A camper trailer that’s hard as nails on the outside, but practical and comfortable inside
It’s been a while since we checked in on Track Trailers down in Melbourne, but we’ve always been fans of the brand here at Unsealed 4X4… so when Lloyd Waldron, the Marketing and Media Manager, gave us a call recently to tell us they’d significantly updated a couple of their best-sellers we were a little excited. In fact, Pat was on a plane the very next day to head down and check them out. In case you haven’t heard of them, Track Trailers have been around since day dot on the camper trailer market – starting out with their Eagle model over 30 years ago (some of which are still getting around). They were one of the first manufacturers to pioneer independent coil-spring suspension setups on trailers – something that most manufacturers still don’t do today. But we’ll get to the suspension on this thing in a bit.
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We were really keen to check out the new Topaz model. We’ve had a fair bit to do with these things over the years and we’ve always been mightily impressed, from the first generation back in 2008 to the Series II models they have a long track record of providing comfort and genuine off-road ability… so we were curious to see what the guys had done to improve an already impressive package. So what’s new on the Topaz? Let’s take a look…
The dual aluminium walls with foam core are still in place, giving the Topaz a somewhat utilitarian appearance, but the main change on the exterior is on the rear wall. Track Trailers have actually completely redesigned and modernised the rear of the van with LEDs throughout and have also included their rear ensuite pod, which provides a double shower room or toilet area. And it has to be said that it is one of the easiest we’ve ever set up. Simply fold the roof of the pod up, unhook the four loops and the room simply drops down and you’re ready to wash the day off.
The wind-out awning had us asking why these things aren’t available for 4X4s – they’re that easy to use; and the full-height metal door reduces any potential head-bruising incidents to pretty-much zero… unless you’re a professional basketball player. The pull-out fridge and drop-down BBQ area are all still there, as are the hefty-sized storage boot and handy shelf above the fridge. Just as a note: You can opt for a traditional two-burner kitchen over the BBQ if you prefer. It’s kind of the Track Trailers’ deal. They can customise just about every aspect of their products to suit your specific needs.
Track Trailers picked up a contract in the mid-’90s to build military trailers and it quickly became apparent that their then-current suspension setup wouldn’t be up to the task. So they started over with a blank sheet of paper.
Fast forward a few months, after countless pencils had been worn down to the nubs, lots of sleepless nights and plenty of ‘what if we just…?’ conversations and they’d come up with what is arguably one of the best suspension systems available on any trailer on the market – the MC2 Asymmetric Link setup. You can see how ‘out there’ it is by looking at the pics and checking out ‘Dr Pat’s’ first impressions video, but let’s just say that it’s built to handle whatever terrain you care to throw it at, and is on both the T-Van and Topaz models. This particular one had twin shocks per wheel. Incidentally, the tyres are ATs on 16in rims that are pulled up thanks to 12in electric brakes. The frame is hot-dipped galvanised steel that’s designed to handle a lot more than fire trails and lightly wooded campgrounds.
There is also a pair of 70L water tanks slung underneath that are emptied via a high pressure pump that is capable of delivering both hot and cold water – using either gas or diesel depending on your preference.
And as for luxury? Yes. It has it. This is one hybrid trailer that even the most finicky glamper could be comfy in. Think full leather-moulded seats, internally and externally accessed toilet, a range of bed configurations (east-west or north-south for starters) that can be arranged to suit you – King, Queen or two King Singles can be installed. There’s gas or diesel heating and cooking (on a four-burner stovetop) and more storage than a warehouse. This thing is well decked out to say the least.
A few things really stood out to us. The first was that everything from the windows to the doors are fabricated in-house at Track Trailers. You’ll find that a lot of campers utilise aftermarket windows that may not fit exactly right and develop leaks over time, so this is an important feature for longevity, we reckon. Second, all of the cabinets and storage areas are actually bolted directly to the frame of the camper, and use drawers rather than cupboards. This means that there’s no chance of things rattling loose over corrugations or washouts when under way and you won’t be bending over to find that widget you swore you threw in before leaving.
Thirdly, the door. Yep, it’s full height and makes getting in and out a piece of cake; but they’ve actually had a think about things and hinged it to the rear of the van, sort of like a suicide door, so you don’t open it and then have to walk around it to get access to the interior like so many others. It’s a small touch, but a very clever one. Finally, the bench heights have all been set the same as you’d find in your house. In fact, the makers determined they should match the overall height of the van (that has 2,070mm of internal headroom). But the real reason for the high benches will already be known by those who have spent an hour or two chopping vegies and preparing a meal on a bench that forces you to hunch over – it saves your back from feeling like it’s just been taken to with a baseball bat.
It’s these clever design ideas that really make Track Trailer one of the innovators on the camper market – and the fact the products are all Aussie-owned and built doesn’t hurt either.
TOWING, SETTING UP AND PULLING DOWN
The MC2 suspension, as already mentioned, makes this a serious off-road contender, and the whole show tows very nicely at around the 1,670kg mark (Tare), and the DO-35 hitch takes any off-road angle worries out of the equation.
The pop top is assisted by gas struts and, as you’d imagine, it’s a piece of cake to operate – making set-up and pull-down times a couple of minutes each (and that includes the ensuite pod and awning).
This really is about as easy (and comfortable) as camping gets. And the fact that there is a huge list of options, additions and personal touches available to suit every need to a tee just increases the appeal.