Camper trailers on the Canning Stock Route

Submitted: Wednesday, Oct 08, 2014 at 20:22
ThreadID: 109758 Views:6708 Replies:12 FollowUps:7
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Hullo, we are heading off to do the Canning Stock Route next year. Just asking for advice re towing a camper trailer. Has anyone done this and how did it go. Would prefer to take the camper rather than a tent etc as we'll be away for over 6 weeks. All advice welcome. Thanks in advance..
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Reply By: Member - John - Wednesday, Oct 08, 2014 at 20:33

Wednesday, Oct 08, 2014 at 20:33
G'day, what brand of trailer, what is the tug, what experience have you? All will help answer the question. Cheers
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Reply By: Member - Rob D (NSW) - Wednesday, Oct 08, 2014 at 21:18

Wednesday, Oct 08, 2014 at 21:18
We did it back in 2007 with an 100 series LC automatic towing an Ultimate Off Road Camping trailer. We remained in high range for almost all of the trip and did not have any problems. We were with 3 other vehicles which were not towing trailers, so we had some back up if needed.

At the same time as we were heading north there was another group towing trailers who did have a lot of trouble. They had manual gears and appeared to be selecting the wrong combination of low range and low or second gear and simply burying themselves in the sand.
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Reply By: arte02 - Wednesday, Oct 08, 2014 at 21:30

Wednesday, Oct 08, 2014 at 21:30
Car is a PX Ford Ranger auto with a lift kit. Trailer at the moment is a Customline off road . Am thinking about upgrading to a Wild Boar forward folder if and when they become available. Have has plenty of experience on Fraser Island and recently went out to Birdsville. We'll be going with other vehicles not towing so will have backup.
AnswerID: 540111

Follow Up By: Member - John - Wednesday, Oct 08, 2014 at 21:48

Wednesday, Oct 08, 2014 at 21:48
Hi, Auto will help a lot, not sure about the trailer, three different models to choose from but all with leaf springs, as for the wild boar, with independent suspension, should give a better ride. Your experience on Fraser should help a lot with the sand and the corrugations maybe way worse than on the trip to Birdsville. You should have no trouble, fingers crossed. Enjoy your trip.
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Follow Up By: Member - John - Wednesday, Oct 08, 2014 at 22:08

Wednesday, Oct 08, 2014 at 22:08
Just a quick question, presume you towed the trailer on Fraser and to Birdsville? Cheers
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Follow Up By: arte02 - Thursday, Oct 09, 2014 at 07:27

Thursday, Oct 09, 2014 at 07:27
Absolutely. Been on Fraser and Moreton many many times with camper trailers and yes also took it to Birdsville and down to innamincka etc. thanks for your advice. Cheers
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Reply By: V8 Troopie - Wednesday, Oct 08, 2014 at 21:36

Wednesday, Oct 08, 2014 at 21:36
Keep in mind that the track over the dunes is often well below the original dune level, you can't drive outside the wheel ruts there. So, it is very difficult to back down if you get stuck with a trailer behind.
You might want to walk the dunes first to get the layout and make sure there is no traffic from the opposite direction.
Lastly, do not stop at the level part of the track on the top of the dunes to take pictures etc., almost guaranteed you'll get bogged. Always stop on the downward slope for taking pics - I found that out the hard way and I just had the troopie with no trailer.

I hope your trailer is up to the punishment.
AnswerID: 540113

Reply By: Member - Neil L1 - Wednesday, Oct 08, 2014 at 22:36

Wednesday, Oct 08, 2014 at 22:36
We did it North to South last year in a 120 diesel Prado towing a Cavalier camper. Had no issues at all despite rain and lots of mud on the southern end. Only 3 or 4 dunes required a second go and low tyre pressures (around 16lb) on both the car and trailer made for minimal wheel spin. I would definitely do it again given the chance.

Regards
Neil
AnswerID: 540116

Reply By: Mark T6 - Wednesday, Oct 08, 2014 at 23:03

Wednesday, Oct 08, 2014 at 23:03
Be aware that there's an early part of the route where Camper Trailers are not permitted.

I did the CSR (Camping) last year, its about Wells 2-10, but don't quote me on that.

This is by far the most difficult terrain with some very steep (and deep) dry creek bed crossings.

The Dunes further up are a piece of p..s compared to the Simpson Desert.

BUT, let me also warn you there's some little things called corrugations on the route, and if you think the Tanami is bad, or maybe the Plenty Highway, or perhaps the Oodnadatta Track then let me tell you they have "nothing" on the CSR.

Good suspension (spare suspension just in case) and correct tyre pressures are everything, OH, and taking the time to do it properly.

Great trip, bloody hard work, but you'll love it
AnswerID: 540117

Follow Up By: Phil B (WA) - Thursday, Oct 09, 2014 at 10:47

Thursday, Oct 09, 2014 at 10:47
No trailers permitted on Wells 2-5.

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Follow Up By: garri - Thursday, Oct 09, 2014 at 14:09

Thursday, Oct 09, 2014 at 14:09
a camper trailer is a tent on wheels ,but people over load them and they can become anchors in the sand.Six wheels to look after as well.
see lots abandoned in the desert country.
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Reply By: Mark T6 - Thursday, Oct 09, 2014 at 15:34

Thursday, Oct 09, 2014 at 15:34
The other major issue on the CSR with a trailer is fuel.

I own a Toyota Prado (150 Model) with a 150 litre tank.

From Wiluna to Kunawarrijtji it was 1145 Kms, I had 3 x 20 litre Jerries on my roof and used 2 of them (although it worked out at about 173 litres of actual diesel). We struck some bad weather down south and very boggy / muddy conditions so it was slow going and consuming heaps of fuel.

Now, we ran into a guy towing an Ultimate Camper, luckily he missed most of the mud as he came in around Well 6, but he was concerned at running out before he got to Well 33.... SO taking your camper comes with a upside (luxury tent and ability to carry more stuff), AND a downside....MUCH higher fuel use.

Most of the regulars will strongly suggest you leave it at home but your choice!!

AnswerID: 540134

Reply By: Phil B (WA) - Thursday, Oct 09, 2014 at 20:31

Thursday, Oct 09, 2014 at 20:31
Hi arte02

I have travelled the CSR many times since the mid 90s and I also own an off road camper trailer which I have taken to the most remote of places.

I would NOT take a CT on the CSR.

Why not:
* its a very long and arduous trip - 1800+ kms,
* with over 1000 dunes some super tall and soft,
* massive stretches of corrugations
* many dunes are dug out due to vehicles WITHOUT CTs being bogged, let alone those with,
* potential damage to vehicle and trailer,
* potential damage to the track and dunes (could result in future access restrictions to CSR),
* there a lots of side trip opportunities that you may miss if you don't park the CT - if you want to park the CT out there where do you park it?

All of the above will make for a difficult time with a CT. You'll soon tire of TIRE OF BOGGINGS, REVERSING AND TRYING AGAIN, missing sites and sights because of the CT.

Do your trip research well, make sure you've decided which side trips you wish to do and sound out travellers coming the other way for things to look out for good and bad.

I strongly recommend you use a tent or swag and whatever you do get a copy of the Gard's Travellers guide to the CSR (its out of print but you may jag a second hand copy) and a copy of Work Completed Canning, by yours truly - you'll enjoy the trip so much more.

All the best with your CSR trip.
In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm and three or more is a government.

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Follow Up By: Member - Neil L1 - Friday, Oct 10, 2014 at 18:11

Friday, Oct 10, 2014 at 18:11
Although I would generally have preferred not to take the CT we had to it because my wife has a disability which prevents her from crawling into a tent.

If you have a well built off road camper and drive properly you will not break it. I did not get bogged once, nor did it prevent me from going off the track to the many unbelievable sites including Diebel Hills etc.

We were 23 days on the track which I feel is a minimum if you are going to explore it properly.

It all depends on how you drive and be realistic about tyre pressures. I did most of the trip in high range with the exception of the steepest dunes which I determined beforehand required a little lower gearing.

The corrugations were dreadful but if I had to sit on 40km/hr then that's what I did and no breakages were experienced.

I think that just as much (if not more) damage is done to the track by not letting tyres down and far too much right foot being used by inexperienced drivers, which I witnessed this first hand with a couple of F250's having trouble getting over a dune which I just sailed over.

At the risk of being criticized we also did wells 2-5 with the CT because heavy rain had made the alternatives a dubious prospect, and the vehicle we were travelling with had some fairly major mechanical problems requiring the quickest and driest route out.

Although I am not generally a law breaker, I really wonder what all the fuss is about. Apart from the before mentioned couple of steep creek crossings (which presented no problems) it was hard and dry and comparatively quite easy going. We certainly did no damage to the track.

Neil

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Reply By: andoland - Friday, Oct 10, 2014 at 09:50

Friday, Oct 10, 2014 at 09:50
I'm with Phil B - you could do it, but is it really worth all of the extra effort for a more comfortable bed? You might go through when the sand is hard and the dunes are smooth and have no problems at all. As someone above said the dunes aren't as difficult as the Simpson, but you could also go through after other vehicles have chopped up the dunes badly, get bogged all over the place and use heaps of fuel.

Before we drove the CSR I watched a DVD of a group that went through and the vehicles that were towing camper trailers had a terrible time. I have no doubt some of this was due to their driving style and (lack of) experience but 1800km and 3 weeks is a long way to drive when you're having a bad time.

On our trip the dunes were badly chopped up and many of them had a dog-leg at the top. We weren't towing campers and had no problems but it sure made the climb up the dunes uncomfortable.
AnswerID: 540155

Reply By: Member - Marc Luther B (WA) - Friday, Oct 10, 2014 at 12:40

Friday, Oct 10, 2014 at 12:40
Hi Arte02
I live in Mulan near the top end of the CSR, we have had quite a few CTs through this year, and only four have received much damage, although one was a write off.
Apparently the conditions are reasonable at the moment, although the travellers would not give much more details than that.
I rarely post, so may not catch any response. Have a great trip.
Marc
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AnswerID: 540165

Reply By: Freshstart - Friday, Oct 10, 2014 at 18:56

Friday, Oct 10, 2014 at 18:56
We haven't been to Fraser but from what we have seen on videos and what experience we have had with beach and beach side sand dunes there is a bloody big, I say again big, difference between the lovely smooth dunes and tracks on Fraser and the corrugated tracks and rough dunes of the Canning. Even the Simpson crossings were heaps easier than the CSR.

However saying that we didn't have any problems. Correct speed, right tyre pressures and non hoon nor gung ho type driving will help a lot.

We exited early because my pace maker kicked in a coup;le of times and we thought that we should get back to where help could get to me. For 90% of the CSR there isn't any medical aid or even RFDS available. The RFDS simply can not reach you.
AnswerID: 540185

Follow Up By: Freshstart - Friday, Oct 10, 2014 at 18:57

Friday, Oct 10, 2014 at 18:57
We did tow a T-van.
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Reply By: arte02 - Friday, Oct 10, 2014 at 23:09

Friday, Oct 10, 2014 at 23:09
Thanks everyone for your input. Very much appreciated. Have decided it will be best to leave the camper behind and go solo so to speak. Great to hear and read all your experiences. Once again thank you very much cheers
AnswerID: 540201

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