Setup Tray back for across Australia

Submitted: Monday, May 15, 2006 at 14:47
ThreadID: 33917 Views:5586 Replies:8 FollowUps:9
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I would welcome any advice on setting up a tray back 4wd to go across Australia for up to 2 months and mostly off major roads, eg., type of canopy, storage drawers/lockers, etc. Is a slide on camper and option?
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Reply By: Member - John L G - Monday, May 15, 2006 at 14:54

Monday, May 15, 2006 at 14:54

In suppose my first question is what the budget is and secondly how important the are creature comforts to you.

Is there a partner or more involved or are you a solo traveller.

Do you have any gear at the moment or is this shopping list a clean sheet of paper.

AnswerID: 172788

Reply By: Walda - Monday, May 15, 2006 at 15:01

Monday, May 15, 2006 at 15:01
John LG

The budget is fairly flexible and there will be one travelling with me.

The vehicle is already fitted with PolyAir springs, long range fuel tank and 80 litre water tank. I have the usual tools, fire extinguisher, shovel, jack, etc,

It is setting up the back that is the worry. Do I fit a fibreglass canopy to the floor for sealing and instal roller drawers?

Those are the issues.
AnswerID: 172791

Follow Up By: Member - John L G - Monday, May 15, 2006 at 19:08

Monday, May 15, 2006 at 19:08

I toured for years with a drop side tray back and it proved to be a bit of a love hate relationship toward the end with the ingress of dust finally getting the better of me and eventually replaced the whole lot with a custom alloy canopy, shown in the rig pic.

Prior to that tho, I had a drop side steel tray which did have certain advantages, not the least of which is it was indestructible when in reverse and easy to bung a Hi-Lift under when bogged to the chassis.

I had that set up pretty simply, with practicality the keyword and an emphasis on turning the back into a storage, galley, cooker, fridge arrangement.

The drop flaps on a standard tray make great benches for preparing food and each side had a light piece of weather ply liquid nailed to the inside surface so that when the side was dropped outward it became a flat surface. A good bit of rope tied up to the canopy structure held it in place - simple and easy.

For storage, I simply constucted a raised shelf acroos the back of the truck with enough elevation so that I could slide some shallow tubs underneath. This bench was as deep and measured to the depth the tubs need to go in to be flush with the face. The tubs used were approx 430 deep, 260 wide and about the same high. There were about 5 or six hiding under across the bach and one was great for storing the unwashed spuds etc which need to kept in the dark in paper.
The others had things from cutlery, cooking utensils etc to a condiment box, every day tea/coffee stuff, teatowels etc etc. The bench of course, finished in melamine, became a food preparation area with a two burner gas stove bolted down at one end for a qhick cuppa when the mood took. Whilst travelling soft luggage could be thrown on top of this bench as all the tubs were stowed under. A bonus was that when the tub was withdrawn it could sit out in an open position with the top back lip hooked under the bench top - no slides, catches or any of that carry on.

For the main part of the tray between the cab and this reer prep bench I took a trip to the fishermans co-op and brought 6 large heavy duty plastic/vinyl fish boxes (not the elcheapo Bunnings/Kmart jobs) which had self latching but removable lids. These were stackable in a positive manner and nigh on indestructible being of the PVC type and not brittle plastic.

In these went main food stores, pots & pans, cans( beer LOL!) etc etc etc all divided with each to a purpose and marked on the outside of the box so that you knew what was inside.

I brought those twenty years ago and they are still serving me well.

The rest of the tray had fridges, tool boxes, fuel, recovery boxes etc etc etc all stackable and tied down if not accessed frequently.

This was a cheap and pretty efficient way to set up the back at really minimal cost and of course dead easy to dismantle at the end of a trip but super practical when in use.

There is a lot of effort & dollars spent by oz'ers on drawer systems but I find them inefficient from a space point of view and have had to lend my plastic tubs to many a traveller wanting to wash bodies dishes etc. The added bonus is of course that if something breaks or spills it is contained in the box and simply need a wash out to start again. Its also pretty easy to cart a big bin with all your goodies to a camp cook up than a fixed drawer in the back of the fourby.

Dust is another matter tho and I know some guys using tray backs who have had some success placing the rubber type seals on tray side closures and pressuring canopy with front air flaps. I had limited joy using a combination of that system but now that I intend to spend more time in the scrub a sealed canopy seemed the way to go. Needless to say I will stick with the system I describe above as it works, is simple and is cost effective whilst leaving the back of the tray flexible in its use of space.

Hope This Helps

Have a great trip.

FollowupID: 428493

Reply By: The Fox - Monday, May 15, 2006 at 15:46

Monday, May 15, 2006 at 15:46
I have a Carry Me Camper ( Good value, though i chose to do my own electrics, kitchen, etc. but the box is dust proof, the bed is comfortable, tent high quality and the whole lot is easily removeable to use the tray for any other application.
Good resale value when you finish with it and easier to sell than the whole trcuk. Easier to fit on to other vehicles.
I built an extra diesel tank into mine - use fuel pump and outboard motor type hose connection to disconnect when removing from tray.
Did the Kimberleys/GRR last year for 13 weeks with no issues.

AnswerID: 172795

Follow Up By: Member - Craig D (SA) - Monday, May 15, 2006 at 15:58

Monday, May 15, 2006 at 15:58
I'll second the Carry Me Camper as I have one on order. Looked at a lot of different set-ups and agree with all the comments by The Fox.
FollowupID: 428457

Follow Up By: Steve63 - Monday, May 15, 2006 at 16:07

Monday, May 15, 2006 at 16:07
I'll have to third that as we have a Carry Me Camper on order as well. Agree with everythinh said by The Fox. It's still horses for courses though. We spent hours at shows looking at the campers and 4 hours at Candy Canvas going over the details. The Carry Me Camper suits us. It may not suit you.

The diesel tank sounds like a good idea. How much does it hold?

FollowupID: 428458

Follow Up By: Member - Gumby (SA) - Monday, May 15, 2006 at 18:12

Monday, May 15, 2006 at 18:12
I'll fourth the Carry Me Camper option. I'm similar to the fox & got the base model with a water tank about two years ago & the camper is great. This camper has been to the Birdsville races , Flinders Ranges , Kangeroo Island & plenty of weekend beach fishing trips & I have not had a single problem with it . It's quick & easy to set up & as the fox say's the bed is comfortable which is a plus in my books.
Actually I'm just getting ready for a Fraser Island trip at the end of the month where I intend to spend a week camping on the beach.

FollowupID: 428482

Follow Up By: The Fox - Monday, May 15, 2006 at 19:35

Monday, May 15, 2006 at 19:35
Diesel tank is 60 litres. Found it on ebay for $60.00. Fuel transfer pump i bought is very slow, but faster=expensive.
Pump & cheap filter cost me $90, filler neck from wrecker $5, locking cap about $10, hoses and stuff i had. Hole in camper with lockable cap looks neat.
I found that once i start the pump and let it run for 5 minutes, it will then siphon through even after you turn the pump off. Handy once you know that, but could be a problem if you didn't have room for the 60 litres in your vehicle tank when you started it!
I put a plywood floor over the tank & pump so i can stack stuff on top without impacting breather and plumbing.
I disconnect the fuel line to the truck tank whenever i fill the aux tank, just in case it starts siphoning itself when the vehcile is still full.
The F250 goes Port Augusta to Alice with the combined 200 litres, which is a handy range.


FollowupID: 428507

Follow Up By: Steve63 - Tuesday, May 16, 2006 at 13:09

Tuesday, May 16, 2006 at 13:09
Thanks for the info Trevor
FollowupID: 428618

Reply By: Steve63 - Monday, May 15, 2006 at 15:57

Monday, May 15, 2006 at 15:57
You can spend up to $40,000 (probably more if you really tried) putting something on the back of a tray. It depends on what you want to do, where you want to go and how comfortable you want it to be. Most of it is personal preference. There are any number of canopies and boxes you can put on the back of a tray as well as slide on camper setups. Here are my basic requirements:

I like some draws and put the rest in plastic boxes so it does not wonder everywhere. I also like having somewhere out of the rain to cook (have a beer) if required. The Dry is a relative term. It can still rain a lot and persistantly on the cape and in northern WA. You may end up stuck somewhere for a few days while the crossing levels drop and you don't want to spend two days in the cab of a ute. A fridge is not a bad idea unless you are going to be near towns every 3-4 days for ice or plan on eating a lot of tinned/dried food and drinking warm beer (shooting your food is frowned apon in a lot of places, particularly national parks and unless you are a bush food expert I'd leave most of the bush tucker alone as some of it can be fatal). The fridge should be attached (tied/bolted) to something so they don't move preferably on a slide. I like to have camp set up in 10 minutes or so and I don't want it to be hard work. Some people spend hours setting up even though they are moving the next day.

There is not really a "best" only what suits you and your budget.

AnswerID: 172796

Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Monday, May 15, 2006 at 20:12

Monday, May 15, 2006 at 20:12

Am looking at something like this as we head toward the big "R". Had some feed back from a bloke near Rockhampton, who makes canopies similar to the ones like John L's, and Phil G's. Basic canopy is around $5.5K. I like the option of a double bed!!! They can also be fitted with wind-down legs, to leave them in camp, while you tour the area.

Also have had a bit to do with Trayon Campers, fit on a ute, and are about as high as the cab, while folded. Top unfolds, to become the bed, and they have a surprising amount of room, for what they are. Would be good for fuel economy, with nothing sticking up above the cabin.

Agree with comments about the dust, in an open ute. It's amazing how much ends up in the back. But a lot must get sucked out too! Sealable boxes, cases are the go, if don't want everything to be a shade of red.


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AnswerID: 172835

Follow Up By: Crackles - Monday, May 15, 2006 at 21:48

Monday, May 15, 2006 at 21:48
Yes the Trayon is an excellent slip on camper that allows for a quick set up, has a full sized bed & internal kitchen. (out of the flys) It's not too heavy or oversized so is suitable to take up the Cape or over the Simpson. Anything bigger starts to restrict where you can go, anything smaller & you wont be so comfortable on a long trip.
Cheers Craig................
FollowupID: 428551

Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Monday, May 15, 2006 at 20:24

Monday, May 15, 2006 at 20:24
Traytop canopy is a great way to tour.

#1 If you want to check out some others setups, go to the websites of some of the popular traytop campers:
candy canvas
adventure traytop campers

#2 Check out the photos section and archives on the Traytop_camping email group

#3 Build your own. It takes some time to sort out exactly what you want etc etc. And everyone sets their canopies up a bit different. But you'll have a great time doing it. I had a company called GSV in Adelaide build up a sealed box out of aluminium. It has full width lift up doors on struts, so access to the inside is excellent, and lift up doors provide shade and shelter. And because theres no rear door, theres no issue with dust. I fitted out the inside myself, but I have enough room for two engels, 10 jerry cans, clothes drawers, kitchen drawers, spares etc etc We still like the simplicity of swagging it, so our double swag lives inside the canopy too. But we take a simple tent for the times when we want to mark our spot, or weather turns bad. I have a mesh rack on top for firewood or extra stuff.
Water is in a Goughs undertray water tank (80litres) and gravitates to a tap mounted below it. HF set in the back and aerial next to the spare on the back.

Anyway, keep looking and getting ideas about what suits you. We are all individuals with traytops.

And if you prefer to get one of the best setups straight away, look at the Trayon camper. Its a very neat, relatively lightweight setup.

Whatever you do, keep the weight under control - Its pretty easy to add too much stuff and lose your 4wd capability.

AnswerID: 172839

Reply By: Member - Tony C (VIC) - Monday, May 15, 2006 at 21:45

Monday, May 15, 2006 at 21:45
I to am am going through the options to achieve a practical canopy setup.The above comments have been a great help.
An upholsterer i spoke to recently about a canvas canopy said he vents his canopies which just about eliminates the dust problem.I thought this was a bit sus.
Does anyone have any thoughts how successfull this would be in reducing the dust preblem?
AnswerID: 172863

Follow Up By: Crackles - Monday, May 15, 2006 at 21:57

Monday, May 15, 2006 at 21:57
Normally the vent is situated up the top at the front & preasurises the canopy minimising the dust from coming in any small holes or gaps. Obviously when passing or following others on dirt roads some dust goes straight in the vent but will be less than not having one at all. The vent could only assist circulation around the fridge too.
Cheers Craig............
FollowupID: 428554

Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Monday, May 15, 2006 at 22:02

Monday, May 15, 2006 at 22:02
Ive seen the same as what Craig is describing with the canvas canopies - seems to work OK. Usually consists of a flap at each side of the top, front of the canopy - velcro the flap down when it rains; otherwise, leave it open to pressurise.
FollowupID: 428555

Reply By: Walda - Tuesday, May 16, 2006 at 14:26

Tuesday, May 16, 2006 at 14:26
Thank you all for a great deal of information. More ideas to sift out but the pictures help, too.
AnswerID: 172940

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