This is just some basic instructions, care and maintenance for your DOT trailer…some parts on a trailer will ‘bed in’ on the first few thousand kms, like the bearings, suspension, wheel nuts etc.. so these need to be checked after 500 – 1000 kms, then say yearly after that.. it’s a good idea each time rego is due, to go over the trailer and give it a quick ‘service’.. many people can do this themselves, but if you are not sure, or not confident, or don’t have time, it’s a good idea to take to a mechanic for a quick check over.. particularly also, before you go on a big trip, these things should be checked.. these notes will help you understand what needs to be looked at.. if you can think of anything else that could/ should be on this list, let me know.. : ) L
So yeah, there are some tips, things to keep an eye on, as you get familiar with your trailer.
After about 5000 kms, or earlier if you are doing a lot of very dusty roads, water crossings, then you need to re grease the bearings, and possibly adjust the electric brakes.. the electric brakes are difficult to adjust, so you are best to get a mechanic to do this, if you are not sure yourself.. I’ll do some more instructions/ video’s about these things shortly… anything else you’re not sure of, or any suggestions, please let me know.. thanks very much, luke
To view the DOT FAQ please click here.
THIS IS HOW IT STARTED – THE ORIGINAL DOT
This is my new trailer I have just finished designing.. I designed it so it was perfect for what I wanted to do. But like most of my designs, it also suits what a lot of other people are after. I have watched the camper trailer industry develop, from when I started building kitchens 13 years ago, to what it is today. I think, before campers, say 15 or more years ago, most people who had kids and wanted to go camping, and didn’t have room in the vehicle for everything they wanted to carry, simply took a box trailer, often with mesh sides on it, and chucked a big canvas tent, the bikes, everything inside. You still see a few of these around today.. but to get ready to go camping, everything had to be unloaded from the shed, packed up in the 6 x 4 box trailer, and it was then a big job to set everything up.. it was a lot of work. Also, people tended to stay at one spot for a while.. when we were kids, we did exactly this for our family holidays, driving from blayney to forster, and we camped for a month, every xmas school holidays for ten years or more.. then along came the camper trailer.. the advantage was a heavier duty trailer, room for gas bottles and water tanks etc, and the tent was already attached.. I remember what a big job it was for Dad and my brothers and me, to lift the big canvas tent and poles down from the top of the cupboard in the shed, and into the trailer, or on top of the old holden HQ… well now you don’t have to worry about that anymore.. and also, when you get to your campsite, well it’s a lot easier and quicker to setup the tent.. then as more and more people started getting 4WD’s, SUV’s etc, camping became the thing to do.. back when I was a kid, many of our friends all went to port Macquarie, or Coffs, or Terrigal, and stayed in a unit. Camping was often the thing to do if you couldn’t afford this..
but that’s all changed, the camping industry has really boomed in the last 10 years, everyone has their 4wd and 7×4 camper, and it’s become trendy to go camping, and camper trailers has boomed with it.. but from a good quality trailer, and a camper top, which was quick to setup, today many camper trailers have become enormous.. many now are 9 x 4, allowing for a walkway up the front, with double awnings, awnings out the back, fully enclosed etc.. nothing wrong with this, but i think yeah it is starting to get away from what camper trailers were about – a quick and easy/ convenient setup.. these current trailers are a big job to setup, the have enormous internal canvas area, very heavy and getting very exy, up to now $40k.. also some are too big to even fit on a standard campsite.. also more and more people now are wanting to go ‘touring’, so travelling each day, like going to ayres rock and back.. well these large campers are just not suited to this sort of thing.. ask anyone who has done it.. if you are touring, you really don’t need a huge internal tent area, as you only are sleeping in there.. some of the campers like the Tvan, or Ultimate, are more designed for touring, but yeah at around 50 – 60 K, out of my price range… so I have been thinking for a few years about an alternative..
Then when I was in Canada/America last year, one of my mates had a typical nth American type trailer.. a 6×4 ex army trailer, with a RTT (roof top tent as they call it).. the RTT was bolted directly on top of the trailer.. I thought this was a great idea, as it was small and light, and a small footprint to setup… (in nth America, you can’t buy a standard aussie 7×4 camper, for a lot of reasons. most of them have this type of trailer, or a version of it)
This was Sheldons trailer in Canada, where I got the idea from… he was the bloke who bought my very first US sale..a DPOS… we’ve since become great mates, he was here recently, and we went on a trip to the snowies in april, to test out my new ‘cape york trailer’, so that was really cool, having him there to watch it set up the very first time, having gotten the idea from him..
.. anyway, back home and I started sketching out ideas, really I wanted to still be able to take bikes, kayaks etc, and when the tent folded out, I wanted to be able to get under it, to use as awning space.. but at that height (min 1900 to the bottom of the RTT), it’s too high to travel with, ie too high center of gravity, so the only solution was to be able to raise and lower the tent.. this sounds easy, but as with all designs, it’s a long process to perfect..we have ended up with electric lineal actuators. These actuators can each lift 50 kgs, and hold up to 250 kgs, so plenty strong enough. They raise the tent about 400 mm high, making the base about 1950 mm high, plenty high enough to walk under.. the good part now, is that the roof top tent can be fully set up, when in the lower position, so it’s very easy to do.. once it’s set up, then you can raise the tent at the push of a button.. a 100 amp/hour battery takes care of this, also the led lights..
The great thing about this trailer, is it combines the good points of the RTT and the camper trailer.. the tent is super quick to setup, you don’t need a lot of room, it’s just enough to sleep in and that’s it, so you aren’t carrying extra canvas etc you don’t need. RTT on the top of a large 4wd/roofrack, can be very high, and very hard to reach even to unzip the bag.. having it down low on the trailer is very handy.. then the trailer is smaller and lighter. The 6×4 size is big enough that you can take the gear you need, without overloading the vehicle, but it’s not excessive weight or size.. also, this size at 6′ long, has a much better approach and departure angle, and will basically follow a 4wd anywhere..
If you had a family with two to three kids, well the large Hannibal RRT will easily sleep three, and combined with an oztent, or a small tent for the kids, then this setup could easily cater for a family. On the other hand, with just one or two people, you could downsize this tent to a smaller size, and have room then for more storage. It’s a very versatile setup, you could use any RTT really, just the Hannibal is the best by far I think. So here is the result, a lightweight fully setup offroad trailer, with a small footprint, quick setup, for me this is the ultimate touring trailer…
Elec brakes, handbrake, water tank, ozhitch, 2 x gas bottles, 2 x jerry cans, front toolbox, 100 amp hour battery, side boxes, allow rims, stone guard. The trailer is full offroad, I don’t think you will see or be able to buy a better looking offroad trailer than this. The shorter length gives it a rugged look, and yeah I love the ‘lines’ of the whole setup, with the space thru the middle.. it can basically go where ever you want. The shorter length also means you have a much better approach and departure angle, basically same as your 4wd. This is really important for full offroading. the drawbar, or the rear, won’t get snagged up like longer trailers.. so basically this is the best offroad trailer I can think of, you are not buying and paying for a heap of fancy crap that you just don’t need..
I have put on a checkerplate aluminium cover. This is fixed down, and doesn’t lift up.. this makes an awesome space, that is very versatile.. bikes, kayaks, extra storage, extra jerry cans, basically whatever you like can be fixed, or tied onto this area..
The tent I have used is the Hannibal, cause from what I’ve seen, it’s the best on the market.. this is the largest in the Hannibal range, so 2.0 m x 2.4m you could easily downsize to a smaller tent, or even use a different brand, but the Hannibal tent also matches the rear awning, and I have made several small design changes to make this tent work properly for me… so you would miss out on all those with a different tent. Also, I really like the Hannibal with the large fly extension, so a heap of cover over the ladder..
Here you can see the height difference from fully extended on the left, to fully lowered on the right. It works from ‘lineal electric actuators’. So not hydraulic, not air etc, but an electric 12 v actuator. So with the push of a button, you can raise it. They have individual limit switches built into them, so they will each cut out at the required max and min height.. this is really cool, to be able to hit a button and stand there while it raises up..
See here, the best thing with this setup, is you can set everything up when the tent is in the lowered position, where it’s easy to reach. This is one of the major drawbacks of a standard RTT, you can’t reach the bloody thing to set it up… so this is a comfortable head high height, which makes it very easy. Once the tent and awning are folded out, then you can hit the button and lift it up.. this freestanding awning from Hannibal is fantastic, lots of cover, and you just fold it out, no ropes or poles. In fact, there is not one pole, rope or peg needed for this setup, even in strong winds. There is also canvas that joins between this awning, and the tent itself, so you have loads of awning space.. this would then need one x pole.. also the sides of the tent/ awning can be closed in if needed…
The kitchen is our DPOR PD – drifta pull out with return, package deal, in black/stainless look. So it has the pull out kitchen, this is the ultimate camping kitchen, has our new stainless look laminate on the front, then a tucker box lifts out, this is perfect for fruit/veges/ bread. Then a storage box is on the passenger side.. this slides in and out very easily, giving you access to all the storage area.. with this setup, there is no need to lift up the bedbase, which is why it is fixed down
So yeah we spent a week in the high country to test out the new setup, and it was perfect. The trailer was super tough, looks awesome, the tent has heaps of room, heaps of awning space, and it’s super quick to fold out, and very easy also. The kitchen of course is perfect :), so yeah this is really a great package. … anyway, see what you think.. any questions let me know…. thanks for your interest, rgds luke…