Saturday, May 4

Five Top Family Camper Trailers

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Finding the best of something to do a particular task is always very subjective, especially when it comes to the best camper trailer for families. All families are distinct and all of them want something just a little different from their travelling tag-along. While some love just setting up in the one sunny spot for six weeks in summer, others love exploring new horizons every day, which means packing up and unpacking seven times a week. So, with all that subjectiveness in mind, here’s five campers I’d recommend you look at if you’re a travelling family. They might not be the ones for you, but they’ll give you an idea of what’s on offer and how they might suit your travelling ideals.

Got a question about a specific camper? Ask it in the comments below and I’ll answer. Think I’ve missed something. Comment about it, too.

One. Jayco Eagle Outback – $27,990jayco outback eagle family camping
This is the most obvious first place to look if you want a comfortable, reasonably affordable camper trailer that comes with a lot of comfort packed in. I’ve seen this Jayco camper trailer in just about every corner of Australia, despite the fact they’re not a true off-road camper trailers (gravel road only, according to Jayco Australia). Still, they have two large, full-time beds, can sleep up to six people quite easily. They are easy enough to set up that you can do it every day on a whirlwind trip, but comfortable enough to bunker down in during the summer holidays. If you aren’t planning a stack of really hard, off-road jaunts, this is a good option, and almost a gateway drug to real caravanning.

Two. Blue Tongue Overland XD Series 2 – $25,990blue tongue overland xd
If you are looking for the sort of interior comfort offered by a Jayco-like camper trailer, but want to tackle some more remote, and potentially rougher bush tracks, a double-folding model like the Blue Tongue Overland XD is not a bad option. Rather than the roof being raised, the camper’s lids fold forwards and backwards to reveal are large tent section and internal, wrap-around lounge area. There’s not the same level of internal comfort – the kitchen, fridge and much of the storage is outside still, but there is somewhere comfortable to sit if the weather’s unpleasant. Setup on these is only marginally harder than the Jayco’s, but the all steel body, off-road independent suspension and more compact size all help off-road.

Three. Marlin Campers Explorer – $6499best family camper trailer
There’s nothing fancy about these Marlin Campers, except that they are cheap and well made, which is really what’s so good about them. They’re simply a box trailer with a tent on top, a gas bottle ring and jerry can holder. They can be optioned with a kitchen and a few other things to make them a little more off-road ready, but otherwise, they’re just simple accomodation. Interestingly, the trailer’s Australian made, although the Oztrail tent’s from China.

A little larger tent than what’s found on the Escape, the tent also has a door on the draw-bar-side wall, so you can add the optional kids room on. The Oztent Zenith tent also has an insulated, rather than tropical, roof, which Marlin says reduced the temp inside by up to 10°C, and doesn’t flap around like tropical roofs can. A deluxe upgrade ($2,000) ads a Drifta kitchen, 65-litre water tank, Ark power pack and 120ah battery, LED strip lights, toolbox and pole carrier.

What the camper offers is a very easy set up (there is actually nothing easier to set up than a simple, well made soft-floor camper trailer tent – don’t believe the marketing spin), which can sleep four. It’s got heaps of room and nothing to hide. It might also be worth checking out the all-Australian Walkabout Camper, which is built by one of the Gall Boys.

Four. Cub Driftercub campers drifta
I’m breaking all internet listicle protocol here by including a camper trailer that you can’t buy new. I hope you’ll forgive me. But the Cub Drifter was a great little family camper that took hundreds of Aussie families on very extended trips of Australia. Similar to the Jayco-style campers in that the roof lifts up, it’s got a different mechanism and the body is all steel, which made them much more suitable off-road. Cub Campers began building them in 1975, but continued on until around the year 2000, which is when you should look for one from.

Five. Trackabout Safari Basecamp – From $27,500trackabout campers family camper
So far all of the campers have been a little on the mild-off-road side, but that’s not what all families are after. The Trackabout Safari Basecamp or the extended walk-in version, the Safari Extenda, are all-Aussie built trailers that’ll handle a trip to Cape York or Arnhem Land. The soft-floor tent is excellent quality and has enough room for a couple of kids on the floor, plus is easy enough to set up a few nights in a row, or settle down in for a few weeks in a row. Trackabout Campers build excellent kitchens and the various storage options are exhaustive. It’s not the cheapest soft-floor on the market, but as an Australian-made product, there’s very good value in it. You can also take a virtual tour here.

A note or two
You might have noticed that I didn’t include a single hard-floor, rear-fold camper or forward-fold camper in the mix. It’s because I don’t think they’re the best option for family travel, mainly due to their limited storage options and lack, in the case of the forward-fold, of a place for the kids to sleep. I know some people make do, and love it, and I know there are all manner of addons to these product to make them more suitable, but who needs more stuff when you’re travelling with the family? Another alternative is to just ad storage capacity to carry the camping gear you’ve already got and just buy an off-road trailer for storage. Trailers like the Patriot Campers X2 (with the no tent option), Drifta Dot, Pod Allroada or Signature Campers Deluxe (again, with no tent) are all good options that mean you’re not buying an expensive tent to replace your expensive tent.

Got a question about a specific camper? Ask it in the comments below and I’ll answer. Think I’ve missed something. Comment about it, too.

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