Camper trailers have given many Australians the chance to explore the Great Southern Land. You really do get the best of both worlds with camper trailers, as you can stay in the bush and be comfortable at the same time.
They provide mobile accommodation and can be easily set up at where you’re staying in only a few minutes.
However, like with a lot of things in life, there are things you should and should not do with camper trailers. But managing the possible issues that camper trailers can experience can be overcome.
Mars Campers are camper trailer experts who can guide you through the dos and don’ts of camper trailers. From knowing how to correctly tow a trailer to all the safety matters involved, there are a lot of things camper trailer owners should always keep in mind.
Every state of Australia has their little differences from one another. It could be something as trivial as whether you say potato cake or potato scallop or if you follow AFL or NRL. Something that’s not as trivial is their own laws, and that includes road and towing laws.
Before you leave home, be aware that different states may have different laws regarding towing. If you’re going interstate, check out the below links to each state’s towing laws.
It is critical that you have the correct equipment and tools in order to be able to tow your camper trailer safely. If you don’t already have this equipment, you will need to factor it all into your budget.
You will need tow bars and trailer wiring connectors to tow your camper trailer. The vehicle’s suspension may need to be upgraded to increase its towing capacity.
At the very least, you will need a rear bar with a tow ball. Some camper trailers, especially off-road models, use an articulating hitch (further modifications will be needed for your rear bar for this).
Also, the height of the vehicle’s tow bar and the trailer’s drawbar need to be level for stability and safety.
When the trailer mass is near its limit, you should consider having high-capacity tow bars, heavy-duty rear suspension, and brake controllers fitted in. Adding load-distribution devices to the tow vehicle can help with stability is an option worth considering.
Safety chains must be fitted as required in Australia. These chains must be strong enough to hold your camper trailer in place in case the trailer coupling accidentally gets disconnected on your journey.
You’re not going to get very far if the tyres on either your vehicle or your camper trailer are no good.
Nobody likes having to pull over because they’ve got a flat tyre and being stranded because of a flat tyre in the middle of nowhere is not something you want to experience.
So, before you even leave your house, make absolutely sure that all of these tyres, including your spare, are in good nick.
You should get your vehicle serviced by a mechanic before doing the long-distance driving that will most likely be required for a camping trip.
The tread depth of these tyres must be over 1.5 mm to be considered roadworthy. If any of these tyres are over six years old or are particularly worn out, they should be replaced before you hit the road.
Look over your tyres to ensure that there are no cuts, leaks, chips, nails or screws in a tyre, or any other type of damage to them. You should also check the sidewalls and air pressure of your tyres, as that can affect how your trailer handles on the road.
Before heading out to the great outdoors, thoroughly inspect your camper trailer to ensure everything’s in good condition.
This includes the batteries, interior and exterior lights, taps, wiring, gas connections, and anything else that needs to work so you can travel around the country.
Place your camper trailer in your backyard and open everything up. Inspecting all of the trailer’s interior and exterior features ensures that everything is in suitable condition for camping.
Such features include beds, kitchen, fridge, and anything else that you will need for camping, such as mesh screens, awning poles, gas bottles, and hinges.
Although doing all this will be very tedious, finding any issues in the comfort of your own home will save you a lot of hassle, time, and money, and alert you of any repairs that you’ll need to do before your trip.
Before you start setting yourself up at the campsite, make sure that all the latches, clips, and locking points are unfastened before you unfold or wind up the camper. Not doing so will prevent you from opening up your camper.
Ensure that no canvas is caught in any pinch points. If this happens, things will not deploy properly, which will hinder your ability to set up camp or even get things torn or damaged while trying to force things into place as they are caught on something.
Don’t Assume Your Vehicle Can Carry Really Heavy Loads
All Australian trailers should have a data nameplate on it that specifies its maximum weight, empty weight, axle ratings, and tyre sizes. If the camper trailer you buy weighs more than what the nameplate states, then this reduces how many things it can carry.
If your trailer is very limited in terms of how much it can carry, then it’s not doing its job. You also don’t want the weight of your trailer to strain your vehicle and its own capabilities.
Make sure that the trailer securely connects to your hitch. If need be, the vehicle’s suspension might have to be upgraded so it can safely tow the trailer.
With this in mind, off-road and hard floor camper trailers are usually heavier than soft floor models. If you do not know your camper trailer’s weight or the towing limitations of your vehicle, call the manufacturers that made them for more information.
Just because your vehicle has a tow bar does not necessarily mean it’s appropriate for towing a heavy camper trailer. Many tow bars are designed to carry light trailer loads, so be aware of this.
Generally speaking, bigger vehicles like 4WDs can tow heavier trailers while sedans are only capable of towing lighter camper trailers.
Knowing this in advance will help you buy the type of tow bar you need and so you don’t waste money on buying one that’s not right for your vehicle.
Learn about the safety regulations and restrictions of your camper trailer and towing vehicle before going on your trip. There should be a plate on your tow bar that shows its tow rating.
Make sure you buy the correct type of tow bar that can carry the weight of your camper trailer. Read your vehicle’s manual to understand its towing capacity so you know what camper trailers you can safely tow and which types you shouldn’t.
This may sound obvious, but it cannot be emphasised enough how important it is to make sure your brakes are working properly. Remember, you are controlling your camper trailer as well as your vehicle.
If your camper trailer’s gross trailer mass (GTM) is less than 2,000 kg, it has to be fitted with brakes that have at least one axle.
While having override brakes are fine for trailers that go up to 2,000 kg, trailers that have a higher GTM must have brakes on every wheel that will automatically work.