For the typical camping enthusiast, the succeeding step from ‘tenting’ will most likely be the purchase of a camper trailer which, offers more luxury especially when it comes to sleeping off the ground (and as we get a little older and less flexible!).
For those looking to enjoy weekend getaways, the significant advantage of doing it ‘camper trailer’ style, is packing the camper, which can be done during the week. This eliminates a lot more stress compared to packing the car (and organising the kids) after work on a Friday afternoon.
The same applies to when you return home on a Sunday afternoon. All you have to do is to park the camper trailer and leave it to be unpacked at a later stage during the week. This way, you can stay at camp for longer, without the worry or stress of unpacking and preparing for work on Monday morning.
With a large range of camper trailers available in the market today, is it any wonder that buying one for the first time is a daunting experience, to say the least? The most confusing aspect of the whole process is ‘Where to Start’, what type of camper trailer will suit your (and your family) needs and the dollars required. The easy way would be to grab the first camper trailer you see and hope for the best, which can lead to a very expensive mistake. However, taking your time by doing a little research can benefit in the long run.
A great way to start your camper trailer search is to look at your budget and determine where you will most likely take your vehicle and camper trailer.
Even though the “Sky’s the Limit”, you do not need a flash camper trailer with all the bells and whistles, just to get out there and have fun. However, what you DO want is something that is robust and reliable.
Times are changing and you will be amazed to learn that the quality of a $7,000 camper trailer compared with an $80,000 model sometimes are hardly worth the extra cost. As with most things in life, you will know when you found the right one after a bit of research.
The other thing to consider is your ‘camping style’. For example, will you be visiting Caravan Parks, National Parks or State Forests via well-formed roads? Will the location have basic amenities such as water on tap, toilets and showers? If so, then you probably won’t need a doomsday-off-road-ready camper trailer that is designed to carry extra water, fuel and supplies for a week of remote camping.
When it comes time to visit a store/showroom, don’t be afraid to ask questions to the salesperson. They should be able to reply to any question you ask, which will also demonstrate how well they know their products and how much confidence they have in them.
Collect any brochures or flyers of the camper trailers that took your interest, so you can put it all together for when your mind is clear when you get home.
What part of a particular camper trailer took your eye? Does one style of kitchen stand out over another?
Don’t be afraid to roll under the camper to check out the blokey bits such as the suspension, whilst another person checks out the kitchen and stovetop arrangement.
One thing you will find during your search for the right camper trailer is that there are several different configurations available. Some have a dedicated camper body like the flip-overs (and windups etc.) with a hard floor, whilst others are based on a box trailer and commonly have a soft floor.
A flip-over camper mostly has a sealed hard top when travelling and opens to the rear to become the floor which is suspended off the ground on rails or legs. This is an advantage, especially when camping on sloping ground levels, on the beach in soft sand or when the ground may be a bit soggy underfoot.
From tow mode, the camper folds out in minutes ready for an overnight camp with the bed ready-made! The kitchen slides out from the side, which can also be accessed when having meal breaks while travelling to your destination or back home.
A popular type of camper these days is the forward folding camper trailers, which opens in the same footprint as the trailer. One point to pay attention to with this type of camper is, that they are generally full-on-off-roaders and not quite suitable for small and medium SUV’s.
Some models of the rear fold hard floor and forward folding types of camper trailers have a winching system to pull the hard floor over, which is a big advantage for setting up by one person.
Soft floor campers are also easy to set up for a one-nighter, which is usually done by removing the soft vinyl tonneau cover and pulling the canvas out to the extending internal frame. Some require the use of a couple of tent pegs and ropes.
*One downside of this type of camper is that it can be hard for one person to set up and pack back onto the trailer
A windup involves lifting the hard roof up mechanically to expose the canvas sides. The floor is well off the ground with steps into the caravan like interior. Some have a double bed on each end that is pushed out when setting up camp. These campers usually have an internal kitchen with a dinette allowing plenty of comfort. They also allow for more ‘Out of the Weather’ style camping, however, it could be a little cramped for a large family in this situation.
Of course, there are many variations to these aforementioned types of campers. Your choice will depend on what suits you and your preferred style of camping, the comfort levels you require and where you want to take it. Consideration must also be given to the tow capacity of your vehicle as well as the ball weight. Especially if you have a lightweight 2WD vehicle or perhaps a soft off-roader also known as an SUV.
Important note: Check your vehicle manufacturer’s handbook for these specifications. Overloading can void your vehicle’s warranty as well as your insurance. A ball weight of around 10% to 15% of the trailer’s weight will give good forward travel and tracking qualities. Don’t forget the trailer’s ball weight is part of the vehicle’s payload.
By making a list of preferences you may be able to narrow down your search to a shortlist.
Consider if you will be doing ‘touring holidays’, setting up one-night camps or on the other hand camping in the one place for several days at a time.
How hard will the camper be to set up, does it require one person or two?
Will you be visiting National Parks and/or Caravan Parks, where most facilities are available or will you be camping in remote areas that requires you to be more self-sufficient – by taking your own drinking water, portable toilet and the like?
Do you need a slide-out kitchen which is easily accessible for roadside lunches or morning tea is an advantage on touring holidays?
Depending on the type of camper trailer and where you want to camp, it will influence the “options” you will need.
Like most camper trailer manufacturers, our website has a good range of information for browsing the details of each camper trailer, with more information been added as the product evolves. When you have narrowed down your search and need answers from actual camper trailer owners, you may find it helpful chatting with camper trailer owners at our Official Mars Campers Enthusiasts page. Here, you will get an unbiased opinion from our customers. You do not need a camper trailer to join and find out what camping with one of our camper trailers is about.
In summary, buying a camper trailer is a reasonable expense. You may only buy one in your lifetime, so you want to ensure that you make the best choice for you and your camping style.
It’s important you take your time and do your homework. Use the tips in this article to help you narrow down your choices before handing over your hard-earned dollars. Like us, you will find that a camper trailer makes camping all that much easier, especially because the comfort and convenience it provides. Enjoy!
At Mars Campers we work hard to develop the best value for money camper trailers with a view of helping you create memorable experiences with your loved ones.
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