What to look for

What to look for when buying a camper If you want to pay with Visa or Mastercard, please select to pay via PayPal. We use PayPal as our secure payment processor for credit cards. Look below for more details.

OTHER IMPORTANT POINTS TO CONSIDER 

 

BALL WEIGHT. 

Make sure the camper you are interested in is of a suitable ball weight for your vehicle. Can you lift the front of the trailer? A situation may arise where you may have to unhook the trailer & turn it around in off road conditions or just in the shed at home? A general rule of thumb is to have 10 to 15% of the trailers weight on the hitch.

 

BEARINGS.

What sized bearings does the trailer have? Are they large enough to handle the abuse of corrugated roads?  How often do I grease them? How do I inspect them for wear? Do I get spare bearings with the camper?

 

BATTERY.

Does the camper have an onboard battery setup? How is the charging of the battery done? Do I need a battery management system to control the charging from the vehicle? How long will the battery last? What type of batteries are used, heavy duty or deep cycle? What size cable do I need to charge the batteries in the camper? How long does it take to fully charge the battery? Is there a 12 volt trickle charge to the onboard battery via an Anderson plug when driving? What do I need to do on my vehicle to do this?

 

BED. 

What sort of bed does it have? Foam or inner sprung? What size is the mattress, double, queen? Will it suit your back? How high is the bed off the ground & will you be able to climb up into it? Are there plenty of mesh windows for ventilation on summer nights? Can I leave the bed made up when I close the camper? Can I get out of bed in the early mornings for a fish, without disturbing my partner?  Where do the kids sleep?

 

BRAKES. 

Hydraulic, mechanical & electric. Each have their own merits, but in an off road situation trailer brakes controlled from an electric controller with in the drivers reach is a very handy item, especially on a downhill trail. Do I really need brakes? How do I adjust the shoes? What is the correct adjustment? Has it got a handbrake?

 

CANVAS. 

What weight canvas is the camper made from eg 12 or 10 ounce? Is it reinforced or double seamed? Do I have to wet down the new canvas when I get home? Why do I have to wet it down?

 

CHASSIS.

What is the chassis constructed of, RHS or angle? What wall thickness is the RHS? Has the trailer got a full chassis underneath it? Is the chassis painted or hot dipped galvanized?

 

COMPATIBILITY. 

Have a look at the weight of the camper.  What is the axle weight? Has your vehicle the capacity to tow the camper? Will it be within the vehicle manufacturers recommended towing capacity?

 

COUPLING. 

Do you require an off road coupling for maximum articulation? Where will you be going? Will a standard ball coupling do the job?

 

CUSTOMER SERVICE.

What sort of public relations has the manufacturer? Have they a list of satisfied customers you can contact? Do they have factory tours to view campers being made? Do they answer your phone calls & e-mail promptly?

 

DUST PROTECTION.

Check the dust sealing of the camper. A bed full of dust is not a great way to sleep at night. Check the rear tailgate seals. Will they keep out water if doing deep river crossings? Are they vehicle type rubber seals or glue on rubber strips?

 

ELECTRICS.

Does the camper come with a 240 volt electric system for caravan park stays. Has it got a battery recharging system? Does the battery recharge automatically when I plug into a 240 volt supply??? 

 

EXTRAS. 

Have a look at what extras are on offer. Extra water tanks & awnings, meshed gazebos, tropical double roof, outboard racks, boat racks/firewood racks or extra rooms, just to name a few. Can you get a deal on extras if you order with a new camper rather than later?

 

FINISH. 

What choice of colours do they have? Can I get the camper colour coded to match my vehicle? Have they got hot dipped galvanizing as an option?

 

FLOOR. 

What sort of floor does it have? A hard or soft floor? Is the floor off the ground? Will you get water in when it rains? Does the soft floor zip off? Do they have pre-cut indoor/outdoor carpet to fit?

 

FRIDGE. Does the camper have an on board fridge? Is it two or three way? Can you carry a fridge on the drawbar or inside?

 

GAS BOTTLE.

What size is it? Where is it mounted? Can I have a spare mounted there also? Is it protected from flying stones?

 

HINGES.

Are the hinges strong enough? Can the doors/tailgate be removed?

 

JERRY CAN RACKS.

Can you carry extra fuel or water in jerry's on racks in/on the camper? How many can you carry & where? Can I lock them?

 

JOCKEY WHEEL. 

What sort of jockey wheel has it got? Solid rubber or pneumatic?

 

KITCHEN.

Is the kitchen internal or external? Is there plenty of cover if it is raining? Do you have to erect the camper to access the kitchen? Can you have an easy lunch stop on the roadside? What size stove has it got? How many burners? Has it got a grill? Is it fuel or gas? Do I have to connect the gas hose each time I use the stove?

 

LIGHTING. 

Does it have 12 volt lighting inside or/and outside the camper? Is there lighting over the kitchen area? Has the camper got cigarette lighter plug outlets so I can use my 12 volt lighting?

 

LOCKERS. 

Does it have side or front mounted lockers for extra storage? Are they lockable? Are they dust & water proofed?

 

LOCKABLE. 

Can I lock the trailer to stop the thieves when parked in the street or in camp?

 

PACKING UP.

Can I throw the kids beds on top of the main bed without breaking them down? Where do the tent poles, ropes & pegs go? Does the awning need to be unzipped each time?

 

PLACES. 

Where do you intent to take your camper? Check the underneath clearance if you want to go on rugged 4wd tracks. What is the departure angle?

 

PLUG. 

What sort of wiring has the trailer plug got? How many pins are there?  Will you have to rewire the vehicles plug? Will they rewire it for me when I come to pick up the new trailer?

 

POWER. 

Do you want to stay in caravan parks & use 240 volt? Does it have a 240 volt set up & power board? Does it have a 12 volt on board power supply when the vehicle is not hooked up?

 

RACKS. 

Can you carry your boat, canoe or push bikes on an optional rack that fits over the top of the trailer? Do you have to remove the boat to set up the camper or can you simply swing it away? How much effort is involved? When on the road you will have to do this each night. 

 

REAR STABILIZERS. 

Does it have rear stabilizer legs? What is involved in setting them up?

 

REAR VISION. 

Will I be able to see over the top of the trailer in the rear vision mirror when towing? Can I see down the sides? Do I need extended mirrors?

 

REGISTRATION. 

How much does it cost to register the camper? Does rego come with the deal?

 

RESCUE HOOKS.

Does the camper have rear tow hooks?  A situation may arise that requires you to recover your trailer backwards. Where would you connect your shackles?

 

SCREENS.

Are the screens 'midgie' proof? Is a screen door standard???

 

SET UP. 

How long does it take to set up the camper? Does it require one or two people in setting up? Something that requires a half hour or more in setting up will take longer to pack up. What is involved in setting up a quick overnight camp? Do I need pegs & ropes?

 

SIZE. 

Is it of a size to suit your needs? Can I add an extra room as the family grows?

 

SOLAR. 

Does the camper have solar panels as extras? What size are they? How long will they extend my stay in the one place? Do I have to camp in full sun?

 

SPARES KIT. 

Have they got a spares kit on offer? Bearings & seals are a necessary spare in out of the way places.

 

SPARE WHEEL MOUNT. 

Does it have a spare wheel mount? Is it accessible is all situations? Can I open the rear doors of my vehicle? If not can I get an extended drawbar?

 

STONE PROTECTION. 

See what sort of protection is on offer to protect the front of the camper & more importantly, stopping the rocks rebounding into the back of your vehicle & smashing a rear window on dirt roads. Has it got a shade cloth guard or a bra across the front of the trailer?

 

STORAGE. 

How can you gain access to your gear stored in the camper? Do boxes or draws slide out, the bed lift up? How much gear can I fit in? Camp cooking gear, clothes, chainsaw, fishing or bushwalking gear? Has it got a spare gas bottle rack? What weight will it be loaded? Do you also need to load the rear of your vehicle?

 

SUSPENSION. 

There are coil, leafs & rubber suspensions to choose from in a number of different setups. Each have their own merits in there own situations. Independent coil, heavy duty leaf springs, solid axle with leaf springs & shock absorbers & torsion bar suspension to mention a few.

 

TOWBAR. 

Check the recommended towing capacity of the towbar.  Is the ball weight or downward weight on the tow hitch within the limits set by the towbar manufacturer? If over it could void your vehicles warranty.

 

TRACK. 

Does the trailer have the same track as your vehicle? When towing in sand or mud will the trailer sit in the tracks of your vehicle?

 

TRAVEL COVER. 

What is the travel cover made from? Is it a hardtop or a soft cover? Will the cover dust proof the canvas when traveling? How will it handle the harsh Aussie sun?

 

TYPE.

Is it a fully devoted camper body or is the camper based on an off road box trailer? Can I use the trailer for other things like taking waste to the tip? Does the camper open out to the rear or side?

 

WARRANTY. 

How long is the manufacturer's warranty? If necessary where do you go for repairs? What sort of backup service do they have?

 

WATER/FUEL. 

Where is the water tank? Is it plastic, fibreglass or stainless steel? Has it got a gauge? Has it got a stone guard? Can the filler lid be locked? Has it got a hand or electric pump or better still both? It is a good idea not to have all your water in the one tank in case of a leak.

 

WEIGHT DISTRIBUTION. 

Does the rear of the vehicle sag when hitched up? Is the drawbar overloaded? You may require towing aids such as Polyairs, uprated suspension or adjustable shocks.

 

WHEELS. 

Do I have a choice of tyres? Can I get the same tyres I have on my vehicle? It is a good idea to have the same wheel/tyre combination as your vehicle if traveling to remote places. With two spares, a good tyre repair kit & a pump, you can get yourself out of trouble & on the road again.

 

WINDOWS. 

How big are the windows? Can I have extra large windows made when I order? Are they big enough to allow a breeze through for summer sleeping? What size mesh is used? Will they keep out sandflies? Can you get clear covers for when it's raining? Do the awnings keep out the rain?

 

ZIPS. 

What brand zips are used? Do they look as if they are up to the wear & tear they will receive.

source: http://www.campertrailers.org