Quick Guide to buying a Camper Trailer
Written on the 16 August 2018 by Nathan Drew, Fox Finance Group
Where do you start?
Not everyone has the same idea about what camping really is. Everybody has different needs according to the size of their family, camping skills and well let's face it, the types of luxuries we would all like to enjoy when camping. Some of us prefer to hit Double Island and require a camper trailer that can handle the beach and other prefer to head west into the rugged great outdoors and require a camper trailer that can handle heavier off road conditions.
Either way, when you buy a camper trailer there are a few things that you may want to consider before purchasing your new camper trailer.
If you have bought a camper trailer over just buying a tent, then you are probably much like me and enjoy having some creature comforts when you head away. Making sure that your mattress that is made of good quality material is a must. It probably sounds like common sense but making sure you get the mattress size should be up there on your priority list. Getting a Queen size mattress into your camper trailer is something you could consider, and most camper trailers on the market today will accommodate this luxury. You would be surprised how many people feel weird about lying down on the prospective bedding when looking at a camper trailer. So, when you go shopping, get into it, jump up onto the bed and make sure that you can comfortably fit on the bed both length and width. Lastly, ensure that the mattress is a sprung mattress as this will give you a better night sleep.
Canvas and Tent
There are different grades of materials used by the manufacturers of the tents and awnings. Our harsh Australian climate means that you need to carefully consider if the tent and awnings that come with your camper trailer are made from high quality materials that will withstand the punishment that you are about to put it through. Also, it needs to be easily stowed and maintained in between trips. Keep in mind that the screens will also need to be mosquito proof and all canvas double stitched in high pressure areas, for example the top corners of your tent. Your set up and pull-down time can be greatly reduced with a quality canvas that fits your camper trailer perfectly. On top of this, making sure you have a good quality tonneau cover with a Velcro over the zip will help you keep your canvas in good condition and will keep in good working condition while in storage.
Inclusions or Add-ons
Most camper trailers have a wide range of inclusions and extra add-ons that you can purchase to customise your camper trailer to suit your desired camping comfort level. Take the time to speak with your camper trailer retailer about these inclusions and extras at the time of purchase. These can provide you and your family with greater comfort and camping functionality for your great escapes and save you coming back later down the track.
Many kitchen designs for campers can either swing out away from the trailer or slide out of the trailer. Both can provide easy access to bench space, cook tops, utensils and wash up stations. Slide out draws can give you plenty of storage space for all your cooking utensils, cutlery and crockery.
Making sure you can carry adequate water for the whole trip is essential when heading away as there may not be places to top up your supply in the bush. Keep in mind that you'll likely use this water to rinse, wash, shower and drink. If buying second hand you need to get right up under the camper trailer and make sure there are no splits or patch up jobs on the water tank. You want to aim for about 60 litres minimum in tank size but keep in mind that the more water you carry the more weight you also carry.
Racks for Boats, Bikes and Kayaks etc. There are many styles of racks available for camper trailers. If you're hoping to carry a small boat, bicycles, kayaks and surfboards on your camper trailer you'll need to ensure that firstly your camper trailer can have them fitted (not all camper trailers can), and if it already has a rack fitted when you buy your second-hand camper trailer it is wise to check that the weight and size capacity has not been exceeded.
The Chassis is the foundation of your camper trailer. You want a chassis made from high grade quality materials to increase the life of your trailer along with the resale value when it's time to sell or upgrade. If you're going to be taking your camper trailer off-road or carrying heavy loads you'll need to make sure that your camper trailer is made from durable, strong chassis made of Australian made Supagal Steel to meet the harsh Australian conditions. To ensure that your camper trailer is going to go the distance it's always best to buy from a reputable manufacturer that builds to Australian Design Rules (ADR) and Australian Standards (AS).
Tailgate & Doors
You are likely to come across some dusty roads and creek crossings on the journey to your camping destination. Rubber weld pinch seals are your friend when it comes to keeping dust and moisture out of your camper trailer. The last thing you want is a wet mattress and moss in your tent when you arrive and finally get to set up ready to relax. To save yourself any heart ache, ensure your camper trailer has pinch weld rubber seal around the bed frame and tailgate for maximum protection from the elements.
Make sure the suspension is rugged enough for the weight of your camper trailer including all your gear that you will be loading into it. Whether you are buying a new or second-hand camper trailer you need to consider what condition it's in and whether it's designed to handle the terrain that you are about to head into. The last thing you need is to be stuck out in the middle of nowhere with your camper trailer sitting on its belly on the ground after the suspension has given way.
The length of the drawbar and strength of the coupling can make towing and reversing a breeze or a nightmare. A good place to start is making sure your camper trailer is fitted with a triple draw bar and a hyland off-road hitch. Some camper trailers will also come with two safety chains and a solid jockey wheel to give you some peace of mind when traveling. This will also make moving your camper trailer around off the vehicle a lot easier when on unlevel ground.
Even on our national highways your camper trailer will occasionally flick up stones towards your towing vehicle causing the rear window to break. The camper trailer can also take a beating from the debris that the towing vehicle is flicking up onto the camper trailer. Your best protection to help avoid these nasties is to ensure your trailer has a stone guard fitted when you drive it away from the retailer. These stone guards are sometimes made from steel and or shade cloth. Either way, it's a great thing to have and could save you money down the track.
Getting to your destination knowing that you have an exhausting process ahead of you for set up is not anyone's idea of fun. That's why you want to understand the best set up process for your camper trailer before you drive away from the retailer. Most reputable retailers will give you a demonstration of this in the showroom before you take your new camper trailer away, and some retailers will simply supply you with an instructional video to show you how to set up and pack up. Either way, practise makes perfect, so don't be afraid to set up a few times in the backyard before you head out on your first adventure. It's also good to get into the habit of setting up your camper trailer fully before each trip to ensure that there are no surprises when you get to your destination.
Making sure you camper trailer is fitted with quality tyres that have the same matching tread will make your drive a lot smoother and will also give you maximum performance in all conditions. If you are buying second had ensure that your camper trailer tyres meet all Australian standards and are in a roadworthy state.
Make Money from Your Camper Trailer
Did you know that you can make money from your camper trailer? Why not look at privately hiring your camper trailer out to people when you are not using it? There are many easy ways to advertise your camper trailer for hire, including on Gumtree. You do the maths on hiring your camper trailer out at $75 per night for 3 months of the year. Not a bad earn is it?
Where Do I Start?
At Fox Finance Group, we understand your passion for the great outdoors. We have strong relationships with most of the reputable camper trailer retailers right across Australia. So, if you would like us to put you in touch with the right people so you can get the best service and overall package for your camper trailer, please reach out to us and speak with one of our in-house camper trailer loan specialists today. We can have your camper trailer loan pre-approval set up and ready to go the same day!
So, there you have it, our buyers guide to buying a camper trailer. If the next step for you is working out how to pay for your camper trailer, please contact us and let us help you arrange the best loan pre-approval for your camper trailer even before you hit the shops.
With our camper trailer loan pre-approvals, you'll know exactly how much you can borrow and what your repayments will be before you get started. Our Fox Leisure Loans team are available on 1300 665 906.
Learn more about the Author Nathan Drew.
Author: Nathan Drew, Fox Finance Group
About: CEO - Fox Finance Group