the vehicle, and keep within the more tightly regulated, modern vehicle payload limitations. On top of all that, the new design would also have to cater for the wide range of climatic and landscape conditions of Australia, and the rest of the world. The explosion of the off road vehicle market had opened up just about every corner of the planet to the working class man!
The Trayon Camper team came up with a list of design principals to accomplish the goal of delivering a slide on camper to seamlessly sit on a ute’s back and go wherever it goes. A slide on camper which could go almost anywhere, and survive indefinitely. These principles included:
B. As much weight as far-forward and as low-down as possible
C. Low profile
D. Structural integrity
F. One item; multiple purposes
G. KIS – Keep It Simple
Ultimately, by employing these principles, Trayon campers would allow you to realise the true benefits of camping, and everything else the remote, pristine parts of the world have to offer!
Keeping a slide on camper light isn’t as easy as Trayon make it look.
Building a caravan (or any trailer for that matter) is easy as far as weight goes; because you build it from the ground up to accommodate the weight.
The tires, rims, axles, brakes, suspension and chassis are all built to be carrying the right weight. A slide-on camper, however, sits on something that already has all that done; a vehicle with a predetermined weight carrying capacity that is set by its manufacturer and governed by the police and road departments.
The days of loading six Tonnes on the ol’ Kingswood are well and truly gone. These days, the vehicle should not be overloaded past its legal payload limits in any situation, especially when it goes off-road. The conditions in off-road terrain are far more strenuous than a Sunday drive to the shops for some milk. But the pot of gold sitting at the end of that long dusty rainbow is worth the effort.
Adding more stress while reaching that pot of gold, by having the vehicle overladen, is simply asking for something to break. While buying a high end, unbreakable four wheel drive may seem like the only option, that’s not the case. Even with the best of the best, vehicles don’t specify how off road travel will affect the payload capacity. So while on road you may be well under payload or towing capacity, when off road, you may be exceeding your vehicles safe limits of travel.
(There was only one vehicle in the past that had an onroad payload/towing-capacity and a stated off-road payload/towing capacity, and they don’t make that vehicle anymore (Landrover Defender)
The end result is simple; regardless of which truck you buy, for heavy off-road work, you need a light-weight slide on camper solution.
Nine out of every 10 slide on campers on the market are too heavy. Sure they look great, have every comfort under the sun, and every gadget known to man, but it’s all null and void if you don’t make it to your destination.
They might even start off being nice and light-weight as a basic form (i.e. when empty) or a lower specification (i.e. not as many comforts), but eventually, we want bigger fridges, more battery power, larger beds, greater water carrying capacities, heating, cooling, awnings and ofcourse, the kitchen sink. Who can blame us! We want to camp for as long as possible in the beautiful landscapes surrounding us!
The downside is, once this gadget progression sets in; the slim, trim, light-weight camper turns into a sluggish beast! Even the strongest of trucks are then put through their paces, which inevitably leads to breakages, fines for being overladen, insurance payout refusals, and not to mention, poses a threat to life and limb! Sure it sounds dire, but this is the stark reality of it. It highlights just how important it is to keep your slide on camper light, and your camping rig nimble.
Since 1994, Trayon Campers have been the lightest class two slide-on camper on the market, when you compare spec for spec (100L fridge/freezer, 110L water tank etc…). This is due to a couple of reasons. Firstly, it is Trayon’s primary design principal. Secondly, Trayon strive for continual, year by year weight reduction improvement. As technology develops new ways and new products, Trayon adapts. If there is a lighter option for an item that Trayon uses, or an upgrade that could work, then Trayon will research, upgrade, field trail and incorporate it as an option to their clients.
That is why Trayon have held the lightweight mantle for the better part of a quarter century, and still going strong!
A great example of Trayon’s ability to adapt is the Trayon Bed Mattress. By using a dual density camping foam mattress that not only provides comfort but also light-weight – Trayon has a good night sleep covered. A common question from potential clients is “can we upgrade the mattress” and the answer is “yes! Of course you can!” . That is because almost everything in a Trayon Camper is upgradable. Most would imagine this is an upgrade to an innerspring mattress, but it is not the case at all. Trayon steers clear of innerspring mattresses for the following reasons:
Trayon has a better solution as a mattress upgrade. Its called the ‘sleep system’ upgrade. A polymer interlocking spring system that gets assembled under the Trayon mattress not only adds a world of comfort, but also beats an innerspring option hands down for the following reasons:
As an example of the improvement efforts Trayon continually goes through day-by-day; the mattress sleep system upgrade is an excellent representation of the commitment to the design principles that Trayon initiated in the slide-on industry all those years ago.
Every inch of a Trayon camper represents innovation to ensure safety and longevity of your vehicle and the camper.
Truck drivers know this principle from way back. You need to load the most weight as far forward as possible, so that the weight is balancing in front of, or on top of the rear axle. The same principle applies to utes, but on a smaller scale (i.e. Single-cab, Extra-Cab, Dual-cab 4×4 touring setups). You need the load, such as a camper, to be in front or on top of the rear axle of the vehicle – NOT BEHIND! As a result, Trayon designed slide on campers to have 65% of the weight loaded in the front one-third of the camper. This includes things such as:
This allows that 65% of the total weight (empty or loaded) to be as far forward as possible.
It also allows for the heaviest of these items to be on the floor of the camper, to place the weight as low down as possible to produce a low center of gravity.
It is perfect for off road travel in particular. The road (bitumen) is smooth, flat surfaced, with no major gradient leans, no ruts, and no washouts. Ideal driving conditions. However, off-road means you won’t always have all of that. It will surprise you, throw unexpected rough and ready adventures at you out of the blue, and in order accommodate for the unknown you do need complete stability.
There are two possible scenarios if the weight is not positioned toward the center of the wheelbase.
Picture 1 = The Trayon way
Picture 2 = Scenario 1
Picture 3 = Scenario 2
By driving smartly and too the conditions, and taking proper precautions, you can safely tackle many unexpected situations.
And with the right gear, the right weight distribution and a low center of gravity, you can tackle them with extreme confidence!
Quite simply, the taller the vehicle, the harder things get. Parking, storing, driving, sneaking through a tight track and pushing head winds, just to name a few. Often the most intriguing looking tracks are overgrown or the trees hang low. Or maybe a low bridge is ahead, and it is at these times that you don’t want a camper sticking out far above the roof of the vehicle.
Even when driving on the highway; fuel economy will be heavily affected when a camper is sticking up above the cabin, creating much more wind resistance.
Having a low profile in the camper will aid in all-terrain traversing as well as accommodating for the times you just want to travel with as little hindrances as possible. Less hindrances means more travel because you wont dread it so much.
Not to mention a much lower center of gravity for maintaining cornering safety.
Being a small, lightweight and compact camper, combined with the fact that you are not towing anything, means you can go further for longer. It also means you can penetrate into areas that others cannot reach, due to trailer limitations, or overladen weight issues.
The implications of this, is that the camper will be subjected to terrains that have rarely seen a grader (if ever at all). To combat this, Trayon design their campers to take on these terrains in a unique way – FLEX!
The materials used and the build/binding methodology is based roughly on the method used to build airplanes.
Aluminum is predominantly used as the base structural material, as it can flex and it is light-weight, which adheres to principal A. Aluminum does have a major draw-back tho. If you weld it, it is weakened by one-third. Weld it again and it drops another one-third in molecular strength. The aeronautical industry knows this full well and that’s why they don’t weld their aluminum. They rivet and glue. This allows the aluminum to retain its strength while allowing for flex in their structure for the rigors of altitude expansion, engine vibrations and big knocks from turbulence or impact.
As technology and access to materials progressed, Trayon adopted this method of construction. This makes Trayon unique in an industry that welds their aluminum, or tends to use fiberglass that cannot flex – it can only warp/buckle from end to end.
Trayon Campers were the first to offer a 10 year structural warranty, which covers their campers for off-road use. Now-a-days, more slide-on companies are trying to match that in order to provide customer confidence in their purchase, but they don’t have the track record to prove it. Often they’ll have some disclaimer stating that its only for on-road conditions.
Not only have Trayon Campers have been taking on the most severe terrain Australia has to offer for the last quarter century, but also the world.
Trayon can, and has, proven it for a very long time that their camper design works. Trayon no. 1, the first ever sold, is still in use to this day, and is still going strong!
Simply put, instead of selling your 2014 Trayon model to get the new updated features on the 2015 model; you simply upgrade your camper with the new features, because it is the same camper design, layout, build methodology and size as the new ones.
Trayon knew that technology would progress a lot faster, with new concepts, methods and appliances inevitable for the future. If the camper design can be implemented in such a way that it ticks more boxes than others, then they won’t have to keep re-inventing the mouse trap – simply update it instead! From the very first Trayon Camper #001 in 1994 up to the latest ones made, the functionality, design, layout, build methodology and size has remained the same.
The other benefit is that customers can purchase a new Trayon Camper even in its most basic form, and retrofit upgrades as they go. The annex options are a great example of this, there are seven different kinds of annexe configurations to choose from, ranging from a full canvas annex with soft floor and fly screen doors and windows, to a fly screen enclosure.
The customer can simply purchase the Trayon Camper without an annex, test the camper out, then determine what kid of annexe they need (if any) to provide the ultimate shelter system. This allows customers to avoid spending money on options that they might not even use, or might not be the right fit for their style of camping.
This also opens the door for second hand Trayon purchases on platforms such as Gumtree. Because even second hand models can be brought up-to-speed with the modern creme de la creme (within reason – do check with Trayon Headquarters on the upgrades available for any particular Trayon Camper you find first)
This is a very old design principal, but has survived through the ages, and is as relevant now as it has ever been! It basically means killing two birds with one stone. If you are designing something to deliver a function, for the weight and effort of adding that item, it should deliver more than one function.
Trayon employs this principle wherever possible.
The Trayon flip roof is a great example. When you flip the Trayon roof, it effectively doubles the internal space of the camper by flipping the bed over and out of the living space. It then also make an awning for the outside, saving approximately 15kg because you don’t have to add on an awning. It also provides an attachment point for extra accessories like the annex, and it covers the camper’s entrance, so now you don’t have to scramble to close the door and smother the inside of the camper when the heavens open and rain sets in.
In fact, you can leave the camper entrance door open in rain to create a cross draft inside the camper. All you need to do is keep the windows open just a little, to allow hot air to rise and escape, while drawing in cool fresh air through the fly mesh covered entrance.
This principle is a the diamond in the rough, the needle in the haystack.
It’s the principle that is all too often overlooked, in a world of bells, whistles and shiny things.
These days there is a button to do just about everything for you, an electrical device to cater to our every need, and an endless pursuit of procrastination. The thing is, this introduces complexity, and complexity often equals chaos! It means more instruction manuals, more unknown springs and screws, and more chance to go wrong!
To cut through this trend, Trayon made their camper as simple as possible, while retaining 100% of usability and capability. For example, Trayon slide on campers are incredibly mechanically focus (as opposed to electrical) for ease of use and reparability.
The simple Trayon design amazingly provides an open/close time of approximately three minutes, without the aid of an electrical device that can go wrong in so many ways.
With the use of gas struts, the camper’s ‘swing over’ roof is flipped to open the camper with less than 15kgs of force, by a single person. It’s easy to repair, and even if there was catastrophical damage to the struts, the roof can still be flipped, it’s just a little harder to do.
This principle is carried right across the Trayon design and appliances to enable customers to repair themselves if the need should arise. When traveling with a compact camper you can find yourself between a rock and a hard place far from any kind of assistance in the middle of nowhere (which is also why off road adventuring is such a buzz!). Knowing that the Trayon Camper design survived for over 20 years, and that it is easy to repair and a simplistic mechanical beast, is a priceless reassurance.
Since 1994, Trayon Campers have incorporated all of these principles for their customers, and ‘spearheaded’ the way forward for modern slide-on campers.
Trayon has stayed at the forefront of an industry that is constantly changing, adapting to new vehicles, environments, and consumer desires. And despite the incredible leaps and bounds the industry is making as a whole, Trayon stays that little bit ahead of the game.
Ask any Trayon customer. They’ll tell you 1994, and every year after than commandeering a trayon slide on camper, was a very good year!
If you are curious to learn more about Trayon campers, you might find the following articles useful:
A common dilemma when planning an Outback adventure is how to take all your wants and needs.
Vehicles only have one tow ball, so it can turn into a juggling act between your accommodation and recreational priorities. Often, one suffers for the other.
For those who prioritise accommodation, there is a common perception that the best camping and touring rig is towing a camper trailer or caravan, and fitting recreational needs around that. The problem is, while the living areas may be spacious in these set ups, it seriously limits your recreational options. Towing a boat, bikes, quads or even horse floats is no longer an option.
For those who decide to use the tow ball for their recreational needs, many go for roof top tents, standard tents or swags, to satisfy accommodation requirements. Basically, anything that doesn’t take up the tow ball. And while this opens up endless recreational opportunities, accommodation is often less than comfortable.
Some left over hopefuls try to prioritise both, ending up with some crazy rig combinations. We’ve seen huge toy hauler RV combination trailers, awkward roof topper tinny set ups, horse floats with areas to bunk up inside, and even two cars! One to tow something like a big boat, and one to tow a camper trailer or caravan!
These are all prime examples of when desired conveniences can cause serious compromises. From striking out your favourite off road destinations, to causing astronomically high fuel bills.
Compromises which can all be avoided, if you choose the rig correctly. This general concept is further explain in our recent article: Off Road Camping, Convenience Comes at a Cost.
In this article, we explain why a Trayon slide on camper strikes the perfect balance between camping and recreational towing possibilities.
Wait a second….isn’t the best part about a Trayon slide on camper the fact that you don’t have to tow anything behind the vehicle?
Towing a trailer increases fuel consumption, decreases manoeuvrability and off road accessibility, and ultimately reduces the flexibility of your travelling rig. If you’ve ever toured with a trailer, you’re probably also familiar with the ‘walk of shame’, where you have to park way outside of town because there is nowhere to slot your extra long vehicle/trailer, and then have to walk all the way back in for a coffee or do some shopping?
Or perhaps you’ve had to strike off some of your goal destinations off your travel itinerary because your trailer simply wouldn’t make it, or isn’t permitted on the track due to National Park restrictions?
For these kinds of reasons, a tow free Trayon camping rig is incredibly useful. However, this trailer free luxury is not always possible.
In some situations, towing simply can’t be avoided.
As a result, we get plenty of customers looking at Trayon campers so they can carry their accommodations on the ute and free up that useful tow ball.
With a Trayon, you can tow anything to suit your lifestyle, so you don’t have to change your lifestyle to suit the towing! And while there are many varieties of slide on campers which can also free up the tow ball, we explain why Trayon slide on campers provides the ‘best of both worlds’ option.
There are a few key areas which make a Trayon camper so well suited to towing.
Here’s an explanation of these areas in more detail, showing what they mean for your towing adventures.
The first big benefit of carrying a Trayon on your vehicles back, is that while touring and camping on the road, you can keep your trailer hitched up during overnight stopovers and don’t constantly need to unhitch and re-hitch, unlike some other slide on campers.
Slide on campers which open or extend from the rear mean you have to unhitch the trailer to set up an overnight camp. When touring, with night after night of unhitching and re-hitching, stress levels can explode.
It’s not only frustrating, it means the trailer is susceptible to theft when it is unhitched. The only way to combat this risk is to lock it up somehow, adding yet another step to the nightly set up and pack up process.
With a Trayon, theft and the frustrating business of unhitching and re-hitching every day is no issue, because it opens exclusively to the passenger side, not from behind.
As a result, your overnight stopovers become extremely easy and comfortable in comparison to the alternatives.
This next huge benefit is realised once you establish your camp.
Once you open the Trayon and establish home base at your final destination, you can actually drive the vehicle out from underneath the Trayon, freeing up the vehicle to tow your trailer wherever you need in the local area, while the Trayon stays ready and waiting as home base, with a full array of camping comforts, like options for both permanently attached solar panels or portable solar panels to charge your systems while you’re away from camp having fun. This creates an incredibly flexibly rig for use around the local area.
The slide off and on process takes a matter of minutes, and can be done by one person!
The free standing Trayon is almost theft proof, as it cannot be towed away, and everything inside is locked away behind a strong and secure aluminium framed door.
With similar camping alternatives, like roof top tents, you have to pack up camp every time you want to take your vehicle away from the campsite, for example to launch a boat. And when touring with a caravan or camper trailer, you can’t tow at all, so towing any recreational gear in the local area is simply out of the question!
When towing a trailer, most people simply think that as long as the trailer is within the vehicle’s legal towing capacity, then it’s all fine. Many people neglect another critical limitation – the vehicle’s payload capacity.
With many slide on campers, their bulky build eats up so much of the vehicles payload there is none left to take a trailer on the tow ball, or anything else anywhere in the vehicle for that matter.
A Trayon Camper however, is the lightest slide on in its class! Which gives you every chance to fit other gear or tow trailers within your vehicles payload capacity.
How to Calculate the Vehicle Payload Capacity
A vehicle’s payload capacity is calculated by subtracting its kerb weight (i.e. the actual weight of the empty vehicle), from the manufacturer’s gross vehicle mass (GVM) limit. The remaining figure is the amount of payload left available. In other words, what the vehicle can legally carry.
For example, with a 79 Series Toyota Landcruiser single cab ute, the GVM is 3.4 Tonne. The kerb weight of the vehicle is 2.18 Tonne. By subtracting 2.18 Tonne from the GVM 3.4 Tonne, we find that the available payload of this vehicle is 1.22 Tonne.
Bear in mind that though, that the Landcruiser is a heavy duty ute, and most mid range four wheel drives like the Ford Ranger or Toyota Hilux have a payload closer to one Tonne, either just under or just over depending on the vehicle model.
How Does Towing Affect The Payload
Towing a trailer places weight onto the tow ball of your vehicle, placing weight on the vehicles suspension, and thus taking up some of the vehicle’s available payload.
The tow ball weight of a trailer is quite easily calculated as a percentage of the overall weight of the trailer. In general, a trailer with good weight distribution will have a tow ball weight of around 10 – 15% of its overall weight. For example, a three Tonne boat trailer or a caravan will have a tow ball weight of around 300 – 450 kg.
Using a vehicle payload of one Tonne, a three tonne boat trailer will leave you with 550 kg – 700 kgs of available payload left (1000 kgs minus 300 to 450 kgs).
This means you need to choose very carefully if going down the slide on camper path.
How Much Payload Does a Trayon Leave You?
With 550 to 700 kgs of available payload left, there aren’t many slide on campers on the market that will legally fit within payload limits while towing you’re something.
A Trayon slide on camper, however, will weigh around 390 – 410 kgs (when empty and without all your camping gear and supplies). And don’t forget to factor in the weight of the passengers!
Most other slide on campers will be pushing 600, 700 even past 800 kgs dry weight! With slide in campers, a slightly different (and heavier) variety of camper, it simply won’t be possible to carry when towing something. Which leaves you with no room for gear or supplies.
In this situation, your only option is to get a serious 4WD suspension upgrade, and even then you will be pushing the vehicle to it’s very limits. More information on the limitations of slide in campers can be found in our recent article about slide in campers verse slide on campers.
With a Trayon, and a suspension upgrade, not only will you fit everything you need for your trip within legal payload limits, you will have payload room to spare for the unexpected situations you may experience while camping and touring in the Outback.
Trayon also offer an even lighter budget model called a Traymate, which you could easily get away without any suspension upgrade at all, because it starts an incredibly light weight of 175 kgs! (Although, a suspension upgrade is still always a smart move to prepare four touring and off road travel, as we explain in our recent article about 4WD suspension).
Here’s a few scenarios illustrating how towing with a Trayon can suit such a big variety of recreational needs.
The best examples are:
There is a reason that Trayon campers are called fisherman’s friends!
They allow you to tow a good sized boat, while incorporating all your remote camping needs at those remote fishing locations. You don’t need to replace your ocean going boat with a roof topper tinny, and this opens access to the best fishing grounds, and avoids awkward roof top boat launching situations! Plus when your boat is back out of the water, it’s on a proper galvanised boat trailer, and not dripping salty water onto your vehicle’s roof.
While travelling to fishing and camping destinations, you never even have to detach the boat. As we explained, a Trayon opens exclusively from the passenger side, not from the rear like some other slide on campers, so the boat stays securely attached to the vehicle, completely protected from theft. And there is no fuss reattaching it in the morning to keep driving the next day.
When you get to camp, you can set up the Trayon and then completely detach the camper from the vehicle, allowing you to tow and launch the boat wherever you want in the local area, while your fully set up Trayon is reserving your camp spot for you when you return, with everything secured behind the aluminium frame lockable door.
With a roof top tent setup, you need to pack up camp every time you want to tow the boat somewhere for launch.
And with a caravan or camper trailer, you’re limited to a tiny roof top tinny. Only capable of calm water river fishing down south, and basically croc bait up north.
Another common reason customers enquire into a Trayon is to tow a horse float to attend horse meet-ups, competitions or to access some beautiful riding destinations.
A common form of horse float/camping combination is a horse float with an extra space for human lodgings. However, after towing a horse all day, sleeping anywhere near a build of horse manure can be stifling, to say the least. Alternatives include roof top tents, standard tents and swags, but a Trayon provides the most seamless, ‘solutions focused’ rig for horse based recreational camping trips.
It allows you to tow the horse float, while providing a completely self contained, comfortable accommodation completely separate to the horse’s space. An all in one vehicle camper combination.
And, like the boat situation, you can detach the Trayon and leave all set up at camp, and take your horse wherever you want in the local area.
Like the boat trailer and horse float, with a Trayon you can tow multiple bikes or quads where ever you want in the local area, and have your Trayon waiting back at home base, with the extendable Double Outhouse option ready for a hot shower after muddy riding adventures.
This is a less common concept, but one which can be very suitable for long term touring.
While the Trayon ensures your off road travel is unhindered, when touring around a big country like Australia, most of your travel will most likely be on the bitumen, with small side trips down those rough dusty tracks.
A genius way to find a good touring balance is to match a Trayon with a comfortable ‘on road’ caravan.
This will be far cheaper than a full time ‘off road’ caravan, which needs to be extremely strong and resilient to off road travel. Off road strength and resilience doesn’t come cheap. And even with the extra expense, the really rough locations will still be inaccessible to you, or may prohibit trailer access by law.
However, with an on road caravan and Trayon combination, you can live in extreme caravan comfort most of the time. When you find a remote track you want to explore, you can leave the caravan in a nearby town or caravan park, and dive into the bush with the Trayon, giving you comfortable camping accommodation no matter where you are, like the Mitchell Plateau in the Kimberley, or Cobourg Peninsula in the NT.
By avoiding towing off road, but bringing a Trayon along, you reduce fuel consumption, risk less vehicle wear and tear, and maintain the ‘access all areas’ ability of Trayon travel.
And finally, while touring on road with the caravan, the Trayon’s comprehensive camping facilities provide a backup should anything in the caravan fail, like fridge’s, cooking equipment or power storage.
In addition to towing a trailer, touring with a Trayon means you can use the towball for other uses, like a bike rack. Just bear in mind that the more weight hanging off the back of the vehicle, the more the payload will be affected.
You don’t have to tow with a Trayon, but by crikey, it opens up a lot of possibilities. You’ll never have to decide between your camper trailer or your boat again.
Ultimately, the options for towing with Trayon are endless, allowing you to tow to suit your desired lifestyle, and not change your lifestyle to suit what you are towing!
There’s no need to unhitch during nightly stopovers, the Trayon easily slides off so the trailer can be used in the local area, and the extremely light weight of the slide on camper means payload capacity is a plenty.
For those who don’t have a ute to slide on the Trayon, we have even developed a revolutionary Trayon off road trailer. It can be developed to suit a huge amount of situations and needs. Think luxury ensuites, toy hauling abilities, and all sorts of other useful modifications. So check it out in our recent article – Trayon’s new off road trailer.
However you choose to assemble your rig, towing with a Trayon has never been better!