WE WERE in the Flinders Ranges on some of my favourite outback tracks, towing a new camper trailer behind a non-turbo-diesel Cruiser. We were looking for steep country or rough creek crossings that’d put the camper to the test, but we couldn’t find anything rough enough to stretch the limit of the Terra Trek Expedition camper we were hauling.
Terra Trek Australia (TTA) is an Australian company based in Murray Bridge, South Australia, with a background in geological mapping and professional touring and guiding in Outback Australia. They know a thing or two about what makes a good, tough and capable trailer, as well as the features any trailer needs to survive long-term expeditions in the backblocks of the country.
Designed and manufactured in Australia, the Terra Trek Expedition camper was created for seriously remote travel, exuding outstanding off-road capability while offering a quick and easy kitchen set-up and a mammoth amount of storage.
Built on a tough, laser-cut RHS, military-style, fully galvanised chassis with a single-beam draw bar with grab handles, it sits on a swing-arm, independent long-travel suspension with Superior Engineering adjustable parallel control arms using Land Cruiser bushes, all backed up by OME coil springs and shocks. Airbag helper springs complete with airlines for external pump up, are also standard. You can option this up to OME BP-51 shocks and/or an Airbag onboard kit for inflation or deflation of the airbags. Needing more, you can add an ARB twin-compressor setup.
CAMPER TESTED: Bluewater Macquarie
There’s a Cruisemaster DO35 tow hitch, heavy-duty jockey wheel, Dexter 12-inch electric brakes with heavy-duty bearing kit, and 16x8-inch steel rims topped with 285/75R16 Toyo Open Country MT tyres. The spare wheel can be carried on an optional chassis-mounted swing-away carrier, complete with gas strut to keep it under control. There are also two fully rated Hi-Lift jacking points and a rear hitch recovery point built into the chassis as standard.
The fully floating alloy body is 2mm or 3mm thick and is fully painted inside and out with automotive two-pack paint of your choosing. All the doors feature top-quality latches, gas struts, hinges and rubber seals, while there are two dedicated jerrycan holders down the back end and two lockers up front that each hold 4.5kg gas cylinders. A 150-litre inboard stainless steel water tank comes as standard fare.
The stainless steel slide-out kitchen features a large work area and has a built-in sink and mixer tap, with the cold water plumbed to the tap and the hot water plumbed ready for the optional gas water heater. Instead of a built-in cooker or hot plate, the Terra Trek comes with a more flexible and heat-producing Coleman HyperFlame FyreKnight stove. We use this style of stove regularly and they’re damn good.
Above the kitchen bench is a 40-litre Evakool drawer-type fridge, while beside the bench is a cutlery drawer along with massive pantry drawers. On the far side of our test rig we had an ARB Elements fridge/freezer, while this side of the camper features another huge storage area. A Supa-Peg 2.5m x 2.5m awning covers the kitchen area if and when required.
There is a choice of tents, with either Terra Trek’s custom-made unit or, as was fitted to the test rig, a James Baroud Evasion hard-shell tent. These are one of the very best hard-shell campers around and are quick and easy to erect and collapse. If desired, the rooftop tents can be replaced by a boat rack that can carry tinnies up to 3.9m long. You’ve got even more storage at the back in the centre of the camper to carry tents and/or an outboard motor. In fact, you have a mammoth 2400 litres of storage space.
As we have come to expect from the top-of-the-line campers on the Australian market, there is a host of electronic goodies. While our test rig had an impressive setup, all future TTA models will have Redarc BMS and TVMS units with 120amp/h AGM included in the price. Additional batteries and lithium upgrades are also available, and all have inputs for solar power.
There are eight switchable LED cabin lights, two USB charging points, water-monitoring gauges and circuit breakers, along with Anderson plug points for fridges and the like. There’s a host of other features and small details too long to be detailed here, but they’re the result of years of outback travel and they work in remote places.
On the road the camper towed effortlessly behind the tow rig and, weighing in at just 990kg, would be easily towed by any of the dual-cabs on the market. With a payload of 810kg you can easily carry extra fuel or water for those long outback expeditions, which this trailer would be ideally situated for. Adding to the favourable weight characteristics of the Terra Trek Expedition is the overall compactness of the camper. Just 4.1m long from tow hitch to jerrycan holders, and with a width of 1.82m, it will sit snugly behind any of the dual-cab rigs on the Australian market.
Its relative short towbar – just 2.65m from coupling to the centre line of the axle – makes the trailer follow extremely closely to the track of the tow vehicle, no matter how tight the turns become. In regards to the single-beam drawbar used instead of the more normal A-frame you find on most trailers; you can pull a tight turn with this setup and nearly jack-knife the trailer at 90 degrees to the tow vehicle, without any trouble or binding of trailer metal on tow-vehicle metal.
CAMPER TESTED: Cub Frontier
There are very few suspension systems around that perform as well or as comfortably as this swing-arm setup that’s reminiscent of another Aussie-made award-winning suspension system, albeit with some significant changes. This allows the trailer to glide over severe corrugations or through the nastiest of washouts with ease and comfort, and it keeps the wheels in contact with Mother Earth in the most severe off-road conditions.
Once at your favoured destination, everything in the trailer is easy to get to and easy and quick to set up. I particularly like the use of the Coleman camping stove, which gives it a flexibility most camper-trailer stoves don’t have. The fitment of the drawer-type fridge close to the kitchen area also works extremely well.
The camper with its standard inclusions costs $44,990, while the options we had – a change of tyres, the spare-tyre carrier, a lithium battery upgrade, an ARB fridge and an MSA 60-litre fridge slide – added another $4700, taking the all-up cost to just less than $50K.
That may seem a lot for an expedition trailer, but not for one as capable, tough and everlasting as this unit. Made in Australia from the very best material with the best features and options, it will travel behind you with ease and for many years of hard outback abuse. I love it.