Your Camper Trailer Experience

Submitted: Monday, Jun 16, 2008 at 20:00
ThreadID: 58861 Views:3801 Replies:16 FollowUps:5
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I am a tent camper thinking about purchasing a soft floor camper. I would like to hear of peoples experience using these. Is there any changes you would make if making your purchase again, must have options or other features you have since seen that you wished you had incorporated in your purchase. Or have you owned one and decided to change to a hard floor or jayco offroad camper
My camper is only for two people so the 9 foot tent should do. Not sure about the annex option, perhaps a awning with end wind breaks would be sufficient
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Reply By: Member - EscapeArtists(WA) - Monday, Jun 16, 2008 at 20:17

Monday, Jun 16, 2008 at 20:17
We have just brought a Jayco Eagle Outback and very happy with it.
a bit more comfort for the Mrs LOL
AnswerID: 310389

Reply By: Member - Mark G (NSW) - Monday, Jun 16, 2008 at 20:44

Monday, Jun 16, 2008 at 20:44
KWK56PT; we have a soft floor camper and are very happy with it.the best way to decide is to have a look at various ones around camp sites to gauge whats out there.talk to guys that have them and they will tell you the good and the bad points.you probably wouldn't buy one off the shelf to suit your every need.a good manufacturer will build you one to your specs.thats just our experience anyway,cheers.
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Reply By: RosscoH - Monday, Jun 16, 2008 at 21:15

Monday, Jun 16, 2008 at 21:15
See if you can hire one to try them out, you may be able to hire a soft floor for one trip and then maybe a Jayco for the next one, get the feel for both and then decide, we went from tent to soft floor camper and then to a Jayco Flamingo, definatly won't be going back.Put jayco into e-bay and there are quite a few for hire on there.
AnswerID: 310403

Follow Up By: Member - Phillip S (WA) - Monday, Jun 16, 2008 at 23:51

Monday, Jun 16, 2008 at 23:51
I agree with Rossco...hire a soft floor and then a hard floor..... this will help you decide which is best...our first hire was a soft floor, a cavalier, not bad, but then we hired a pioneer, hard floor, that was better for us....but we have a full van now.....SWMBO won out...I still like the campers though....horses for courses I reckon....but luv the van too
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Reply By: Scubaroo - Monday, Jun 16, 2008 at 21:40

Monday, Jun 16, 2008 at 21:40
What sort of travel are you looking to do with it? Frequent short stops or a planned single destination where you set up camp for a week or more?

We're 8 weeks into a 10 week trip around NT/WA from Vic with a hard floor Kimberley Kamper - there's no way I would have wanted to take a soft floor camper on this trip (my impression is that they are more time consuming to erect and dismantle). The hard floor makes packing up the Kimberley relatively straightforward. They are bloody expensive though to buy - we've rented ours for this trip.

Having had a good sticky beak at other campers while travelling, the Ultimates look bloody nice, but again, expensive. Soft floors seem to have many more affordable options going rather than spending $30k or more on a hard floor camper.
AnswerID: 310409

Reply By: Kiwi & "Mahindra" - Monday, Jun 16, 2008 at 21:43

Monday, Jun 16, 2008 at 21:43
sounds like you know what your doing.
ours is a soft floor...the hard floors arent big enough with 3 kids!LOL!

we have a green mesh ground sheet to prtect it a little more from all the rocks and sticks....costs a bit but very worth it!

its no different to having a tent....as in flooring...

Laura
AnswerID: 310410

Reply By: Biglinz - Monday, Jun 16, 2008 at 22:11

Monday, Jun 16, 2008 at 22:11
I have owned a soft floor camper for 2 years and find it to be quite ok. They certainly take a bit longer to set up than a hard floor but are a lot cheaper and generally have a lot more inside space for kids beds etc. The storage area inside the trailer is usually quite good as well. the site www.myswag.org is a good one for info.
AnswerID: 310415

Follow Up By: kwk56pt - Monday, Jun 16, 2008 at 23:04

Monday, Jun 16, 2008 at 23:04
I was planning a mix of touring and stay for a couple of week holidays. i ask about Jaycos as it seems common for people to be seliing camper trailers to get these. I ask about campers as I thought people who have owned these would have must have preferences, eg 8 foot awning or 6 foot awning as 8 foot hard to fold up or 150mm mattress or innerspring or maybe the 100mm foam is satisfactory. In your application wre brakes felt necesaary. Electric or hydraulic. Most camper trailers probably struggle to be under 750kg loaded up. So many variables and i dont really expect to know what is needed until I use one.
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Reply By: guzzi - Tuesday, Jun 17, 2008 at 06:34

Tuesday, Jun 17, 2008 at 06:34
With only 2 of you the hard floors do become an option as well.
Hire one of each for a couple of weekend trips and see which one you prefer.
I went for 12 ft soft floor and an 8 ft annex because I have kids and usually set up for at least 2 nights at a time.
The annex is a must IMO regardless of the type you select.
Water tank and a decent kitchen make life easier.
Soft floors are generally cheaper for some reason, go and have a look around at the next caravan and camping show in your area, you'll get to see and compare both types.
AnswerID: 310442

Reply By: Tony - Tuesday, Jun 17, 2008 at 06:56

Tuesday, Jun 17, 2008 at 06:56
We have friends with a soft floor, and for the past 5 years they have enjoyed it for short and long trips (up to 3 months). Now the are in their 60,s are finding it a bit of a chore to set up, as it has to be dead level.

We went for a hard floor Camper, and after a 5 month trip last year, found it easier to erect and pack up. We can sleep two kids on the floor inside, with plenty of room to get in and out. With the full annex up, stacks of room outside, as the annex is 6m long, with the kitchen up one end, so it leaves the rest all open.

But being dual axle, room is not a problem.
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Reply By: Squizzy - Tuesday, Jun 17, 2008 at 07:29

Tuesday, Jun 17, 2008 at 07:29
Try Myswag.org for all the info you need from camper trailer owners.
AnswerID: 310448

Reply By: Brian - Tuesday, Jun 17, 2008 at 07:59

Tuesday, Jun 17, 2008 at 07:59
As others have said, hire some campers before you buy one. We have owned a Cavalier Off Road with the 14ft soft floor tent for a little over 3 years now. With 2 teenage boys, we needed the 14ft, and we also use an OzTrail 3 X 3 gazebo as a "living area".
Back in the dark old days of owning a dome tent, we used to get very frustrated erecting the tent, usually ending up arguing over it. Mind you, it was not the easiest of tents to set up. For me, the frustrating thing is tent poles and guy ropes, which obviously are associated with tarps and awnings. Our Cavalier has four poles holding the small awning at the front. We peg and rope the corner poles and tie the inner two poles to our gazebo. So our poles and ropes are at a minimum. It takes us about 40 minutes to set up tent, gazebo, shower, kitchen, stove and BBQ, table and chairs, and lighting at camp. We have many times sat back with a coldie watching fellow campers erecting their sites. Even some of the "up-market" brands have way too many poles.... quite amusing (for me anyway) to watch the guys spend so much time putting so many poles up!

So I guess what I am trying to say, have a good think about the set-up and pull-down of any trailer you're thinking of buying..... the less time setting up, the more time you have to enjoy the trip!

Good luck!!

Cheers

Brian (Gold Coast)
AnswerID: 310454

Reply By: Member - Mfewster(SA) - Tuesday, Jun 17, 2008 at 08:26

Tuesday, Jun 17, 2008 at 08:26
Aditionally, consider weight. Hard floor campers usually weigh considerably more, so they will cost more in towing fuel. A piece of shade cloth under a soft floor gives really good protection from sticks/stones. Ours is a bit bigger so we walk on it under the awning= cleaner feet for inside the tent. We also have a piece of shadecloth with eyelets that covers the folded up tent section when travelling. Pulls tight across the top. Really protects the tent from UV/dirt etc and stops any billowing while travelling that is a problem with some soft floor models.
Personally, I think there will be a lot of vans and trailers coming onto the martket as travellers rethink their set up and try to get everything into the vehicle to save towing costs.
AnswerID: 310459

Reply By: traveller2 - Tuesday, Jun 17, 2008 at 08:41

Tuesday, Jun 17, 2008 at 08:41
Hard floor is better for outback camping for two, can camp on anything, even the road, no pegs to bang in for an overnight stop without the awning too.
We did a trip with 5 campers, 4 hard and one soft. The soft needed a much bigger, flatter area which often isn't available when bush camping especially outback.
AnswerID: 310462

Reply By: Brew69(SA) - Tuesday, Jun 17, 2008 at 08:49

Tuesday, Jun 17, 2008 at 08:49
If you get a soft floor make sure you get the side lift for the top. We just sold our soft floor camper.........loved it.
Your budget will either rule out or in the choice between hard and soft floor campers. You get more camper for your money with the soft floor however as mentioned above the hard floor is a quicker set up and better for all terrain set ups. The soft floor is better if the weather turns bad due to the extra space. The awning is all you need unless you are doing extended stays in the one spot.Most of the overnighters we did we never even bothered with the awning.
Good luck with your choice.
AnswerID: 310463

Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Tuesday, Jun 17, 2008 at 09:05

Tuesday, Jun 17, 2008 at 09:05
Hard floor campers are definitely quicker to erect for a quick overnight stop, but if you are also erecting an awning, that will take as long as one for a soft floor.

Apart from that, you will notice an extreme difference between tent camping and Camper Trailer camping in that everything is (or should be) already in, or on the camper ready for use.
We like the "living outdoors" feeling and always erect the awning, which is our cooking/living area. The camper's tent area is for changing clothes and sleeping in only and an end wall for the awning is a practical choice.

A soft floor can be a mongrel to fold up during a strong wind, but we haven't experienced much of a problem in this regard.

Soft floor campers will be cheaper to buy and generally will have much more storage capability, but for ease of use and all other issues aside, a hard floor camper is a sound investment.

Bill.

Bill


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AnswerID: 310465

Reply By: Rod - Tuesday, Jun 17, 2008 at 09:08

Tuesday, Jun 17, 2008 at 09:08
We took our soft-floor around australia for 4 months in 2001 with a 9mth old baby

* Softfloors seem to have more space for your money
* Hardfloors seems better suited to just a couple. Friends with hard floors have sold them as their families grow due to lack of space. This may/may not be an issue for you
* In the outback, we typically didn't even peg out the canvas. No wind, no rain.
* Just watched a guy on the QB long weekend spend over an hour setting his hardfllor up trying to get it level. We just laid our softfloor out - more forgiving.
* We've had ours in some bad storms with several inches of running water under the floor, akin to a very cold waterbed. No leaks.

Whatever you buy, I'm sure you will enjoy it.
AnswerID: 310467

Reply By: Member - Craig M (QLD) - Tuesday, Jun 17, 2008 at 17:37

Tuesday, Jun 17, 2008 at 17:37
Hi
Currently running around in an ancient soft floor (>10 years old)
Wouldn't swap it for anything (well......... maybe a Winnebago)
Agree with everything said about softfloors. Dont mind banging in the odd peg. Makes the whole experience at least 'feel' like camping. In a big blow I prefer to be connected to the earth by some way other than gravity.
Have spent many an amusing afternoon watching the hardfloor brigade trying to fold everything inside the hard 'clam' before taking off. A bit like trying to keep the lettuce inside the burger. Suppose it brings a big family together because it seems like everyone has something to do or some bit of canvas to poke at..........
Pros for the hardies are that they seem to be a bit more dust/insect/water/thief proof. If I was going to go softfloor again maybe the 'Ultimate' brand of camper trailer?

Anyway, happy travels whatever you decide on.

Craig
AnswerID: 310565

Follow Up By: Brew69(SA) - Tuesday, Jun 17, 2008 at 18:11

Tuesday, Jun 17, 2008 at 18:11
Not sure i follow as an "Ultimate" has no floor???
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Follow Up By: Member - Craig M (QLD) - Tuesday, Jun 17, 2008 at 22:38

Tuesday, Jun 17, 2008 at 22:38
Looks like a floor to me!

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Follow Up By: Scubaroo - Wednesday, Jun 18, 2008 at 12:30

Wednesday, Jun 18, 2008 at 12:30
That's an extended awning - the usual part of the Ultimate is the bed you can see off to the top right of the photo.

The first day with the Kimberley - folding it back up was sure a struggle (took an hour to get it right!), but now it's about a 5 minute job to disassemble and fold the canvas. Of course you're usually stuffing around a bit doing other things like sweeping the hardfloor, rehitching etc that make things take longer - but once you've done the repacking a few times it becomes trivial.
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