Tray-mounted campers are a different beast. Custom-fitted to a vehicle of your choosing, they allow owners to load the tow ball with something other than their home-away-from-home. Perfect if you want a boat along for the ride, or, simply, just want to minimise your roadtrain footprint.
Discreet, compact, minimal. They’re the double-jointed yogi of the camper world, able to fit their entire volume through a ring the size of a hula hoop. Well, not quite, but you get what I mean. They appeal to those who like things tucked away and streamlined. Male ballet dancers, I hazard a guess, would love a tray-mounted camper.
The Travelander Evron DC - CF Series 1 sits demurely on the tray of a funky dual cab LandCruiser. The genius of the thing is that it’s completely unassuming, like an unrecognised hitman at a country fair scone baking contest. You simply park it like you would any 4WD — in this case a magnificent site just outside Woodford, half-way between Brisbane and Noosa — its full array of features folded up inside a symmetrically pleasing carbon-fibre cuboid. In my fevered imagination (I’d just travelled from a grim flu-plagued Melbourne winter to mid-20s South East Queensland splendour) it looked a bit like a slimline briefcase packed neatly with high-powered rifle, silencer and scope.
It comes with a remote control, similar in look and dimension to one that comes with any old TV. But rather than allowing you to switch between Masterchef and the footy, this one activates some sort of hidden hydraulic system that activates an unfolding of attributes more typically seen on a mothership-to-planet shuttlecraft in an epic sci-fi movie.
After the remote has done its work and activated the Evron into full reveal mode, the Landcruiser is transformed. Where was once simply a vehicle, now sits a tented rooftop queen-sized bed, stairs down to a hard-floor alcove leading, on one side, to a shower cubicle and on the other, steps down to a vast outside awning area.
Job done! Simply by pushing a button on a box like you’d do to open a garage roller-door.
After easing down a few stabilising legs, smoothing out any creases in the tented fabric, splaying out and anchoring the awning, all that’s left, finally, is the obligatory flipping-off of cold stubbie top(s).
SLIDE OUT GASTRONOMY
Like a stripped back lazy susan, the Evron’s kitchen unfurls from behind an inconspicuous door. A latch is disengaged and, hey presto! A full kitchen slides into existence. Sitting primly beneath a large pantry area, the kitchen comes complete with a double burner eco stove and a swivel kitchen bench with sink and hot/cold mixer tap. There’s a particular pleasure to be had, I duly discovered, in searing a prime cut on a red-hot skillet with bare toes splayed on verdant sub-tropical grass.
Again, in keeping with its overall presentation, the sparse minimalism of the Evron’s kitchen is impressive. Because it has to slot back into the master cube for transportation, every detail has been considered. For me, this is the crowning achievement of good design — thoughtful editing and subsequent paring back of surplus elements.
SOLAR PANEL APPAREL
Upon request, a 150w Redarc solar array can be fitted to the roof of your rig. In the Travelander Evron carbon fibre rig we tested, these folded neatly out from atop the Cruiser’s roof. Dastardly pricey and so included as an optional extra, it’s hard not to be seduced into whipping out the credit card. “Damn the expense,” the voice inside your cranium will urge, “think of the convenience and not having to worry about batteries”. There’s also something cool about harvesting energy from the sun. It’s a demonstration of true off-grid capability, should you ever fancy an extended stint away from it all without stressing about battery health and all that sort of malarky.
CARBON FIBRE STRENGTH AND LIGHTNESS
With the sheer density of gadgetry packed into such a relatively small volume, slide-on campers have, in their earliest guises, suffered from weight issues. Travelander have acknowledged the conundrum; trying to jam many camping fundamentals into a limited space ain’t easy, and can lead to a crushingly dense tray-mounted product. To counteract the obvious solution — reducing features — they’ve instead looked to a lighter-weight build material, enabling the camper to retain its repertoire of features and, at the same time, reduce its weight by a fifth on previous versions.
“Lightness and reducing weight has been the key build determinant for this model,” Says Darren, owner and chief manufacturer. “Because of the carbon fibre, we’ve had to up the price somewhat, but we haven’t shirked on what you get with it, there’s water filtration, a shower, air con, heating and an integrated Fusion entertainment system included”.
By encasing the lot in carbon fibre, perhaps the strongest substance this side of Roger Federer’s tennis racquet, the dry weight of the Evron has now been crunched down to less than the weight of four Wallaby front rowers — a mere 430kg. Except rather than sleeping in the middle of a hairy-armed scrum, you have the relaxing luxury of being under DX10 Wax Converters poly-cotton canvas on queen-sized high density enviro foam. This is an improvement from the earlier DC 5 model, which weighed-in at 530kg, a testament to the folks at Travelander listening to market feedback and modifying accordingly.
SLIDE ON TRAY CAMPERS MAKE PRACTICAL SENSE
Darren and Julie Holger of Travelander have been manufacturing camper trailers and tray-back campers since 2000. After 17 years in the game, Darren reckons the tray-mounted camper makes the most sense.
“You can go anywhere, you’re not limited to towing one-and-a-half tonne of dead weight,” he says.
“To put it in simple terms, with one of these you can pull into a coffee shop without having to mess about looking for somewhere to park. You just find a typical spot on the street and in you go”.
THE WRAP UP
With its sleek black carbon fibre shell, the Evron is a cool looking little unit. Deceptively small, it’s compact travelling state offers little clue to its aspect when deployed to full camp mode. When set up, it has everything you could want, and more. Perhaps a larger hardfloor space in the annex would allow for more inside sleeping berths, but that’s a mere quibble.
The Evron DC - CF Series 1 is a thoughtfully designed and detail packed unit that looks good, functions like a dream and will take any camping trip to another level.
HITS AND MISSES
- Clever, well thought-out design
- Size and weight solution
- High-set surprisingly spacious queen size bed
- Cool black carbon fibre outer shell
- Shower cubicle with hot/cold mixer tap
- Massive awning
- Cabin heating
- Rear or side secure bike rack
- Rear recovery hitch
- More interior berths for the kiddies, but don’t ask me how you’d pack these into the build!
Dimensions & Weight
- Length 1800mm x Width 2000mm x Height 1150mm
- Dry weight - 430kg
- Bar frames - Aluminium
- Cupboard - 4 sliding doors in acrylic + access hatch door
- Queen size mattress - high density enviro foam
- Under bed storage
- Dust and waterproof double seals
- Diesel hot water/cabin heating
- Swivel kitchen bench with sink + hot/cold mixer tap
- Eco inline water filter system
- Double burner eco friendly stove
- Cutlery & utensil holder (black)
- Fire extinguisher - 1.1kg
- DX10 Wax Converters Australian blended poly/cotton canvas
- Canvas tent to sleep area with 4 windows and fly screen
- Tropical roof cover
- Rear awning over kitchen door - 6.5ft/2m
- Carry bag with 11 poles, pegs & ropes
- Carbon fibre outer shell - lightweight structure sandwich composite panel
- External locker
- Electric pump connected to main water tank
- Aluminium frame base
- Manual wind up legs x 4 (not included in dry weight)
- Water tank sight glass
- Water tanks - 130L + under floor tank 50L
- Tie down points - ratchet mounting straps x 4
- Shower - hot/cold mixer tap
- Shower cubicle
- Deep cycle AGM battery - 120a/h
- Lithium battery - 100a/h
- Redarc BCDC 1240
- Single burner eco friendly stove
- Single burner butane stove
- Redarc 350w inverter
- Redarc 700w inverter
- Annex roof - 8ft/2.4m
- Annex walls - canvas
- Annex walls - midge mesh
- 2m rear awning walls - canvas
- 2m rear awning walls - midge mesh
- Laundry bag
- Privacy screen
- Innerspring mattress
- Redarc - solar blanket 112W
- Solar panel - 150W
- Transcool - 12v evaporative air cooler
- Fujin 1.5 KW portable reverse cycle A/C
- Portable toilet - 10L waste 12L fresh water
- Honda generator EU10i
- Honda generator EU20i
- Weber BabyQ
- 90L - internal capacity
- Automatic set-up with 2 remote controls
- 12 volt outlet - 1 x cigarette socket
- + 2 x USB sockets
- Anderson plug - 50amp x 3
- Deep cycle lithium battery - 100amp hrs
- Redarc BMS 1230S - The Manager
- Fusion stereo active
- Yellow anti-bug + white LED lights
- Bed reading lights x 2
Price as shown