TRAY-TEK TAILGATER PLUS - Updated June 2015
Australian designed and made slide-ons for tray-back utes.
Tray-Tek campers are locally made units that offer pop-top security and a very fast set-up and pack away procedure. Tray-Tek units are made from aluminium and fibreglass and come with a lifetime construction integrity warranty.
Tray-Tek's originators, Darrell and Linda White, didn't intend to get into the camper business, so after he retired from his building business they went outback travelling.
The couple soon discovered that no existing camper setup suited their needs.
They wanted a hard-roof, easy set-up and pack away design and some interior comfort if the weather turned horrible.
Darrell turned his considerable design skills into slide-on camper layout and construction and soon they had developed a couple of working models.
Some mates liked what they saw and so the couple produced some duplicates. By the time the impromptu order bank had reached seven units Darrell and Linda realised they were in the slide-on camper business!
In 2014 the Tray-Tek business was bought out by Trayon Campers and in June 2015 the new model Tray-Tek was launched. It eaned Darrell White's stamp of approval immediately:
"I like very much what the Trayon people have done: it retains the good features of the model Linda and I designed, but adds some extras."
The most obvious difference is a pop-top roof, in place of the original front-hinged roof that lifts up from the back. This change provides more space above the bed and greatly increases the airiness of the camper. Meshed windows are sewn into the canvas sides of the pop-top section.
The 2015 Traytek-Tailgater retains a lift-up queen bed; two seat lounge with pull-out table and two kitchen cupboard modules. The right hand side module has a sink and the left side one houses a two-burner stove and 100-litre fridge/freezer.
As with the outgoing Tailgater Plus model there is also a lift-up shower cubicle on the tailgate.
The inbuilt water tank has been enlarged from 70 litres to 110 litres, with a 12V pump. A diesel hot-water system that also provides cabin heating is available. There is a 200W solar panel on the roof, charging a 120amp AGM battery that's upgradable to lithium.
There are Tailgater and Tailgater Plus models in the used market, in tray-length sizes of 1650mm, 1950mm and 2350mm, to suit all ute-cab configurations. Both models have a lowering tailgate section, but the Tailgater Plus has an inside kitchen sink and two-burner stove, in addition to the Tailgater's two-seat settee and drop-down table. A queen-sized, high-density-foam mattress is standard.
Roof and wall panel construction is glued and screwed insulated aluminium/foam and the pop-top and tent sections are made from rip-stop, Australian-made canvas, with strong fly-mesh infill panels. The tailgate raises and lowers using an inbuilt boat-trailer winch and the pop-top lifts with gas-strut assistance.
We timed the set-up and pack away times - without awning fitment - at around two minutes each, which is as good as it gets in the camping world.
Four stainless-steel screw-jack stabiliser legs are fitted and are very easily switched from travelling mode to camping mode. The legs are captive on the camper sides and are simply inverted to act as stabilisers. The screw jacks have the capacity to lift the bodywork slightly, so they double as levellers. The leg mounting tongues have sufficient length to allow easy manoeuvering under the camper if it's desirable to drive the ute out from under it. In this case, additional diagonal rods are provided, to keep the camper structure stable when free-standing.
A Waeco 80-litre front-opening fridge is standard in the Tailgater Plus. The Tailgater's external fridge slide is another Tray-Tek design, operating smoothly on long nylon runners, without rollers that can clog with sand.
Both models have a front-mounted 70-litre poly water tank, with gravity outlet. Pressure water supply to the Plus sink is standard and an external shower is optional.
Electrics include a 120AH AGM deep-cycle battery, two 12V power outlets, LED lighting and Anderson plug connection to the vehicle.
Dry weight of the Tailgater is 350-380kg and the Plus, 420-450kg.
We were very impressed with the ease of use and quality fit and finish of both Tray-Tek models; so impressed that we bought a Tailgater Plus.
Stock colours were metallic silver or white and 2013 pricing ranged from $24,950 to $30,650. A solar panel with regulator was a $1450 option.
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