So it’s July, although looking outside on most days you wouldn’t think it !
Holidays are on most peoples minds be it jetting away to the sun or loading up the 4×4 for an adventure camping holiday. The alternative to the standard tent is a camping trailer, which is a very popular option in some countries and slowly growing here in the UK and Europe. If this is a thought that has crossed your mind then read on, we have put together a basic out line guide of what is available on the market today.
Once you’ve decided you need a Camper Trailer the next hard choice is which one. Trailers are a great idea, pull up, unhitch and there’s home for the duration leaving the truck free to explore but the cost and selection can be daunting. There’s more to think about then just where’s the kitchen and how many bedrooms so we thought we’d look through the options.
Chassis & Suspension;
It all depends on the terrain you intend to spend most of your time travelling on, if the trailers only challenge is getting on and off the campsite then leaf spring and solid axle will be fine with a standard chassis. If this is the start of world tours however and off road adventures then independent spring suspension is the only way to go to avoid being pulled around by the rear and feeling every bump the trailer takes resonate through the vehicle. The chassis will be of heavier gauge steel including bracing to withstand the rigours of off road use.
Weight is not just down to towing capacity but also how much you wish to carry and how far. If the far reaches of beyond are your goal then a lighter trailer will be easier to get there, not forgetting cheaper on the fuel gauge. The biggest difference in weight will be a trailer with a soft floor, laying a canvas down or a hard floor unit that simply unfolds with frames and solid floor bedrooms.
Most manufacturers will start with the basic trailer type then continue adding to meet a standard range of accessories and storage capabilities.
So what options are available?
Adventure trailers …
They are the basic no fuss category, a simply compact off road trailer, a practical no frills workhorse.
Usually divided into 2/4 practical compartments and equal to the boot space of a SUV with the rear seats folded down. One side of the trailer will contain a small kitchen with a burner stove on a slide mechanism and space in the box for storage of cutlery, crockery, kitchen pots and other essentials. The main cargo area usually has a 12-volt compressor fridge with space for your stuff, and the front of the trailer is used to mount the water tank, fuel cans, electrics and spare wheel. Mount a rooftop tent on top and you have a super, lightweight, highly manoeuvrable camping trailer that can go anywhere.
AG Overland Trailers make Adventure trailers right here in good old Blighty.
Visit; AG Overland Trailers
Camping Trailers …
Next choice can be described as more of a camper set up. There are slide out units for the kitchen, bathroom, fridge, hot water system and storage shelves depending on which you choose. The sectional design allows for a number of various configurations with tents and awnings that gives the option of increased space.
This is where Soft Floor or Hard Floor becomes an option?
A soft floor will be cheaper to buy and lighter to tow with the benefit of giving more camping space, great if you’re traveling on mass or with a family. Size and storage possibilities are endless because you can just keep adding canvas rooms so for longstop overs they are wonderful and adaptable to each trips requirement.
Hard floors are pretty much the exact opposite, heavier but easier and quicker to set up with the choice of an added awning to keep you out of the weather whilst you cook etc. or to add a dressing room, so good for the one night stop over and no fuss approach. Putting them down is cleaner with less fuss too as everything is off the floor and it all just folds back away, they also have optional awning sides to increase space.
Bespoke Builds …
Trek Overland Ltd based is Yorkshire import the Globemaster trailer then kit them out using the Howling Moon Canvas system. We were lucky enough to catch up with Dave Robson who happily lets us explore his trailer whilst camping in Italy. He explained ‘Trek Overland bespoke fitted his’ as he worked his way around the trailer opening numerous compartments, to show everything and we mean everything has its place. He was off to Morocco with it the following month; we were especially impressed with how quick it all packed back into the ‘box’.
Visit; Trek Overland
Freedom Trailers Ltd based in Surrey build three different off road camper trailers. The proprietor Dave Stepenson realised he couldn’t buy what he wanted so necessity being the mother of invention he set to work. He has designed three trailers the Pumba, Rafiki and Zazu all very functional and all tried and tested by his family. Recognising that the cost of a trailer makes some people nervous and like to try before they buy or just want a trailer for their one off trip Mr Stepenson provides a hire service. He states this also allows him and his customer a better understanding of what they require when placing an order for their own personal build.
Visit; Freedom Trailers
Another new company to the UK is Safari Trailers and Campers based in Scotland. Set up by a husband and wife team, both originally from South Africa they too spotted a gap in the market here for decent camping trailers with the rugged ability crossed with some home comforts. They are now sole importers of the Echo 4×4 brand of trailer campers and their off road caravan camper the Kavango.
The Echo company has many years of experience building trailers and manufacturing tents for the military, plus of course suitable to withstand the harsh South African climate and terrain.
Visit; Safari Trailers UK
No Canvas …
The Mini Caravan is for when sleeping under canvas is a no-no. Known as the TearDrop Trailer, you may have seen these little units as they have been around for a few years now towed behind Minis etc.
However, they are now being designed for off road adventures. The inside of the trailer is a bed, sit in, swing your legs in and close the door. Cupboards are fitted high across the foot of the bed for storage so there’s no need to venture anywhere until you’re dressed. The rear of the trailer lifts up to provide cover whilst using the ‘fitted’ kitchen. They can provide hot and cold water with an extendable hose on the sink should you want to shower, power from built in batteries and even space for TV’s. Awnings again can be fitted for extra space or bedrooms. There’s even room for a roof top tent to sleep the kids.
Visit; Teardrop Trailers
We are rather restricted with our choice for trailer campers here, but the choice is growing both for trailers and off roading caravans.
But whilst we look across the oceans and can only marvel at the designs and choice available in South Africa and Australia, times are-a-changing …
Now to be forever the optimist…. since we’ve left the confines of the EU, hopefully we can now have our pick of the crop from those far off shores, with better choice, plus without the EU trade taxes this will make the units more affordable.
We found two videos to give you a taster and a glimmer of hope of what we could have here …
Patriot Camper X2 trailer, 3 years in a row winner. . .
Moby1 XTR trailer, a true off road mini caravan . . .