Camper trailers come in many shapes and sizes with an unlimited list of options.
Different features are also attractive to different people and manufacturers
will emphasise certain aspects. That can make a standard platform for comparisons
treacherous territory. I hope these explanations can make your search easier.
There are many standard features that every camper should come with so I haven’t
included them here. These are such things as jockey wheels, safety chains, hand
brakes, road lights, spare wheels. You will need to check that these items are
Price – Price is important, but many makers don’t include it because every camper
has some customisation. I understand some price guide would be really helpful and
I’m working on it. If I don’t have a price, I have used $0.00. If you want to avoid
searching campers that aren’t priced, include a minimum price of $5,000. There is
actually only one camper priced under $5,000. This is the Small Car Camper from the
Camper Trailer Store.
Floor – Hard floor and soft floor are straightforward but some campers have roof
top tents and don’t really have floors (eg Terra Trek EXP). However, there are
campers like the Mission that has a roof top tent but also a soft floor.
Hinge – This is what side or end of the camper has the pivot for the tent. However,
some campers have multiple hinges and I have included these. Some campers also
slide more than hinge but I think that’s easy enough to understand. The problem is
that some floor types don’t hinge every way. For instance, there is no such thing
as a forward folding soft floor camper so if you search soft and front nothing will
Number of Beds – This was another tough one and I know it’s really important to
know if you can squeeze the kids in. I have defined number of beds based on the number of
people who can sleep on the included beds. So, a soft floor camper may only have a stated
capacity of 2 people but could easily fit in a couple of bunks. That’s where you’ll need
to check the camper out in real life to decide if it is big enough for you.
Dimensions – Wherever possible, these are the external travelling dimensions of the camper.
Terrain Capability – Most makers promote their campers as off road but that can mean many
things. Is it strong enough? Does it have the clearance? Is it river proof? Can it cope with
the corrugations? You’ll need to check this with the maker.
Dry Weight – This can be different for different companies. Is the water tank full or empty?
Are the gas bottles and jerry cans full? The laws are also slightly different in WA.
Coupling – I have tried to standardise the language as much as possible so check with the
maker so you understand the coupling your camper comes with.
Wheels – I have included the standard wheel size but most makers are able to offer different
sizes. Many can also offer different stud patterns and tracking widths.
Suspension – I didn’t have the space to go into the detail of the many suspension systems
on offer. There are also many views about what works best.
Drawbar – This is the length of the drawbar that protrudes from the front of the main
body of the camper. If there’s a storage box, the depth of the box will be included in
the drawbar length.
Stone Guard – There are many types of stone guard although most are custom made. Some
campers also have protection on the actual camper so don’t need a stone guard.
Brakes – If your camper comes with electric brakes, check whether they are 10 inch or
Mattress – Where a camper has multiple beds, the mattress size is for the principal bed.
Water Capacity – Many campers have the option to increase capacity. Also check whether
the tank is plastic or stainless steel.
Stove Burners – There are numerous options here. Apart from stove burners, some campers
have grills, woks, ovens, barbecues and hot plates.
Battery – I haven’t included battery management systems since the variations are
endless and they can be very complicated. Best to read the reviews about which are the
Fridge – Not all campers can fit a fridge. Some people prefer to travel with the fridge
in the car to provide the added protection and cooling. If your camper has provision
for a fridge check on the actual size to make sure your preferred fridge fits. Also
check for ventilation.
240 Volt – This is whether there is any wiring in the camper for 240 volt appliances.
It doesn’t refer to whether you can charge the batteries with a 240 volt charger.
Winch – This is a winch to help you open or close your camper. Some even come with
one for each.
Boat Rack – Some racks are separate to the camper and sit on gas struts to move
out of the way. Others simply allow the boat to sit atop the camper and must be
taken off before setting up each time.
Bike Rack – Some campers have room for bikes on the drawbar but the majority
simply have a fitting for a towing hitch at the rear. This allows a standard bike
rack to be inserted. It also means the camper has a rear towing point in case the
car and vehicle get bogged and have to be pulled out backwards.