Before embarking on any offroad trip with your camper trailer attention needs to be paid the rear of the tow vehicle and camper trailer in relation to stone protection. Most camper trailers do require a stone guard to reduce stones that ricochet off the trailer back onto the tow vehicle. There are many variations in stone guards depending on the style of set up on your campers draw bar.
Additional protection off the rear of the vehicle like large mudflaps fitted across the rear also slow the rocks and stones down from coming off the rear into the trailer and bouncing back. Not only does this protects the trailer but also saves the rear of the vehicle being sandblasted with stones and rocks.
After many kilometres off outback travel I have seen many broken rear windows on the vehicles towing not only camper trailers but also caravans that have not had adequate protection or just unlucky!
Rear windows don’t come cheap so if broken this can place a big dent into your holiday budget. A broken window can also affect the structural strength of any vehicle.
A simple way protecting the rear window from damage is to cover the window with either cardboard or core flute sheet like what is used as packing between sheets of aluminium.
Thicker cardboard is also a good option when on the road which can be picked up from most supermarkets but can deteriate quickly in rain or muddy conditions. Wax covered cardboard boxes like fruit and veggie boxes are more resistant to the weather conditions.
After making the trip down the local aluminium supplier I picked up a sheet of Core Flute to use as protection for the tow vehicle. The sheet was only going to be thrown out so it was free!!
Before heading off the black top I cut out two templates using a sharp blade one template for each window on the barn doors of the Patrol .This only took around 10 minutes to complete. There was enough material left over to store under the mattress of the camper trailer should I need to replace a window cover during a trip.
To fix the material to the vehicle I used gaffer or race tape that is strong enough to hold onto the glass with the wind that is generated whilst driving. The template should be cut to the maximum size .of the glass, whilst making sure there is enough room to place the tape on the glass not the paint work of the vehicle. Make sure that the gaffer tape is sealed all the way around the material as not to let any dust in between the material and the glass as this might cause the tape to lift off.
I have travelled through the Flinders Rangers and the length of the Oodnadatta Track, through the Kimberley’s and the Pilbara of WA whilst on many outback roads towing the camper trailer and haven’t come across any issues with damaged rear windows. Another plus of covering the rear of the vehicle is it’s keeps the sun of the fridge if it’s carried in the rear of the vehicle!! All up this DIY project cost under $20 to complete in less than 1hr, an easy job on a rainy day.
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