Building The Travel Outback Australia Signature Camper Trailer

Article from traveloutbackaustralia

Why am I building a camper trailer when there are so many to choose from?

My partner and I have always been minimalistic campers. Swags, maybe a mozzie dome and living out of the back of the 4wd has been our pattern of camping over many years.

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We often stay overnight in many places and then move on so we haven’t wanted or needed anything more than the good ol’ swag to sleep in. Time and age wait for no one however and the ground is getting further away as every year passes!

I’m sure many of you have started out camping in much the same way as us or perhaps still are!

The swag mattress never seems to endear itself to me as much as it once did and now even the back of the 4wd never seems to carry everything else we travel with on our trips into the outback.

So over the last few years we have been scouring the caravan and camper shows for something, something that we felt would suit our needs. Cost, as always, is a big factor and many of the designs we like have been way out of our reach.

We were lucky enough to be loaned a forward folding camper for last year’s travel along the Googs Track and later, through a part of the Simpson Desert and western NSW. It was our first trip away where we not only towed a camper trailer but spent time setting it up each night and breaking it down again the next morning.

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Even though it was in the lower end of the price spectrum it was comfortable enough, had a pull out drawer which included a sink and hotplates, towed well but was a pain during setup and pack up. Maybe I’m being too picky but I don’t want to spend any more time setting up or breaking down camp than I have to do.

What it really confirmed was that we wanted something else. Besides the cost of camper trailers these days are mind boggling.

In the end Amanda and I discussed what “something else” was and this included that it had to be easy and quick to setup and allow us to spend more time relaxing at the end of the day. In fact we wanted a design that really didn’t need much setting up at all, something we could basically fall into at the end of the day.

Again, I scoured the internet and I found what I was after. Here’s a sketch of what the final product will look like.

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Some of you might remember the old teardrop campers and, probably, many of you won’t. I found several hybrid versions of teardrop campers that were built for offroad conditions and effectively act as a bedroom with a kitchen out the back.

How does this work? You can pull up anywhere, and even if it’s late, your bed is already made. Open the door on either side, climb in and off to sleep you go.

The rear hatch opens and reveals cupboards, slide out conveniences and a space for a fridge. We love living outside during our travel so this, at least sitting here right now typing this blog, appears to be just what we are after.

I’m a metal worker from way back so I have some skills but I’m not a carpenter by any stretch of the imagination. I have built my own home in the past so I guess you could say I’m handy.

Laying out a plan I decided to get someone else to build the chassis for me.  I designed what I wanted and then handed it over to a local welder to construct.

Well I hope it’s strong enough to withstand the rigour of outback travel.

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The rest though is going to be up to me.

I’m hoping to partner with many of the fantastic businesses out there manufacturing great products that will form an integral part of the build. To start with, and because I reckon that the chassis and suspension are part of the most important stages, I’ve sought out arguably the best suspension makers in Australia.

Cruisemaster, formerly known as Vehicle Components, have supplied their XT modelindependent coil suspension with brakes and also a DO35 V3 coupling for the build. I couldn’t be happier to be working with such suspension royalty here in Australia.

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Redarc have supplied one of their Manager 30, the Battery Management System, to run our power supply and I look forward to talking more about this later. Redarc make some fantastic products and we recommend them to manage all your 12v needs.

If you need a trailer braking controller look at our page here or even if you’re after a BCDC charger we’ve done a post on that too.

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My aim will be to share the build on not only our website but our Facebook and Instagram pages and, hopefully get some video up on our YouTube page so you can visit from time to time to see how I’m going.

Right now though, I’m excited, after making a couple of alterations on the chassis itself I have just picked it up after painting.

We’ll keep you in the loop and you can follow our dream.

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Comments 8

  1. Great project. Based on my experience, I would be gusseting the corners. What thickness RHS have you used for the beam carrying the suspension? I have cracked 3mm due to fatigue and harmonics over corrugations, so have formed the view that it should be at least 5mm. Something to think about?

  2. Painting of the frame .
    I would have thought for a custom build you might have considered galvanising after all the alterations were complete. Not knocking the workmanship however it looks great

  3. sounds great I would like to follow your story. I agree not having to set up at the end of the day having a bed to fall into is important.

  4. Had similar plans but could not obtain independent suspension with more than 80mm of travel,even the cost of $2000.00 for 80 mm of travel was a joke.hence the camper trailer dream has been shelved. Richard v

  5. G Day,
    although I like the quick set up, I have always taken a pride in a well set up camp. It is part of the fun. (My childeren may not agree!)

    Bob

  6. Hi Sammy, I considered it but really I’m an outback person and rarely go near salt. I built a box trailer back in the 80s, left it just painted and it never rusted. It’s been tech primed and painted so should last.

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