Soft or hard floor campers

Submitted: Wednesday, May 15, 2002 at 00:00
ThreadID: 1139 Views:2766 Replies:4 FollowUps:2
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I' m after some views on the merits of hard floor or soft floor campers. I believe the main difference is ease of setting up and keeping the floor out of the mud etc. However having never owned one I don't know if there are any other real advantages for or against either one. I do like the Ultimate camper and the Aussie Swag but never see any second hand and think they would be very ex bleep e considering the new price.
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Reply By: greg - Wednesday, May 15, 2002 at 00:00

Wednesday, May 15, 2002 at 00:00
Ray as you may well know everything is a compromise. I have owned both soft and hard floor unit and the main advantages are what you have mentioned. The hard floor units are generally much more expensive and most are well built but not necessarilly better than a softfloor unit. If you intend doing hard 4wd work then if you are silly enough to take a trailer a stong light weight unit with a good coupling is best. If you are just touring then I would seriously think about a larger unit particularly if you have kids. The windup offroad units are good (Jayco). I actually saw an idiot towing one across the Simpson. Having said that they are not hard core units but are ok for outback roads. By the way if you can find a trailer that does not let in dust or water then go for it - most do and it is a real pain if you have to seal them with tape each day you travel. In my opinion suspension wise a heavy duty leaf sprung unit with shockers is as good as any but carry a spare spring, shocker and bearings. External bins and hatches are useful. As far as kitchens go I prefer an internal one (good in cold wet weather) rather than external but that is a matter of preference. Good luck mate.
AnswerID: 3570

Follow Up By: Ray - Wednesday, May 15, 2002 at 00:00

Wednesday, May 15, 2002 at 00:00
Hi Greg,

Thanks for the info. It will be for long term travel (a few years) interspersed with units and motel rooms etc. For the harder runs we'll use the swag and leave the camper in storage. I had noticed the substantial difference of cost between the two styles and hence the question on the differences. I agree with you on the internal kitchen which is why I like the Ultimate camper but not the price tag.

Thanks again.
FollowupID: 1442

Reply By: Geoff - Wednesday, May 15, 2002 at 00:00

Wednesday, May 15, 2002 at 00:00
G'day Ray,

I agree with all of Greg's comments. As far as ease/time of setting up goes, bear in mind that the hard floor campers usually have a pack rack that must be unloaded before you set up, and reloaded before you hit the road. Also, they are very quick if you only erect the bare camper, but if you have to put an awning up they usually have a lot of poles/ropes/pegs, which really blows the time out. Take a look at Trak Shak ( They're a soft floor type, very dust and waterproof. Particularly good if you're looking to accomodate more than 4. Not cheap though, and rare on the second-hand market. I bought one 5 years ago (there are 4 of us) and have been very happy with it. We did a trip to Lake Eyre a couple of years ago with others who were all using swags and tarps, and we weren't holding then up at all when it came time to get going.


AnswerID: 3576

Follow Up By: Geoff - Wednesday, May 15, 2002 at 00:00

Wednesday, May 15, 2002 at 00:00
Also take a look at,
you should get some useful info/links there.
FollowupID: 1444

Reply By: Nigel - Wednesday, May 15, 2002 at 00:00

Wednesday, May 15, 2002 at 00:00
We had one where the floor attached to the walls with velcro and was a pain. We now have a campomatic which probably does a better job of keeping the dust out than some of the covers on softfloor models. The hard floor models are dear (even secondhand) but as we use ours at least once or twice a month, and intent to do some long trips as well we decided we may as well have the comfort and convenience.

Another problem that we had with the old one was that because the area in the trailer (under the bed) was just a large open space, the luggage tended to bounce around too much. A drawer system would have solved.

The only other minor difference I can think of are:

Some softfloor campers require you to connect the gas up each time you need to use it - not a big problem.
Hardfloor campers tend to have other luxuries like a water pump and fixed lighting inside and outside the tent.
Some softfloor campers don't have much in the way of dust seals on the tailgate.

With any camper, make sure it has shock absobers, not matter whether the springs are leaf, coil or alco (rubber).

Hope these ramblings help.
AnswerID: 3584

Reply By: red - Saturday, Jun 08, 2002 at 00:00

Saturday, Jun 08, 2002 at 00:00
Ray,we have a hard floor aussie swag,it is excellent.Only takes 2 minutes to unfold and a couple more to put awning on(zipped)and only 3 poles.After having a leaf spring trailer and now a inderpendent coil sprung model they just ride so much better,the gear in the roll out draws stays where it is put .the fold out kitchen is sometimes a pain in the rain but the awning keeps you dry.A real good investment the Aussie swag.
AnswerID: 4083

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