Slide on tray campers

Submitted: Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 08:25
ThreadID: 109202 Views:11610 Replies:18 FollowUps:5
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Morning All
We are looking at changing our camping set up. Currently we have an off-road camper trailer and dual cab 4WD, but now the kids are leaving home we are looking at options for down sizing. Our preferred option is a trap top camper (otherwise known as slide on campers or tray toppers) fitted to a single or king cab 4WD. They don't appear to be very common and options are limited.
My questions are:
1. Has anyone had any experience (good or bad) with this type of camper
2. Can anyone recommend a manufacturer(s) preferably in southern NSW or Victoria
Many thanks in advance
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Reply By: Lachie - Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 08:56

Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 08:56
Hi Daryl,
We are looking at doing the same thing. I wouldn't like a single cab it would be too crowded so would go for the king cab.
Tray tops we have looked at so far are fairly expensive but very good. in Bendigo and very and practical . Very quick to set up and comes in a double or single cab arrangement .

A tray top camper would be so good when you go down those dead end narrow tracks or when traveling over heavy sand or in town.
Still trying to sell a Kimberley Kamper though.
AnswerID: 537908

Reply By: AlbyNSW - Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 09:03

Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 09:03
There was/is a company in the Jervis Bay area that makes a nice simple and light fibreglass camper, the guy is a shipwright so knows how to build strong and light
I saw them at a couple of the caravan and camping shows and thought they were very good value for money
AnswerID: 537909

Follow Up By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 21:01

Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 21:01
Alby - suspect you mean Rhino Marine

thought about one myself, but wound up building my own - so probably no help to the OP
FollowupID: 822200

Reply By: Member - Serendipity(WA) - Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 09:24

Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 09:24
Hi Daryl

I have a Travelander now for 6 yrs. Great. Been everywhere. WA so far.

Beaches, tracks, Hwy, Holland Track, Canning Stock Route, Mt Augustus.

I regularly go gold prospecting to very remote areas.

The only down side is you will need a full size ute like Landcruiser, Nissan patrol, Landrover, F-truck. These are heavy units.

But they have everything and you can take them anywhere. Talking to other owners I can confirm, if you can take your car there then you can have the camper on the back.

Unloading takes about 5mins and loading up takes about 15mins on my own. Longer to load just because of backing under carefully so the camper sits evenly.

Setting up takes about 2 mins and packing up takes about 5 mins on my own. Packing up takes a bit longer just because you need to check all the canvas is tucked in.

I say on my own because when prospecting I am usually on my own but normally my wife is with me on trips. It is very easy with two of us and the remote control to fold the camper up.

For the first 4 x years I had the standard VDJ79 landcruiser ute. Now I have had a chassis extension which has been the best thing. It allows me to unload the camper and go exploring but still have room for a fridge and other gear. Also the behind cab storage allows a place for camp chairs.

I submit some photos. Serendipity (No affiliation with the company - just a happy camper)

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AnswerID: 537910

Follow Up By: Lachie - Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 16:47

Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 16:47
What was the length of your extension on the cruiser ? Do you notice a larger turning circle ?
Your left hand wall ( Looking at above photo ) seems to be more vertical than I have seen. I mentioned to Travellander at a show if it could be possible to have that wall more vertical but he said no.
My 2004 Kimberley has a fair slope on it. Newer KKs a lot more vertical.
Gives you heaps more standing room.

Do you have trouble with insects getting in your TLander ? A friend of mine does.
A very good unit though.
FollowupID: 822177

Follow Up By: Member - Serendipity(WA) - Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 20:24

Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 20:24
Hi Lachie

The chassis extension was 515mm. It was worked out on how big the box need to be to fit an Engel fridge.

The new Travelanders do lean a lot more. I have one of their earlier models. After you open it then you need to get inside and extend the poles to push the side out and tighten the canvas. I prefer this to the new model that opens and that is all.

You might be able to buy and earlier model second hand and a lot cheaper than new.

I have no trouble with insects. Like any tent as evening comes you should shut the door and then use bug spray inside just before going to bed. And of course I do keep one next to the bed just in case. This is the norm even if you are in a caravan.

For what the come with, 2 x fridges, 3 x burner gas stove, hot water system, water tank etc, we found them the best buy for value.

I have since fitted to removable solar panels to the roof with a controller with the power panel. When we open the camper I take them off to stand alone and follow the sun. If we stay in a caravan park the panels remain on the roof upside down and can't be stolen.

I also moved one of the fridges to the extension storage box. The remaining fridge cupboard on the side is now a great easy access storage cupboard.


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Reply By: Member - John - Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 09:31

Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 09:31
MFI Service Bodies in Warragul Vic, great company to deal with, Dallas, the owner is very knowledgable and listens to what you want if you need things changed.
Not the cheapest, but very very good work. I have no affiliation with them, just a happy customer. Cant post a link....... so follow this one.
John and Jan

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AnswerID: 537911

Reply By: Member - Geoff M (VIC) - Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 10:24

Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 10:24
Hi Daz,

Firstly we have a Trayon slideon so are biased to a certain extent. They are based in the sunshine coast of Queensland (not southern NSW or VIC as per your request) but do have an agent in Shepparaton.

We looked at all the different options of slideon's on the market, as
well as considering the various camper trailer options. For our
purposes, a slideon was the best fit and the Trayon was the best
Some of the main reasons we chose Trayon are:
1. Weight. The Trayon is one of the lowest weighted slideon at about
400kg (unladen). I would very hesitant to carry many of the other makes
on the market given my experiences, which I can expand on if you wish.
2. Value for money. In my opinion, the Trayon is one of the best value
for money slideons on the market when you look at all the features. Yes,
$30k+ is a lot for a box, but when you look what's in it and how long it
will last I think it is good value!
3. Australian made. When comparing similar priced options, I will choose
Australian made first every time. Some major brands claim to be
Australian, but in fact are manufactured in China with some minor fitting out in
4. Support. The support from Trayon is (in my opinion) second to none.
Now I have had few problems in the six+ years of ownership, but the minor
enquiries and problems have been dealt with promptly. I have spoken
to other slideon owners who have had a terrible run with their purchase,
and the manufacturer has been arrogant and of no help.

We choose a slideon for a couple of reasons, including ability in the
bush (not towing) and ease of setup. For the two of us the Trayon is
great, perhaps if we were taking the family we may have selected a
camper trailer. The Trayon has travelled on the Canning Stock Route
three times, numerous trips in the Vic High Country, Simpson Desert and
Hay River, Kimberley and outback NSW - and hasn't let us down at all! We
have been caught in gale force winds, wild rainstorms and hot weather,
the Trayon has been great. In fact our travelling companions have dubbed
the Trayon the "Taj Mahal".

I hope this helps with your deliberations. I would suggest you check out the various manufacturers personally - the genuine ones will certainly take the time to explain the various pro's (but maybe not the con's!) of their product.

Cheers, Geoff
AnswerID: 537914

Reply By: Member - Noah273 - Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 10:36

Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 10:36
Hello Daz,
Looking at slide on tray campers as well, Trayon Camper are on our short list because not only of the lightness but also of the weight distribution e.g. heavy up front.
Looking forward also to the advice from others.


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AnswerID: 537915

Reply By: Member - wicket - Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 10:54

Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 10:54
You should also look at in Woolgoolga NSW. They have 2 models , one with a built-in shower.
AnswerID: 537917

Reply By: lkyphl - Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 10:54

Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 10:54

I've had an Active Campers slide-on fitted to a extra-cab Dmax tray for several years, and would suggest you try to find an owner of the unit you finally decide on and ask them to put their camper over a weighbridge to ascertain the actual weight, rather than the manufacturer's quoted weight ; you might be surprised at the difference.
Also I would try to find out the actual, not quoted, balance point of the unit to ensure the weight is not behind your rear axle, which will cause chassis flex which may lead to damage.
In my own case the vehicle needed a $6500 chassis extension to remove the chassis flex ; it now rides perfectly.
Slide-ons are a great way to go, and I echo comments about being able to do a U-turn down dead-end tracks !
Mine is comfortable, spacious and very airy.
Active Campers, in northern NSW are at

AnswerID: 537918

Reply By: Hoyks - Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 10:58

Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 10:58
How minimalist do you want to go?

OK, its not really a slide on, but Glen might be worth talking to;
AnswerID: 537919

Reply By: 671 - Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 11:53

Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 11:53

My wife and I went down the same path when our kids left home. We decided on a 4wd ute but have used two diferent types of campers on it.

The first problem was what type of ute to buy. We decided to buy a single cab. If you really need the space behind the seats of an extra cab and can not possible get by without it then buy one. If not then buy a single. They have a lot more space on the tray and it is much easier to get all heavy items in the camper over or forward of the axle.

We then built a slide on ourselves that weighed 180 kgs but it included enough storage space, a toilet, double bed, 40 litre fridge and a shower that could be set up in about 1 minute. It was very successful for five years then we decided to try another idea.

We did not really need the car as a ute only. The few things that we occassionally moved around with it could have been easily moved in the box trailer that we already had. This had me thinking, why are we carrying a 130 kg aluminium tray all over the countryside when we don't need it? I decided to remove the tray and build a new camper that bolted directly to the chassis. The new camper is 2.4 x 1.83 and has a light weight lift up roof that measures 1.83 x1.2. The empty weight of the camper is 220 kgs and I am sure professionals could have made it even lighter. This meant the car and camper was only 90 kg heavier than the car with the empty tray on it.

We have taken this new one over a few mountain tracks and thousands of ks of Outback roads including the Gunbarrel Hwy with no problems at all. The car when fully loaded has never been less than 190kgs under GVM and rides on standard suspension.

The biggest problem with so many slide on campers is weight. They may look light enough when empty but the weight soons becomes excessive when you start loading them. This usually leads to suspension "upgrades" which come with their own set of problems. If the car is over loaded or the correct weight is incorectly distributed and heavier springs are needed to lift it, then the only part of the car designed to carry that weight is the new springs. The chassis, axle housing and wheel studs are still overloaded and over stressed and plenty of those parts have failed in the bush..
AnswerID: 537923

Reply By: racinrob - Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 11:57

Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 11:57
G'day Daryl, I had a slide Compass (no longer made) slide on mounted on a tray back Land Cruiser for thirteen years and still think it was the best touring option and I've had them all. Without sounding like Lucky Star of " I've been Everywhere" fame it took us places few others could access, not towing meant we could reverse out of sticky situations, easy to park in country towns with angle parking and comfortable etc etc.
They haven't made the perfect touring set-up yet but slide-ons are right up there.

AnswerID: 537924

Reply By: Member - Daryl N (NSW) - Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 17:59

Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 17:59
Many thanks to everyone for their prompt responses that contain many useful comments and suggestion. Much food for thought
AnswerID: 537949

Follow Up By: 671 - Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 19:09

Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 19:09
The comment that I made about the weight of my car and camper was the wrong way around. GVM is 2500 kg and I have never had it above 2310 kgs fully loaded which is 190 under. Removing the tray certainly made a big difference.
FollowupID: 822191

Reply By: lizard - Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 18:54

Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 18:54
We got a CM Campers eziup from kelleberrin , long way from you but half the cost of others , ours went on csr as well , on our patrol ute
AnswerID: 537952

Reply By: GG7777 - Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 19:42

Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 19:42
We run a "PiggyBack" camper on a 2006 Nissan Patrol coil-cab ute and have travelled extensively from high-country to central Aust, the Canning and Anne Beadell. We sincerely recommend this type of camping unit to absolutely anyone as where-ever you want to go the camper goes with you.
Our camper is not manufactured any more but there is a web-site that lists most of the manufacturers
which is worth getting on to
AnswerID: 537957

Reply By: Member - Michael John T (VIC) - Thursday, Aug 21, 2014 at 00:11

Thursday, Aug 21, 2014 at 00:11
Hello Daryl,

We have been using an Outback Slide-on and have had a great run from it. It goes where-ever the vehicle goes with no towing hassles, is erected in about 2 mins and has plenty of features, including an extensive and accessible kitchen and plenty of additional storage area, Heaps of features and made in Melbourne. Co-incidentally I have just listed it in the Classified section where you can view photos of this model. I carry mine on a Toyota Landcruiser tray.

AnswerID: 537975

Reply By: Mazdave - Thursday, Aug 21, 2014 at 15:39

Thursday, Aug 21, 2014 at 15:39
Went through exactly same scenario as you, had 4 kids, Trakshak camper which was towed behind a variety of Landcruisers and Patrols over 14 years. Now no kids, so have changed our set up to a New model BT50 Mazda Extra Cab (freestyle) , steel tray and a Carry Me Camper Slide on unit. Well Built, well designed and very functional.
Also allows you to do your own mods and fit out, which I found very handy. Whilst we don't have one, the new walk in models are excellent for those getting on in years and don't want to climb the ladder. No affiliation but very nice down to earth people and excellent product.
AnswerID: 537997

Reply By: Member - Andrew & Jen - Friday, Aug 22, 2014 at 14:00

Friday, Aug 22, 2014 at 14:00
Hullo Daz
Two others you might like to consider are Tailgate Campers from Benalla in Vic - there were 2 in the group on a recent trip in the Vic High Country and the Carry Me Camper from Candy Campers, Tintinara in SA.
Both reliable units designed and built by people who have a lot of experience in the bush.
AnswerID: 538026

Follow Up By: Mick O - Saturday, Aug 23, 2014 at 19:44

Saturday, Aug 23, 2014 at 19:44
Second that with the tailgate campers. Just met the owners Noel & Irene at maralinga last night. They make a very credible unit.
Cheers Mick.
''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
Richard Maurice - 1903

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FollowupID: 822378

Reply By: rojostock - Friday, Aug 22, 2014 at 15:34

Friday, Aug 22, 2014 at 15:34
We are currently in Kimberley region and there are a large variety of makes of slide on/tray tops. We have a Travelander that is available in Eastern States. We decided to have dual cab vehicle with smallest size Travelander to provide flexibility. We carry freezer/2 nd refrig on back seat along with a clothes bag. Easy to remove if need be for extra passengers. We are very happy with performance. We did purchase all of the extra canvas annex options, but have never used them. (If you decide on Travelander option we have brand new canvas annexes available for sale at good price). Mostly we love the position of the kitchen on the back outside with cover over. Great for quick easy access meals during the day. It's amazing how much can be stored. Hope this helps. ROJO
AnswerID: 538028

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