tent or campertrailer

Submitted: Monday, Mar 24, 2003 at 20:11
ThreadID: 4025 Views:2432 Replies:17 FollowUps:8
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My gilfriend and i leave to explore oz in june , there really is no time limit on duration as i am able to continue my work while traveling.Due to this we would like to be slightly comfortable and as hassel free as possible.My question is tent or campertrailer,i have camped plenty of times with tents that is domes and family canvas tents and know their pros and cons but never used a campertrailer or for that matter a centre pole tent.Are campertrailers really that much different to set up or comfortable than a tent.I dont really need the trailer to carry gear ,but is it more conveniant,safer,etc..I would appreciate anyones view who has completed a long duration trip to help me with my decision of tent or campertrailer.Have looked at numerious campertrailers,( any feed back on toughcountry off road campers,good or bad?),but does the price out way the conveniance or vise versa
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Reply By: Old Soldier - Monday, Mar 24, 2003 at 20:49

Monday, Mar 24, 2003 at 20:49
G'day Steve,

Wow - you're about to open a big can of worms with this post :) :) :)

Before all the purists jump in and chant tent! tent! tent! , I'll say a few words for the camper trailer.

Once you have experienced the difference camping with an off road campertrailer you will never want to use another tent - ever.

I've done both over the years, and at night when I sink into my soft thick QS mattress on the camper trailer after enjoying a pleasant night round the campfire consuming lunatic soup, I always find myself wondering why I ever bothered with a tent.

Camper trailers are fantastic. Good ones will go most places you can take your fourbie [there is no such thing as a vehicle that will go anywhere], and the convenience they add to a long term trip makes them really worthwile.

Putting mine up is a breeze, and from my observations round some of the bush campsites I've found myself at all other brands appear to be just as simple.

As for the Tough Country camper, I looked at one of them when I was choosing my rig [are you from round Brisbane? - they are].

They are a good unit, but I figured that another brand which I eventually purchased should do the same job for several K cheaper.

I was not disappointed. My rig has done a some hard work up round the Gulf region and so far has not been found wanting.

Hope this helps

Enjoy your decision

AnswerID: 15993

Follow Up By: William - Monday, Mar 24, 2003 at 21:05

Monday, Mar 24, 2003 at 21:05
Old Soldier from one heading towards retirement in the forces I would highly recomend a camper trailer. We are on our third Campomatic. Our married kids commandered the previous two. My latest Campomatic has some some hard work and has not suffered at all. Fitted two solar panels to charge battery and could not be more delighted.

DennisN spot on money post.
FollowupID: 9776

Follow Up By: steve R - Monday, Mar 24, 2003 at 21:21

Monday, Mar 24, 2003 at 21:21
thanks guys for your view so far and dennis if you dont mind me asking what make of trailer and what price

cheers steve.
FollowupID: 9777

Follow Up By: Old Soldier - Monday, Mar 24, 2003 at 21:53

Monday, Mar 24, 2003 at 21:53

I got mine made by Outback campers at Browns Plains. Wayne Tedman who builds them has a lot of Cape York [used to live in that neck of the woods] experience and a lot of his units ply the off road camper hire business up that way. [ a hard test].

His prices range from around 8K up to anything you want to imagine I suppose.

Mine cost me just under 10 and was purpose built for me from one of his basic designs. I just altered a few things [extra jerry/gas bottle holders, tool boxes etc] to suit my own needs.

Looking at the broad picture again, you can go all the way from cheapies at under 5K - through the campomatic range and up to the Kimberley Kampers and beyond to the rare atmosphere of the Ultimates.

Depends on your budget. Most I have seen are good.

You are getting some good responses and feedback with your post - hope it helps with your decision

FollowupID: 9786

Follow Up By: steve R - Monday, Mar 24, 2003 at 22:49

Monday, Mar 24, 2003 at 22:49
Cheers Dennis for that info I appreciate you getting back

FollowupID: 9793

Reply By: colin - Monday, Mar 24, 2003 at 21:11

Monday, Mar 24, 2003 at 21:11
hi steve, long term travel you have to take in the weather as one of the main things to consider, most camper trailers will handle a lot of rain, most tents wont, so when setting up camp while working in a town the last thing you need is to come home to a wet bed and try and cook a feed and make lunch for the next day at work. With the trailer you can pack a decient tent and have the best of both worlds. One thing i will say and its my opion from experience make sure the trailer has independant suspension ( bit more expensive ) but able to handle things 100% more than a leaf sprunge set up. Col
AnswerID: 15994

Follow Up By: steve R - Monday, Mar 24, 2003 at 21:28

Monday, Mar 24, 2003 at 21:28
the thing is colin i want be working in any town i will be working at my campsite so comfort,weather wise that is would make things easier
FollowupID: 9778

Follow Up By: colin - Tuesday, Mar 25, 2003 at 12:25

Tuesday, Mar 25, 2003 at 12:25
steve i bought a second hand track shak cost me $10,000 it has independant suspension and will go any where my patrol goes, it has better clearance than the car and from the factory fit has a spare stub axle with allbearings and stubs ready to fit if ever needed. Have travelled with a few trailers set up with leaf springs and not one has handled the conditions we travelled on several of these trailers where new. Col
FollowupID: 9824

Reply By: steve R - Monday, Mar 24, 2003 at 21:16

Monday, Mar 24, 2003 at 21:16
thanks guys for your response so far and if you dont mind me asking what camper did you go for and what price.

cheers steve.
AnswerID: 15996

Reply By: bruce.h - Monday, Mar 24, 2003 at 21:22

Monday, Mar 24, 2003 at 21:22
Steve the easy answer is you can aford one or the other why not take both that way you have a tent for those times you cant tow the trailer in,in lot af cases the places where you cant take a trailer can be done as round trips , i dont how many long trips you have done but if your comftable you will find that you will argue less than if your not & long trips very raily go by with out one arguement at least
AnswerID: 15998

Follow Up By: steve R - Monday, Mar 24, 2003 at 21:39

Monday, Mar 24, 2003 at 21:39
cant agree more on comfort,.( for most of the time) for keeping the peace
FollowupID: 9781

Reply By: macca - Monday, Mar 24, 2003 at 21:22

Monday, Mar 24, 2003 at 21:22
All the replies are spot on. I have done 2 and 1/2 laps and also tassy in mine. I opted for a heaslip and was very happy with its tough attitude. The son has had it now on a (Long) loan and he is enjoying the rough stuff with it now.BTW I still carried a bus tent for the odd occasion when the trailer was inappropriate
AnswerID: 15999

Reply By: Member - Peter- Monday, Mar 24, 2003 at 22:16

Monday, Mar 24, 2003 at 22:16
Just to be the odd man out by the sounds of it ,I LOVE my tent its only a small dome with small enclosed orning takes 4 minutes to set up , when I lock the car up in towns all is locked inside , it has never let the rain in , I can stand up in it , shower in it ,cook in it ,It weighs only a couple of kgs . When I see a track I only have to ask myself if the 4x4 can get up it , not how am I going to go with a trailer . My tent doesnt have wheels or bearings that can go , so I have to consider less spear parts or things that can go astray, as I hear so many say KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID .well thats my bit for the moment Im going home now to dream of my next trip in my tent Peter York4x4
AnswerID: 16006

Reply By: Member - Ray - Monday, Mar 24, 2003 at 22:38

Monday, Mar 24, 2003 at 22:38
We have used a tent a few times and it was ok but we now have an Outback Camper built in Wangara. Just did six weeks in SA and Tas and to go to bed on our QS Orthopedic mattress sure beats sleeping on the ground when you are on the upside of 55.
You would be able to work much more comfortably in a camper over an extended time but take a small tent for the times you are not working.
AnswerID: 16009

Reply By: Mick - Monday, Mar 24, 2003 at 22:56

Monday, Mar 24, 2003 at 22:56
Steve, I find a pop top caravan and a centre pole tent to be a great combination. The van tows comfortably at 100k on the highway and takes only a minute or two to put on site. I then have fridge, oven, sink, beds, wardrobe, table and chairs, cupboards and complete weather protection. I use the centre pole tent for all off road work - I believe it's unwise to have a lot of dead weight behind you in difficult conditions and of course it's impossible to go to many great areas with a trailer.
Good luck with your trip!!
AnswerID: 16012

Reply By: Truckster - Monday, Mar 24, 2003 at 22:58

Monday, Mar 24, 2003 at 22:58
To me a camper trailer is a $10,000-20,000 box trailer with a tent on it. Value ?

if you have all the gear already, Tent, stove, gas, etc then save the $10k, and enjoy it instead.

And if you dont, spend ~$3000 and get every thing, Center pole tent, sleepin bags, swags, stove, billys etc etc and enjoy the other $7k-17k!

Depends on how much $$ you have I suppose.

AnswerID: 16013

Reply By: Member - Cocka - Monday, Mar 24, 2003 at 23:43

Monday, Mar 24, 2003 at 23:43
This Q is a pandoras box. So many variations and it's also personal.
I'm a bit like truckster and opt for the tents although I see that one day I might be a bit ancient and will opt for a more sedentry lifestyle. We have used an Oztent for a few years now and have weathered some horendous nights without mishap. It takes us 20 mins before I'm having my first relaxing brown lemonade. That's a total camp setup.
Your decision really has take in a few things. What have you got to pull a trailer. Where do you want to go, how remote do you want to get. How much time do you want to spend in any one place. Do you want to be on the ground everynight or elevated. Are you going to be mostly in the dry or wet country. How much $$$ do you want to spend if you get too cheap you only get headaches both in tents and trailers. If it's going to be home for some time make sure your comfortable and dry which ever way you choose. Good luck.
AnswerID: 16021

Reply By: chopper - Monday, Mar 24, 2003 at 23:45

Monday, Mar 24, 2003 at 23:45

... then again, i've never used a camper trailer.

I'm a swag-man myself.

..and if it takes you longer than 10 minutes to pack and 5 minutes to tie-down your campsite then you are doing something wrong.

If I'm looking for comfort then i'll unroll the big Self Inflating Matress (10cm thick) and sleep in the back of the troopy.

For me it comes down to flexibility.
AnswerID: 16023

Reply By: Member - dolfn - Tuesday, Mar 25, 2003 at 07:32

Tuesday, Mar 25, 2003 at 07:32
It depends on your priorities!!!

I have a small child....My wife and I only get out one weekend a month and 5-6 weeks/year. So when we go away, we want everything to be quick efficient and comfortable. I spent 14 years in the ADF, 11 of which was in an operational unit in the Army and believe me, I know, anyone can be uncomfortable out bush. We have done the tent thing for the past couple of years. Although still fun, when you are constantly on the move (which most of us offroaders are) or you are just going away for the weekend, two hours to set up and the same to pack up wears a bit thin after a while. I know two hours sounds alot, but like I mentioned before, anyone can be uncomfortable out bush!

My wife and I have just purchased an "Ultimate Camper". The top end of the offroad camper market at over $30K. The build quality and practicality of the unit is unchallenged. Everything we need is in it, so no packing on a Friday prior to a weekend and better still no unpacking when we return. It goes anywhere the Disco goes and it take less then 10minutes between stopping the truck and sitting back and cracking my first Orange whip.

Sure its alot of money, but hey! You only live once ;)
AnswerID: 16036

Follow Up By: Truckster - Tuesday, Mar 25, 2003 at 09:49

Tuesday, Mar 25, 2003 at 09:49
$30 k?? Wow... You would want to use it 52 times a year to get the value out of it!

On that we too have a 3 yr old hes been camping since under 1, we have a tent that fits a portable cot inside.. Now hes big enough he has hsi own Bob The Builder Sleeping bag, and sleeps on his own air materess.. LOVE IT!

Enjoy the camper....
FollowupID: 9808

Reply By: Member - Bob - Tuesday, Mar 25, 2003 at 10:16

Tuesday, Mar 25, 2003 at 10:16
One thing that hasn't been mentioned is the convenience that a trailer offers for a range of activities other than just sleeping. If you have it set up right it is a mobile kitchen and workshop as well as a bedroom. During the day you can pull over, open the rear panel and there is the stove, workbench and kitchen sink with running water (gas cylinders mounted on side, water containers inboard although some have tanks mounted underneath). It beats unpacking the car everytime. Having the trailer has never stopped me going anywhere, but then I am interested in touring rather than rock climbing.
AnswerID: 16045

Reply By: ThePublican - Tuesday, Mar 25, 2003 at 11:24

Tuesday, Mar 25, 2003 at 11:24
Having a camper trailer can and does make one biased towards this form of camping and travelling,,5/10min setup time,comfort,weather protection....We regularily did the camping/touring bit on a m/cycle pre children,,great fun in just a 2 man tent and sleeping bag,could always camp out at the nearest pub if the weather turned to bad.
Nowadays comfort and ease is a priority as you actually enjoy the bush/beach more after a good nites sleep rather than cold,wet ect.
AnswerID: 16056

Reply By: Member - Rohan K - Tuesday, Mar 25, 2003 at 12:31

Tuesday, Mar 25, 2003 at 12:31
Steve, we used to do a lot of long term camping in tents (no kids back then). Now we have a tailor-made camper trailer (and kids). The trailer was built for us to our specs by Tracer Trailers and the top (canvas work) was done by ProTrim, both in Sydney. Its a big unit when fully set up (23' x 16'). The total cost to date is $9,200 with only a tool box on the draw bar left to do (we don't use a swing/slide kitchen).

The biggest difference we found is that longer "base camp" stays are far more comfy with the trailer. The entire kitchen, food prep and dining areas are fully enclosed and bug proof in an annex (10' x 16') which, for longer stays, is far more pleasant than doing all that in the elements. We have a shower/toilet room incorporated into an awning on the "other" side so have privacy and protection from the elements for those activities, if needed. The enclosed living space provides a sufficient area for us to "sit out" any bad weather without getting under each other's feet - a big plus if you like a bit of your own "space". The trailer also affords us the luxury of taking more gear so the kids get camp-beds and mattresses, we have greater water carrying and dispensing capacity, all the tables and chairs you care to carry and we're in a comfy queen sized, elevated bed every night, etc, etc.

However, all this luxury comes at a cost. Not only the capital cost, but also the additional maintenance costs, fuel comsumption when towing, etc.

Also, setting up (and packing up) all this gear actually takes a lot longer than setting up a tent, tarp and table. Our experience has been that its actually not worth the effort to set up for less than 3 nights. So, for the shorter stays, we simply set up the sleeping quarters (10 minute job including the kids beds) and perform all the kitchen function from the rear of the trailer (in the elements).

If you can afford both - trailer as a base camp and tent for some o/night exploring, I'd go that way.
AnswerID: 16059

Reply By: Mark from Getaway Portable Refrigerator Hire - Tuesday, Mar 25, 2003 at 12:41

Tuesday, Mar 25, 2003 at 12:41
Steve,It is like fridges and tyres everyone has their opinion and what works for some doesn't work for others. I have a Freedom tent which is great and reinforces the old saying that you only get what you pay for.
Have you considered something like a Jayco camper trailer and small tent for when you want to go off the beaten track in a serious way.- Just a thought. Which ever way you go consider comfort as it sounds like you will be on the road for a considerable time and you will experience a wide variety of weather.
Which ever way you go enjoy yourself and good luck.
AnswerID: 16061

Reply By: rors101 - Tuesday, Mar 25, 2003 at 18:19

Tuesday, Mar 25, 2003 at 18:19
Just made the same decission with the same scenario and went for a shippshape roof top tent.
Pros: Permanent confortable bed, quick to errect / pack away, away from bugs dirt water etc, cooler up top, bed is pre made. But importantly nothing to tow - make parking reversing etc simple.
Cons: Have to climb into bed, weight up top (approx 60kg all up), windage / fuel consumption (but less than trailer).

If you plan kids go for the whole family truckster/trailer rig. For something more than a tent on a long trip it is ideal for us.
AnswerID: 16081

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