Before I was planning on doing a big trip away. I knew that I wanted to continue camping with Alec.
Of course this presents a bit of a problem. How does a single father camp with a toddler. It is hard enough with two parents. For a long weekend with friends not so bad. But for a extended period of time and by myself. Thats a total different challenge.
The first camping trip away with just Alec and my self was a real test. Luckily I was with friends that could help me when required. By the end of the 3 day trip, it was obvious that the old camper was not going to cut it. We needed some modern connivence’s.
Basic tasks that I have been doing for years are much harder with only one person. Such as hooking up the camper to the Mav. No one to guide me.
The ability to do the day to day task easily and efficiently is vital. Stuffing around with clumsy water containers or a slow cooker is the last thing you need when when you have a tired and hungry toddler. Organisation and preparation is the key.
I looked at a number of options. Small pop top caravans, hard floor campers, soft floor campers and everything in between.
The small caravans don’t have the rugged off road ability that I wanted and the hard floor campers don’t have a lot of room inside and are a little pricey. My only option really was another soft floor camper.
My main concern with a soft floor is the set up and pack down time. But when you look into what takes all the time, the tent setup and pack down does not cause any real issues. Its setup of all the other bit and pieces that you need for a comfortable camp that takes the time. And once setup is camping a pleasure or a choir.
So the decision was made. If I wanted to do a big trip and continue camping with Alec into the future, a new camper had to be purchased. But with some added features to make everything quick,easy and comfortable.
It was not a hard decision to chose Trackabout off road Camper Trailers to build a camper that would suit our needs. Trackabout have a great reputation of building high quality tough campers. With a huge list of options, I was able to build a camper perfect for our needs.
I decided on the Trackabout’s Safari SV model. This model is already loaded with many of the accessories that I wanted as standard. It was just a matter of adding a few options to truly make the camper perfect for Alec and myself.
So what has this camper got?
The Camper sits on a 50mm solid square axle, with 12 inch off road electric brakes. 16 inch silver steel rims with 265/70r16 all- terrain tyres are on either end of the axle. The standard rims were 15 inch but I changed them to match the Mav.
Suspension is a heavy duty off road leaf spring suspension, with grease-able shackle pins. This axle and suspension package gives the camper a rated GVM ( gross vehicle mass ) of 2 ton.
One feature I really like and is smart thinking from Trackabout is the chassis and the tub are manufactured separately then bolted together. Because of this process the chassis is able to be hot dip Galvanised, which resist the harsh environment that it is subjected to. While the tub gets a nice looking and still tough power coated finish. The tub can be painted a variety of colours but boring me kept with the standard colour scheme.
As mentioned already the ability for a easy hook up is a must. Here I upgraded to the Vehicle Components Hitchmaster DO35 drop on coupling. This hitch is very easy to hook up. Similar process as a standard ball coupling. It also has a 360 degree articulation. Combined with the off road suspension and heavy duty chassis this trailer will handle any rough road or track that the Mav can pull it down.
No point having a camper trailer unless it has a tent. The tent is 10 foot x 7 foot. Which is plenty of room for Alec and myself. It comes standard with numerous windows, 2 wall vents, a zip out bucket floor and a zip on awning. This is a great tent setup but I did add to it.
A tropical roof and a awning over the bed end window were added. The tropic roof is a second piece of canvas that sits above the tent roof. It works the same as a roof and ceiling in a house.
Inside the tent is the queen size bed with a inner spring mattress. A folding bed head with reading lights sits at one end. Yes I know what your thinking. I have gone soft. It is the only option that was a want not a need and is my favourite thing on the camper.
To help with the one person setup. Gas struts were added to the tent frame.
The awning comes standard with a canvas wall at the kitchen end of the awning. I added a canvas wall in front of the kitchen, one at the opposite end to the kitchen and mesh walls for the rest. This provides ample protected from bad weather and gives me the ability to lock Alec in.
The new camper is a larger than the old one, giving me lots more room for storage.
Up front on the draw bar is a large lockable tool box. Behind the toolbox sits a dedicated storage box for the tent poles. On each side of the trailer are two small tool boxes above the wheel archers. Again lockable. Two gas bottles holders and 3 jerry can holders are also mounted on the sides of the trailer.
There is also plenty of storage inside the trailer. But the cool thing about this trailer is the massive slide out box. This gives access to all your gear without having to lift the tent base. The box is part of the kitchen package, slides on teflon runners and has two draws at the tailgate end.
The Kitchen package which includes the storage box is manufactured by Drifta Camping and 4wd. Believe or not I actually down graded the kitchen. The standard kitchen comes with a fridge. But because I have a fridge in the Mav I don’t need this option.
I changed the kitchen to Drifta’s standard DPOR ( Drifta pull out with return ). Apart from not having a fridge it does not come with built in stove top. It has a space for a camp stove instead. The Kitchen slides out from the rear right hand side of the trailer. With adjustable legs on one end for support. The return is housed in the main part of the kitchen when traveling and is easily set up when needed. The water pump and tap are also housed in the Kitchen. The water pump is supplied be a 85 litre water tank mounted under the camper
Electical systems in camper trailers have come a long way over years. The old camper had no system at all.
Trackabout have moved with the times with a long list of electical options available. You can have a TV in one model. Now that’s clamping.
In my camper I kept it relatively simple. It comes standard with two N70 size deep cycle batteries. This is far more than I need. As mention above a fridge is normally fitted in this camper, which requires the extra power.
A water pump and two cigarette lighter power points in the rear of the trailer are fitted as standard options. I use the power points for LED lights for the tent and awning. In the kitchen I added duel USB charging point with a volt gauge. A electric water level gauge was install in the water tank with the display mounted in the tool box.
Trackabout were able to supply a 120 amp solar panel kit. This can be use to charge the camper battery’s or the cars.
Whatever camper that I chose it had to be able to carry the bike. A bike carrier was fitted to the draw bar. The carrier itself is made by ISI and the draw bar mount fabricated by Trackabout. The bike carrier is design for off road use. No stress is placed on the bike frame. This rack can also be used on the back of the Mav when the camper is not hooked up.
One option that I added, won’t be getting used straight away. The mounts for a boat rack were welder to the trailer. But I did not get the rack itself. If I ever decide I need the rack, no welding is required. This saves having to disturb the power coating on the tub. I don’t plan to get a boat. But a canoe would be nice or the rack can be used for extra storage. It is designed to fold over the top of the trailer when traveling then lift up out of the way to the side of the camper when setup.