At the end of 2017, I popped into the Trailer and Mega Custom Steelworks (TMCS) factory in Pretoria to get an exclusive first look at a new kid on the block. This multi-purpose trailer with a host of customisation options is called the Rhino Ranger. The name is apt – it’s a solid, strong trailer with body panels made from 1.6mm steel plate.
At that stage, the demo unit had just been built, but as the trailer is now ready to hit the market, we are able to reveal more detail.
When buying the basic Rhino Ranger unit, you get the body, a large, roomy, nose cone compartment, a jockey wheel, extra-strong roof rails, and a spare tyre. The tyres are the latest Goodyear Wranglers that come out with Kevlar reinforced sidewalls. They look pretty mean and macho, too!
I had an opportunity to walk around in the state-of-the art TMCS factory where the Rhino Ranger is built, and got a first-hand look at the design criteria behind the trailer. What became clear on our factory walk-about is the fact that the customer is king, and customisation is the name of the game.
Your first standard option is to use the trailer as a packing unit, so you start by buying the well-priced basic trailer which is ready to load to the brim and head out on the road… even if it’s going to be some serious off-road.
The GVM of the basic un-braked trailer unit, stock-standard off the factory floor, is 750kg. But if you want a larger load, no problem – TMCS will fit a brake coupler or braked axle to the trailer. Or, if you want even more, they can kit you out with a 2-ton axle!
The second standard customisation option is for campers: TMCS will kit out your Rhino Ranger with a rooftop tent. I found that setting up the tent was simplicity itself. It’s a genuine up-and-down literally in less than a minute.
The third standard option is aimed at hunters. The Rhino Ranger customisation has a range of state-of-the-art cooler bags built by CoolerKing for the trailer. The largest is designed to fill the whole main trailer body, but there is also an option for a cooler bag that fits half the trailer, with the other half left for ordinary storage. There is also a cooler bag designed to fit into the nose cone of the trailer. The cooler-bag material consists of numerous protective layers especially designed to maintain a consistent temperature inside. The foil inside the bags is known to be one of the best insulation materials for maintaining the cold inside the bag. The outer layer of the cooler consists of four layers of different protective materials that assist in preventing heat, dust or wind from entering the cooler.
It’s this attention to detail in every component of the Rhino Ranger that impressed me on my first viewing of the van.
Of course, these are not the only customisation options, and TMCS is ready to work with each individual client to tailor a trailer to their needs – including providing mountain bike racks on the roof rails, a National Luna fridge, or extra long-life batteries. Other add-ons include a fold-away aluminium table, corner steadies, and a lightweight step.
I really feel that Rhino Ranger is going to fit a niche in the South African market. It affords people the opportunity to start with a basic trailer that is tough and can take the punch. As your camping needs grow, you build up the accessories that are custom-made for the trailer.
With a base price of approximately R35 000, going up to R95 000 for a fully-equipped Rhino Ranger with a comfortable, easily accessible double-bed tent, National Luna Fridge/freezer and a deep cycle battery and lights, I think the Rhino Ranger is going to be a popular choice in this sector of the camping market.
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By Richard van Ryneveld