Rear Fold vs Front/Forward Folding Camper Trailers

Submitted: Wednesday, Apr 08, 2015 at 10:18
ThreadID: 117402 Views:26454 Replies:9 FollowUps:2
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Im in the market for a new camper trailer and im looking for a hard floor camper trailer. The question i want to ask is what are peoples thoughts on the front/forward fold camper trailers compared to the rear fold camper trailers? What do people find best about each one and what would you say is a con about them. Any replies would be much appreciated?
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Reply By: PaulH - Wednesday, Apr 08, 2015 at 11:24

Wednesday, Apr 08, 2015 at 11:24
Don't forget side fold like Ultimate

Rosehill caravan and camping show starts soon if you're in Sydney or could take a break in Sydney for a day or two. They do demos of folding and unfolding their trailers either regularly or on request.

Many have videos on youtube once you have a few likely contenders. If they don't have a video up maybe there is a reason they don't want to show you! (or maybe they are just not tech/marketing savvy).
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Follow Up By: PaulH - Wednesday, Apr 08, 2015 at 11:29

Wednesday, Apr 08, 2015 at 11:29
If the hinge is at the front, it won't be able to open with wind from forward motion while driving.

If it folds out to the rear you might be able to leave it hitched up for short stays eg overnight while en route, but you might want to consider what happens with awning while en route.

Do you detach for travel and reattach only when stopping for eg 3 days or more? Or do you erect it every time even for a quick overnighter while trying to make miles and then have to pull it down in the morning?
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Reply By: Member -Ted (Vic) - Wednesday, Apr 08, 2015 at 14:14

Wednesday, Apr 08, 2015 at 14:14

I have a rear fold Kimberley Kamper and find it fantastic, had a track shak previously but found it to diificult for short over night stops. The KK folds out and if you dont want the annex up you can have a bed in around one minute. Cant help with forward fold. Wife loves the KK also (happy wife happy life LOL)

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Reply By: Crusier 91 - Wednesday, Apr 08, 2015 at 15:25

Wednesday, Apr 08, 2015 at 15:25
I always see 1 year old used forward folding campers for sale..................I always wonder why.

I still can't bring my self to purchase a Chinese made camper. For the same price as a new forward fold you can pick up a proven used quality Aussie made rear fold a couple of years old, Cub's, Pioneer's, Aussie Swag, Campomatic's and maybe if you're lucky a Kimberly Kamper.

That's just me though.............. and my mate................oh and my neighbour...........also my mates neighbour.....................most people I talk to as well come to think of it.

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Reply By: Member - Anthony W Adelaide - Wednesday, Apr 08, 2015 at 17:05

Wednesday, Apr 08, 2015 at 17:05
We had a cavalier soft floor for a long time but got tired of the long time it took to set up and pack up, especially if you only stop for overnight. I researched as best I could and at the end of the day we bought a 2003 Kimberly hard floor rear flip over and we absolutely love it. These trailers are built absolutely solid with quality parts and canvas. Much better than the chinese imports. We paid 15k for ours so it was cheaper than alot of the chinese ones as well and is in as new condition. Should last us for several years until we are ready for a caravan.
One minute set up and no pegs or ropes needed for overnight stops or 10 minutes and 3 pegs for awning and longer stays.

Interesting that none of the quality Aussie manufacturers make a forward folder.
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Follow Up By: Evan 1 - Wednesday, Apr 08, 2015 at 20:20

Wednesday, Apr 08, 2015 at 20:20
Actually Modcon Campers in Brisbane have been making a forward fold camper for at least 8 years. Their work is very good quality and some of the best canvas work I have seen. The price now does reflect the value. They also now do a cheaper version based on an import however.

I dont mind the forward fold. Most can be unfolded while still attached to the car.

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Reply By: Danna - Wednesday, Apr 08, 2015 at 20:18

Wednesday, Apr 08, 2015 at 20:18
Cub and quality?? ..Just look at the bed … thin flimsy unsealed plywood under a mattress.
There are other things, which can’t be called quality;
like exposed battery next to mattress ….
You just paying for a name.
Why not to look at ModCom campers? You get lot more quality with them.
Forward camper have few very good things.
1. no need for extra camping space and can camp on stony - uneven ground
2. added security – a specially campers with doors like ModCom
3. no dirt in bed when closing top cover
There are more +es.
Look at ModCom campers and compare.
ModCom people are not joining Sydney show but they will be in Maitland NSW for show there.
Cheers Dana
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Reply By: Member - peter g28 - Wednesday, Apr 08, 2015 at 21:33

Wednesday, Apr 08, 2015 at 21:33
So how much time do you have????
Ive been in the market for a hard floor for many a year, threatening to get one, but the finance minister pulls the budget rug from under me and I am left broken hearted.
I have a soft floor and it is great for camp site camping for days, but they can be quite tedious when you are camping for single nights...I digress
The hard floor is great for being on the road and having single night camps, you can not beat them for set up and take down times.

Rear / Front Hardfloor the good:
1/. Ease and convenience of set up, both are very similar in set up times.
2/. All off the ground, don't get flooded etc
3/. Ease of getting out of bed, not climbing over each other.
(Some soft floors have Nth Sth exit from bedding)
Front FWD Hard Floor, only uses the area within the trailer, whereas a rear throw hard floor is double the size when fully extended.
4/. Bed in Rear throw is set up and can stay that way, with a front throw/ side throw hard floor, the bedding has to be covered over with a protector and strapped in.

Rear / Front Hardfloor the bad:
1/. Ball Weight, they can have high Tow Ball Down Weights.
2/. Tare Weight: They are heavier than soft floor, some have a hight Tare weight. 1100kg Tare weights on some manufacturers are not uncommon.
3/. More expensive to purchase when compared to Soft floor campers.
4/. They can have less storage area when compared to a soft floor.

Now for the Hard Stuff...research, kicking tyres, going to Camper shows and being very truthful about your own type of camping and keeping all your emotions at home.
There are some "cheaper" Front and Rear HF campers in the market at present, if you do a couple of camps a year in nice caravan parks and go to a few national parks...they might be just the ticket for your budget....maybe...

Read up on the different type of canvasses weaves they use and their reviews.

Remember this point, the tent part of the camper is were it all happens, it is where you and the rest of the clan are sleeping and you want to be comfortable!!!!

But be very ruthless when checking the cheapie O/S campers out, canvas fit, weld and welding gaps, door rubbers, locks and locking mechanisms, access to aux items on the camper, manufacturers reviews...

Do not let your expectations you have for the camper mask over the campers' actual capabilities!!!!

If it is raining and a Camper show is on...go, you will see then all the campers in the worst environment and the salesman can't hide the campers' defects...

Just a side story:
Went to a Gold Coast show, rained, rained and rained..about 150mm over 2 days...saw a cheapie HF forward camper, it was a O/S knock off of a Australian manufacturer. It looked good, when I checked it out, I noticed the annex was not wide enough and water was pooling on the kitchen, some towels were wet on the bedding protector and the floor was very slippery. The tops of the header bars over the bed were wet and the canvass seams were also soaking through with water.
Yes, maybe the canvass had not been seasoned, but still the seepage wasn't good and the salesman was oblivious to it all.
I then headed over to an Australian manufacturer and designer of the front HF, the whole area under canvass was bone dry. Actually several people were under the annex for protection only and not to view the camper.

Then there is the other side of the ledger...if you are a hard core off-road camper person, who gets out and about a couple a times a month...

If the budget can stretch it...Australian manufactured..

New or second hand..????

Do not discount the second hand market for rear HF campers, a second hand Australian camper in good condition with the canvas well looked after, will be a good buy still when compared against some of the cheapie stuff flooding the market at present.
You just have to take your time and look...research, kick some tyres and look some more.
Example...Dynaproof and Bradmill Canvas, manufactured and designed in Australia...
So?..someone says!!!
Well all the ADF branches(Australian Defence Force) have used Australian Bradmill or Dynaproof canvas since the Korean war for large or small tents, trailer, ute, truck covers, medivac hospitals and other canvas structures. The ADF have used the canvas in the asian tropics, middle east, africa and even during the summer in Antartica.
Checkout the canvas tarp covering the B Double truck load, next time at a servo or truck stop having a break...look for the manufactures will be either Bradmill or Dynaproof.
Many of the second hand Aussie built HF campers even 20 years old have canvas in tip top condition.
A mate, bought a "Aussie Swag" rear HF, 1999 model for $7500.00 and the canvas is as good as condition now, as was when it came out of the Aussie Swag plant.
So after the research, get your list down to 2 or 3 manufacturers and all the boxes their campers tick for your camping needs...
Good luck hunting...

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Reply By: KenD - Tuesday, Apr 14, 2015 at 01:53

Tuesday, Apr 14, 2015 at 01:53
Hi Navara, we have a Camp In Comfort Journeyman front opening camper.
I highly recommend it and if you live in Vic/Melb or are passing through would be happy to show you. However, it is built for 2 people so if you want to sleep kids or other guests they will have to go in the spare tent or it's not for you.
It is very much like a small caravan with a large canvas top and feels much more spacious than any similar camper—it's like The Tardis. Ventilation is excellent and shade is provided by tropical roof and attached awnings to each of the 6 large, screened windows. For those cold desert nights everything can be zipped up and doubles the canvas thickness to keep things warmer.
The large queen size bed incorporates memory foam in the mattress and is very comfortable. While internal storage is tight it is well organised so a week's worth of food etc can be easily carried.
Stove, sink/drainboard, table and 2 chairs are inside and built in. It comes with crockery and cutlery.
A comprehensive tool kit, spare bits and pieces, Ctek battery charger, compressor, power board, extension cord, awning, folding stool, awning and other stuff are found in the large external locker. The philosophy of Ross, the builder, is that one should be able to simply add food and bedding, fill the water tank and gas bottles, hook up the tug and take off.
When the griller on our stove didn't work well Ross came down from Qld, fitted a new one and a gauge for the water tank. Service!
Here's a link to a review: Journeyman Review
I understand Ross is working to reduce the price of his camper but if you really look at the market I think it's very competitive. And it's unique.
If you are interested in having a look email me:
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Reply By: Ross S8 - Tuesday, Apr 14, 2015 at 14:59

Tuesday, Apr 14, 2015 at 14:59
Hi Navara,
Reading through the responses so far l would suspect you are confused again by now. All of the advice posted is solid and well informed through individuals personal experiences.
If touring is your objective, my preference is a forward fold (F/F) with onboard facilities, enabling you to dodge wind, dust, insects, wet under foot, as a camp will always present one or any combination of the above.
I really enjoy camping and the added dimension of a clean dry environment to retreat to when the conditions are ordinary enhances the trip no end. Trust me when l say my wife is not a true camper but this ability to take refuge has her along every trip, it just makes it so much easier. You can still cook out whenever you choose but sometimes that can be a less comfortable option.
Set up times are a hotly debated issue. There is no such device as a 5 minute camper, the initial set may be but all of the ancillary necessities must be included in the equation.
F/F allows you to set a genuine 10 min. camp on any ground you occupy as no clear or level space is required around you, stay hitched, legs down to level up. Not often considered but an awful lot trailers are much more difficult to pack than set, ask to see both procedures, FF is easy doth ways.
All campers are a compromise, after all you can't have a motor home in a 7X5 box trailer, use your OWN objective judgements to decide a design which will suit your particular type of camping, salesmen don't care if it's not right for you, the product they sell is always the best option.
We love our FF, it is a real treat to sit up inside when your fellow campers are having a real tussle with the elements.
Similar to KenD, if you are in Brisbane and would like to feel a FF, let me know.
Further reading, news and reviews, Camp In Comfort
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Reply By: Member - Twiggy - Monday, Apr 20, 2015 at 17:06

Monday, Apr 20, 2015 at 17:06
You really need to work out what you want to do with your camper to help you decide which one to get. We have been campers for years. We have travelled in a tent for weeks at a time as that was the most affordable option at the time. Moved up to a 2nd hand soft floor camper which we enjoyed and got our monies worth from. Pain to put up and down especially when wet, and for quick stops, but more comfort than a tent. Grandkids liked this one the best!

Moved up to a caravan, enjoyed the a/c and en suite but just not camping!. Don't have $80k to spend on a full off roader so we have gone to a hard floor Eco Mate forward fold Camper trailer. Love it , will go anywhere, off the ground, forward fold with a winch so goes up and down really easily, with the car still attached. One of the selling points was the quick zip on touring annexe which we didnt find on any other camper trailer. Dont think we will ever use the full annexe.
this suits the 2 of us and we can take it to the most remote places left to visit in Oz and be fully self sufficient. Plan to do trips about 6-8 weeks at a time Off the beaten track. This led us to the Eco Mate Traveller ,plus they were local for warranty purposes if needed.

So how many people are you housing and where to do want to go and for how long? What level of comfort are you after and what do you expect from your camping experience? And of course how much do you have to spend? Answer these questions and you might be closer to narrowing it down. Good luck!
Peter and Julie Twigg

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