WHAT I NEED TO KNOW WHEN PURCHASING A CAMPER TRAILER
HARD FLOOR CAMPERS
SOFT FLOOR CAMPERS
IF YOU HAVE ANY OTHER QUERIES WHEN LOOKING - FEE FREE TO CONTACT US ANYTIME - WE ARE MORE THAN HAPPY TO ASSIST YOU
Many people come to us and their questions are varied and wide ranging. However, there are certain things to look for when purchasing your camper trailer.
Firstly, if you are purchasing a soft floor camper trailer, make sure your trailer is Australian made. This is very important. If you are looking at buying a hard floor camper trailer, there are now some very reputable overseas companies that are exporting hard floor camper trailers into Australia. In saying that, there are still certain things to look out for when purchasing a hard floor camper trailer which we detail below.
There are some sellers in the marketplace who will tell you that their trailers are made here in Australia when in fact they are imported. They may only be assembled here in Australia. If you can not see the trailers being built at the outlet you attend, then odds on they will be trailers that are being imported from China or overseas. Be careful if you hear the story... ' we build our trailers in our other factory'. That factory is likely to be some 3000kms away!!
If any components such as jockey wheels, gas bottle rings or jerry can holders are either pop riveted or bolted on, then it is more than likely that the trailer has been imported. No matter what you are told.
Ask if the trailer is constructed of zinc anneal. This material is more expensive, however it more weather resistant than normal 'mild' steel, and is not prone to rusting.
Check the trailer and make sure all the seams are sealed. If the seams are all sealed, this will help prevent water and dirt getting into your trailer, and in turn prevent rust.
Is the trailer fitted with LED lights. all camper trailers nowadays should have LED lights as standard
If you are planning on purchasing a trailer with a frame and gas struts, make sure the struts are welded to an independent frame and not welded or pop riveted to the tent steel bed base. It will only take a short period of time for struts welded or pop riveted to the bed base to either tear or warp. We use a 50mm x 25mm RHS frame which we then weld the tent to.
Check the draw bar and make sure it goes back almost to the axle. The draw bar should be at least 75mm x 50mm x 3.2mm. Most overseas manufacturers use 2mm RHS or similar.
Have a look under your trailer and check for the following:-
Make sure it has been painted all over.
Check the axle, make sure it is solid square and not either hollow or round. We use a minimum of 40mm solid square axles.
Check the welding.
Check the size of the chassis. It should be at least 50mm sq. (Our sub frames are constructed of 50mm sq RHS. Many other manufacturers will use 40mm or less.
Check how many ribs or 'stringers' are fitted under the trailer. There should be at least 4. We use a minimum of 40mm sq tube. You will find some other manufacturers may use angle or similar.
Some sellers will also tell you that their tents are made in Australia when in fact they are not. Question the retailer where the tent is made. Here again, if they tell you that they are making the tents themselves, then one would expect to see people working and sewing the canvas at the factory. If there is no evidence of this, then it is fair to presume that the tents are imported. However, do not be concerned if the seller tells you that their tents are imported. Imported tents can be of very high quality.
You may find some sellers will state that they send the canvas or cotton to China where it is prepared and sewn. Then shipped back to Australia. This will be false.
Ask the seller what weight the tent material is. If you are told that it is 15oz Rip Stop canvas (or higher), they are not telling you the truth. There is no such material. The heaviest Rip Stop canvas on the market at present is 14oz.
Check the stitching on the tents (where the pegs secure the tent to the ground). Make sure the peg strapping is not stitched up the wall of the tent. If so, the stitching can pull and ultimately leak in heavy rain.
Check that the tent and dust cover are secured to the trailer by means of an aluminium track. (Similar to the track fitted to the side of a caravan for annexes). The advantage of the alloy track, is that should you ever damage the tent or dust cover, the tent / dust cover can be easily removed for repair. If the tent and / or dust cover is screwed to the bed base, then you will have major issues should you ever need to remove the item from your trailer.
Check that the front of the tent is fitted with pole socks (this is where the annex roof poles fit into the main tent). The sock looks like a small sleeve that surrounds the annex roof pole with a draw string on it. If you tent is not fitted with pole socks then you will have the issue of insects etc. coming through the hole should you have lights on inside the tent.
Check that you annex is secured to the tent by both zipper and zelcro. This is stronger than either zelcro, or zipper alone. The walls of your annex should also be velco and zipper for extra strength,
Your tent will be secured to the ground by several pegs. The ideal fitting to the tent is a 'D' ring. Avoid purchasing any tent that has a flap sewn vertically along the bottom edge at the corner of your tent. The issue with flaps is that problems arise when the tent is pulled taught. This in turn will pull the stitching along the seam of the tent and in turn rip or allow water to get into the corner of your tent when it rains
If you are contemplating purchasing a hard floor camper trailer, you will fond there are many high quality hard floor trailers currently being imported into Australia. However, there are a couple of major issues you need to look out for.
Firstly, to save space when importing, some manufacturers will import the camper trailer then weld the draw bar on afterwards. The problem with this is that the draw bar will be butt-welded and will not have the strength of of an unwelded section of steel. Get underneath the camper trailer and check where the draw bar meets the chassis. If it appears to be welded, or there is evidence of secondary spray painting, be wary.
Another issue people find with hard floor camper trailers is the wheels are coming loose or breaking away from the camper trailer whilst travelling. This can be caused by either the wheels not being put on correctly in the first place or little or no bearing grease in the hubs. Make sure the wheels are all sound before you embark on that holiday to central Australia.