Camper trailer review

Submitted: Sunday, Jan 06, 2008 at 20:16
ThreadID: 53182 Views:32097 Replies:11 FollowUps:10
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As some of you know, I purchased a soft floor camper trailer late last year. Took it into the bush recently..... here are a few observations that may help some people:

It weighs in at 760Kg (dry) and I could almost take it anywhere within reason. In my experience the Hyland articulating hitch is far more user friendly than the Tregg style units.

Setting up (technically) was very easy. However, the swing over canvass is quite heavy particularly if you travel alone for much of the time like I do.

I'd always thought the packing up of the unit would be the hard part, but in fact the opposite was true.

Being able to stop on the side of a road on the way through, open up the tail gate and boil the Billy or cook some lunch on the stove is a good feature of these trailers. If you have the money, buy a trailer with a very robust steel kitchen and good workable area.

Have a look at how the protective cover is attached to the trailer. In my case it's a heavy duty sip which I had reservations about. During the short trip it was very easy to use, but I still wonder if the same will be true if it's full of mud or Bull Dust.

There were a number of things I needed in a trailer, but couldn't find one that satisfied all the needs (apart from the obvious). Here are just a few (the asterisk denotes what came with the trailer):

1. Full length chassis*
2. Guide rails on the draw bar*
3. Anchor points, front and rear.
4. Tie down points within the trailer and tool box.
5. Good quality Smart Charger (when not in use)
6. Highly robust spring hangers and dual bearings*
7. DC and AC points (having more than one 12 Volt point is helpful)*
8. Very robust stone guard*

So having said all that, I've come to the conclusion that I'll still sleep in the car whilst travelling, then set the trailer up on arriving at a destination in the bush.

They are a very good Idea, but I'm afraid it would be too much for me on a daily basis to set up.

As a base camp whilst shooting or fishing, I think they would very comfortable.



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Reply By: Gronk - Sunday, Jan 06, 2008 at 20:38

Sunday, Jan 06, 2008 at 20:38
You have answered the obvious.....setup??? Thats where a hard floor comes into its own......apart from price !!!

And I could never sleep in the 4x4 !!!!!!
AnswerID: 280133

Reply By: mike w (WA) - Sunday, Jan 06, 2008 at 20:47

Sunday, Jan 06, 2008 at 20:47

thats some good feedback. The wife and I are currently looking at different options for us when travelling as we currently have 2 sproglets under the age of 2. We have come to the conclusion that we will need a robust trailer for our travels as the quantity of gear is getting beyond the capabilities of our vehicle alone.

From my observations from others and info found on the different forums, have too come to the conclusion that a soft floor camper, although practical and will fit within our financial constraints, as you have mentioned are not the best for daily setup, especially when I have been delegated chief campseteruperer. For me, the reality is now that we will have to change our travelling methods from on the move style, to a base type setup where we stay in the same place for quite some time.

Thanks for posting this info, I will add it to my consideration list when looking at trailers.

Cheers, Mike
AnswerID: 280138

Reply By: Go Fishing - Sunday, Jan 06, 2008 at 21:39

Sunday, Jan 06, 2008 at 21:39
How much time to fully unpack and extend everything?

And how much time to pack up again?

I'm just starting to research camper trailers, cost and brand recommendations?

AnswerID: 280156

Reply By: Footloose - Sunday, Jan 06, 2008 at 22:42

Sunday, Jan 06, 2008 at 22:42
Kim, my observations of others with similar setups confirm your post. Even the top of the market stuff appears to a casual observer to be a lotta work. Few seem to cater for the lone traveller. As for those pull/swing out kitchen thingies, great but what if it rains or is blowing a gale ?
It's a lot of money and hassle just to tow a bed around.
And as you know we might be more comfortable at the end of the day but boy do ya have to work and pay for it while travelling.
I sometimes think that Willem has it right, just tow a trailer with all the goodies and camp in the car. Although I have to admit that I hate sleeping in the car and only do it when I'm stuffed at the end of a night drive in unfamiliar country.
Please be aware that I DON'T own one, so my comments are based on observation, discussion and reading, and as such are open to criticism.
AnswerID: 280187

Follow Up By: Member - Brian (Gold Coast) - Monday, Jan 07, 2008 at 06:50

Monday, Jan 07, 2008 at 06:50
Hi Footy...
Have to agree wholeheartedly about the lotta work thing mate... some of our friends have some top-of-the-line stuff and they're always late to happy hour on set up day... LOL....

Love our trailer though, and having looked at about 15-20 other brands trying to 'top" it.... so far it looks like our Cavalier will be with us for a long LONG time!


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Follow Up By: Member - Kim M (VIC) - Monday, Jan 07, 2008 at 13:16

Monday, Jan 07, 2008 at 13:16
Gidday Footy

Much of what you've said is true. In my case if its raining or blowing a gale, I use the awning off the car which also comes with a side wall. This only takes a couple of minutes and works out well.

The only reason I purchased the trailer was a bit of comfort when I arrive at a destination for a few days. On the road I wouldn't bother putting it up each evening.

They do have other benefits though apart from the kitchen:

1.Including the water tank in the car, I can now carry 180Lts of water. The jerry cans also enable segregation of bore water rather than mix it up with potable water in the bush.

2. Fuel capacity is now up to 200Lts.

3. Gas bottles are secured away from the car and fully certified.

4. No more storage clutter in the car. The bed is made up in the car before leaving home (nothing more to do).

5. Third battery.


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Follow Up By: Footloose - Monday, Jan 07, 2008 at 13:28

Monday, Jan 07, 2008 at 13:28
Years ago I towed a box trailer up the Bloomfield track after a cyclone had gone through. It was a comedy of errors from start to finish, cumulating on the spare wheel rolling past us and into the bush. Worst was the fact that the entire rig with handbrake on and in low started to slide down a hill I'd parked on. And I couldn't find anywhere to turn around until I was committed (I should have been committed).
I also found that another two wheels made bogging sooo much easier :))
These days I tow a trailer to the dump and back, but no doubt that will change, getting too old to get up and down in a tent.
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Reply By: David A A - Sunday, Jan 06, 2008 at 23:34

Sunday, Jan 06, 2008 at 23:34
Hi Kim
Have to agree with you., I folded down my new camper today, 3rd time at home as I do not wish to put on a show in a camp ground.
I had help from our eldest (skinny 14 yo) but what a job. I do not think I could do it on my own.

Ours is a 12 foot floor, two doors, large windows that have storm covers outside and privacy covers inside, all heavy canvas and but boy does it make it heavy.

We test run a Cavalier in 2006, much smaller and lighter but was still a bit of a handful.

our kids are 14,8 and 6 so will have help for a few years, but I think we will move from daily travel and setup to stops of several days so dear old dad (me) gets plenty of R&R

I do like having my bed set up and the kitchen there though.

AnswerID: 280200

Reply By: Gerhardp1 - Monday, Jan 07, 2008 at 00:16

Monday, Jan 07, 2008 at 00:16
For my 2005 trip to Cape York, I took a Campomatic hard floor camper. I was travelling alone, and daily setup was a breeze.

I was ready for sleeping in 2 minutes. Packing up always took longer, because by then at least one meal was involved, and a bit of stuff always required packing away.

I observed many soft floor users setiing up and packing away, and every day I thanked whatever it was that made me fork out the extra for the hard floor. The good part was, when I sold it, I didn't lose any money, so it cost me nothing. I'm sure a soft floor would have lost money on the resale.

I'm not short enough to sleep in the tow vehicle, I'm well over the 4' 8" which would be the maximum height to be comfy ......
AnswerID: 280202

Reply By: Member - Brian (Gold Coast) - Monday, Jan 07, 2008 at 06:46

Monday, Jan 07, 2008 at 06:46
Personally, I am a big fan of a good trailer set up..... mine!!!

I haven't seen anything that compares to mine for ease of set up, albeit needing two people, and ease of pack up. But most of them don't have an 'easy' set up. I think, for me, if I were travelling solo, I wouldn't use a trailer, a tent or swag would be more appropriate.


AnswerID: 280216

Reply By: SteveF - Monday, Jan 07, 2008 at 09:31

Monday, Jan 07, 2008 at 09:31
I'm building a offroad teardrop camper. I has a queen size bed, interior cupboards, 12v lighting and power etc. It also has a rear kitchen where you just open the hatch at the rear and get instant shelter and kitchen with easy access cupboards etc. It requires no setup and no packing away. The bed and kitchen are ready to use as soon as you pull over :) It is 2.7m long, 1.6m wide and 1.2m tall (The body area) The sleeping area is 2m long 1.55m wide and 1.15m tall.

Of course it is a bit taller than a traditional camper trailer to tow but it still tucks in behind my Jeep and is the same track etc. Finally I wont have to deal with canvas at all anymore ;)

And some pics.

Me and the TD for size comparision, I'm about 182cm tall.

Rendering of what it should end up like

Interior as it is now (unfinished) As you can see in the pics it is also fully insulated.

Roof vent and LED lighting

Front window.

Anyway, I have plenty more if anyone is interested.

AnswerID: 280227

Follow Up By: Gronk - Monday, Jan 07, 2008 at 09:57

Monday, Jan 07, 2008 at 09:57
Looks pretty good......wil it stand up to offroad work??

The draw bar just looks a little small for serious offroad travel ??

How are going to finish the outside ?? Paint ??

But good to see someone have a go and I'm sure it will look like a million dollars when finished..
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Follow Up By: SteveF - Monday, Jan 07, 2008 at 10:08

Monday, Jan 07, 2008 at 10:08
It'll have no problem with offroad work, this is built using the same techniques as a full size offroad caravan with the advantage of being in a small package, it is extremely strong :)

You cant see the holw drawbar in the pic, it is 1.3m long and is long enough to stop the trailer hitting the Jeep if it jackknifes, I couldn't really see any need to have it longer.

It will be painted after it is sanded back, I'm hoping for a nice smooth finsh.

Here's an early pic with it hooked up to the Jeep (It is sitting a little high as has almost no weight on it here). The jockey wheel can slide up a lot higher or come off when traveling.

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Follow Up By: Gronk - Monday, Jan 07, 2008 at 13:00

Monday, Jan 07, 2008 at 13:00
I wasn't meaning the length of the drawbar but the cross sectional size !!

What sort of weight do you expect it to be when finished ??

Did you use shockies ??
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Follow Up By: SteveF - Monday, Jan 07, 2008 at 14:19

Monday, Jan 07, 2008 at 14:19
Its 50x75 and 5mm thick (too thick really), plenty strong enough especially since the camper will weigh between 400-500kg :)

According to our ADR rules and DOTARS the tongue has to be able to take 1.5 times the trailers maximum weight. My A-FRAME will take about 1.7 ton which will be well over twice the weight of the loaded trailer. I think you guys are too used to dragging around well over a ton when offroad ;)

For some more info check this link, it's where I did my initial calculations.


I don't currently have shockies on it but since I built it all from scratch I can easily add them if required.

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Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Monday, Jan 07, 2008 at 10:16

Monday, Jan 07, 2008 at 10:16

I have no argument about your points on the setup of the soft top campers, but mate, I'm buggered if I would go to the trouble of opening up the kitchen to boil the billy for a cuppa, no matter how "easy" it is.

I have a thermos flask for that express purpose, which allows me to have one without even stopping.
Simply boil the water in the morning before departing and the water will stay hot enough all day, to make a tea or coffee anytime you wish. I keep the "makings" in a small bag behind the front seat, within easy reach of the Navigator. Coupled with an insulated closed top drinking container, I can keep a hot brew within easy reach all the time if I wish.


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AnswerID: 280233

Reply By: T-Ribby - Monday, Jan 07, 2008 at 14:35

Monday, Jan 07, 2008 at 14:35
Hi Kim, looks like a sturdy beast. If yours is the side fold model, after undoing the top cover to free the tent, undo the trailer clips and lift the top into the open position. Now you can easily pull the hoops and tent up into position, and then lower the top and reclip it to the trailer. Mine is a real bitch to pull up until I found out about this little trick.
When we're only staying overnight, the awning stays off and it only takes a few mins to set up the rest. HTH.
AnswerID: 280270

Follow Up By: Member - Kim M (VIC) - Monday, Jan 07, 2008 at 14:43

Monday, Jan 07, 2008 at 14:43

Why did'nt I think of that. I'll give it a try next time.

Many thanks


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Reply By: Member - Pedro the One (QLD) - Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 02:39

Tuesday, Jan 08, 2008 at 02:39
Hi Kim ... and others :

Another interesting thread .....
I also have just purchased a "soft-floor Camper top" and am in the process of adding it to my Camping Trailer.

Purchased through eBay after much investigation and deliberation over the many threads post here and in other forums.

It arrived just before Christmas and I finally got to plonk it on my trailer and temporarily set it up. Primarily to fit the hinges so it could be tilted whilst still packed down.

Looked great .... till it rained and I found ALL the seams leaked [which I had anticipated anyway!] and was going to do the hose trick to check for leaks ????

Got out the natural beeswax [had it for nearly thirty years waiting for this !!] and managed to do 75% of the seams and left the rest for the next day. Big mistake .......... HUGE !

Bloody "Helen" came along and spoilt my plans completely , ended up not being able to finish 'the hinge thing' until today .

As I type, she [Helen] is still dumping brazillions of litres on Weipa but I don't care now ... the Camper Top is now installed on the trailer and ready to go [nearly] .... but all our roads are rat-spit, the rivers are high and the grass am growing fastly .... so no gold prospecting or any camping now till Easter, or later..... bummer !

Back to Kims' thread ....
I'm of the same opinion, Kim ..... sleep in the truck [Troopy] for the quick overnight stops and use the Camper Trailer for the longer stays .. which is what it's function was to be anyway.

I have found the same thing as you .... it certainly is a bit more work, and heavier, than originally assumed. But I've discovered that it really is no more effort than setting up my normal 'longer-stay' camp with a [4EV] dome tent/large tarp fly, rigging up the swag/table/chairs/camping boxes/lights/sauna/campfire/spa/shower/loo/ and all the other bits 'n pieces ...... on account I like to 'rough it in comfort !'

I already have my own jazzy purpose-built kitchen set-up for the trailer ... and all the other neccessary 'stuff' which takes me a "liesurely" hour or two to set up ......... lots of brews/beers/sit-downs, etc.

The new set-up will be a lot quicker and easier .......... de-setting will be a bit longer ... and a real bummer iffen it rains, I agree.

But, for me, I would simply stay put until it stops raining [I have that leeway, generally] and as I am now setting up with a HF Radio and, hopefully, a SatPhone.... my movements [ or stayments?] can be communicated so there are no inappropriate searches instigated ..............

But this CamperTrailer thing is a lot more than just towing a bed around .......... there is a price to pay for everything .... setting- up time is the price for my luxury accomodation !!

And the bed .... it's 2.2m long and 1.8m wide .... now, that's a bed !! And the bloody Beagle can't climb into it the way she could into the swag !!

Summary :
Great as a base camp, [ mine is a 12 foot fold-out extention to a 7 foot trailer, plus an 8 foot wide annex awning and walls !]

My Troopy has had the rear seats removed, the Cargo Barrier moved forward and a false floor laid in so I can and have fitted a full-size single mattress on the left side, 40 ltr Engels and other containers on the right side : I just drive till I'm ready to stop, have a fresh brew and some tucker, feed the dog and climb into the already made-up bed.

Just so simple, wake up early the next morning, a quick brew and on the way again. No mucking about looking for camping grounds, a roadside stop or a bush track is all I want ..... KISS!
[Keeping It Super Simple !]

Yep .... it's a huge outfit, but I love it already, can't wait for everything to dry out.

And, for the record : my CamperTrailer of Choice was also the Cavalier ....... only monetary concerns stopped me there, but I almost certainly will consider one in the future .... unless I get lucky in the goldfields again, when I may look at some of the hard-floors.

AnswerID: 280414

Follow Up By: Member - Kim M (VIC) - Monday, Jan 28, 2008 at 22:07

Monday, Jan 28, 2008 at 22:07

Did you receive the DVD I sent?


FollowupID: 548965

Follow Up By: Member - Pedro the One (QLD) - Monday, Jan 28, 2008 at 23:31

Monday, Jan 28, 2008 at 23:31
Kim ..... YES !!
Only rec'd it this Friday and watched it over the weekend.

And many thanks .... technique was all I was after and it was just what I needed !

The gesture was much appreciated and thanks again......
FollowupID: 548992

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