& THE PAVEY’S TAKE OFF
ISSUE 01 / AUG 2012
On a year long touring adventure around Oz!
CAMPER TRAILER AUSTRALIA
Hitsthe CAPE Ros & Charlie have a Ball! Touring around Broken Hill
NitroCharged It’s Shocking!
Mr. 4x4 Giveaway Win a DVD Prize Pack
Intro G’day and welcome to the first ever edition of the Track Trailer Touring and Destination E-Magazine. It’s a bit of a mouthful, so from now it’s Track Touring. This digital magazine exists because of you.. Or someone like you.. Yep our owners, future owners (fingers crossed) and 4wd enthusiasts who have expressed an interest in what we do when we get off the road.
We are more than happy to receive feedback on this and future magazines, how else could we improve? I know I speak for all of us here at Track Trailers when I say we hope you enjoy reading this. Till next time, travel safe and enjoy the big backyard we call Australia.
editor For more than 20 years now we’ve been at the forefront in Design and Trailer Dynamics. For more than 15 years we’ve lead the front in off-road recreational vehicles. Our customers enjoy heading off the tarmac in search of beautiful campsites all around Oz, often re-tracing the steps of our famous explorers.
Because our products are so recognisable, reliable and so.. well, beautiful. We’ve noticed that members of the press are always keen to take one out for a shake down, dirty weekend or long tour. “How do you get a job like that?” you ask – Well I’m not sure, but here’s hoping this magazine is starting a good point, for me that is :P
CAMPER TRAILER AUSTRALIA ARTICLES
Back to the point, because of this huge press involvement we’ve ended up with a massive back catalogue of beautiful images, fantastic touring stories and inspiring tales from our customers alike. We’ll be mixing these articles with current events and, so it isn’t all about us, we’ll be including lifestyle and destination based articles. Product reviews and 4wd tips will feature as well as 4x4 event listings and giveaways. Please remember that a large proportion of this content is supplied by respected journalists, who represent the credited magazines at the conclusion of each article. They are not paid to promote our products and express their own opinions.
GO CAMPING MAGAZINE
WORDS: KERRY VAN DER JAGT PICS: ROS & CHARLIE BALL LLOYD WALDRON
WORDS & PICS: RON & VIV MOON
Contributors: WORDS: CARLISLE ROGERS MIKE PAVEY PICS: ANITA PAVEY OFFROAD IMAGES CARLISLE ROGERS
MR 4X4 COMPETITION: SPECIAL THANKS TO:
PAT CALLINAN & MARK MURAS ALAN PACKER, ROS & CHARLIE BALL ARB
28 06 04 05 06
Hola Central America! Ron & Viv Moon Drop us a line
Mr. 4x4 Giveaway
Pat Callinan DVD pack up for grabs
Leap of faith
The Pavey’s begin a year long trip around Oz!
NEWS & Upcoming Shows!
Displaying a great picture
Owner Alan Packer shares his experience with his Tvan
Ghost Road Rider
Dealers & Next Edition!
The new Track MATE has arrived, so what’s it all about? The Tvan Murranji hits the Cape!
Mike Pavey tests the Nitrocharger Sport upgrade The new DO-35 V2 has arrived!
On the right track
Ros & Charlie Ball share their story
Questions and feedback: Track Trailer 403 Dorset Road Bayswater 3153 Ph: +61 3 87276100 Email: email@example.com
Ron & Viv Moon, Modern Day Adventures
his was the end of the first long leg of our journey: seven months in South America, eight countries (plus Patagonia), 31,000km, 17 border crossings and eight crossings of the mighty Andes mountains.
I can’t be sure about us being the first to take a camper trailer along the length of the Andes, but I’m positive it was the first Track T-Van to do the trip. Apart from losing a wheel early in the journey with only minor damage to the T- van - my pride being hurt more than anything else - and a few other minor issues the T-van has performed faultlessly. Certainly there hasn’t been anywhere it has stopped us from going. For the next couple of months we’ll be heading up through Central America and then Mexico to LA in the USA. We’ll leave our Patrol and trusty T-van there, the plan being to return in April 2012 to drive north through the USA to Canada and onto road’s end in northern Alaska
You can read more about Ron and Viv’s amazing journeys by visiting www.guidebooks.com.au and following the links to South America Overland.
Mr. 4x4 Giveaway ULITMATE DVD GIFT PACK Enter to win 5 of the best Pat Callinan episodes, delivered to your door on DVD! This fantastic pack is a collation of episodes made across 4 seasons featuring Track Trailer products. You will be taken on whirlwind journey that starts on the Canning Stock Route in a Tvan and you’ll wind up exploring the Limestone Coast in a Topaz caravan.
The winner takes the lot. RRP $84.75 t t t t t t t
Limestone Coast (Season 4) Beyond Hotham (Season 4) Simpson Desert (Season 3) Corner Country (Season 3) Canning Stock Route (Season 2) 2x Track Trailer Caps 2x Track Trailer Stubby holders
Tell us in 25 words or less where you want to travel next with in Australia. Click here to enter:
www.tracktrailer.com.au/comp.html Terms and conditions can be found on the competition form prior to entry or we can email you a copy. Competition ends 12pm Dec 15th 2012 AEST
‘ULTIMATE NIS NISSAN SSAN & LE TRACK TRAILER ADVENTURE GIVEAWAY’ WINNER First of all, we’d like to thank the 230,000 people who entered the giveaway, but unfortunately 229,999 of you are going to be disappointed as there can only be one winner! And that winner is Oscar from the Gold Coast, pictured here with his lovely family. When Oscar was advised of his win, he was speechless but he managed to send us an email: “This gift that we won is a Godsend! We are overwhelmed with joy and happiness, and will make good use of them to keep enjoying this great country of ours. Our whole family would like to thank Nissan, Track Trailer, ARB, Ray’s Outdoors and of course Pat Callinan’s 4X4 Adventures for their generosity.”
You are very welcome, Oscar!
Leap of Faith Mike and Anita Pavey trade house and hound for the highway. WORDS MIKE PAVEY; PICS ANITA PAVEY & BARRY AND LINDA MCELHENNY
here’s only so much real estate that can be explored with a lousy four weeks of annual leave each year. Sure, we have adapted to the cut and thrust of 1000km transport legs without so much as a blink; the country whizzing by in a frenzied blur. Time to smell the roses and absorb the essence of the journey…hell no! 2011 brings significant change to all that, having taken a leap of faith to cut loose from our working life. With so many friends pulling up stumps to do the big lap in past years, we were left to weep into our Weeties and wonder if our time would ever come to cast off our shackles to discover new horizons. Early on, the concept of cashing in the security of paid employment was a little out of reach, so we sold out to the idea
of a three month northerly jaunt – enough time to do the Gibb River Road and a quick scout around the Northern Territory. Just enough to quench our thirst for adventure, at least for the short term. Our employers were not nearly as enthusiastic about the idea, giving it the big thumbs down. In reality, we knew the three month plan would only serve to scratch an itch, festering to something much bigger. And with that realisation, we began planning for the big one - a twelve month epic adventure around Australia. Like many people, the biggest barriers were time, money, what to do with the family pet and the risks of unemployment on our return. At least with no kids, there was one less hurdle to clear. Given our earlier leave request, the concept of a much longer break was even more unlikely, so the plan to resign was imminent.
“To save on storage costs, we tried leasing the house fully furnished to begin with, but there was little interest” BEATING THE BARRIERS
Track Touring / AUG, 2012
With the time speed bump dealt with, we started looking at the cost for the trip. On the home front, with a fixed mortgage loan, the only option was to lease our home, so we invited three well represented real estate agents in our area, to assess the property. Storage was the next issue. To save on storage costs, we tried leasing the house fully furnished to begin with, but there was little interest. A selfpacked shipping container stored out in the open was the cheapest storage option, but nursing a broken back just prior to a trip of a lifetime was not our idea of fun. Instead, we requested some removalist and storage facility quotes and eventually tied that down – $6,600 for 12 months. In our case, the cost of renting out the house exceeded our income by around $12,000, the removalist/ storage costs being a key contributor. Bundled into this sum were council rates, body corporate fees, real estate agent fees, and building insurance. While negative gearing should reclaim a financial benefit from
A YEAR OF FREEDOM Few things are sweeter than the taste of freedom, so after years of paying homage to the machine, 4WD enthusiasts Mike and Anita Pavey have thrown in the towel to embark on a extended tour of this amazing country of ours – in pure Track Trailer comfort and style, of course! Camper Trailer Australia will be following the Paveys’ adventures over the coming year, so watch this space!
some of these costs, it was an unexpected additional cost to our travelling budget, but not enough to dampen our enthusiasm. Looking at a travel budget, some travellers indicated they could make do with as little as $500 per week, with limited distances, some free camping and a conservative spending approach. Others indicated about $1000 per week was about right. In our case we budgeted for the latter, picking up fuel, park fees, food, health insurance, mobile and sat phone plan fees, internet, some pocket money and the aforementioned rental costs excess. Dining out, scenic flights, and other more expensive tourism based activities would add to this sum. Next hurdle, the dog. As much as we wanted to share our travels with the family lap warmer, it simply wasn’t viable, especially in the outback with all the national parks.
We were reluctant to book our dog into a commercial kennel but we couldn’t take it for granted that other family members would agree to an extended stint of pet minding either. Eventually, Anita’s mum relented and agreed to play babysitter. Another speed bump despatched. Woohoo! On the vehicle front, our GU Patrol wagon copped an upgrade to the tyres, suspension and a bunch of other items for remote touring. The most agonising question related to our camper trailer. Would we stay with our go anywhere Tvan or upgrade to something larger, compromising to some degree where we could take it? After a prolonged review of a number of camper trailers and offroad vans, we finally settled on Tvan’s big brother, the Topaz. Its offroad credibility and ideal interior setup best matched our needs.
Shake down trips to the Murray River, the Victorian High Country and Wilderness Coast confirmed its suitability. Six weeks before our planned cut and run from work, we dealt the news to our employers, requesting a 12 month career break. Not surprisingly that didn’t come through, but they were generally supportive of the idea and encouraged us to keep in contact during our time away. With the barriers dealt with, it was time to look at the trip itinerary and a swag of past Camper Trailer Australia magazines was an ideal place to start. With useful travel information, big glossy pics and knowledge from others towing a camper, it was an excellent resource. Friends threw their past detailed trip plans into the mix and within a relatively short period of time the big picture was framed.
PACKING Packing was the next critical issue, working out what to take and where to pack it. Anita took charge of the Topaz interior, leaving me with the exterior storage and the vehicle to deal with. We fitted an Outback storage system to the vehicle. This consists of a set of side by side drawers, a fridge slide and a flat floor extending all the way forward to the cargo barrier behind the front seats. Heavy items such as tool boxes, recovery gear and a couple of water and dust proof cases for camera and laptops are stored beneath the floor. This left an extended area for the 78L ARB fridge/freezer up top and plenty of space to strap down stackable storage boxes; 16 cargo tie down hooks safely securing the cargo.
Silver foil with a 5mm foam backing was sourced from Clarke Rubber and put on the inside of the rear wagon side windows. Tucked into the interior trim to keep it in place, the reflective material keeps the interior cool while the foam padding saves the window if anything moves in transit over rough ground. For the rear barn doors and second row windows without interior trim, dotted black privacy film from Autobarn kept the sun and prying eyes out, while still providing outward vision. Regularly used items were packed into the drawers and boxes depending on access requirements. With all our belongings laid out on the garage floor, it was time to cull down to the essentials, each item validating its inclusion with two uses. Even then, some items got the flick, the box of chainsaw equipment and the inflatable kayak topped the second round of casualties. While service providers such as Track Trailer, ARB, Cross Country 4x4 and Turbo Engineering dealt with the more specialised and difficult aspects of our touring rig fit-out, a good friend also helped out big time, saving a lot of money in the process.
This SA seaside vista holds out a promise of more to come.
Track Touring / AUG, 2012
COMMUNICATIONS In terms of communications, our arsenal includes Telstra mobiles and a mobile broadband network gateway, connected to a broomstick antenna with fly lead connections. The gateway provides secure wireless internet access around camp for multiple laptops. A Spot GPS Satellite tracker follows our every move, pinging the satellite every 10 minutes which can be followed by family and friends on Google Maps in real time. Otherwise a Sat phone provides an out of range communication alternative.
WHAT WE LEARNED What would we do differently next time? Our touring rig preparation delayed our departure by a few weeks. The original plan was to head off from Melbourne in a westerly direction after the schools had returned in February, dropping the dog at Adelaide on the way through and enjoying the coastal fringes during the warmer weather. However, scheduling businesses before Christmas was difficult. Many were booked out six weeks in advance, or product was unavailable. Some smaller businesses were shut down for the full month of January. Add to that the chaos up the east coast with the Queensland floods
and the delay or diversion of road freight, all played a part to delay our departure. Planning a trip of this magnitude may well require a significant leap of faith. The costs are significant and the uncertainties many. One of the best things we did to help take the leap from dream to reality was to set a date of departure and start telling our closest friends. Even though we still had some doubts, that was enough to change our mindset and help us focus on dealing with the barriers rather than uncertainties.
Now that we are finally on our big adventure, you can follow our progress in Camper Trailer Australia, we will be sharing our â€˜best of â€™ to help you plan your next big trip.
Cameras Corner Canning Stock Route Camera Make: Model: Shutter Speed: F-Stop: ISO: Focal Length: Lens: Copyright:
10 Track Touring / AUG, 2012
CANON EOS-1D Mark IV 1/3200 sec f/2.8 100 35.0mm EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM Pat Callinan Media PTY LTD
Issue 004 of Pat Callinanâ€™s 4x4 Adventures Is just about to hit the stands, Click here to Check out their fantastic subscription deals. www.tracktrailer.com.au
IS YOUR TOURING LOAD WEIGHING YOU DOWN? MIKE PAVEY GIVES US THE LOWDOWN ON HIS OME NITROCHARGER SPORT UPGRADE
fter stacking on the kilos from our recent touring rig build-up, it was time to reassess suspension requirements. Our existing Old Man Emu Nitrochargers had served us well, with over 120,000km of hard work without issue, but the Nitrocharger Sport range had grabbed our attention, with claimed improvements in valving and terrain adaptability. The Nitrocharger Sport range has been around for almost two years now, after a three year development program. The design of the shock absorbers was profiled in the Autumn 2009 edition of ARB 4x4 Action, so check that out online for a detailed analysis of the Sport range. The objectives for the upgrade were to replace the coils and shocks to better suit our revised touring load while maintaining articulation, ride, handling and a flat towing profile (no sag). A number of additional accessories had been added since our last upgrade, including an ARB bull bar, side rails and steps, a Warn 12,000lb winch, an ARB Simpson III rooftop tent and touring roof rack, Outback storage system, Foxwing awning, Kaymar rear bar with dual wheel carriers, a Long Ranger tank and a rugged off road van, all putting additional download on the suspension. The boys at ARB Brighton assessed our touring load, selecting a pair of heavy duty 400kg constant load coils for the rear and matching heavy duty coils for the front. Similarly, heavy duty Nitrocharger Sport shock absorbers engineered for the Patrol were fitted on all corners.
12 Track Touring / AUG, 2012
A steering damper, castor correction kit and wheel alignment completed the fitout. As the Outback storage system and Kaymar rear bar were scheduled to be fitted at a later date, I expected the initial ride would be over-sprung, resulting in a harsh ride around town. Interestingly, the suspension was firm but compliant and well controlled, an initial testament to the new valving. But the real test would come once all our touring accessories had been fitted, the Topaz hitched up and the Patrol packed for the open road. In touring mode, with the Patrol and Topaz loaded, the vehicle sits level with no hint of sagging. Rim to guard measurements indicate 798mm for the front and 842mm to the rear, a variation of only a
couple of mm on our original OME kit. And to our delight, that dreaded Patrol 80km/h steering wheel wobble has been rectified. While others have experimented with load carrying air bags, we have found a well sorted, coil sprung system such as OMEâ€™s to be just as effective, without the added complexity and vulnerability of the air bags and the additional stress on the chassis mounts.
Two months into a twelve month around Australia trip and the suspension has performed faultlessly laden or unladen, riding well on patchy bitumen, corrugations and unexpected large bumps. Beyond the first few blacktop transport legs, the Balladonia Track down to Cape Arid in WA was the first significant off road test, with feral coastal tracks, fire trails, grey clay, rugged limestone-embedded surfaces, bog holes and undulating soft
sand all despatched with ease. With all the rain in the southern states, some of the roads have only just reopened in a very poor state, looking more like a gymkhana circuit than a serviceable track. The total cost of the OME Nitrocharger Sport suspension package with a two inch lift, four coils (the rears with 400kg constant load), four shock absorbers, castor correction kit, steering damper, wheel alignment and fitting was $2060.
For the transformation in ride, control and the ability to safely lug a touring load, it would run close to being the best accessory money can buy.
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14 Track Touring / AUG, 2012
NEWS The HITCHMASTER® DO35 V2 has been released!
Upcoming SHOWS SHOW NAME
2 - 5 Aug
Caravan Camping & Off Road Sale
17 - 19 Aug
Wide Bay and Fraser Coast Caravan and Camping Expo
17 - 19 Aug
Border RV and Camping Show
24 - 26 Aug
Caravan and Camping Expo
24 - 26 Aug
National 4x4 & Outdoors Show, Fishing & Boating Expo Melbourne
1 - 2 Sep
Darwin Boating Show
7 -9 Sep
8 - 10 Sep
Townsville Home Show & Caravan & Camping Expo
The best things about the coupling are; it is very easy to connect on even or uneven ground; has full 360 degree rotation and 70 degree articulation.
14 -16 Sep
Orana Caravan Camping 4WD & Fishing Show
18 - 20 Sep
Henty Field Days
19 - 20 Sep
Riverland Field Days
The HITCHMASTER® DO35 V2 is the result of continuous improvement, rigorous testing and the Engineering team’s constant pursuit of excellence. Vehicle Components newest addition to the ever popular HITCHMASTER® range is rated for a maximum load capacity of 3.5 tonnes and complies with the Australian Design Rules 62/01 and 62/02.
The HITCHMASTER® DO35 V2 also has a polyurethane bush on the pin, a double locking mechanism and a sleek safety cap which doubles as a visual aid to ensure the locks are engaged.
t t t
Retrofittable to all existing Track Products Quick and easy “drop on” style hitching Proven design
You’ll find it standard across all NEW Track Trailer models. Next Edition
OCTOBER 2 - 4 Oct
Elmore Field Days
4 - 7 Oct
12 - 14 Oct
Sydney 4WD Adventure Show
12 - 13 Oct
Horticultural & Farm Machinery Show (Wandin Silvan Field Days)
16 - 18 Oct
Orange Field Days
19 - 21 Oct
Home Show & Caravan & Camping Expo
26 - 28 Oct
Home & Leisure Show
2 - 4 Nov
South Coast Caravan & Camping Show
9 - 11 Nov
4WD Adventure Show
23 - 25 Nov
RV & Camping Leisurefest
Something new is coming!
CONTACT US FOR MORE DETAILS www.tracktrailer.com.au
Track Trailerâ€™s TVan crossing the Simpson Desert with
Read the brand new magazine, on sale August 8th. 16 Track Touring / AUG, 2012
Track Trailer is proud to be a member of the AMCTG
Kerry van der Jagt speaks with an inspirational couple who prove that where there’s a will, and the right off-roader, there’s always a way.
18 Track Touring / June, 2012
Ros and Charlie Ball spent months planning their big trip; purchased an off-road Track Trailer Topaz, made the necessary modifications and loaded it with everything they’d need for survival. Under the cloak of darkness they pulled into their first campsite – their carport.
National Park, with Ros’s dialysis machine tagging along for the ride. A chat with Ros and Charlie is a life lesson in love; their love for the Australian bush, for adventure and for each other. A small defect between Ros’s bladder and kidneys led to a childhood plagued by kidney infections, which Ros has renal failure and needs regular dialysis in turn lead to renal failure. “I received a kidney to stay alive; this backyard bivouac was just a transplant in 1988 which worked training run for the main mission – a two week, well for 9 years, but then it failed,” Ros says, 2800 kilometre journey from Melbourne to matter-of-factly. “I’ve been on haemodialysis Broken Hill, via Mildura, Menindee and Mungo ever since.”
In Australia, the number of patients on lifelong dialysis has increased by 6.5 per cent each year. About five new patients are admitted to the Australian dialysis program each day, with over 14,000 patients currently on dialysis and transplant programs. The need to visit a hospital for regular haemodialysis (up to eight hours a day, 3-4 times per week) makes the concept of holidaying, let alone remote camping, very difficult. “Before Ros went onto dialysis we enjoyed travelling and camping,” Charlie says. “Our longest trip was over three months, taking in a lot of Queensland, including Cape York. We also visited the McDonald Ranges, Kangaroo Island, Simpson Desert and South West Western Australia.” Unfortunately, this all stopped once Ros started
on dialysis. “We were restricted to short trips so that Ros could be close to a hospital,” he says, “plus we had to find one that had availability.” That was until recently when Charlie visited a 4WD show and spied the Track Trailer Topez. As a self-confessed tinkerer, and an electrical engineer by profession, Charlie could see the potential in this tough little work horse, with its strong undercarriage and suspension. It was like a light bulb switched on above his head. “With such good suspension I knew we could safely take the dialysis machine on the road without it getting damaged,” Charlie recalls, “and we could go off bitumen and visit out of the way places which we both love to do.”
Ros and Charlie have been together for twenty years, their love of bushwalking, skiing and camping in the Victorian High Country brought them together during a weekend bushcraft course. Charlie’s adventurous spirit was fostered during his unconventional childhood spent living in countries such as Libya, Yemen and Cyprus. “As a family we did a lot of camping,” Charlie recalls. “What you might call ‘free camping’, setting up our tent behind sand dunes, beaches and places like that.” Ros grew up in Mansfield, a small, beautiful country town in the north east of Victoria where she fell in love with the mountains and the snow. “I enjoyed cross country skiing the most,” she says wistfully. “It’s like bushwalking in the snow, but with skis on.” After talking with both the Renal Technical Support group and the Track Trailer team about the practicalities of fitting the dialysis machine, Charlie bought the Track Trailer Topaz in October 2010 and started spending his weekends tinkering in the shed. “The dialysis machine needed to be firmly supported in the van which meant building a frame that connected directly to the chassis of the van,” he says. “The best location for weight distribution was forward of the axle which meant we had to convert the double bed to two singles.” The next step was to build a metal frame support take the weight of the dialysis machine. “I first built a wooden template to get measurements right and then finally welded up a steel frame and bolted it in place.” Every Track Trailer product is a unique, independent design developed by the companys engineering team in Melbourne. “Because all of our vans are modularly designed we were able to leave components off the van while Charlie installed the machine, and then afterwards we could refit them,” explains Lloyd Waldron, marketing and media manager for Track Trailer. The company now offers a variety of layouts including two single beds or even a retro-fittable bunk bed. When Ros is at home she dialyses every second night, for about 8 hours at a time. “My dialysis machine is about the size of a small fridge and is set up in my bedroom,” she says. To connect her to
20 Track Touring / June, 2012
the machine Charlie inserts two needles into Ros’s left arm which are coupled to the venous and arterial blood lines on the machine. The machine is basically a big pump that pushes the blood through a filter to take out the impurities that the kidneys would normally excrete. “Having two needles put into my arm doesn’t hurt,” she adds. “Well, only occasionally.” This routine stayed the same on their recent trip, though it was necessary for them to stay mainly in camp grounds because of they’re dependence on water (each dialysis session uses 300 litres). “The one night we spent bush camping at Hattah-Kulkyne National Park was easily the best destination,” Ros says. Their ultimate aim is to be able to carry enough good water themselves and take a generator with them (the dialysis machine needs 240v) so that Ros can dialyse in the bush. To further complicate matters, Ros lost all sight in her right eye and 90 per cent of the sight in her left eye eighteen months ago, but this hasn’t stopped her being actively involved in the
renal community. She is President of a voluntary support group called the Dialysis and Transplant Association of Australia – DATA www.datavic.org and is also involved with the Kidney Health Australia Consumer Group which looks at problems and possible solutions faced by people with renal disease.
“When I was younger and well I took the opportunities to travel whenever they came my way,” Ros says.
Charlie and Ros won’t be spending any more time camped out in the carport, their ultimate plan is to spend six months, or longer, exploring the Central and North West of Australia with their trusty Track Trailer.
“Now I create my own opportunities.” www.tracktrailer.com.au
aLAN pACKER fACEbOOK wINNER Every so often we run a competition on our Facebook page for Track Trailer owners. Alan Packer was our most recent winner and agreed to a quick owner profile.
WHAT YEAR IS YOUR TRACK?
WHAT RIG DO YOU TOW WITH?
The Tvan was built in 2006 and we bought it 12 months ago. It had hardly been used, the stove had never been used, the canvas had never been unfolded (the ropes were still in their vacuum sealed bags) Plastic cover was still on the mattress.
The tug is a 2000 Toyota Landcruiser, naturally aspirated and can be a bit of a slug in the hills. I have a feeling that a turbo charger might be on the shopping list when we return from our next trip. (It’s bad enough without towing anything) but a very reliable and comfortable vehicle.
DID YOU DO ANY MODIFICATIONS? Modifications that we have done since our purchase is a wire basket that fits onto the side of the sink to put the washed dishes into, Ceiling storage shelves, a Camframo fan and the most useful, a metal lockable rubbish bin that fits into the Jerry Can holder by the kitchen. It’s very handy and is used constantly. We are very happy with our purchase.
22 Track Touring / AUG, 2012
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORIATE SHORT TRIP DESTINATIONS? We have done a couple of longer trips (2-3 weeks) including Googs Track and the Great Ocean Road as well as numerous weekenders into the Murray Sunset National Park and the Big Desert National Park. They are both within 25k’s from our front gate.
QUICK FACT Over 90% of Tvan options are retrofittable after purchase. This means you can buy any model Tvan and upgrade components and options as your needs change. We are continually improving our options range with new ideas and different storage capabilities, most options are backwards compatible. Like the new half front boot option retrofittable to all model Tvans.
To find out more contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org
In two weeksâ€™ time, we are going to the Vic High Country and in August/Sept we are away for eight weeks doing the Hay River Track, Gary Junction Highway, Kidson Track, the Kimberly again, Darwin and home. Favourite destinations include the High Country, (this our 4th trip) and the Kimberley. We live in a desert and seeing things green and lush is a huge contrast to where we live. I must admit that with all the rain we have had recently the countryside looks fantastic at the moment. We have had in excess of our annual rainfall during summer which is normally very dry and hot.
We have neighbours who have a Tvan and they have been absolutely everywhere with it and he is a bloke who researches thoroughly what he intends to purchase. I respect his judgements and I guess that was our biggest influence as to why we bought it. Although we live in a small country town of approximately 6,000 people, we have 3 Tvans garaged within 300meters from us.
THANKS FOR SHARING, ALAN :)
Most trips seem to be on the move with an occasional 2or 3 day break. Love going to remote places the challenges of the high country. www.tracktrailer.com.au
G’DAY MATE! The Track MATE has landed! Firstly, What is it?
he Track MATE is a culmination of our entire Military heritage!
It dates back to our beginning more than 20years ago, when we won and delivered several RAAF, NAVY and ARMY tenders. We developed ultra-light gear carrying trailers, tandem plant style trailers and specialised satellite trailers which were used for safely navigating minefields. While these tactical trailers are proven to be bulletproof, the truth is their sole purpose was to carry munitions and nothing else, so in the real world they wouldn’t be the most practical for everyday users.
What you may not know is how big the “following” of our military products has become. We are regularly approached by the public wanting us to build tactical trailers.
24 Track Touring / AUG, 2012
To this end we developed the Track MATE which in its most simple form is a gear carrying trailer with our famous and proven MC2 Asymmetric Link suspension and when you look more closely you start to see how the Track MATE will be a big deal!
t’s designed to be the most practical, durable and innovative trailer on the market. It features a large storage tub that can be used as a typical trailer to move dirt etc. (Nothing to remarkable, except it can fit two standard sized pallets!) It features modular external panniers, a great place to fit jerry cans and tool boxes. It features a light weight spare wheel frame.. This is still sounding like a run of the mill trailer with our MC2 suspension under it right? Well, what if I said it can be turned into a camper? Extremely quickly? That it accommodates full sized pop up tents, swing out kitchen, 12V power and on board water! All of which can be setup in any configuration to suit the desires of the owner. Utilising the massive “bolt on” roof rack market, the Track MATE comes standard with a sleek aluminium extrusion system, run around the front and sides of the tub. This allows direct “plug and play” for The Track MATE is Everything to everyone. In fact it’s already been described as
This is a purpose built OffRoad gear carrying trailer with useful household / business applications. When it’s time to play the BASE MATE is really in its element, it’s large enough to fit a quad bike, dirt bikes, a few swags and plenty of grub. Plus the external storage offers room to carry extra jerries and toolboxes.
A low profile, ‘solid roof’ Pop up tent or a canvas side folding ARB roof topper. Mounted above the body. Great for a quick getaway! Fast setup with easy access to your bed and gear.
“A Leatherman™ on wheels!” by Michael Browning from Caravan World and Camper Trailer Australia most Rhino and Thule systems that are configured for roof racks. So suddenly this amazing Off Road gear carrying trailer is an “Off Road Camper” whenever the owner desires, to any specification!
The Track Mate is available in 4 models and has a whole host of new and innovative options to choose from. Starting with the Base MATE
A Sleek side folding “soft floor” tent. Mounted to a removable base that seals to the body. Great for a family with large living spaces and additional ‘zipon’ rooms.
ŭ Boat rack ŭ Dirt bike frame ŭ Wood / bike tray ŭ And so much more… ŭ Slide out tray
A striking body with huge internal storage and integrated roof racks for items like ladders. A place for everything and everything in its place.
Request more information here www.tracktrailer.com.au
D A O R T S GHO rider How did Track Trailerâ€™s newest Tvan, the Murranji, withstand the Cape?
WORDS CARLISLE ROGERS; PICS OFFROAD IMAGES
RATING OFFROAD ABILITY BUSHABILITY SET UP ELECTRICS/LIGHTING The Murranji ploughed through FNQ’s toughest terrain with MC2 suspension and true Tvan grit.
VALUE FOR MONEY COMFORTS
✭✭✭✭ ✭✭✭ ✭✭✭✭ ✭✭✭✭ ✭✭✭ ✭✭✭✭
ehind my 76 Cruiser is the brand new Tvan Murranji, straight off a truck from the factory in Melbourne, the very ﬁrst unit off the production line. The boys at Track Trailer had just taken an earlier version for a quick spin down the Anne Beadell and Connie Sue tracks in SA without a hitch, but this trip was going to be a different kind of test. We’d be assessing things like departure and approach angles, waterprooﬁng and other things you just can’t test out in the desert. I asked for a Tvan for this trip because I knew I would be working from before dawn until the early morning every day, with little time for setup and breakdown of camp. I also knew I would need a lot of storage for my gear, Michael’s camera paraphernalia (watching Michael pack up his camera gear was like watching the army load up to go to war – this guy is a photographic mercenary) and enough food for eight of us to be catered for by Macca and Karen from Red Desert. I only set up the tent once on this trip and
28 Track Touring / AUG, 2012
it took just over ﬁve minutes, which is good considering it’s been nearly a year since I’ve used a Tvan at all. Turns out it was a lucky break that I did put up the tent, because that was the night I slept with a freshwater croc at the foot of my bed.
addition to the design of this van I can’t see anyone not ordering it. It has increased the livability of the Tvan immensely and ﬁxed what I always thought was the only real design weakness of the van: by moving the fridge from its traditional home at the foot of the bed to right next to the kitchen everything ﬂows much better. It does add some weight
“It’s fair to say that this suspension is miles ahead of any vehicle on the road right now” The Murranji isn’t so much a new concept for Track Trailer as it is an utter reﬁnement. The MC2 suspension is still there and still brilliant on any terrain. It’s fair to say that this suspension is miles ahead of any vehicle on the road right now, so it was the least of our worries for this trip. The new optional toolbox up front, which holds a fridge, Honda EU20i generator and jerries on twin slides, is such a fantastic
to the towball, but the solid rubber jockey wheel coped with everything we threw at it. On the Palm River crossing, the toolbox was just hitting the mud, so a few inches shaved off its width would deﬁnitely improve the approach angle. The room between the toolbox doors and the vehicle doors, especially if you have a Patrol or any other barn-door-style 4WD, is pretty slim, but was never an issue.
Clockwise from above: The trailer’s interior is decked out with halogens, a fan and twin skylights; exterior storage has been improved and while the optional toolbox adds weight to the towball, Tvan’s solid rubber jockey wheel held fast; the new dust seals proved impenetrable, from soggy banks to sandy beaches.
The new side locker is much bigger and easier to access than the old one and the dust seals are fantastic throughout the van. The rear seal had a tendency to wobble loose on corrugations, but I only had to put it back into place a couple of times over two weeks of rough roads. Nevertheless, not one bit of dust or drop of water snuck through any of the seals. Track Trailer has ﬁxed this on production models. There are two jerry can holders near the
This pic: Power outlets aplenty came in handy for camp lights. Below: The side locker is bigger and more accessible than in previous models.
rear of the van on either side, which are enclosed and lockable. And though I know they’re designed for UN jerries, we managed to ﬁt run-of-the-mill plastic diesel jerries in anyway. The onside exterior water tap has been doubled, with the manual pumps hooked up to the 12V pump, and each going to its own water tank. This is essentially a triple backup considering there is also the 12V sink with the pull-out kitchen. I love having the extra taps on the outside, they’re perfect for quick hand washes on the side of the road.
POWER STATIONS Just on the outside, there are three Merrit outlets that are great for camping lights at night. The 12V system is comprehensive and one of the greatest improvements over earlier Tvan models. Inside the van is an elegant control panel for all of the 12V systems, with six individually-switched circuits and a master switch. There are half a dozen more outlets inside including one cig lighter outlet. A couple more of those would be nice, since most aftermarket accessories come standard with that connection rather than a Merit. The centrepiece of the 12V system, besides the sealed AGM 100Ah battery hidden below the ﬂoor, is the completely user-friendly meter built into the control panel. It has three buttons for current voltage, amperage draw and Ah remaining/ percentage remaining. It was great to be able to keep an informed eye on battery levels, especially as we were running three laptops, about six camera chargers, two fridges and various camping lights simultaneously. The Projecta 15A smart charger onboard did its
30 Track Touring / AUG, 2012
job well, keeping the battery charged up while we drove. The onboard solar panel mounted on the roof is only 50W (which equates to a little over 4A), so while it’s not going to charge the battery right up, it helps replace what you lose from running camping lights for a few hours. The battery boxes are mounted just behind the wheels and they do affect the departure angle deleteriously. I slammed them into a few rock ledges and while most of the corners were rounded by the time we got to the tip, the battery was ﬁne. When I got back, the guys at Track set to work moving these boxes to avoid issues in the future. Because of its quick setup and the fact that I was carrying most of the production gear, the Tvan quickly became the base of operations for our video, photo and editorial guys. Most evenings the ochre dirt covering the van was eerily lit up by laptop screens until the early morning.
LIVING WELL Looking around the interior of the van instantly impresses and I ended up giving about 20 guided tours of the thing whenever we stopped at a roadhouse for fuel. The CD/MP3 player opposite the 12V system is great. We had tunes from my iPod going for most of the trip, playing through four speakers mounted around the cabin. There are four halogen lamps as well – two at the head and two at the foot of the bed – all of which are individually switched on the control panel. Twin screened skylights open to help with airﬂow, although I usually sleep with just the mozzie net over the opening at the back of the van and I ﬁnd that quite comfortable. But if you don’t, the guys at Track Trailer have installed a great little 12V three-speed fan with a timer. The fan draws a fraction of an amp, so you don’t need to worry about killing the battery to stay cool. There is still plenty of storage under the
on sale Wednesday 18 July
SPECIFICATIONS Track Trailer TVAN MURRANJI Tare: ............................................990-1100kg ATM: ................................................... 1500kg Suspension: ......... Unique MC2 Asymmetric Link independent Brakes: .............................. 10in electric offroad Coupling: ................. Vehicle Components DO35 Price: ................................ (as shown) $52,500 *correct at time of original publication, contact Track Trailer for current pricing From top: 12V power system is extremely user-friendly, as are the dual jerry can holders and extra outside taps for roadside hand washing.
bed and at the foot of the bed. This is a good place to put heavy things like canned food to offset the extra weight of the toolbox up front. I stowed a massive 55L Waeco Cool-Ice esky full of ice and beer at the foot of the bed and it ﬁt perfectly, with room left over.
SUMMING UP I love the Tvan when I’m travelling heavy and fast. I can jump in with the mozzie net over the end and let the breeze blow in. If I’m staying somewhere longer I can drop the tent and put up the awning, too. And if it’s ever really nasty, I can just close the ﬁbreglass door and let the gale howl without me. Everything on the Tvan has always been done to exacting standards. You won’t see a cord running through a piece of sheet metal without quality grommets, and you will never lose trust in the trailer’s ability to follow you wherever you take it. With the toolbox up front, as pictured, the Murranji is $52,500 (starting at $49,000). At that price you won’t need to add a thing, because the Tvan will go down the worst tracks in the country without complaint. ■ Track Trailer 403 Dorset Road Bayswater, Vic (03) 8727 6100 www.tracktrailer.com.au
32 Track Touring / AUG, 2012
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Be sure to have fun and stay safe whilst travelling, maybe we’ll see you... off the beaten “Track”.
Track Trailer Authorised Dealers ACT P E W
VIC INDEPENDENT TRAILERS 0412 866 375 email@example.com http://www.independenttrailers.com.au/
NSW P E W
TRACK TRAILER 03 8727 6100 firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.tracktrailer.com.au/
P E W NT
ALAN GRAHAM'S CARAVANS 02 4328 4800 email@example.com http://www.alangrahams.com.au/
TJM - DARWIN OFF ROAD 4X4 08 8984 4926 http://www.tjmdarwin.com.au/
P W WA
SA P E W
DAVE BENSON CARAVANS 08 8262 2500 firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.davebensoncaravans.com.au/
P E W
GEORGE DAY CARAVANS 08 9493 5557 email@example.com http://www.georgeday.com.au
QLD P E W
ARROW CARAVANS 07 3177 1603 firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.arrowcaravans.com.au/
Nth QLD P E W
HORIZON CAMPERS 07 4725 6427 email@example.com http://www.horizoncampers.com.au/
34 Track Touring / AUG, 2012
Published on Jul 12, 2012
Published on Jul 12, 2012
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