CAMPING - CAMPER TRAILERS
Track Trailer’s Mate is essentially a Track camper, without the teardrop camper bodywork on top. Instead, the Mate has a box-trailer tub, with an optional pull-out storage drawer, customisable flat panels and storage spaces.
Like all Track Trailer products the Mate is built on the company’s MC2 Asymmetric Link suspension that was developed some 20 years ago for the Australian Army. Using Koni dampers, it’s easily the best on and off road camper trailer suspension design.
The Mate features a large storage tub that can work as a tradie’s box trailer, to carry bulk or bagged freight and can also accept two standard sized pallets.
On weekends it can adapt to a camper trailer role and can either carry a ground tent or be fitted with rack-mounted rooftop tents. There’s also a boat-loader
All Mates com with a five-year warranty on chassis and suspension components and three years on all body panels.
The Track Base Mate comes standard with an aluminium extrusion, around the front and sides of the tub that can accept most Rhino and Thule system roof
Another variant, the Tour Mate, comes with a permanently attached soft-floor, folding camper.
All Mates are customisable and can be refitted with Track Trailer bodywork modules throughout their lives. So, a Base model can be upgraded progressively
as a family’s camping needs change, or a Tour Mate can be converted into a load-carrying Base model.
Living with a Weekend Mate
Our Weekend Mate test unit that was kindly lent to us by Track dealer, Camperact, was fitted with the optional sliding load tray and Rhino Racks that mounted a Backtrax Sports Utility Roof Tent module.
The test trailer was fitted with 10-inch electric drum brakes; 16-inch steel wheels and off road L/T tyres, including spare; large mud flaps; panniers with tie-down points and capacity for four 20L jerry cans; LED tail lights, side markers and number plate light and a DO-35 off-road coupling with
The test unit was checked out over 1000km on and off road and for two nights’ camping by Outback Travel Australia test team members, Sheree and Simon Martin. They towed it behind their HiLux crew cab ute and found the camper suspension’s bump tolerance and sway resistance better than anything else they’ve
They reckoned it was a built and balanced trailer that towed well with low rolling resistance and had powerful brakes. It was also easy to reverse, thanks to the length of the draw bar.
The Mate cargo space swallowed all their camping gear and the elastic-fitted soft tonneau and tailgate seals kept out most dust. The Martins loved the swing-away kitchen that had ample bench space for food preparation beside the two burner stove.
The slide out sink holder added extra useable space. The fold down legs under the kitchen unit were fully height-adjustable for uneven ground, making the kitchen unit very stable when swung out into position.
The optional, full-length rollout drawer made it easy to pack and unpack camping gear, because there was no need to lift heavy or awkward items over the sides of the trailer. The drawer’s bearing system was extremely strong and had a lock to keep it in place when closed inside the trailer and when extended.
Areas on both sides of the trailer could be used for storage boxes or firewood and were fitted with tie down points.
The test Mate came with a Projecta 12-volt, 15-amp, seven-stage automatic battery charger wired in, as well as a Projecta 150-watt pure sine wave inverter.
Also fitted were a 240-volt, 15-amp power inlet and a 240-volt, 10-amp power outlet and a quality circuit breaker. There was a Vitron Battery monitoring system along with a 105 Ah deep cycle battery and additional batteries could be added.
The 75-litre water tank was mounted under the trailer where it was well protected. The water level was monitored by an electronic water level indicator wired in next to the battery monitor that was easy to excess and was well protected from dust and water ingress.
The downsides the Martins spotted were front stone deflectors with good geometry that worked well, but could be damaged when driving in deep ruts, or on tracks with high sides and off-camber sections. However, they conceded this would also serve as an early warning to stop before causing any panel damage to the trailer.
The rear water tap and pump handle were unprotected and could be damaged on tight, overgrown tracks.
The electrical boxes on the driver’s side could suffer the same consequences, as there was nothing to deflect trackside branches from catching the square edges of the boxes or lids.
At $16,990 for the Base Mate and $24,990 for the Weekend Mate as tested the Track Trailer entry-level camper trailers represent good value for money, the
Martins reckoned, given the class-leading suspension that came standard.
A choice of extra-cost rooftop tents was available for the Weekend Mate and the Martins slept in an optional Backtrax sports utility roof tent that we’ve
covered in a separate report.