A 4WD motorhome opens up a world of travel options, but is it your best option?
Most people looking for their perfect travel setup consider the motorhome as the top tier, and for some, it is. However, there are a range of other options which should also be considered. For example, the ute-based slide on camper.
In this article, we discuss how a motorhome stacks up against Trayon’s industry-leading slide on camper.
First of all, let's discuss the fundamental difference between a motorhome and a Trayon slide on camper
The motorhome is exactly what its name describes. A motor-home. They are one in the same. The home goes wherever the motor goes, and vice versa. This includes a range of different purpose built vehicles, from smaller van-style motorhomes (such as a Toyota Hiace based model) to larger more serious units like a completely custom Iveco Daily Motorhome.
The Trayon slide on camper however, is a home separated from the motor. It is a self contained unit filled with all the creature comforts of a motorhome, that can be slid onto the back of a ute, and taken wherever the ute goes, or slid off, and the ute used separately.
This is an important concept, and while simple, has a huge range of benefits to add to your travel experience.
The Trayon option can be used with smaller mid-range utilities, such as the Toyota Hilux or Ford Ranger Ute, to the higher range Toyota 79 Series Landcruiser and Mercedes G Class, right up to the top of the range 4x4 vehicles like the Iveco Daily and Mercedes Unimog.
If you’re still wondering what a slide on camper is, check out our recent article called “What is a slide on camper?”
To compare how a motorhome and a Trayon slide on camper rig stack up, we’ll start with the advantages of the motorhome.
When it comes to it, there is only one thing a motorhome will provide that a Trayon slide on camper rig will not.
That is access straight from the cab into the rear home. While this isn't provided by all motorhomes, the ones that do have that extra little bit of comfort in situations where you don't want to leave the vehicle to set up your camp (for example in a heavy downpour).
Setting up camp with a Trayon, you need to hop out of the vehicle and pull the camper open. While this only takes a few minutes, this is one area a motorhome pips a Trayon slide on camper.
Now let's investigate the advantages a Trayon has over a motorhome.
With a motorhome, the vehicle is built and used for one purpose only; travelling.
This means you might need to buy a second vehicle for other purposes when you’re not travelling around in the motorhome, such as getting around town.
With a Trayon slide on camper, the ute you use to carry the camper is multi purpose. It's the Sunday day-tripper, the work vehicle, the everyday get-around, as well as a Trayon camping rig. To check out your 4x4 touring setup options, in terms of which ute styles you can pair with a Trayon, check out our article called “What vehicle configuration should I get to go with a Trayon camper?”
When a motorhome’s engine and running gear wear out and need trading in, the whole vehicle goes because the home is attached to the motor. This means you need to purchase both a new motor and home to replace the old one!
When the ute carrying a Trayon wares out, your Trayon home can simply be slid onto a new ute, and used as long as the heart desires. A Trayon can also be retrofitted with the best new modcons to keep up with the modern technology of a new ute. We’ve seen some Trayon’s go through three utes over its life, even in off road terrain!
The up front purchase price, registration, insurance, and servicing costs of a motorhome all exceed the Trayon slide on camper option.
Add to this the high likelihood that your motorhome will be sitting idle in the shed or yard for most of the year, and value for money might not be great depending on how much you value it’s advantages.
On the other hand, a ute used for a Trayon can be used everyday of the year, making the Trayon/ute combo far more cost effective.
The only way the motorhome might be better value for money is if you are travelling for a number of months for most of the year, for a couple of years.
Up front costs
A motorhome off the showroom floor can be a very expensive beast. For an average sized unit, you’re looking at well above $100,000. A Trayon will cost you less than half that, and it comes with the freedom of using it with any ute brand, make or model you wish.
Motorhome registration will be more than that of a ute used to carry a slide on camper. Plus, if you end up buying a little run-about car to use in town while not travelling in your motorhome, you’ll need to register that as well!
You don't need to register a Trayon. All you need to register is the ute that carries it, and that can double up as your everyday vehicle anyway!
The costs of insuring a motorhome will inevitably be more than a Trayon/ute rig, particularly if it is identified as being used for travelling and to be kept in remote places. Off road use can also influence the cost of insurance.
Motorhomes are bigger vehicles, which means there is more effort (and thus cost) required to service them than a smaller ute. There are also far more locations for servicing a ute than there will be for some of the motorhome donor vehicle brands, some of which require truck service centers to facilitate scheduled servicing and even running repairs.
A vehicle decreases in value very rapidly once it drives off the showroom floor. With a motorhome, because the ‘home’ is attached to the vehicle, it suffers rapid depreciation as well. Everyone who wants to buy a second hand motorhome looks at the odometer.
However, with a Trayon, because it is separate to the vehicle, it doesn’t suffer the same rapid depreciation. For this reason Trayons hold their value far better than even the utes underneath them. The Trayon does not even have an odometer.
If you write off the motorhome, regardless of how good condition the home component of the vehicle is, it will be written off as well. It will usually be far too expensive and too much hassle for insurance companies to try and fix both the vehicle and its home component, so there is more chance that it will be a write off.
With a Trayon, if the ute cops a good bashing, even if it is written off, the Trayon can be slid off and used with the next ute. The Trayon can also be easily repaired at a Trayon workshop if required.
If your motorhome needs a patch up while on the road, you will need to find somewhere else to stay while the jobs being done, because they will have your home too!
With a Trayon, you can slide the unit off the back, freestanding, in around six minutes (or even quicker with the electric leg conversion). So if your ute needs to go into the workshop, you can simply overnight in a caravan park in the Trayon while it's happening and save on accommodation costs. I know this sounds like an unlikely situation, but when you are doing thousands of kms through rugged terrain vehicle components do often fatigue, break and so forth. So in that situation, your best friend will be a mechanic in a local town.
Unless you’re towing a little runabout vehicle with your motorhome, then your camping set up is affected by your requirements to use the vehicle.
For example, you’ve just got set up, and realise there's no milk left in the fridge! You will need to pack up the camp and drive into town, only to come back and set up all over again and then someone else has taken your previous prime spot right next to the river!
However with a Trayon, you can simply side it off and head into town in the ute, with the Trayon camp all set up and waiting for when you return and saving you prime spot at the same time.
Most motorhomes are longer, wider and higher than most vehicles. This means they are harder to park, and generally need to be stored outdoors in the elements.
The ute, even with a Trayon on the back, is far easier to maneuver around town and store in most available spots, out of the elements. A Trayon rig can easily fit in a normal car park and can be under 2.2m high on a non-modified ute, but closer to 2.4m on a raised ute. Even in extreme cases, it will be nowhere near as high as a massive motorhome.
If your car park area is lower than 2.4m you can even detach the Trayon in front of the low doorway or carport entry and then use a Trayon U-dolly to push the camper into its storage spot once you lowered the Trayon enough to clear the low entrance. A Trayon U-dolly is simply a u shaped frame with 4 castor wheels that allow for easy maneuvering of the trayon on a flat and concreted surface.
Motorhomes normally have a long wheel base and high centre of gravity. They are often also heavy to one side, usually the one with the kitchenette. These are very bad traits for off road travel because they all reduce stability. Plus there’s not many 4x4 models out there, and the ones that are can be extremely expensive indeed.
With a Trayon, the only limitation is the ute under it, and the person driving it. If you choose the right ute, set it up correctly and practice your off road driving skills, the world is your oyster. Quite literally, we have customers who have travelled through Africa, Russia and some that have gone right around the world in their Trayon Camper.
A Trayon is built to allow the vehicle underneath it to operate at maximum off-road efficiency. A Trayon’s weight is loaded as far forward is possible, so that most of the weight is above or in front of the vehicle's rear axle. This allows the vehicle's suspension to operate exactly as it needs, and reduces the likelihood of malfunction and damage to the chassis and other running gear.
The Trayon also keeps the vehicle’s centre of gravity nice and low compared to a high canopy with air-con units and solar panels on a motorhome. So the Trayon sticks to the ground in rough off road conditions where swaying side to side is inevitable. This is generally more controllable in rough terrain.
A Trayon slide on camper is also the lightest slide on camper in its class, which means you can pack all the gear you need without overloading a well prepared off-road ute.
Motohomes usually come with less bells and whistles than the modern ute. Things like adaptive speed control and lane detectors don’t come standard with motorhomes.
However the modern utes often come with these kinds of mod cons. This makes them ideal vehicles for travel. They are simply better spec'd for driving.
Often, motorhome parts wont be as readily available across the country as the common utes, such as Hiluxs and Rangers.
Spare parts for motorhomes will be more expensive and difficult to find. This means you might have to wait a longer period of time to wait for spare parts to be delivered.
Motorhome warranties are limited by the vehicle itself.
Utes have longer warranties (an average these days is five years), and the Trayon itself has a massive ten years structural warranty!
Not only are motorhomes heavy, but they are big, causing high wind resistance. Both of these traits don't bode well for fuel economy.
WIth the light, low profile build of a Trayon, the ute underneath is able to operate at high fuel efficiency to push down travel costs. Better gear boxes and running gear in utes, built for off road travel, will also result in better fuel economy than most van style motorhomes
While they both share common traits in that your not towing or if you want to tow you can tow the boat; the long list of advantages that a Trayon has over a motorhome should be considered when making the choice. There is no reason to invest in an expensive motorhome if it doesn't come with as many benefits that come with other options like a Trayon slide on camper.
For more information check out the Trayon website!