A Camper Trailer makes for a truly luxury version of camping. I hear so many people regularly complaining about how camping in tents is uncomfortable and difficult, but with a good set up and a good Camper Trailer you will have a very enjoyable time! Camping is made difficult and uncomfortable by a lack of facilities including good sleeping equipment, toilets, showers and cooking facilities. When you have a proper set up though, camping becomes much easier as you have all of the facilities with you. A hot shower, toilet, good mattresses and good cooking facilities go a long way when you are out in the bush, and they don’t cost a huge amount either. Many of these come with a Camper Trailer, or you can buy them as additional items.
What is a Camper Trailer?
For those of you who don’t know what a Camper Trailer is, see the pictures that I have put in this post. They are basically trailers which have a tent that folds out or pops up. They are built on trailers which are designed to go four wheel driving as well. Camper Trailers vary massively from brand to brand and like anything that you purchase there are a lot of options to choose from.
Some Camper Trailers have floors which fold out that are solid, whilst others are just material, much like a stronger version of a tent floor. Camper Trailers range in size considerably as well; some will comfortably sleep 8 whilst others can only sleep 2. A Camper Trailer combines everything that you need for travelling into a relatively light weight trailer which you tow around with you. This eliminates much of the storage issues which we all face by just having a four wheel drive to pack things in. The storage issue becomes a real problem when you have a whole family as you need to pack tents, sleeping equipment, showers, cooking equipment and everything else into a tiny square box at the back of your vehicle!
What is the difference between a Camper Trailer and a Caravan?
The main difference between a Camper Trailer and a Caravan is the materials that they are made of. A caravan tends to be sealed by metal sheets, whilst a Camper Trailer is made of Canvas. Caravans are usually much bigger than a Camper Trailer, and they weigh a lot more. This means that they are not as good for serious four wheel driving. They also have a worse entry and departure angle, and they have less clearance.
In saying this, a Caravan is great for touring around the place, but anything above beach driving (and you will struggle to tow a heavy Caravan on soft beaches) is not possible in most Caravans. Sure, you can buy the off road versions but they still weigh a massive amount and are too hard to tow through the serious four wheel drive tracks that we all love. The level of luxury is also reduced from a Caravan to a Camper Trailer, but then so is the price tag.
At the end of the day if you are wanting to get off the black top and see some amazing scenery, but you are happy living in a Camper Trailer then they are the best way to go. They are far from uncomfortable, but you need to ‘set them up’ as a pose to parking your Caravan and everything is already set up. If you aren’t all that interested in going too far off road then a Caravan is a great option and they are easier to use. Simply make a list of what you want the trailer to do and then you will see what the best option for you is.
How much does a Camper Trailer cost?
This is a question which has a huge number of variables. The price of a Camper Trailer varies based on whether it is a solid floor, soft floor, how large it is, and what extra additions come with it. For example, you will pay more for a stone guard, toolbox on the front, rack to mount your boat motor on, larger tyres, upgraded suspension, trailer brakes and the list goes on. These trailers start off brand new for about 5 thousand dollars, and go all the way up to 50 thousand dollars for a fully decked out Camper Trailer. Of course, most people don’t require that, so get something in the middle of the range.
If this still seems like a lot of money consider the cost of not having one. By owning a Camper Trailer you can camp anywhere you want (provided it is legal) and as a result you don’t have to find a Caravan Park in each town (which costs you money each night). They are also incredibly easy to use as a pose to setting up tents and using other cooking gear. They are designed for convenience and I know that at the end of the day if you camp regularly a Camper Trailer is well worth the money. When looking at Camper Trailers you want to get something that is going to match your vehicles capability. Some trailers are designed to go through some serious four wheel drive tracks, but if your vehicle can’t do them then why spend the extra money?
When you consider the amount of money that you can spend on Caravan Parks (even just tent sites), hotels and motels you are much better off getting a Camper Trailer. Sure, its a bigger investment at the start but over the years it will pay itself back. You can travel around Australia and pay for accommodation only in the National Parks, which is a huge saving. If you were to do it with a Caravan or by tenting you might find the costs go up significantly.
Where do I get a Camper Trailer from?
There are a massive number of places that sell Camper Trailers, and you are able to go in and take a look at them all. A good sales person will go through the features of each, tell you about the Camper Trailers and show you how to set them up. Learning from four wheel drive forums and people who have owned Camper Trailers is a brilliant place to start as you will find very targeted information. I won’t even begin to make a list of the Camper Trailer manufacturers as there are hundreds and hundreds. What I will suggest is to do your research very carefully, and talk to those who have owned the Camper Trailers before.
Buying a second hand one will save you a lot of money, and a number of people buy the Camper Trailers and decide that they are not what they want. You can pick Camper Trailers up for several thousand dollars cheaper than new that have only been used once, which is a good thing to look out for! Alternatively, you can design your own Camper Trailer and get it made up at an engineering or fabrication place. A lot of people do this because you can set them up exactly how you want them to; making life very simple! There are plenty of these advertised online, but be very sure to do your research thoroughly on the model and what it has done if it is second hand.
Can I make my own Camper Trailer?
Often the best Camper Trailers are built by those that have used a number of Camper Trailers, made a list of the bad points and then built a trailer which fixes everything that was wrong on the other trailers. If you are good with welding and sheet fabrication these are not that difficult to build and you can buy the tents for around two thousand dollars. The best thing about building or designing a Camper Trailer is that you can personalize everything to meet your exact requirements. If you don’t like how the kitchen sits so low on many models, make it higher. You have the flexibility to change anything that you don’t like; making the perfect Camper Trailer.
Getting the trailers licensed isn’t too difficult either, providing you have done a good job on them. The most important thing to remember when building one of these trailers though is to research, plan and triple check everything. Having the same wheel width as your vehicle makes life easy, and even having the same stud pattern and rims means you have extra spares in case one of the tyres blows. Make sure you take the time to consider everything you want the trailer to do, and look at the best Camper Trailers to take idea’s from.
Hiring a Camper Trailer
If you are new to this whole game then the best thing that you can do is hire a Camper Trailer. You can get a decent Camper Trailer for fewer than 300 dollars a week, plus the deposit that you pay at the beginning. Hire a trailer to see how you like the idea of going around in one of these, and then try a few different brands until you get something that you like. The advantage of hiring a Camper Trailer is that you get first person experience and you will soon know whether or not you like them. This beats buying one and then realising that you don’t really like camping, or buying one that isn’t very strong and that isn’t comfortable!
What comes with a Camper Trailer?
The standard items that come with a Camper Trailer include the tent, pegs, poles, mattresses, ladders, a spare tyre, kitchen, treg hitch and a few other items. Of course, this varies from Camper to Camper, and you need to investigate this yourself. There are a massive number of additions that you can purchase for your Camper Trailer including water tanks, gas bottles, burners, a cooking set and cutlery, lighting, batteries, solar panels, annexes and extra rooms, toolboxes for the front of the trailer, stone guards, a fridge or Ice Chest and a massive range of other equipment. Many of these are important additions, so factor that into your costs of buying a Camper Trailer. It's worth buying a Long Range Fuel Tank to fit to your 4x4 as well, because you will use more fuel when towing a trailer.
I would suggest that you start off with only the basic requirements, and then see what you need. A toolbox is handy, and a having two water tanks at least is a good idea. That way if one is damaged you still have another to keep you going. Gas tanks are vital and they last for a long time so don’t get something that is too big. A stone guard will keep your precious investment tidy and dent free and a good quality kitchen will go a long way! If you are missing anything, or if you need spares you can get . There are a huge number of things that you can add to your trailer to make it easier to use. It's also a good idea to carry at least a spare wheel, bearing set and puncture repair kit. Extra lights make general use easier too.
How easy are they to set up?
Camper Trailers vary in how easy they are to set up. Most can be done in less than 10 minutes, but some take only a few minutes. Solid floor Camper Trailers tend to be faster to set up, but they are generally smaller as a result. Most Camper Trailers also come with an annex, or another room. If you are only camping for the weekend then maybe you don’t need to set this up. However, if it is windy they offer a lot of protection! At the end of the day setting up a Camper Trailer is much quicker than setting up a tent and all of the cooking and sleeping gear that goes with it. They are designed for practicality and functionality, and they do this very well.
Where can I take a Camper Trailer?
A Camper Trailer can be towed anywhere that you want to take it. What limits where you can take it generally comes down to your vehicles capability. Of course you have to be careful because you are towing something which puts extra stress and weight on your car, but in general they will go anywhere that you can take your car. Having 4x4 Winches available can be a great advantage if you have a Camper Trailer (make sure it is rated for both the weight of the vehicle and the weight of the Camper Trailer together) because if you get stuck then you can easily get out.
A well set up Camper Trailer has more clearance than your car, and the suspension flexes and moves well enough for it not to be a problem. Generally all you need to be aware of is the extra weight; both when going up and down hills! Remember to deflate your Camper Trailers to the same pressures as your car tyres, especially on the beach. The tyres won’t wear out much but you can get punctures from leaving them at high pressures, and you will really struggle on soft sand if you don’t let them down!
What do I do for electricity?
The last issue when using a Camper Trailer is electricity. Everyone likes to have a good lighting set up, and this is entirely possible with a good Camper Trailer. Your vehicle should have a dual battery set up, to run the fridge and start your vehicle. A number of Camper Trailers come with a battery in the trailer, which is charged when towing it. Many people like to take solar panels as well, which can charge the batteries. Occasionally you see people with wind generators, but these are a little more complicated. Of course, the other option is a small fuel powered generator. These are so quiet today and use hardly any fuel that they are a very popular option. What ever you do though, make sure that you have a good quality Camping Light!
If you haven’t had much to do with the Camper Trailer scene then you should definitely look into it. Have a look at holiday time and you will see how many people tow them around to their destinations. Compared to a Caravan they are cheap and still much more comfortable than just using a normal tent. The best thing about them is that you can leave everything packed up and then when the weekend comes its simple to get going. Throw the consumables into the trailer, fill the water up, fuel the vehicle up and you are set to go. There is no hassle in finding all of the gear, packing it correctly so it fits and then realising that you forgot to take the toaster or something else with you!
I have found that a Camper Trailer makes life much more comfortable and practical when you are camping, and so many other families have found the same thing. Having a Camper Trailer opens up your options so much, and they save you a lot of money in the long run too. Nothing quite beats waking up in the middle of nature in a comfortable bed, with a good kitchen and other very handy pieces of equipment!