Camper Trailer of the Year

Submitted: Friday, Mar 16, 2018 at 00:25
ThreadID: 136414 Views:1774 Replies:13 FollowUps:33
Hello everyone.

I am planning a 12 month trip around Australia with a Landcruiser and camper trailer rig and we'll be taking some of the more challenging unsealed tracks like the CSR. We are trying to understand the market for camper trailers a bit more. The Camper Trailer of the Year awards seem a bit self serving, with (roughly) the same brands each year and reviews that never mention the downsides.

Does anyone have a go-to place for impartial reviews and camper trailer advice or does anyone have particularly good or particularly bad stories to tell of their camper trailers?

We are a family of 4, with children who will be 8 and 6 when we go. We value simplicity and ease of use over luxury and complication and are prepared to invest in quality and durability. The brands we have shortlisted so far are Patriot, Tambo, Trackabout, Mars and Camel.

Any advice very welcome!
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Reply By: Malcom M - Friday, Mar 16, 2018 at 06:12

Friday, Mar 16, 2018 at 06:12
CT of the Year according to whom?
CTotY is pretty meaningless as its awarded by a self serving magazine.

Look at Johnnos campers as well. As well as selling them, they ran a rental franchise system Aus wide. Have to pretty good if you you don't to be rescuing your products from all over the country.
My family owns two of them and we love them. Setup time of around 5 minutes.

Suggest you look at the 2nd hand market. Much more bang for your buck.
Check out Myswag.org. Its a Aussie site dedicated to all aspects of camper trailers
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Follow Up By: Tom P4 - Saturday, Mar 17, 2018 at 23:24

Saturday, Mar 17, 2018 at 23:24
Thanks for the reply Malcolm.
At your suggestion I've tried to register for myswag.org - unfortunately we are in the UK at the moment and they have spam filters that don't like that! Hopefully they can sort that out for me.
We'll check out Johnno's, thanks for the tip.
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Reply By: Member -Pinko (NSW) - Friday, Mar 16, 2018 at 07:00

Friday, Mar 16, 2018 at 07:00
No mention of Ultimate off road campers.
I've not seen any of them falling apart on the tracks you mention ?
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Follow Up By: Member - Jim S1 - Friday, Mar 16, 2018 at 13:46

Friday, Mar 16, 2018 at 13:46
I also would put an Ultimate on the list. Had one since 2001 and it will do me .......
comfortable, go anywhere your 4WD goes. Very tough, very comfortable.

Cheers
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Friday, Mar 16, 2018 at 14:10

Friday, Mar 16, 2018 at 14:10
Hi Stan and Jim

Yes us Ultimate owners must stick together....lol

As we all know, the only limiting factor of any Ultimate is the vehicle towing it.

We love ours as goes everywhere we go.


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Follow Up By: Tom P4 - Saturday, Mar 17, 2018 at 23:43

Saturday, Mar 17, 2018 at 23:43
Great - we've added Ultimate to the list though we are drawn to soft-floor because of the space to weight ratio and a desire to be more outside than inside so aren't looking for the indoor seating. Are we misguided do you think?
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Follow Up By: Member -Pinko (NSW) - Sunday, Mar 18, 2018 at 08:29

Sunday, Mar 18, 2018 at 08:29
You can be 'outside' in any camper you choose.
If your kitchen is outside and the flies and mosquitos are thick or the march flies are biting inside is a refuge.
Our Ultimate has followed us in the deserts, The Canning to well out of the way isolation places and to stop in caravan parks to explore towns and cities.
Is is warm and dry and offers privacy.
It has been utterly reliable.
Having had campers for almost fifty years and destroyed a couple.Had Our Ultimate for fourteen years I can vouch for them.
We upgraded bits an pieces over time like the hitch and efficient lighting.
The latest version is expensive but when you see what you get it is impressive.
It may look like I am selling them but i am just happy I made the choice and own one.
Living is a journey,it depends on where you go !
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Follow Up By: Member - Jim S1 - Sunday, Mar 18, 2018 at 09:30

Sunday, Mar 18, 2018 at 09:30
Stan has just pretty much written what I was going to add. My only reservation with the Ultimate is how you go with kids. Ultimate have a "kids room" which sits under the king size bed ...... might suit you. It also has awnings of course.
We have found that being able to sit "inside" is pretty nice when the wind is howling and the rain pouring down, as it did in Tassie for 5 long days. Getting away from flies and mozzies is also important in our great Australian outback.
Good luck with whatever you choose.
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Sunday, Mar 18, 2018 at 09:48

Sunday, Mar 18, 2018 at 09:48
Hey Stan

You have not mentioned their ultra light wight.

800 kg and 40 kg ball weighty.

As I have said their only limiting factor is the vehicle that is towing them.

The year while at Farina, I was surprised to see 3 other Ultimates there as well.

As Ultimate owned fo, we all had a great chat and one of the owners said that he only had his a few months after changing over from his Kimberly Camper.

The first question I asked was why? To which he replied wright, inside kitchen and a couple other things.

I know that the Kimberly are a top unit, but he said they were heavy to tow and now with his Ultimate, he said he would not know it was there.

One thing I have found over the years, every Ultimate had never said anything bad about their camper, and like me, just love them.



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Reply By: rumpig - Friday, Mar 16, 2018 at 07:38

Friday, Mar 16, 2018 at 07:38
All those types of awards only ever take into account new releases from that year, pretty sure existing makes and models don’t count. Jump on MySwag forum if you are chasing more info on camper trailers on top of what you’ll get here. Do you know if you want a soft floor, hard floor, rear fold, front fold, cross over etc etc, and have a rough budget in mind?....so many makes out there to consider.
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Follow Up By: Tom P4 - Saturday, Mar 17, 2018 at 23:52

Saturday, Mar 17, 2018 at 23:52
Thanks rumpig - from the research we've done we think soft-floor (because we aren't looking for the internal seating/kitchen of a hard floor) but compact and as quick to set up as possible - so we're drawn to the Patriot X1 GT but not sure if that's just because it gets the awards or whether it really is as tough and easy to put up as they say. In short we can invest more if we are confident that we are getting toughness and quality rather than PR and spin. As for fold, no we really don't have a view on that yet!
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Reply By: Phil B (WA) - Friday, Mar 16, 2018 at 08:35

Friday, Mar 16, 2018 at 08:35
Probably the biggest issue you'll face is what is what are you prepared to spend?

Typically the more you pay the better the build quality, reliability off road and functionality.

Do your homework - one of my mottos is “Buy cheap buy twice”.



Organised people are simply too lazy to search for stuff.




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Follow Up By: Michael ( Moss Vale NSW) - Friday, Mar 16, 2018 at 11:07

Friday, Mar 16, 2018 at 11:07
Not only that Phil, the resale on quality, even after a decade is still good and easy to sell. The exact opposite applied when you buy something cheap! Michael.
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Follow Up By: Tom P4 - Saturday, Mar 17, 2018 at 23:57

Saturday, Mar 17, 2018 at 23:57
Agreed. We are happy to invest more if we are confident that we're getting quality and toughness - we just want to be confident we aren't falling for glossy PR and slick presentation... would you recommend any particular trailers from your own experience?
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Reply By: gbc - Friday, Mar 16, 2018 at 09:32

Friday, Mar 16, 2018 at 09:32
That is a strange shortlist. Camel went broke and the remains were bought by MDC. Mars are an importing company who look to have relatively good product but would need to be benchmarked against other importing companies - 15oz canvas for example is generally seen as being a few generations old compared with MDC etc who have run 16 oz canvas for a number of years now.

I found the best place for info on any brand is an owners page on social media which isn't administered by the company.

Apart from Patriot's little gas fitting feaux pas, the first three are solid aust manufacturers, but not what I'd tour with my family in. I've had soft floors and now I have a hard floor with my family of 4 (kids the same age) I wouldn't go back.
AnswerID: 617592

Follow Up By: Emily P4 - Friday, Mar 16, 2018 at 22:04

Friday, Mar 16, 2018 at 22:04
Hello! I am wife of Tom who started this thread.

Thank you for the response. Interesting to konw that Mars are imported - we'll cross those off the list.

Might I ask what Patriot's 'gas fitting faux pas' was? and also why you wouldn't choose Patriot, Tambo or Trackabout for touring with a family?

Also I'm interested in your thoughts on the benefits are of hard floor campers - we have decided on a soft floor camper in order to have max space but min weight - having tried both, what do you prefer about hard floor campers?

Thanks so much! We are in the UK so our research is all internet-based at the moment, this thread is really useful.

Have a great weekend,

E
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Follow Up By: Gbc.. - Saturday, Mar 17, 2018 at 07:50

Saturday, Mar 17, 2018 at 07:50
Patriot got caught out by a fixing an outdoor stove down using screws which made it permanent and subject to different rules. Very minor and they weren’t the only ones caught out.
Hard v soft floor is an eternal debate. For long term and static camps, yes soft floors have more expansive quarters. Hard floors are much faster and cleaner (no dust covers) to erect and put away, and generally speaking everything has a place which is not in a box packed away. Everything is accessible even when the camper is shut. It is no issue for us when we pull into a town and do some food shopping, the pantry, fridge etc are right there and we pack straight into them. No boxes or bins. This isnt the case for all, but from our last to present camper it is very noticeable. You’ll get used to whatever you get, just hard floors give economy of motion which is a big thing when touring.
For the record i have a 2 year old MDC (Chinese) which has already done most of the places you want to go. I was never going to buy an import either but at the price point ($20k), and after having been all over it, we took a punt and it has been the right decision for us. Yes, I modified and changed a few things and I was happy to do that. You may not be. I wouldn’t buy Australian just because it is Australian. There is some poor local product. Likewise I wouldn’t write off all imports. Mine is made in a company owned factory in China then the fitout is done here with mostly non Chinese fittings sourced from the local caravan industry. It does all I ask of it which is mostly a long way off-road.
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Follow Up By: Tom P4 - Sunday, Mar 18, 2018 at 00:01

Sunday, Mar 18, 2018 at 00:01
Agreed about the accessibility when the camper is shut. The trailers we've shortlisted, we think, deal with that with easy to access storage cupboards, easy quick awnings and slide out kitchens. Thanks for the tips about Camel and Mars.
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Reply By: Life Member - Duncan W (WA) - Friday, Mar 16, 2018 at 10:37

Friday, Mar 16, 2018 at 10:37
Tom I'm currently in the same boat as you and I found this Camper trailer comparison site:

http://campercomparer.com.au/default.cfm
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Reply By: Member - abqaiq - Friday, Mar 16, 2018 at 10:53

Friday, Mar 16, 2018 at 10:53
We just went through this exercise. The vendors listing of "off road" seems to mean off asphalt, not really off road as in down tracks, ie.Simpson, CSR, et.al. Which is where we go. We are moving from a RTT on a Troopy and found one of the Ellis Basecamp models fit the bill for serious off road going. Just an opinion, have a look...
AnswerID: 617600

Reply By: splits - Friday, Mar 16, 2018 at 11:08

Friday, Mar 16, 2018 at 11:08
Check the loaded ball weight. Many camper trailers have for too much for something so short in length and low to the ground. They don't have long heavy ends to swing around like many caravans so they don't need a lot of ball weight for stability.

Collyn RiversAuthor once wrote in one of his technical articles that he thinks the ball weight in the specification sheet was what it turned out to be after they built it then weighed it.

One would think no camper trailer ball weight would be too much for a Landcruiser but check the towing instructions in the owner's handbook. The book for my Hilux says a weight distribution hitch must be used for any ball weight above half the maximum. If the Landcruiser is the same then some of the larger camper trailers could exceed a 50% limit.

If that is the case then fitting a WDH is no problem except they can't be used in any off road situation where the angle between the car and trailer exceeds a certain limit. If that happens the WDH, the car, the tow bar or maybe the draw bar of the trailer can be damaged.

This is an often overlooked point when people decide to tow something.

As is always the case when going on a round Australia trip and including tracks like the Canning, don't overload or incorrectly load the car. Your car is most likely a five seater. They have been designed to carry the weight of five heavy people. Your family is not likely to be anywhere near that weight so it will be very easy to underload the seats and overload the rear end. Any weight behind the rear axle will place a higher weight on the axle due to leverage. There are photos on the net of Landcruisers and other makes with broken axle housings, sheered wheel studs, collapsed wheel bearings and bent chassis due to too much weight down the rear end.

Lifting a sagging rear with stiffer springs or air bags makes the car look level but they do not redistribute weight so the problem is still there.
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Follow Up By: gbc - Friday, Mar 16, 2018 at 13:01

Friday, Mar 16, 2018 at 13:01
The hardcore offroad trailers are designed with big ball weight, low COG and low rear overhang because it is about the only way you can run long travel supple suspension in a trailer. Lose the ball weight and the springs immediately have to be stiffer to prevent roll. Everything is a compromise.
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Follow Up By: splits - Friday, Mar 16, 2018 at 23:28

Friday, Mar 16, 2018 at 23:28
Lose the ball weight and the springs immediately have to be stiffer to prevent roll. --------------------------------------------

How do you control trailer body roll with ball weight? Are you suggesting it restricts rotating movement in the coupling?
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Follow Up By: Gbc.. - Saturday, Mar 17, 2018 at 07:57

Saturday, Mar 17, 2018 at 07:57
Lord no. Springs/shocks/sway bars prevent roll. Take the weight off them and they don’t have to be so stiff. The rear springs on your car end up being the front half of the trailer (sort of). Compromise, yes but you will not get a better rough road spring setup which is what the main design brief is with them.
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Follow Up By: splits - Saturday, Mar 17, 2018 at 09:51

Saturday, Mar 17, 2018 at 09:51
The rear springs on your car end up being the front half of the trailer (sort of).

-----------------------------------

If that is true then no wonder the vast majority of utes that bend their chassis are towing camper trailers.

There are three things that have to be considered with springs i.e spring rate, spring load and wheel rate. "Rate" involves compression, "load" is the amount it will support at a certain height and "wheel rate" involves the affect on rate caused by the distance between the wheel and the spring.

Any suspension engineer can easily work it all out and come up with a suspension that is not going to half kill the tow car for it to work but I doubt if the trailer industry pays much attention to it. That might add too much to the production costs. As long as their ball weight is not over the maximum for all the popular tow cars then all is good, at least in their eyes anyway.
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Follow Up By: Gbc.. - Saturday, Mar 17, 2018 at 10:42

Saturday, Mar 17, 2018 at 10:42
I walked into a Kimberley showroom in 2003 to buy a brand new one only to be told my brand new sr5 hilux wasn’t up to the job and that they wouldn’t sell me one. The one they would sell me was the RV model which had leaf springs, axle further forward, and lower ball mass - it wasn’t rated for heavy off-road use. Blaming a trailer manufacturer for breaking undersized cars is ridiculous at best.
Assuming they do no engineered research and you can do better with a keyboard is hilarious.
http://www.kimberleykruiser.com/size
There are pages and pages of published research on why these people have manufactured their trailers EXACTLY the way they have.
http://www.kimberleykampers.com/suspension-design-guide
http://www.kimberleykampers.com/stability-towing-caravan
Production costs and laziness has nothing to do with these design outcomes, good engineering does.
‘The vast majority of utes’ - you may need to relax your grip mate.
You are entitled to an opinion, but just because you assume that ball weight is too high for ‘such a small trailer’ doesn’t make it right. You will NOT get a better off-road ride than one of these. The softness of the suspension is evidenced in the fact that if you want the high lift boat option or the quad bike carrying option it is mandatory that you fit the sway bar as well. Engineering. They also have 3 different spring rates to choose from, or air springs.
I would love to see you, Collyn and a whole team of engineers take the ball weight away and keep the ride but Bantams old line about not being able to change the laws of physics comes to mind. Everything is a compromise.
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Follow Up By: splits - Saturday, Mar 17, 2018 at 21:59

Saturday, Mar 17, 2018 at 21:59
I had a look at Kimberley's suspension on those links you posted and they look impressive enough but why are they using trailing arm suspension, particularly on caravans? There is a brief explanation of it here. Trailing Arm

It will roll along uneven road surfaces nicely but if the van leans over because you had to swerve suddenly or went into a corner a little too fast, the wheels lean over with it so the whole thing is leaning from ground level. That is not real good but at least it gives you a much better chance of rolling over.

That design should be back in a museum where it belongs. There are much better designs that don't roll from ground level and also assist in roll steer in corners.

How big was the camper they would not sell you? An 03 Hilux has a towing capacity of 1800 kg and a maximum ball weight of 180 kg but the hand book says a WDH is essential for any ball weight above 90 kg.

You may think that is an undersize car but so are many others. I asked Land Rover's head office about the off road towing capacity of their largest Defender about ten years ago. They said it comes down from 3500 kg to 1500 kg. That would probably rule out many of the Kimberleys yet the Defender is a large and very serious off road vehicle.
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Follow Up By: Gbc.. - Saturday, Mar 17, 2018 at 22:46

Saturday, Mar 17, 2018 at 22:46
If you’d have read it you’d have seen that the trailer is designed to slide before it will roll. Hence the low c of g, the short overhang and the large ball weight. Engineered to make your point moot. Stop confusing crap caravans from Collyn’s articles with well designed campers.
The hilux was rubbish and they did me a favour - it would never have done the job properly. It did tow a lighter campomatic m3 for a while and it struggled with that. Between the design and Toyota service I was glad to be rid of it. Anybody buying an off-road trailer wouldn’t dream of using a wdh. My ranger manual prohibits the use of them. It has towed my current nose heavy trailer all over the country and loves it.
If you think you have a valid point about trailing arm suspension on these trailers feel free to come up with something better. I love mine as part of a well designed rig which already has the runs on the board. On a poorly designed, low ball weight, high cog, long rear overhang van with no sway bars you have a valid point, and I’d agree - but you have nothing on these trailers and haven’t made a single valid point against them. All trailers are not the same, and again, everything is a compromise - just not the way you see it.
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Follow Up By: Member - Blue M - Sunday, Mar 18, 2018 at 04:15

Sunday, Mar 18, 2018 at 04:15
Suspension

These guys seem to do a little bit of research, and one could only assume that they have some idea what they are talking about.
Unfortunately they do not go into any info on towball weights.
I see they even go out into the field and give them a bit of a testing before releasing them to the public.
But then again who knows, it may all be a load of BS, and they slap them together down in the garden shed, but have a good film crew to make it look legit.
You would have to think that if this type of suspension was no good on trailers and caravans, the mind boggles as to why these people would spend a considerable amount of time and money making something that was rubbish.
I have most likely not done as much extreme travelling as some of the people on this site, but I have done a little.
I have a camper trailer now with independent suspension on it and when I look in the mirror it is following me just the same as the previous one that had a beam axle did.
Sometimes I think we get too bogged down with all the so called facts and figures that can be found on the internet instead of just getting out there and having a good time.
I guess if we didn't have these differences of opinions to read, it would become very boring, but a hell of a lot less confusing.

Cheers


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Follow Up By: splits - Sunday, Mar 18, 2018 at 17:59

Sunday, Mar 18, 2018 at 17:59
If you think you have a valid point about trailing arm suspension on these trailers feel free to come up with something better.
-----------------------------------------
First of all I am talking about trailing arm suspensions on caravans, not camper trailers.Kimberley makes caravans as well as trailers. Caravans designed to slide, now that would be a good safety feature.

They are far from the best thing you could use under a trailer but they do a good enough job as well as being very cheap and easy to make.

As for a better suspension for trailers, what is wrong with the one under the rear end of your Ranger? It has a solid axle and leaf springs. Ford started using it on utes in 1949 and are still using it. So are just about all of their competitors. It must have something going for it. Why doesn't the Ranger have trailing arms?

Why didn't the Falcon, Zephyrs, Cortinas etc not use them? Could it be that Ford thought about it but rejected it when they decided to move on from their old transverse spring design immediately after WW2?
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Follow Up By: Gbc.. - Sunday, Mar 18, 2018 at 20:00

Sunday, Mar 18, 2018 at 20:00
Nobody else is talking about caravans or leaf springs. You’ll be interested to know ford are bringing out a performance version of my ranger. Watt’s link and coil sprung rear. Kind of says it all really. There’s nothing wrong with leaf sprung trailers, I’ve had plenty. But not one of them rode as well as my current one. And cars have wheels at each corner and transfer suspension action diagonally through the chassis. Pig trailers bounce, fall in holes and rotate about towballs. They have totally different design parameters.
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Follow Up By: splits - Sunday, Mar 18, 2018 at 21:52

Sunday, Mar 18, 2018 at 21:52
Nobody else is talking about caravans
------------------------------------------------------------
Neither was I until you mentioned Kimberly. They make them and are using the same suspension design as their trailers.

----------------------------
You’ll be interested to know ford are bringing out a performance version of my ranger. Watt’s link and coil sprung rear. Kind of says it all really.
------------------------------------

It looks like they are bringing back one of their old designs. I have a hot rod roadster in my shed. It has a 1995 Falcon rear axle located by Chrysler Centura rear top and bottom control arms and a Falcon Watts linkage. The springs are stock rear Gemini.

Watts linkages work but there is nothing new about them.
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Reply By: Ron N - Friday, Mar 16, 2018 at 11:37

Friday, Mar 16, 2018 at 11:37
Tom - Product Review is a site that is independent and which tries to ensure a degree of accuracy by posting reviews from "verified" purchasers - that is, reviewers who can scan and upload a receipt verifying their product purchase.

The system's not perfect, and a few reviews are very obviously by salespeople or friends of salespeople "pushing" their product.
You can always pick them, a glowing 5 star review, where the reviewer can't fault the product.

Product Review allow plenty of room for the size of reviews, and comments and questions can be added.
The peoples stories about their product experience make for interesting reading.

By far the greatest problem with campers appears to be poor wheel, axle and suspension choice or design.
Any camper "manufacturer" (and the number of local, complete manufacturers, is decreasing under the Chinese onslaught) needs to be upfront about where they source their product and how it's put together.

Many manufacturers are now importing multiple large components direct from China, assembling them here, and calling them "Australian campers".
If a manufacturer can't show you through his manufacturing and assembly factory, then I wouldn't be buying their product.

I have been in one local Chinese importer/assembler's factory unit, and it's rather eye-opening the amount of rejection of components due to poor quality manufacturing.
Poor sewing quality, leaks, damage in shipment, badly-fitting components, axle and wheel components not tightened properly, and welds not done properly, abound in the Chinese manufactured components.

Unless the manufacturer has excellent quality control, supervision and checking processes in place, then the product comes with faults, every time.

Don't be fooled by "ISO 9001 accreditation" for QA claims. ISO 9001 is merely a process of requiring a paper trail for the manufacturing process - it doesn't eliminate faults, it only makes them traceable - IF the paper trail is accurate.

The best feedback comes from talking directly to owners of the models you're interested in, and getting their opinions, and any problems they've encountered.

By far the biggest complaint, is manufacturers who offer a tail-light warranty - once your tail-lights are out of sight, they don't want to know you.

Product Review - camper trailers

Cheers, Ron.
AnswerID: 617603

Reply By: CSeaJay - Friday, Mar 16, 2018 at 11:49

Friday, Mar 16, 2018 at 11:49
Reviews are always aimed at the mass market. You will find that what you are intending to use the trailer for is less than 2.5% of that market. Even those stating "have done the Gibb" have little idea of the absolute reliability one needs when going remote track such as CSR.
The real reviews are based on what you actually see out there; certain vans falling apart on graded roads' corrugations and "bulldust holes" are certainly not what you want to take on even more challenging and remote tracks and desert dunes.

There is only one handful of trailers that will really last out there in terms of stress free towing and reliability. TVan and Ultimate are two such vans.

Having done these, "stress free" towing knowing your van will not let you down at places where recovery cost is measured in tens of thousands of $ adds to your enjoyment of the trip.
AnswerID: 617604

Follow Up By: Tom P4 - Sunday, Mar 18, 2018 at 00:22

Sunday, Mar 18, 2018 at 00:22
Thanks CSeaJay - a follow up question if you don't mind. We've got soft floor in mind because we don't want the inside seating and/or kitchen areas - we want to feel more outside than inside if you see what I mean. Most people seem to mention hard floor camper trailers here and your recommendations of TVan and Ultimate are too so I'm starting to feel like we are missing an important point! Does a hard floor suit the frequency you go camping? Would you consider a soft floor for a 12 month trip such as ours? Many thanks!
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Reply By: Member - McLaren3030 - Friday, Mar 16, 2018 at 13:52

Friday, Mar 16, 2018 at 13:52
Hi Tom, another brand to consider is Kimberley Campers. They build an extremely strong, albeit heavy hard floor camper. In 2004 during a trip to the Mitchell Falls & Kalumburu, the only campers that were at Mitchell Falls were either Kimberley, Ultimate or TVans.

I can speak from personal experience having owned a Kimberley Camper, that it will basically go anywhere your vehicle can go. We owned our Kimberley for 5 years, before moving up to an Off Road Caravan. The only criticism we had was that closing the camper up was a two person job as it does not have a "winch" to wind it up. We visited the Kimberley factory in Ballina NSW, and were able to view their assembly first hand.

There have been a number of articles written recently claiming that Kimberley Campers are going/have gone under. This is not necessarily so, it is my understanding that they are currently in voluntary administration while the company is being restructured. The restructuring as I understand it is due to the family who owns the business wanting to go their separate ways.

Cub is another brand you might want to look at as well. Both Cub & Kimberley have enough room in their hard floor sections to accomodate kids in camp cots, or just mattresses on the floor.

Whichever brand you choose, ask for an extended draw bar. This not only makes the camper easier to reverse, (the further the pivot point is away from the axle, the easier it is to reverse), but it also allows you to put a few more items on the draw bar, being careful of course not to overload the draw bar.

Macca.
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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Friday, Mar 16, 2018 at 22:27

Friday, Mar 16, 2018 at 22:27
Kimberley Kampers came out of administration in the new year and have certainly not "gone under".

The previous owner now has nothing at all to do with the Kimberley brand. All ties have been severed.

The new owner is very aware that under the old administration the brand's reputation was suffering even though they had an excellent product. His focus is on regaining confidence in the brand through customer support, quality control and communication.

I am privy to a little inside information and I can assure you Kimberley is alive and well. Their products remain worthy of consideration.
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Follow Up By: Member - Mark (Tamworth NSW) - Friday, Mar 16, 2018 at 22:46

Friday, Mar 16, 2018 at 22:46
I'm not far from 60 years of age and I can pack our Kimberly up on my own without any winch. Takes more than double the time on your own though. One male should be able to close it and a child from 10 years age can act as the second person
I can vouch for their after sales service even though ours was 10 years old when I needed some help.
Like the T Van, unless you got the annexe, it would be too tight for two adults and two children for more than a couple of weeks.
Mark
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Follow Up By: Member - McLaren3030 - Saturday, Mar 17, 2018 at 13:47

Saturday, Mar 17, 2018 at 13:47
Hi Mark,

Yes not impossible to pack it up on your own, I did several times, but it is not easy, which is why I suggested it was a two person job. Also, my 10 year old (at the time) Grandson was a great help. My wife used to take the grandkids on her own, and found it impossible to pack it up on her own, she just wasn't strong enough on her own to pull the canvas section over from the vertical. The grandkids all had a role to play in packing it up.

Frank P.

Good news about Kimberley Kampers. IMHO they build the best hard floor rear fold camper on the market. Not cheap, and certainly not light at around 1.5 T, but will go anywhere your vehicle will go. Likewise, there after sales service even here in Melbourne was excellent.

Macca.
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Follow Up By: Tom P4 - Sunday, Mar 18, 2018 at 00:27

Sunday, Mar 18, 2018 at 00:27
Thanks Macca and for the follow ups. We will check out Kimberly but we're currently favouring the soft-floor option. Is there a reason (other than the obvious) that most people in this forum favour the hard floor option? Are they more rugged and dependable than soft floors or is it more that that are suited to the type of trips you go on or their frequency? I hope that question isn't too vague :-)
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Follow Up By: rumpig - Sunday, Mar 18, 2018 at 07:55

Sunday, Mar 18, 2018 at 07:55
The reason people are mentioning hard floor over soft floors is that in general a good quality hard floor is quicker and easier to set up then a soft floor trailer, and the hard floor is up off the ground also.....cheaper brand trailers tend have more poles in their make up, and set up times seem to blow out with these, so a poor quality hard floor could be nearly as much work as top quality soft floor in the end IMO. My mates old Trackabout soft floor trailer was really quick for him to set up and pack up, have a look at these if you are serious about a soft floor, he'd not be much slower then me with my Kimberley hard floor we have owned the past 7 years when we packed up camp, and those trailers have a great reputation for their toughness. Many people tend to rave about the trailers they own as it suits their style of camping, everyone is different in what suits them. We don't need heaps of room inside our camper as it's just to sleep in in my view, and the past 7 years our 2 girls (now 15 and 10) have slept on the hard floor mostly instead of using the extra room that goes on the rear of our camper, less stuff to set up and pack up means more rest time for me....but many families don't like doing this and prefer to set up the extra room on the rear. Add something like that rear room into set up times and a good soft floor can be just as quick to set up....it's easy for a couple that don't travel with kids to overlook this fact and rave about how quick their camper is to set up due to not needing that extra room put on their hard floor. Where do you store things like kids sleeping bags and self inflating mattresses for them to sleep on?, some people insist their kids sleep on stretchers, so where would that get stored?.....our kids don't have stretchers and their stuff (a sleeping bag and a single self inflating matresse each) go on top of our bed layed out flat, this means things like our quik awning or extra rear room can't be left attached on the camper at pack up, it won't close up if you try and put to much on top of the bed, as it is ours is right on it's limit. There are pluses and minuses for every set up, be sure to consider your style of camping needs when you read people's responses, because how they camp can be very different to how you might do it.
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Follow Up By: Member - McLaren3030 - Sunday, Mar 18, 2018 at 11:34

Sunday, Mar 18, 2018 at 11:34
Tom P4, Rumpig has covered most things. Hard floor means that your are kids are off the ground when sleeping. No water running through their bed area if it rains. The time we owned the Kimberley, my Father, who used to come with us, slept on a camp bed we set up on the hard floor. There probably would not be room for two camp beds, but kids can easily sleep on self inflating mattresses on the floor. The only real drawback with the Kimberley is their weight, at approx. 1.5 T, they are heavy for a camper. The Ultimate is much lighter, but the second sleeping area ends up being outside under the fold out section. This may lead to water running through this area if it rains. So it comes down to what you really want.

Macca.
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Follow Up By: Michael H9 - Sunday, Mar 18, 2018 at 12:06

Sunday, Mar 18, 2018 at 12:06
If I was doing 12 mths with a couple of tween kids then I would get an Oztent for them to give them their own bedroom that is quick and easy to set up. This gives you some "privacy" as well. Couple it with a good sized side awning on the car and you have a decent outside area including for meals.
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FollowupID: 889386

Reply By: Crusier 91 - Sunday, Mar 18, 2018 at 09:28

Sunday, Mar 18, 2018 at 09:28
Tvan.
Tare 750kgs
GVM 1250kgs
Payload 500kgs
Ball weight 150-180kgs
Easy and quick set up
Queen size bed
Military independent suspension
Hard roof and sides
Kitchen, water tanks, solar, batteries, lighting, fans, storage etc
Proven off road capability and durability by many
Ask the people that own them
http://www.tracktrailerforums.com
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oa4BgNF8eKQ
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XBlbKVRqLFI
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1Z2icLGoWg
AnswerID: 617661

Reply By: Ron N - Sunday, Mar 18, 2018 at 12:08

Sunday, Mar 18, 2018 at 12:08
Before we go too much further into camper trailers and CSR conditions - I'm guessing Tom P4 is currently unaware that all trailers are banned from the CSR?

I would also hope he's done some research on the CSR conditions.
Sites such as the one below are very informative as regards the CSR.

Grey Gypsies - the CSR

Cheers, Ron.
AnswerID: 617671

Follow Up By: Member - ACD 1 - Sunday, Mar 18, 2018 at 12:22

Sunday, Mar 18, 2018 at 12:22
Not so Ron...

"Warnings & Restrictions

If traveling with a trailer, you will not be allowed to travel the section of the CSR track north of Wiluna through to Well 5. If you do, you will be turned back at Well 2a (northbound), or if travelling south you'll be turned back at Windich Springs. Detours at located at Well 9 and Well 5 onto private station tracks (fee payable). See permits section for more details."

Taken from CSR Treck notes of ExplorOz.com.

Cheer

Anthony



VKS 3539
Work - a 40 hour interuption to my weekend!
Too many places - too little time

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