Buying a camper is like buying a home. There are considerations to take when choosing the right one – especially with the time you’ll spend in it. By buying the right camper, you avoid the costly trap of having to buy another. In this article, we’ll show you how to thoughtfully consider the important information that will help you when making an important investment in a camper van.
Camper trailers are the primary choice for travellers who want to go on road trips with their families. Compared to other travel options, camper trailers offer an inexpensive travel option when taking into account…
Aside from the lower costs, going on the road with your camper offers a unique travelling experience when you can closely experience the different Australian landscapes & adventures. Most importantly, it provides you with the absolute freedom to meet new people and communities. Since most camper trailers are designed to accommodate multiple people in a functional manner, road trips become the best choice for family holidays.
In Australia, a larger number of older couples or “grey nomads” are choosing camper trailers for their big long holiday. Like families, many of them consider their camper trailers as their home away from home.
Though these trips in camper trailers can be an amazing experience, many people make the mistake of choosing a wrong trailer that doesn’t fulfil their specific needs – which can land you into unnecessary expenses – spoiling the spirit of the trip.
If you’re planning a road trip around Australia, and you want to choose the right camper trailer, consider these factors….
Before choosing a camper trailer, analyse what your travelling party really needs. If travelling with your spouse only, you may not require the extra space a family would need. But if you are travelling with a family, you need to be accommodated in a camper trailer comfortably.
To do so – roughly analyse the total living area the camper provides after you set it up, then draw out a loose blueprint of the space, and what each service area would require to function comfortably. For a better real world understanding of the space & size, measuring this out with rope in an area the size of the trailer + annex.
This is crucial as on long road trips – you might often feel congested & not enjoy your trip at all with a small camper which is far too cramped for your needs.
For extra living space for a comfortable long trip, soft floor campers are a great option as they allow more living space. Note that the modern technological advancements have helped even soft floor campers to come up with sturdy designs that are reliable enough to last in harsh terrains and environments over a number of years.
On the other hand, hard floor & forward folding campers come with compact forms and sturdier construction. Hard floor campers, especially are designed to help you access difficult terrain where other campers may not be able to go – particularly if you go forbying in a LandCruiser right into Arnhem Land.
The best way to sort through all these choices are physically walking into a store and checking the fully unfolded camper out in the flesh.
You can prepare your meal, sleep, and do your regular activities to see whether it gives you the sufficient space and features you needed.
While some people prefer to travel along the coast and drive on highways, others need adventurous trips to remote areas and mountain regions. When you choose a camper trailer, you should also consider your destinations and travelling plans.
Most camper manufacturers make a variety of off-road, on-road, and rough road trailers.
While on-road trailers are ideal for highways and bitumen roads, rough road campers offer you more options in your adventure while travelling on established paths.
Off-road conditions require you to be able to travel anywhere, which is where hard floor and forward fold campers – with strong suspension & reinforced shocks. The investment is higher than other styles but they will be a long-lasting companion for your long trips once you are retired.
Matching up the right vehicle to your trailer is also important. You should ensure the technical aspects of the camper can work with your vehicle. Pay close attention to the chassis and suspension specifications. Additionally, you can ensure that the tires and rims of the camper trailers can greatly work on sand and mud roads – as well as being new, not used.
While you choose your camper trailer, quality and pricing should be two other important factors of consideration. Ensure that your camper trailer is compliant to the Australian Design Rule 62 & has a sturdy build-up. Note that the ADR 62 closely aligns with the international UNECE 55 standards.
Camper trailers that have ADR 62 compliance will be able to give optimal performance in the harsh conditions. Due to the close aligning of UNECE 55 and ADR 62, most of the imported camper trailers and parts also provide excellent performance in the Australian soil.
Getting the best available camper trailer is also about getting the best features within your price range. You might find some manufacturers marketing their camper trailers at incredibly low prices in Australia but are unable to offer a variety of features. Conversely, more expensive trailers may have less features. One of the bargaining choices for camper manufacturers to get ow prices can be their extensive network around the globe to source materials at cheaper rates.
However, it doesn’t mean that those trailers are substandard or low quality, perhaps far better than expensive products. Makers can innovate their manufacturing capabilities to offer campers at more competitive prices to their customers, without compromising the quality.
As far as the trailers that meet the stringent Australian Design Rule compliance standards, you can confidently bet on cheaper options since they cannot be sold without meeting them. However, it is advisable to check your trailers in advance and ensure the quality and features before choosing your camper trailer.
Some people make the mistake of choosing camper trailers that are beyond the towing capacity of their vehicles. You should know the capacity of your vehicle to safely tow. Find the service manual of your vehicle and search for its tow capacity before shortlisting camper trailers.
While choosing a camper trailer, try to keep it well below – at least 200 kg – the maximum towing capacity of your vehicle. Note that off-road trailers, especially hard floor campers, are heavier than the soft floor versions. It becomes highly dangerous to choose campers that exceed the towing capacity when you want to drive on a mountainous or uneven terrain.
Especially in long road trips, you might struggle a lot if you do not choose a camper trailer within the capacity of your vehicle.
You should also ensure that you have the right towing equipment. Some trailers come with an articulating hitch, which often needs the tow ball to be removed before installation.
Comfort varies according to your own needs as everyone’s definition of comfort is different.
Apart from ensuring the trailer is spacious to your needs, you must cross-check every aspect. Do you value cooking elaborately with the kitchen of the camper – or prefer to BBQ outside? While some trailers come with a minimalist kitchen, you can also find trailers with fully-functional kitchens – which can be set up either inside or out.
Certain models from Mars Campers come with stainless steel, pull-out kitchens that can aptly fit your cooking requirements which helps reduce the set up time and increases the room to move greatly. You can also include portable bbq cookers with these campers to make your cooking options more advanced.
With humidity, temperature & air flow being important with regards to comfort, you must test the proper ventilation and natural light inside the camper trailer. Tent-style trailers, will provide better ventilation than campervan-style trailers.
If you’re happier sleeping under the stars, in the elements, find out whether the annex portion can help you space comfortably activities. This is particularly important when you need to accommodate more people.
Some trailers give additional features to offer you an extended living experience. You can choose solar panels, a fridge, portable hot water system, additional batteries, and much more. Always remember that these features come with an additional price, but you may get these at a discounted rate if you choose them with the camper at the time of purchase.
Storage space isn’t always a matter of more is better. It, like the other considerations, has to be in balance with your needs – too much can be a burden as it increases the set up & pack down time, increases fuel usage, weight & size– important when on the road for long times.
However, if you need your camper to be a substitute for a full home, you will need an appropriate amount of space to have the same functionality you are used to, as well as storing the furniture, amenities & bric-a-brac on the road.
In more remote areas that are common in Australia, storage space for water, food & survival equipment has to be considered – as it really can be a matter of life and death in harsh environments, should emergency situations happen.
Should you have quadbikes, pushbikes, or boats along the ride with your road trip you’ll not only need to account for them but also determine whether your vehicle can haul them safely.
Regarding the interior & sleeping quarters, do you have sufficient space to keep your clothes and accessories securely? Are you in need of a queen or king mattress? Does the camper trailer come with compartments and cabinets to keep your kitchen articles, equipment etc? This is super important, as the storage space directly affects the utility of your trailer on the road.
However, you can divide & organise your storage space efficiently to contain more accessories, equipment & tools by planning ahead. If you know what features you don’t need, you’ll be able to ensure more space for the features you do need.
If you’re Malcolm Douglas, who can survive in the Kalahari with nothing more than a machete and a length of string, you’ll have no issue with setting up a forward folding camper with extensive amenities – however it will require more time than a hybrid. – however this set up time gives more storage space and creature comforts.
Also consider the mobility requirements of you & your fellow campers and whether you can rig this up unassisted. The set up/pack up of a camper should be a hassle free job, which changes according to your needs – If mobility, set up skills & time efficiency are required, a hybrid or hard floor camper can’t be beaten as they can be set up and take down in minimal time – in less than 10 minutes.
Your camper trailer will greet you in your driveway/garage every time you walk home – you want to be reminded of all the positive memories you’ve had in it, knowing it was the best choice for you and your love ones. After careful evaluation and relying on the research, you’ll have far better odds of choosing the best fit for you.
Should you require any advice to pick a Camper trailer, feel free to call our friendly staff on 1300 667 868 obligation-free.
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