Comfort served up on a tray
  |  First Published: October 2013

Whether to accommodate a couple on the move or just for extra space and comfort or a long stay, camper trailers have become firm favourites for outdoor Australians.

The problem for us fishos arises when we need to take our trailer boats with us. For the many Aussie ute owners, there is a brilliant and comparatively well-priced answer to this problem, a ‘tray-on’ camper.

My wife, Simone, and I bought a tray-on camper from Impact Campers, a relatively new Australian company specialising in this style of camper. We really like its versatility.

An Impact tray camper allows you to trailer your boat, motorbikes, PWC, ultralight aircraft or whatever yet give you the unencumbered use of your vehicle once you reach your destination.

Impact tray campers are designed to be set up and used off the vehicle, unlike many other tray-ons whose primary design means they must remain on the vehicle.

Apart from having our trailer boat, Simone and I do a lot of kayaking these days and I can assure you that there is far more than a paddle associated with the modern fishing kayak. We actually require a trailer to bring both kayaks and associated equipment with us.

Often it is not possible to camp right on the water’s edge and so having our ute to take the boat or the ’yaks to the water is a big plus.

Or it could be just ducking into town to get supplies. It’s nothing to pack up just hop in and go; these campers offer great convenience.

And an Impact Tray Camper features all-Australian quality build and design.

The Impact Tray-on is essentially a camper trailer without axle and wheels, with rather screw jack ‘legs’ on each corner that allow the body to be jacked up enough so a tray-back ute can reverse under it.

Then the jacks are wound down until the camper is sitting on the tray, secured and then off you go.

The camper has a steel frame with painted charcoal hammer-tone finish, a polished aluminium checker-plate base and polished aluminium doors with rubber seals for dust and water protection.

The side doors allow full access to the holding area on each side of the camper. The folding canvas tent structure has a built-in frame for quick and easy set-up.

It has an awning with full-length zip and you can add wall sections if needed. We purchased a zip-on wall for the kitchen end for a little more protection from the elements.

These add-ons can be customised. We chose a full mesh window backed up by a clear window and then the full canvas, zipped and Velcro storm cover.

We are now considering further ordering another for the other end of the awning – very impressed.

The fold-out kitchen is in the awning or living area, which also can be optioned up or down, depending on your budget. We chose a stainless steel sink with attached tap, three-burner SMEV gas stove and a large food preparation area with 30L 12v Waeco drawer fridge.

There is a large area that can be used as a pantry and general storage.

The tent part features an elevated king-sized bed and enough room to fit a set of bunks. And there’s still enough floor space for food or fishing gear out of sight and out of the weather.

This area has a thick sewn-in vinyl floor and large meshed windows to let some breeze through. A small stepladder is used to access the bed and helps when fitting the spreaders and poles when erecting the awning.

Under the bed is further storage and is ideal spot to house clothes and other personal items.

The camper body has dry storage underneath and offers plenty of area for all manner of things that need to be taken with you when camping. Boxes of food, solar panels, tool kit and retrieval gear for the 4WD all stows away, along with the sealed deep-cycle battery that powers the fridge and interior lights.

Simone believes I should ditch the fishing and get into storm chasing. The Impact faced a baptism of high winds and driving rains at Danjeera Dam, west of Nowra.

Some intense and at times quite unnerving weather came through and out of a dozen or more campsites, including various camper trailers (hard and soft roofed), roof-top tents, pergolas and dome tents, we were the only ones not drying out mattresses and clothing or picking up what was left of the campsite the following morning.

The other plus was that while the weather stopped the fishing for long periods, we were able to go 4WD exploring.

And when a break in the weather came it was a case of throwing the kayaks on the ute tray and ducking down to the launch site. We caught a couple of fish but the best thing about the trip was our home away from home.

Check out www.impactcamper.com for all details on this brilliant Australian product.

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