Thursday, June 20

Trackabout Explorer – Overview

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Trackabout has a long history in Australia, and is one of the few dedicated soft-floor camper trailer manufacturers still able to build and market a high-quality, desirable product at a time when consumers can get very good quality, highly finished products from overseas. It hasn’t been without its trials and tribulations, but the current crop of trailers are at the forefront of innovation in the market.

I got to take a good look over the latest Trackabout Explorer at the QLD Caravan, Camping & Touring Supershow, and it’s hard not to be impressed. The Explorer is probably one of the most convincing alternatives to a Patriot X1, with the added benefit that it’s around $10,000 cheaper and with a more extensive kitchen, and still made in QLD by blokes who love rough-as 4WDing.

The Trackabout Explorer is a compact trailer – potentially the shortest with a walk-in section on the market, which it does by orienting the bed east-west, with a foldout section at the foot of it – much like Patriot Campers‘ bed, actually, but the walk-in corridor at the front of the trailer negates the need for a set of stairs. I’ve called it a soft-floor camper, but in it’s simplest form, it’s actually more of an expedition trailer, as the tent doesn’t touch the ground unless you attach the floor section (which can also be left attached when packing up). In that form the roof extends out over the entry and the awning back over the kitchen, creating a wonderfully open area of shelter that takes less than five minutes to set up IRL.

With or without the floor, the tent is free-standing – there’s no need to fit uprights or extend poles or anything fiddly like that. And even the awning over the kitchen is left attached and its patented design means it sets up without attaching anything extra to the camper, except for guy-ropes and pegs.

As I’ve mentioned, the kitchens are a stand-out feature of the Trackabout stables. Interestingly, they slide out on teflon runners, rather than the usual stainless steel runners of most other campers. It does mean the units are a little heavier to handle than they might otherwise be, but two things make the option the best one for Trackabout. First, teflon runners don’t break or fail and only need a squirt of WD-40 every once in a while to maintain slipperiness. And secondly, the kitchen slide is that long, a standard runner would really struggle to manage it. Apart from sheer size, the kitchens are highly organised storage spaces, with great appliances and the ability to upgrade.

Under the camper is a simple leaf spring suspension, but Cruisemaster independent suspension is an option. There’s also a couple of water tanks and Australian-built chassis, of course. With prices starting at around $30,500 for the Trackabout Explorer, that’s heaps more palatable than $40,000ish for a Patriot X2 or even $36,000 for a Cub Campers Frontier, forward fold camper, two other great Aussie camper trailers. Find out more about the Trackabout Explorer here.

 

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