Having spent many years happily exploring in our Suzuki Grand Vitara 4WD with tent and camping gear and wishing to retain the freedom of not towing anything, we though it time to step up to a slide-on style camper and a suitable 4WD.
How did you come across Trayon Campers?
Early in 2019, after looking at various options and variants, touring the caravan and camping shows, and talking to many users concerning their chosen solution we narrowed the field significantly and ultimately decided on a Trayon. And we are so very happy that we did.
We live in Moranbah, Qld (around 1,000 km from the Trayon Factory at Kunda Park near Maroochydore, Qld) and having visited the Trayon Factory twice to see the campers in the flesh and ask (Vernon, Annemari and Jacques) many specific questions we decided to go ahead and purchase.
What Vehicle did You Decide on?
Since we also required a new 4WD vehicle we were very interested in the “turn-key” solution suggested by Vernon to simplify the overall procurement process and minimize travel between Moranbah and Maroochy. The process was very straight forward and well managed by Vernon.
Simply we specified the base vehicle we were considering, the Trayon variant with accessories we wanted, agreed to some of the suggested vehicle accessories and modification and after paying a deposit the project was managed by Vernon who kept us updated on progress. The complete package was made available for us to collect late Sep 19, Trayon #1153.
We decided on a new Isuzu D-Max LS-U, Space Cab, Auto as the base vehicle having heard glowing reports regarding their economy and reliability. As we were purchasing the single cab variant of the Trayon 1980 Diesel Deluxe with a couple of extras we required an extended tray for the Isuzu Space Cab and again for simplicity opted for recommended the Trayon custom tray.
Did you get a GVM Upgrade?
After calculating a weight budget for what I thought the vehicle would be carrying, it was obvious that in order to comfortably, safely, and legally carry everything that the vehicle required a GVM upgrade. Vernon suggested the Lovell’s Suspension pre-registration GVM upgrade which now gave me 3,600kg GVM (up from I think 3,050kg).
Plenty of load (weight capacity) once loaded to remain under the new GVM. Typically in our current travelling configuration we now sit around 3,300kg fully loaded.
A side benefit of the GVM upgrade was about a 50mm suspension lift. Other vehicle modifications/ accessories purchased initially included: ARB 130l replacement fuel tank, Safari snorkel, under tray sliding drawer, under tray tapered side bins, ARB bull bar, and 5 new tyres at the required increased load rating.
Since purchase I have added:
- OCAM large folding replacement towing mirrors (absolutely necessary), UHF radio,
- driving lights,
- Rhino roof bars,
- Rhino small X rack (the right size to take a second spare tyre),
- ScanGauge II OBDII monitor (to show amongst other things fuel usage and distance to empty etc since the ARB long range tank does not integrate accurately with the Isuzu fuel gauge and smart dash calculations),
- a Towbars Australia tow bar designed for the extended tray,
- a Provent 200 oil catch can.
For safety, along with all the usual self recovery gear and a Ryobi brushless chain saw (to clear fallen trees of the track) and brushless drill (to dismount the camper), we also carry handheld UHF (for when I go off walking) and a PLB for emergencies.
How does the rig drive off-road?
The Isuzu is our first larger 4WD and carries the Trayon well. The GVM upgrade does make the highway ride solid. It is however very comfortable and composed off road. It is easy to drive with electronic support aids such as Hill Decent Control that work amazingly well on very steep dirt track downhills.
I had to experiment with tyre pressures to find what worked best for me on the highway, easy dirt, rough road, and sand. The tyres we chose initially were BFG A/Ts and they have suffered on the rough dirt roads we travel. I will look at other options for replacement soon.
Which Trayon Camper did you go with?
The Trayon we chose was the 1980 Diesel Deluxe, single/extra cab length with some additions. We were trying to cover all our projected requirements and climate conditions. We chose to upgrade to:
- 200AH Lithium battery
- improved Redarc battery manager,
- double out-house (shower),
- solar panel on the out-house,
- clear plastic windows for both the bed windows,
- sleep system mattress upgrade,
- 12 v fan,
- outside kitchen bench,
- water and gas outlets near the rear of the vehicle for the outside kitchen bench,
- outside drop-down table,
- an Annex G – windbreak attachment.
We have been extremely happy with all the upgrades we chose. The lithium battery is excellent and we no longer have to worry about usage, nor chase the sun to recharge, although I do have and carry a lightweight crystalline 120W folding solar panel unit should it be required and the 120W panel on the outhouse supplements well.
The bed is very comfortable especially with the mattress upgrade. It allows for plenty of air circulation yet is also nice and light. The clear windows over the bed allow us to enjoy the stars or look at the rain.
The 12v fan is on a gimbal which can direct the air flow wherever we want and even on the hot or airless days makes a big difference.
The outside drop-down table is flush mounted near the entry and is excellent. We use it all the time. It is ideal for us to load items on as we transfer from the camper to the car and vice versa. When set up it holds our binoculars and camera and most importantly a Britex water filter jug with our ready supply of fresh filtered water outside.
I must say the use of the Britex jug was suggested to us from another wonderful Trayon owner whom we met whilst remote camping and had owned their Trayon some two years longer than us. They were a font of knowledge for us to tap.
Where have you been with your Camper?
With just over 12 months of ownership now and constrained as we all were by COVID-19, we have still covered almost 30K km and have 75 nights in the camper.
We chose a vehicle and camper setup to allow us comfortable remote / National Park type camping. Since we live in Moranbah in Central Qld we are fortunate to have wonderful locations to explore regardless of the direction we choose to head. Our favourites, to name only a few, are:
- Blackdown Tablelands NP
- Salvatore Rosa Section of Carnarvon NP,
- Eungella NP, Porcupine Gorge NP,
- Lawn Hill NP.
Really we enjoy the red desert anywhere West basically. A recent trip saw us enjoying the remote vastness of Western Qld visiting Haddon Corner, Bourke & Wills Dig Tree (Qld), Cameron Corner, Nocurunda , Thargaminda into Thruston NP then following some more history courtesy of Major Mitchell’s travels, looping through Adavale, Blackall, Jericho then home.
The Trayon setup works very well for us. We also work well as a team each having our own functions to open the camper or pack up. As an example of how the simplicity of pack up was beneficial recently, being respectful (and very wary) of black soil roads where they quickly become impassable with only a tiny amount of rain, we were in a National Park camping well down 16 km of black soil road to have been woken by rain late at night, we decided to move and were driving out within 15 minutes.
The ease of the Trayon system allowed us to exit the now almost just passable black soil section, continue down the road for about 50km, well clear of the black soil track and weather, and at midnight night find a suitable spot, open the camper then back to sleep. Peace of mind.
I must note that with effect of the GVM upgrade and the under tray drawer was to raise our camper top approximately 15cm. The consequence is that it is a stretch to reach the opening and closing latches.
This is not an issue though since we simply carry two light weight folding plastic steps to make everything easily within reach. We also have made a poker (half length broom handle with rubber stoppers on each end) to assist in tucking in any final bits of canvas from outside as the lid is closed. The poker also keeps fingers/ hands away from any pinch points.
What really made you choose Trayon Campers over the others?
Two key features helped swing us to a Trayon.
Firstly, my wife is very susceptible to mosquito and midge attacks. If there is one around it will find her and leave a nasty welt. Since there a huge amount of living space inside the Trayon, protected by midge netting and providing panoramic views when seated inside, we withdraw inside when she begins to be attacked and still enjoy the bush.
On our desert trip recently it was not mossies but flies. So nice to be inside where we could easily access and prepare our food and not have to go out.
The second feature that whilst we thought a good idea is now something we appreciate every time we use the camper. Since we are in a rather warm part of Qld and we are still happy to camp in summer where temps are routinely in the low 40s – shade is invaluable. For us the instant shade we use is the open lid of the camper.
I am particular about parking the vehicle North – South so that when we open the camper it opens East – West and combined with the super efficient fly then the sun is off the sides of camper and the sun transits over the top. That means we can choose to park to provide either morning or afternoon shade under the open lid.
What’s next with your rig?
The latest purchase to almost complete the total setup is a hitch mounted Grip Sport bicycle carrier (Australian Company – we have the GS2+) to carry our mountain bikes. The carrier has recently arrived but yet to fit and use. It looks pretty good and will securely hold the two bikes even on the rough roads.
The last purchase will be a winch. We travel by ourselves and think that a winch will be more insurance when things don’t go as planned.
Summary of your Experience
In summary we thoroughly love the Trayon and the Turn-Key method of purchase worked exceedingly well for us. We can go anywhere we choose. Stop anywhere we choose and camp in comfort out of the elements and insects. Have ample fuel, battery life and drinking water to be self sufficient for as long as we need. The Isuzu is very comfortable on the dirt, especially the corrugations, and sufficiently capable to tackle sensibly any road or trail we choose.
We hope this brief snapshot may help others choose their right camper.
David & Debbie, Owners of Trayon Number #1153