Checklist for Buying a Camper Trailer

Posted on Saturday, November 22, 2014 - 00:00

So you’re in the market for a camper trailer. Great! You can experience real freedom in a camper trailer. Where to begin? There’s many kinds of camper trailers out there. You can find ones with bare bones right up to having all the creature comforts of home. Our checklist will help you decide what’s right for you.

Decide what kind of camper trailer you need

There are three typical types of camper trailer on the market.

  • ​​Windup campers – which use a mechanical winch to lift up canvas siding. These resemble caravans more often than not and fit two people maximum.
  • ​​Flip-over camper – the simplest model of camper trailer. You simply “flip” open the hard top trailer and affix the canopy to the ground. Often comes with bed, other amenities and kitchenette on the side.
  • ​​Soft-floor camper trailer – a variation on the flip-over camper. You can extend these campers across an internal structure. These are much roomier than the flip-over or windups. You can even use the kitchen while the camper is in storage in some cases.

Whether you’re buying new, used or having one custom made, here’s some of the aspects of your camper trailer you should know about.


Towing is the absolute top priority for your camper trailer. Are you going off road? Will you need a 360 degree towing ball? Will it need snatch points? You must consider these facts first.

Chassis and suspension

A good chassis and suspension will prolong the life of your trailer, especially if you’re carrying heavy loads. Find chassis manufactured to Australian Standards and Australian Design Rules as an absolute minimum. Manufacturers who adhere to these standards are a big tick in the box.

Dust and waterproofing

If your car or 4WD attracts dust and mud – imagine all that ending up in your camper! You should look for a camper trailer that has good seals on all the possible entry points for the elements. You should also check the canvas for mildew and mould resistance.

Stone and debris protection

Sometimes stones and rocks from the ground get kicked up by your camper and break windows on your vehicle. Some campers come with built-in stone guards or canvas/cloth attachments to protect your windows.


You of course need a good night’s sleep! Be sure to check the comfort level of the bedding and mattress before you commit to a purchase, or check that you can upgrade foam mattresses to higher quality spring mattresses if you so desire. Figure out if everyone using the camper will fit – you’ll thank yourself later!

Mod cons

You’ve seen them around the parks – the camper trailers that leave nothing behind (even the kitchen sink!) Will you want or need:

  • ​​ Kitchens – ranging from a hotplate all the way up to full service kitchens with washspaces.
  • ​​ Water tank – Look for good quality tanks without any patches. 45-60L should be adequate.
  • ​​ Power – Some campers provide a battery that recharges while driving. These should be tested or in good working order.
  • ​​ Racks for equipment and other vehicles – planning to go kayaking, surfing, biking or boating? Check that your trailer has racks and ties for anything oversize you want to bring.


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