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Camper Trailer Buying Guide

Posted on Wednesday 26th August 2020

Are you tired of sleeping on the ground when you go camping? Then it’s time to switch to a camper trailer. Using a camper trailer is a great way to enjoy camping. You get a fun experience with a dash of luxury and comfort.

There is nothing more enjoyable than spending the night in a comfortable bed. A trailer provides your basic facilities everywhere you go. Simply put, a camper trailer is your home away from home. Buying the right trailer is not as easy as it seems. This is because you have to have to make a choice between different manufacturers, models, and sizes. Without enough basic knowledge about camper trailers, you may choose the wrong option.

This camper trailer buying guide will help you choose the best trailer you need to make your adventures enjoyable.

Types of Camper Trailers to Choose From

If you want to make an ideal camper trailer buying plan, start with a trailer that is the best fit for your needs. Though camper trailers have a lot of similarities, their differences are very important. You will need to consider your own needs and what fits your situation best.

Soft Floor Camper Trailers

Do you enjoy camping under canvas? If so, a soft floor camper trailer may be the choice for you. This is because they have additional space and a spot to safely stockpile all your gear. With a general measurement of 6x4ft, their internal space is wide enough for storing a lot of gear. These types of campers also feature a comfortable bed and a large living space.

Soft floor campers are generally light-weight. That is why they have less towing weight. Also, they are designed to fold out like a large cabin tent. However, setting up a softfloor camper trailer can take a relatively long time.

They can be a good choice for families and small groups. This is because they will be physically able to set it faster than individuals. Besides, the vinyl floor trailers contain relatively fewer amenities. But cleaning their interior is not as easy as it seems.

Hard Floor Camper Trailers

If you are looking for a trailer that takes a few minutes to set up, choose a hard floor camper trailer. It works like a pop top caravan thanks to the roof which elongates up and front. Its rear section also creates adequate living space.

A hard floor trailer is a great choice if you want a trailer with a solid structure. It allows you to enjoy better internal amenities. It is also very resistant to severe weather. A hard floor camper trailer has smaller sleeping space. It is also heavier and contains less internal storage.

If you’re looking to enjoy the outdoors with your spouse or small family, a hard floor camper is an excellent choice. It is an option that offers enough features for your comfort and that of your family. Handling this trailer is not physically exhausting. Moreover, it takes a shorter time to set it up.

Hybrid Camper Trailers

A hybrid camper trailer is an ideal choice if you prefer the security that comes with a lockable door. Also, if you prefer towing a smaller trailer, buy a hybrid camper. It also has a solid roof and a protective structure.

The manufacture of hybrid camper trailers only started a few years ago. Since then they have become popular in Australia. This is because they also have all the benefits of a camper trailer. They are flexible, strong and full of facilities. These are the type of facilities found in a caravan.

Hybrid campers are generally an affordable option. However, they are a little more expensive than a typical softfloor and hard floor camper trailer.

Forward Fold Campers

A forward fold camper trailer is a perfect option if you like the luxury of an organised internal space. It has a bedroom that features a bed fixed opposite a communal space and split kitchen. This trailer features some storage space under its seats. A way to create more internal space! The trailer is also quite easy to set up.

Forward fold camper trailers are similar to soft floors trailers. They have almost the same type of features. However, forward fold campers are much heavier. The heaviness comes from the hinge near the tow ball at the front. To keep this camper trailer stable, you need to always put heavy items in the living room when towing. Note that you will need a 4WD to tow it, especially if you are going off-road.

Getting Your Budget Set

Your choice of camper trailer will depend on your personal budget Camper trailers are available for a wide range of budgets.

If your budget is on the lower end of the scale, look for second hand camper trailers. Some second hand camper trailers can still be very durable and affordable. Camper trailer prices will vary based on factors like model, features, facilities and design.

Towing Capacity

Before you set your budget, make sure you read your tow vehicle’s service manual to know its capacity. That’s how you will find the camper trailer weight your tow vehicle can handle. For instance, a 4WD is designed to tow a heavier trailer. But a family Sedan offers limited options.

It is important to ensure that you do not purchase a camper trailer that is too heavy for your vehicle to tow. If you want to go off-road, buy hard floor camper trailers. They are heavier than most soft floor camper trailers. If you cannot find the service manual for your vehicle, you may need to contact the manufacturer. They will provide you with necessary information about its towing capacity.

Also, you need to have the right towing equipment such as a rear bar and a tow ball. If your tow vehicle lacks any of this vital equipment, include it in your budget. Also check whether your vehicle needs a rear bar modification.

The Best Way to Buy a Camper Trailer

You will inspect both new and used camper trailers the same way. However, new camper trailers do not need such thorough inspection. Everyone knows that used camper trailers may have a lot of issues. So you will want to inspect them carefully to identify any possible issues.

Salespersons or previous owners may provide misleading information. So you also need to do your own due diligence! This is why you need to know some camper trailer basics.

Interior Checks

It is very important to do interior checks of the camper trailer you are looking to buy. Are you traveling solo, with your spouse or your entire family? There is always a camper trailer with the internal facilities you need.

  • Bedding: Inspect the beds to know whether they are still functioning well. If they are not new, then make sure they are comfortable and can still fold out smoothly. Also, check if they need a ladder.
  • Interior Storage: Check if the storage compartments are lockable. Is the space big enough to accommodate the large items you need for your coming trip?
  • Interior Electricals: Make sure the lighting and everything else functions well. Also inspect every power socket and inbuilt electronics.

Exterior Checks

Before you start doing any exterior checks, make sure you know what you want to inspect. Used camper trailers may have a lot of issues to inspect. These are issues like rust, cracks, leaks, and damaged seals. You may need a torch to see properly.

But if you are inspecting a brand new camper trailer, you won’t need to conduct such vigorous checks. However, you should still check to ensure everything is in good condition.

  • Canvas: If you are inspecting used or cheap camper trailers, check the canvas for holes or any signs of wear. Find out if they are waterproof and come with a flat roof. You do not need to buy a trailer with water pooling at the top.
  • Awning: Check the size and stability of the awning and the ease with which it sets up. Also inspect to know if some poles or struts are missing. Find out whether the awning came originally with the camper trailer or it was modified later. Check if the velcro is still sticky and the zips still working.
  • Kitchen: Inspect the kitchen to find out if every burner, hot plate and grill are functioning properly. Does it have an interior or exterior kitchen? Is it made of timber or metal? Is there a side table you can fold-out? Check to ensure that the trailer’s tap and sink are functioning well. And whether the fridge freezer zone is single or dual.
  • Set Up and Pack Down: You need to be sure that the camper trailer you are purchasing is easy to set up and pack down. This is very important because you may be camping from place to place.
  • Build Quality: Even if you choose a cheap camper trailer, make sure the quality is good. Look closely to determine if they have some design weaknesses you should avoid. Check whether the manufacturer built the camper trailer with branded products. Trailers that are manufactured with products from quality brands are more reliable.
  • Compatibility: Even the location where your chosen camper trailer is built is essential. Is it in Australia or overseas? Note that certain imported products are not compatible with Australian Design Standards.
  • Manufacturer: Research the name of the factory that built the trailer you are looking to buy. The best products come from trusted manufacturers. This means you have to learn about the camper trailer basics of any brand or model you want to purchase. It will help to check product reviews online.
  • Water System: Check the size of the water tank and whether it has both fresh water and grey water tanks. Find out if the hot water system is installable. Inspect bathroom facilities. Also confirm if the camper has an internal or external toilet.
  • Chassis: Take a look at the chassis to see if it is straight. Does it have fractures, bends, rusts patches and dents? Also inspect to know if the quality of the finish is good
  • Gas Cylinder: Inspect the gas cylinder by checking the sizes of the gas bottles. How many of them are there and are they securely fastened to the vehicle? Confirm if the seals and connections are airtight.
  • Wheels: Do not forget to inspect the spare wheels as you check the tyres.
  • Batteries: Check the size and number of batteries the trailer has. Is there any space for additional batteries? Find out if the charging system works with solar.

Relevant Questions to Ask the Salesperson

Are you buying a new or used camper trailer? Here are important questions you should ask the salesperson. The answers will help you to make an informed decision.

  • Warranty: How long will the warranty last? Ask them what the warranty covers. What about roadside assistance and other services? Ask them!
  • Opinions: Ask questions such as: Why is this camper trailer an ideal option for me? What are the problems associated with this model? Ask a few thought-provoking questions. This will spur the salesperson to voice their opinion on the trailers. That is how you will learn new things about your potential camper trailer.
  • Bargaining: Are there any promotions available for the model you want? What is the price of this camper trailer compared to other versions? Which other local dealers offer it? The salesperson’s answers will make you more informed and confident.

Final Thoughts

After reading our camper trailer buying guide, you are now in a position to find the best new or used camper trailer. Make sure you look into insurance options and value before making a purchase.

Check the prices most local dealers offer for the model you want to buy. This helps you to try elsewhere if the price is above your budget. And you will always want to do a test tow before you negotiate the price.