Buying your first camper trailer is a big decision. It took us months of research before we made our final choice. When you go to pick up your new trailer, the first thing you will want to know is how to set it up. Hopefully, your retailer will give you a run through on this and also how to care for it. We bought our trailer from Customline and they did a full handover with us. They also provided us with a fantastic instructional DVD which really helped guide us through the initial set up.
SEASONING THE CANVAS
We strongly recommend that you set the trailer up at home and fully saturate the canvas with water, letting it dry out in between. We did this about five times over a period of three days. This ‘seasons’ the canvas, closing stitch holes and helping the whole tent to become waterproof. This is very important so your tent doesn’t leak when it rains. Make sure that the canvas is completely dry before you pack it all away again. This will prevent any mould from growing on the canvas.
LEARNING THE ROPES
It’s always a good idea to practice setting your camper up a couple of times before going on your first adventure. This will help to familiarise yourself with how to set it up. This can save you time (and red faces) when you head off for the first time. Also the annex and in our case the extra room, all zip on and the zips can be quite stiff the first few times you use them. All in all we have found it quite easy to set up and we can manage to set it up on our own without any trouble. Even the kids are able to help.
TIPS FOR YOUR NEW CAMPER TRAILER
- When selecting your position, go for the flattest spot you can find.
- Make sure there are no sharp rocks or sticks underneath where you will set up. You don’t want any holes in your floor or to walk on something sharp whilst inside.
- Always put down a ground sheet underneath the tent set up area. We used a tarp initially but found this didn’t allow for water to drain away. We now use another shade cloth floor. This is a better option as many camp grounds only allow you to use shade cloth on their grassed areas.
- When choosing your position give some thought to the direction you are facing. Do you want to face into the sun or away from?
- Also if setting up underneath trees you may want to consider covering the whole tent with another heavy duty tarp to protect the canvas from tree sap and bird droppings. Both of these can stain the canvas. As you can only clean it with water you don’t want this.
- Most campers come with a windbreak flap that velcros or clips onto the kitchen end of your trailer. Put this in place before you peg down the main floor of the tent. It can be difficult to get this on when the floor is stretched out.
We also had a couple of trial runs at packing the inside of the trailer to see which way everything would fit in the best. We were amazed at how much you can actually fit into one. If you are already a seasoned camper you will know how much gear you can accumulate and how hard it can be to find a spot for everything.
Something else that we did with our trailer was to add some ‘custom’ touches. As Brenden is a pretty clever bloke he fitted to the inside of the trailer two large batteries. These are fully wired into the electrics of the trailer and charge when the trailer is plugged into the car. He then purchased some rolls of LED strips lights which he cut to length and mounted in plastic bracketing. These provide the best light for the inside and outside of our tent and hardly use any current.
He also bought a car radio which he mounted in a box and this runs off the batteries as well. So now we have music wherever we go. The batteries can also be used for charging our phones and camera battery. Even after using them for 4 days they still had not gone flat so would easily run a portable fridge. With our trailer set up like this we can camp anywhere without the need for a powered site.