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!