CAMPING - CAMPER SLIDE-ON
Tray-Tek campers were locally made units that offered pop-top security and a very fast set-up and pack away procedure. Tray-Tek units were made from aluminium and came with a lifetime construction integrity warranty.
Tray-Tek’s originators, Darrell and Linda White, didn’t intend to get into the camper business, so after he retired from his building business they went outback travelling.
The couple soon discovered that no existing camper setup suited their needs. They wanted a hard-roof, easy set-up and pack away design and some interior comfort if the weather turned horrible.
Darrell turned his considerable design skills into slide-on camper layout and construction and soon they had developed a couple of working models.
Some mates liked what they saw and so the couple produced some duplicates. By the time the impromptu order bank had reached seven units Darrell and Linda
realised they were in the slide-on camper business!
In 2014 the Tray-Tek business was bought out by Trayon Campers and the Traytek concept was shelved.
There are Tailgater and Tailgater Plus models in the used market, in tray-length sizes of 1650mm, 1950mm and 2350mm, to suit all ute-cab configurations. Both models had a lowering tailgate section, but the Tailgater Plus had an inside kitchen sink and two-burner stove, in addition to the Tailgater’s two-seat settee and drop-down table. A queen-sized, high-density-foam mattress was standard.
Roof and wall panel construction is glued and screwed insulated aluminium/foam and the pop-top and tent sections are made from rip-stop, Australian-made
canvas, with strong fly-mesh infill panels. The tailgate raises and lowers using an inbuilt boat-trailer winch and the pop-top lifts with gas-strut assistance.
We timed the set-up and pack away times – without awning fitment – at around two minutes each, which is as good as it gets in the camping world.
Four stainless-steel screw-jack stabiliser legs are fitted and are very easily switched from travelling mode to camping mode. The legs are captive on the camper sides and are simply inverted to act as stabilisers. The screw jacks have the capacity to lift the bodywork slightly, so they double as levellers.
The leg mounting tongues have sufficient length to allow easy manoeuvering under the camper if it’s desirable to drive the ute out from under it. In this case, additional diagonal rods are provided, to keep the camper structure stable when free-standing.
A Isotherm 80-litre front-opening fridge was standard in the Tailgater Plus. The Tailgater’s external fridge slide is another Tray-Tek design, operating smoothly on long nylon runners, without rollers that can clog with sand.
Both models have a front-mounted 70-litre poly water tank, with gravity outlet. Pressure water supply to the Plus sink is standard and an external shower
Electrics include a 120AH AGM deep-cycle battery, two 12V power outlets, LED lighting and Anderson plug connection to the vehicle.
Dry weight of the Tailgater is 350-380kg and the Plus, 420-450kg.
We were very impressed with the ease of use and quality fit and finish of both Tray-Tek models; so impressed that we bought a Tailgater Plus. Stock colours were metallic silver or white and 2013 pricing ranged from $24,950 to $30,650. A solar panel with regulator was a $1450 option.