Camper trailers thng to beware of

Submitted: Friday, May 06, 2005 at 15:01
ThreadID: 22717 Views:3853 Replies:9 FollowUps:6
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Hi Guys I am finnaly overloaded on my last trip. The kids want to bring everything and there is little room for my necessities. I am looking at a camping tent trailer. Have you had any experieince with brands and what to beware of.

Since I am not rich until after the next lotto draw I will probably be lookend for a second handie. Have you heard of Billabong as they seem well priced.
Your wisdom will be appreciated. And perhaps I can gain some space back from the family for the basics.

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Reply By: flappa - Friday, May 06, 2005 at 15:14

Friday, May 06, 2005 at 15:14
Billabong are made on the North Coast of NSW , near Kyogle from memory.

I had a look at them , and they aren't bad. Bit overpriced IMO

Whats your budget ?

The Tambo campers (advertise here) get a real good wrap by owners , but waiting time is getting long.

Few others around that price (for brand new) , are Dingo , if you can put up with the owner, Simon heard Canvas (I've got one of those), or alternately , like you are doing , a 2nd handy from the Trading post. Lots to pick from , some real good bargins to be had . . . used once , quick sale needed.
AnswerID: 110037

Reply By: normc - Friday, May 06, 2005 at 16:10

Friday, May 06, 2005 at 16:10
Skinny, if you are going to use it off road, look at the trailer construction before you worry about the kitchen etc. Is it built strong enough, is the draw bar integrated with the chassis or welded on, is it galvanised, is the canvas in good condition. Does it have adequate dust proofing when packed up. Are the wheels compatible with the towing vehicle (or cheap enough to change). Does the suspension seem robust enough? These are the things that will cost you money if they are not right.

I reckon lots of people worry too much about the stove (2 or 4 burner), the battery size, how many gerry cans can it carry etc. These things can be easily changed.

From my observation there are a lot of campers marketed as off road when the furtherest off road you would want to take them is into the back yard! Also, there are heaps available that seem to be very well built. Look around enough so you can tell the difference before you buy.

I don't have a camper, but I've spent the past 8 weeks pouring over them as I was looking to buy one. I've selected a hard floor model which is more expensive than you are looking at, but the basics are the same.
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Follow Up By: cokeaddict - Friday, May 06, 2005 at 19:02

Friday, May 06, 2005 at 19:02
I was wondering what made you decide you would go hard floor type?

I am interested in why you decided thats how you would go when you get one. Might open my eyes for future purchase.
Cheers Angelo
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Follow Up By: normc - Friday, May 06, 2005 at 20:23

Friday, May 06, 2005 at 20:23
Hi Angelo,

A number of reasons:
Ease of set up. For a quick night stop, it's a couple of minutes to unlatch the top and flip it over. No tent pegs, guy ropes etc, unless you decide to put up the annex.
Solid floor, up off the ground. Easier to keep clean, no worries about water in a downpour.
Dust proofing when packed up. The well made hard floor campers have very good seals to keep out the bulldust (and water) when travelling.
Security. When packe up, they are very secure. Even more secure than your vehicle.
Top is a good load space for extra stuff if required (firewood for example), although it has to be unloaded before you can fold out the camper.

Big step up in price though. Soft floor/top seem to be in the range $7,000 to $14,000 depending on features. Hard floor/top are in the range $24,000 to $35,000 (can be more) depending on features. Ours will be about $30,000 when fully set up, but we plan to live in it for about 12 weeks a year (hopefully more).
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Follow Up By: Sand Man (SA) - Saturday, May 07, 2005 at 07:55

Saturday, May 07, 2005 at 07:55
However, on the negative side you will have lack of storage space for anexes & extra gear.

A soft top has additional room underneath the weather proof cover for "extras" and you can also throw a tarp on top and still load up with firewood if you wish.

I also only considered hard tops initially but found the additional cost restricted choices a fair bit. Now I have a soft top (bought second hand) and love it. The additional setup time is still much quicker than my tent used to be.

I guess everyone to their own?

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Follow Up By: cokeaddict - Saturday, May 07, 2005 at 10:13

Saturday, May 07, 2005 at 10:13
Lots of thought gone into that mate. I can see the advantages of hard floor. I will keep it in mind though, but for mine I think price is a major factor and i cant justify 25-30 grand being used maybe 6 times a year.

But ty for the replies guys.
Much apreciated
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Follow Up By: normc - Saturday, May 07, 2005 at 11:05

Saturday, May 07, 2005 at 11:05
Sand Man, everything is relative, and to some extent a compromise as you can never have everything. As for storage, we have heaps. Very large storage box on draw bar (plus a generator box), an under bed area which is just about the full size of the trailer and about 300mm deep, plus some other nooks and crannies. We also have a dual cab Hilux with canopy. Think we have enough space for a large family, but there are only 2 of us.

Our problem is making sure we don't take stuff 'just because we have the space' and ending up with stuff we don't need.

But as you say, everyone to their own. We all have different needs, priorities, budgets and lifestyles. But it is good to hear about the experience and views of others.
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Reply By: Keith_A (Qld) - Friday, May 06, 2005 at 17:20

Friday, May 06, 2005 at 17:20
Hi Skinny - Two suggestions :
1. Join the Yahoo Campertrailer Forum.
Among the members, you will get feedback on almost every make in Aust.
In addition to the forum, they have files on what to look for when buying etc.
They also have a Thursday night chat group and State get-togethers.

2. Check out A Brisbane manufacturer - they hire their units for off-road (so they have faith in em). A mate bought one $7000 new about 5 months ago & we have given it work-out. Good value and seems tough.
There's not much to go wrong with them, so second hand would be the way to go.

They make it easy to get away - the thing is always packed ready (crockery; cooking gear; water; beds; gas etc. Throw in the food and clothes & off you go.
Good luck with your search.................regards.
AnswerID: 110051

Reply By: Nick R - Friday, May 06, 2005 at 20:58

Friday, May 06, 2005 at 20:58
once you see something look on ebay, last time I looked there were about a dozen or 2 for sale...
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Reply By: Martyn (WA) - Friday, May 06, 2005 at 22:58

Friday, May 06, 2005 at 22:58
Don't know what your budget is but I've got an O'Brien off road family model camper trailer. O'Brien are over East somewhere, I look for something better every now and again but for the money I paid and the performance I've had out of this trailer I would buy another one any day, and for now I'm not going to seel the one I've got.
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Reply By: D-Jack - Saturday, May 07, 2005 at 00:57

Saturday, May 07, 2005 at 00:57

Brand new Cavalier, off road trailer, good suspension but no shockers (can be added), jerry/gas holder, 12 foot extra large main tent, awning and kitchen windbreak, fly screen for the rest of the awning, h/duty annex floor, good quality zip up soft cover, easy to use, all poles etc. $8800. Problem with hard floor not much room for 2 kids. we have portacot, all food/clothing/fridge inside and no problems. look at their website.

AnswerID: 110112

Reply By: mfewster - Saturday, May 07, 2005 at 08:30

Saturday, May 07, 2005 at 08:30
Hard floors are great, but they also add a significant weight penalty.

Dingo campers are cheap, spacious and great value BUT they are a repairers nightmare (unless this has changed on later models) The canvas is wrapped around the wooden base and stapled underneath to the base. Try getting a sewing machine onto that.
AnswerID: 110125

Reply By: Paul from Ozroamer Camper Trailers (Hire & Sales) - Saturday, May 07, 2005 at 15:55

Saturday, May 07, 2005 at 15:55

why dont you consider Hiring both the soft & hard floor trailers and seeing what you think.

I dont know where you are but we are on Fraser Island's door step if you would like to give them a run!!

check out
link text
AnswerID: 110171

Reply By: Skinny- Friday, May 13, 2005 at 12:24

Friday, May 13, 2005 at 12:24
Thanks Guys, before the money burnt a hole in my pocket I bought a second hand camper trailer. Landed a good deal on an off road cavalier. Needs some presentation work after a trip around oz.
Can't wait to take it for a trip. Mrs not so keen as Mr frost makes himself known.

Perhaps I need a weekend on my own. Thanks for all of your input. Any sites I should look at proud parent of camper trailer .com or the like.

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Follow Up By: Member - Norm C (QLD) - Friday, May 13, 2005 at 12:36

Friday, May 13, 2005 at 12:36
Well done Skinny, have fun.
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