When Brenden first came up with the idea of buying a Camper Trailer we had no idea how to choose a camper trailer. But we wanted to make sure that we chose the right one for our family.
When the kids were small we camped in a tent. But we quickly realised that as they approached their teens, the tent option was going to be a bit on the small side. We also found with a tent, that there was no ‘quick set up’ option as you pretty much have to unpack everything to set up for one night.
For us, going camping was going to be the best way to get outdoors and explore this wonderful country of ours. But with so many options available what was going to be the best for us?
RESEARCH IS VITAL
Brenden started researching on the internet and found that you could spend anywhere between $4000 up to $50,000 for a hard floor version. Then there were On-Road, Semi-Off Road or Off-Road models available. We decided that we wanted a good quality off-road trailer so we could take it anywhere. We also wanted one that would last us for several years. One other thing that we quickly discovered, was that there was a vast difference in quality of materials and that this didn’t always correspond to the price tag either!
CARAVAN AND CAMPING SHOWS
The next step in our research was to visit a few Caravan and Camping Shows. Shows are held at various times throughout the year and in most major and regional areas of Australia. They are a great place to start looking at different styles of campers. At the same time, look very carefully at the quality of the canvas, how easily the zips open and close. Also look at how well the trailer is constructed and the different styles of kitchens available. It is also great to be able to talk to the sales reps. You will often find that many of them are avid campers themselves and know their product inside and out.
We also looked at a couple of second hand models, but decided that they were not what we wanted.
So we finally settled on a local Brisbane company, Customline. Our main reasons for choosing them were:-
- 15 oz canvas (roof and sides)
- Custom made tent
- Quality of workmanship
- After-sales service
- Tropical roof
- Choice of colours
- They were local so we could organise everything with them face to face.
For our money we got a Full Off-Road trailer, with a 12 foot tent and annex, with a queen size bed. An additional ‘kids room’ which zips onto the drawer bar side of the main tent and allows for the kids to have their own separate area. We also choose a basic fold out tail-gate kitchen. Most also come standard with a tool box on the front. There are many other options that you can choose to include if you wish or you can add them later. Build time was about 3 weeks after paying our initial deposit.
CHECK THE QUALITY
I belong to a few camping groups and forums and one of the things I read about is people buying cheaper imported campers. These mainly come from China and the quality and workmanship of these trailers is just not up to our harsh Australian conditions. I would strongly recommend only buying a camper trailer from a manufacturer who belongs to the Australian Manufactured Camper Trailer Guild. This will help guarantee that you are getting a quality product, that is made purely to withstand harsh Australian conditions. Our first outing to Rainbow Beach, saw us in a torrential downpour with strong winds and we had no problems with our tent leaking at all.
Camping and caravanning magazines can also be a great source of information. For more information you can check out this article from Camper Trailer Australia magazine. Before you purchase anything, maybe consider hiring a trailer for a few days to see how you like it, but ultimately, we know, that whatever you choose, you will have an awesome time with it!
Sadly, Customline Camper Trailers are no more. After selling their business to Armadillo Campers a couple of years, I have been informed that Armadillo are no longer in business. However there are still plenty of original Customline trailers around and if you were in the market for a second hand one I don’t think you would be disappointed with the quality.