If you love camping under canvas but need more space in the tent, and somewhere safe to stash all your gear then a soft floor camper could be for you.
Generally speaking, soft floor campers consist of a 6x4ft box trailer to store your camping gear, a bed base that acts as a lid for that gear and a large tent that’s protected by a vinyl cover when you’re out on the road. Soft floor campers will often have a toolbox and kitchen facilities as well.
Tents on soft floor campers usually fold out quite far from the long side of the trailer (the 6ft side), to provide a large, deep covered space for little ones to sleep or play in wet weather, with room spare for cots, cribs and tables. Since the tent floor rests on the ground and the bed is on top of your gear, there’s quite a hike up to the bed but some soft floor campers provide a small staircase next to the bed.
When it comes time to park your camper at camp, you need to think about the direction the tent will face, especially since a side-fold tent requires a lot of space. Not all caravan parks can accommodate large soft floor camper trailers so you’ll need to discuss your needs when you book.
It takes a bit more time to prepare a campsite for a soft floor camper and to set up the tent compared to other types of campers because the floor rests on the ground. Those who are familiar with large tents shouldn’t have a problem though. In fact, soft floor side-fold tent designs have become much easier to set up in recent years.
The kitchen on a soft floor camper will either open flip open from the back of the trailer (this is called a ‘tailgate kitchen’) or slide out in a drawer (referred to as a ‘slide-out kitchen’).
Tailgate kitchens are straightforward, take up very little room in the main storage tub but are limited to the size of the trailer’s tailgate. Slide-out kitchens tend to consume more of the storage space and aren’t as popular even though some include more features.
Soft floor campers can perform very well in offroad situations as they usually weigh less compared to other types of camper trailers with similar features. What’s more, a lot of the weight falls close to the trailer’s axle which keeps it steady when you tow.
In fact, if your soft floor camper is equipped with the right suspension and a weight-rated boat rack, you can usually get away with hauling it with a tinny on top for less than 1.5 tonnes.