Slide-on campers

While the vast majority of grey nomads still plump for either a caravan or a motorhome for their Big Lap rig, a growing number are switching on to the significant advantages of a slide-on camper.

The key benefit when compared to a caravan is that the living quarters don’t have to be towed making it safer to travel with, and its key benefit when compared to a motorhome is that it is fully removable from the Ute or truck tray. This detachability enables grey nomads using slide-ons to leave the camper behind at their campsite while they explore the area.

Many of today’s slide-on campers can be removed from a vehicle in less than five minutes using automated legs which lift and lower the camper into position. A handy remote control lets happy travellers stand back and raise their campers, before driving their vehicles out from underneath.

For grey nomads who aren’t on the road full-time, the other significant advantage over a motorhome is that your vehicle isn’t ‘wasted’ for however long you are not out on the open road.

For some people having a $100K plus asset tied up in the back yard is also just not viable. The detachment of a slide-on allows full use of the Ute year round.

Slide-ons come in a range of sizes to suit a range of ‘mother’ vehicles and can come with a surprising amount of accessories and facilities offering motorhome-esque levels of comfort.

For grey nomads who may also want to tow a boat on their adventure,  the slide-on can be positioned above the Ute tray of your vehicle to expose your tow bar.

Gary Wragg is one soon-to-be traveller who has been thoroughly convinced by the merits of a slide-on as a Big Lap option.

After 18 months of research, he says Australian products are very much to the fore, although he says the purchase of a suitable 4×4 tray does complicate the issue.

“The convenience of a comfortable rig that allows split second decisions to go, travel self contained for short or extended trips and vary our itinerary is close to heaven for me,” he said. “We are late 60’s and retired, so the window for outback travel is narrowing … I’d like to get going shortly to properly explore many of the places where we made cursory visits in the past.”

When his three children were young, Gary and his family holidayed in a dual cab ute and a tent and that ‘get up and go anywhere’ flexibility of the slide-on is what he sees as one of its key advantages.

Gary lists his reasons for choosing a slide-on as:

  • No towing – goes where trailers are unable to, easy to park, reduces fuel, registration, maintenance and ferry costs.
  • Convenience: can drive and park easily with 400kg dry weight, and is free to use after sliding off at camp.
  • Stores very easily in limited space.
  • Easy to set up and dismantle.
  • Self-contained (kitchen, toilet, shower, heating, hot water and power from gas, diesel, solar, 12v and 240v power)

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