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Lightweight camper trailer

Randall

Richard Proenneke
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I have been researching a lightweight camper trailer. I have a few criteria, of course. Out of all those that claim to be light weight, they aren't. Most of them you might as well have a tent - in fact an Oztent RV3 would be better and simpler than many of them. Note: the link is to a review from the US - these are Australian made tents. They have a good reputation in Australia as well as the US.

1. rooftop type tent mounted on a lightweight small trailer (6x4 or smaller).
2. fast, easy setup
3. space within the trailer ie I want the tent mounted on top of the trailer sides so that fridge, battery - anything not needed while driving can be stored.

The space in the trailer is key. We have a van but generally have 2 mountains bikes along with spares, tools, a large dog, all our personal gear etc. So far we have stayed at self contained accommodation, which is awesome. Once I start looking at camping though then I also have to consider bedding, fridge, lithium ion power pack, extension cord, some form of cooking, fold up chairs - everything needed for basic car based camping.

Here is the only thing I have found, so far. It is a european design (and build?) made for small cars - perfect. We also have a 1.3lt 4wd. I also believe that it won't be long till we're using a tiny e car, hopefully.

We won't get this yet; delivery to Tas (from WA) is expensive. We also have holidays booked for the next year. Hopefully something like this will become more affordable or available in Tassie soon.

One of the few videos from an owner.
 
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WanderOn

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Interested to see how you go with it Randall. I haven’t even thought far enough ahead with our setup in regards to towing with electric vehicle. I’m still stuck in 2V diesel world.
Wonder how the Harley drive train copes with the load. Ex sister in law worked for a BMW bike dealership and used to have issues with owners complaining their clutches didn’t last when they towed a trailer.
It looks like an awesome camper though.
 

Randall

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Wonder how the Harley drive train copes with the load
I'm not interested in motorcycle travel with such a setup :).

I have found another option; more expensive but possibly better quality? A stockman pod trailer with a darche rooftop tent. I would need some chasis mounted racks - the pod accessory chasis racks look crap (no bracing). With the tent mounted high the inside of the trailer could be accessed easily, and there would be some shelter under the tent, albeit only 4 or 5 feet I imagine.
 

Randall

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I haven’t even thought far enough ahead with our setup in regards to towing with electric vehicle
You have a family and you're doing it now, or soon. My needs - two of us and a dog, bikes etc, no shower or toilet, regular short term trips - are much simpler than yours. All I really want is shelter, cooking and a fridge, and some reasonable battery power. We're both familiar with washing from a bucket (often a billy for me). Also, we're not going 4wd; probably use the van to tow it most of the time. We'd use our bikes or feet to explore from our camping base. Long term and relative isolation adds a fair bit more needed space and weight for necessary equipment and supplies, as you'd know :).

However, the future still boads well for large and powerful e 4wd. And with independent drive (a motor) on each wheel! Geez, it won't be long till these things have rear wheel steering too. Right now they're available, charging in remote locations is an issue that won't last for long, I imagine. I'm just hanging out for some of the micro options :) to replace our little 4wd; we plan to keep the van for trips etc for a while longer though. Note the low hp of these ecars - not much energy is lost in heat, so they're much more efficient.
 
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WanderOn

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I'm not interested in motorcycle travel with such a setup :).

I have found another option; more expensive but possibly better quality? A stockman pod trailer with a darche rooftop tent. I would need some chasis mounted racks - the pod accessory chasis racks look crap (no bracing). With the tent mounted high the inside of the trailer could be accessed easily, and there would be some shelter under the tent, albeit only 4 or 5 feet I imagine.
The guy doing the review has it for towing behind his Harley.
 

WanderOn

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The idea of independent drives on all 4 wheels is pretty interesting. Especially if the drives are mounted on live front and rear axles.
Ditching the drive shafts, gearbox, transfer case and enormous Diesel engine would leave a lot of spare weight to be used by batteries and electric motors.
Hmmmmmm Guess if you’re attaching drives to the end of live axles then it wouldn’t take much to make them portal axles for extra ground clearance.
 

Randall

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The guy doing the review has it for towing behind his Harley
yes; now he's in the process of building a teardrop camper (think tiny caravan) to replace his tent based camper :oops:. I knew dudes who towed trailers on the mainland - veterans and ulyses mc. Dudes in veterans were making them out of old fridges mounted to an axle (laid down on their back). It isn't my idea of motorcycling.

These big bikes have more than enough power. If folk are burning out clutches, then that sounds like 1st gear isn't low enough. Big road bikes tend to have a high first - my ktm 990 does; it lunges forward :D. The problem with most beemers is that they are shaft drive - no cheap way around changing the gearing. For a chain drive I'd be swapping out the rear sprocket for one with more teeth and a new longer chain.

There is another thing with big bmw bikes, and harleys actually - it is amazing how many retired dudes with lots of money buy a beemer (or harley) in an effort to rediscover the freedom of their youth. Many of them haven't ridden for a long time. They're also at an age where they want comfort and become what I've always termed "sunshine bikers"; bike is only bought out on sunny days. Most of the guys I've met who fit this category definitely ride within their limits. They're not necessarily good riders (either are most people who drive cars); they often lack what I'd consider basic skills, especially when cornering (they never trail brake) and braking, avoiding potential dangers etc. And the way they load their bikes - everything on the rear, including top boxes. Suspension and tyre pressures are rarely set up correctly...most of this is OK because they do ride within their limits and they generally have big smiles. Oh, and minor repairs or adjustments or maintenance - they are mostly dependent on the dealer and roadside assist.

After saying all this, I still think it is good that they are out there. I imagine they have less mishaps than someone who is experienced but likes to push the envelope :oops:Kind of like an experienced four wheel driver will sometimes (or often) find themselves wading through mud to set up a winch, or rolling backwards down big red :D
 
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Randall

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The idea of independent drives on all 4 wheels is pretty interesting
What I see, along with the engineering, is the software side. Imagine the detail of computer control over each of these drives in the near future. Soon we may not see any spinning wheels at all - just traction where it is most effective.
 
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WanderOn

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What I see, along with the engineering, is the software side. Imagine the detail of computer control over each of these drives in the near future. Soon we may not see any spinning wheels at all - just traction where it is most effective.
I had a fair bit to do with a big player in VVVF drives with a previous employer. The application we used them for hardly even challenged their control system.
I think their out of the box firmware and hardware is at least 95% of the way. Their load sharing software was really impressive. By monitoring each wheel with an encoder for loss of traction 🤔
Your comment about a motor on each corner really got me thinking about how to implement the drives in my old Landcruiser.
I hope you know giving me ideas like that will only get me in trouble. 🤣
 

Randall

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I had a fair bit to do with a big player in VVVF drives with a previous employer. The application we used them for hardly even challenged their control system.
I think their out of the box firmware and hardware is at least 95% of the way. Their load sharing software was really impressive. By monitoring each wheel with an encoder for loss of traction 🤔
Your comment about a motor on each corner really got me thinking about how to implement the drives in my old Landcruiser.
I hope you know giving me ideas like that will only get me in trouble. 🤣
I was thinking of those center pivot irrigation systems. A very basic system that has been around for 20 or 30 years? Bugger all (if any) processing involved. An independent motor on each section. I think they just use a taut cable that breaks (or makes) contact when it isn't straight - where ever the bend is, that motor kicks in.

Just keep your old land cruiser well maintained and use it :D. Some people go looking for a purpose to have a 4wd (challenges), rather than just use it for what it is for. You'll find enough trouble in your travels :D. Mine is very simple - no low range. I would have loved low range a few times. I know I have inadvertently taken it to some extremes - following topo maps doesn't necessarily give an accurate condition of road or tracks :oops:.
 
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WanderOn

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Our Landcruiser is a means to an ends. I do dream up so half baked ideas at times though. I’ve spent the last 4 years getting it up to scratch. (My standards).
It’s pretty much how it will stay for hopefully the next 300000km.
Maybe see what happens then. 😁
 

Randall

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Did you get any further with the light weight camper?
Just noticed your question. I'm glad I didn't move on it. I've changed tack a few times, which is good, my learning process. The pod trailer is around 200kg - not particularly light. I'm also not happy with the high racks I'd need on it so that I could access the trailer with the tent set up. The racks aren't braced for forward / backward movement - that would be continuous while being towed with a car - I see metal fatigue in the making. The standard racks with that trailer, well it's just not well thought out at all. You can see why the higher racks are needed to compensate for a shit design.

pod trailer with rooftop tent.jpg

I think I have found better; same weight, more room, over $1000 cheaper. I don't necessarily need all the room, just the height. But, I think that height could be useful for carrying odd shaped stuff, even the mountain bikes. We carry the bikes in the van; but in 10 years time we may not have a van. I really like the van, hopefully there will be an e van that I will like, but we're not particularly wealthy. So the enclosed height of the trailer is not strictly needed, but gives the versatility of being able to access stuff any time, and security. Also the possibility of carrying and storing bikes securely and out of the weather.

enclosed aluminium trailer.png

Staying with same model tent but next size up, the Darche panorama 1600. We need a bit more room because we have a decadent staghound who thinks the bed is his :oops:.
basil lounging.jpg
The panorama seems to get really good reviews; it has heavier canvas and a window in the roof with insect screen. I reckon we'd also get the annexe for it too - basically same foot print because it sets up underneath. This could be somewhere to work on a bike or cook or watch a movie on the laptop if the weather is bad.

Anyway, that's our thinking to this point. We have a two week holiday (accommodation already booked) coming up, and we're currently on an 8 day holiday. That will probably do us till either later this year or early next year. We'd have to scoot over to melbourne to sort the trailer out - they're aluminium which makes them a bit unique (nothing like that in Tassie). I'm guessing some mods to fit the roof top tent - I'd rather get them to do it.

I'm pretty much sold on the bluetti power station; it would mostly be for just fridge and one led light, charging phones, running a laptop, and possibly charging an ebike? Most important use would be the fridge. I'd like to carry portable 240v stuff too: induction cook top is probably all. The fridge I'm interested in is 12v / 240v, light (usb connection), laptop, ebike can all be charged / run from 240v already.
 
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WanderOn

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Just noticed your question. I'm glad I didn't move on it. I've changed tack a few times, which is good, my learning process. The pod trailer is around 200kg - not particularly light. I'm also not happy with the high racks I'd need on it so that I could access the trailer with the tent set up. The racks aren't braced for forward / backward movement - that would be continuous while being towed with a car - I see metal fatigue in the making. The standard racks with that trailer, well it's just not well thought out at all. You can see why the higher racks are needed to compensate for a shit design.

View attachment 28930

I think I have found better; same weight, more room, over $1000 cheaper. I don't necessarily need all the room, just the height. But, I think that height could be useful for carrying odd shaped stuff, even the mountain bikes. We carry the bikes in the van; but in 10 years time we may not have a van. I really like the van, hopefully there will be an e van that I will like, but we're not particularly wealthy. So the enclosed height of the trailer is not strictly needed, but gives the versatility of being able to access stuff any time, and security. Also the possibility of carrying and storing bikes securely and out of the weather.

View attachment 28929

Staying with same model tent but next size up, the Darche panorama 1600. We need a bit more room because we have a decadent staghound who thinks the bed is his :oops:.
View attachment 28933
The panorama seems to get really good reviews; it has heavier canvas and a window in the roof with insect screen. I reckon we'd also get the annexe for it too - basically same foot print because it sets up underneath. This could be somewhere to work on a bike or cook or watch a movie on the laptop if the weather is bad.

Anyway, that's our thinking to this point. We have a two week holiday (accommodation already booked) coming up, and we're currently on an 8 day holiday. That will probably do us till either later this year or early next year. We'd have to scoot over to melbourne to sort the trailer out - they're aluminium which makes them a bit unique (nothing like that in Tassie). I'm guessing some mods to fit the roof top tent - I'd rather get them to do it.

I'm pretty much sold on the bluetti power station; it would mostly be for just fridge and one led light, charging phones, running a laptop, and possibly charging an ebike? Most important use would be the fridge. I'd like to carry portable 240v stuff too: induction cook top is probably all. The fridge I'm interested in is 12v / 240v, light (usb connection), laptop, ebike can all be charged / run from 240v already.
It took us quite a few plan changes before settling on our camper.
Taking your time and talking through what you want helps (it does for me anyway as I learn by talking it through which challenges my amazing wife’s patience)
Your stag hound looks like he has it all worked out. He looks like he’s smiling on your bed. 😁
 

Kindlling

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Just noticed your question. I'm glad I didn't move on it. I've changed tack a few times, which is good, my learning process. The pod trailer is around 200kg - not particularly light. I'm also not happy with the high racks I'd need on it so that I could access the trailer with the tent set up. The racks aren't braced for forward / backward movement - that would be continuous while being towed with a car - I see metal fatigue in the making. The standard racks with that trailer, well it's just not well thought out at all. You can see why the higher racks are needed to compensate for a shit design.

View attachment 28930

I think I have found better; same weight, more room, over $1000 cheaper. I don't necessarily need all the room, just the height. But, I think that height could be useful for carrying odd shaped stuff, even the mountain bikes. We carry the bikes in the van; but in 10 years time we may not have a van. I really like the van, hopefully there will be an e van that I will like, but we're not particularly wealthy. So the enclosed height of the trailer is not strictly needed, but gives the versatility of being able to access stuff any time, and security. Also the possibility of carrying and storing bikes securely and out of the weather.

View attachment 28929

Staying with same model tent but next size up, the Darche panorama 1600. We need a bit more room because we have a decadent staghound who thinks the bed is his :oops:. The panorama seems to get really good reviews; it has heavier canvas and a window in the roof with insect screen. I reckon we'd also get the annexe for it too - basically same foot print because it sets up underneath. This could be somewhere to work on a bike or cook or watch a movie on the laptop if the weather is bad.

Anyway, that's our thinking to this point. We have a two week holiday (accommodation already booked) coming up, and we're currently on an 8 day holiday. That will probably do us till either later this year or early next year. We'd have to scoot over to melbourne to sort the trailer out - they're aluminium which makes them a bit unique (nothing like that in Tassie). I'm guessing some mods to fit the roof top tent - I'd rather get them to do it.

I'm pretty much sold on the bluetti power station; it would mostly be for just fridge and one led light, charging phones, running a laptop, and possibly charging an ebike? Most important use would be the fridge. I'd like to carry portable 240v stuff too: induction cook top is probably all. The fridge I'm interested in is 12v / 240v, light (usb connection), laptop, ebike can all be charged / run from 240v already.
I Like the look of the lifting lid that goes up while the tent is on top Randall .
Thought about adding a roof top tent to mine , along with a rack for a boat /tinny and how to get around such things .


Could never get past the idea of having to climb down a ladder during the night to go to the toilet ,also decided to leave mine relatively un tampered with .

Tinny can just go on the ute racks , and be dropped at camp with trailer anyway.

Would be good to hire something like that for a couple nights to see if it is comfortable and practical . If anyone hires them out that is.
 

Randall

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I Like the look of the lifting lid that goes up while the tent is on top Randall .
Thought about adding a roof top tent to mine , along with a rack for a boat /tinny and how to get around such things .


Could never get past the idea of having to climb down a ladder during the night to go to the toilet ,also decided to leave mine relatively un tampered with .

Tinny can just go on the ute racks , and be dropped at camp with trailer anyway.

Would be good to hire something like that for a couple nights to see if it is comfortable and practical . If anyone hires them out that is.
I know what you mean about leaving it standard - our van only has non slip mat in it. I like the versatility of it. 2min to put in a cargo rack and it's good for the bikes. We use it most of the time as a van.

If you were going to put racks on, I'd go just above the height of your trailer's center pole?

Basil and I have incredible bladders, my partner doesn't though :D. She's not lazy like basil and I and doesn't mind getting up.

I found this facebook group based around stockman pod trailers - you might find something useful there. It's good to see what other people have done, and what can be done with a pod trailer can be done with any trailer really. I just did a search there and didn't find anything with a boat. I suppose you could carry the boat upside down on the trailer and have racks that clear the height of the boat? That would only be a consideration if you wanted the roof top tent.
 
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Kindlling

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The oz tent like the RV3 , that pops up in less than 30 seconds is such a good reliable tall thing , they are great .

I just wonder if its possible to make the trailer width extend to 2.4 meters , when you pull up with a hinged marine plywood floor sitting atop the trailer, just beneath the cover .

then throw the tent on from straight out the trailer ,along with the camp stretcher if need be, to get up away from the puddles .
Such a big door and you could just sit down in the doorway on the floor to get in and out . Maybe a single step .

least you’d have the option of tent and no tent , without bastardizing a good trailer .

the tinny can travel on the racks on the vehicle.
 
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