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Choosing the Right Camper Trailer

1. HARDFLOOR CAMPERS

Hardfloor-camper-trailer

Hardfloor campers have a solid floor which flips over, either manually, on gas struts or via an electric winch. Once that’s done, you adjust a few internal poles to raise the tent and you’re done! Setup is usually quick, easy and not labour-intensive – especially if you’ve got the electric version!

Hardfloors are often two-person tourers, due to their smaller footprint. Some will have more under-tent space than others, or come with additional rooms in which to put kids’ bunks but, generally, they’re a little light on space and storage.

The bed usually sits over the main trailer tub, with storage tubs below, leaving the solid floor base for the general living area.

PROS

  • Easy setup
  • Smaller footprint
  • Easy access for roadside stops
  • Easy to keep clean

CONS

  • Less internal space
  • Can be more expensive
  • Usually less storage

2. SOFTFLOOR CAMPERS

Softfloor-camper-trailer

Sometimes known as the ‘original’ camper trailer, softfloors have been around for a long time.

The ‘soft’ canvas floor is usually larger than a hardfloor and folds out one or both sides of the main trailer. Setting up a soft-floor is a more involved process than a hardfloor, due to all the canvas and poles you’ll need to wrangle. But the definite upside is the amount of living and storage space you’ll create once you’ve finished!

Due to their size, softfloors require more space at camp, so small sites may not be an option.

PROS

  • Spacious
  • Can be at cheaper end of scale
  • Lots of storage

CONS

  • Longer setup times
  • Lots of canvas and poles to deal with
  • Harder to keep clean

3. HYBRID CAMPERS

Hybrid-camper-trailer

Hybrid camper trailers have boomed in popularity over the past few years, and now it seems like they’re everywhere. While there is some conjecture about how a hybrid camper differs to a caravan, as they’re all built with solid walls and a roof, generally, the answer lies it its size and shape.

Hybrids are usually smaller and boxier than caravans, with less internal living features and more emphasis on outdoor living.

You can’t beat a hybrid camper for ease of setup – simply pull up, open the door and you’re done as there’s usually little or no canvas to erect.

The downside of a hybrid compared to all other types of campers is their size and weight. These are no lightweights and can be too heavy and wide to tackle soft sandy beaches or narrow bush tracks.

PROS

  • Easy to setup
  • Secure, due to hard walls
  • Easy access to roadside stops
  • Weather-proof

CONS

  • Price
  • Size
  • Weight

4. ROOF-TOP CAMPERS

Rooftop-camper-trailer

These can either be a basic or DIY-modified box trailer fitted with a rooftop tent, or a rooftop tent fitted on top of your 4WD – both styles are accessible by a ladder from the ground but there’s often nothing more than a double bed up top!

PROS

  • Easy setup
  • Lightweight
  • Nothing to tow
  • Price

CONS

  • You have to pack up to drive away
  • Not for those who are scared of heights
  • Minimal space
  • Difficult to access

MEET THE AUTHORLaura Gray

Laura Gray

An RV journalist working across Australia’s premier caravanning and camping magazines for the past five years, Laura is also a judge at the annual Best Aussie Vans awards. She has been camping in the great outdoors since the of two, when she was packed, by day, into a Toyota LiteAce van and, by night, into a brown canvas tent with her parents and two siblings for an extended trip around the vast playground that is northern Western Australia.

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