Part 1 : Sat 23 August 2003 (Dingo & O'Brien Trailers)

Submitted: Sunday, Aug 24, 2003 at 20:09
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Part 1 : Sat 23 August 2003 (Dingo & O'Brien)

I went and had a look at the Dingo trailers and the O'Briens trailers on Sat, my "personal" comments and opinion's are below, please fell free to comment on them. I hope to visit a couple of manufactures each weekend, to get an idea on what is the best for me and what I believe is the best available.

Dingo trailer's - the owners claims are true, cheapest around and also the most stock around (He had lots of stock) (he will repeat it about a hundred times while u speak to him on the phone and then again when you are there), however there is a few reason's why he is. For one thing all his trailer widths are one standard size, therefore it might not track behind your vehicle, not very helpful when in sand or mud. He doesn't make the trailer's on site, has someone else make them, also believe the same is true with his canvas tents, therefore doesn't have any control over the quality of the goods, not saying that the quality is bad though, just saying he can't oversee the whole process of making the trailers. He just assembles the two parts together and does a few other things. The trailers have an excessive amount of checker plating, in my book not really needed. You really see any checker plating on expensive trailers, but you can't compare apples to oranges here.

There is nothing wrong with the canvas tent part, but was more looking at the trailer at this stage, thought it was a bit more important. On the trailer I noticed that the A-Bar is just welded onto the bottom of the trailer, i.e. it doesn't run the full length of the trailer. Not sure of the advantages of this (Please point them out if you know them.)

Other than those couple of points, they looked good and look good for light corrugations. However I have read other people's comments on the Dingo trailers and they have raved about them. The owner was also saying that he is closing down shortly, retiring, so don't know how the warranty situation will go, something to keep in mind. Also one more thing, if you go and have a look at the dingo trailers make sure you get his wife (a lot of other people will tell u this) as the guy can talk, and he will repeat the same stuff over and over again and will also bag the competition... Talk to the wife, much more pleasant and she knows her stuff, he isn't really interested unless you are buying on the day!!

O'Brien's Trailers...
Totally different to going to Dingo's, this company is more interested in showing you how the trailer is made and the workmanship that goes into it, they make the whole trailer on site, trailer and also the canvas tent part. Quality looks good starting with the trailer, again didn't pay much attention to the canvas work, poles though didn't look very strong. The trailer chassis rails run from the A-Bar to the back of the trailer - one piece. While I was there I noticed that most of the suspension systems being installed where leaf suspension. Which I prefer, because you can always get yourself to the nearest garage if it breaks and don't have to wait for spares to be flown in from around the country. The other advantage I didn't think about is that you can always get an extra leaf put in or taken out if need be. The best part is if later on down the track you add a boat to the top of your trailer, you just add an extra leaf if need be.

The drawer system on the O'Brien trailer is a bit over the top, would hate for it to break on you as it would be one bloody heavy unit to try and pull out in the middle of the bush (full of your gear). I have always preferred putting all my gear into different size plastic tubs, means you can move them around as well. I admit the drawers under the bed are a good idea, but don't know how you pack them before u leave, or if you need to get something out while on the road!!

O'Brien, will always make your trailer to the width of your car, and also put the same stud pattern rims on, both an excellent idea. (This is why you will find a lot of manufactures don't have a lot of stock on they show room floor.)

Another disadvantage to the O'Brien's trailer is that he said to me that you have to wait 6-8 weeks at least to get a trailer!! Also I think his base trailer's start at about $7k (Basically not much) whereas Dingo's start at about $5,500 for a light off road trailer, and I believe you can take that on the day just about.

Anyhow, I think I have pointed out a lot more disadvantages than advantages of the two types of trailers, but it is interesting visiting these places. And I believe that we need to point out the disadvantages more than the advantages because a lot of people (including myself!!) go into these places with blinders on and don't think about what they are buying until it's too late. Hope this helps, it hasn't helped me, means I want to spend a lot more $$ now.

In the end I guess you get what you pay for, you just have to really work out where you want to take you car and trailer!!

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Reply By: jules - Monday, Aug 25, 2003 at 08:10

Monday, Aug 25, 2003 at 08:10
Matt-we have a dingo - light off road - my husband is a boilermaker - what he looked for was strength - and he found that the dingo was - for the cost - the best value -he was all in favour of checket plate - knows the strength of it compared to sheet steel - he did, however, weld a cross bar on the drawer bar - to which we can bolt our bike carrier or extra spare wheel - as well as toughening it up - we have had our trailer for about 4 years - has been over some rought terrain - no problem - the only problem we had was a wheel bearing - which did some damage to the axle - but they fixed it no problem when we got back to Melbourne - we have taken it to Fraser Island - no problems, Oodnadatta track etc etc - current plan is around Oz asap - cannnot wait
I agree the O'Brien is a good trailer but can you justify the cost? we couldn't.
and yest Mrs Dingo is the one to deal with - by the way he has been retiring for the last 4 years - tells everyone the same story!
AnswerID: 28996

Reply By: Mal58 - Monday, Aug 25, 2003 at 13:05

Monday, Aug 25, 2003 at 13:05
We went through the process of deciding on a tent camper trailer about 4 years ago. We periodically look at the "market" to see how things may or may not have progressed.

We looked at the Dingo trailers. We were told by the owner then (Nov 1999) that Dingo trailers was "closing". I don't know if the "going out of business" is their sales pitch, but I have seen them over the years at camping shows saying the same thing.

In comparison with other manufacturers, their trailer construction was on the par with the better of the "box trailer" types. I don't believe that their is much customisation, and I recall the weight of the canvas they use however tends to be on the lighter side.

We looked at the O'Briens trailers as well, and they were very strongly made. I doubt you could "break" an O'Briens tralier unless you were doing something really extreme. The weight of the canvas O'Briens use is on the heavier side and hence is probably more durable in the long run. I believe that you can option the O'Briens trailer without the drawers in needs be. The quoted waiting time for O'Briens is pretty good, since it is made to order.

I think that it is worth while looking at several different manufacturers products, and taking notes about suspension, quality of build, strength of chassis, what they can / can't customise, canvas weight, ease of setting up (including awnings / annexes etc.

These factors in conjucntion, how you expect to use it, (including the number of kids and floor space etc) will ultimately help you to decide which one to buy.

It certainly is bewildering at first.


AnswerID: 29024

Follow Up By: Mal58 - Monday, Aug 25, 2003 at 13:10

Monday, Aug 25, 2003 at 13:10
No, we didn't buy either, due to reasons about how we expect to use it etc. We bought a Gumnut, but sadly the business closed 2 years ago due to I understand the bank forclosing on a loan.

Mal 58
FollowupID: 20223

Reply By: Willie - Monday, Aug 25, 2003 at 14:56

Monday, Aug 25, 2003 at 14:56
Hi Matt,

That was a pretty comprehensive report Part 1: And thanks for posting it on the forum. I am sure it will help others who are looking for trailers.
WillieNever a dull moment
AnswerID: 29038

Reply By: macca - Monday, Aug 25, 2003 at 16:13

Monday, Aug 25, 2003 at 16:13
When we went through the exercise of buying an offroad camper we looked at the Dingo and Mr Dingo was so full of Cra* we decided that we didnt want any part of his business as you couldn't tell fact from fiction . He was also closing up his business..Told us you couldnt buy one now as he was too busy etc etc. Never had no qualms about not dealing with him and by all accounts sounds like you got the same spin Matt!!
We paid a heap more $$$ and opted for a Heaslip and have enjoyed may camping trips around Oz (including Tassy) in it. The son is now enjoying its with his family around this great place
AnswerID: 29050

Reply By: duncs - Monday, Aug 25, 2003 at 16:26

Monday, Aug 25, 2003 at 16:26
Hi Matt,

You seem pretty serious about getting it right when you buy a trailer.

I was too, I looked at all the different brands that came to the Sydney shows for about six years before I eventually baught the one I now have, and have had for seven years.

It has been all over Aus, Cape York, Lake Eyre, Victorian Deserts, heaps of time in the Blue Mountains. Never had a serious problem.

What I want to advise is that you look at more than just one town. I don't know where Dingo and O'Brien are but there are good trailers built in Adelaide, Melbourne, Ballina and probably a heap of other places as well. You will do heaps of miles to check them all out. You may even need a camper to get around.

I am most enthusiastic about mine if you want more details then ask here. The other thing that is important and hard to judge before you buy is service. Again I'm happy

Enjoy looking and then using the new toy

AnswerID: 29052

Follow Up By: Matt - Monday, Aug 25, 2003 at 16:45

Monday, Aug 25, 2003 at 16:45
Have a list of ones I'm interested in visiting in Victoria at this stage, I might widen the search if I'm not happy with these ones.

This is the current list :

Let me know some info about your trailer, cost, options, setup etc, would even love to see some pics, espically of the suspension and chassis setup.

FollowupID: 20258

Reply By: duncs - Friday, Aug 29, 2003 at 17:52

Friday, Aug 29, 2003 at 17:52
I have a Trak Shak. Built in Adelaide. They have a web site just type Trak Shak into your search engine.

Reasons for p[urchase 1) Quick set up and heaps of room. 2 queen size beds available in less than 10 min. One person set up. Can be done with only 2 pegs, and poles. I do the camper while the wife cooks tea.
2)Carrying capacity and space. The camper is built into a suitcase which is fitted to the top of the trailer. Both camper and trailer are water and dustproof. Front and rear of trailer open allowing good access to gear stored underneath. Access to gear is available from inside the camper. This is a great feature in bad weather and not many offer this. The trailer is 7x4 with 500mm sides. All this is available for gear as the camper sits above it. In addition to this there is carrying capacity for 12 Jerry cans, spare wheel and spare hub depending on the model purchased. When set up there ios nothing bigger on the market. As well as the 2 beds we have a closed in area of about 2.8m by 3.2m
3) Strength of construction. I have not seen a stronger trailer. I have pulled stranded vehicles out with a chain or snatch attached to the trailer. No uncoupling, it is designed for this. Also there is nothing on the trailer that is specially built. I mean there is nohting on it that you could not fix in the average workshop or country town service station.
4) Ease of towing. It toes equally well at highway speeds and in low range crawling through the bush. I have never not gone somewhere because I was towing the trailer. We were the 4th vehicle to the tip of the Cape in 99. First into Maytown on the same trip.
5) Probably the most iomportant. The Missus and kids love it. Without the Trak Shak I would be stuck in motels and caravan parks. With the Trak Shak I'm out in the bush where I want to be

A very pleasing bonus was the service offered by Trak Shak. You could not ask for more. When I have ordered things from them they have always had the parts or accessories in the mail that day. The standard of service has not dropped in 7 years.

In case you haven't guessed I love it. Do yourself a favour and check it out, especially if you have kids.
AnswerID: 29576

Reply By: Matt - Saturday, Aug 30, 2003 at 22:28

Saturday, Aug 30, 2003 at 22:28
Hi guys,
Thanks for that... I have already used a Trak Shak for a number of years, one of my friends has one, best camper trailer ever, not one problem with it. Unfortanly he has moved interstate now and I don't have access to it, so I have to buy my own, the other thing is my budget is under $10k at the moment. If I had the money I wouldn't of even bother looking at any of these other brands I would just go and order one.

The engineering on the trakshak is just superb, if you can afford it, go get one.

Thanks again.
AnswerID: 29675

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