Question from a reader:
Hi Robert, I appreciate your informative Youtube videos and appreciate your approach to explaining things. I am looking a purchasing an offroad trailer, with most of my 4wding is in the Vic high country I would like your advise on how (or to avoid it altogether) to deal with tricky situations like switchbacks, steep slopes, reversing etc. Much appreciated.
Let’s define camper trailer first of all – that’s a trailer designed for offroad use, that’s the same width as the towcar, and weighs 1500kg or less.
Well, I wouldn’t take a camper trailer on the tighter and steeper parts of the High Country for a few reasons:
- Too tight – some tracks have switchbacks that actually require the vehicle to do a three-point turn. With a trailer you’d be unhitching and winching it around. Nobody’s idea of fun.
- Anti-social – again, the tightness. It can be hard to pass in many places, and no matter how good you are at backing a trailer, sometimes when offroad it’s just impossible. So you end up being very difficult to pass.
- Capability – a lot of High Country tracks are quite easy, albeit steep. Just slot into 2nd or 3rd low and up you go. At least, without 1000kg of trailer behind you, and in the dry. If conditions change…well, that’s a problem, and it being the High Country the alternate route may not be any easier, and involve many extra travel hours.
- Brakes – those long descents can heat up your brakes, which is why we use first and second low. Now add a trailer, and you’ve got more braking to do.
- Heat – I’ve seen 4X4 overheat pulling a camper trailer out of Talbotville access road, let alone slogging up hills in 2nd low.
And it also takes a lot of skill and a very capable vehicle to do this consistently:
Not only do you need to be very good at offroad driving, you also need to be very good at towing. And then practice the combination. I’ve run training courses for offroad driving, onroad towing and offroad towing…and for the latter, there has to be a pre-req as I found there was an over-estimation of ability. I wouldn’t like to be finding stuck trailer/car combos every other track in the High Country.
So by all means take your camper trailer into the High Country, but leave it somewhere relatively easily accessible, then go out and do the tighter, steeper tracks unhitched. And only drive tracks you know well. It can be done, Wonnagatta Station is fairly easily trailer-accessible for example.
If you really want to see how far you can go with a trailer then try your local state forest where you’re less likely to inconvenience anyone.
Here’s how to drive trailers offroad: