How To Choose The Best Camper Trailer A Beginners Buying Guide
For many people, years of camping on a hard floor and in uncomfortable conditions in a tent can become tiresome. It’s these people, the ones with a love for camping in Australia, who eventually decide to purchase a camper trailer.
After all, a camper trailer allows you to enjoy the great outdoors but with the added addition of luxury and comfort. What could be better than getting a restful night’s sleep in a comfortable queen size bed? Who doesn’t want to enjoy a hot shower out in the bush? A camper trailer is your home away from home and helps make every getaway a positive experience.
With so many different manufacturers, makes and models available on the market, it is little surprise that many find the process of buying a camper trailer confusing. The hardest part is working out where to start.
What is the best type of off-road camper trailer for families? How much does a camper trailer cost? All of these questions begin to build up. And before you know it, you’re more confused than ever! To help you find your way, we have put together our beginner’s guide for choosing the best camper trailer.
How Much To Spend On A Camper Trailer?
When it comes to camper trailers, the quality of a cheap $8,000 camper won’t compare to a similar $25,000 camper trailer. As the old saying goes, you get what you pay for. While it is easy to set a budget and ignore any camper trailer that exceeds it. Giving yourself some wriggle room can make all the difference between a camper trailer fit for purpose and a camper trailer that is perfect for you.
Typically, the more expensive a camper trailer is, the better the quality, facilities and accessories will be. While it is always tempting to go for the cheapest option you find, once you add in all of the accessories you need, costs begin to quickly add up.
Another thing to consider when it comes to the price of a camper trailer is that more expensive models tend to offer a higher level of quality and durability. What use is a low-quality camper trailer if you have to keep performing repairs or replacing it every couple of years?
Of course, for the savvy shopper bargains are always available to be had. While there is nothing quite like a sparkling, brand new camper trailer. You can pick up a used or ex demo camper for a fraction of the cost.
At the cheapest and of the scale, you can spend around $8,000 for and extremely basic camper trailer without any frills. For an all singing and all dancing camper trailer that offers complete luxury, style and quality, you could spend up to $100,000.
While for some that may sound expensive. A camper trailer is an investment that allows you to stay anywhere and can pay for itself over the years. As soon as you have set your budget, the next thing to look at is your camping style.
What Is Your Camping Style?
After the budget, your camping style is the second most important thing to think about. For the majority of people touring Australia, it’s all about going off grid.
If you intend on visiting places off the beaten track, you will definitely want to consider an off-road camper trailer. A hybrid camper trailer comes with all the bells and whistles that you need when exploring the middle of nowhere.
From solar-powered panels, huge water tanks, heating systems, a tough and impenetrable shell and a gourmet kitchen, you can do away with campsites completely. Everything that you need for a luxury getaway is included and no set up is required.
If you intend on visiting state forests, national parks and campsites with facilities such as showers, electricity and water, then a hard floor camper trailer is a good choice. Ultimately, the farther afield you intend to go, and the longer the holiday will be, convenience and comfort will always be a winner.
Some common questions to think about include:
- How often will I travel in my camper trailer?
- Do I want a camper trailer for family travel?
- What types of places will I visit?
- What time of year will I travel in my camper trailer?
- What types of facilities and tech do I want in my camper trailer?
All of these questions will help you work out which type of camper trailer is best for your needs. Try to think well into the future. It is easy just to think about the coming year. But with so many beautiful places to visit and many of them in the bush, future plans should play a role.
Weight Load and Vehicle
When looking to buy an off-road camper trailer, you should consider your vehicle’s tow capacity and ball weight. This is especially true if you have an SUV or a 2-wheel drive. Those with a 4WD should face no issues with towing an off-road camper trailer. Even in challenging conditions and terrains.
A good way to find out about the ball weight and tow capacity of your vehicle is by checking the manufacturers handbook. Many people don’t realise that their insurance and vehicle warranty can become void if the vehicle weight is overloaded.
As a general rule of thumb, good tracking qualities and forward travel can be achieved with a ball weight of approximately 10 to 15% of the weight of the camper trailer. It is also important to remember that part of the vehicle payload consists of the ball weight of the camper trailer.
Now we have the technicalities out of the way, let’s take a look at the different camper trailers.
Types of Camper Trailer
There are three different types of camper trailer available on the market. These include soft floor campers, hard floor campers and hybrid campers. To help you understand the differences between the three, we are going to take a closer look at them.
Soft floor camper trailers
These lightweight campers were once a popular choice for those looking to buy a new camper trailer. However, the need for several people to set up and pack away the camper trailer has seen them fall out of favour. When it comes to touring Australia, you can spend days on the road.
For many, the thought of having to spend time setting up the camper trailer at each destination is off-putting. That’s not to say that a soft floor camper trailer is not a good choice. They tend to come with more floor space and are easier to tow due to a reduced weight load.
Hard floor camper trailers
Hard floor camper trailers feature ready made beds, pull out kitchen units and a sealed body that prevents rain and dust from entering the camper. Set up is quick and easy and is performed with the click of a button. There is also more than 2,500L of storage space and it’s optimised weight makes it perfect for heading off road.
Hard floor camper trailers typically come with a plethora of customizable options. This makes them the perfect choice for solo travelers, couples and families. Being perfectly designed for going off road, discovering more of Australia in comfort and style becomes a reality. Aside from being sturdy and durable, hard floor campers also come with all of the mod cons you will need.
A lightweight hard floor camper trailer such as the Complete Campsite Fraser XTE has a 130 kg ball weight. With the majority of 4WD vehicles having a 250 kg weight capacity, safety and ease of towing is improved.
Hybrid camper trailers.
Hybrid camper trailers are the kings of the camping world. A cross between and on-road caravan and an off-road trailer, they offer luxury and comfort in a single molded fiberglass shell. Perfectly optimised and insulated, hybrid camper trailers keep you cool when it’s hot and warm when it’s cold.
For those interested in a hybrid camper trailer, the Complete Campsite Exodus 16 has a ball weight of 170 kg. As an example, a Chrysler 300C CRD Sedan and the Ford FG Falcon G6E turbo Sedan can both tow up to 200 kg ball weight. Both of these are considered as lightweight vehicles. And both of them are up to the task of safely towing a hybrid camper trailer.
The Exodus 14 has a ball weight of 170 kg, a gourmet kitchen and features a fridge freezer with 82 litres storage capacity. Each wheel has twin shock absorbers for minimal disruption when off-roading. An external pod creates an ensuite bathroom. 300 watt solar-powered panels make it easy to go off grid. And an inbuilt awning is easily rolled out for instant exterior shade.
If you are looking for something even lighter, the Complete Campsite Exodus 11 has a total ball weight of 150 kg. This means that cars such as the Ford Mondeo 2.0 LX wagon and the Toyota Aurion AT-X can easily tow it. Of course, a 4WD is always the better option.
But if you don’t have a 4WD, it doesn’t mean that you can’t tow a luxury hybrid camper trailer too. With the huge amounts of storage space, a luxurious interior and maximum comfort. A hybrid camper trailer offers a home away from home experience, even in the remote wilderness of the Australian bush.
Who Will Use It The Most?
If you intend on traveling solo then you only have to consider your own comfort and requirements. However, the majority of people who purchase a camper trailer do so to travel with family.
When it comes to choosing the best camper trailer for family use, think about heating options, shower facilities, the kitchen and sleeping arrangements. For the most part, camper trailer getaways are a family experience with many people looking for the best camper trailers for families. If you are traveling with family, then a hybrid camper trailer offers comfort and convenience for every age group.
Traveling with family over long distances can be enough to test the patience of a saint. After a long trip, everyone is tired and irritable. So a quick and easy set up is a must. The last time you have to spend getting things in order, the more time you have to enjoy your holiday.
While hybrid camper trailers offer maximum comfort with minimal set up, don’t rule out a hard floor camper trailer. The Fraser XTE can be set up with the push of a button on the remote control. In fact, it’s so easy, even kids can do it!
Thinking about must have accessories, the following may or may not be important to you. However, they will help make life easier and let you make the most of your time away.
- A fridge and freezer
- An awning
- A hot and cold shower
- A heating system
- Private toilet facilities
- Solar-power panels
- Drop down stabiliser legs
- LED lighting
- A stove or electric cooker
- Storage space
- Pressurised wash taps
If you truly want to experience the best that Australia has to offer, then going off road and off grid is common. While you may not need all of the above accessories or features, they help ensure you have everything that you need regardless of how remote you are. The above are just some of the features included with the Exodus 16 hybrid camper trailer.
Other Important Things To Note
By now you should have a good idea of where to start when choosing the best camper trailer. But we are not quite finished yet.
When it comes to buying your camper trailer, you should only ever buy from a fully licensed motor dealer. By purchasing from a licensed motor dealer, such as Complete Campsite, you are covered by the motor dealers and repairers compensation fund.
It is also a great idea to visit camper trailer events and shows so that you can see the many different makes and models in person. While the internet is a fantastic place for learning more about the different types of camper trailers. There is nothing quite like seeing and experiencing them first-hand.
Spend a little bit of time working out exactly what you want from your off road camper trailer. Once you have a good idea about where you will travel, who will travel and the facilities you want. Things become a whole lot easier.
Still not sure?
If you are still not sure about what type of camper trailer is best for you, why not hire one for a weekend and try it out first hand.
You can also head along to one of the many camper trailer shows held across Australia each year. This is a great way to ask the experts more about camper trailers and discover all of the features that they have.
At Complete Campsite, our camper trailers have been specifically designed to have a reduced weight load without compromising on quality and durability. This makes them easy to tow even when you don’t have a 4WD vehicle.
If you don’t intend on tearing through dry river beds, steep and rocky terrains and soft sand roads, then you will probably do just fine with any medium to large sized vehicle. If you do plan on tackling these types of surfaces, then a 4WD vehicle is a good choice.
Complete Campsite manufacturers Australian-made camper trailers with quality, value and comfort in mind. For more than two decades, we have been helping people explore Australia with their loved ones and experiencing memorable moments together.