Campers - where to take with what towing vehicle

Submitted: Friday, Feb 03, 2006 at 01:20
ThreadID: 30370 Views:2991 Replies:7 FollowUps:6
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Hi All,

I have been searching the archives for info to see who has towed what and where. There is a bit there but many just say went there did that, but not what they towed or with what vehicle.

We did SA Outback and Flinders Ranges with a borrowed Outback Canvas camper from Carrum in October and Lynne got the bug. I'm definately not complaining cos she's been reading and researching and found a near new Kanga Big Red nearby in pristine nick second hand as the couple who owned it bought a van instead - too old for a camper they said. (Only thing I was iffy about was the ALKO suspension but I have a mate who could change that fairly easily if it proves to be a problem). We bought it today.

My current tow vehicle is a 2.5ltr TD Courier (see rig pic) and I'm wondering who has towed similar trailers with similar vehicles and what sort of trips they've undertaken.

The camper purchase has pushed the Patrol purchase (4.2TD Wagon) back about 12 months and I'm going to be towing with the Courier for a little while yet. (Not in 5th though...)

I'm rather partial to the high country. I know I can get into Sheepyard and the like, and Talbotville. What about the Wonnangatta via the East Buffalo Tk (the easy route) which I've done before with a GQ towing a T'van. Bigger motor though - more grunt for the climbs.

Or Tom Groggin to Benambra via Davies Plain and Limestone? I'm going in April and Lynne would like to take the trailer - which I have no problem with if we were doing our own thing but I don't want to hold up a group or bugger up planned trip times. I know the track as I've done it but swagged it. Didn't pay much attention to how steep stuff was cos it didn't matter and I didn't need to care. I don't remember any of it being super steep (like Pinnibar) but then again I really don't know.

I did see someone advertising a Tag Along for campers on the Davies Plain Tk but they were going from Omeo to Tom Groggin South to North. The opposite way to me. That may be easier. I'm not sure.

I'd be interested to hear of others adventures. Please include details of towing vehicle & camper (with and idea of loaded weight would be good) and whether you did it easy, hard or didn't make it at all...and what it did to your fuel economy.

The aim is a thread that provides an OR Camper resource for routes & destinations for future reference.

Regards & thanks,


(Keywords : Camper, Off road Camper, Trailer, towing, vehicle, low range, destination, High Country, base camp)
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Reply By: Member - Blue (VIC) - Friday, Feb 03, 2006 at 08:23

Friday, Feb 03, 2006 at 08:23
Don't know how helpful this reply will be but I'll stick it in anyway...

Mate with a TD Rodeo and Tambo camper(@800 odd kg) started in Dargo went through Wonanngatta(sp?) and made his way through the high country to Bright. Can't remember the tracks he took(which is the unhelpful bit) but he had no drama's at all. He was running 31/10.5-15 mud terrains on the tow vehicle and 31/10.5-15 HT's on the camper.

Fuel economy was pretty rude with a lot of low range work but if I remember correctly he only carried 20L of extra over the standard tank and didn't really come close to running out.
AnswerID: 152669

Reply By: Redback - Friday, Feb 03, 2006 at 08:23

Friday, Feb 03, 2006 at 08:23
I did see someone advertising a Tag Along for campers on the Davies Plain Tk but they were going from Omeo to Tom Groggin South to North. The opposite way to me. That may be easier. I'm not sure. END QUOTE;

Yes much easier Dave, no long steep climbs, i should of said in the e-mail that it's not so much the steep climbs but rather if on these climbs you meet vehicles coming in the oppisite direction, this is where towing a camper is usually not recommended as reversing makes getting out of the way much harder, aspecially considering how narrow some of these tracks are.

One more thing Davies High Plain Tk might be closed around that time of year too, i'd ring Parks Victoria, cause i'm sure there were signs saying seasonal closure between April/May to October/November.

AnswerID: 152670

Follow Up By: Redback - Friday, Feb 03, 2006 at 08:37

Friday, Feb 03, 2006 at 08:37
I just looked in your profile and noticed the bikes, i ride as well. (WR250F)

Good to other dirtbike riders here.

Like i said i can't see you having any problems and seeing as you'll have other vehicles with you, then if you do have any dramas, help is close.
FollowupID: 406396

Reply By: Rosco - Qld - Friday, Feb 03, 2006 at 10:25

Friday, Feb 03, 2006 at 10:25
G'day Dave

See my post 30373 for my opinions in this regard.


AnswerID: 152689

Follow Up By: geocacher (djcache) - Friday, Feb 03, 2006 at 11:13

Friday, Feb 03, 2006 at 11:13
Yeah thanks Rosco. I actually grew up in the High Country and family were involved in the Alpine Park & others so I'm fairly familiar with most of the area you've travelled. The two high country trek notes on here are mine, and I noted someone else has now done one for the Woods Point to Porepunkah trip. 970km is a phenomenal effort though, there are a myriad of tracks up there.

The towing thing is what's new. As you can see I'm predominantly interested in who's done what at this stage.

With the right tow vehicle, driver and route, many off road trailers can successfully negotiate much of the high country albeit slower than if not taken. There are definate no go tracks too though.

You certainly see some interesting sights as to what people attempt. I've seen some funny stuff over the past few years - like the little lada/leyland something or other with the 5'x3'6" garden trailer in at Wonnangatta homestead - with the kid following on the Mountain bike (probably more comfortable than the back seat!)

FollowupID: 406427

Reply By: Member - Alan H (QLD) - Friday, Feb 03, 2006 at 16:25

Friday, Feb 03, 2006 at 16:25
As you apparently know, many of the high country tracks are fairly narrow in places.

I take an Aussie Swag with a 80 series and mate has a softfloor trailer with a Hilux and we have been from Bluff hut over to Howitt Hut but drawbars dragged over the erosion gullies (goosebumps to our crew) Usually we stick to the tracks marked with a heavier line and have no problem and then make camp and just take vehicle from there.

I don't beive it is a matter of where a trailer can be dragged but how abourt passing other traffic on the narrow roads. We had the trailers when we went Woods Point down to Walhalla but I am sure glad we did not meet oncoming traffic through the narrow bits as I don't think we could pass.

The track from Talbotville - bulltown etc is another that while a great adventure in a single vehicle it would have been a nighmare to meet someone half way up the hill out of the river if we had our trailers.

With the increasing popularity of camper trailers we need to be careful that we don't cause traffic nighmare on narrow tracks. The high country is a great place and has plenty of tracks to allow base camps and circiuts without trailers.

Enjoy your trip wherever you go and whatever you take.
AnswerID: 152766

Follow Up By: geocacher (djcache) - Friday, Feb 03, 2006 at 16:50

Friday, Feb 03, 2006 at 16:50
Good point. One I hadn't given a lot of thought to until it was raised here.

On the Bulltown one though. I'd take McMillans into Talbotville for a few days and tour from there. I'd never dream of trying to get into some of the more inaccessible areas up there without tenting it.

I've heard of people towing campers from Talbotville to the Wonnangatta. Not sure by which route but the trip up Station Tk & Down Wombat Spur at the other end would not be a good idea - narrow & steep with tight switch backs in places. Hearns Spur is a definate no go.

FollowupID: 406535

Reply By: Member - Duncs - Friday, Feb 03, 2006 at 16:31

Friday, Feb 03, 2006 at 16:31

I've just spent hours looking through the archives for a post where I detailed this for someone else. Couldn't find it so here we go again.

I have a GU 4.2TD and tow a Trak Shak. At the time of this trip we had 5 people on board and gear for 8 weeks camping. All up about 4 tonne

We did the McFarlane Flat track from the Snowy River Rd via Mt Cobberas and the Playground Plain. It rained on this section of the trip and we had trouble with one climb on the Cobberas Trail. I reckon if it had been dry we would have had no trouble at all. We camped at Native Dog Flat.

The next day we went to Myrtleford and had lunch. We then went from Myrtleford to Mansfield via the Bennies, Wild Horse Gap Track, King Basin Track, Craigs Hut and Mt Stirling Track and the Circuit Rd out to Mt Buller Rd. We had no problems in this section. I know the Patrol is heavier and has a bigger motor than the Hilux.

One of the more difficult aspects of the trip is the steep downhill sections. Coming down off Mt Stirling for example the trailer wants to push you down the hill. Particularly on the hairpins when there is a steep drop and one or more of the car wheels gets a bit light. Still with careful wheel placement and a steady pace it all went well.

Anyone who says towing a trailer makes no difference is kidding themselves it does. But I have never backed away from a track because the trailer was hooked on. Take it easy give more time to thinking about it and you should go most places you will "touring" without the trailer.
AnswerID: 152768

Reply By: geocacher (djcache) - Friday, Feb 03, 2006 at 17:06

Friday, Feb 03, 2006 at 17:06
All good stuff so far thanks very much.

Two questions.

1. Is there anyone in Victoria running 4wd courses with a specific course on towing off road campers? Given the explosion of the numbers of these over the past few years there may be an untapped market for a training organisation.

2. Do diff locks become more important/desirable when towing off road?

Dunno whether to spend the money on a rear diff lock which is now available for the vehicle (ARB Air Locker) or save it toward the Patrol 18-24 months away.

AnswerID: 152780

Follow Up By: Member - Duncs - Friday, Feb 03, 2006 at 23:44

Friday, Feb 03, 2006 at 23:44

Diff locks, I had 2 on the GQ, are great when towing off road. The thing I mentioned above about wheels getting light and the trailer pushing you down the hill is greatly reduced if you have the diff's locked. The ARB are the go because you can decide when you have them in and when you have them out. Once the compressor is charged up the switching is almost instant. The uphill I mentioned where we had a few problems would not have been any trouble at all in the GQ with the diffs locked.

If you are planning on going to a Patrol in a couple of years I would save the bickies and get that truck set up the way you want it.

FollowupID: 406635

Reply By: Wayne (NSW) - Friday, Feb 03, 2006 at 18:31

Friday, Feb 03, 2006 at 18:31

One of the problems with towing a trailer is the over hang and the ball mount.

When ever we go into the Vic High Country we always ask the drivers to remove the ball mount. The reason is that they can get caught on the ball mount when going over those conservation mounds.

Having a ute is even worse because there is more over hang behind the back wheels. Add a trailer to this and you will be dragging the tail ever time a conservation mound is travelled. Now as you know that the Vic High Country is full of these things.

As far as having a diff lock in the back, IMO, save your money to wards the Patrol. You could get a good second hand Patrol for the price of diff locks.:-)

AnswerID: 152797

Follow Up By: geocacher (djcache) - Friday, Feb 03, 2006 at 21:46

Friday, Feb 03, 2006 at 21:46
Yeah, I thought about that. You could potentially need a 9" angle grinder to get the towball off afterwards.

That's what I thought about the diff lock. I had another guy in my ear (and the usual hole in the pocket) trying to talk me into the diff lock.

Just point me in the direction of the good second hand Patrol for $1400....

Thanks Wayne,


PS Where's the bath? Is that the one at Farina?

FollowupID: 406603

Follow Up By: geocacher (djcache) - Friday, Feb 03, 2006 at 21:48

Friday, Feb 03, 2006 at 21:48
Doh. Should have read the bit under your VKS callsign. Disregard the PS.


FollowupID: 406604

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