Camper Trailer Advice

Submitted: Sunday, Apr 05, 2015 at 12:58
ThreadID: 117350 Views:2560 Replies:11 FollowUps:7
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Hi Everyone,

I've been doing a fair bit of research on here during the last week about camper trailers. Whilst I've found lots of different bits and pieces of information just wondering if anyone could steer me in the general direction of what might suit our situation.

A good 5 years after leaving the army and being stuck indoors most of the time I've finally become more interested in getting out camping again and I think it would be a great way of holidaying regularly with the family( Wife, 6yo, 3yo,1yo)as the kids grow up.

We currently have a bf falcon which is pretty full with the 3 kids so I feel we would need a trailer regardless and it would be handy having everything setup fully in a camper.

After doing some reading on here I've been looking at Trak Shaks. They seem like a good big size and simple tough setup for a family. I'm thinking initially we could use the falcon to pull it to do some basic camping in easily accessible areas before later upgrading to a 4wd as we get more confident and go on longer trips to more remote locations etc.

Am I looking in the right direction here?. Would the falcon be okay for towing something like this for the first few years or are they only really good for a 4wd?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks :)
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Reply By: Members Pa & Ma. - Sunday, Apr 05, 2015 at 13:36

Sunday, Apr 05, 2015 at 13:36
Hi Mik84,
I can't see that you're a member, so I can't send you a member message.
Could you please tell me what state you are in, yes it does matter! Let me know your email too if you wish.
We've gone from a swag up through a tent to a soft floor camper trailer & now are onto a very small off road caravan. Our savings, age & health determining.
We got the small on road soft floor camper trailer because, like you we only had a little Astra to tow it.
Hubby reinforced this Camper & the Astra took it places you wouldn't believe! with care & good maintainance until we were able to get a 4Wd & progress like that.
Caravan Parks have an issue with soft floor campers, they say that the floor kills the grass & you must put shade cloth underneath. For camping out which we mostly did at that time, we used 2 pieces of corflute (Plastic cardboard) under the soft floor it worked a treat & is a
treasured member of our household, Just old & full of memories as we are now.
AnswerID: 552028

Follow Up By: Mik84 - Sunday, Apr 05, 2015 at 13:48

Sunday, Apr 05, 2015 at 13:48
Hi, Thanks for the reply :) Ive always been more inclined to do something once if i can hence my idea of going straight to the offroad camper though definitely open to other ideas. We currently live in Victoria though right on the NSW border. My email is :)
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Reply By: MEMBER - Darian, SA - Sunday, Apr 05, 2015 at 13:51

Sunday, Apr 05, 2015 at 13:51
I've had two campers, neither being a Trakshak but I've looked over them when doing research for ours. I think you are on the money, in that the Trakshak always seemed designed to cater for families.....while being 'roomier', it would take longer in the setup and knock down than the quick hardfloor-flipover types. If buying used, when doing your presumed thorough inspection make sure that the extensive canvas work is all in good order.....that aspect of repair is often more trouble than mechanical issues (with any camper). BOL with it all.
AnswerID: 552029

Follow Up By: Mik84 - Sunday, Apr 05, 2015 at 13:59

Sunday, Apr 05, 2015 at 13:59
Thanks for the tip :). Would definitely be buying used if we got something like the trak shak. Got a bit of a surprise how expensive they were when I first started looking!
FollowupID: 837582

Reply By: Rangiephil - Sunday, Apr 05, 2015 at 14:25

Sunday, Apr 05, 2015 at 14:25
As well as looking in the classifieds here I suggest that you have a good study of the site as that is a specific camper trailer site with lots for sale as well as hints on what to look for.
Regards Philip A
AnswerID: 552030

Follow Up By: Sigmund - Sunday, Apr 05, 2015 at 16:10

Sunday, Apr 05, 2015 at 16:10

Also checkout

There are a lot of designs with ins and outs you won't discover til you use them, so I strongly suggest you hire before stumping up.
FollowupID: 837585

Reply By: john m85 - Sunday, Apr 05, 2015 at 17:32

Sunday, Apr 05, 2015 at 17:32
hi I have a 416 willys ex army trailer I cannot fault them they are small but very rugged but you would have to make a rack on top to put your tent there if that's the way you were looking at
AnswerID: 552036

Reply By: jodie0075 - Sunday, Apr 05, 2015 at 17:34

Sunday, Apr 05, 2015 at 17:34
G,day mate. We bought a 1994 Trak Shak camper around 11 years ago. Had a young family to at the time and needed a roomy true off-road camper at a reasonable price. Still have it and have just completed a little refurb to keep it for a few more years. We have travelled approx 30000km with this camper through the N.T and Kimberleys (Gibb River Road) and it has never let us down, a real quality unit and 100% Australian made at the time. Tow vehicles have been both 2wd Holden Rodeo and now Holden Colorado. Your falcon should be okay to tow but make sure you check legal weight ratings for towing, towball etc, maybe choose a unit with brakes if needed. When we set ours up, we lay down a piece of stitched, double layered cream coloured shade cloth (easy on the eye) that encompasses the whole fold out section of the camper.Works a treat. Dont be worried about buying an older Trak Shak as long as it has been cared for it will serve you well.In your case, with the 3 kiddies, get one with the extra room underneath. My opinion is the Trak Shak is one of the largest and quickest soft floor campers to set up. Real bang for buck.

Happy travels. Gary
AnswerID: 552037

Follow Up By: Mik84 - Sunday, Apr 05, 2015 at 18:11

Sunday, Apr 05, 2015 at 18:11
Thanks for taking the time to share your experience with the trak shak :). The name continually comes up when searching for family camper trailers etc. It seems like a good option. I guess my biggest concern is towing it with the falcon initially. I don't have too much experience with towing outside borrowing a 6x4 every now and again for household duties so don't have a lot to gauge off.
FollowupID: 837587

Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Sunday, Apr 05, 2015 at 19:15

Sunday, Apr 05, 2015 at 19:15
The Trak Shak is a very good choice for a family such as yours.
It will take a bit of setting up, being a soft top camper, but the room available when erected exceeds most other camper styles.

Which State are you in?
My mate has just upgraded from his 1998 South Australian built Trak Shak, (where they were originally manufactured) to a Goldstream wind-up Camper Van.
He has yet to advertise it!
The campers are now manufactured in China (I think) and then assembly completed in Australia, but they still retain a good reputation I believe.

PS. The Falcon will have no problem towing the Trak Shak, but the higher coupling height of an off road rig, may require a height adjustable coupling on the Falcon. The Trak Shak was/is supplied with a Treg coupling.

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AnswerID: 552039

Follow Up By: Mik84 - Sunday, Apr 05, 2015 at 20:13

Sunday, Apr 05, 2015 at 20:13
Thanks for the info :) We are on the border of NSW/VIC. I'll do a bit of reading into the couplings and height adjustment. That's all a bit new to me.
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Reply By: Members Pa & Ma. - Monday, Apr 06, 2015 at 18:38

Monday, Apr 06, 2015 at 18:38
Hi Mik84,
It would be worth looking at the DO 35 hitch. In Hubbys humble opinion far easier than the highland to hookup & unhook especially on uneven ground. In our experience. The same applies to the Tregg because you have to line the hook up between 2 tongues & there is a lot less chatter between tug & tow vehicle. The DO 35 has very good articulation angles.( requires a min of 90kg ball weight? The 35 means 3/1/2 tonne, you can get 65 I think, but you wouldn't need it. It can be added after purchase.
Take care, safe travels. Ma.
AnswerID: 552072

Reply By: Tony H15 - Monday, Apr 06, 2015 at 19:55

Monday, Apr 06, 2015 at 19:55
It’s a natural progression tent to soft floor camper trailer and CTs have a lot to offer over tents, hard floor CTs, caravans, etc. Camper trailers have very large comfy beds, largish floor areas, go anywhere ability, don’t affect fuel consumption too much, loads of storage and easy towing. Depending on size and extras, setup time varies. A simple three hoop camper can be erected in a couple of minutes, whereas a large CT with annexes and so on could take 30 minutes.
A Falcon would have no problems towing the heaviest of Cts, the only limiting factor would be off road ability. Unless you are intent on hard core 4WDing an on road CT should suffice and double as an ordinary trailer when needed. Realistically though, with wife and kids a high sided trailer with front box should prove ideal. Camper trailers fetch pretty good $ second hand, so a new one may be better value. If you do buy second hand, pay particular attention to fly wire and stitching. Australian made Cts are generally well made but can be pricy, Chinese on the other hand are cheap and usually quite well thought out.
Don’t bypass the Chinese Cts based on opinions of non owners, most are well made and far cheaper than the local variety. Many can be bought as tent only, allowing you to sink extra money into a custom made trailer. Often good deals on both Aussie and Chinese Cts can be had at caravan and camping shows. Before making a decision on which camper, either new or second hand, you should attend the next Caravan and Camping Show in your area, that way you can compare campers, prices and features of each side by side, a distinct advantage.
I’ve owned six CTs, two whilst I was in Defence, the remainder after being discharged, one rear opening soft floor, one hard floor and four side opening Cts. Rear or side folding depends on personal preference but rear openers have less floor area and hard floors have even less floor area. Don’t be fooled by ‘quick setup’ hard floors - they aren’t. In fact in my experience with a Cub, it actually took longer and floor and storage space was abysmal.
AnswerID: 552081

Follow Up By: Hewy54 - Monday, Apr 06, 2015 at 20:17

Monday, Apr 06, 2015 at 20:17
Agree with a lot of what you say but disagree on the setup time. We had a side folding soft floor and once we got the trailer in position, it would take us (wife and I) 12 min to set up tent unpack chairs and sit down to beer oclock. We then purchased a Kimberley Kamper, and that same set up time was 2 min.
FollowupID: 837631

Reply By: Geobserver - Tuesday, Apr 07, 2015 at 12:29

Tuesday, Apr 07, 2015 at 12:29
We towed a Camel on-road camper trailer with a BF Falcon wagon all around outback Queensland. The Falcon towed it beautifully - the only additional recommendation is to use stabiliser bars between the car and trailer to distribute the weight, as it tended to sag the rear-end otherwise. Made a huge difference in the handling of the car and trailer on the highway. We stowed all our gear in the trailer itself, with just the fridge and other small items handy when you stop for a break (a footy!).

The Camel trailer is high quality Australian made. We have used it for eight years and the quality of the trailer itself, the canvas and flooring material is top notch. See their web site. We travelled with three kids aged between 9-14 and there was plenty of room. We set up the additional annex when staying for more than a night, but otherwise sleeping was fine with three air-beds on the floor.

AnswerID: 552091

Reply By: Mik84 - Tuesday, Apr 07, 2015 at 22:58

Tuesday, Apr 07, 2015 at 22:58
Thanks everyone :)... I had a look and there are two camping shows in my area in the coming months which should be a great opportunity to see what's on offer. I asked the guys at Trak Shak if they would be there and apparently they won't be attending any shows even the Rose hill supershow which is in their own backyard. Apparently it costs them too much and isn't worthwhile. Hopefully other manufacturers don't feel the same way and I get to see some others!
AnswerID: 552136

Reply By: Mik84 - Thursday, Apr 09, 2015 at 09:08

Thursday, Apr 09, 2015 at 09:08
Would anyone be able to tell me what exactly I would need in terms of towing parts for the falcon if I decided to get a second hand trak shak? Thinking I would need to have everything set up so if the right one came up I could travel to pick it up. Haven't had much luck searching for the height adjustment etc.
AnswerID: 552205

Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Thursday, Apr 09, 2015 at 11:08

Thursday, Apr 09, 2015 at 11:08
I've got a BF XR6, Mik, and have just spent lots of $$$$$ on front 'n rear suspension. Got them to put the heavy duty rear coils for an XR8 in and it has lifted the back about 60-70mm, and the vehicle doesn't bottom out any more.

I'd be checking the height of your tow ball on the BF, so you have this as a reference when looking at any potential purchase. Take a tape measure with you when "shopping" and you can sort that out on the spot.

There'd be no reason why you couldn't tow a purchase home even if there was, say 50mm difference up or down, and you rectify this at home with a different insert for your tow bar.

Would still be sorting out any weakness in rear springs first though.

Good luck,

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Can't remember most of it.

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