When function meets form. Practical, capable & good-looking. Don’t you just hate some rigs?
You’ve no doubt seen this vehicle on our pages before – the owner, Geoff, is a regular contributor to this publication and makes his living getting out and writing about his adventures. So you could say that he knows what works and what doesn’t after a lifetime of touring around this big island we call home. As soon as we saw Geoff’s 70 Series ’Cruiser and Trayon camper combo a few years back we fell in love, and judging from the amounts of calls and emails we’ve had asking about the setup, we thought we’d better show you guys the whole magilla. Oh, and if you’re contemplating a slide-on for your bush bus, we got Geoff to give us a long-term review of his Trayon to see if he’d recommend going down that path or sticking with a swag and awning…
Yep, it’s a 70 Series. We’re all familiar with them, we all love them, we all know that they’re right up there as the ideal base from which to build a tough tourer and this one’s no different. What, you want more detail than that? OK, fine… Geoff bought his Workmate brand spankers back in 2012 after owning a HiLux for over 15 years and a BT-50 for the previous four years. He drove it straight over to Wayne at Shepparton 4WD Centre who took care of the initial phases of the build – which were comprehensive to say the least. This humble bone-stock ’Cruiser, that had AC as the only extra, was about to get the full touring treatment.
First thing to go was the poxy alloy tray, which was replaced with a full-size steel unit; and Wayne added alloy chequerplate to the floor to keep weight down. Once that was in place, a pair of aluminium gull-wing boxes were installed behind the cab. Featuring a slide-out toolbox, fridge slide and removable shelving, they also cleverly incorporate a step in the door to allow easy access to the roof. Up there for thinking!
The crew was just getting started though. OME suspension went in (the shocks have since been replaced with Koni units); and the GVM has been upgraded to 3,700kg, which is always a good idea for a tourer we reckon. A call was made to ARB and a front winch bar, side rails, steps and front and rear Air Lockers were all ordered and duly thrown at the ’Cruiser, along with a 9,500lb VRS winch. Now that there was an amount of space in the wheel arches, Geoff thought he’d better fill it up with a set of CSA 16×8 alloys shod with 285/75R16 Cooper STMaxx rubber – a great compromise between off-road ability and comfortably covering long distances on the blacktop.
ARB also supplied the Tradesman alloy roof rack and side awning for a bit more storage and coverage respectively. The 4.5L V8 turbo-diesel is well established as one of the best engines in a stock 4X4, so Geoff didn’t see the need to go bananas chasing after power. Instead he played things sensibly and fitted a secondary fuel filter and a Redback 3in exhaust, which (we have it on good authority) sounds fantastic.
After picking the ’Cruiser up from Wayne, Geoff had everything sorted bar a decent 12V setup… so he went about fixing that. A 100Ah deep-cycle battery went under the bonnet along with fuse blocks for all auxiliary circuits, and more power outlets and LED lighting than you’d find in a Las Vegas casino. There’s an 80-channel GME, an Ultragauge OBDII trip computer, a tablet mount in the cab and a Redarc Lithium BCDC 20A DC-DC converter for the camper on the back. Apparently Geoff likes his gadgets… Having toured all over the shop with the current setup, we reckon he’s got it all just about dialled in perfectly now. Make sure you keep an eye out for Geoff and his ’Cruiser in future issues!
…WAIT, WHAT ABOUT THAT TRAYON?
Seeing as he’s owned his Trayon slide-on camper for a decade now and has taken it just about everywhere from Tasmania to the Kimberley, we thought it’d be better if we let Geoff give us his super long-term review of the unit himself…
After several fantastic outback trips with our Hilux Ute and Freedom tent, Denise & I started looking at other more comfortable options for camping. The tent was fine but after several weeks of travel the daily setup was becoming a little tiresome. After weighing up all the pros and cons of all the available options, we decided on the Trayon Slide-on Camper and ten years later still enjoy heading off whenever we can with our setup.
There are several reasons why the Trayon is the best choice for us and some of these are as follows:
- Lightweight and strong construction
This is a huge factor when considering a slide-on camper as many manufacturers produce slide-ons that will potentially overload and damage most vehicles. The Trayon is one of the lightest on the market, and even though it has been through rough situations it still is in really good condition – fully dustproof and waterproof.
- Australian Made
We were keen to purchase a proven camper and had actually seen several Trayons on our travels on the Canning Stock Route and other outback locations. Trayon are an Australian owned company and manufacture locally in the Sunshine Coast in Queensland using predominately Australian parts and materials. For a couple of minor issues we have experienced, Trayon have been quick to provide support and assistance well beyond our expectations.
- Ease of use
After struggling with the daily set-up of a tent and bedding for weeks in the outback, being quick to set-up was high on our list of requirements. The Trayon can be ready in five minutes, leaving more time for enjoying the great places we travel to and making for a stress-free camping experience.
- Range of features
The Trayon is jam-packed with standard features such as a 90L fridge/freezer, gas cooker (that can be used inside or out), comfortable seats and table inside, 110L water tank with pump, comfortable bed with bedding not needing to be packed up, great ventilation, camping off the ground, and heaps of storage. A great feature of the Trayon is that we can cook inside or outside in good conditions. Over the years we have customised it by adding a Lithium-Ion battery system, diesel heating and hot water, outside shower, additional shelving, LED lighting, and new bedding (Froli springs and memory foam mattress topper).
We can configure it for travel over long distances or set it up for an extended stay in one location. In such cases the Trayon can be easily and quickly removed from the vehicle, allowing a base camp to be established and the vehicle used. With the zip-on annexe and vehicle awnings, we can setup a large undercover area for shelter in any conditions.
- Value for money
When all the features included are considered, along with the proven track record and local support the Trayon is excellent value for money.
- Off-road use
A slide-on means there are no limitations other than the vehicle itself when travelling off-road, especially with the lightweight camper on the back. This is important to us for the places we like to travel to.
When deciding on a vehicle and camper for remote comfortable travel there is many options and the perfect arrangement will depend on the family situation and places desired to visit. There will always be a compromise as there is no one solution. For our situation the LandCruiser and Trayon combination is the best available option and we hope for many more years of travel throughout Australia.