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Off-road camping trailer


GBMUD
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Since I have just about had the best from my £100 caravan it is going to have to go and I would like to replace it with some alternative "comfortable camping" facility. I have had, for some years, a Sankey 3/4(?)ton trailer. I have been thinking about converting that into a camping trailer with cooking facilities, fridge, large water tank, etc. and a rooftop tent on top of the trailer. The idea being that I can tow it on green lanes if I want to, go to other parts of Europe and ultimately beyond. I have not gone beyond thinking about it yet but with the demise of the caravan it is time to start considering how best to execute such a scheme.

The first thing I have been considering is the suitability of the Sankey trailer. In it's favour Sankeys are bullet proof, tow OK and take Landrover wheels. The one thing that concerns me is that my trailer has a narrower track than a Landrover. This means that when towing in soft mud or in ruts, the trailer will be dragging through fresh mud and making its own ruts which will increase drag and may cause the whole thing to get stuck. A bad thing. I know that there are larger Sankey/NATO type trailers in circulation, do any of these share the same track as a (coil sprung) Landrover? I have a set of 8 255/85 16s to use on the tow vehicle and the trailer so commonality of spare wheels is covered. I am not sure what the overall weight of my trailer might be. If it is less than 750kg gross then I could consider making my own without the need for brakes and accompanying regulations.

Wondering what to put in the trailer, I have concluded that a large water tank over the axle is important - if I do ever get as far as Africa then having a good supply of water is important. I also want to include a fridge. I have thought about breaking the caravan up and using the absorption type fridge fitted in there but due to the way it opens, all the cold (not to mention the beer) falls right out as soon as you open the door. I have seen similar type fridges in a top opening format which might work better but there is still the problem of what to do with the exhaust and heat generated from refridgeration when the trailer is all closed up for travel/overnight. I guess that running on 12volts while on the move is reasonable. Also potentially from the (or another) caravan is the cooker/sink unit. I would propose that this be made such that it pulled out from the rear of the trailer on rails for use. Might a separate cooker and a separate sink be a better option? I started wondering this when I started considering the availability of fuels in different parts of the world. Is there a Calor agent in Paris or on the fringes of the Sahara? Does this make reliance on gas daft? If so, what options are there for powering fridges and cookers? The car will run on diesel and I guess that petrol will be available most places, although I would prefer not to have to carry petrol if I could avoid it. Can one get liquid fuel powered fridges or are compressor powered electric ones the only option? Looking at the fridge specs, the one linked to above will only manage a 30 degree temperature differential - that will struggle even in the UK some times. :(

Rooftop tents. I like the Maggiolina type roof tents as they look easy to erect (wind-up) and come in a hard case which I imagine will reduce damage from vegetation/trees etc, especially if I were ever to use it on the roof of the car. I like that fact that they do not rely on the ladder etc. to support them and that you can leave bedding etc. in them when you close them down. Are there any other points to consider when choosing tents - are some more suitable for different climates etc. Some sort of integrated awning would be nice too. Being able to get out of the tent in a state of undress and then get dressed while not lying down is important to me, as is being able to get up in the night to answer a call without undue inconvenience.

I know that there are users of this forum who have done overland travel - some who have used trailers and some who have not and I know that some people have fitted Landrovers of various types as campers. What I want is to be able to be independent for days at a time, for example in the desert, and to be able to camp entirely independently of the car. Being able to set up camp in a campsite and then drive the car away without needing to completely dismantle the tent, put things away etc. is an important consideration and the whole reason for doing this on a trailer. I would value input from anyone who has experience of doing this type of thing, or who knows about the type of kit that is available. I am keen to do this on a budget so, while I need decent kit to do the job, I do not want to go wild spending money!

Finally, who makes these things already and where can I go to copy look for ideas?

Thanks

Chris

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Guest diesel_jim

Chris, the later "wide track" sankeys share the same track as a 90/110/rangie

you could just cut and insert an extra length of tubing into the axle on yours to get the extra track, although i think the springs are spaced further apart on the later ones too, as well as a wider chassis.

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Getting the trailer the same track as the Defender seems the way to go.

The tents that you see on the trek overland stand at Billing (heaven knows how much they cost :rolleyes: ) seem to fit your needs well too as you get plenty of space for cooking, sitting out of the sun etc in addition to sleeping..

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http://www.trekoverland.com/globe_master.htm

I see they are Howling moon trailer tents, more specs here... http://www.howlingmoon.co.za/trailerframe.html

How does the trailer affect dune driving?

Cheers

Steve

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You can pick up a wide track Sankey, with Disc brakes on Ebay from Withams for about £300.

I'm considering doing the same thing, I have an old, dead Sankey which is realistically a bit past its best, so I think I'll splash out on another one.

The only thing I've not decided is what to construct the body from...

Stainless = too heavy and too expensive + I cant TIG weld

Ally = ideal but expensive and I can't TIG weld.

Mild Steel = cheap but have no tools to form it, and wil lbe forever painting it.

Good quality 12mm Ply = looking favorite, as I've got some good stuff, can build a frame from Steel angle, and if the ply is coated with 'west pack' or similar boat building epoxy it will last forever...

I originally planned to build a bigger trailer, but looking at some of those huge, heavy stainless things out there, I've decided to keep it small, and simple.

if you used stainless fittings where possible (screwfix or ebay) you should have no problems with rust.

I'd be interested to see how your's progresses, as Mine is realistically a year away from becoming a reality...

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Hi Chris

I like the look of the Maggiolina roof tent and I think Lone Wolf are using one. However, there does not seem to be much room for anything else up top. I suppose this would be offset with having the trailer.

Also I'm not sure there would be much left of the fridge after being on a sankey for a while?

If you unhitch from the LR and go off for the day the security would have to be pretty robust, like chains to a tree and raised enclosed steel box construction maybe.

Cheers,

Paul.

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Chris,

I am in the process of doing just this at the mo'.

Having spent a big chunk of time teaching people to drive off road with a trailer on, I am more than aware of just how much of a PITA it is and how much it compromises the vehicles abilities.

IMHO that a max weight of 500kgs is what you have available for 90/100/110; cruiser; patrol. The lighter the better. Hitch type is very important with mil/nato ring with 360 degree capability being the dogs. Brakes are very important as is the old 'off switch' for the brakes (Bradley Hitch stylee). As long as the trailer is light enough and well balanced enough, I don't think the track is that important.

I think the sankey is a good base but it's not my option as I couldn't find a cheap one! I am opting for a 14" wheel with 85 profile dual purpose tyres (10kgs wheel and tyre combo) that gives 18" of ground clearence. The drum brakes are mini shoes/drums/adjuster.

Basically what IMHO what you need to carry is the stuff you don't want in the Land Rover, so fuel, water, cooking kit, gas, etc. A water tank is a PITA as you need to get the trailer close to the scource, use ex Mil 25ltr jobbies in a frame - same goes for the motion lotion.

I have made up two 'tables' that fold up either side of the trailer, one has a hole cut out to allow for the SS washing bowl/sink the other has the gas supply ready to connect to a twin burner but doubles as a trangia mount and food prep area. I also have a cheap gazebo that has been modded for a camp kitchen. The trailer will have a 750cca gel battery mounted in it with a trickle charger from the vehicle and a small solar charger. This is purely for light as is the 650amp genny with 12volt hook up...

The fridge stays in the vehicle!

So far I have the bits and the trailer but I still have a long way to go. I had hoped to give it all a dry run at 7S in November

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For fridges, sailing suppliers have lots of fridges. I am sure that the camping people have as well. You can build your own cool box and cool it with one of these for example.

Mail Speed Marine

There are many other suppliers who could do it at lower cost, and I am sure that non marine suppliers are going to be cheaper!!!!!!!!!!

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Just to reinforce something Dave said - put all the cr*p in the trailer and live in the car. I had a car full of oil cans, bits of car and tools and a trailer full of tents and it sucked - especially when the EP90 sprung a leak in the back :blink:

Put your jerry cans, spares, etc. plus any robust camping gear (tables, chairs etc.) in your trailer and keep the car as a nice place to live. Keep clothes, food etc. in the car. If you have a proper length vehicle you can sleep in it and do away with the need for a roof tent :P

I have to say I didn't find towing, even off-road, a pain. The trailer was a Sankey-style expedition trailer, unbraked, and just bobbled along behind over everything, half the time you didn't even know it was there.

My ultimate plan (in a vapour-build style) is to have a small sankey-esque trailer to carry tools, spares, fluids, fuel, water, then have a bed in the back of the 109 and only have clothes, bedding, and food (inc. fridge) plus the usual laptop / inverter etc. in the 109. That way don't have to pitch or take down a tent every day between camps, and I can sleep while people spanner if need be :D

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First thing Chris we manage in a Defender 110 SW. Two of use but only just. At present I'm packing the car now for this years trip....... And I'm hoping to have at least two Wolff boxes less in the car.

We use a ground tent. Margaret can't/won't climb a ladder :lol:

Trailer. Do not use any other suspension other than leaf springs. It will not stand the test.

Have a look at Douglass Motors. They make some nice trailers. www.douglassmotors.co.uk

Now for some other sites.

www.conqueror.co.za

www.camptechtrailers.co.za

www.bundutrailers.co.za

www.africasporetrailers.co.za

www.buzzarsindustries.co.za

www.desert-wolf.comwww.bigboys.co.za

You should get plenty ideas from those :lol:

HTH

mike

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Fridge wise what you want is a compressor type, my choice would be an Engel, that's what I have for my campervan. Looking at £350-400 though. MPS4x4 seem to be the best prices for the. No hassle with gas or changing to and from gas/12V when you stop, absorption fridge will pul 10-12A so really only any use on 12V when the vehicle is running and supplying juice. With a compressor fridge just stick a battery in there with a split charge (you probably want this anyway fo lights and other 12V stuff in trailer) and run of 12V all the time, only pulls about 2A.

However you may want the fridge in the car so it's easier to get a cold beer lemonade while driving along :)

Oh and if using butane /propane gas then you wan't get 'Calor' outside of UK and each country in Europe will have it's only local variation each requiring a different regulator. However CampingGaz (butane) is readily available through Europe.

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Guest diesel_jim
Do not use any other suspension other than leaf springs. It will not stand the test.

I remember quite a few years ago i went to solihull as a freebie (got tickets to the motor show thrown in as well!)

they had the "new" 2.5TD engine in the 90's and 110's (that shows you how long ago it was! :lol: )

anyway, some of the 90's were towing sankey type trailers (i can't remember, i was only about 14 then!) and they definately had coil springs. looked dead cool.

I wonder what a "new" disc braked sankey converted to coils would go like?

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Fridge wise what you want is a compressor type, my choice would be an Engel, that's what I have for my campervan. Looking at £350-400 though. MPS4x4 seem to be the best prices for the. No hassle with gas or changing to and from gas/12V when you stop, absorption fridge will pul 10-12A so really only any use on 12V when the vehicle is running and supplying juice.

Yep, I'm flogging my old 3 way absorbtion Waeco on ebay at the moment as it is a pain on 12v and I'm not that impressed with the messing around with gas bottles when I stick it in the tent.

I bought an Engel at Billing and that will live in the back of the 110 for camping trips.

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You can pick up a wide track Sankey, with Disc brakes on Ebay from Withams for about £300.

I'm considering doing the same thing, I have an old, dead Sankey which is realistically a bit past its best, so I think I'll splash out on another one.

The only thing I've not decided is what to construct the body from...

Stainless = too heavy and too expensive + I cant TIG weld

Ally = ideal but expensive and I can't TIG weld.

Mild Steel = cheap but have no tools to form it, and wil lbe forever painting it.

Good quality 12mm Ply = looking favorite, as I've got some good stuff, can build a frame from Steel angle, and if the ply is coated with 'west pack' or similar boat building epoxy it will last forever...

I originally planned to build a bigger trailer, but looking at some of those huge, heavy stainless things out there, I've decided to keep it small, and simple.

if you used stainless fittings where possible (screwfix or ebay) you should have no problems with rust.

I'd be interested to see how your's progresses, as Mine is realistically a year away from becoming a reality...

2 types of stainless steel:

1. 18/8 austenitic - 18% chrome / 8% nickel - non-magnetic - types 304 / 316 - Euronorm 1.4301 / 1.4401

Current price for 2500x1250x2mm 304 (1.4301) £152.45 based on £100,000 annual purchases so you will pay lots more!

2. Martensitic - approx 11% chrome / 2% nickel - magnetic - Cromweld 3CR12 (tradename) - Euronorm 1.4003

3 year old price for 2500x1250x2mm 1.4003 £67.75, I guess current price at around £80.

The 1.4003 will not be as good for corrosion resistance, but drills welds folds taps just like mild steel. For good weld corrosion resistance use stainless wire in your mig.

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I like the look of the Maggiolina roof tent and I think Lone Wolf are using one. However, there does not seem to be much room for anything else up top. I suppose this would be offset with having the trailer.

We do have the maggiolina on the top of the wolf, which goes up in 30 seconds, it is also very robust, we accidently punctured the fibreglass with a branch, but it still remained waterproof, we then patched with fibreglass tape and strengthened the area with chequer plate.

We also make use of the Trek Overland Globemaster trailer. This has proven to be a good design in terms of camping design, but we found the strength of the axle was its downfall. If you intend to use the trailer off road, and over any serious distance, I would reccomend getting a good quality, strong axle.

I will try to get Dan to write a review of the trailer and all it's features, which will probably be most helpful to you here. Though we have a lot of information on our website and in the journal about our experiences. I have attached pictures of the trailer in use, and of the tents.

Hope this helps,

Nick

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We do have the maggiolina on the top of the wolf, which goes up in 30 seconds, it is also very robust, we accidently punctured the fibreglass with a branch, but it still remained waterproof, we then patched with fibreglass tape and strengthened the area with chequer plate.

We also make use of the Trek Overland Globemaster trailer. This has proven to be a good design in terms of camping design, but we found the strength of the axle was its downfall. If you intend to use the trailer off road, and over any serious distance, I would reccomend getting a good quality, strong axle.

I will try to get Dan to write a review of the trailer and all it's features, which will probably be most helpful to you here. Though we have a lot of information on our website and in the journal about our experiences. I have attached pictures of the trailer in use, and of the tents.

Hope this helps,

Nick

Go on then how much roughly for something like that?

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Trailer. Do not use any other suspension other than leaf springs. It will not stand the test.

So very true! Got leaves on my ickle baby

Chris remember that you can no longer build your own trailer unless it is covered by shed loads of red tape

The Sankey will do more than adequately, it has all the basics that you need. To widen the track chuck on a set of spacers...

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Chris remember that you can no longer build your own trailer unless it is covered by shed loads of red tape

But Chris built his trailer ages ago ;)

Pre '89 IIRC, or I may be confusing that date with something else :unsure:

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I have a Castaway Off road camper trailer. And belive me i have taken mine off road :D

We lived in it for 7 months while going around Aus and did 25,000 miles towing it around aus

Ours is a cheap one as they can go up to 20-25,000 pounds for one here in Aus

But ours still has a 85 Ltr water tank, Full Kitchen, Large Double bed with proper mattress. Loads and loads of storage, Space for 4 Jerry cans and off road tyres and Parbolic sporings, with a Total swival tow hitch.

It has Toyota Hubs in these pics but now has Land Rover Hubs with a set of Disco Steels on and 235, 85 R 16 tyres on (same as the 90 has and the Disco has). So which ever car we take the trailer has the same tyres. And as both the 90 and the disco had twin batteries, Bull Bar , Winch, UHF radio. Snorkle , long range Fuel tanks . We can take which ever with out any problem and are ready for a trip round aus or a weekend at Fraser Island

trailer.jpg

cartrailer.jpg

cartrailerfront.jpg

The off road tow hitch

towhitch.jpg

One tap on the outside as well as one in the kitchen, reason is so you have acces to the water tank and don't have to open up the trailer, Usefull for washing hands and stuff

tap.jpg

This is it made up. It has another two sides that go on and make the front totally enclosed

tentup.jpg

This is on a track to Alic springs that was 900 miles on corrigations

90%20on%20Track.jpg

This is at the cape in Aus , The most northen piont of Aus. And one of the worst tracks in Aus ( track that is 1200 miles long)

at%20the%20top.jpg

Also Hand if you make them water proof as well , and not just from the top :D

Crossing%20at%20Cape.jpg

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Thanks for the replies and info guys, especially those with pics and links. :)

Looking again at my Sankey, I think that I would prefer to start with the wide track version. Am I correct in understanding that these come with leaf springs too and are road legal with their disc brakes? I understand that they are hydraulic brakes and seem to remember that hydraulic brakes are not road legal? I assume that they are overrun brakes?

I notice that most of the commercially available camping trailers seem to have the wheels outboard of the bodywork. Is there a reason for this? Is it just the way that they are or is it about keeping them more stable etc.? Or perhaps that there is just not the need for so much space inside? Thinking out loud here; perhaps if I were to go with the popular format of wheels outside the bodywork, I could start with my own Sankey and simply widen the axle as suggested by diesel-jim?

I see the point about absorption fridges not being up to continued use on rough roads... Sadly, Mrs Mud cannot see the need for what she sees as yet another 'coolbox'. :(

Re. making ones own trailer, what are the regs then? Assuming that there are no brakes involved, MGW <750kg, and one uses an E-marked hitch are there any other hoops to jump through? Obvoiusly lighting needs to meet specs.

Keep the thoughts coming. :)

Chris

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Guest diesel_jim
Chris remember that you can no longer build your own trailer unless it is covered by shed loads of red tape

Then it would look like one of those motorbike jackets with the tassles that blow in the wind! :blink::blink:

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