Offroad Trailers

Travel in style, or perhaps not? What to take, What to leave behind.
User avatar
SimonB
Site Admin
Contact:
Vehicle: 1996 Pajero 3.5V6
Location: Cape Town, RSA
Posts: 1406
Joined: Sun Jun 07, 2009 3:44 pm

Offroad Trailers

Mon Jun 20, 2011 1:13 pm

So we go to the brother-in-law who has recently bought himself an Echo 3 to tow behind his Forester, and he's showing it off to us. I've been umming and aahing for quite some time and have never really been convinced of the practicality of a trailer, especially considering the cost of one.

Now that we are a family of four we're having to re-look at our camping "infrastructure". While I would never take a trailer on some of the heavier routes, it seems an ideal solution for general overlanding. The wife is very taken with the convenience, in that it can be left in a ready to go state, easy access to most stuff, pretty quick to set up and strike.

So the obvious questions:
  • What are people's opinions on trailers?
  • Who is using one?
  • Which one do you have?
  • Effects on fuel consumption (vs a roof rack)
Now I have seen several makes and I am not enamoured with the build quality, and wonder about their overall reliability, especially considering the massive outlay. Conquerer seems to be the worst, Echo doesnt seem brilliant, but the one that seems to stand head and shoulders above the rest is Metalian.

We will be using the BIL's Echo 3 in August as a test, but I fear this is going to turn out to be an expensive weekend away

Thoughts?
Simon Bloomer
'96 3.5V6 GLS LWB Pajero
User avatar
paw_by_paw
Vehicle: 3.5 L Pajero LWB Blister Fender
Location: Secunda-Mphumalanga
Posts: 433
Joined: Mon May 10, 2010 9:54 pm

Re: Offroad Trailers

Mon Jun 20, 2011 6:37 pm

Hi Simon,
If I can add my 2ct's here. I had a look at Metallian trailers and maybe I am being nasty but a good copy of Conqueror looks like. I see that they do not install battery charging systems , and the rest. If you would first go and check what this is going to cost at a aftermarket centre and add to price you will see that these come close to any other brand fitted with this already . I have a Conqueror Commander and with all their pricing you can add what you like as optional extras. I must say that that huge awning of Conqueror is a shlep in my eyes though. But maybe you should have a look see at the Companion smaller caravan. The reason why I went for Conqueror was the suspension, the fact that there is no wooden panels , and the way the frame is designed to help with easy replacement of frame parts should you have to. I have fitted a geyser as extra and do not regret a minute off it ,Gas / 220v geyser with taps at both sides of nosecone and shower outside of caravan.
We travelled to almost every outdoor show and had telephone books size brochures of almost any make you can think off.
Any off-road trailer loaded with tent ,gas bottles and all other camping stuff will have a effect on fuel consumption. My average fuel consumption for 700 km with caravan loaded over easter and about 50 km off road was 5.6 km/l and that was before I picked up a few issues with regards to throttle body and manifold leak.
I must add though these things don't come cheap. I must stress that Conqueror is very expensive with their tenting . Regards
''Life Can Be Good - It Can Be Exceptional Too ' !!!
User avatar
SimonB
Site Admin
Contact:
Vehicle: 1996 Pajero 3.5V6
Location: Cape Town, RSA
Posts: 1406
Joined: Sun Jun 07, 2009 3:44 pm

Offroad Trailers

Mon Jun 20, 2011 7:11 pm

Thanks PbyP.

You certainly speak from more experience than me but Heinz from Metalain presented his trailers to us at a 4WDC meeting recently but I was extremely impressed with the build quality. Agrees he doesn't offer all the options under the sun, but he will build all your options into the trailer. Also what impressed me was the basic framework and suspension system as well as his variable setup to be able to tow without needing a drop-plate. But I guess his trailers need time to prove themselves.

A caravan-type does not really interest me because of the size and my lack of storage space.

The one thing that strikes me is the absence of trailers which are smaller, properly offroad biased, as convenient in terms of kitchen and storage but no need for a tent. I'm thinking if one that would just have an awning and we have our accommodation separate.

I guess if we borrow BIL's trailer for a few occasions we can see what works and what doesn't.
Simon Bloomer
'96 3.5V6 GLS LWB Pajero
User avatar
paw_by_paw
Vehicle: 3.5 L Pajero LWB Blister Fender
Location: Secunda-Mphumalanga
Posts: 433
Joined: Mon May 10, 2010 9:54 pm

Re: Offroad Trailers

Mon Jun 20, 2011 8:27 pm

yip Simon testing is certainly the way to go. The only reason why I did not go for a trailer was the limited packing space and the forever scratching in ammo boxes as that frustrates the hell out of me.
Having had a road caravan for many years my obvious choice was caravan.
I will agree that limitations to access in very bad off road conditions will be a problem and I will most defenitely agree ,to do that ,I will probably have to have bigger off-road vehicle as well.
I just got my caravan at a price I could not let go at the time.
Good Luck with your venture and hopes all work out well in the end.
''Life Can Be Good - It Can Be Exceptional Too ' !!!
User avatar
HBannink
Affiliate Member
Contact:
Vehicle: Pajero gen2 3l lwb
Location: Johannesburg
Posts: 435
Joined: Sat Jun 13, 2009 1:22 am

Re: Offroad Trailers

Mon Jun 20, 2011 11:08 pm

I would not go without my dome tent for all the tea in china, for a quick one nighter for mommy and me the dome and the side awning on the pajero is just fine. You will note that I said mommy and I, only the two of us, throw in a few pinkfoots and the whole setup changes drastically. Hot water becomes a necessity not a luxury and packing space changes from an overnight bag to a trailer, the single cooker ring for coffee and quick braai gives way to much more elaborate catering needs.

The main point is to make it a pleasant experience for all involved and a trailer is one of the better tools to make this happen. I have done a fair bit of research on the subject with a view to construct my own camper and have taken the best points available in the market and used them as guidelines for the development of my own unit. The drawings are done and the planning is as close to perfect as I could get it, being of technical background and slightly more mature :twisted: I tend to have a similar critical view as our own 4e :twisted: and I was not impressed by what is available out there, that was until I set eyes on Heinz's unit.

I look at the finer bits and pieces, things like where the tool meets steel and how the bits are put together. I am not impressed by shiny bling and fancy lights, you can retrofit all these but if the base is not up to it you have problems.
I was hugely impressed by the Metalien. Tooling and workmanship is what one would expect from a master artisan and as for the design there was very little that I could add to make it better.
It is a full stainless shell that is powder coated, something that might appeal to the coastal brigade and has a revolutionary monocoque chassis. It comes with onboard water tanks that are custom built for the trailer and at 430kg is the lightest on the market. It comes standard with braked axle and shocks making it as easy as pie to tow. We fetched the unit in driveway with a 2l diesel vito and did not know it was behind us.

Best of all I was so impressed with the unit that I have decided to put my name to it :twisted:
Henk Bannink

Some people are wise, some people are otherwise
User avatar
4x4 Outthere
Vehicle: Pajero DiD LWB
Location: Kempton Park
Posts: 133
Joined: Sun Jun 27, 2010 4:12 pm

Re: Offroad Trailers

Tue Jun 21, 2011 7:02 pm

Hi Simon
I started many years ago just with my 4x4. Meaning carrying everything on the vehicle. In 2000 I made the decision to build my own 4x4 trailer. I have travelled in 10 of the Africa Countries and have enjoyed every kilometre off-road. On these expedition I conquered some serious 4x4 routes including Van Zyls.
The plusses for me is the fact that I am pulling the load and do not carry it on the Vehicle. The chances for something breaking would obviously be the thing that is the heaviest....in this case the chance that it will be on the trailer. That you can always un hitch and and you can still drive to get spares. Yea I know the vehicle can also break down.
The other thing setting up camp in Ethosha, Serengeti, Lalua Plains immaterial where you are and you want to spend more than one night, You have to pack up just about everything just to go and do a game drive. That is not the case with the trailer. You lock up and go.
I could not find anything of my liking so I build my own. I have put some photos on the Forum a while back.
Now I am in the same situation regarding the Off Road Caravans that is available..Now I am building my own and it is costing me a third of the price.
Just my thoughts :D
4x4 Greetings
Thinus
"Live Life To The Limits, Explore The Scenic Route"
Cl
Clive Frost

Re: Offroad Trailers

Thu Jun 23, 2011 10:05 am

Hi Simon

Allow me to voice my personal taste and opinion.

Firstly the facts:
1. We're a family of two (Wife and I)
2. I'm lazy.
3. I don't leave everything to the wife so even being lazy I must set up the campsite only with the help of a small petite wife; 1.6m tall. I myself 1.7m tall/short. :lol: You might think this is stupid facts but when you're in the outdoor's there's no ladders or always extra help around. I like things to be practical and easy. I'm out there to relax and enjoy, not there to work myself to the ground.

Personal taste:
1. I prefer a trailer design with good clearance behind the wheels. Going off road we all have seen how the Bakkies battle with clearance at the back and some off road trailers have the same problem. If you're not going places where off road obsticals are a problem then you don't have to take these facts into consideration at all. In my situation - very important! :!:

2. The trailer tent will be your home wile in the bush. You must really shop around to see the various options available. There are many brands out there and it comes to personal taste but also to practicality ans SPACE!!!!!!!
I'm not going to go into Brand bashing at all. I'll high lite the facts the made me decide on the TENTCO trailer tent. The room area is one off the biggest currently available and the rooftop tent with the extra awning and sidewalls were very competitively priced. I was amazed at the price :o

Back to the trailers: Echo is a good brand and the Echo 3/4 & 5 are very good trailers. Price is a bit steep but wat isn't today!

I had a look at the following 3 designs. All having good clearance behind the wheels.
1. Dakar 1 (Challenger/Wilderness) Same manufacturer.
2. Jurgens XT 140
3. Conqueror Courage!
Conqueror Courage 2.jpg
Conqueror Courage 2
XT 140.jpg
Jurgens XT 140
Now please remember (Personal choice and family of two)

I eventually opted for the Dakar 1 but made some alterations. Nothing on the market will satisfy anyone on this earth anyhow! Isn't that the nice part about life - what works for one will not always work for the other - BUT, my ideas might help create yours.

I had the lid remove with the lid rack and had a box made up with 5 doors. See Picture. I have a drawer at the back and a rail system for four ammo boxes. The fridge freezer is mounted on a sliding drawer. (I have a 90l NL)

I had to install the electrical system myself but seeing that I do understand - & + and black and red & AC from DC (Electronics as school subject) I designed a system for my personal needs and use. Will post the detail of that at later stage. Rather interesting if I must say so myself!

But have a look at the pic of the final product so far (There will always be something to change) and please comment! You may even be so blunt and say you hate it - I don't mind negative feedback at all. :D :D :idea:
Dakar 1 Modified.jpg
Dakar 1 Modified
Enjoy the fact finding mission you're on Simon :idea:

One last pic: When I'm not using the trailer: There's no better tent option than a dome tent!

Cheers All! Hope you enjoy my input Simon!
User avatar
Bostokkelos
Vehicle: Pajero Sport 3.2Di-D
Country: South Africa
Location: Centurion
Posts: 154
Joined: Thu May 13, 2010 12:49 pm

Re: Offroad Trailers

Thu Jun 23, 2011 12:07 pm

Ja wel simon the market is so big, its almost impossible to test them all and set it up and look at space etc. my 2c...I dont want to tow a caravan again! I dont want to sleep on a roof or a trailer. BUT I want to be off the ground and not in a tent.

So I am forced to go for a Camptech offfroad trailer, you can load stuff on the lid on top, it has a decent nosecone...sure the packing is limited but it just workes for me. I sleap inside, not on a roof and off the ground.

Good luck Simon, its one of those decisions that haunts a man everytime you see something different.
Attachments
camptech 3.jpg
Pajero Sport 3.2 DiD GlS Auto
(Bash Plate/Gear Box Plate/Suspension Lift/Dynapro AT's/Roof Rack/Spots/Snorkel/Rock sliders)
User avatar
Bostokkelos
Vehicle: Pajero Sport 3.2Di-D
Country: South Africa
Location: Centurion
Posts: 154
Joined: Thu May 13, 2010 12:49 pm

Re: Offroad Trailers

Thu Jun 23, 2011 12:09 pm

The Trailer must also have a pull out kitchen, but I want to sit inside the thing when it rains.
Pajero Sport 3.2 DiD GlS Auto
(Bash Plate/Gear Box Plate/Suspension Lift/Dynapro AT's/Roof Rack/Spots/Snorkel/Rock sliders)
Cl
Clive Frost

Re: Offroad Trailers

Mon Jun 27, 2011 1:26 pm

@ Bostokkelos

I had a serious look at the Camptech range when I was still shopping around. Must admit, I nearly bought the Camptech Bosvelder. I like the fact that the setup is quick and easy and the overall weight is excellent. Looking at your photo I can see you own the Camptech Camper. Also an excellent trailer. They stop manufacturing the 3rd model (Weekender). The size of the bed was a wee bit small. Overall a nice trailer!!

Return to “Overlanding / Camping / Trail Equipment”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

Login · Register

Latest Posts

Login  •  Register