Where to start when choosing a Camper Trailer

So you have decided that you are about to buy a Camper Trailer.  Whether you are upgrading from a swag or tent, upgrading the camper trailer you all ready have or you are starting from scratch, there are some very important things you need to think about before deciding which Camper suits you the best.  We here at Savannah Campers & Trailers have a range of Forward folding Campers and a range of hybrid Pop Tops and Caravans. Choosing which one is going to be the best fit for you can sometimes be a daunting proposition so we are going to discuss some of the issues here.

Budget

Probably the first thing you need to look at is Budget.  How much money are you willing to part with to get your little piece of outdoor adventure.  Many would think that most camper trailers on the market are similar in price, but that is far from the truth. You can pick up a wonderful second-hand camper trailer for a few thousand dollars, or purchase absolute luxury at the top of most people’s camping budgets.

So, what should we expect to get for our money?

Often the price is reflective of the features, amenities, and style of camper trailer you can buy. For example, a larger seven-foot hard floor camper trailer fully kitted out with dual deep cycle batteries, 12V fridge freezer and kayak carrying racks will likely be more expensive than a basic soft floor model that has fewer features.

Tow Limitations

After deciding on your budget, it’s best to grab your tow vehicle’s service manual and find the vehicle’s tow capacity. That weight will determine what camper trailers you can or cannot safely tow. Larger vehicles, such as 4WDs will typically be able to tow a heavier trailer, while you may find your options limited if your tow vehicle is a family sedan or smaller SUV.

Always make sure you are checking the camper trailer’s weight against your tow vehicle’s towing capacity, as the last thing you want is to waste money buying a camper trailer that you can’t safely and legally tow.

Keep in mind that off-road and ‘feature-heavy’ models will likely be heavier than most soft floor versions. If you are not sure on either a camper trailer’s weight or your tug’s tow capacity, contact their respective manufacturers for more information. Savannah Campers can assist you to find the relevant information on your vehicle if you need some help here.

You will also not be able to tow your camper trailer without the right equipment. You will need a rear bar with a tow ball at a minimum. Some camper trailers (off-road models in particular) use an articulating hitch and anything over 750kg will require an electric brake system. If your tow vehicle doesn’t have any of this equipment yet, it will need to be included in your overall budget.  It can also be a good idea to fit your vehicle out with an anderson plug so that you can charge the onboard batteries whilst you are travelling.

Where are you going?

The third thing is how are you going to be using your Camper Trailer – will it be all on road staying in Caravan Parks, or do you want to head out off the beaten track and be fully self sufficient?

Don’t buy an on road camper trailer and expect it to survive gravel roads or anything more serious. Your camper trailer needs to match the terrain you are going to tow it on. If you want to drag it all over Australia in some of the roughest tracks around, you need something built for those conditions.  If you just want one for a couple of trips a year to a caravan park a few hours away by bitumen then by all means, save yourself a fortune and buy an on road trailer.

Once you have made some decisions on these three things it will be much easier to narrow down the type of camper trailer suitable for you and your family. So lets take a look at some of the other features that you might consider when purchasing a camper trailer.

 

Types of Camper Trailer

There are many types of Camper trailer on the market today ranging from soft floor campers through to your full off road 4×4 Caravan.  Narrowing down what type of camper you are looking for is probably one of the most important jobs as other features will come from this decision.

Softfloor Camper Trailers

Softfloors generally take longer to set up but they also have the most storage and potential room for longer stays, which is great if you have lots of kids. They’re lighter and the cheapest to buy.

Hardfloor Camper Trailers

Hard floor Campers typically come in 2 different types rear folding and forward folding. At Savannah Campers we have a range of forward folding campers for both couples and families with up to 6 kids.  They are typically heavier than your soft floor models however come with many more features and are much easier to set up.

Pop-top Camper Trailers

Pop-tops often have cooking facilities inside and look like entry-level caravans. At Savannah Camper we have a hybrid pop top the Sprint PT4 which has all your sleeping inside just like a caravan however all your cooking is done outside with a slide out kitchen.  This typically makes inside the camper a bit roomier and being an alloy construction these are quite a light camper trailer considering all the features they pack inside.

Off Road Caravans

Off Road Caravans come in all shapes and sizes and can come with a price tag well over $150,000 for some of the large more feature packed caravans.
Generally Off Road Caravans can be quite heavy so you will need a big 4×4 to tow one but they come with just about everything you could possible need whilst travelling. The SUV Fox 12’6″ is a smaller compact off road van giving you all the comforts of a Caravan with the manuverablity of a Camper Trailer.

So Where to From Here?

The next step is the features that you would like in your Camper, these choices can range from how many people you need to sleep to where do I put the generator and babyq for travel..

Sleeping

Get your sleeping arrangements wrong and it can be a deal breaker. Think about where you and your partner are going to sleep, along with any kids and pets. If the bed has a ladder to climb up onto, are you going to be ok doing that at night when you need to go to the toilet?

How long does it take to set up beds for the kids? How much room do they have?

Functionality

There’s nothing more important than functionality; the camper trailer should be a pleasure to take away and use. Unfortunately some things you won’t realise until you buy one, but we have made a list of plenty of things below that you should be looking into. Above all though, its got to function well!

Ease of Set Up

Ease of set up plays a very important role in making decisions about buying camper trailers, soft floor campers tend to take much longer to set up than their hard floor counterparts and this is generally due to the need to set up many more rooms before you can sleep in your camper.  Here at Savannah Campers we have a range of campers that can be set up in under one minute so that you can sleep in them with ease. 

Storage

Some camper trailers have enough room to take pretty much everything with you, from multiple gas bottles and jerry cans through to fridges, toilets, generators, a boat and all your food without a drama in the world.

However, many do not have room for much at all, and you need to have a think about what you want to take with you. If you plan on taking fuel with you in jerry cans, make sure it has provision for this. Do you tend to take lots of big things camping or do you just take smaller things?  Looking at the functionality of the storage and how you plan to use it is definitely something that you should keep in mind.

Kitchens

When you look at the kitchen is there enough preparation space or will you need to take another table for this? if you need to take an extra table is there somewhere to put it? Is the stove going to be big enough? Many camper trailers have a stove that you cant put 2 pots on as there isn’t enough room, this can be a huge problem if you are cooking for a family. 

 

Once you have had a look at all these things you should have a good idea of the Camper Trailer that you will need to do the type of camping that you and your family love. The next step is to find yourself a reputable dealer, they will be able to help with any technical questions that you might have and point you in the right directions for the camper trailers in their range. Make sure the dealer has the ability to service the Camper you are looking at and above all else make sure you are comfortable with the people you are dealing with.

Keep your eye out for our up coming article on what to look for when buying a camper trailer that delves into the more technical side of buying a camper.

We hope that you have found this article useful, please forward it onto your friends if you think they might like a read too.