Camper trailer or camper van

Submitted: Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 11:34
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Hi, we have 3 kids and are looking to travel later this year. We are unsure which is better camper van or trailer? Can anyone offer some advice? Thx.
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Reply By: Hairs & Fysh - Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 12:13

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 12:13
Hi tskcli,
Having three kids under 12 the youngest fella is 8, and having owned both, here are my thoughts.
Camper trailer; Great for being stopped in one place for a week or more, heaps of room. as the kids get older they can help set it up, when the kids were smaller it was APITA with kids running around moving things, fighting, you get the picture. Took us a good hour to erect ours, longer sometimes, this was with a huge tarp(7x6m) over the top. For two nights or one, it seemed a lot of hard work.
Carried ice box in back of Vehicle as well as 3 way fridge freezer that was chilled down two Pryor. Wasn't warmer enough for Fysh to go camping in winter. A good hour to pack everything back in properly.
Light to tow, very easy on the Landcruiser, good mileage.
Camper; Jayco Swan. Within twenty minutes of stopping, we're setup, thats everything, Shade cloth floor down, kitchen awning out, bed fly's setup and annex done.Great for one, two nights, the annex needs to be a bit bigger for all of us to sit around and have meals. Inside it bigger enough that if it is wet we can be comfortable inside for a couple of days, but after that friendships get strained.
having said that if you get sat inside anywhere with three kids long enough you'll all go crazy,
but it's warm enough to go camping in the middle of winter up here on the North Coast of NSW.
Everything is already packed, Turn fridge on a day before leaving and load everything into it.
Easy pack up, less than twenty minutes & we can be on the road again.
Heavy to tow, a bit more fuel is used to tow it. Can't get into some remote off road spots to camp.

So there are some of the pro & cons of what we found with both of these.

Hope this heaps and happy travels.

AnswerID: 416253

Reply By: Mr Pointyhead - Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 12:21

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 12:21
How easy are the Jayco's to pack up in rain without everything inside getting wet ?

AnswerID: 416256

Follow Up By: Hairs & Fysh - Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 12:55

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 12:55
Sorry, thats a point I forgot to mention.
If packing up in the wet/raining the camper tent, we would have to leave the tarp up until last, Scrambling about under it and usually forgetting to pack something away, then it would have to ride in the back of the Cruiser. Also if it was a wet pack up. everything would have to be aired out when we got home. Luckily we have a big shed/carport which made life easy doing this. Where as the Jayco, we can leave the kitchen awning on, the annex and bed flys on until everything is down, then fold them up and put them in the back tool box until we get home and air them out there.
We're pretty happy with a Swan ATM, I'd like to up date the kitchen and make the inside a little more modern, but hey, it does the job and does it well.
I have learnt, that when packing up in the wet, to put aside a spare set of clothes and just get into it and get wet, thats half the fun of camping.

Why is it the America call it survivor, yet we call it camping?

FollowupID: 686360

Follow Up By: Member - Mark G Gulmarrad - Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 12:59

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 12:59

real seasoned campers pack up in the wet eh.

done that more times than i like to remember
FollowupID: 686362

Follow Up By: nighttrain - Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 13:02

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 13:02
Hairs & Fysh, what do you mean by that last comment?
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Follow Up By: Hairs & Fysh - Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 13:15

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 13:15
Only seasoned campers, become of camp9ing at Evans Head every year.
What was it?
First year Storm at 3am Easter Saturday morning. Hail storm Easter Saturday afternoon.
Second year, storms each afternoon.
Third, much the same.
Fourth, well the night entertainment that spilled over from the pub each morning was the last straw.
Enjoy the peace of the bush now.

This one?
"Why is it the Americans call it survivor, yet we call it camping? '

Just haven a laugh. I think it is one of the stupidest things on telly ATM, of cause this is just my opinion. LOL

FollowupID: 686368

Follow Up By: Member - Mark G Gulmarrad - Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 13:28

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 13:28
Jon.........remember these? Image Could Not Be Found
Image Could Not Be Found

good ol' days
FollowupID: 686370

Follow Up By: Hairs & Fysh - Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 14:27

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 14:27
Hmmm Our baptism of fire into the wonderful world of camping. LOL
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Reply By: Member - Duncs - Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 15:08

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 15:08

If I could I would like to put an opposing view to that expressed by Jon (Hairs and Fysh),

I have been using a camper trailer for the last 14 years. I love it. I have camped in hot sunshine, high winds, driving rain, hail and once even in a little bit of snow.

I can be in bed less than 10 min after pulling on the handbrake. We have heaps of room and are very comfortable. I don't need to set up a large tarp but I set one up if I am in the one spot for any more than a couple of days. We only added the tarp to our equipment list about 5 years ago.

We can pack all our gear into the trailer before we fold the camper, we can leave the beds made, and we have access to everything without going outside. Alternately we can access the storage area of the trailer from outside. We also have access to our full kitchen for lunchtime stops without having to do anything more than open the tailgate of the trailer. This is very handy on cold days when a hot lunch is required. We have travelled in company with people using a Jayco Swan and they were never waiting for us to pack up or set up.

As for packing up wet. As I said earlier we can pack everything from inside the camper, directly into the trailer. Nothing gets wet, not even the kids. The last thing to put away is the camper itself and I can do that on my own in about 5 min so only I get wet. That said in 14 years I have only packed up wet a handful of times. I guess it depends where you go, I really like deserts. We have been rained on and while camping in the rain is not the best having lots of room for the kids to play while stuck inside was fantastic.

When we first got ours my youngest was 3. My kids have helped either me or Mum with the set up from day 1. Usually the girls helped Mum getting the kitchen set up while the young bloke helped me. At first all he could do was carry the peg bag and pass me things, but he was helping. Sometimes, we would send them off to explore while we set things up but even that was called helping because they would come back and show us where the interesting things were. Now he can do it all on his own.

When we chose our camper trailer I wanted something that would go everywhere the car went. The Jayco, type things just didn't cut it. They have long overhangs front and rear that gets hung up quite easily and they are heavy to tow. My camper is only 660kg empty and fully loaded is about 1000kg. I have taken it places where people told me I wouldn't get through, but because it is light and compact I made it.

But and I want to say this very loudly. Don't buy anything because it is what I like or what Jon likes or what anybody else likes. Buy the equipment that suits you. Go and look at as many options as you can. The best place is at camping shows etc... where you can see a lot of options close together. Get out into caravan parks and talk to people who are using them in the real world. Any salesman worth feeding can make his product look fantastic, but you need to know how it works for Joe Average and his family.

Every one of them is a compromise, I am happy with the compromises I have chosen. Make sure you understand and can live with the ones you choose when you dip in your pocket for the hard earned to pay for your set up. Remember also that you only pay for it once but you live with it for a long time. You are better off to invest a little more at the outset than to wish you had while you sit in an uncomfortable camp set up that cost very little. In 14 years I have never wished I bought something else.

AnswerID: 416278

Follow Up By: Hairs & Fysh - Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 15:44

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 15:44
Hi Duncs,
Your spot on when you say, Every one of them is a compromise.
We've chosen to have the Swan because it so much quicker to put up and pull down.
I did enjoy the room that the trailer tent gave.

Has Duncs mentioned, What suits me, doesn't necessarily will suit him or yourself.
He makes some very good points.

If you can, try and hire either type first, try before you buy kinda thing.
you'll sort it out, And do what you've done here, Ask questions, lots of them.


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Follow Up By: George_M - Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 16:47

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 16:47
Geez Duncs - I like the "Chambers Gorge" tree in your "My Profile"

Image Could Not Be Found
Come any closer and I'll rip your throat out!

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

FollowupID: 686408

Follow Up By: Graham Watson - Wednesday, May 12, 2010 at 01:09

Wednesday, May 12, 2010 at 01:09
Recently went camping with friends. We had our soft floor camper trailer, two of them had jaycos and one a tent. The Jaycos seemed to take less time to set up than our trailer, but when packing up we took less time than them (not by much though). Admittedly it was just my wife and I so we did not have to worry about kids beds etc. I'm glad we are not travelling with just a tent.
As mentioned by Duncs a camper trailer can potentially get you into spots a jayco can't. The jayco would be nicer if aught by several days of bad weather.

Graham Watson

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Follow Up By: Member - Duncs - Friday, May 14, 2010 at 20:06

Friday, May 14, 2010 at 20:06
Hi George,

It kinda begs to be photographed doesn't it?

I have had some good times camped in there, hope to get there again soon.

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Reply By: Member - Gary J (NSW) - Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 15:20

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 15:20
Hi tskcli
Are you trying to decide between a camper TRAILER and a camper VAN?
So far only opinions on camper trailers have been forthcoming.
As an owner of a hard floor camper trailer (AORC Odyssey), that's the way I prefer to go.
I reckon a 3 child family in a converted white van would be murder.
AnswerID: 416280

Reply By: dublediff - Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 16:04

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 16:04
Depends on the type of campertrailer you buy. some are simply a flip over type of set up and away you go. my brother has a double flip over type of thing, with two double beds at the height of the trailer. took him ages to set with the kitchen and everything else. he had stacks of room, so much so that he had trouble setting up in some caravan parks...too wide. so the thing is to try or have a very good look before you buy.

I have a golf slipstream off road campervan. We spent 6 months in it, wife and 2 kids and did half the block some time back. this included GRR, and the gorges. Fraser Island, gulf track, flinders ranges etc etc. towed well behind our vehicle without major damage - a shocker blew out on the GRR. So the campervan has gone most of the places that my trucks have gone - everything is a compromise. plenty of room, only put the annexe up once in the 6 months. packing up in the wet means having to put a plastic tarp on the bedding before lowering roof,

have had many, many great trips in this camper and after 14 years now selling it to move into a poptop van as the kids no longer travel with us....still have a tent though.

AnswerID: 416283

Follow Up By: Member - Duncs - Friday, May 14, 2010 at 20:02

Friday, May 14, 2010 at 20:02

Your brothers set up sounds the same as mine. I can have the whole thing set up, kitchen and all in about 15 min. That is with just Mum helping. Now the kids are bigger we can do the lot in about 10 for a basic set up.

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Reply By: outsider - Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 18:51

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 18:51
I have three kids and after much debate went for the campervan.

main reason was that everyone had a bed, camper trailers have a nice comfy bed for the parents but the kids are still down on the ground + you need to take something for them to sleep on.

AnswerID: 416311

Follow Up By: Hairs & Fysh - Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 19:22

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 19:22
Hey Outsider,
Your right about the kids sleeping arrangements, we had a set of bunks for the two smaller kids and a single half of another( for the eldest) set of bunks with a roll of foam on each. Pain in the backside to set up by yourself. I was always frighten one of the sharp ends of the legs would one day go through the vinyl floor.
We put 90% shade cloth under the soft floor area to help stop any sharp rocks/sticks poking through as well. It also helped with wet dirty sand and stuff from sticking to the bottom, which isn't great when packing up if it's wet.
I do like the fact with the Swan that all the sleeping bags stay in the camper, just inside the door on the seat. It's like a storage place for the stuff we take for over night stays to the outlaws, or a mates place if we partake in a few drinks. Or sometimes we just drag the Swan along anyway.
We never ever use up all the storage space in the Swan, yet with the camper, it was a juggle game to make sure it all went back in. Bunks, fold up cupboards, bunk rolls, sleeping bags, Table and bench seats and camp chairs. Esky and fishing rod, the kids Rip Sticks and anything else that happen to be squeezed under the bed. It was never ending.
But things change and we learn what to take and what to LEAVE at home.

FollowupID: 686432

Follow Up By: Member - Duncs - Friday, May 14, 2010 at 19:59

Friday, May 14, 2010 at 19:59
My kids have a nice comfy bed to sleep on just like Mum and Dad. All the beds are remain made when we pack up and are ready for sleeping in as soon as the camper is opened.

FollowupID: 686822

Reply By: Member - Old Girl (QLD) - Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 19:19

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 19:19
We went from a tent child 1 three months old to a camper trailer (standard). Then Jayco camper three tots- Jayco pop top two years ago. The kids are now 11, 9 and 7 so back to the camper trailer but a top of the line off road unit so we can now camp in comfort in remote locations and easy caravan parks if we want too. Our kids are at an age where we don't carry toys except the odd match box car or colouring book and we have limited our stuff so much we look for bulky gear to fill up the trailer. Swags have done that. In winter we roll the kids swags out on their stretchers. The camper has 4 batteries rear kitchen and we have two engle fridges that travel in the car. We like the camper trailer because its easy to store, tow on narrow rough tracks and keeps us fit. We have only just bought it so have not encountered a wet pack up yet. Our old camper we use to use a tarp this one is much bigger so that might not happen. Like others have said everybody's needs are different and god knows ours have changed over the years. Strange thing two fold up chairs we bought with the tent are still being used. They dont make them as good these days.
AnswerID: 416316

Reply By: tskcli - Friday, May 14, 2010 at 23:45

Friday, May 14, 2010 at 23:45
Thanks for all your help. I like the idea of hiring before we buy so might look into that this year.

Duncs, just out of curiousity, which trailer do you own?
AnswerID: 416736

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