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Camping /Caravan Parks/ Campers It's all about the great outdoors. What you have and where you stayed.

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  #1  
Old 02-12-17
secateurs secateurs is offline
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Arrow Towing large forward fold camper trailer offroad - ok?

Hi Everyone!


We have an NP and are looking at buying a rather large forward fold camper trailer to use in Central Australia where we live. So lots of 4x4 tracks corrugations.


The exact camper trailer is the EzyTrail Stirling GT 2016. This is on the larger end of camper trailers. 1,600kg dry weight and 2,250kg fully loaded, if we ever fully loaded it.


That would make a towball weight of up to 250kg, and fully loaded we would have to be very careful how we packed it to not exceed this. We have airbags fitted at the moment, but will be fitting Lovell heavy duty springs with lift in the not-too-distant future as the suspension is getting tired anyway.


What would you think would be the heaviest towball weight you would recommend for serious offroading? What would be the lowest % of trailer weight you would think acceptable?


Unfortunately the camper trailer is also 2100mm wide, which is wider than the Pajero. We would have preferred one the same width or narrower than the Pajero. Do you think it will limit us too much being so wide? It's also over 5m long.



Anything else we should be considering before taking the plunge? We're pretty set on a forward fold camper, but it doesn't need to be this big. It's just that there is one available second hand at the moment, and forward fold campers are hard to come by in Alice Springs!


Thanks for your advice!
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Old 02-12-17
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This camper is the weight of a medium size caravan with a towball download of a large caravan. 250kg towball load will also result in about 120kg of weight transferred from the front axle to the rear so the rear suspension has to cope with 370kg of extra weight plus the weight of rear seat passengers and any weight in the cargo area. Remove 120kg from the front axle and if you have a suspension lift you are likely to run out of droop travel both on and off road and this can cause unwanted activation of the traction control system as well so lighten the steering and reduce front brake effectiveness. It may be able to be retrofitted with an Al Ko 50mm offroad coupling combined with an Anderson WDH (if that is even possible?) to resolve the high towball loads. At 2100m wide it will not track nicely behind the Pajero off road so it won't just follow your tracks, so on tracks the Pajero will have to work harder and you are more likely to get stuck.

I can see the attraction of a forward folding camper in regards to off the ground sleeping and dining accommodation but there are alternatives that are about half the weight, narrower and shorter that the Pajero will find easier to tow both on and off road.
Have a look at Camprite campers made in WA, been around for years and have a solid reputation.

OJ.
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Last edited by old Jack; 02-12-17 at 11:16 PM.
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Old 02-12-17
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Everyone’s version of “serious off-roading” is different. Can you give some examples?

I would be cautious about towing anything 1.6 -2.2t when seriously off-roading (by my definition). The load this sort of weight tower off-road puts on any vehicle is extreme

I would also do some research about the suitability of your proposed camper too (I’ve never looked closely at Ezytrail but know that some of the “imported style” campers are not considered suitable for long term use on heavily corogated roads - I have no idea if this applies to Ezytrail? Perhaps post the question on the MySwag camper trailer forum?)

I’ve personally been on expeditions that have broken trailers that weigh less than the Ezytrail is empty (it was a quality Australian made trailer too).
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Last edited by geopaj; 02-12-17 at 11:06 PM.
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Old 02-12-17
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I've got a camper that's a different wheelbase to my tug, and have no issues touring off-road, including beach and desert sand.

Your mileage may vary, only way is to suck it and see

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  #5  
Old 02-12-17
secateurs secateurs is offline
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Thanks for all the help so far! Very good things to consider.


To define our offroad usage: An example of what we would like to do in it, if you're familiar with Central Australia, three places we would like to make it to are: Palm Valley, John Hayes Rockhole, and Birthday Waterhole.

John Hayes rockhole is basically 1.8km of following a rocky creek bed. Not extremely technical, but slow and in some places fairly narrow. Lots of loose rocks up to 300mm diametre or so. Not too many sharp ascents or descents though.



The track out to Palm Valley follows a river bed, this time quite sandy. Sand can be quite deep and soft.


Birthday waterhole has the sand, and also 1 or 2 quite steep descent/ascents up and down river banks, but these are spaced apart, not straight down then up the other side.

Old Jack, we would try to keep the weight as much to the rear of the camper as possible, and when going 4x4 we would make sure we didn't load it up much more than about 1800-1900kg. What % of total weight would you think would be minimum for towing offroad? 6%? 8%? 10%? I know the rule of thumb in Australia is 10-15%, but in other countries it can be less. If we could get away with say 8% of 1800kg that is a more respectable 145kg towbar weight. We also have kids in the back seats, so no heavy cargo back there.


So what would you suggest for when we do suspension upgrade then? Lift in rear only? As I'm sure you know Lovell's have different options for lift that is maintained on load vs 50mm lift that reduces to standard height fully loaded. Would this second option be better?



I will have to find out what the actual track of the Stirling GT is, it may be less than the 2100 overall width of the trailer, i'm not sure. But not having the trailer tyres tracking with the Pajero's would be a bummer, especially in deep, soft sand.


At the end of the day we will still have our swags and if we are doing serious offroading we will just leave the camper trailer at home. But we do want to be able to use it as much as possible, and not just in caravan parks!
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Old 03-12-17
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Reply in "blue" in your post below.

OJ.

Quote:
Originally Posted by secateurs View Post
Thanks for all the help so far! Very good things to consider.


To define our offroad usage: An example of what we would like to do in it, if you're familiar with Central Australia, three places we would like to make it to are: Palm Valley, John Hayes Rockhole, and Birthday Waterhole.

John Hayes rockhole is basically 1.8km of following a rocky creek bed. Not extremely technical, but slow and in some places fairly narrow. Lots of loose rocks up to 300mm diametre or so. Not too many sharp ascents or descents though.



The track out to Palm Valley follows a river bed, this time quite sandy. Sand can be quite deep and soft.


Birthday waterhole has the sand, and also 1 or 2 quite steep descent/ascents up and down river banks, but these are spaced apart, not straight down then up the other side.

Been almost 20 years since I was in this area and the track that sticks in my mind is the Boggy Hole track south of Hermannsburg. I recall the deep soft sand when crossing the Finke multiple times and the steep entries and exits.

Old Jack, we would try to keep the weight as much to the rear of the camper as possible, and when going 4x4 we would make sure we didn't load it up much more than about 1800-1900kg. What % of total weight would you think would be minimum for towing offroad? 6%? 8%? 10%? I know the rule of thumb in Australia is 10-15%, but in other countries it can be less. If we could get away with say 8% of 1800kg that is a more respectable 145kg towbar weight. We also have kids in the back seats, so no heavy cargo back there.
Any weight you can move rewards towards the axle of the camper will reduce your towball download and the camper will tow better, moving weight to the very rear of the camper will reduce the towball load but will also decrease the towing stability of the camper and increase the pitching effect on the rear of the Pajero. Better to get as much weight as possible as close to the axle as possible and also put some of the gear in the back of the Pajero. A 4wd will carry 250kgs in the cargo area much better than 250kg of towball download. For a heavy camper trailer 100kg to 120kg is about the max I would be happy to have as tow ball load.


So what would you suggest for when we do suspension upgrade then? Lift in rear only? As I'm sure you know Lovell's have different options for lift that is maintained on load vs 50mm lift that reduces to standard height fully loaded. Would this second option be better?
There is no coil spring that will give a respectable comfortable 40mm lift when empty and then be able to cope with a 250kg ball load without losing quite a lot of rear ride height and most likely below factory empty ride height. Lovells coils are all linear rate unless you get custom coils, however King do a range of progressive rate coils that are softer and not as high as the Lovells when empty and firmer and higher when loaded. Most people that have Lovells coils that travel and or tow heavy end up fitting airbags as a bandaid solution that is not without problems and considerable expense.



I will have to find out what the actual track of the Stirling GT is, it may be less than the 2100 overall width of the trailer, i'm not sure. But not having the trailer tyres tracking with the Pajero's would be a bummer, especially in deep, soft sand.
The Stirling is 2150mm wide according to the manufacturers website and they do not specify the wheel track but I think it will be around the 1850mm mark where as the Pajero is 1570mm so that is about half a tyre width wider on each side. No big deal on the bitumen but in soft sand you will feel the extra drag, interestingly they do not state the towball load at all. Those camper trailer and caravan manufacturers that do state towball downloads usually only specify it at the empty weight and not the gross weight. As most of the storage tends to to be forward of the axle the towball downloads can increase disproportionally to the weight increase of the trailer.

At the end of the day we will still have our swags and if we are doing serious offroading we will just leave the camper trailer at home. But we do want to be able to use it as much as possible, and not just in caravan parks!
Agree, why fork out a lot of cash for something that does not meet you expectations or needs. I am not sure of the Ezytrail quality but they do have a double fold camper named the Lincoln that offers both sleeping and dining off the ground for 4 to 6 people at a lower weight and reduced length. The Ezytrail may have the features and price advantage but a good secondhand Camprite will withstand tougher conditions for much longer, in my opinion.
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Old 03-12-17
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Done a fair bit of work remotely in central Oz. Many sandy tracks as you know and I personally would not tow a 2 tonne trailer. I have been looking at getting a forward fold and have been researching for over a year. Not one of them offers a really good all round spec as far as I am concerned.Possibly go for a hybrid next year. Many manufacturers will not give a tow ball weight as they know they are well over 10% and some over 20% of total trailer weight when loaded. A study in the UK found the ideal trailer tow ball weight to be around 6-7%. This was for European conditions. I would be looking at either good quality quick erect tents or a soft top camper with a small annex to make it quicker to erect.. You,d probably do well with the off ground tent style swags. Decent car annex and even a fox wing if you dont want to trailer it. Plenty of good quality camper trailers out there. Just make sure it has decent parallel or 2 tonne bearings as well. Some of the Chinese ones are good value, some are crap. But then again I,ve heard the same about Oz built ones as well. Of course you could buy a decent off road trailer( or get one made to your specs and design) and load you camping gear into that .

Another option is to maybe hire one for a weekend before you buy
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Old 03-12-17
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hi there, depending how deep your pockets are their is just one Australian built camper that will tick all the box's and that would be a ultimate camper built in nsw I have one and been to a lot of remote outback locations solo and it has not let me down nice and lite to tow just my 2 cents worth btw empty it only ways 750 kilos and ball weight of 35 kilos thanks rob
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Old 03-12-17
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All the forward fold campers have big 150kg+ ball weights and as old Jack says any weight you add will basically increase the ball weight. By design there is minimal storage at the rear and you won't be able to reshuffle the load to lessen the ball weight. The big boxes at the front are the only places that fridges/generators etc will fit so you have no choice on their storage location.

My Jayco camper weighs about 1650kg fully loaded and my NP handles it fine on the bitumen and offroad it is OK. The rocks are no problems, just need to pick your way through but sand and steep gravel is hit and miss. I have never had an issue on the beach but you really need to be in the ball and always be looking way ahead as having that weight behind, if you have to stop suddenly or choose an alternative route it can be difficult to back it up, turn around etc.

My towball weight is ~190kg, I had Lovells HD 2" springs and poly airbags and the rear still dropped when loaded (they had sagged a bit after almost 4 years). I have replaced the springs with Lovells EHD 2", yet to tow but they are noticeably stiffer. I don't mind it but if you like your comfort they may not be for you.
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