Trackabout Off Road Campers is one of the more respected manufacturers of all-Australian, tough as nails soft floor camper trailers. From a relatively quiet beginning in the 1990s, Trackabout has been refining its products and expanding its range and options to meet the growing demand of an ever more sophisticated market.
By DAVID COOK
The Trackabout business didn’t start out with its current owners, Rob and Kym Adams. They had a hire business in Brisbane and in 2003 went looking to buy a batch of campers to supply their needs, and selected Trackabout as the supplier of choice. Their initial purchase of six campers was continued in a close association between the two companies and in 2012 they found themselves as the new owners of the Slacks Creek business.
With a head full of new ideas and son Dave to help develop them, Rob and Kym have overseen a rapid expansion of the range, while at the same time lifting the product profile.
The Trackabout range covers the traditional soft floor variety, varying from the basic Kakadu at $14,990 up to the Dakar SV Extenda which, when fully optioned, will touch a price of just on $45,000.
While side fold soft floor camper trailers have been around for a very long time, they have come a long way from the old box trailers with tent and bed bolted on top. They now come with a wide variety of classy options, from water and space heaters to sophisticated electrical systems and a long list of luxuries that take camping into the 21st Century and able to make even a non-camper quite willing to tag along.
The most popular trailer in the Trackabout range is their Safari SV Extenda, which at $30,000, as reviewed here, sits in the middle. It is built from the ground up to be tough, its hot dip galvanised Australian steel chassis being mated to a 2000mm long 100 x 50 x 3mm drawbar that ensures you have manoeuvrability in reversing and better control over the trailer. The package rides on Al-Ko Outback nine-leaf spring sets and a 50mm solid square. As an optional extra you can have a Cruisemaster 2 tonne fully independent suspension.
The standard wheels are 15inch BNS steel rims with all terrain tyres, though this can be upgraded to or matched to the tow vehicle.Braking is courtesy of not 10inch but 12inch Al-Ko drums. The spare wheel is mounted on the tailgate, so it assists in reducing tow ball weight and retains sub-floor clearance.
The hitch is an Ozhitch off road coupling, ideal not just for those tough bush tracks but also if you have a “barn door” style of 4WD with swinging rear door that has limited space for a coupling.
Also mounted at the front of the trailer are a stone guard, large storage box, pole carrier box, battery boxes and fold-up jockey wheel.
The basic body of the trailer is 2750 x 1830 x 520mm in its body dimensions, manufactured from double pressed Australian Zincanneal steal, all finished in powder coating from a wide range of colours.
Down the side are roomy storage boxes with lockable doors and carrying capacity for four jerry cans and two gas bottles. The mudguards have stainless steel trim as a feature and also to minimise stone chipping.
The trailer, in line with almost all soft floor designs these days, has a front walkway, which permits occupants to approach or exit the bed from the foot, saving high steps at the side and climbing over your partner if having to get in or out of bed at night, and also provides plenty of extra storage area.
While there are options to increase the floor area, the standard tent folds out to a 3050 x 2743mm room, with a 4880 x 2438mm awning area across the back.Setting up is aided by gas struts on the tent bows. All canvas in the tent is quality Australian-made Wax Converters Dynaproofed canvas, with 15oz in the roof and 12oz in the walls. The whole tent is covered by a free-standing tropical roof to control temperature. Full wall sets are optional.
The standard fit out includes an awning end wall with large window to shelter the kitchen. Additional walls and flooring are optional.
The kitchen, which slides out of the rear of the trailer, is of waterproof ply construction, which ensures it’s light in weight, and covered in a“aluminium haze” laminate for an easy clean surface. It has a large return for extra bench space and comes with a stainless steel sink, two-burner (three-burner optional) stove and 60 litre Evakool fridge/freezer next to two roomy pantry drawers. The tap is a 12 volt mixer unit feeding from an 85 litre tank (a second tank is optional), with a second, manual pump externally adjacent to the filler point.
The bed is a queen-sized inner spring.Additional comforts come from two reading lights at the bed head and two flexible LED light strips with four placement options for use in the tent or under the awning.
To add to the luxury there are options on a Truma hot water system or a Webasto diesel hot water and space heater system. It may not seem like camping, but on a cold night in the desert you suddenly discover its advantages.
The electrical fitout includes two 125 amp hour AGM batteries, which will run the fridge and lights for four days without any additional input, and plenty of 12 volt outlets and dual USB outlets next to the bed. Electrical input can come via an Anderson plug from the tow vehicle’s alternator or from the 120 watt monocrystaline solar panel.
The whole package comes with a heavy duty vinyl tonneau cover with extra room designed in to permit you to carry extras, such as table and chairs, ground cover or extra canvas walls on the top of the tent.
If you’re a fisherman you can have the gas strut-assisted fold over boat rack to carry your tinny to your favourite spot.And to keep the whole family mobile there’s an option of a four-bike rack.
The Tare (empty) weight is 1050kg, with the GTM at 2000kg, giving an impressive carrying capacity of 950kg.
See the full review including specs in the April/May 2014 issue